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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

15 Tips for Being a More Eco-Friendly New Parent

Photo by LoJoLu Photography (Flickr)

Parents always want the best for our children, and I think that includes taking care of our planet so we can leave them a world that's in the best shape possible. Here are 15 eco-friendly suggestions new parents can implement to care for your kids now and protect the environment for the future.

Use Cloth Diapers

Reusable cloth diapers reduce landfill waste and can save you big bucks in the long run. I know washing those diapers can be a pain, though, so you might want to use a diaper service. Barring that, choose an eco-friendly disposable brand to reduce waste and simplify your life.

Buy Biodegradable Wipes

Baby wipes remain useful long after our babies grow up. However, I always buy a biodegradable brand, cut the wipes in half, and think twice before using a wipe. You can also reduce waste with homemade fabric wipes.

Make Homemade Hygiene Products

Babies typically need diaper cream and lotion, but these products can dry a baby's skin and come in plastic packaging. Make your own homemade hygiene products with ingredients that protect your baby's skin and the environment.

Purchase Gently Used Clothing

Aren't baby clothes the cutest thing ever? Instead of buying new outfits, though, consider hand-me-downs. Organize a clothing swap or check out the baby section at consignment and thrift stores as you clothe your child in cute duds while protecting the environment.

Fight Stains Naturally

All babies spit up and make other messes. Stain fighters may contain artificial fragrances and other dangerous ingredients, though, so turn to lemons, vinegar, salt, rubbing alcohol, sunshine, and other natural products to remove stains.

Run Full Loads of Laundry

When my girls were babies, I spent tons of time washing onesies and pajamas! To conserve water, energy, and the fabric, I only washed full loads in cold water. I also line-dried our laundry whenever possible.

Reuse Items

Instead of tossing formula containers and stained onesies, reuse these and other items. Store toys in diaper boxes, turn formula canisters into flower planters, and stash crayons in an empty wipes container.

Make Your Own Baby Food

After my girls graduated to solid foods, I processed fresh fruits and veggies or the foods we ate for dinner. Homemade baby food reduces waste and conserves natural resources.

Borrow Furniture and Accessories

Your baby will need a crib, changing table, and stroller, but you'll save money and the environment when you borrow these furniture items and accessories from a friend. For safety, check the Consumer Product Safety Commission website for recalls.

Use Nontoxic Cleaners

To keep your house clean for your baby, you'll need to disinfect surfaces and vacuum the floors often. Use natural cleaners and disinfectants like baking soda, lemon, and vinegar to protect the environment and your child.

Buy Eco-Friendly Toys

Keep your baby entertained and teach your child valuable developmental skills with toys made from natural materials, organic fibers, or smooth wood. As my girls outgrew toys, we donated them to a local hospital or children's shelter and arranged toy swaps with neighborhood parents.

Unplug Power Vampires

Your cellphone charger, baby monitor, and coffee maker suck power whenever they're plugged in, even in standby mode. Develop the habit of unplugging all of your electronic devices and small appliances to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Bring Your Own Bags

Plastic bags decompose in 1,000 years. Yikes! I pack a few reusable bags in the car and use them at the grocery store and the mall.

Minimize Errands

You may have purchased an eco-friendly van, but try to consolidate errands into one trip whenever possible. You can also buy formula, diapers, and other supplies in bulk to save money and packaging or bike or walk to the store.

Enjoy Nature

I'm a big fan of nature. Kids and adults need fresh air, we use less energy when we unplug, and spending time outside gives our kids a greater appreciation of our natural resources and environment. Enjoy an outdoor picnic, spend tummy time on a blanket in the backyard, or go for a walk as you enjoy nature with your child.

To become a more eco-friendly parent, you may try all 15 of these tips or choose a few that work best for your family. What other eco-friendly tips do you recommend?

Find more about the author: Kim Hart

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