What will be left of our earth to pass on to our babies in the next few generations ?

 

Today is International Mother Earth Day when the whole world comes together in thinking about how we can lessen our destructive impact on our planet.

I’m sure many of you have heard the universal finding that having children has by far the highest carbon footprint, so perhaps having fewer children is something we can think about. But on the other hand, children are our future and our reason for existing as a species, so how do we find a way through this, especially when everything our babies need is plastic based, or disposable, or highly manufactured and transported by many air miles ?

My answer is that we make our own ‘personal act of green’, with emphasis on personal.

How do we become  more ecologically sound ?

I mean that we need to find a way to change our behaviour and our buying patterns that is sustainable, and I’m not just talking about sustainable from an ecological viewpoint. I mean, thinking about changes that are so manageable we can work them in to our everyday life with so little effort we can sustain the changes forever, and the best way to do this is to aim to make several small, easy changes, rather than one big, difficult change.

I often think the biggest mistake we all make is to buy in to the ‘all or nothing’ approach… No more sugar ! No more meat ! Exercise every day ! …all of which put us under a lot of pressure, and present us with two options, success or failure, and the bigger the pressure we place on ourselves, the more likely it is that we will fail. And the parenting world is no different, in fact, its worse than any other area I can think of…especially for women We should breastfeed We should stay home to look after children We should get our figures back etc. I believe we can all make positive changes to reduce our environmental impact, but I also don’t believe we should make parenting any harder than it already is…it’s all about balance.
I believe we can all make positive changes to reduce our environmental impact, but I also don’t believe we should make parenting any harder than it already is…it’s all about balance. The environment matters, but so do you.
Here are some easy changes you can make that are a pretty good compromise between environment and real parenting life.

Eco Nappy Solutions

When you factor in all the different factors, there is little difference between disposable and cloth nappies, so it’s your choice. Cloth nappies are labour intensive and smelly, and the ‘biodegradable’ nappies only degrade if you compost them yourself at home, and who has the space for that ?

  • One option is to use a combination of both types. Use disposable when you are out (more convenient) and at night (fewer leaks), and cloth nappies when you are at home, or have the time and inclination to deal with them.
  • Use the most sustainable disposable nappies.                                                                I found one, called Bambo Nature, that has the highest eco rating possible, and uses recycled or sustainable products every step of the way, and uses fair trade as well. I’ve tried all the eco nappies and these are by far my favourites (I’m not affiliated or sponsored by them, I just love their products)
  • Change nappies less frequently, especially if using disposables. They are so absorbent that they can keep the urine away from baby’s skin, and hold a lot before leaking. Change baby in the middle of each feed, and more frequently if they have a sore bum. Nappy rash is caused by urine and faeces acting together to damage baby’s skin, so try not to leave them with a poopy nappy.
Tip – nappies that change colour when baby has peed were not designed to help you, they are a marketing ploy to encourage you to change the nappy more often so they can sell more …don’t fall for it

Baby Clothes/Laundry

 

  • Use ecological washing detergents, and refillable ones if you have the option.
  • Don’t change baby’s clothes as often. I’ve been to some jobs where baby’s whole outfit was changed whenever there was a tiny bit of dribble/milk but it won’t do them any harm to have slightly dirty clothes for a few hours.
  • Use bibs and muslins to keep yours and baby’s clothes cleaner longer and you can get more in a washing load.
  • If you are breastfeeding and want to avoid using plastic backed breastpads, but baby’s clothes get soaked in milk leaking from one boob whilst you are feeding from the other, try using one of the wax food cloths that are sold to replace plastic food wrap. Just place one between boob and baby.
  • Use a folded muslin under baby’s head to catch dribbles and sick when you lie them down to play or have cuddles, or in the pram or play chair. It saves you washing bedding, and if the dribble is slight, you can turn the cloth over and re use a few times before washing.

Toiletries/Bath Toys

These usually come in plastic bottles and extra packaging

  • Don’t buy bubble bath or bath oils for baby…they don’t need them.
  • Buy 1 gentle shampoo that can double up as a body wash, and buy recycled plastic if possible.
  • Buy a simple, cheap sponge bath mat to lay baby on, not a big plastic seat.
  • Use everyday household items in place of plastic bath toys e.g jugs, balled up tin foil, wooden spoon (great for banging on the side of the bath ).
  • Use one thing that has many uses, so saving money and packaging. Lansinoh Nipple Cream is great for breastfeeding, but also makes a great barrier cream for extra sore baby bums, a great long lasting lip salve (for you), and is also good for wiping in sore fat creases as baby gets gorgeously chubby, and as an overnight moisturiser for dry lips and cheeks for baby, and I’ve also used it with great success on eczema patches…one tube for 6 or 7 uses
These are just a very few simple ideas that don’t take any extra effort, and can often save money, but, when added up over time, can start to make a difference. Most of what we buy or do for babies is the result of very clever marketing and advertising that wastes the earths resources and our money . Just think about what we buy from personal or social habit…why do babies need special towels ??? Don’t be proud, share your un needed baby things with other parents, and accept their things in return. Its nice to buy baby things, but not everything needs to be brand new. As I’m getting older I’m starting to care more about what we are doing to our world, and what we are destroying before our babies ever get a chance to experience it all. I just don’t feel I have the moral right to be so wasteful and careless, when a bit of thought and effort can be so rewarding on all levels. My own personal favourite thing is a long relaxing bubble bath, and my bathroom was filled with all sorts of beautiful smelling bottles that brought me real pleasure at the end of the day… …until I realised that, apart from one, they were all plastic, as were all my various, half used shampoo and conditioner bottles. I decided to try and do my bit, and have now used up everything in plastic, and just use shampoo and conditioning bars from Lush, and luckily I didn’t have to give up my bubbles, because my favourite was Kate Humble’s Rose Bath Honey, which smells divine, and comes in a glass bottle.
I’ve found a way to make ‘my own, personal act of green’ by doing what works for me, about what matters to me, and you can do the same thing in your life, and your baby’s life.
I’ve only shared a very few tips here, just to get you thinking, but I’d love to hear any other tips, big or small, for helping to save our planet for our babies, so please share them in the comments below If you have any questions please just comment below, or come and ask in my free Facebook group that I have set up especially to help support pregnant women and new parents during the Covid emergency, Lockdown Babies

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