August 27th, 2014 | By Kate Cunningham
In my last post here on The Kind Life I talked about how Alicia’s new book The Kind Mama helped me create my own baby essentials list, cutting out the stuff that just goes to empty our wallets and produce more waste. Several of you kind lifers said you’d be interested in me sharing the list, I am really grateful for your interest and am very happy do so!
I am pregnant with our first baby, this is a new adventure for my man and I, and I am sure it will be a learn-as-we-go process, so just to say this is very much a tentative list and we may find in hindsight we’d do it all completely differently, and that’s ok. This list is based on advice from friends and family, my own extensive research, and information from Alicia’s book The Kind Mama. Pregnancy and parenting are all about following our instincts and making choices that feel right to us – this is our list, it may not be right for anyone else, but if along the way this post inspires you to find just one or more ways in which you might like to make your parenting style more environmentally-friendly, then you’ve made my day 🙂
The green baby and mum essentials
Remember you can get almost all of these items second hand through friends or the internet!
– Breastfeeding essentials: 1) a couple of maternity bras and tank tops, 2) a light cotton breastfeeding blanket for times when you might want a little privacy, 3) cloth nursing pads, 4) an electric breast pump, 5) a few BPA-free anti-colic system glass baby bottles and 6) small glass mason jars to store your milk without using plastic bags.
– Food, food, wonderful food! : Pre-prepared healthy vegan snacks and frozen meals so you don’t need to worry about cooking in those first days after baby arrives, have some healthy snacks in your hospital bag as well. The Kind Mama has a whole section full of healthy yummy recipes to inspire you, and then of course there’s The Kind Life recipe book as well that I love!
– Cloth diapers: This is the option we’re going for, from the research I’ve done I’m tempted to go with those that fasten with snaps and have more coverage than the ones with inserts. Alicia suggests some good eco-friendly brands in The Kind Mama. What are your suggestions kind lifer mums?
– Burp cloths .. a lot of them: They don’t need to be purpose-marketed or even new, you can even make these yourself easily by re-using old cotton clothing items or handkerchiefs.
– Baby clothes: The top 4 golden rules: 1) go for cotton and natural fabrics, 2) don’t get too many as you won’t need as much as you think, 3) avoid newborn sized clothes as they will often be too small from day 1 or be outgrown in no time and, last but not least, 4) second hand is best – charity shops are full of nearly new baby clothes and friends and family will be all too happy to give you their hand-me-downs!
– Baby skin products: baby wipes are not only expensive and polluting but will often give babies skin rashes because of the nasty ingredients these contain – the same goes for other baby skin products, the fewer unpronounceable ingredients the better. Alicia has some good recommendations in The Kind Mama on how to avoid and treat skin irritations using natural products and even breast milk! Once baby’s big enough for soap, Dr Broner’s Baby Mild Castille Soap is apparently a good green option.
– Baby’s pharmacy kit: 1) the baby nose cleaner, I hear the aspirator one works better than the bulb syringe one, 2) a soft ended baby thermometer, 3) a pair of small round edged nail scissors, 4) homeopathic remedies
– Getting out and about – Strollers, carriers and car seats: there are enough options out there to make anyone go insane trying to pick one! There is no single perfect answer that works for everyone’s needs so go with what feels best for you and your baby, remembering there will no doubt be a good second hand option out there for what you need. We love the idea of baby wearing, there are many carrier options out there, ideally try them out once you’re baby is born to see what works best for you and your partner. As for strollers, our main decision has been to not get overwhelmed into buying a top-of-the-range-massive-fancy-all-in-one-spaceship-like stroller, we’re not planning on taking our baby to the moon! For car seats the most important factor is safety, so if you get one second hand make absolutely sure that it’s never been in any accident before, check online that the model has not been recalled and don’t get one that’s older than about 5 years.
– Sleeping: We aim to try co-sleeping at least for the first few months. The Kind Mama is a great source of information about co-sleeping. We’d like to simply have baby in bed with us but we move around a lot and can’t be sure to always have a safe bed for co-sleeping so we’re planning to get the mini arm’s reach co-sleeper. Another good option for frequent travellers, especially those going to places with mosquitoes as we do, is the Samsonite popup bubble, for babies up to 18 months, it weighs about 5lbs and is great value for money.
There you have it, our attempt at having a kinder, less overwhelming baby essentials list, and minimising the clutter! Hopefully I haven’t forgotten anything too important, and if I have please let me know, I would love if you fellow kind lifers, especially those of you who are already parents, would share your thoughts, input and advice on what you think of this list and your tips on how to be an eco-friendly parent!
Thank you Kate!! You will find your list worked out just right. We loved using snap diapers and would place the cloth inside (we never used inserts – since the whole thing will get wet anyways.) We also didn’t stick with velcro, Bear was a Houdini and could pull it off. To help keep your little one’s bum clean without filling up landfills with wipes or their skin with chemicals, use cloth such as organic cotton or repurposed t-shirts and keep a spray bottle filled with water next to the toilet. After 3 months you can mix in mild essential oils like chamomile and lavender. One of my favorite baby carriers is the Ergo organic baby carrier. Thanks again Kate!
Photo Credit: The Sacred Bee