Sustainable Tips for a Growing Family
It was at this time of year, a few years ago, just before I became a mother, when I decided to listen to my inner voice that was telling me to - choose better! do better!
Caring for a life that was not just my own made me begin to look closely at our lives and scrutinize the products we were using daily. I examined what they contained, which materials they are made with, and how they are manufactured. Finally, I looked into their impact on our family and our environment. The exploration reached its peak in my search for baby products for our firstborn.
At the same time, I was also seeking perishable baby products for body care and nourishment or items where secondhand weren't an option. So I turned to look for longer-lasting options made of natural materials/ingredients and packaged with recycled or degradable materials.
Here are some examples of alternative or less-known baby products we used and loved.
I was introduced to the world of cloth diapering by a friend who was just starting to use them with her daughter. There is a learning curve to using cloth diapers, and it takes some practice, but after you get the hang of it, it is a truly impactful swap with many benefits for the baby and the world. It is better for the baby's skin, reduces waste and emissions from manufacturing, and is cost-effective in the long term, just to name a few. So, we practiced using cloth diapers, and when we could not maintain the care routine, we used bamboo diapers by DYPER. These disposable diapers are a better choice since they are plant-based, gentler on the baby's bottom, and quickly degradable through composting or when paired with a disposable, biodegradable bag. We also used reusable cloth wipes or Seventh Generation Baby Wipes for wiping, and we completed our baby's bottom care with a diaper balm by Earth Mamma.
Sustainable Shopping Made Simple
As a nursing mother, Marly's Monsters reusable nursing pads were a lifesaver. They are ethically handmade, safe for mommies and babies, comfortable and durable. I've been using these through nursing two babies, and they are still in excellent condition, even after endless washing cycles. Unlike disposable nursing pads, these reusable pads saved us money and lessened waste. For more on Marly's Monsters, check out my 3 Simple Steps on my Journey Back to Sustainable Living.
To clean our baby's clothes and eventually our own as well, we tried out a few laundry detergents. After some research, we found Molly's Suds Laundry Detergent, which is safe and sustainable. We also love Dropps Pods, which are plant-based. These pods are also unscented, which is vital for newborns in my eyes. This way, our clothes' scent did not clash with our natural smell, which was important for us for attachment reasons between our baby and us. We also use Earth Breeze Sheets, which are the easiest to use out of all of these options. Especially since we did not have a laundry machine in our apartment and had to carry the laundry basket full of clothes, a baby in a carrier, or in the stroller to an outside location. Adding on to that just a couple of sheets of detergent instead of a huge bottle of detergent made it a Breeze! (pun intended)
In terms of what we put in our bodies, we visit farmers' markets often for our grocery shopping. Consuming local produce, seasonal, organic food is a better choice for our growing family since it is fresher, has higher value nutrients, and has no pesticide residue. By avoiding pesticides and other harmful toxins, farmers are improving air quality and preventing water and air pollution. On top of that, these toxins are not going straight to your body when eating. It is fun to discover seasonal fruits and vegetables and to plan meals according to what you can find available at your local market. It is also a great way to support small businesses and help them flourish.
These are just a few ways that helped us feel safer and become healthier with our children's care. When you take care of someone else, it can shine a light on the care for yourself as well. To be better caregivers, we need to take better care of ourselves. So we can serve someone else with more ease and strength, with the values we cherish and hope to pass on to the next generation.
Want to find more sustainable options while shopping online? Download the askBelynda Google Chrome Extension and while you're shopping on Amazon, it will show you high-quality reliably sustainable products.
Inbar Shiryon is an artist and an educator. She draws inspiration from her everyday life and surroundings. Inbar also works with children in art and languages. She aspires to cultivate a sustainable way of living and to bring awareness of conscious choices to others by sharing information and leading by example.