When you’re pregnant, everyone wants to tell you about the great expense of having a baby, but it’s not until you’re in it that you discover the great waste of having a baby. If, pre-baby, you pride yourself on your composting habit, a half-empty bin come garbage day and always remembering your reusable coffee cup, then frankly, the “baby rubbish” will make you feel ill. But it doesn’t have to. Consciously shopping for your baby is the answer — for the environment and your peace of mind. Opting for ethically-made products, quality big ticket items that will last, reusable essentials and most importantly, only buying what you need, will not only stop your carbon footprint from blowing up, but it will also save you money. These are the guidelines by which the memo is curated — think of us as a shopping safe-space — but so you can carry this ethos with all your purchases, here’s our guide to shopping consciously with your new addition.
Less is more
Babies need a lot of stuff, for sure, but they don’t need everything . . . and not in every colour. Of the items you know you’re going to need, and use a lot, it’s better to buy one quality version, rather than several cheaper ones. Prams and car seats, definitely, but also baby carriers, high chairs, cots and baths. Investing in products that will last also means they can be reused for more babies down the track — yours, a friend’s or through donation to a parent who needs it most.
Shop as you need
Some babies will be in 0000 for two weeks, some six and some will go straight to 000. Drawers full of clothes your baby never wears will bring you no joy (what would Marie Kondo say?!) and while it’s great to be prepared, being able to shop online and have what you need delivered in a few days means you don’t have to “nest” in the way your own parents may have. Buying as you need is a huge saver.
Ask for it
Friends and family can be endlessly generous with a new baby. There is so much to be thankful for, but being given five sets of cot sheets that don’t match your colour scheme, or seven muslin wraps when you plan to use sleep bags, is just wasteful. Creating an easily accessible list of what you will use for the baby is not. It’s exactly why we created the memo registry.
Most millennials were wrapped in cloth nappies as babes, but as adults, the idea of it seems like way too much work. The truth is that modern cloth nappies are much easier, and don’t require a large, pastel-topped safety pin. BabyBeeHinds designs are multi-sized (so one nappy can last them from 3kgs right up to the time of toilet training) and use velcro or press studs making them as easy to put on as disposable nappies. We recommend testing the waters with a reusable BabyBeeHinds Swim Nappy, they are so easy to use and will save you a small fortune in waterproof disposable nappies in beach season. When you’re ready, 24 nappies is the recommended amount if you want to use them exclusively, but even just one, used a few times a week, is a few less nappies sent to landfill. Similarly, reusable breast pads eliminate a whole heap of plastic waste, especially if you need to use them consistently.
When you do need disposable
No one is expecting you to save the planet the moment you take your newborn home. Baby steps (literally). You will need disposable options, especially in those first few weeks, so opt for a brand that endeavours to make the least impact on the planet. TOMS nappies, wipes and maternity postpartum pads are sustainably made, hypoallergenic and 100 percent biodegradable. Not to mention, the maternity pads are so often recommended, they almost have a cult following.
The word gets used a lot, but clothes, toys and bedding made from “organic” materials means that their production supports the natural ecosystem, rather than disrupting it. It’s recommended that baby clothes be made of cotton. Organic cotton is grown without the use of dangerous toxins like pesticides or Genetically Modified Organisms which are harmful to not only the Earth, but also workers and consumers — which in this case, is your baby. Organic fabrics are usually more durable and of higher quality, so they last longer, wash better and are more gentle on sensitive baby skin.
Conserving water, means using less energy now and saving water for the future. Bathing your babe two or three times a week is enough to keep them clean, but if your baby enjoys bathing you might want to do it once a day. Baby bath water is easy to reuse because they don't use soap and if you’re using a baby bath, it’s already in what’s essentially a bucket! Once bub is done, use it to water your plants or garden. With a baby your washing load will definitely increase. Some days your baby might go through five outfits, but this is definitely more of maximum norm than a goal. Don’t feel like you have to change them multiple times a day, if they stay fresh and clean in one outfit all day that’s great for you, for baby and the environment. Plus, once they start on solids, avoiding mess is impossible, so don’t be afraid to leave a little food mess on them.
When it comes to toys, you can really apply anti-throwaway consumerism. With babies, the world really is their playground. You are your baby’s favourite play thing, which is why we’re such fans of the Happy Little People Card Deck. It suggests ways to play with your baby at every stage of their first 12 months. No special equipment needed, just stuff you’ll already have around the house — your kid is going to get as much enjoyment out of your Tupperware as a toy drum. When you do buy toys, ensure they will last and are ideally made from natural and organic fibres because they’ll definitely be going in your baby’s mouth. Finally, if you aren’t going to want your baby boy to play with something bright pink, opt for gender neutral toys that can be more easily used again, and pass toys onto friends once your baby grows out of them or donate them to a charity or toy library.