When we become new parents, our lives would change in a drastic manner. In the blink of an eye, our nomadic lifestyle, traveling from place to place, just won’t do if we have a baby to care for. Our routine of going out for drinks on Friday nights will be replaced by catching up on sleep before our baby cries until we wake up. Even our tendency to work long hours won’t be ideal anymore because we need to be at home and be responsible parents.
But there’s one part of our lifestyle that certainly doesn’t need to change just because we became parents. And that’s our low-waste lifestyle. The only thing that may change is that we would transition from zero-waste to low-waste. After all, between the food and essential baby supplies, it’s almost impossible to not generate waste at all. But we can limit it. Here’s how we can do low-waste parenting the right way.
Support Local Stores
The first thing that we have to understand is that, as parents, our top priority from now on is the welfare and happiness of our children. It trumps our dedication to the environment. So when we shop for supplies for child-rearing, we won’t be able to avoid products that generate waste such as packaging. The best thing that we could do is support local stores. This way, we’re saving some of the environmental costs of manufacturing, distribution, and shipping of products.
Encourage our friends and families to buy gifts for our newborn baby from local and small businesses. Forgo the gift-wrapping. This way, our baby gets to enjoy toys, clothes, books, and other essentials that are made by locals. And because they’re specially made by locals, they’ll hold more value than mass-produced toys from big corporations.
Use Washable Diapers and Wipes
Diapers and wipes make up the bulk of the waste that comes from parenting. Babies poop about three times a day. Sometimes, it may even be more. So we could just imagine the number of diapers and wipes that end up in the diaper genie and, later, in landfills.
The best solution here is to use washable diapers and wipes. There are many stores today that sell these. They’re typically made of cotton and come in different sizes and colors. And their cute, playful designs are a huge plus! They may be more costly than disposable diapers. But the investment would go a long way because you’ll be saving yourself from the constant runs to the store for some diapers.
However, another thing that all parents must understand is that not all babies are the same. This may seem obvious but it can be tricky to keep track of. Sometimes, our baby can only use a specific brand of diapers. It’s because if they used other brands, they may get a rash. They could only wear clothing made from cotton because their sensitive skin may find other types of fabric itchy and irritating.
So when we opt for washable diapers, we have to make sure first that they’re comfortable first before we fully stop using disposable diapers.
Opt for Breastfeeding
It goes without saying that, between breastmilk and infant formula, the latter has more environmental costs. First, there’s the manufacturing process of the milk. The factories that they come from already release tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Then there are the packaging, distribution, and shipping that go along with it.
On the other hand, breast milk only comes from the mother and directly to the baby. No factories, trucks, and packaging were ever involved. So if we’re truly committed to low-waste parenting, then breastfeeding is the way to go. Fortunately for us, breast milk is also considered a much healthier option for our baby.
But, much like washable diapers and wipes, it’s important to remember that not every mother is the same. Some mothers have a hard time breastfeeding. It takes a lot of vitamins, nutrients, and energy from them. Plus, they may suffer from a lot of bleeding, blisters, and cracks.
So before we fully commit to breastfeeding, we must ensure first that we’re comfortable with it and that it’s the best option for us.
With these options, it’s clear that maintaining low-waste parenting is not at all easy. It comes with challenges and it doesn’t work for every parent and baby. But the important thing is to know that we have options in limiting our waste but still making sure that we’re all comfortable and happy. Just because we’re prioritizing our baby’s life now, it doesn’t mean we can’t prioritize Mother Nature, too.