Green Babies: Part Three - Reduce It - The Less Stuff, The Better
From the celebration at the baby shower on, prepare for your baby's impending arrival with relaxing baths and long walks with your partner at sunset instead of throwing yourself into unnecessary buying frenzies. Having enough of the right stuff certainly does make parenthood a lot easier and more efficient, but having way too much stuff in general usually stresses us out. It's also much more of a hassle to keep organized ... and it doesn't help the planet at all either.
At the baby shower, think about limiting the amount of gifts that you're asking for and focus on having a great time with your friends instead. Ask them, perhaps, to donate money toward the baby's college fund. By the time that fund matures, you just might have their freshman year covered!
Once the baby arrives, he or she won’t really need that much stuff when you really think about it. They will need a place to sleep, a place to eat and a way to be carried around. The stimulation that babies get from being with you is the absolute most important gift that they can receive. Never forget that! So reconsider the number of plastic toys, massive strollers and video libraries that your baby needs.
Some scary statistics are starting to come out about what those videos are doing to their little brains anyway, so let's just avoid the TV for a few years, if we can. Believe me, as a mom of a ten and eight year old, trust me when I say that there will be enough time for that down the road. Instead, BE with your baby. HOLD your baby. Opt for an umbrella stroller (one that folds up into the size of an umbrella) or use a baby sling to carry them around. I absolutely loved mine. The kind of connection and bonding that you feel from using those is about one thousand times greater than what you feel from hauling around a 30 pound contraption made of plastic and metal. Also, don't forget to use your local public library. I'm always shocked by how many more services they offer that I wasn't aware of before, every time I go in there.
For sleeping, I even had tremendous success with not even buying a crib at all. It became just as easy and convenient to use a portable playpen as their bed until my kids were old enough for regular beds. Then, when we went on trips, my babies felt comforted by having their familiar sleepy-time digs travel with us. So, not only did that save us a bunch of money and effort by not having to change out what we had just bought after that first year or two, but it made our lives easier for visiting friends and family.
Oh, and one more thing. Babies do tend to poop - a lot. The absolute greenest (albeit zaniest) idea addressing this topic today is the concept of Elimination Communication (EC). This is the technique of intently listening to your babies’ cues, which indicate when they are about to have a bowel movement. With commitment to this practice, it is said that you can potty train your child before the age of six months. It is a typical practice for parents in developing countries, where this method of handling the issue would be a necessity. This would eliminate millions of diapers from ever entering landfills every year! Google EC for more information, and check out more green diaper alternatives in Green Babies: Part Four - Disposable versus Cloth Diapers. Heck, if you search hard enough, you can even find green jewelry and allergen free, recycled 14K gold earrings for your precious little one. There are green options for everything these days!.
REDUCING the amount of STUFF that you buy for baby is one of the greenest - and cost saving - things that you can do for your baby ... And for the rest of us!
REUSE IT - Buy Used, Share and Think About Longevity
Other than car seats and mattresses, you can find almost everything that you could possibly need for Baby from friends, second-hand shops, Craigslist or Freecycle. And the great thing is that since most baby items are used for such a short time, they usually stay in excellent condition. Second-hand shops are ideal for clothing, toys, high chairs, activity stations, rocking chairs and cribs. If you do purchase new items, think about the longevity and multi-purpose nature of the item. Make sure that it is durable and made of natural materials so that you can pass it on to a friend, resell it for cash, or donate it to a charity when you are finished with it.
RECYCLE IT - Dispense of Your Waste Responsibly
When you've squeezed the last bit of usefulness out of a product, make sure that you are able to toss it into the recycle bin and not the wastebasket. This will reduce the number of dangerous, toxic, and greenhouse-gas-producing landfills that we have to live around the corner from, and keep our open spaces open, to be hiked, explored and enjoyed by our children as they get older!