We’ve both been moms for a few weeks now, and we quickly realized that a baby can create a lot of waste (even if it's tiny!!) if the right choices aren’t made right off the bat. The good news is that there are plenty of options out there to make those choices properly.
There’s no denying it; becoming a parent is a huge change in our lives. The nights are (much) shorter, and we want to enjoy every moment with our little ones, without complicating their lives. This is why we have decided to put together our top 5 essential items for eco-friendly days with your baby. They have all been tested and approved by both of us in the last weeks.
Again, we always advocate balance and respect when it comes to each and everyone’s rhythm, but don’t be intimidated by the process, these changes are easy to integrate into your everyday life and should not overload you in your already busy days!
1- Washable wipes
This was the easiest to integrate for us. By switching your disposable wipes for washable ones, you save money while eliminating all the trash.
Also, there is, unfortunately, an impressive amount of chemicals in most brands!! (Read here) These can create allergies and irritations for your little one's sensitive areas. So it's also a healthier choice to opt for washable wipes.
To clean your baby’s bum, you can use simple washcloths or cut-up pieces of sheets, or t-shirts. We personally love the Colibri wipes, which can be found in our shop, and we love them most for their softness.
You can use water or clean with liniment. Laurie likes to prepare her own by soaking them in a mixture of water and baby soap and keeping them warm in the wipe warmer (which was bought second-hand, and it’s changed everything for diaper-changes on her little one.) Stephanie use water and castile soap in a spray bottle.
Just keep them in a Wetbag near the changing station, and then machine wash them when you have enough for a load. They can also be washed at the same time as your diapers.
When travelling, just slip a few in a small waterproof bag and then put away the soiled ones in another small bag to wash back home.
* For those who are worried about messy diaper changes, you can always use a disposable wipe on the first clean up and then finish up with a washable one.
2- Wetbag / bulk bag
As mentioned before we love Wetbag bags to store our washable wipes, but also to put dirty clothes (see here: diaper explosions or sweaters soaked with spit-up ... oh the glamorous parent life!)
We always have at least two in our diaper bag for all types of accidents and unforeseen events.
The larger sizes are convenient to keep the washable diapers before they are ready for laundry and when the weather gets warmer, it’ll be great to carry bathing suits, towels and other beach items that could otherwise soak the bag.
Bulk bags also hold a special place in our hearts for their versatility. They help us separate different objects and clothes in the diaper bag but are also perfect for small drawers (a bag to store the pacifiers, another for small toys, another for a change of clothes, etc.). It is also used to carry walnuts and dried fruits to always have snacks on hands! (breastfeeding is basically a sport, and it will make you hungry, it is not a myth!)
Both types of bags wash well and are very durable. Once again, goodbye plastic bags!
3- Washable diapers
We agree that washable diapers can seem intimidating at first. To be quite honest, they were not adopted right after birth on both our parts. We wanted to give ourselves a period of adaptation to our new role as parents before embarking on this adventure.
The reality is that it is not as complicated as it looks or what your loved ones will let you believe ;)
The new generation of washable diapers is extremely convenient and are so cute!
If you do not want to invest in new diapers, you can easily find used ones on various second-hand sites. Make sure they are in good condition (elastic, fabric, velcro) and ask about the previous owners washing routine; this will have an impact on the diaper’s waterproof capacities.
Several types of diapers are available it all depends on your needs and preference (all-in-one, with inserts, etc.)
Once you have adopted them, you will go through a trial-error period (just like we did!) before really getting the hang of your laundry/washing routine (type of water, detergent, drying). But once it is down-pat, you will see that this is not more complicated and much more eco-friendly than their disposable equivalents (the amount of water used to wash them is a far-cry from than that used to make them). You can also use a small disposable slip, that will easily take on the most, so your diapers will be less dirty, but it is not mandatory at all.
We also think it’s wise to try a few of the available brands of diapers to find the right one for your child since the sizes and adjustments are not the same. There are also companies whom offer washable diapers rentals! This is a good idea if you want to try different brands before making that kind of investment.
We promise to give you a more detailed account on the washable diapers since it is such a big subject, but do not hesitate to go get information in stores, most people are quite knowledgeable and will be able to help you make an informed decision according to what it is you need. There are also many many Facebook groups for washable diaper addicts, which is also a great information resource when you have a question or a problem with your washing routine!
You should wash them every 2-3 days, depending on the number of diapers you have in your rotation (most people recommend a minimum of 25 diapers). Sure, it's an extra load of laundry, but let's be honest, you're probably already doing more washing than before! Otherwise, some companies offer a pick-up wash and drop-off service.
Here are a few statistics: a child will use an average of 4000 diapers before being potty-trained so, think of the number of diapers that won’t go into a landfill by choosing washable ones! Plus, most disposable diapers are packed with chemicals, just like wipes, that come into direct contact with the delicate skin of our babies. It is, therefore, a healthier choice for the planet and your child.
4- Bum Ointment - DIY
Super easy to make, economical and practical, this anti-irritation recipe is perfect for keeping your baby's delicate skin hydrated. It is used to treat irritation or every few diaper changes as preventive measures.
It is also compatible with washable diapers since it does not contain zinc; we use clay to achieve the same effect. On the other hand, if you need that extra layer, just add a disposable slip in your washable diaper to avoid oily deposits from the coconut oil.
It is very similar to our body butter recipe so if you have already done this DIY you already have most of the ingredients on hand.
- 1/2 cup of Shea butter
- 3 tbsp. tablespoon of coconut oil
- 3 tbsp. bentonite clay or white clay
- 1 tsp. Beeswax or Candelilla
- 5 drops of lavender EO **
- 5 drops of tea tree EO **
Melt the shea butter, beeswax and coconut oil together in a double-boiler.
Once the mixture is thoroughly melted, allow to cool in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes or until it has slightly solidified. Add the rest of the ingredients (clay, EO) to the cooled-down mixture and beat for a few minutes using a hand mixer to obtain a whipped consistency.
Transfer the whipped mixture to a clean container.
5- DIY massage oil
This massage oil is perfect for so many things! It is just as good for a relaxing massage for children after bathing but is also great for a little shoulder rub for mom and dad.
It was even used to relieve contraction pains during delivery, and after Laurie’s C-Section, she massaged her scar with it as well. We swear it’s convenient for many many things, because of it’s simple ingredients.
Simply mix the ingredients below in a bottle with a pump and use the desired amount depending on what you are using it for
Relaxation massage oil recipe
-50 ml Organic vegetable oil (almond *, apricot, coconut, calendula, etc.)
-5 drops of EO of true lavender **
-2 drops of Roman chamomile EO **
* Do not use nut oil in case of allergies
**Warning: while essential oils are a natural product, they can also be a bit dangerous. Always check with an expert before using them, and do not use with young children.