It is easy for new parents to feel a little overwhelmed and even scared at times when you consider all of the changes happening. Then to add on the concerns over environmental sustainability, and avoiding harmful toxins, what you should or shouldn't buy can be quite the maze!
I chatted with Kimberly McFerron, Pre and Post Natal Exercise and Education Specialist and she talked about her own experiences with navigating sustainability issues in pregnancy and with a newborn and comes up with plenty of great advice, everything from diaper pails to baby food. And all with the perspective that you don't need to do it all at once.
Focus on Essentials
Kimberly suggests that all you really need to do is focus on the fundaments of ensuring that women feel safe and supported during pregnancy and focus on the essentials of what a new baby needs, which is really their food, sleep and clean diapers.
So how does she accomplish this with an eye to living lighter on the earth? For her, that means cloth diapers, but to make it easier on herself, she uses disposable inserts for those cloth diapers. And, if they are travelling or spending a long day in nature, she has some disposable diapers on hand for those circumstances, and that works for her situation.
Kimberly reminds us that we don't have to be perfect, and parenting is no different, do what works for you, and focus on the basics. For the new baby you don't need to overthink what you need to buy for them, their needs are pretty simple, food, sleep, and clean clothing next to the skin.
First-time parents are all too often sold countless short-term use items that they really don't need, and that waste money but also natural resources and even worse may end up in the landfill within a few short years. So trying to find baby items - like a diaper pail that can be repurposed later and is as eco-friendly as possible is a good start.
Re-purposed and gently used items are the way to go!
Then the exchange of gently used baby items, clothing, breast pumps, and so on is a great way to find what you need, and then pass it along again to another new mom when you no longer need them. Mom's groups and online exchanges are ideal for this and also a really nice way to connect!
Kimberly suggests that new parents just consider these top 4 actions to begin, and then add more as you feel you have the time and energy. First and most importantly, be cautious about the personal care products you use on your body and on the baby, like shampoo, cream and wipes. Use an app such as "Think Dirty" to make sure that you find products that are not harmful to you, the baby or the planet.
What about home cleaners?
Next, take a look at the products that you are using to clean your home. They can have potentially harmful ingredients and making simple cleaning solutions using vinegar and baking soda is a much safer alternative. And, to help you out, I have a great free Green Clean Guide of home cleaning recipes for all of your household needs. And as Kimberly says,
"It's not as difficult as you think!"
Then she also recommends that it is also not too late to begin! If you decide that you would like to start to make changes, anytime is a good time to start, just find your trusted sources and make incremental changes that work in your life and for your family. Every step in the right direction counts!
Finally, Kimberly says, that mom guilt is real, and we don't need to add to it on the sustainability front! There is no shame in what you did or didn't do in the past! You did your best with the information and circumstances of the time. We all need to take a pass on our past actions, but allow ourselves to move forward, and now is a very good time to start!
Now, I would LOVE to hear from you about your best Green Tips for new parents. Tag me @khflourishing on Instagram.
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