Pregnant or know someone that is?
When you find out, it’s elation – but then panic sets in because you immediately feel unprepared. And companies prey on that fear, making you believe that you need every little gizmo under the sun for little Junior.
Well let me tell you, while we weren’t able to go “zero waste” with Baby Sky, we did do a pretty decent job of keeping things simple, low cost, and enjoyable.
After getting Baby Sky through the first year, I want to share just the items we couldn’t have lived without. (Note: this also makes a perfect base list for a gift registry, and you can use Simple Registry to list anything under the sun, even items from eBay and Craigslist!)
Etsy hand knitted outfit for newborn pics
No need to pay the big bucks to a photo studio to capture your newborn’s precious first few days on earth. Instead get a cute little hand-knit hat or outfit and a good backdrop, and devote a good few hours to the project to capture them in all moods. Oh and because they aren’t usually wearing a diaper having a change of blankets is wise. For this photo we took a wreath off the wall and plunked our little owl inside with a sheet and pillows to support him.
Tip: Go to Etsy and search “hand knit newborn hat.”
Organic swaddle blankets
These things are indispensible for a content baby for about the first 6 months or so. Once you learn how to make a “baby burrito” with them, your baby feels secure – like he’s tucked back into the womb. Zzzzzzzzzzz. (I’d suggest getting at least 3, as they are also helpful to put atop the stroller in the sun, and to use as a cover when breastfeeding in public.)
Grovia Cloth Diaper Shells / Biodegradable Inserts
Did you know that your baby will need 6000-8000 diaper changes before they are potty trained? That’s a LOT of poopy plastic in the landfill! Plus that equates to about $3,000 spent on disposable diapers. Instead, consider cloth diapering. There are really cute and convenient options out there now – and these even have biodegradable inserts that you can throw away with a lot less guilt. After a lot of research we chose GroVia brand because of their materials, design, and cuteness. Also, they make the BEST diaper rash ointment– the Magic Stick. If you’re wondering if you can do it, check out my episode on cloth diapering tips and tricks.
Refillable Food Pouches
I admit: I fell for the fancy baby food maker, and it now sits in the storage closet while we just use a simple metal vegetable steamer (in a pot with boiling water at the bottom) and our blender. This way we can make up BIG batches and are done for the week. Now, feeding your baby with your homemade concoctions on-the-go or when at childcare is not as easy – unless you have refillable pouches, like these. They are reusable, and free of all the nasty chems like BPA. (Psst . . . did you know that the pouches from store-bought baby food are not recyclable?)
Hook on high chairs
Not only do they take up far less space than a standard high chair, but also they travel well so your baby can always have a seat at the table. There are always quite a few on Craigslist and eBay – and some have the food tray addition that you may want if your kitchen table isn’t easy to clean. (Watch as baby Sky drinks his green smoothie from his hook-on high chair!)
Hemp body wash for bath time
One of the best tips I learned was to skip all of those silly sink and bathtub plastic contraptions for bathing your baby. Give yourself the gift of bathing with your baby, and just place them on a hand towel that is draped over your legs to make sure they feel secure. Then – because this will undoubtedly be your only chance to bathe that day – give yourself some special body wash that is luxurious, all natural, and smells of amazing jasmine – and is of course safe & gentle for the baby. (Big points – not tested on bunny rabbits.)
Bamboosa hooded bamboo towel
Sure, you could use one of your towels to dry off the babe, however, these sustainable bamboo towels are really thin, yet super soft and absorbent so they can easily dry all of the tiny baby parts. Baby Sky loves to lounge in his towel after a warm bath with mommy.
Although we think babies are small, carrying them around is no small matter. You definitely want both you and baby to be super comfortable. After testing a lot of different carriers, we went with the Moby Wrap because it distributes their weight perfectly, and baby seems to feel most comfortable. Plus, it’s much easier to pack up than a stroller for that trip to the farmer’s market, and it helps develop a closer bond with your babe.
The Lassig Diaper Bag
Lassig means “cool” in German, and well, I found that there was nothing cool about most diaper bags. Not only ugly, conventional bags often contain PVC, nickel, AZO dyes, cadmium and phthalates. So we invested in the best one out there in terms of form, function, and eco-attributes. The “neckline” design we chose is made from 100% recycled polyester, and it comes with changing pad and stroller hooks. All the pockets make it easy to grab bottles, diapers, phone, etc.
Baby Furniture: Changing Table & Co-Sleeper
In the beginning you just need a changing table (or the changer top for on top of table / dresser), and a crib. Because I breast-fed, I found the Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper crib to be the best thing for all three of us (hubby, baby and me). It adjusts to the height of your bed, and hooks into the side – so during the night when it’s time to feed you just roll over and pull baby to you, and nurse while lying on your side. You will get more precious SLEEP when you do it this way, plus I fully believe that the baby needs you nearby in those early months. Bonus: it converts to a free-standing bassinet so you can use instead of a large crib when baby is still on the smaller side. Bonus: both of these items are plentiful on Craigslist.
Gently used toys and clothes
My mom threw us a “green shower” and asked all 50 of the invitees to bring a recycled gift. Let me tell you – I had so much fun hearing people’s stories them discovering how awesome the local children’s consignment store is, or how much great stuff is found on Craigslist and even in their own storage closets. The best thing about the event (besides the time with friends and family) is that quite a few people had that “aha moment:” that you don’t need to buy new for most things. And avoiding buying new is one of the very best things we can do for ma’ earth – and your wallet. With toys and baby clothes, babies go through them both so quickly, and there is such an abundance of gently used items out there, so why not use what’s already there, for a fraction of the price?