• Anita Vandyke

Top Tips for Zero Waste Parenthood

Many of you know that I am currently pregnant and about to embark on my biggest journey yet... motherhood. I don't pretend to be an expert on being a Mum, let alone, a zero waste Mum, so I reached out to my Instagram family for YOUR tips! Here are the top tips with commentary from my followers (I went through 100+ comments to get these gems):

1. Cloth nappies (diapers) are a must

  • Cloth nappies are the best these days with their easy to use washable liners!

  • Use a wet bag to store old diapers!

  • Learn about elimination communication (EC) - you can use significantly fewer diapers because early toilet training prevents the use of diapers, so you do much less washing.

  • Get a portable changing mat - there are heaps of cute wipeable, reusable options out there or just DIY your own with recycled materials or buy one secondhand!

2. Make secondhand your first choice

  • Trawl gumtree for bulk lots of secondhand kids clothes. They outgrow clothes so much faster than they wear them out and you get a whole wardrobe for the correct season.

  • Op shops have AMAZING and often brand new baby clothes and accessories.

  • Garage sales are absolutely full of baby gear in great condition for next to nothing, especially in the suburbs.

  • Borrow or buy clothes from family and friends - get clothes from friends that have kids that grew out of them.

  • Second hand everything (except car seats and cribs because safety standards change regularly - safety first!)

  • Go slow and buy what you need as ethically as possible.

3. Make your own cloth wipes

  • Suggestion from France - In France we use a nappy cream called “liniment” made of olive oil and lime water that you can make yourself and store in a glass pump bottle. You can use this on cotton squares (or reusable ones) instead of baby wipes!

  • Make your own fabric wipes - used flannel sheets can be cut up or cut your own wipes out of flannel swaddling blankets.

4. Use almond oil as a moisturiser

  • In the first year a baby only needs water to be cleaned, maybe a few drops of almond oil if you feel like!

  • You can also use coconut oil instead of nappy rash cream!

5. Make your own baby food

  • Use a high speed blender to make your own organic, plastic-free baby food.

  • Freeze the food in baby portions for easy access.

  • Don't forget to freeze some meals for yourself as well!

6. Breastfeed (if possible)

  • Take breastfeeding classes - arm yourself with knowledge and where to get help, to give you the best chance at succeeding.

  • Buy reusable bamboo breast pads! Cloth nursing pads and postpartum pads are amazing.

  • Breastmilk can be stored 4oz glass jars in the freezer. @masonbottle has a nipple that fits right onto the jar (I also have the silicone jar covers from them - easier for baby to hold).

  • Use a milk catcher (Milkies milksaver) to make sure no breast milk went to waste. You can save over 200 ounces in the first couple of months by doing this.

  • If you need a baby bottle and can’t find a good pre loved one, get one from @baby_quoddle_ - it’s glass and organic and the packaging is biodegradable

  • Invest in good quality nursing bras

7. Embrace the toy library or make your own toys

  • Join the local toy library (in NSW, Australia it is run by Playgroup NSW)- kids get over toys so quickly, and it's really easy to accumulate so much stuff, the toy library is a great solution. It's ridiculously cheap too, $2 for a fortnight to borrow something.

  • If you are buying toys, choose locally made wooden toys with water based paints.

  • Babies are happy to play with what’s around the house or found in nature - make a sensory basket with twigs, natural sea sponge, pinecones, toilet paper tubes, egg cartons.

8. All you need is love

  • Babies just need love sounds corny however, they thrive when they were hugged, loved & fed... all the “stuff” didn’t matter to them!

  • Don’t be very strict or overcritical with yourself and your zero waste life - we are all just doing the best we can!

Aren't they the best tips? Thank you so much to my Instagram family!

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