So you’ve decided you’re going to have a baby. Are you struggling with where to start when it comes to baby gear? Trying to figure out what you really need (or want) can be daunting. The options are endless. If you’re like us and also strive to live with the environment in mind, then things can seem even more expensive and some times overwhelming. Although green baby gear options are definitely fewer, they can be more expensive and harder to find. We decided ahead of time where to splurge on certain items and where it was okay to be frugal. I’ve narrowed down some good tips on going green with a baby (on a budget) to help you make decisions without compromising any ideals about the environment, and to also try to save money. If you’re looking for ideas on baby essentials you really need or what to register for, check out my list of baby essentials to make things easier for you.
- Make Your Own Baby Wipe Solution and Reusable Wipes – Disposable baby wipes are a great convenience especially for bowel movements and when you’re out an about. But when you’re changing SO many diapers every day, making your own solution can really cut down costs plus it’s better on baby’s skin. You can easily make up a baby wipe solution that costs pennies to make. Pick up some reusable wipes, or you can even make your own.
- Use Natural Baby Care Products – Baby skin is SO delicate and sensitive, so it’s a good idea to spend money on natural products instead of putting on conventional baby products that contain harmful ingredients. Thankfully, there are a lot of companies making some great products at affordable prices. Some of the good brands out there with safe, natural baby product lines are Earth Mama Angel Baby, Weleda, Gaia, Burt’s Bees and the Matter Company.
- Cloth Diaper – We are big fans of cloth diapering. The options seem daunting at first but once you figure out what you really like and need, it’s a very easy way to go green while also saving a lot of money.
- Buy Used – When it comes to going green on a budget, buying used in every area of your home can help prevent you from putting a huge dent in the wallet. Items like solid wood cribs (make sure they meet current standards), clothes (especially in those first months when they’re growing so much every day) and other gear like highchairs, monitors, bottles or bouncer chairs are always in abundance on sites like kijiji or craig’s list. Many cities also have mom to mom sales, where you can pick up good quality used gear at reasonable prices. And if you’re an early riser, garage sales can be an excellent place to pick up good deals on baby items.
- Breastfeed if Possible – If you can, breastfeed. It’s convenient, always the right temperature, and requires little in the way of money. I definitely recommend investing in a good breast pump to allow yourself a bit of freedom to go out without baby once you’re both ready, as well as a good nursing bra, but those costs are minimal in comparison to the price of full-time formula. Of course I understand there are circumstances where women cannot breastfeed or it just becomes too difficult, but if it’s do-able for you, it’s a win-win situation for both and you baby.
- Use Glass Bottles – Whether you’re pumping milk to feed in a bottle or using formula, glass bottles like these Dr. Brown’s glass bottles can minimize the amount of plastic you’re using and any chemicals that went into making those plastic bottles. These natural-flow bottles are my favourite and are wonderful at preventing any gas.
- Splurge on Organic Bedding – Babies spend so much of their time sleeping (or ideally, at least!) that when it comes to mattresses, it is the one good place to splurge on a high-quality one made of natural materials. There are at least a few different companies making some great natural and organic crib mattresses. You can also continuously check online or in local ads for people selling used ones. I’ve seen my fair share in our medium-sized city alone. The same goes for bedding – getting organic crib sheets, is also a good idea.
- Look for Sales – Once you find out you’re pregnant, you can start scouring flyers or online for sales. We like to shop in the off-season, which helps me buy good quality clothing and other items at a much reduced price. Big box stores also some times have good sales and blowouts – for instance, Babies R Us often has Kushies organic sleepers on sale, as well as many other natural baby items.
- Think Simple and Natural – When it comes to toys and other items, think simply. Babies really don’t need much in the way of gear and toys. A few simple cloth or soft toys and simple wooden toys and rattles are a great starting point. You can look at garage sales, local craft shows or even Etsy for these as well.
- Make Your Own Baby Food – Once baby is old enough to start eating solids, you can make your own for a tiny fraction of the cost of buying it. Steaming or cooking and pureeing it in a blender or food processor is easy and you can make big batches and freeze them in mason jars or containers like these or these.
These ideas should help get you started. If you’re looking for more tips on going green with a baby, check out how to create an eco-friendly nursery, or find out what my favourite natural baby items are.