One: Ditch Plastic Diapers
The very first diaper ever used is still sitting in a landfill somewhere in nearly the same condition as it was when it was thrown away. How crazy is that? It's not known how long it takes a disposable diaper to decompose, but it’s in the range of 250 to 500 years.
Disposable diapers also contain synthetic chemicals and dyes that are hard on a baby’s sensitive skin. Given all of this, cloth diapers seem like a no-brainer.
What about the extra work? With a new baby and two hours of sleep, adding more things to your to-do list sounds crazy. I get it. However, cloth diapering is easier than you think and provides a lot of peace-of-mind.
According to Stats Canada, in 2016 there were 1.9 million diaper-aged children in Canada. That equates to 2.4 million individual diapers entering Canadian landfills per year, amounting to more than 3.7 billion tons of waste. That number increases annually by about 2%.
There are a lot of different options, and it can be overwhelming to find what’s right for you and your baby. For my first baby, I mostly used all-in-one diapers (AIO) which are most like disposable diapers. AIO made it easy for my baby's grandparents to get onboard.
I did find that AIO took a long time to dry, so this time around (Yup I'm pregnant again!) I plan on using covers and pre-folds. I used a few with my first baby and they were my favorite cloth diapers. I also love the idea that I'll be able to repurpose the pre-fold cloths once I am done with diapers (they make great rags).
Two: Borrow, Rent or Buy Second Hand
Let’s face it, having babies is contagious. According to WebMD, when one woman has a baby, her friends are more likely to intentionally get pregnant within the next two years. So, your best friend probably already has that amazing bassinet collecting dust in storage and would love to lend it to you for the short time you'll need it.
Breast pumps, cloth diapers, and even maternity clothes can be rented. Facebook Marketplace is a great place to find used items in your community, and don’t forget swap meet events and consignment stores.
Three: Make Your Own Natural Baby Products
Many baby shampoos and soaps have some of the worst chemical ratings. A baby’s new skin absorbs everything we put on it, so natural options are important. Natural baby products are available but the cheapest and best option for zero-waste are homemade natural products. Making soaps, lotions, and body butters has become a fun hobby for me!Here are some of my favorite natural product recipes:
- Baby Wipe Solution to be used with homemade baby wipes.
- Body Butter to be used on pregnant bellies and baby bums.
- HappyCheeks Cloth Diaper Service
- Lagoon Baby has great information about getting started with cloth diapers.
- Modern Mom's Guide to Cloth Diapering
- Vancouver Diaper Circle Facebook Page
Here's to raising the first zero-waste generation in Vancouver.
A Tradle Mommy Guest Post
Jahzel Misner is a Vancouver Mom of one and expecting a new baby in the New Year. She is on the quest to reduce her family’s footprint so that her children and their children can enjoy nature in the same way we do today.