When I was pregnant with my first child, I thought I had a good idea of what babies needed until I went to a baby superstore for the first time.
Suddenly, I was faced with a ridiculous number of options and every product was marketed to seem like it was the MUST HAVE item that no parent should be without. Any possible issue that a new mom might encounter had a handy product solution that would make life SO! MUCH! BETTER!
I’m embarrassed to admit I fell for all of it…hook, line and Diaper Genie. I just didn’t know any better and frankly, being green wasn’t even on my radar back then. Fortunately, it didn’t take long for me to realize how un-green my baby’s world was but not before I made a more than a few mistakes and wasted a lot of money.
Learn from my experience and don’t bother with these baby items. You can use the money you will save to get baby gear that is safer and more eco-friendly!
Bassinet: There really isn’t a more useless baby item. You might use one of these for a few months at best and then it’s just this big thing taking up space. Our house had small steps up and down into the living room so we couldn’t even move it into different areas of the house with any degree of ease. After, much frustration, I ended up getting a Moses basket from a friend. It was far more portable than a bassinet and a much greener, more natural option. Once I started using it, I promptly dropped the bassinet off at the local baby consignment shop and never looked back.
Baby Shoes: If your baby doesn’t walk, why does she/he need shoes? It’s kind of silly, isn’t it? And contrary to the older generation’s belief that shoes were a necessity for fledgling walkers, doctors now recommend otherwise:
Lynn T, Staheli, MD, director of Orthopedics at Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, Seattle, states “Shoeless populations have fewer foot problems than their shoe counterparts. Babies who are just learning to walk should go barefoot, whenever possible, to maximize their balance and stability”.
If you don’t like the look of bare feet or plain socks, get some of these cute socks that look like shoes.
Fancy Baby Blankets: Babies shouldn’t sleep with blankets because they pose a smothering danger and the best blankets for swaddling are not the fluffy, fancy kind anyway so feel free to skip those altogether and get some organic cotton swaddling blankets instead.
Diaper Genie: This is a specialty garbage pail for disposing of diapers and uses special plastic bag refills that you need to buy over and over and over. If you choose to use disposable diapers, the greenest solution is to toss your dirty diapers into an outside trash can or if that’s not possible, a lidded trash can lined with a biodegradable and/or compostable trash bag that you can empty each day to keep the stinky diaper smell to a minimum. If you really can’t deal with any odor, use individual bags. Trust me, after you’ve run out of Diaper Genie bag refills and have to start buying them regularly, you’ll realize what a racket it is. Also? it’s hard to consign or pass on a used diaper contraption to someone else. Nobody wants them—believe me, I tried.
Special Baby Detergent: Standard laundry detergents contain a lot of chemicals and unhealthy chemical-based fragrances so those are not a good choice for washing baby’s clothing and linens but if you already use a biodegradable, fragrance and dye-free, hypoallergenic detergent like Seventh Generation, for example, you don’t need to buy a special detergent just for your baby’s laundry—they are overpriced and typically still not as good a choice for babies as an eco-friendly detergent.
Baby Wipe Warmer: I can see how someone might be swayed to get one of these but I can honestly tell you that neither of my babies ever freaked out over a cold wipe. Never. But on the off chance that you’re not totally convinced, you can always roll a wipe around in your clean hands to warm it up first. Really :)
Continue being eco-friendly after your baby outgrows the things you do buy and donate gently-used items to a domestic abuse shelter where baby gear is always needed. ADDED BONUS: Your charitable donations are tax-deductible! Keep that in mind when you file your income taxes next year!
Have some great alternatives to unnecessary baby items? Share them in the comments!
Check out my post on how to set up a green nursery on a budget!
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