18 Green Tips for Eco-Friendly Parenting [LIST]

Peek out from under the piles of laundry and diapers, and learn how to integrate some eco-friendly parenting into your family life.

Nov 21, 2014
Eco-friendly parenting

Eco-friendly parenting (Shutterstock)

Babies are precious little things. Cute and cuddly - yes. A million smiles an hour - definitely. Environmentally friendly? Not so much. Even the staunchest of environmental activists will find their methods challenged by the arrival of a baby - diapers, baby wipes, piles of laundry and all. And finding the time and energy to dream up eco-friendly solutions in the first period of parenting can be challenging to say the least.
Green-minded moms and dads, look no further! These tips for eco-friendly parenting will help you green up your act - whether you’re looking to make a simple change or two, or orchestrate a full overhaul of your family’s habits.

DIAPERS

Babies and diapering go hand in hand - at least for the first 18 months. With a little thought and organization, you can make the whole experience as green as can be.
1. Try cloth. While cloth diapers do still have an environmental impact - you have to wash them, after all - they don’t take up nearly as much space in landfills as their disposable brothers, and overall they work out cheaper, too.
2. Not up for the cloth route? No worries! There are plenty of eco-friendlier options that minimize your baby’s impact on the environment. The Ethical Consumer website carries a range of guides that rank baby products on their impact, and the disposable diaper list is a great place to start.

A set of modern cloth diapers

A set of modern cloth diapers (Shutterstock)

WIPES

With the diapers and cream sorted, next up in the eco-friendly parenting department is wipes and cream. Get your baby clean and fresh - just like your conscience.
3. Disposable baby wipes take a toll on the environment - and they’re filled with chemicals, too. Being conscious of your usage is the first step to making an impact - so really think about whether you need that extra wipe, and try cleaning your baby under running water instead when possible. As soon as you think about being frugal you’ll likely find that your usage drops.
4. Want to cut down more? Chop them in half! While there some situations that require a full wipe or two, most of the time a half will do just fine.
5. You can also make your own, washable wipes out of any soft fabrics you have laying around the house like old tshirts or blankets.
6. After wipes, diaper cream is likely to be the first product you put on baby’s skin - so why not make sure it’s natural and safe. With this easy recipe you can make your own - and it’ll smell good enough to eat, too.   

Mindful diapering

Mindful diapering (Shutterstock)

LAUNDRY

Babies make laundry, piles and piles of it - there’s no two ways around it. But load after load uses a lot of water - and chemicals too, depending on your detergent choice.
7. Unless it’s a onesie emergency (yes, it’s a thing!) run full loads. Most washing machines use just as much water regardless of how full they are, so maximize your load.
8. Ask yourself - is it really dirty? Of course sometimes it’s a no brainer, but be conscious of whether the baby’s clothes - or yours - could be worn again before washing.
9. Use cold water. Hot water uses a lot more energy, so choosing cold can help to save the environment and your electricity bill.

Hanging cloth diapers out to dry

Laundry day (Shutterstock)

THE GREAT OUTDOORS

While it’s easy to get stuck inside with a new baby, daunted by the thought of gathering up all the equipment to head out, there’s nothing better than a bit of family time in nature. Take the time and effort to get outdoorsy with your baby - it’s good for you and the environment, and it’s never too early to expose your little one to the wonder of the natural world.
10. Spending time outside is energy efficient - in fact, you probably won’t use any electricity at all.
11. Save money on gas by popping the baby in a stroller or carrier and walking to your local park instead of driving.
12. Take your laundry with you! Most stubborn stains on baby clothes just need a day in the sun to fade away. 

A baby plays in nature

Fun in the park (Shutterstock)

REUSE, REDUCE, RECYCLE

They say kids grow up fast - and they’re right. And as a result, they grow out of things quicker than you could possibly imagine. Channel your inner tree-hugger when choosing equipment and clothing for your baby - it might even make your decisions that little bit easier.  
13. Borrow or buy gently-used as much as possible - particularly for things that will only get used for a few short months, like bouncers and cribs.
14. Keep on track with all your usual recyclables - like bottles, boxes and paper. Even if you borrow as much as possible, there’s bound to be a box or two.
15. Accept offers of hand-me-down clothes - at least for the basics. You could even make a day of it by hosting a children’s clothing swap. 

 

Family recycling

Family recycling (Shutterstock)

FOOD

Just like adults, baby’s eating habits can have a significant impact on the environment, so put on your eco-friendly parenting hat in the kitchen. The whole family will thank you for it - along with the planet.  
16. To begin with, breastfeeding is an eco-friendly option, and it’s super healthy for your baby, too. While the feeding itself has zero environmental impact, pumping milk and storing in plastic bags contributes to landfill. To reduce waste, try freezing in glass bottles, or rotating a set of BPA-free plastic bottles from the fridge to the pump.
17. Formula feeding? If you can’t recycle the packaging, try out some fun ways to reuse it - like homemade toys for older babies, funky pot plants or using the tins for handy kitchen storage.
18. Once your baby is eating solids, cook your own food as much as possible. Not only is it the healthiest and safest option for the whole family, you’ll cut down on packaging and production cost on the environment of processed and industrialized foods.

Fresh, homemade baby food

Fresh, homemade baby food (Shutterstock)

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