9 Baby Products You Should Swap For Eco-Friendly Options
Saving the environment might not exactly be the first thing that comes to mind during a 3:00 a.m. feeding session. But as life goes on with you and your baby, you might notice there’s a whole lot of waste produced by this tiny human (and we’re not talking poopy diapers here). You might also start rethinking the things you so desperately wanted on your baby shower registry that'll eventually make their way to a landfill. In fact, there are some baby products you should replace for eco-friendly options instead.
And if you thought that your green preferences only impacted the environment, think again. Adopting a more sustainably-minded attitude means that you’ll reduce your baby’s exposure to things like lead, phthalates, and other chemicals that you really don’t want to come into contact with your kiddo. “I find when someone is about to become a new parent, they have an ‘a-ha’ moment and realize the whole world around us isn't just for them, but it's really to nurture and support a new life that's coming to the planet,” Danny Seo, a sustainable living expert and editor-in-chief of Naturally, Danny Seo magazine tells Romper. “Caring for the health of the planet equals caring the health of a baby, especially since a baby's immune system is vulnerable.”
As you peruse the baby products in your child’s nursery, think of which ones could be swapped out for something that is sustainably made and overall safer for your baby — and the environment. Mother Nature will thank you.
If you thought that pacifiers were a one-size-fits-all deal, think again. Pacifiers made from pure rubber are better for the environment (and your baby) because they are an all-natural material. And since the tree remains untouched — only the sap is collected to create the rubber — it’s a more sustainable way of pacifying your little cutie patootie.
Although you could use cloth diapers to cover up your baby’s tush, there are other alternatives that don't involve so much manual labor. Ditch the plastic disposables and opt for organic diapers (like these from Babyganics) instead. You can find plenty of diapers that are made from bio-based and plant materials that will be better for the environment. Check your labels to see if you can find some that are compostable, free of allergens, and other harmful chemicals. But being better for the environment can come at a price — to your wallet. Expect to shell out a few more bucks for this eco-friendly option.
3. Baby Lotion
Nothing can beat that newborn smell, but more often than not, that scent is often enhanced by the lotion that you’re slathering on your baby. Luckily, baby lotion has also become more environmentally friendly, with big brands producing creams (like The Honest Co. Face + Body Lotion), which is made from organic oils and is also vegan.
4. Baby Wipes
Baby wipes are a mom’s BFF. You probably use them not just for diaper changes, but rubbing down store shopping carts, counter tops, and everything in between. So if you start calculating how many wipes wind up in a landfill, you’ll need a better-for-the-earth alternative. Try this DIY recipe: Cut up onesies that your baby has outgrown, and then mix this solution together: 3 parts distilled water, 10 drops of castile soap, 3 parts white vinegar, and 1 1/2 parts rubbing alcohol. Shake it up, add the pieces of clothing, squeeze the excess liquid, and wipe. Toss the wipes in the washing machine to reuse.
Since your baby’s skin is so utterly kissable (but incredibly sensitive, too), you should avoid using harsh detergents that could become an irritant. A plant-based or chemical-free detergent (like Seventh Generation Baby Laundry Detergent) is non-toxic and hypoallergenic.
If you’re looking for an eco-friendly option for feeding your baby, glass is the way to go. While it might seem totally unsafe (hello, it’s glass, after all), glass bottles don’t contain the chemicals that plastic bottles have, like BPA and phthalates. And unlike their plastic counterparts, glass bottles won’t fade or smell funky over time, according to What To Expect.
7. Water Filtration System
Okay, so this is more than just a baby supply product. But one of the most important things you can focus on is having clean water for those times when you need to prep a bottle fast, and regular filtration systems aren’t always the best option. “They just take away odor, remove chlorine and/or lead,” says Seo. “But what it doesn't remove are things like trace chemicals from pharmaceutical drugs and other things that can seriously harm your family.” Seo recommends the Pentair Everpure Drinking Water Filter System, which installs under your kitchen sink and is the same commercial grade filtration system used by hospitals, hotels and food service companies. It’s cleaner to drink — and healthier for everyone in your household.
Sure, it might not be so simple (or economical) to swap out a crib, but if you haven’t purchased one yet, you should look for a more eco-friendly option. Start by searching for cribs that are made from sustainable woods, and also are lead and phthalate-free. That way your child (and you) will have sweeter dreams knowing that your baby is safe in a non-toxic crib. The above crib from Babyletto is made with sustainable New Zealand pine wood and is Greenguard Gold Certified (screened for 360 VOCs and over 10,000 chemicals).
There’s no denying that baby clothing is cute, but wouldn’t that 3-6 month size romper be even more adorable if you knew that it was sustainably made as well? When it comes to your child’s OOTD, make sure that it’s made by a company that is certified by The Global Organic Textile Standard. They monitor companies to ensure that their products are not just eco-friendly, but manufactured under humane working conditions. It’ll keep your baby’s skin soft and smooth — and away from icky stuff like chemicals and pesticides. (The ridiculously adorable onesie above is made with 95% organic cotton.)
Danny Seo, sustainable living expert and editor-in-chief of "Naturally, Danny Seo"