There you have it! We’re expecting our first child this month! Having begun this sustainable lifestyle journey just over a year ago, this opens up a whole new category of sustainable products to explore.
There are a few things that I’ve started already, but I’d love to hear if you have even more suggestions for this period of life that often involves a lot of stuff—stuff that is used for very short amounts of time.
Here are some of the decisions that I’ve made to make less of an impact and produce less waste.
1. DIY skincare products.
Part of being pregnant is finding out what chemicals to avoid in your skin care. After researching various products that I could purchase and asking on various sites for plastic-free options, I discovered that many of them were quite expensive and came in small plastic containers. So I decided just to make my own.
“Belly butters” can be really expensive, but they don’t have to be. Check out my recipe and directions here.
Instead of diaper cream, use a natural oil or butter.
My aunt also sent a recipe for DIY baby wipes.
All of these things can be prepped ahead of time so you’re all ready when your kiddo arrives.
2. Buy a few key pieces of maternity clothes.
Buying new clothes is always a fun thing (for me anyway) but when it comes to buying some clothes that I will only wear for 4-6 months of my life, it seems quite pointless. At 7 months pregnant, it became uncomfortable to zip my pants. I purchased two belly bands, one black and one white that can be worn on top of your regular pants to cover up the fact that they don’t zip up anymore. I also invested in some over-the-bump yoga pants, but even those aren’t that necessary. I find my regular yoga pants more comfortable.
Dresses are also an easy piece of clothing to add to your wardrobe. There are a number of dresses that are loose enough to cover your bump comfortably but also are not made specifically as maternity clothing so they can be worn post bump as well.
I also found a few pieces of maternity clothing for free, so check the free item groups for some more if needed.
3. Research what you actually need for the baby.
Now, I haven’t had the baby yet, so I can’t tell you what things you actually need from experience, but I can tell you that there is an insane amount of awesome-looking gadgets and gizmos that I am sure are not necessary for raising a child. From what I understand, it is quite easy to spend a bunch of money on items that your child might not even like! (This I understand, because we have cats.)
For those who are fellow pinteresters, there are plenty of articles written about what are the best, most useful items to invest in. Articles written about minimalist baby rooms are also helpful. As of now, I already feel like we have too many things and we haven’t even had a baby shower or a baby yet!
The other thing I’ve noticed is that there are a multitude of baby products being given or sold cheaply online due to the limited time that most of these items are needed. So, if you didn’t buy a particular item before the baby arrives and want to try it out, they are easy to get your hands on.
4. Buy or rent (almost) everything secondhand.
Babies grow quickly so many items will not be used for long. I purchased/received the majority of our baby supplies from friends. Some of them are only minimally used and still in great condition! Facebook Marketplace or whatever online secondhand shops exist in your area (Craigslist, Skelbiu, etc.) are another great place to look for larger items like strollers, cribs, etc. I also discovered a mother’s fair here in Vilnius that happens twice a year, so see if there may be similar events in your area.
Various personal hygiene products such as breast pumps and safety items such as car seats are best bought new in order to ensure complete safety for your newborn. Clothes, cribs, changing tables, toys, books, rocking chairs, etc can be obtained secondhand for a fraction of the price.
While I don’t have experience (yet) with renting items, I know that it is possible. For example, say you want a smaller stroller for a weekend trip. Rather than buying one, you can rent one just for the days you need it. This also could be a great way to try out products before you invest in them. One of the rental sites I’ve discovered in Lithuania is https://www.dalinuosi.lt/
5. Choose plastic free!
Toys, diapers, bottles, clothes, cosmetic products, almost everything you and your baby use is made with plastic. While it may take a bit more time and research, you can find most of these items without plastic. People have been giving birth for all of time and survived without plastic so it must be possible!
For example, there are wooden toys, reusable diapers, and natural fiber clothes. That being said, these items can unfortunately be harder to find and more expensive to purchase. It can take time and some patience to find them if you don’t have the budget to buy them new. Realistically, no one has a completely plastic free home either.
If you can’t find them, don’t worry! None of us is perfect at this sustainable, zero-waste lifestyle. There are various combinations of R words that can help to evaluate purchases. I’ve made my own to show my personal thinking process when buying something: