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The modern way of having a child is possibly the most wasteful endeavor next to owning an SUV. All of a sudden, having a child is the quickest excuse to use things that are disposable: diapers, wipes, utensils, napkins. Second step is to cover everything up in petroleum; everything from your child’s bum to the bed he sleeps in are made out of oil byproducts. At birthday parties we’re fearful of both breaking plates and washing plates, so we go with either paper or plastic that gets “cleaned up” by being throw into a big black plastic bag.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Let’s start a list, then go from the very beginning.

  • Breastfeed until the baby’s at least 12 months
  • Cloth diaper
  • Wear your baby
  • Buy clothes used, and freecycle his still new used clothes
  • Go with wooden, toxin free toys
  • Give your baby homemade food
  • Throw reasonable parties

Put your baby in cloth diapers. I can tell you first hand that it really isn’t that difficult, and it isn’t really that bad. Cloth diapers have came a long way; the old “flat” diapers are long gone, replaced by the prefolds, fitteds, all-in-ones, and pocket diapers. Prefolds are versatile and secured by little rubber reusable “Snappi”s and covered all by a nice snug water-proof cover, and fitteds are sewn so that they fit like a disposable diaper. All-in-ones comes with snaps or velcro-like Aplix as enclosures, and they go on and off like a disposable. Pocket diapers are the most convenient of all, with a “pocket” for extra layers, and comes apart for quicker drying. Cotton wipes are widely available as well (easily made from old receiving blankets too), and everything is reusable.

Family Guy’s Stewie – cloth diapered and breastfed baby

You know those icky blowouts that babies get? Little Curtis never got one in a cloth diaper. Cotton does a great job of holding the yucky stuff in. Besides, if you had a choice, what would you want to wear on your bum? Scratchy paper or soft cotton flannel?

Got cloth?

Instead of going with an expensive stroller made of metal and plastic, consider a cotton sling. I use one from Heart 2 Heart, a Canadian company. I bought mined used and it has already slung two children, both up until 12 months. It’s very well-constructed, doesn’t fade with successive washes, and Curtis loves it. The weight is distributed evenly across the back, the shoulder as well as the edges are all padded. Curtis is now just over 25 lbs, and I carry him everywhere.

The happily slung baby

Once your baby is old enough to play with toys, it’s time to make some major decisions. First, make plain your parenting choices to the people around you so you won’t get a collection of plastic toys as gifts. If there will be toys, they must be made of natural, renewable materials and lead-free. You can also make your own toys out of things around the house; Curtis’ favorite toy is an old water bottle with the label peeled off. Fill it with some colored water or rice and you’d have color learning toys on your hands.

Visit the local supermarket and you’re sure to find jars upon jars of baby food. Everything from veggies, fruits, to meat is represented. Have you ever tasted the stuff? It’s disgusting. A much healthier, cheaper, and convenient option is to make it yourself. Get an ice cube tray with a cover and you’re in business. Take steamed veggies, push through a sieve, freeze. $1 worth of carrots becomes 12 little meals. Get a mesh-feeder and your little tot can feed himself. At teething time, I give the food to him frozen, and the cold relieves the pain a little too.

Freecyle is a great tool for used baby stuff. When your baby’s done with his clothes, just pass them on to the next baby who needs them. There are great baby sections at Goodwill, Salvation Army as well as Value Village.

Best of all, the green approach to having a baby is also the cheaper approach to having a baby. The more you reuse, the less money you’d end up spending. The green approach is also contagious – if you cloth diaper and wear your baby, it’s an obvious visual choice that sets an example. I’ve converted many people to my babywearing ways. Check out the happy green baby!

Who’s got style?

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