With just a few weeks to go in my pregnancy, I’ve learned a ton. The biggest lesson is that you have to do what works for you. I’ve needed to take medication for acid reflux, naseua, and headaches. I’ve eaten snacks that aren’t zero waste. And i’m OK with all of that! It’s what needed to happen, and I do lots of other things every day to reduce my waste.
While who knows what life will look like with a newborn, I thought I’d share what I plan on doing postpartum and with a baby to reduce my waste, and then in a few months will do a follow up with what I actually do!
So here it goes, my ideas to reduce my waste and save my family money
We’re going to be cloth diapering our baby! We were really fortunate and were able to get all our cloth diapers secondhand from friends who didn’t need theirs anymore. I also would see lots on marketplace or other second-hand sites. If you do buy second-hand diapers, I would recommend stripping them. This is a good way to get rid of any build-up of detergents and to make sure that they’re really clean. Buying second-hand is also a great way to test out different types of cloth diapers.
Hand in hand with cloth diapering comes cloth wipes! I crunched some numbers, and on average babies go through 9,000 disposable wipes a year. This works out to be about $225 a year on disposable wipes. Folks say you need about 30 reusable wipes, and a pack of 30 cloth wipes from us costs $38 – that’s savings of almost $200! And after you no longer need the wipes for all sorts of things:
- face clothes
- unpaper towel
- and more!
Making your own cloth wipes is also extremely easy - you don’t even need any sewing skills! Either buy some cotton flannel from a fabric store or use flannel baby blankets (you can often find these second-hand). Cut them into 8”x8” squares and you’re good to go! Flannel doesn’t fray too much, but if you want nice clean lines you can hem them or use a serger.
Babies' skins are super sensitive, especially the genitals. It’s important not to use any products with essential oils or that are heavily fragranced to help protect them. You also don’t want to use any products that have alcohol in them, as this is really drying and will cause their skin to dry out!
Let the boiled water cool then mix all ingredients together. Use a spray bottle and spray on baby as needed or directly onto the wipe.
Reusable pads/period underwear
The postpartum bleeding is something I’m mentally preparing for. I already have quite a few pairs of period underwear and reusable pads, and invested in two pairs of the Boost Bikini from our friends at Aisle.
I was able to get by with only buying one pair of secondhand maternity jeans for my entire pregnancy. I got a lot of clothes second-hand from friends who’ve recently had babies, and also a lot of my clothes just worked for a pregnant body! My Ana and Zac was a lifesaver as it grew perfectly with my belly, and is also one of the comfiest things I own.
For postpartum clothes, I got some second-hand nursing bras and tanks from friends, but you can also find these second-hand pretty easily!
Homecooked meals and snacks
From everything I’ve heard from friends who’ve breastfed, having readily made healthy and nutritious snacks is key. Breastfeeding takes up a ton of energy, and you want to make sure you’re taking care of yourself!
To prepare for this, I’ve been making lots of energy balls, granola and muffins that i’ve frozen so I can pull them out when I need them. This does require freezer space though, so if you don’t have that, you could ask friends or family to drop off snacks each week – check out our blog post on setting up meal trains, and our free downloadable template.
Just like the wipe solution, you want to avoid heavily fragrenced products. I’ve talked to so many folks with babies, and they find that coconut oil is often the best! It’s a natural product, free from any additives! We plan on using coconut oil as a baby moisturizer and to help with any diaper rash if we need it.
All through pregnancy I’ve been using the belly butter and it’s been such a nice ritual. I’ll use either the nipple butter or coconut oil on my nipples to help avoid them drying out and getting cracked.
Breast milk storage
Our plan (and of course this may not be our reality) is to exclusively breast milk feed, but introduce a bottle so that my partner or family and friends can help with feeding. As an entrepreneur who doesn’t get time off, I think this will really help my mental health by sharing this task. As we plan on bottle feeding, we’ll need a bit of a freezer stash of milk!
I’ve started to do a lot of research on how to store milk. The single use plastic bags are what i’ve seen mostly for milk storage, but we would love to not use those. I did get a pack of the single-use bags from a friend who didn’t need them, so we will use those as why not! I also put two of these reusable Haaka storage bags on our registry so will try those as well.
I think our main method of freezing milk will be in glass jars! They’re easy to sterilize (boil them in water), and freeze well. From all the research I’ve it seems to work for folks - so stay tuned!
What are your tips for postpartum/newborn care?