5 Ways to a Sustainable Motherhood
by Katrina, founder of eco-living store Peanut and Poppet
Not another hippy-dippy, eco-warrior mum I hear you grumble. No sirree! Well, maybe a little bit…but I’m all about the 'non-judgmental, do what you can' kind of eco.
As a mother and especially as a first time mother you are overwhelmed with ‘must haves’, ‘best baby buys’, videos all about the newborn essentials… The list goes on. You’re given free packs to enjoy that contain samples of nappies and wipes or vouchers for all the big baby brands. I’m never at all surprised to hear that people didn’t know that reusable options existed. They’re not thrust in to the limelight or put in front of you throughout your pregnancy so you can’t be expected to see them as an option when you literally can’t see them.
Living life sustainably flows perfectly in to motherhood. It’s a time in your life where you throw more away and generally just use more ‘stuff’.
Motherhood is the perfect opportunity to do something for your children, their children and the many generations to follow, from whom we borrow this planet.
For many, motherhood is a turning point to sustainability.
Here are my top 5 ways to live more sustainably:
1. Don’t buy in to everything you see
Become a mother is an exciting (and daunting) experience. You want to go out and buy
everything this baby needs. But do they really need all that stuff? Not really… The first big key to sustainability is simply reduction. Reducing what you buy or what you use means that your impact is also greatly reduced.
2. Buy mindfully
We all need to buy some amount of “stuff” right? Buying mindfully is simply thinking to yourself 'do I need this?' 'Is this worth it?' 'Will it last?' 'Will this get much use?'
Taking a moment to really think about what you’re buying will reduce those 'impluse buys' of things that utlimately never get used.
3. Embrace preloved
The preloved market is huge! Call it second hand, preloved, vintage… whatever you like. Buying second hand is a great step to sustainability. If you are already a parent you will know all too well how quickly children go through clothes, they appear to have magically grown out of everything over night after barely getting much wear out of it! Likewise with toys and books...their interests change so quickly. Buying second hand is a great way to extend the use of 'nearly-new' items that would have otherwise be discarded.
4. Discover the wealth of eco swaps for pregnancy and parenting
Now this is a subject I could really get to talking about… As a cloth bum mum and owner of a
cloth nappy and eco living store I can give you SO many super simple ways that you can switch up the 'must haves' for 'eco must haves'.
I’ll narrow it down to my top 3…
1. Cloth nappies and wipes. The absolute biggest and best change I have ever made and one I will shout about from the rooftops. Disposable nappies are made from plastics, they have a huge manufacturing impact and after just 1 use they will be sent to landfill where they will sit, unchanged, for hundreds of years!
2. Cloth period pads. For your delightful (and seemingly never ending) post-partum bleed you can get super heavy cloth pads that are a million times more comfortable than
those plasticky, huge disposable pads you get in the shops. Disposable pads are another single use plastic that are so easily replaced!
3. Breast pads. You guessed it, disposable breast pads are yet another single use plastic that
create so much unnecessary waste. Opt for super comfortable reusable options instead. Simply pop them in the wash and use time and time again.
5. Think reusable and buy plastic free!
Lots and lots of things have the potential to be reusable. Coffee cups, water bottles, bags, period pads, nappies, wipes, kitchen roll, dish washing cloths and so much more. If it’s not reusable then think plastic free. If you really think about it you will find plastic has crept in to your life in more ways than you realised. When you’re packing a lip balm in your hospital bag (my must have by the way) is it a plastic twist up tube? Do you know you can buy them in cardboard packaging or metal tins? How about shampoo or soap bars instead of plastic bottles? TOYS, oh the toys! You will have them coming out of your ears soon enough but they don’t need to be plastic, there are loads of lovely wooden toys that they will enjoy just as much.
So... that’s my rather long ramblings about living a little more sustainably through parenthood.
Don’t forget, there is no 'eco perfect'! Motherhood is a long hard journey where we must be kind to ourselves, doing as much as you can is good enough!