Eco-Friendly Baby Essentials

eco-friendly baby essentials

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So, I finally let the cat out of the bag yesterday on Instagram – I’m pregnant with our second child!  Our baby is due early January and we are all over the moon – especially my daughter who is thrilled to be getting a sibling!

As I’m more than half way through my pregnancy, I’ve been thinking about what things we need to stock up on in advance of our little one’s arrival, and thought I’d put together my list of eco-friendly baby essentials for any new parents or parents-to-be.

To be honest, and completely contrary to all the new baby literature out there, I’d say there are very few things for babies that I’d class as essential.  Certainly from my experience first time around anyway. So I’m hoping you’ll be pleasantly surprised by my eco-friendly baby essentials selection:

Eco-Friendly Baby Essentials

environmentally friendly baby essentials

Bumgenius washable nappies – I used these for two years on my daughter and I have to say I think they are the very best reusable nappies out there, and very much eco-friendly baby essentials!  I’m digging out our old ones and mending a couple that need a little bit of attention.

We have about 16 nappies and found that was more than sufficient.  I initially spent around £180 on them, but they probably saved us at the very least two hundred pounds or so first time around, and now that we’ll be using them again second time around we’ll probably have saved at least £600 (very rough bottom end estimate), which is amazing.  I managed to convert a few friends to Bumgenius, who now sing the praises of them!  Top tip – go for the popper fastening ones rather than velcro, as poppers are more durable.

ps: I put together a guide on how to use washable nappies early on in the life of the blog that you might find useful.

Tots Bots nappy liners – I found these fit Bumgenius nappies the best, and you can just put them straight down the toilet.  No touching of poo required!

Washable baby wipes – I didn’t use reusable baby wipes the first time around as I didn’t know such things existed but now that I do I have just bought a set from Cheeky Wipes, and I’m looking forward to using them on baby number 2!  I picked up a mini set as I already have a nappy bucket, etc, and later I’ll buy another set just for hands and face for the messy weaning stage.  I paid £25 for my set of wipes, which will easily pay for itself in a few months – baby wipes are surprisingly expensive and you go through a pack quicker than you think!

Lansinoh Cream* – ok, not specifically for babies, but for new mums who are breastfeeding this stuff is a lifesaver in a tube as what midwives don’t tell you is that breastfeeding to begin with hurts.  A lot.  At £7.49 it’s quite pricey (one of the cheapest places I can track it down is John Lewis) but it lasts forever and I cannot extol the virtues of this stuff enough!  It is a lanolin based product though, so it’s not vegan friendly.  If you are vegan I have heard that some mums recommend coconut oil on their nipples but I haven’t tried this so can’t comment on its effectiveness.

Coconut Oil* – this stuff, in combination with some nappy free time, is brilliant at clearing up nappy rash.  Rather than carrying around a heavy jar I like to scoop some into a small jar and carry that around instead.  It’s a bit more hygienic as well!

Ergo Baby Carrier* – my parents bought us an Ergo when we had our daughter and it was hands down one of the most practical and well used items we owned.  Living car free, it was brilliant for going on the bus (no worrying if there was going to be space for a pram, or having to fold down the pram if not), and also invaluable on those oh-so frequent days when your baby does not want to be put down.  We used ours on a daily basis up until my daughter was two (although you can use it up to age four on your back) and I have a feeling the Ergo is going to be a lifesaver second time around!

Aside from somewhere to sleep, some blankets, some muslin cloths for dealing with spit-up, some clothes to wear and some bottles and teats if you’re planning on bottle feeding, then to be honest I really feel these are the only eco-friendly baby essentials you’ll really need.

For other items eBay* is brilliant for shopping secondhand – particularly for bundles of clothing and secondhand equipment such as a pram/buggy, cot/crib, etc.  See also Gumtree and Preloved* for local bargains, as well as local charity shops.

Unnecessary Baby Items

As well as sharing my eco-friendly baby essentials I thought I’d share the baby things I found to be utterly unnecessary:

  • Baby walkers/jumpers – unless you have a big living room with a solid un-carpeted floor then I’d avoid at all costs.  If you do want to buy one then they’re so easy to pick up second hand as they only get used for such a short amount of time.
  • Baby shoes – until babies start walking I don’t really see the point of shoes.  You just end up putting them back on about twenty times a day!  I stick with warm socks.
  • Specialist bath products – we didn’t need separate bubble baths, body washes or shampoos – I just used an all in one bath/hair/body wash (like this Green People one*) and a flannel.
  • Talcum powder – as a child I have strong memories of being slathered in the stuff after a bath, but our midwife warned us against talcum powder as there are links to increased cancer risks.
  • Changing table – you don’t need anywhere special to change a baby.  We used a changing pad on top of an existing chest of drawers.  When your child has progressed to using the toilet you’ve still got a functional piece of furniture!
  • Newborn clothing – my daughter was nearly 9 lbs at birth, so fitted into newborn clothing for precisely 7 days!
  • 0-3 month clothing – we got bought so much of it we didn’t need to buy any!
  • Most toys – babies don’t show any real interest in toys until about 6 months plus, and even then they are more interested in the things around about them – a wooden spoon and a saucepan can provide hours of entertainment!  Plus you will get bought so many toys that you don’t need to go crazy in the toy shop!

Have I missed any eco-friendly baby essentials?  Anything you’d add to the list?  And is there anything you’d advise new parents against buying?  As always do let me know in the comments below!

11 comments

  1. Congratulations! I agree with everything you included:) I like Dr Bronners soap for really messy babies but usually just use water. I love Cheeky wipes hope you do too. I take a little wet bag out with some in it when we venture outside. I breastfed my three babes but they occasionally got an expressed bottle and we used glass bottles.

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  2. So excited for you! Can’t wait to see a pic of your little bubba. My number two was born January this year- I can’t believe how quicly the time goes!

    I make resuable fabric wipes with my husband’s old t-shirts. The old cotton is lovely and soft- a perfect sustainable alternative to disposable wipes and practically free.

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  3. Wendy!!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!! So excited for you!

    As for baby stuff, yep, I nodded through all this especially the changing unit (WHY?! We use the dining table) and the shoes (DOUBLE WHY?! They’re not great for kids’ feet; just bung on an extra pair of socks). We also found that even the gentlest wipes irritate Matilda’s skin so we now use Cheeky Wipes or toilet roll.

    Having totally knackered my hips during pregnancy, I do need a buggy rather than a carrier a lot of the time but, otherwise, I don’t think we would have needed a buggy yet (five months).

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  4. Congratulations Wendy! I’m really happy for you and your family! I became a grandmother to a little girl 5 months ago and I am so over the moon with her. Wishing you a wonderful pregnancy and quick delivery!! Much love to you! xxoo

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  5. Well, I have only just seen this! Shows how absorbed I have been with my own (no so little) baby of late! Huge congrats. We LOVE our Cheeky wipes and we use them for everything – wiping bums, faces, in the bath etc.etc. They are definitely my favourite eco purchase. My second favourite is our Connecta carrier, which i think is pretty similar to an Ergo. Hope you enjoy your pregnancy, so pleased for you :) x

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  6. Belated congratulations! Great list, although i will say that our cheap Ikea changing table was great and has now become a potting bench for the garden. hope you have a happy and healthy pregnancy.

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  7. Thanks for your posts. I’ve just had number 2 a year ago, and discovered Cheeky Wipes then, I love them SO much! We use them for everything. The only thing is, I found their out and about bags slightly leak, so I carry them dry because most places you change will have a tap nearby or a bottle of water (reusable of course) to wet them with. We used Totsbots nappies for both our small people and couldn’t sing their praises enough..particularly their customer service with nice Glasgow accents!

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    • I’d suggest a pram that converts into a buggy – we really didn’t use the pram attachment very long on ours (about 6 months), and picking one up secondhand. eBay, Gumtree and some charity shops are brilliant for these types of things.

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