9 Natural & Sustainable Essentials Every New Parent Needs
New parents are the best researchers in the world. No one can stop them from finding the best and latest articles on parenting. They have an upcoming job to usher in and protect a new life, who could blame them? That’s why we’ve made the duty of protecting your new baby a little easier. This roundup of sustainable and natural products is made to help you on your new life journey. The items that you surround your baby with and place on your baby’s skin have a huge effect on them. In the same manner, surrounding them with sustainable and natural products early on in life is the best way to raise them to be mindful and eco-conscious citizens of the earth. Add these products to your registry or buy them as you prepare to bring your new son or daughter into your eco-friendly and sustainable home.
Cotton Towels, Wipes, Bibs & other cloth products
Pure cotton fabric is produced without added bleaches or dyes. This allows the fabric to maintain its naturally soft texture and doesn’t introduce the chemicals that are required to change its color. Mary & Kate uses organic cotton to make baby wash cloths, bibs, clothes, and more. They are a stylish and organic monochrome alternative to many of the bibs seen in stores today.
Glass Baby Bottles
Plastic has long been a time saving material, but it has proven problematic. The ease with which we improperly discard of plastic items has caused pollution to grow exponentially around cities, in landfills, and in the ocean. Likewise, the constant reheating of plastic bottles can leak dangerous materials that are not safe for babies. While newer plastic bottles try to exclude those harmful materials, glass bottles are more sanitary, easier to clean, and definitely free from chemicals.
My favorite glass bottle is the Philips Avent Natural Glass Bottle. It combines a natural nipple shape to mimic a woman’s breast with a glass bottle. You can purchase the bottles in 4-ounce and 8-ounce sizes, and the nipples are available in different levels depending on your baby’s age.
As a new parent, you’ll soon find that your baby loves to be snuggled. There’s nothing wrong with holding your sweet bundle, but you have to get up to stretch your arms at some point. Having a co-sleeper to lie baby in for naps makes her feel like she’s still wrapped safely in your arms. This will come in handy since your arms is where she wants to be the most!
The Snuggle Me Organic is, you guessed it – an organically made co-sleeper. Created in the USA from organic cotton and lamb’s wool (optional), it is also designed to safely help baby naturally sleep better.
Babywearing has existed for a very long time and has recently become popular for moms in America. Traditionally, babywearing was done by mothers so that they could get work done with their infants and toddlers in tow. Parents now can wear babies to calm and soothe them, to be able to get work done while also supporting baby, and to practice skin to skin. Exploring your local “crunchy” baby shop will introduce you to the myriad of baby carriers, such as Mei Tai, Wraps, Slings, and more.
As with any new popular parenting trend, baby wearing has a cult following. There are several brands that people swear by, and there are many up and coming brands that are making big waves in the babywearing community. One particular baby wrap and sling that has a special place in my repertoire is made by Beachfront Baby. They produce wraps and slings that are safe to use in the water – pools and the ocean – as well as on land. Their 100% REPREVE wraps and slings are made from a soft and comfy fabric that is created from recycled polyester. Each wrap is the equivalent of about 8 recycled plastic bottles. It is an amazing feeling knowing that your baby is snuggled safely against you with soft materials made from recycled items.
Healthy Snacks for You
Breastfeeding, lack of time to cook, sleepless nights… they will all leave you hungry and reaching for whatever is nearby to eat. In moments like these, you need to have healthy snacks in your corner. The worst feeling that I remember while nursing was during the middle of the night trying to get my baby back to sleep. Moments after he fell asleep I would hear my stomach roar like a disgruntled wildcat. Snacks like KIND bars, carrots, hummus and wheat crackers, and plenty of water quickly helped me to recharge for the moment until it was time for my next big meal.
Cotton and Bamboo Nursing Pads
The most uncomfortable feeling is having a soggy bra. If you are nursing, you never know when a leak will occur in your bra. It’s even worse if your bra is completely soaked, resulting in wet stains on your shirt. How embarrassing! In close second to a yucky soggy bra is a disposable nursing pad. In my opinion, they feel horrible! They also are another nuisance to landfills. Unlike their disposable counterparts, cotton and bamboo nursing pads are soft and comfortable, very absorbent, and reusable. They are easy to maintain because you can just throw them in the washing machine with your normal load of clothes. NuAngel makes my favorite natural cotton washable nursing pads that are very soft, even after you wash them.
Coconut oil has become a popular all-in-one remedy lately, and with good reason! It is very moisturizing, has antibacterial properties, and it can be used for nearly anything from skincare to recipes.
For new breastfeeding moms, coconut oil is great for dry, chapped nipples. The alternative lanolin can be too thick and painful to apply. Chemically produced lotions can contain unideal
ingredients like petroleum (sometimes labels petrolatum), which blocks your pores. Coconut oil has a great consistency, is easy to apply, and is safe for mom’s skin and for baby to ingest.
Coconut oil has many use for babies, as well. It can serve as diaper rash cream or a way to keep baby’s bottom a little more dry by repelling wetness in their diapers. When baby and mom have thrush or yeast diaper infection, both a topical application and internal ingestion of coconut oil help to kill the bacteria that causes it. It is safe to say that coconut oil really is a cure for almost anything!
Solar Powered Night Light
There’s no way around having to get up at night to care for your baby – it just has to happen. What doesn’t have to happen, however, is waking your child up by turning on all of the bright lights in the house. Normal lamps with LED bulbs are a sustainable way to provide low light, but a night light that is powered by the sun is the ultimate sustainable choice. The Glo Boy solar night light charges in the sunlight by day and provides a lit up happy face to help you see during the night. Kids will grow up to enjoy it, as well. It is a great way to teach them about solar energy and sustainability, and it is fun looking night light.
A nursing pillow’s name may make it seem like it serves only one purpose, but many nursing pillows go on to help babies learn to sit up properly, cradle them as they learn to play with new toys, and even work as pillows for mom and dad on the nights when they are too tired to get their own. Several styles of nursing pillows offer natural options, including filling, outside material, and cover material. I recommend the Boppy nursing pillow for its structure and ease of use. While it does not come in a sustainable option, Boppy does sell organic nursing pillow covers. The soft cotton of the cover is what your child’ skin will be against the most, so the organic material is a winning choice.