You might say being a new mum and running a small business has its challenges. Actually, scratch that, being a new mum and doing almost any task comes with extra, patience-testing but ultimately rewarding difficulty.
I’m trying to follow the time-worn cliche of leaving a better world for my child. But when I’ve had a microscopic amount of sleep, doing the right thing isn’t always easy - particularly when finding out which reusable products are worth my limited time and brainpower.
When I was pregnant, I wanted to incorporate green items into my home without feeling overwhelmed and creating too much extra work. I like to do the right thing, but I’ve also got a fragile infant in my care. Having a baby during COVID provides enough over-thinking and extra work already, thank you very much.
My personal ethos is the reusable journey can start however you want. For most of us, that doesn’t mean building a treehouse retreat, it means beginning with simple changes and building them into your life as you go. I’m not perfect and don’t claim to be, but I’m a big believer that doing a little something is better than doing a big nothing. Another cliche, sorry about that.
Anyway enough rambling, here’s the reusable products I currently use and why I think they rock.
I have distinct memories of changing my younger sister’s nappy when she was a tot. I was in shock as to how big her nappy was. Good old Terry Towelling cloth nappies were a huge craze in the late ’80s. They were even better when your parents had a water bed. Yep, the pin from an old nappy pierced through the bed more than once.
Thankfully, MCN (modern cloth nappies) make switching to reusable nappies a lot easier. Yes, we struggled with leaks, getting the right fit and washing them properly. But I am glad we persevered. I’ve now got a great washing routine down pat and hardly get any leaks.
I rented a newborn nappy pack to help pick the brands we liked best for our son. This was ideal and we chose three to purchase. There is a little bit of upfront cost, but to know they will last until he’s 16kg and in toilet training makes MCN’s totally worth it.
I couldn't recommend these more. Such an easy switch from disposable wipes and you can chuck them in the wash with your nappies. I use Cheeky Wipes. Yep, the initial cost was quite expensive but for the long term, it works out cheaper than buying a load of disposable ones. You can certainly make your own with bits of material if you have the time.
Reusable breast pads
Okay, bad news first. Nothing helps with the initial breastfeeding pain, other than a steaming hot shower followed by soft, bamboo breast pads to go on top. I even used to wet mine and put them in the freezer to help soothe the soreness. This makes me cringe just thinking about how painful it was at times. I bought my from Etsy as I like to support small businesses. I also empathise as you go through that initial soreness yourself. Don’t worry you do get used to it, but ouch!
No explanation needed here, just shop around and get what suits you is my advice. I again went with Cheeky Wipes as I like the setup and material used to make the pads. Etsy is also a good shout.
Besides these simple reusable swaps, there are many other ways you can minimise your waste when having a baby. Here’s some more bang for your buck:
- Shopping for second-hand clothes. Even better when you find a bargain which fits your wee one.
- Using leftover bits of material or old towels for burp cloths. Your baby won’t care, I promise.
- Second-hand furniture. We were fortunate enough to be given a cot and high-chair. We just personalised these with some extra bits (e.g. cushion and cot sheets) to make them feel like our own.
- Using leftover ribbon, packing materials, cloth to make sensory toys. Or even look out for toy libraries. These are great as young ones can certainly get sick of toys quickly and it’ll really save you some coin. Obviously with covid, borrowing from libraries may be put on hold at the time you read this… roll on 2022.
Starting the process of eco-living can be daunting and there is so much information out there. My advice is to make one switch and give it a red hot go before making other switches. Learn from others and get creative.