A Tiny Baby’s Big Impact: Part 1

Our little bundle of joy is almost 3 months old now and we have been deep in the trenches of survival mode.

When in survival mode, sleep-deprived, still self-isolating, and all you want is your kiddo to fall asleep, caring about the waste created from this new human unfortunately gets kinda pushed to the side.

I hate it, but I have to accept it because I currently don’t have the energy not to.

Birth and Recovery

I gave birth in a hospital setting, meaning my kiddo’s arrival was wasteful from the get-go and I have no regrets about that.

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As for recovery, I had to use a lot of single-use items such as pads for post-partum bleeding and adult diapers. Speaking of diapers…

Diapers

Obviously, our biggest landfill contributor here is diapers. We are not cloth diapering and using regular old disposables, SHOCKER! I did some research on this before the baby came and there were a lot of factors involved that lead me to go with disposables for the time being:

  1. We don’t have a laundry room. While we do have in-unit laundry, we don’t have a good space to keep a bunch of diapers until I do a load of laundry.
  2. While there are diaper pick up services in the city, they are quite expensive.
  3. Cloth diapers use a large amount of water and electricity in the cleaning process, almost negating the benefit of staying out of the landfill. Learn more.

For about two months, we actually didn’t use any wipes because of a diaper rash issue and instead used little washcloths. It did end up with me having to do a load of laundry a day though, which was not ideal.

Clothing and Toys

As our babe is getting bigger, she is growing out of her clothes quickly! She mostly has been dressed in generously gifted clothes and some hand-me-downs, but soon she will need more as she moves out of the smaller sizes.

I have wanted to focus her wardrobe on secondhand options, but with COVID going on, I haven’t felt safe to go browse secondhand stores like Once Upon a Child. Facebook Marketplace is an option and most people are doing contact-less pickup. I have been browsing for a few items and keeping my eye out for them. There are so many bouncers and swings available. People want them out of their house!

There are some secondhand stores here in Chicago that I cannot wait to frequent when it is OK again like Velveteen Rabbit and the Second Child. And there is also a rental option that I am intrigued by.

Breastfeeding

While breastfeeding may seem like the perfect zero-waste way to feed, it is not so cut and dry zero waste. Yes, in a perfect world, you don’t need bottles, but there are a lot of things you still need even if you are feeding straight from the tap.

For instance, breastfeeding kinda hurts in the beginning, so I bought some soothing gel pads that can go in the freezer or the microwave. You’ll also need nipple cream, nursing pads (I have washable ones, but there are disposable ones), nursing bras, nursing tank tops, nursing shirts.

Sure you can go around this and use some natural methods, or cut up a bra or wear your old shirts and just have your stomach exposed, but right now, for me, the easiest method is best.

Now if you’re a mom who is eventually going back to work, or would like someone else to feed the baby for once, you are going to have to get a breast pump and its not hygienic to share these, so secondhand is not recommended. Pumps have a bunch of parts that need to be replaced and then this is where bottles and bottle parts come in. So we do have bottles, just not as many as if we were exclusively bottle feeding.

Any milk that doesn’t go straight to the baby gets frozen for later and in a single-use plastic bag, which breaks my heart. You can freeze in sterilized glass containers, but we do not have the freezer space for that.

That’s it for now!

 

 

9 comments

  1. Congratulations on your bundle of joy! Have you considered donating breastmilk, yes it does require a pump or hand expressing, plastic liners to transport and driving to the donation point. If hospitals are still accepting breastmilk in the time of Covid, in this case the waste is probably worth it for preemies. Your body will produce based on demand. I do believe that what is best for the mother is best for her little one, and do not endorse shaming bottle feeding but if you are able to share healthy breast milk, the rewards are priceless.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Congrats!! I just found out that I’m pregnant and we try and live as low waste as possible. We plan on cloth diapering but probably won’t right away, I’ll have to do some more research after reading your post. Thanks for being so transparent about things! I have been super nauseous basically all day for the past week with no end in sight, and have thrown out all low waste cares in the name of health (we normally never get so many things in plastic but crackers and ginger ale are worth it!) Love reading your blog, congrats again!

    Liked by 1 person

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