My Last Earth Day before Motherhood
If you haven’t figured it out by now, the baby industry is way more insane than the wedding industry. And I thought that was pretty out of control. So, here on my final Earth Day before the arrival of another vicious consumer to the Earth, I pledge my attempt to conserve consumption as much as possible. This is how I HOPE to do it.
First of all, I am a huge advocate of following the recycling hierarchy. That little triangle is actually in order of how we should live: 1. Reduce 2. Reuse 3. Recycle! This is a blog entry that I wrote a couple of years ago, which includes three list of things I am doing now and wanted to try to do in the future.
After reviewing the three lists, I am actually doing most of these things. I have definitely moved towards more vegetarian meals a week than I did a few years ago. I consume less magazines, although that is primarily because all of my favorites have closed recently. I unplug our chargers every morning, including the plugs for the toaster oven and coffee pot. Despite Henry’s pleas, we have been using cloth napkins for almost a year now. The last time I bought napkins was for Shannon’s engagement brunch in September. I still use Khiel’s deodorant, which is the number one search term for my blog. Yes, it still works for me and I am coming up on five years this summer. (If need be, have a back up brand on hand and give your body a break for a little while.)
Other than buying an energy-efficient fridge for our Chapel Hill apartment, I haven’t really completed any of the tasks on my future list. Plus, I still use the little plastic flossers! They are my guilty pleasure. But I did place them in the recycling last time. I am sure that some municipality person will tell me that this is a no-no. But they have sophisticated machines, so I am hoping that it will sort out the items that shouldn’t be in the recycling. I am a pretty liberal recycler. I prefer to err on the side of recycling too much than throwing away recyclable items. I even posted a flyer for what DC recycles above all of the trash shoots in our building, so that everyone will know what they can recycle and at least feel a tad bit guilty if they don’t.
So now… down to the dirty truth about babies. They require a lot of stuff! A LOT! It has kept me up at night. I have even thought that it would be great if babies came out around 6 months instead of when they do, you would not have to buy about half of the stuff. The thought of investing in all of these giant plastic things that don’t last more than a couple of months really drives me nuts.
The very first thing I did was pick up one of those packets from Babies R Us. They give this to you for free when you register at the store. I then sat down with my new mom friends and asked them which items they never used. I went through and marked items OFF the list. This list is a marketing tool. They have gently bumped up the numbers on many of the items. And they have listed every type of tool and activity that you will ever need. Plus, we just don’t have room for a swing. So decide what you don’t need up front, before you loose your mind when the nesting frenzy hits your body. It is VERY real.
I have borrowed as many things as possible. Thanks to friends like Sarah, Taylor, Eris and Meredith, I have borrowed quite a few items from maternity clothes and pillows, to books, and baby items. Katie has also given me a big box of clothes and baby goods. Moms are very generous.
Next, I am addicted to Craigslist. I have bought two big ticket items – the crib and the stroller – by spending a few minutes a day looking over the list of countless items parents add to this magical site each day. Not only are reusing an item that would otherwise fill someone’s attic or end up in the landfill, but you are likely going to save a lot of money. In our case, we have saved several hundred dollars. I love Craigslist so much that I sat down yesterday and made a list of craft tools and supplies I plan on posting in the next couple of weeks.
But what about after the baby comes… Well, that is even harder to answer.
Kimberly presented some interesting facts and thoughts about diapers. With a need for eight to ten diaper changes a day!?!, I imagine that the options can become overwhelming. I spoke with Lizzie about diapers at length. She has several friends who are using the new all-in-one cloth diaper options. When she talked about diapers drying all over the house, I thought that is not going to work. We do not have a laundry room, but a laundry closet. Not even a walk-in closet. Where would I hang diapers that can’t take the dryer.
Lauren has been using the old-fashioned cloth folding diapers exclusively, unless she is out and about. She said that she used disposable the first three weeks until they got settled in with the baby. Sarah uses Nature Babycare Eco-Friendly Diapers. She gave me a pack at my baby shower. So that works for me. Unless they just don’t work, I plan to stick with this brand.
Then my Craigslist hook-up told me that she has a couple of packs of Kushies. Instead of debating all of the different brands, I am going to pick buy these from her and try to use them along with the disposables. Although Henry says that we are not using cloth diapers, I see it like the vegetarian meals that I eat each week. I would never identify myself as a vegetarian, but I am throwing in a few environmental friendly meals a week. And the benefits to me and the environment will hopefully add up.
One place that I thought I could make a difference was to use reusable diaper wipes. I don’t know that this is the best option, but doctors recommend that you use cloth wipes when your baby is first born anyway. So why not? Plus I received a diaper warmer, which I hadn’t planned on using. But then all of these wipes fit in diaper warmers. So why not? Using cloth wipes, might require a second diaper pail – one for disposable diapers and one for cloth. But one diaper pail is the same price as one pack of Nature Babycare Eco-Sensitive Fragrance-Free Wipes (700 ct). And that’s one less reason to run out to the store.
Breastfeeding and Breast pumping
The last two weeks, I attended breastfeeding and breastpumping classes at The Breastfeeding Center for Greater Washington. Since the classes I attended are free, they were hot and crowded. Today’s class was filled with babies, who were also hot and cranky. But I am starting to feel more comfortable with one of the cheapest feeding options available. Plus, I feel even better knowing that I am going to be a “recreational” breast pumper, if everything goes well. So I don’t need that many bottles, maybe just a feeding gift set. Even better. One classmate didn’t start pumping for the first three weeks. That is great news.
Making My Own Baby Food
And for what I am probably looking forward to the most… making my own baby food. Taylor is making baby food for Silas with one of this cute little Beaba Babycook. I think that I will probably start scouring Craigslist for this treasure in about six months. But apparently, cooking for your baby is a big trend. Yesterday Henry sent me this article about a baby food cooking class on Capitol Hill. The recipes sound a little more sophisticated than I was thinking. I was just going to stroll down to the farmer’s market on Thursday to see what’s for dinner. And I added this baby puree cookbook to my baby registry. My mom bought it for Sarah last year. Word is she loves it. I imagine from this picture that Jed does, too.
Happy Earth Day!