Friday, 2 September 2011

Eco Baby

My preparations for baby's arrival are almost complete so I thought I'd do a post on how I'm trying to keep these preparations as simple and green as possible. When I first started to shop for baby I was overwhelmed and actually disgusted by the vast array of products on sale for newborns. It's very hard to work out what is essential and what is not. From the start I wanted to stick to the bare minimum so I very soon had a list of the things I felt I'd need and began to research the best options. Here's a list of everything we've bought.


I spent a long time looking online at eco-clothing lines and found plenty of shops selling ethically produced clothes for babies. However they cost an absolute fortune! It would be impossible for us to clothe our baby entirely in these products without going bankrupt in the process. I understand that these clothes cost more to produce but there are obviously a lot of companies who are cashing in on selling eco products and making huge profits. We bought a few bits and pieces from small independent shops such as this one in Florence but otherwise we've gone for cheaper options from places such as John Lewis. Their clothes are good value for money and to reduce our impact we bought as few clothes as possible. We've also collected quite a good supply of second hand clothes from family members. It's not easy to find second-hand baby clothes in Italy. We searched for about an hour for a second hand baby shop we'd heard about in Florence only to find that it had closed down. In an ideal world I'd make all of the clothes for the baby but unfortunately my sewing skills aren't up to scratch (something I need to remedy). I've knitted or crocheted a few bits and pieces and my mum has given me lots of things that she's handmade. So, overall we've managed to get by only buying new a few vests and sleepsuits. 


We're fixing up the cot that belonged to my husband when he was a baby so only needed to buy a new mattress. We've also bought a Moses basket which we'll use for the first few months. For bedding I've bought new sheets but have handmade blankets. (I'll be sharing in another post the things I've made because a friend has borrowed my camera and I have no pictures). 


The one thing I definitely didn't want to get second hand was our travel system. We plan on having more children so we wanted something that is going to last. We've gone for a good quality and practical option and hopefully we won't need to replace it. We've also bought a baby carrier which we're planning to use a lot. 


We've decided we are going to use cloth diapers and have spent hours researching all the different types. We'll start off the first couple of weeks with disposables while we try out a couple of different types of diapers before we buy complete sets. I'm really looking forward to using cloth nappies and will probably do more posts on this subject once the baby is here. 


We don't have a nursery for the baby so the only furniture we've bought is a changing unit. For this we went to the dreaded Ikea (you can see my thoughts about Ikea here). As much as I dislike the idea of Ikea it does have some practical options. We bought a great changing unit which didn't cost much and is good quality. I feel guilty about this purchase but I do love my changing unit! We've recieved other bits and pieces such as play pen, baby bath and high chair from a family member so we haven't needed to buy anything else.


I've spent many hours obsessively researching products for keeping baby clean. There are so many products available and so much information about the harmful effects of these products. I've become completely confused by all of this information and have no idea what the best options are. Once again I've discovered that any natural products are 10 times the price of commercial brands and they are often difficult to find. Once baby is here I'm going to experiment making my own baby wash etc. I've knitted or crocheted a good supply of wash cloths and am in the process of making reusable baby wipes. 

So that's it! It feels like we've bought tons of stuff which is a shock after months of buying nothing at all! However, I do feel like we've managed to stick to the things that for us are essentials and I've resisted the temptation of buying anything carelessly. Every little purchase I've made has been carefully considered taking into account our budget, the environmental impact and of course the health and well-being of our baby. 

I'd be really interested to hear from other green living mums and to hear their ideas or advice on all of this.

Have a good weekend everyone x x 


LindyLouMac in Italy said...

Vastly different from when I had my daughters in the 1980's. Although we did use terry nappies not disposable ones :)

Amanda said...

Hi Sarah Elizabeth

So exciting with not long to go now!! I think you’re right, the best way in finding eco friendly clothes is to find second hand ones and some of the pieces I’ve loved the most that Grace has worn were hand me downs. While not all my purchases are ‘green’, I do stick to just the basics, in fact I’m a bit worried as I don’t really have many clothes for bub #2 given that I’m having a bub in a different to season to my winter baby Grace. There is so much out there to buy that it can be rather overwhelming for parents, but really, not much is needed initially. We found our baby carrier fantastic and a Moses basket is great for those early stages. It’s so lovely to be able to share this stage of pregnancy with you and I look forward to being able to share more once our bubs arrive!! Hope you’re feeling well, big hugs...

Amanda xx

Sini said...

I would be confused too! It's so expencive to get anything what is eco friendly, bio or local product. I mean from clothes to food. Either it's hard to find or it's way too expencive that can't afford that. Second-hand is good in clothes, getting things from the friends and fanily too!

In Finland I did love the fact that we have many great fleamarkets where you can buy clothes in good quality so cheap. I'm missing that in France actually.. We have fleamarket on our square every sunday, it's freaking expencive!

I hope you are feeling good and soon seeing some pictures! :)

xx Sini

Sarah B said...

It sounds like you have approached this very sensibly. I am no expert but I like shag you have done. In Australia we have quite a few natural options for baby bath care are so on. Locally I have bought handmade soap made from goats milk. Maybe there are some options like that on Italy too?
Very exciting!! X

Anonymous said...

Hi Sarah,
I have a tip for washing the italian doctor says the best soap for skin is the marseilles clothes washing bar soap, you know those huge white bricks that you can find for 1 euro...we use that esclusively on our skin, washes clean, leaves no residue, and has no harmful chemicals or sulfates. I thought he was crazy until I tried it! Just a thought!

Good luck with your arrival, and on your green living! Wished I had been this conscious when I had mine 14 years ago!

your follower, Tammy in tuscany

Sarah Elizabeth said...

Amanda - I love sharing this pregnancy with you too - especially since none of my friends here have any children yet.

Sini - the flea markets here are pretty expensive too. Now you've given me yet another reason to visit Finland!

Sarah - I'll have to keep an eye out at craft markets to see if I can find some handmade soap or you never know, maybe I'll try making some myself!

Tammy - I use Marseilles soap for myself but it's good to know I could use it for the baby too. Thanks for the tip x x

Loree said...

There are hardly any flea markets here either. I am not sure why. I admire all the decisions you have taken to go the green way.

Breadwithhoney said...

Just want to add that a baby doesn't really need to be cleaned with anything but water for many months! My babies smelled great and never got a drop of soap till they were crawling and actually 'dirty.'

Castile soap is great for baby when he needs it, and any oil- grapeseed, olive, etc; JUST A DROP massaged into his skin will keep dry skin away.

Simple is easy, cheap, and green!