Plastic Free July: We Show You How To Choose Plastic Free With A Baby

plastic free baby

Walk into any big box baby store and you’ll be overwhelmed by the amount of stuff made from plastic. From baby bottles and sippy cups to high chairs, dummies and baby bath tubs, not to mention all the items packaged in plastic: nappy cream, baby wash, baby lotion, wipes and all that. Is it hard to go plastic free when you have a baby?

plastic free baby

Plastic is practically ubiquitous and—unfortunately—is problematic in so many different ways. It’s one of the worst pollutants man has ever made.

To start with, the production of plastic is a dirty, wasteful process. Next, it off-gasses toxic chemicals throughout its lifetime. And when it finally ends up in landfill, it doesn’t biodegrade, which means that every single plastic toy, toothbrush, and bottle cap you ever used is still somewhere out there, sitting underground or floating in the ocean.

You probably already know about BPA (bisphenol-A) in plastics. But do you also know that “BPA free” may not be any better? Experts say that some of the plasticisers that replaced BPA may actually be more dangerous for our children.

Knowing all this, it seems to me that one of the best ways to protect our families—and our planet—is simply to avoid buying plastic whenever possible.

And, yes, that includes when you’re about to welcome a new baby into the family. Trust us, it’s not as hard as it sounds!

Try swapping out common baby items with these nonplastic alternatives: 

Cloth nappies

Did you know that a baby will use about 3,800 disposable nappies in the first 2.5 years of life? And that each disposable nappy can take as long as 500 years to decompose?

Ditch the disposables and use cloth nappies, even if only part time. Brands like Bambino Mio and Pea Pods make lovely one size cloth nappies your bub can wear from day 1 up until potty training time, further reducing your baby’s carbon footprint.

While you’re at it, pop your eco nappies into biodegradable nappy bags and choose washing detergents that don’t come in plastic jugs.

Reusable swim nappies

Bambino Mio and Pea Pods also make lightweight and leak proof swim nappies in fun prints.

 

bambino mio swim nappies
Bambino Mio

Reusable wipes

Instead of disposable wet wipes that contain plastic fibres (and come in plastic packaging), use reusable cloth wipes or washcloths. You save money and the environment – and avoid harmful chemicals!

Glass baby bottles

One of the best ways to reduce your baby’s exposure to BPA, phthalates, and other nasties is by using glass bottles instead of plastic ones.

Glass is good because it doesn’t leach at all. Get one with a silicone sleeve to prevent breakage. This one from Cherub Baby has a clever temperature warning sleeve that changes colour when your baby’s milk is too hot.

Safe-T-Bottle makes “the ultimate baby bottle” from shatter and heat shock resistant Tuxan borosilicate glass. Because of its smooth surface, this baby bottle attracts fewer bacteria and is easier to sanitise than plastic bottles.

Stainless steel sippy cups

If, like many of us, you have a kitchen drawer filled with cracked, warped, and leaky plastic sippy cups, it’s time to make the switch to glass or stainless steel. Both of these materials are safer, sturdier, and—let’s face it—look much nicer than plastic.

Make My Day has 3 in 1 sippy cups that convert into 3 different styles (sippy, easy to grip cup, and tumbler) so your child can use them for years. They come in adorable colour combos, are made of high grade 304 stainless steel, and are BPA and phthalate free.

Cherub Baby offers an adaptor pack so your little one can continue using their wide neck glass baby bottles as sippy cups.

Bamboo dishes, bowls & cutlery

These won’t be needed right away, but if you’re already stocking up on baby dinnerware, know that you’re not limited to plastic. Nowadays, there’s an absolute wealth of plastic free brands making children’s plates, bowls, and cutlery from bamboo, glass, and stainless steel. Unlike plastic and melamine, these materials are safe and eco friendly.

Brands like Love Mae and Bobo & Boo make bamboo dishware that are sturdy, easy to clean, completely biodegradable, and super stylish.

love mae
Love Mae

 

Stainless steel food storage

For storing baby food and toddler snacks, swap out your plastic containers with stainless steel. These mini ones from Kids Konserve are the perfect size for tiny servings, are great for travel, and become part of your child’s lunch kit when she starts school. For more stainless steel options, check out Onyx and Ever Eco.

Latex dummies and teethers

Plastic dummies and teethers may contain chemical softeners and artificial colours. Choose 100% rubber latex instead. Hevea and Natural Rubber Soothers make wonderful dummies and teethers that are minimally processed, nitrosamine free, and reasonably priced.

Wooden toys

Avoid all plastic toys. From the latest pricey gizmo to the cheap ones you get with fast food kids’ meals, just say no to them all.

Why? First, because plastic toys can contain BPA, phthalates, and even lead. And we all know how much babies and toddlers love to put toys in their mouths! Second, because plastic toys break almost instantly and inevitably wind up in the trash bin. Also, to me, plastic often doesn’t look or feel very nice. And, of course, we know that plastic is very bad for the planet.

Wood, on the other hand, is safe and better for the environment. It’s durable and, with proper care, will last a really long time. If you get a well made piece, your children’s children (and maybe their children) can still enjoy it. And wood is just beautiful to behold and beautiful to the touch.

Plan Toys, Wonderworld, Hape, and EverEarth make gorgeous toys from high quality sustainable wood and nontoxic glues and paints. I also love the ones from Hess Spielzeug, Q Toys, and Im Toy.

 

ever earth
Ever Earth

Soft toys

Aside from good quality wooden toys, stock up on soft toys. These are the perfect comfort toys for babies and toddlers. The best ones are made with organic fabrics and stuffed with natural fibres.

Apple Park and My Natural make supersoft cuddly toys from organic cotton and low impact eco dyes.

Nontoxic bath toys

Your baby can also go plastic free in the bath. These bath toys from Hevea and CaaOcho are 100% natural rubber and completely nontoxic. No need to panic if bub starts chewing on these.

Skincare in glass jars or tins

There are tonnes of natural skincare products available for little ones, but few that come in zero waste packaging. Not only do Badger Balm and Nature’s Child make skincare products that are absolute must haves, they also put them in recyclable glass bottles and tins.

Eco friendly dental care

Check out the bamboo toothbrushes from Go Bamboo and Pearlbar. Jack ‘N Jill Kids also have biodegradable resin toothbrushes for kids. They’re gentle on baby gums and teeth and are light enough for toddlers just learning to brush on their own. Best part? They all have fully biodegradable handles. Put the nylon heads into the bin, and the handles into the compost when you’re done.

pearlbar bamboo toothbrush
Pearlbar

Nonplastic first aid

You can even go plastic free in your first aid kit! ‘Bandaids’? No, thanks. These nonplastic adhesive strips from Patch are made with 100% organic bamboo fibre and are BPA free, hypoallergenic, and suitable for all skin types.

More plastic free baby needs

Here’s some more nonplastic items you might find useful:

What else you can do to avoid plastic

You can also limit your baby’s exposure to plastics by:

  • Buying baby food in glass jars (or making your own at home)
  • Storing baby food in glass containers (jam jars work perfectly!)
  • Saying no to produce and grocery items packaged in plastic
  • Using cloth carriers or slings instead of prams
  • Whenever possible, choosing natural fibres over synthetics for bub’s clothes and beddings
  • Choosing wood, natural fabrics, and other nonplastic materials for your nursery decor and furniture

How do you go plastic free with your baby? What are your favourite nonplastic baby gear? Share your thoughts and tips with us and other new mums and mums to be in the comments below.

Image credits: Bambino Mio, Love Mae, Ever Earth, and Pearlbar

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