As a first time mum, I read every book I could get my hands on about pregnancy, birthing, and even toddler books because I liked to be a step ahead. Something I didn’t really consider was the impact of my purchases on the environment, and what that means for Scarlett’s future.
My first reason for choosing cloth nappies was a financial one but it was when I did further research, more reasons unfolded as to why it was the best fit. As someone who has quite delicate skin, I was wanting to ensure that my daughter was only using the most natural products if required. When looking into disposable nappies I found out that many of them are bleached with hydrogen peroxide, contain synthetic fragrances, and other chemicals which are not the best thing to be putting on a young baby, let alone the environmental impact. Disposable nappies use 20 times more raw materials, 3 times more energy, 2 times more water and generate 60 times more solid waste than cloth nappies. Source.
What I find really interesting is that cloth nappies were always the ‘done thing’ in my parents, grandparents, and great grandparents’ generation. Sustainable living wasn’t a primary concern; as I say, it was simply the ‘done thing’. Somewhere along the way in the world of ‘convenience’ living we have become lazy. You might be thinking it is not your problem and to be fair, you’re probably right. Whose problem it may become though is your children, grandchildren or great grandchildren. What better way to teach them about a lifestyle that is not only valuable, but arguably essential to their future, than to model living as sustainably as you can while they are young.
There are lots of ways you can do your bit to live more sustainably. Another way is by using natural cleaning products. I love Second Nature Botanicals here in Tauranga as Kirsty makes the products herself using plant and mineral based ingredients. You can get refills delivered or even go and pick them up if you’re local!
Fast fashion is also incredibly unsustainable. As much as I love Kmart due to the price point, the fashion industry is the second largest consumer of water. Source That’s not even factoring the labour that makes these cheaper options possible. A 2019 study found that around 87% of the micro-plastics polluting Auckland’s waterways came from synthetic textiles. Source
Once you become a mum you realise how quickly kids grow out of perfectly good clothes. Before I go out and buy any new clothes I do try and see if there are any hand-me-downs I can get. The Mums2Mums Tauranga Facebook page is fabulous for gifting used baby clothing or looking for some if you need any. Zero to Five is also a great Tauranga store that delivers nationwide. It can be a good place to sell some clothes when they are looking. I also try to get to op shops but this doesn’t always happen. One of the great things about social media is that there are some amazing second hand baby/children accounts available where they do all the hard work and you have the benefit of being able to op shop from your living room. I have come across some real gems. Thrifty Baby and Nice Twice are just a couple of my favourite accounts. There are also some really clever people out there who design clothes that grow with your children so these are worth the investment. I stumbled upon Moosey Moose which is an Australian company that designed and manufactured a romper that is adjustable to fit up to 5 sizes in the one garment.
If all of this is a bit beyond you, think what little ways you can live more sustainably. Maybe you could try to grow a few of your own herbs or vegetables; what a great learning opportunity for your kids there! Maybe you could plan your meals a week or two in advance to avoid food wastage. Perhaps you could switch to reusable food storage bags and use beeswax wraps. Then there is the whole world of reusable menstrual products like period undies, reusable pads, menstrual cups etc.
Even if you start today by doing just one thing, you never know where that might lead.
I'm Natalie and am originally from Sydney, Australia but moved to Tauranga to be with my husband. I’m a trained primary teacher but after having my daughter Scarlett decided on the stay at home mum life for now.
It was actually the journey into motherhood that made me consider the footprint that I’m leaving on this earth for my daughter and I started to reconsider some of the decisions I’ve made in the past and looked into more sustainable parenting practices. Having a baby in 2020 during covid where people were panicking about supplies also contributed to this!
I’m hugely passionate about play and being outdoors as well as supporting other mums however I can.