Having a child is one of the biggest blessings in life, but the entire process isn’t exactly a walk in the park. We know that the zero waste lifestyle is a commitment -- it requires conscious effort to change and it’s not always easy. With a little one in tow, this journey can be made even more difficult.
Do note that everything below are just suggestions on how you can still reduce wastage while going through pregnancy and raising a child. Ultimately, do what is best for yourself and your baby! If, for instance, there are medication that you have to take and they come in plastic packaging, don’t hesitate. Your health and that of your child’s is of utmost priority.
With that said, we went on to do a little research to find out what are some ways in which you can reduce waste while on the journey of parenthood. We hope this helps!
As your little child continues to grow healthily inside of you, so does your bump. This means that all the clothes you used to fit into perfectly might not fit quite so well anymore. But do you really need to fork out an arm and a leg just to get new clothes that you’ll wear just for that few months?
Not at all! We’ve covered various fashion topics before, and some of those tips will apply just as well for maternity wear. In particular, we’re huge advocates for buying secondhand when it comes to maternity wear. Due to its temporal nature, there is a constant stream of second-hand maternity wear being sold on sites like Carousell and Shopee.
Source: Heather Mount on Unsplash
Alternatively, you can opt to rent maternity wear from places like Maternity Exchange. We know that maternity wear can rack up quite a bill, so being able to rent at cheaper prices will definitely help! They also offer packages where you can rent different number and styles of outfits at one go for the ultimate convenience.
You can also reduce your consumption by looking into some hacks to convert your normal clothing into maternity wear. For instance, putting an elastic through your button hole is a great way to expand the waistline of your favourite pair of shorts and jeans so that you can wear them for an extra month perhaps. Just remember to wear a long shirt over it! For other creative ways to revamp your existing wardrobe into a maternity-friendly one, check out this link.
Your body changes a lot throughout pregnancy and even after, but we hope that some of these tips help you feel better about yourself throughout this changes!
Switch to Reusables
Source: Trove of Gaia
Disposables are everywhere when it comes to motherhood -- from nursing pads to panty liners, or even the toiletries provided by hospitals during your delivery. Here at The Zero Ways, we are always promoting the use of reusables over disposables to prevent excessive wastage.
There are reusable alternatives to many of these disposables that are commonly used throughout pregnancy and post-partum recovery. For instance, the reusable nursing pads from Trove of Gaia are just as great as (or even better than) any disposables in preventing leakages and ensuring maximum comfort.
Source: Trove of Gaia
Other reusable alternatives you can look into include reusable pads and pantyliners to help manage any discharge or bleeding you might have during pregnancy and post-partum recovery.
Specifically for post-partum recovery, it would even be possible to dampen these pads with witch hazel and water, stick them in the freezer, and use them as makeshift ice pads to help soothe any pain or discomfort that comes with a natural delivery.
Source: Duck Saves Earth
Additionally, remember to pack your own toiletries when you’re packing your hospital bags! While hospitals often do provide toiletries, these are usually of the disposable variety. Cut a small slab from your shampoo and soap bars to get that travel sized plastic free toiletries. Hopefully, having some of your personal effects will make the hospital stay a little more comfortable as well!
Of course, there are a ton of other ways to reduce our reliance on disposables. The above few are just some of the more prominent ones that we thought up and are more directly relevant to parenthood.
Opt for Natural Remedies (where possible)
Our top recommendation for this section is, without a doubt, coconut oil. We’ve talked about coconut oil before on our post about skincare, and we still stand by it now for mummies. With all the bodily changes going on throughout pregnancy and postpartum, coconut oil can go a long way in helping you manage side effects like stretch marks or soothe cracked nipples. It’s also all-natural and completely safe for use even when you are breastfeeding Better still, use your own breast milk to keep your nipples moisturised -- no need for balms in plastic packaging! -- what’s not to love?
We also know that pregnancy requires a ton of multivitamins, most of which come in plastic bottles. While we are not discouraging the consumption of such vitamins, we encourage you to maintain a healthy and nutritious diet. Consult your doctor about the kinds of additional supplements you require in order to avoid excessive wastage. Alternatively, try to get these vitamins in packaging that is easily recyclable and try to upcycle/recycle whatever you can!
More often than not, when you have a healthy normal pregnancy, all you need is to have a rich diet made up of vegetables, fruit and so on. They contain lots of essential vitamins and minerals -- zero waste from the wet market!
At the end of the day, a healthy mother and baby is the most important so don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself still generating more than your ideal amount of waste. Just do your best, both for the environment, and for your own family!