Honor the Earth: Parenting Choices that Reduce Our Carbon Footprint

Welcome to the April 2014 Natural Living Blog Carnival: Honor the Earth.

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Natural Living Blog Carnival hosted by Happy Mothering and Crunchy Farm Baby through the Green Moms Network. This month, our members are talking about how they honor the Earth year round. Stop by all of the posts to get ideas on how to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle.

We’re slightly crunchy here. Not super crunchy (though a little homestead with hens sounds like fun), but slightly crunchy, and mostly because we’re on a tight budget, but partly because we only get one Earth, people.

As head household decision-maker, I’ve made a lot of “greener” decisions for the way we do things. I keep towels in the kitchen to clean up messes, use microfiber to clean our mirrors and windows, and I am trying to convert the family to cloth napkins (I’m meeting a little resistance, but I will persevere!).

When we found out we were pregnant with the WeeSheBeast, I started looking into ways we could make parenting choices that would be frugal and green. We haven’t completely eschewed all things plastic and disposable, but we’ve made a few choices that make our wallets and our Earth a little greener.

Cloth Diapering

How can you tell if a mom cloth diapers? Don't worry, she'll tell you.

Hey guys, did you know we cloth diaper? No? I sure do talk about it a lot.…

Cloth diapers were one of our first parenting choices. It’s saved us a lot of money, but I also really love that they’re reusable. Once the WeeSheBeast is potty trained, they’ll wait for the next baby to come along, and then the next, and so on. Eventually, I’ll even pass them on, where they’ll continue to be loved and used and re-used over and over.

Even though I would have done things a little differently, knowing what I know now, I’m still happy with what we’ve got, and I’ve even inspired some of my own girlfriends to consider cloth diapers for when they have their babies, something that wasn’t even on their radar before.

Our cloth diapering keeps thousands of disposable diapers, and their associated chemicals and plastics, out of landfills, and helps prevent them from having to be produced.

Elimination Communication

This one is weird, but hear me out.

We started “potty training” WSB at 3 weeks old. I would just hold her over an appropriate receptacle, and encourage her to eliminate. She caught on very quickly and is about 70% potty learned now, at just over one year old.

So, if we were using disposable diapers, this would decrease our diaper consumption by about half. Since we are cloth diapering, it means that I don’t have to do as much laundry, and we save a little (really rather miniscule, but it all adds up) on energy and water by watching her for potty cues and taking her to the potty to “go.”

Breastfeeding

So, besides all of the wonderful health benefits babies receive from being breastfed, breastfeeding also has a lighter ecological footprint.

Breastfeeding means we don’t use plastic bottles (less plastic), we don’t use tins of formula (less waste), and we don’t need gallons of filtered water to mix formula into (lower water footprint).

Baby-Led Weaning

The laziness factor of baby-led weaning was a big selling point for me, but it’s also a great and green option for mamas looking to reduce their baby’s carbon footprint.

Baby-led weaning basically means giving your baby soft solid foods to feed themselves with – no purees. We didn’t go totally without purees, but when we do use purees, they go into a resealable squeeze pouch (because Captain Independence won’t let me spoon feed her).

Baby-led weaning, for us, meant we didn’t have 800 empty baby food jars to throw out, or a ton of those awesome little pouches, and we didn’t need to make special baby food and store it in plastic bags or containers.

So, that’s how we’ve made parenting a little greener, a little cheaper (and a little lazier). How do you green up your life? Check out some of these other posts that are part of the Honor the Earth Carnival as well!

Visit Happy Mothering and Crunchy Farm Baby to learn more about participating in next month’s Natural Living Blog Carnival!

Please take some time to enjoy the posts our other carnival participants have contributed:



Comments

  1. says

    Those are all great ways to honor the earth with children. Cloth napkins are an easy switch. Just put them out and hide the paper products and they’ll have no choice but to use them. Now my daughters will scold you if you hand them a paper towel or napkin :-)

  2. says

    Great ideas! Still implementing the baby-led weening with my 2-year old over here :) I hadn’t really thought of it as being “green” until you pointed it out!

  3. says

    I used Motherease cloth diapers for my three youngest (not easy with 16 + children in the home). I did sometimes use Seventh Generation diapers when I could not keep up with the laundry. Also, nursing is such a rewarding thing – now that my kids are older (my youngest is 5) I miss it..

    • Trisha says

      7th Generation diapers are our go-to for travel and when the laundry pile gets out of hand, too! Everything else gave the poor babe an awful rash, and I love that 7th Gen are more eco-friendly.

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