In a world where things are built to be broken and replaced, sustainability is a precious feature.
Buying and using items with longer life cycles is also a way to conserve our natural resources.
I wasn't particularly eco-conscious as a young adult, but I was a committed recycler and tried not to waste things. As a newbie in Brooklyn, I remember carrying a bag of plastic containers on my morning commute so I could drop them into the recycling bins in midtown. Wasting paper is another pet peeve of mine. I have a love/hate relationship with greeting cards. It's very nice to read them, but greeting cards cost $4-5 each which is unjustifiable for something that is looked at once or twice before it's tossed out.
A brilliant idea was introduced at my baby shower five years ago. I could go on and on about my baby shower, but there is one thing I want to share for those planning baby showers (or kids parties).
The guests were asked to bring a new or gently used children's book in lieu of a card. Gift-givers jotted messages inside of the book cover, and put the book on top of the present or in the gift bag. When the party was over, I had a bin full of wonderful children's books with personalized notes inside, instead of having a stack of disposable cards.
As a mom, the importance of natural and healthy products is more apparent then ever.
The presence of a new baby can transform one's values in a heartbeat. I used to be a cheerleader of sustainability, but now I'm striving for MVP of Team Green. For me, this term represents three things: being eco friendly, using natural & chemical-free products, and going gender neutral for your baby.
I was showered with sustainable gifts because my baby's gender was a secret- even to me! Gender neutral baby showers have many perks - more functional gifts, guessing games/predictions, less overkill of pink or blue- and who will deny that it's just downright cool to resist the social pressure? Besides, not finding out is a nod to the old-fashioned way of life. It's natural, as pregnancy and delivery used to be, and it's the best surprise in the world.
You should keep some things in mind while prepping for a baby shower: quality over quantity, longest lifecycle, purest materials available, recyclable or biodegradable wrapping, and the mommy's needs. I'm hoping to inspire you baby shower planners and to share a few gems with you who have babies on the way.
Give gifts that will be treasured
The best suggestion for giving sustainable baby clothing is to go gender-neutral, even if the baby's gender was announced. If the next baby that comes along is the opposite sex, those parents will sing your praises because they can re-use the clothing from before. Gender-neutral outfits (beige, green, ducks,etc.) provide versatility and are classic in style. Does that sound boring? Have a look at the reversible boy/girl styles by Turnovers, which can accommodate both boys and girls without being too plain in style. Either way you go, shop with sustainability in mind.
If your close friend or relative is having a baby shower, consider making her a cloth diaper cake, which is a functional gift and an eye-catching tabletop decoration. Rock n' Bottoms is a great company that offers cloth diapers in some of the coolest prints I've ever seen. My friend is using their diapers for her son and she's been very happy with them. The prices are also lower than other cloth diapers so it's more affordable to go with Rock n' Bottoms. You'll need a good amount of diapers to make a full cake display.
Another great, green gift idea is this Premium Newborn Gift Set by Bamboosa. You can customize the colors in this bath & bed set, which comes with a sheet, two blankets, 5 washcloths and a hooded towel. This is a fool-proof baby shower gift. I can't believe I didn't know about this company sooner. Bamboosa uses fabric made from USDA Certified Organically Grown Bamboo which is free of chlorine and formaldehyde and they are made in the USA.
A smart gift for breastfeeding support is a nursing cover. Mom will appreciate a comfortable cover that will allow her to feed her baby discreetly when she needs privacy or wants to eliminate distractions. I found these Nursing Covers by Sophia Reynold which are made of 100% organic cotton. These covers are sophisticated and designed to provide coverage as well as accessibility. They are lightweight and can double as stroller covers and one style has pockets for holding pads or wipes. As you can tell, these were designed by a momma.
While you're shopping for baby gifts, don't forget to pick up something little for that amazing lady who is doing all the work. Moms needs to feel special too, and receiving piles of gifts for the baby she hasn't met yet can feel overwhelming. Getting something just for mom is a sweet gesture, and I can tell you you from experience that it helped to know that I mattered, too!
Earth Mama Angel Baby is a remarkable small business and they offer a ton of amazing products for mom and baby. I've known about them for a long time because my sister buys their skincare products, but I just recently found out about their teas. Their Mama-To-Be Tea Sampler Box has an assortment of four varieties, including:
Morning Wellness- ginger-minty flavor, comforting way to help overcome nausea
Peaceful Mama- calming herbs to help ease mama's busy head and agitated body
Heartburn- created to help turn down the furnace in that baby belly
Third Trimester- beneficial herbs to nurture the mama parts that are preparing for baby's arrival
When the awesome people at Earth Mama Angel Baby sent me a box to try, it was time for a tea party. I gave a few bags to several of the pregnant ladies I know, and I had a cup of the Peaceful Mama flavor. It was delicious and a perfect way to wind down and relax before bed. Our taste testers agreed that the teas were yummy and they love having organic, caffeine-free options on hand for the days when they need a warm cup of comfort. We have three extra boxes (thanks to the generosity of Earth Mama Angel Baby) to share with our readers! (See giveaway at the bottom)
Be creative in your planning
If you're planning or hosting a baby shower, here are some green ideas that were given to me by other creative mommas:
Use mason jars and glass straws for beverages--- make fresh squeezed juice instead of bottled punch, and fresh fruit bouquets for centerpieces
Give guests a potted plant to take home as a thank you gift
Make centerpieces out of tall glass containers and fill with eco-green baby products and top with flowers in their own container
Wrap gifts with baby blankets & towels, or use containers/baskets she may have registered for
Have a wishing well for guests to fill with small, unwrapped, eco baby products
Smart decorating choices will save money
While quality gifts can cost more than the options found in discount stores, many green choices will actually save you money. If you're investing in quality items with decent lifecycle, you will save more money in the long run. For example, baby clothing for both genders is financially beneficial because it guarantees you won't need to buy another baby wardrobe in the future.
Throwing a greener, cleaner baby shower is easier and cheaper than you may think! It just takes some brain-storming and dedication on your part. For more tips on how to decorate and cater a sustainable event, and spend less money doing so, read my Resourceful Guide to a Gender Reveal. Meanwhile, be sure to enter the giveaway and connect with Turnovers and Earth Mama Angel Baby!