Going green with baby on the cheap

Save money and the planet with these baby product alternatives.

Credit: Flickr / super-structure

There are so many ways to save money on healthy, eco-friendly baby stuff without sacrificing quality

Save money and the planet with these environmentally friendly alternatives to commercial baby products

Learning where to spend money was the first step in our organic baby journey. The next step was learning how to save money.

After seeking some savvy advice, I discovered you don’t have to go overboard with your purchases. Rather, save in one area so that you can invest in a few quality products that make a difference in the long run. The question is, how do you save those extra dollars.

I asked some resourceful moms to share their creative ideas on “using what you got.” Here are simple and inexpensive things you can do that are easy on the environment and your wallet:

Wipe out! Baby wipes alternatives

We all agree that cloth diapers are worth the initial investment, but the cloth doesn’t stop here. Disposable baby wipes cost around $4.99 per tub of 77—anyone who has changed a full diaper knows that doesn’t last very long! Instead of going through copious amounts of paper, consider using washcloths and warm water. A package of 12 cotton cloths price at $7 and can be reused for many years to come.

The Organic Baby Guide

Tips and tricks for raising healthy babies, with recipes, toys, shopping advice and more!

Tip: When you’re out with your tots, pack some pre-soaked cloths in a baggie versus disposable hand wipes, which can have harsh chemicals and add excess waste.

If you’re looking for more than soap and water, mom and teacher Lindsay Crudo recommends Saje’s natural sanitizer, Safe Hands, which has antiseptic, antiviral and antibacterial properties and can be used on tiny fingers (as well as your own). It retails at $10.95 a bottle, but a little goes a long way.

Fare savers: Ways to save on baby food

For moms who are able and choose to breastfeed, eco-speaking, this route is a no-brainer. Breast milk is a perfect food for babies and, of course, it’s free! However, when it’s time to introduce solids, making your own baby food is an affordable, sustainable and healthy option.

Pre-made baby food starts around $1 a jar; if you are feeding your babe on average two jars a day, that works out to roughly $56 a month. Since baby’s portions are small, you can you buy a whole range of fresh fruits, veggies and grains for half that amount and it will last a long time. Simply cook, puree and freeze for later use.

If this kind of cuisine is new to your repertoire, check out Wholesomebabyfood.com. From classic purees to teething biscuits, this is a fantastic site for recipes, tips and nutritional information.

Also, see bcliving’s Organic Baby Guide, with easy recipes and tips.


Port-a-baby: Saving money on strollers

Opting to go by foot or public transit will always help reduce pollution—and save you money on gas, parking and repairs. However, getting baby comfortably from point A to point B is an issue. And any parent who has stroller shopped knows that these wheelies can price upward of $700 depending on the style and brand.

If you are really counting your pennies, mom and CEO of Parenting By Nature, Tamara Champion, suggests toting as an economical solution, “We carried our girls in a sling during the first year, and bought a $25 umbrella stroller for the odd occasion we wanted to use this. Our money was much better spent on a quality baby carrier because babies will generally end up in your arms anyway.”


Kid swapping: Out with the old, in with the new

Organizing a kid swap—as in a swap of kid stuff, not kids—in your community or amongst friends can be a productive and economical alternative to buying a series of toys, clothes, gear and furniture that will only be used for a short amount of time.

Start by getting a list of interested people, and create swap meets every three to six months whereby people bring what they don’t need and take what they do. Not only is this helpful to your bank account, it also saves you space since you don’t have to store a ton of stuff once your child grows out of it.

Don’t feel like coordinating one of your own? Check out KidsVancouver.com for a list of swap meets in your neighbourhood.

Home remedies: From teethers and toys to bath and skin care

There are a number of things you can use around the house that work perfectly for the various stages of development. Pharmacist and green mom Kelly Grindrod offers a few ideas that don’t cost an additional dime: “Instead of the typical plastic toys, we often use things from around the house like measuring cups or wooden spoons or handmade toys from our families.

“For teething, we usually just let our daughter chew on cold cloths or our fingers. Also, instead of all the green baby skin products, our midwives suggested that we bathe her less frequently to prevent her skin from drying out. And when she does get a bit of dry skin, we just use olive oil.”

Many of these “re-newed” ideas are what our parents did when we were kids. Back then, they didn’t have disposable options (or income) or the overwhelming amount of choice that we do now. And hey, we turned out okay.

So, rather than buy (literally) into the expensive and wasteful wants available, choose a few little things you can do now that can help save the environment and your money.



Desiree Daniel

As a Vancouver-based writer and new mama, Desiree Daniel’s inspiration comes from watching her little one “discover” life. With babe in tow, Des can be found exploring the city, tackling the outdoors and nesting at home with the fam. Twitter