If you are starting to look into that post partum period and are daunted about the amount of disposable and also plastic stuff that will go to land fill you are not alone. This year as I cleared out all my cupboards while nesting I became aware of just how much I was wasting. I resolved to be more aware of what I was consuming because the waste I create is not so much my problem as the problem of my children and my grand babies if I am ever blessed with them. I don’t want to burden them with that. So I came up with some ways to help reduce my waste without making my life too hard.
First of all I have to talk about nappies. Australians go through about 5.6 million disposable nappies per day. Your regular run of the mill disposables take up to 500 years to break down. This is not good for land fill. I urge you to consider cloth. Modern cloth nappies are EASY to use. Pretty much like a disposable but with a couple of fit adjustment here or there as your baby grows. Yes you need to wash them. Isn’t that a lot of extra work when you have a newborn as well. The short answer is no. You are home all day. I went from full time work with my first and then to stay at home Mum - I had time to pop on a load of washing. I also only washed everyday in the newborn phase because to save the $ I only had 18 new born nappies and I made them work for me. We would pop the nappies in the wash on a soak cycle with no detergent overnight (delayed start to finish at 5 or 6 am). Once I got up I would drop my detergent in with my regular load of washing and by 7 I’d be putting the days washing out for the day. It was literally seconds extra work each day. A bunch of savings and no environmental guilt. Once we were out of new born nappies our regular stash of 20 and going through about 6 or 7 per day meant washing every second day on the same routine. BUT you don’t have to full time cloth diaper! Say what?! That’s right you might just use cloth at home, or during the day. Or if bubba is regular, disposable until first poo then cloth for the rest of the day. If you choose cloth you also choose the way you use it. I went back to work when my son was nine months and still sustained cloth diaper washes until he was just over 2. If you are curious about cloth check out my cloth nappy workshop here.
Now you might really feel cloth nappies, washing and all that isn’t for you. Try spending a little more on a biodegradable option! You can find a whole bunch of options online and they even deliver to you. Making #mumlife easy from day one. Or use these eco options with the cloth diaper routine that works for you. This time round my husband wanted to use disposables at night. I asked for his reasons we had a discussion (for reals no arguments just working it out) and I agreed to his logic. But I was unhappy adding so much rubbish to our household. So this biodegradable option became it for us. I had no expenses with initial set up for our cloth nappies as I had them from our first so am happy to pay the extra for the sake of the planet.
Hopefully you have been convinced about cloth because the rest of the tips involve a bit of washing to but can just be added in with your nappies.
Let’s talk about the bleeding you guys. It is prolific and you have to use pads. Anyone else not used a pad since they lost their virginity? Oh my holy grossness batman! The advice given to check how long you soak through a pad was not okay with me. I need to pee and I need a new pad. I am not pulling up a warm, wet, bloody pad against my fragile nunu just to tell a midwife it took 3 hours and 13 minutes to soak through. No no my friends I’m changing that mofo EVERY SINGLE TIME I go to the toilet, shower or just feel like it – like after a couple of strong surges during a breastfeeding session. The first 2 – 7 days are heavy and under the normal care system in Australia you may be in hospital during this time. Use the disposables. After your bleeding calms down a bit you could go to cloth pads. For reals you can wash with the nappies and it is no extra work! Like all new Mama’s I was on a twenty four feeding schedule with bubba and I like I said I like to change EVERY SINGLE TIME so I needed a lot if I went with cloth. I figured a two day supply would be about 20 pads and I was not going to reuse them after this because I don’t like pads. I used disposables. I’m not an environmental martyr and guess what the biodegradable version is not that much more than the regular version. $ well spent for peace of mind. If cloth resonates with you do that if not an eco friendly option is great! I got mine from Bamboo Babe.
Let’s talk about boobing next. I did not have a very successful breastfeeding journey with my first but I did have a few weeks of breast feeding, pumping, mastitis, trying to breastfeeding, more pumping, more mastitis. I knew enough about my big giant boobies to know what I needed and to have it at hand ready to go. Guys I leaked a lot, like so much I didn’t know what ‘let down’ was until a couple of years later. Like I was actually leaking all the god damn time. My milk machines are on point so I got prepared with reusable breast pads. I found these ones from Milkmaid Mama to be super soft and now that I don’t need them anymore I am going to use them as face wipes! These are washed with the nappies as well. The other thing I splurged on was a Haakaa (I could rave about this for days) which is a silicone breast milk collector that works on suction only. I genuinely didn’t want to pump and create the problems I had with over supply with my first. My husband, having had the opportunity to be hands on with feeding first time round was feeling like he would be left out. By using this I was just collecting what was otherwise just soaking my clothes and building up a freezer supply so when I felt breastfeeding was well established we could introduce a bottle. I loved this little gem it is so good for before your supply settles down to collect what would otherwise be wasted.
Lastly something for you. Coffee Mama! You deserve that little treat of a takeaway coffee. Add a keep cup to your nappy bag and a cup holder to your pram. This one is just for you to enjoy and you should enjoy. Don’t forget to take out a water bottle with you every time you leave the house as well!
And that’s it. Just a few simple products to have on hand that will save you a lot of dollars (guys I cannot rave enough about savings of the dollars). Our grocery bills stayed exactly the same. Even when I factored in my online purchases of nappies and pads. Exactly the same! This is because when we had a cheaper week for groceries I would make this purchases with the leftover dollars. So I saved the environment and I saved the dollars. Who doesn’t love that!