How to Live Sustainably as a Parent

Jori Hamilton - Contributing Writer

Posted on Thursday 1st April 2021
Woman carrying baby while walking


Image Source: Unsplash

There are so many things to think about when you have a baby. Obviously, your first priority is going to be looking out for their well-being. But, that goes beyond just making sure they’re healthy and happy. 


Thinking about your child’s overall well-being can also mean helping to create a greener, more sustainable future for them. Green parenting focuses on a lot of things your kids probably won’t learn in school. It’s a combination of teaching them about everything from where their food comes from to helping them develop a concern for the planet


While your new baby might not be able to understand “green” practices right away, there are things you can do as a parent to start off on the right foot and feel good about how you’re raising them. Eventually, your child will start to see the habits you’ve put in place, and they will grow up knowing just how normal and beneficial a sustainable household can be. 


Not sure how to get started with sustainability? Let’s go over a few tips. 

Choose the Right Products

As a new parent, it’s not uncommon to feel bombarded by different products. You may have even started to do your research on certain items before your baby was born. Babies need a lot of special care, which means you’ll undoubtedly have a lot of different products with you at home, and on the go. 


But, choosing items that aren’t damaging to the environment can make a big difference. Thankfully, it’s easier than ever nowadays to find “greener” alternatives to most baby products. That includes everyday things you should carry in your diaper caddy, such as: 


  • Diapers

  • Wipes

  • Lotion

  • Sanitizer

  • Diaper rash cream


Take the time to do your research on certain products. Don’t fall for the efforts of greenwashing, where companies try to make their items look eco-friendlier than they really are. With a little bit of time and a little bit of learning, you can feel good about the choices you’re making in the products you choose for your child. You could even ask for a sustainable baby shower, where guests bring their favorite eco-friendly baby products. It’s a great way to get started with a lot of environmentally-sound items to see which ones you like.

Teach Sustainable Habits Early On

Your baby likely isn’t going to pick up on things like recycling or cutting down on carbon emissions any time soon. But, you can instill healthy habits in them from an early age by making some common practices part of their routine. 


For example, consider what you feed your little one. Most baby food jars are either made of plastic or glass, so they can be recycled. The Nestle Corporation, which makes Gerber baby food, has committed to making their packaging 100% recyclable by 2025. That’s a great start, especially with the plastic problem our country faces. But, consider how much more sustainable it is to make your own baby food. There is no waste, no mass manufacturing, and nothing to throw away. Plus, you control all of the ingredients. 


You can also embrace sustainability when it comes to potty training. Consider cloth diapers instead of disposable ones. Teach your children about not wasting water when they use the toilet or wash their hands. 


Other sustainable habits you can instill in your little one include things like: 


  • Being okay with hand-me-down or gently used clothing

  • Normalizing homemade cleaning products

  • Reusing items

  • Playing outside as often as possible


The more you showcase these things in your child’s life, even from a young age, the more they will consider them to be normal. So, they will be more likely to continue those healthy, sustainable habits as they get older. 

Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself

As a new parent, you already have a lot on your plate. Getting used to having a new baby around is an adjustment for everyone. If you were already living a sustainable lifestyle before having your child, the shift to raising them the same way will be easier. But, if you’ve just decided to be more environmentally-conscious recently, cut yourself some slack. If you’ve been through a difficult birth or had to go through something like a c-section, you might be struggling to recover both physically and emotionally. If this is the case, take the time to seek proper treatment, such as counseling if you are feeling depressed or anxious. Trying to be the perfect, sustainable family can be a lot.


You shouldn’t put yourself down if you feel like you’re not doing enough. The little things can make a big difference in living a sustainable lifestyle. From taking shorter showers to setting up a recycling station, you can create a home environment that respects the future of the planet, and raise your child to understand the importance of those things. 


Living sustainably as a parent doesn’t require huge adjustments. By making small changes in your regular habits, the items you buy, and the way you get rid of things, you can easily teach your child to do the same and carry on those sustainability efforts into the next generation.

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