This month saw my twenty-ninth birthday.  This post isn’t about my birthday, though.  It’s about a trend I’ve noticed in a lot of my friends and families as they enter their thirties.  The time is coming for many people to leave the world of binge drinking, clubbing, experimentation and exploration and trade those things in for diapers, onesies, picket fences, and starting a family.

So let’s look at some common items you get for baby that may not actually be very virtual-water friendly, and what alternatives you might have.

Is your baby a Gerber baby?  While there’s a lot of variation depending on brand and flavor, baby foods can often be heavily processed and include a lot of additives that aren’t earth-friendly.  Just as with food targeted toward adults, the more what you eat goes through the factory, the more water your food uses.  Luckily, there are plenty of recipes online for making your own baby food - which you can make all the greener by using what you’ve grown in your own garden.

How about clothes?  It’s easy to accidentally run up a huge virtual water total (not to mention a major credit card bill) constantly buying new onesies as your baby grows – not to mention the many stains baby’s clothes will accumulate.  That’s why used clothing stores can be your friend.  Plus, babies grow so fast you can find some gently used clothes in near-perfect condition that were given away or sold because the previous owner grew too fast (unlike we adults, who must pick through out-of-style consignment options that may be decades old.)

Finally, at the risk of ending this blog post on a crappy note, (see what I did there?) let’s talk about one of baby’s biggest wastes: the diaper.  Now, we’re not going to suggest you don’t throw away diapers (although reusable cloth diapers are a thing) we would point you toward using recycled products.  And if you’re particularly brave, rather than throw your diaper in the trash, go for the biodegradable option and compost it.  

Ultimately, we can’t tell you how to raise your children, but we can encourage you to think of your baby’s future.  That doesn’t just mean preparing him or her for school and socializing, but also creating a healthy environment in which your child can grow and thrive. 

What are your favorite eco-friendly parenting tips?