I also avoid plastics in my home because I look at everything in terms of its end state: Where will it be in 200 years? What will it do to our health in the meantime? Committing to a low-plastic life takes more effort, but I've gotten into the habit and actually enjoy the look of my home with very few petroleum-based possessions.
Here is an illustrated list of what we haven't needed in our baby's first year, for anyone who is wondering if babies really need all that stuff. Special thanks to some Renaissance moms and their babies for demonstrating no-frills mothering.
1. Feeding the baby
|Amazon.com/Simon Vouet Virgin and Child|
At 7 months, I introduced solid food using baby-led weaning, further saving us the expense of jarred baby food and (plastic) utensils.
2. Diapers etc.
Amazon.com/toysrus.com/Wikimedia Commons. G Bugiardini, detail from The Story of the Tobias
We have a set of 24 flat cloth diapers, which Frieda wears like a loin cloth with an elastic band, and a compostable Beco Potty.
3. Transportation and furniture
Tommaso Masaccio The Distribution of Alms and the Death of Ananias
I was also lucky that Frieda was not born via C-section, so I could lift her immediately after birth. Along with being the most natural way to transport babies, baby wearing has great benefits for both mom and baby. Besides calming the baby through the closeness to Mama, carrying your baby helps rebuild your body after birth and increase your bone density through weight-bearing.
Our baby has never touched a Bumbo seat, either. It never occurred to me that an adult human lap needed a plastic replacement for holding a small baby.
4. Cleaning the baby's nose
|Amazon.com/Leonardo da Vinci: St. John the Baptist|
I don't use nose drops. My doctor recommended breast milk, which is great for traveling. It sure beats having to fish out a small bottle out of my purse while my baby is congested on an airplane.
5. Bath Time
|Johnson & Johnson/alibaba.com/Kalf Willem Fruit Piece with Covered Gilt Goblet|
Washing the baby seemed to be the area where the most plastic products are on the market. I still wanted to keep the bathroom as plastic-free as possible. My husband found an antique enamel baby bathtub on eBay and when our baby was ready to play with bath toys, I just went into the kitchen and found some fruits and vegetables to dunk into the water. They float, are biodegradable, and come in attractive colors!
A baby's skin doesn't need the chemicals that are loaded in soaps and shampoos. Our skin is naturally coated with good bacteria that enhance the skin's immune function (keeping bad bacteria under control) and this coating requires a pH of 5.5, which soaps and hard water throw out of balance. I've found that adding 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar into the bathwater keeps baby's skin soft for the entire week, not by moisturizing her skin, but by giving those good bacteria a healthy environment.
Please feel free to comment and add any items that you have been able to do without. Also, this is just the way I do things. It's not the only way. Contact me if you'd like to contribute to my blog and tell us about how you are raising your baby.