20 sustainable ways for moms to go green

Caring about the earth isn’t a trend — it’s a way of living. When it comes to being a mom, it can be hard to make sustainable choices because, let’s be honest, a lot of the time you’re doing the best you can to survive. You don’t always have the time or brainspace to think of how your actions are impacting the greater world around you. We get it!

We also know that being a mom makes you think about future generations more. We want to work on leaving a cleaner planet and better future for our kids and their kids and their kids, so we’re working on ways for moms to make more eco-friendly choices that are practical and easy(ish) to implement, from pregnancy to motherhood. 

How to make pregnancy more sustainable

There’s a lot to do during pregnancy, and every choice comes with its share of pro’s & con’s. Read on for our top 10 tips for having a more eco-friendly pregnancy!

1. Build your pregnancy wardrobe intentionally

We already have a whole blog post about creating a sustainable maternity wardrobe, but the gist is: pregnancy clothes don’t have to only be worn for nine months then head straight for the landfills. Find clothes in your own closet that work for pregnancy first, then fill in the gaps with necessary pieces that will work for pregnancy, postpartum and for many seasons after as well (Psst- we’re the experts on that).

2. Buying baby clothes as you go and not overbuying

Speaking of clothes, don’t buy your baby’s full wardrobe before they’re even born! You’re much more likely to think you need more than you actually do or buy sizes and styles that don’t align with your baby’s actual needs.. We highly recommend buying as your baby grows and as you adapt to the styles that are easiest to use for your baby.

3. Keep your belly-care routine green

There are tons of belly products on the market but the #1 way to make sure the products you’re putting on your skin are safe for the environment + your body are with easy-to-read ingredient lists. Our recommendation? Use a weekly DIY scrub with brown sugar and coconut oil (add in essential oils, if you want a nice smell!), then lather up with The Oil daily, for a supple, moisturized belly that’s 100% eco friendly (one of the strictest environmental groups said so).

4. Shop for used baby gear

Not everything for your baby has to be new! Somewhere near you there’s a baby swing that was never used because their baby preferred a bouncer, or a perfectly good jogging stroller that a family doesn’t need because their littles are big now. Buy those things! Everyone loves a good Facebook Marketplace steal.

5. Create a “second-hand” registry list 

While we’re talking second-hand stuff, let your friends & fam know that you’d be happy to receive used gifts, as well. Create a list of items separate from your registry that you would be happy to receive second-hand. This will give your mom friends a non-awkward way to give you hand-me-downs and opens up the floor for others to thrift and scour the marketplaces for what you’d like!

6. Choose eco-friendly prenatals

When choosing your prenatal vitamins, choose a brand that focuses on traceable ingredients and recycled packaging like Ritual, a popular brand sold online and at Target.

7. Choose a cleaner cleaner

When those nesting instincts kick in, opt for earth-friendly cleaning solutions to make sure it’s safe for your pregnant body and not introducing toxic chemicals to your home. It’s super cheap & easy to whip up some cleaner of your own using baking soda, white vinegar or lemon juice. If you’re not a DIYer, Seventh Generation & Everspring are known for reducing their environmental impact + using natural fragrances from plants and essential oils.

8. Team green gender reveal

Stay away from gender reveals that pollute with micro-plastics and harmful toxins, like those confetti cannons you find on Amazon. There are plenty of fun ways to announce your baby’s gender that won’t leave a trace, like with icing in the middle of a cake!

9. Be thoughtful with your produce buys

When you can, buy natural and organic produce. It generally creates a healthier environment for you and your baby while giving you the opportunity to support ethical and sustainable practices. You can also keep the EWG’s Clean 15 list in mind, for produce that isn’t organic but still has less pesticide use than others!

10. High quality baby gear registry that will last multiple kids

When building your registry, or buying yourself, think about the quality of items you’re purchasing. Will they be able to hold up for future kids or make great hand-me-downs for others? If you think it’ll fall apart or break within months of buying, you may as well save your money and avoid contributing to the cycle of waste. 

How to make motherhood more sustainable

One of the best ways to make sure our Earth is taken care of in the future is instilling a love for the planet in the next generation, which means showing our kids from the start that making eco-friendly choices is always a great idea.

11. Invest in a reusable postpartum gel pack

If you can’t tell, we love reusable products, which is why we created a reusable post-birth freezy pack specifically to take care of your postpartum body. Single-use crack-and-freeze ice packs are costly, wasteful, and you definitely don’t want to realize you’re all out when you really need one. With Cool Mom(™), you’ll never run out and you only have to make one, eco-friendly, vegan purchase.

12. Avoid disposable nursing gel packs

Being a new mom involves a lot of waste. From diapers to wipes to all the pads you’ll go through, why not cut back on waste where you can? Instead of buying disposable breast cooling pads to help with oversupply or engorgement, check out our Cool Mom Breastfeeding Gel Packs. Bonus: they go cold or warm, so you can pick your temp & reuse again and again.

13. Choose non-plastic toys

When buying new, pick toys that are made from sustainable materials, like wood or cotton, and are more likely to last longer. When possible, it’s also great to choose toys that are OEKO-TEX certified, proven to be free from 350+ toxic chemicals, and, if wood, FSC certified, meaning it was made with responsibly sourced trees.

14. Try breast milk ice trays

Did you know there’s an alternative to pumping milk into plastic bags? Instead of buying hundreds of disposable bags for your pumped milk, consider buying ice trays specifically made for freezing your milk into one ounce increments, so you know exactly how many to use when it’s feeding time. These can be used for all of your pumped milk, or just for smaller pumps, so you don’t have to use a whole plastic bag for just 2 ounces of milk.

15. Experiment with (more) sustainable diapering

*Cue the moms rolling their eyes and skipping past this* Wait!! This isn’t just about cloth diapers!! If 100% cloth diapering isn’t for you, consider doing 50% cloth diapers. Lots of moms catch on to their kids’ bowel movement schedules (not so much in the first 6 months of life, but after 6 months they don’t poop as constantly!). Try using cloth diapers at times when you’re 99% sure your kid won’t poop, if you want to avoid that cleanup. We love this five-star kit that sets you up for a soft intro to cloth diapering.

16. Ditch single-package snacks

It’s sooo easy to get in the habit of serving an apple sauce pouch or a cheese stick for every snacktime, but try to stay away from them when possible! We love reusable pouches and bags so you can still have the on-the-go ease of those classic snacks without the wasteful packaging.

17. Use washable nursing pads

The early days of breastfeeding typically involves a lot of leaking while your body is working out how much your breastmilk it actually needs to make. Nursing pads are a godsend for making sure you don’t leak through your shirt, but Instead of single-use, disposable nursing pads try out reusable ones that you just stick in the wash.

18. Go on more walks

Instill an appreciation for our Earth early on by incorporating outdoor walks into your day-to-day routines. If your neighborhood allows for it, walk to your destination instead of driving to save gas and keep from adding to the air pollution (again, this is a “when you can” kinda thing).

19. Pick eco-friendly baby care products

When you’re buying all the little things your baby needs, focus on sustainable products. This means wipes, sunscreen, soap, lotions, toothpaste and any other self-care products your babe needs. Mainly, look for items that are free from parabens, phthalates, dyes and synthetic fragrances. Once you find brands you love, this is an easy switch to make!

20. Work on your green thumb

Try to get some indoor houseplants or even an outdoor garden going! Indoor plants can be amazing air purifiers and growing your own produce outside is a surefire way to make sure your food was grown ethically and sustainably. Not to mention, once your kids are toddlers, gardening or tending to plants is so educational and interactive! If you’ve never tested your green thumb, don’t be intimidated. Here’s a list of the easiest houseplants you can pick:

All in all, incorporating eco-conscious decision making into your day-to-day life takes time. Try to keep sustainability in the back of your mind and ask yourself, “Is there a more Earth-friendly option?” as you go along. A sustainable pregnancy & motherhood doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. Just make the better options when you can and don’t be afraid to get creative. You’ve got this, green mama!