5 Baby Essentials To Pack For An Eco-Friendly Hospital Bag
Perhaps you're a first time Mum who hadn't really given much thought as to which items to pack for baby in a hospital bag, or you've been here before but would like to consider a more eco-friendly hospital bag items this time round.
Remember, the birth of your new child should be an exciting experience so don't get bogged down and stressed out about being 'perfect'. This blog post is to offer some suggestions and ideas as to eco-friendly items and products you might consider including in your hospital bag, but ultimately the choice is yours, and what works best for your particular situation.
1. Reusable Nappies/Cloth Nappies
The choice is yours as to whether to use cloth nappies from birth or decide to wait a few months before starting on your reusable nappy journey. It can seem quite daunting to choose to use reusable nappies from birth, but it need not be. There are quite a few options out there. (For an in depth explanation as to how pocket nappies, wraps and boosters work, see our reusable nappies and nappy wraps step-by-step guide).
Birth to Potty (BTP) / Pocket Nappies
Birth to potty nappies are a great economical system to use, as the rise on the nappy can be adjusted through poppers to grow with your baby from 'birth to potty.' Pocket nappies can also be boosted for better absorbency and are easy to change, so make for a great option in hospital. However, the issue with most pocket nappies is that they start from a weight range of approx 9lbs or 4kg.
Newborn Specific Nappies
Newborn nappies, be it all in ones (AIO) or newborn pocket nappies, can be bought from various cloth nappy brands and tend to start from approx 5lbs up to about 12lbs. This is an option if you think you are on track to having a smaller or premature baby as they can last approximately up to 6 months depending on the weight of your baby. You may find that after a month or so, newborn nappies need boosting for extra absorbency as newborns need several nappy changes a day and there is less fabric in a newborn nappy compared with a standard pocket nappy.
2-Part Nappy System
This sounds daunting but it's not! The system is named this way because there are '2 parts' to making it work. A fabric nappy - usually a choice of microfibre, cotton or bamboo (bamboo being the most absorbent) and a waterproof wrap on the outside. This is a great system for newborns due to the 2-part nature and the wrap, you're less likely to suffer leaks. Newborn babies (especially breastfed babies) are known for their runny, explosive poops! Inside a 2-part bamboo nappy you may choose to use a reusable fleece liner which catches poop and makes changing easier. There is also the option of using disposable liners that come in a roll. These nappies are usually available in sizes 1-3, (9lbs to upwards of 30lbs), can be boosted easily and work particularly well at night.
Flat Nappies With Wrap
Using 'flat' nappies and folding them yourself, is possibly the cheapest most simple way to start for newborns. The options include prefolds, muslins or terry nappies fastened with nappy fasteners and a wrap on top. Flat nappies can be customised for use at night by boosting the nappy. This means you could choose to add a microfleece liner on top of the nappy (where the nappy touches baby's bottom) and an absorbent booster (or two!) such as bamboo or hemp between the prefold and the nappy wrap. This combination, should provide a good amount of absorbency for a newborn and is a good option for night use. For an in depth explanation on how to use prefolds or muslins for a newborn see our blog post on how to use a prefold nappy.
Don't forget to pack a wet nappy bag with you for any soiled nappies, wipes and clothes!
2. Reusable Wipes
Reusable wipes are one of the easiest zero waste swaps to get on board. For your eco-friendly hospital bag, they would be used in place of traditional disposable baby wipes, but reusable cloth wipes can also be used to replace makeup wipes or pads, and some families even choose to use reusable wipes as 'family cloth' in place of toilet paper! A few packs of reusable wipes are essential to pack in a hospital bag. Water and cotton wool is usually recommended for cleaning newborn bottoms, so super soft reusable wipes like our LittleLamb pack of 10 bamboo wipes are a fantastic option for gentle cleaning on those delicate newborn bottoms!
3. Organic Cotton Muslins and Swaddles
Muslin cloths are one of the most useful items you can have in those early newborn days! They can be used for everything! We tend to find that muslins and swaddles can be used interchangeably for most things. Swaddles have the added benefit of being larger, so can be used for swaddling your newborn if you choose to do so, a breastfeeding cover if breastfeeding, or a makeshift changing or tummy time mat. Muslins are super useful for catching dribble, milk, or sick that baby may bring up, they can be used for mopping up spills or mess, and as mentioned above can be used as a newborn nappy.
Muslins and swaddles made from organic cotton, are super soft so perfect for delicate newborn skin, but also much better for the environment as organic cotton uses less water in production and is also non-toxic and chemical free which is everything that baby needs! Our range of organic cotton muslins and swaddles are available in multiple minimal, muted colours and will be a wonderful addition not only to your eco-friendly hospital bag, but to your collection of baby essentials for the first year.
4. Natural Rubber Dummy or Pacifier
A dummy is by no means an essential for everybody, and for some reason 'to use or not to use' a dummy often brings up a lot debate in new parenting circles! For some babies, a dummy is not required to settle or they just don't take to them, and for others, a pacifier has been a life line from the outset!
Our range of natural rubber dummies from HEVEA are much loved, available in multiple colours and are environmentally friendly. Each dummy is handcrafted out of 100% pure natural rubber, completely plant-based and compostable. Each pacifier is soft and gentle on baby’s face, and has brand unique ventilation holes. They are easy to clean in hot water and highly hygienic due to their seamless design, there are no nooks for dirt or mould to build up. Once these HEVEA natural rubber pacifiers have reached the end of their lifespan, they can be lovingly returned back to the earth and easily composted.
There will always be lots of opinions when it comes to newborns, from midwives, friends and family and wider acquaintances. Ultimately, the decision is yours and if you chose to introduce a dummy to help baby settle and make your life just that little bit easier, that's absolutely fine. In the same way if you choose not to, that's ok too!
In addition, an essential companion to a dummy is a pacifier clip. These will keep your baby's dummy attached to either their clothing, a comforter or blanket and ensure the dummy does not get lost! Our range of eco-friendly dummy clips are the perfect partner to any natural rubber dummy.
5. Organic Cotton Comforter
A baby sleep comforter can be a lovely, soothing addition for a newborn. Finding a comforter in a natural fabric will naturally absorb your scent and can be - well, as the name suggests a real 'comfort' for baby! It is important to look for a comforter or cuddle cloth that is made from a light and breathable material such as organic cotton. This natural, non-toxic fabric is soft and friendly on baby's skin and if cared for correctly an organic cotton baby comforter can be passed down for years to come.
We hope you have found this list of 5 baby essentials for an eco-friendly hospital bag helpful. We've only covered 5 key items, but of course clothing, a car seat, baby milk bottles if you choose take these and items for yourself will also need to be considered.
In terms of clothing, a few organic cotton vests, sleepsuits (with built in mitts - scratch mitts if not), an organic cotton hat and socks should suffice. Of course feel free to pop baby in that special going home outfit if you'd like to! Try to find clothing in sustainable natural fabrics for baby as anything touch a newborn's skin should be as natural as possible.
For baby bottles, do consider glass baby bottles with natural rubber teats as an option. They are much more eco-friendly than plastic bottles and ensure that no plastic fragments or toxic substances are in contact with baby's milk, whether expressed milk or formula. Our 2-pack glass HEVEA baby bottles are available in size small (120ml) and large (240ml) and are made from pure borosilicate glass, which is both heat and thermal shock resistant. The HEVEA glass baby bottles come with 100% natural rubber teats and are another easy eco-friendly baby swap to try!
Let us know if there's anything else you think is an eco-friendly baby essential that we have left off our list, or what you have packed for your own sustainable eco-friendly hospital bag.