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How to Shop Sustainably for Your Baby and Toddler

Racking up a lot of ‘stuff’ in the first few years of parenthood is common. Whether it’s those first exciting purchases to get ready for a new baby or the hand-me-downs, the well-meaning gifts, and the gadgets and gizmos to make life easier… If you’re trying to reduce the kid paraphernalia in the name of the planet (we salute you!) then here are our ideas on how to shop sustainably:

Hats: The Cub Coral & Adventurer Lobster Sunglasses: The Scout

Shop quality over quantity

It can be tempting to buy your kids everything you see when you’re shopping on the high street… ‘It’s only cheap’ and they’d look amazing in everything, after all. Remember, sustainability is about reducing your waste and making sure your purchases have a positive impact on the environment. Sadly, there’s a reason why high street bargains are so low priced, and a lack of quality plays a huge part! (That and unfair treatment of the people making the clothes…)

Cheap kids’ clothing (however, seemingly, nice) will quickly get worn out or lose their shape, leaving you with a need to buy more sooner.

To be more sustainable, choose quality products which will last until they’re outgrown and can then be handed down to younger siblings, given to friends or sold on preloved.

Hat: The Globetrotter Sunglasses: The Scout

Our sustainable kids’ hats are made to last! Perfect for handing down the generations.

Opt for washable nappies and wipes

Did you know the average baby goes through approximately 4,000 nappies before they’re potty trained? Yikes! With each nappy taking approx. 300 years to break down, you can see that babies and toddlers amass a HUGE amount of waste in nappies alone…

Going old school with reusable nappies is without a doubt the most environmentally friendly alternative. And not as hard to do as it might sound. Plus, visually they’re a lot more fun than reusables with all sorts of patterns to pick from!

Bambino Mio Reusable Nappy Tropical Toucan

The Nappy Lady is a brilliant place to start to learn more about the different types of reusable nappies, and Cheeky Wipes are great for cutting down on disposable baby wipes.

Cheeky Baby Wipes

Be wary of ‘bio-degradable’ nappies. Some of these nappies require very exacting circumstances to biodegrade effectively and won’t make much difference on disposable nappies if they’re put in your normal household bin.

Forget the ‘trends’

High street stores use trends to keep you coming back for more. Styles come and go quickly, which can leave you feeling like you need to stay up to date. Don’t fall for it. Instead, build your child’s wardrobe with simple, timeless designs which will last for years and still look fab.

Hat: The Cub Banana

Check their eco / ethical policy

One of the quickest ways to check you’re shopping sustainably is to check the policies of the kids brands you like. Check to see what environmental practices they use, how their workers are treated, and what materials are being used in their products. If they don’t show it on their site? Drop them an email and ask.

You can use The Good Shopping Guide to check the sustainability rating of your favourite big brands.

Skip the novelty stuff

If you really want to cut down on unnecessary purchases, skip the novelty baby grows, bear suits and tiny party costumes. As adorable as they are for photo opportunities, they’re the sorts of items which will get very few wears.

Get borrowing

Most parents hold on to their baby gear for a while after their child has outgrown it. Which means your child-rearing friends and family may already have everything you need! Before you shop for your baby and toddler, ask around to see if you can borrow any of the essentials – breast pump, crib, pushchair etc.

If you can’t borrow anything long-term (because they’re still being used), a quick loan is a good way to try before you buy and ensures that you don’t waste money or find yourself with items you won’t use.

For toys, we also love the look of Whirli which allows you to borrow boxes of toys, and allows your kids to have an ever changing library of fun stuff to play with!

Buy it when you need it

Look at your baby shopping list and check if you’re really going to need everything straight away. It’s fun preparing for a new baby but often the things we think we’ll need, don’t end up being right for our kids… Or we get gifted something similar! For things like baby walkers, toys, jumperoos, highchairs… Hold off until your baby is old enough to use them so you can make a choice which suits your exact needs at the time.

Choose second hand

When it is time to buy, shopping second hand is an easy way to be more sustainable. Browsing charity shops might not be as fun as it was pre-Covid, but thankfully there are lots of apps to help you shop second-hand online.

Apps and sites to try include: DepopVintedeBay and Gumtree.

Facebook Marketplace is a good place to find second-hand kid’s clothes, toys, and other equipment locally too.

Fix things

Oh, the art of repairing rather than re-buying… It’s a tricky one! You’ll need both the time and skill to carry it out but fixing rather than throwing away is great for the environment and promises a real sense of satisfaction.

Don’t forget, parenting is challenging enough without adding in attempts to be perfect eco-warriors. Pick and choose which tips you can make work, but don’t be too harsh on yourself if it’s not possible yet. Small steps count!

Found this blog helpful? Share it on to your partner, friends, and family so they can be on the same page when it comes to shopping for your child.

Author: Emma Watson is the owner of Little Hotdog Watson

Little Hotdog Watson is a kidswear brand with a difference. We make kids hats unlike any other by combining style + innovation. Our sun hats offer triple protection from UV, Mosquitoes and Overheating, while our winter hats are water resistant, reflective and extra cosy. Take a look at our hats here.

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