Last week, I received an email from a new blogger who calls herself Little Urban Greenie. She’s a mom and “homesteader in the making.” She’s also expecting a new baby in the next month or so and plans to significantly reduce the amount of disposable products and plastics used in the birthing process this time around. She asked if she could share her plans here to help others who might be concerned about the amount of waste they generate during the childbirth process, and I thought it was a great idea.
Please check out Greenie’s post and follow her blog to find out how successful she is and to learn more about her crunchy ways.
I have been planning how I would reduce plastic and waste for our second birth experience partly from the beginning, but really fine-tuning the details since we received the checklist of “needed” birth supplies from our home birth midwife. Unfortunately, many of her supplies were single use disposables. Having used many of these same items with our first birth, I know how uncomfortable they can be to use and that better alternatives exist.
I decided that I would instead create a zero waste/plastic-free birth kit, rather than just buy what I was told.
I’m a very earthy woman and a second time mom. Reducing waste and plastic this time around is not only a challenge to win for the environment and my family’s health, but also to increase comfort and a feeling of humanity during this special time of birth and postpartum.
My biggest changes for this birth will be:
- wool underpads vs disposables
- glass drinking straws for labor and postpartum
- only using cloth maxipads vs adult diapers until things calm down
- herbs and homeopathics vs over the counter drugs
- rubber hot water bottle vs plastic peri bottle
- using a bengkung belly wrap with DIY herbal pack to help heal my abs, along with exercise
- and using cloth diapers from the beginning with the baby.
For me, this makes birth more of a vacation where my husband takes a week off and I enjoy natural fiber comfort with our baby, rather than being a plastic coated invalid. I hated moving around and hearing squeaking bedding or body. I will also be enjoying plenty of herbal sitz baths to pamper myself a little and heal better as well as faster.
Obviously having a home birth offers much more control of waste and plastic use than a hospital birth or even a birth center, as home birth is more of them entering your terrority than the other way around.
For those planning a hospital birth (which is the majority), I would recommend asking about hospital policies for bringing your own:
- reusable underpads
- baby aspirator
- glass straws
- stainless steel cord clamps
- herbs and homeopathics in the hospital
- drinking and snacks during labor
- cloth menstrual pads
- clothes vs a disposable hospital gown
- and cloth diapers for baby.
In Boulder, CO hospital, they offer cloth diapers themselves, so you never know. I’m a stubborn old lady in a young woman’s body, so I would just take what I wanted in my hospital bag and go in knowing if they would try and stop me.
Many standard hospital and birth center procedures also produce a lot of plastic, which is also a biohazard after being used on patients. With a well-researched birth plan, many of these procedures can be prepared for and waiver forms signed, if needed so that we would know what plastic we feel comfortable avoiding.
Want to find out how well we end up minimizing waste and plastic? Or want to see what a zero waste and almost plastic-free birth kit looks like? Want to see how well suppliers did with plastic-free shipping practices and packaging? Subscribe to my blog at littleurbangreenie.
Here’s to less waste and plastic in the birthing experience!
Little Urban Greenie