If you’re an environmentally conscious person, raising your baby in an environmentally kind way is probably important. Starting your parenting journey means choosing responsible baby products. For many parents, that means asking their family and friends to do the same, yet it’s easy for well-meaning family members to get the wrong message when you make this request.
How can you politely ask for environmentally kind baby things without coming off as preachy or ungrateful?
Here are some suggestions that will help you request environmentally kind items in a polite way.
Friendly Ways to Request Responsible Baby Products
Fortunately, there are many positive, upbeat ways to request responsible items without offending your friends and family. One idea is to plan a “hand me down” themed shower. At this type of shower, everyone brings hand-me-downs or second-hand gifts rather than brand-new items.
Reusing is one of the best ways to manage gently-used baby items. Most baby clothes and gear are only used for a few weeks, or for a few months tops. Because of the short duration of use, clothes and gear are often still in great condition when babies outgrow them. Opting for hand-me-downs and second-hand items are great ways to avoid using more energy and materials to make new products, while also keeping clothes out of landfills.
How to Make an Environmentally Kind Baby Registry
One of the most polite ways to ask for environmentally kind baby gifts is to make a registry that makes your wishes clear. Fortunately, many alternative baby registry sites allow you to request secondhand items or to request products that aren’t available from big box stores.
Some popular and flexible alternative registries to consider are:
With these registry options, you can curate your gift list and choose baby products that align with your views.
Environmentally Kind Baby Products to Include on Your Registry
Considering how many things you need when expecting a baby, it’s understandable that you might feel overwhelmed. That’s why we’ve put together a short list of basic environmentally kind baby products to include in your registry:
- Diapers: Whether you choose plant-based diapers or cloth diapers, you’ll need lots of them. DYPER offers many perks such as monthly deliveries to your door.
- Wipes: From wiping baby bums to cleaning sticky hands and milky faces, you can never have too many baby wipes.
- A diaper pail: Let's face it: diapers stink. A diaper pail keeps odor contained, and keeps used diapers separated from other waste.
- Diaper cream: When your baby’s bum gets red, you’ll need a good, vegan diaper cream with no harsh chemicals.
- Clothes: Secondhand clothes or clothes made from environmentally kind materials such as bamboo or organic cotton are great choices.
- Laundry soap: Becoming parents can make your home feel like laundry central, so add plenty of baby-friendly laundry pods (formulated for your baby’s sensitive skin) to your registry.
- Bathing items: Baby bath time calls for essentials such as a baby bathtub or bathing mat and baby wash.
- Burp cloths: Environmentally kind burp cloths made of linen, organic cotton, and other environmentally kind fabrics are great items for your list.
- A diaper bag: Life with a baby means hauling around diapers and extra clothes, so a good diaper bag is a necessity.
- High chair or baby seat: It's helpful to have somewhere baby can sit during meals, while you’re cooking, or at other times when baby-wearing isn’t feasible. Used high chairs and baby seats are a great environmentally kind way to go.
- Baby carrier: Baby-wearing while out and about (or even while you’re cleaning at home) makes life easier. Include a used wrap or a baby carrier on your registry.
- Baby monitor: A baby monitor can make your life easier if your baby will be sleeping in a separate room, or during naps. Go used if possible.
- Crib Sheets: Having extras on hand can be a lifesaver when the unexpected blowout diaper or spit-up happens.
If you have a favorite environmentally kind brand, you can specify that on your registry. That way, people will know exactly what to get!
How to Request Environmentally Kind Baby Products for Birthdays and Holidays
While a registry works well for a baby shower or newborn gifts, other events such as birthdays and holidays are a bit trickier. Registries aren't as common for these events.
How can you request environmentally kind baby gifts?
One strategy is to spread the word with trusted friends. Tell the people you're most comfortable with that you’re hoping to avoid certain items like plastics or toys with batteries. They can casually mention your preference when talking to others in your friend or family circle.
Alternatively, you can be explicit about your preferences with gift-givers. If you’re hosting a birthday party for your little one, you can add a note such as “Your presence is your present! However, if you would really like to bring a gift, (baby’s name) would love a book or a wooden toy.”
It can also be helpful to have some suggestions for environmentally kind baby gifts if people ask you about what your baby likes. Some options include:
- Wooden toys
- Experiential gifts, such as tickets to the zoo
- Memberships to museums
- Consumables, such as homemade cookies
- Crafting supplies
- Subscription gifts
- Monetary contributions to college or savings accounts
Wish lists are also common among some families. If this is true for you, take advantage of it!
What to Do When You Receive Items that Don’t Align with Your Wishes
Some people will inevitably bring you gifts that don’t align with your wishes despite your request environmentally kind baby things . Perhaps they were overwhelmed by the cute factor of a toy or clothing item, or they simply overlooked your preference. In most cases, people's intentions are good, and they just want to buy something nice for you and the baby.
When this happens, it’s best not to make a big deal out of it. Simply smile, say “thank you,” and return or exchange the item. Alternatively, many women’s shelters receive baby items, so you can always donate anything that you can’t return or exchange. You can even opt to keep the gift and focus on your own environmentally kind purchases going forward.
Although asking for environmentally kind baby products may feel a bit awkward, you're not alone. Many people are making changes in their lives to align with their convictions about the environment. By making this polite request, you also encourage and nudge people to become more environmentally kind themselves. Remember, every environmentally kind choice you’re able to encourage among your friends and family makes a difference!