Want to know what was on my zero waste baby registry? You’ve been asking about zero waste baby essentials for a while I know. Now that Vasco is a few months old, I’m finally feeling confident in the list of baby items I want to share with you that we have and use regularly. Our little family strives for a natural, eco-friendly, and minimalist lifestyle so if you fall in to any of those categories, this list is for you! No, it’s not 100% zero waste… but no one honestly lives completely zero waste, correct?
A large majority of the items on our list we obtained secondhand, and we highly recommend it! Not only is it more sustainable to shop secondhand for baby, but it’s also a whole lot cheaper using pre-loved items. If you can find these baby products secondhand, great! If not, no worries.
I will share links to this baby gear on Amazon to make it easy for you. Yes, I’m recommending you use Amazon (how non zero waste of me :)) But let’s face it, most of your friends and family members use Amazon these days. So start by making an Amazon Baby Registry. This really will make it so much easier for them to purchase the eco-friendly baby items you truly desire.
Zero Waste Baby Eats
Breastfeeding: For zero waste baby eats, I’ve been breastfeeding little Vasco. I choose to nurse him, because not only is it zero waste, but also it’s more affordable! Formula is expensive. I’m very thankful that breastfeeding has been going well so far so that I don’t need to purchase formula. An added bonus is there aren’t heaps of bottles to wash everyday. That wouldn’t have even crossed my pre-baby mind, but these day, I will take any break in chores I can find.
Bottles: To be honest, that’s not totally true. I still have to wash a few bottles for our little guy. I do pump occasionally so that Vasco can be fed by my partner when I need to be away or for the occasional date night. Fortunately, I have a secondhand breast pump given to me by a friend. It’s not the fanciest pump but it does the job! Check out our post on Eco Friendly Breast Milk Storage options, as well!
I had big plans to use these precious mason jar baby bottles for Vasco. However, my brother gave us so many hand-me-down bottles from my nephew. I couldn’t justify using a brand new bottle even if it was repurposing a mason jar. I always try to shop secondhand first when possible!
If you don’t have the option of hand-me-down bottles, I’d recommend the Mason Bottle! This is a great bottle choice, because you can use a mason jar that you already own. The kit comes with two nipples and a food-grade silicone sleeve that fits a standard canning jar. Here’s also a great list of eco friendly baby bottle options including a variety of glass bottles.
This post contains Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Burp Cloths: We had a bunch of hand-me-down burp cloths from my brother, we received some at our baby shower, and we then bought more… Yes, you need a lot of these! I really like these organic cotton muslin burp cloths, and we use them daily. You could certainly use cloths or towels you already own. I just really love how soft and gentle these are for baby. My mom says burp cloths are also great for cleaning and dusting when your little one no longer needs them. She still uses burp cloths from when I was a baby for cleaning her house today! My mom has zero waste habits and doesn’t even know it 🙂
Breastfeeding Pillow (optional): I have a hand-me-down breastfeeding pillow which I used pretty regularly in those first few weeks with little Vasco. However, I’m pretty sure a regular pillow could do the trick if you’re not wanting to invest in one of these and if you’re wanting to maintain a minimalist baby essentials list. Again, if you have the option, see if another mom friend would lend you theirs for a few months.
Reusable Breast Pads: These. are. important. At least for me they have been. I prefer to keep my clothes dry when I’m running errands 😉 I’m sure there are a lot of really great options when it comes to reusable breast pads, but these are the ones my mom bought me from Target on the way home from the hospital with baby Vasco, and I have loved them. I still use them daily.
They make disposable ones as well, but to keep things as waste free as possible, go for the reusable ones. Plus, they’re super soft! I love that you can toss them in a lingerie bag and wash them with the rest of the family’s laundry. Get you a few packs of these, I think I probably have about 12 pairs of these.
Zero Waste Baby: Sleep
Co Sleeper: We bought the most beautiful antique cradle for Vasco to use in the first few months, but he really wasn’t a fan. He preferred to sleep with his mom and dad! I know this contraption isn’t an especially eco-friendly baby item and you’re probably wondering why I’ve added it to the zero waste baby registry list. But if there is one thing we have used more than any other baby item, it has been the DockATot. He slept in the DockATot on our bed for the first three months of his life and after trying our best to transition him to his crib, he now sleeps in the DockATot in his crib at four months old. I joke with my partner that we hope they will make a teenager size of these, because I don’t think we will ever be able to get him to sleep without one.
UPDATE: Since posting this blog post many years ago when Vasco was an infant, things have changed. Using a DockATot is NOT recommended for sleep for babies. They actually aren’t even sold in the U.S. anymore. I’ve taken out the links for this product and don’t recommend purchasing one for your baby as they are unsafe.
Crib: I asked my Insta parent friends if they had any recommendations for eco-friendly, sustainable baby cribs a few months back. I came to the conclusion that there really aren’t many sustainably made cribs out there, and the few that do exist are very, very expensive. Most friends recommended borrowing a crib from a friend as the most zero waste and sustainable crib option. I have a dear friend who gave us her child’s crib since she no longer needed it any more!
You’ll also want to invest in a few sets of crib sheets. Two or three is plenty because you can use one while the other is being washed and vice versa. We got hand-me-down sheets, but I’ve seen lots of organic cotton crib sheet options on Amazon. The sheets from Burt’s Bees Baby seem to be pretty popular, so I’d probably check those out first if we were to buy some new.
Sound Machine: Yes, a sound machine is a large chunk of plastic – SO not zero waste, but SO important if you want a sleeping baby. We have used the heck out of our sound machine. We use it for every nap time and during the night for baby Vasco. I like it, because it helps settle our little guy but also it provides white noise in his room so we don’t to worry about waking him up when moving around the house during his nap time. Some new moms may debate me on this one, but I think it’s a baby registry essential for sure.
Swaddle Blankets: Invest in a few swaddle blankets for your little one. Vasco loves being swaddled for nap time and bed time so we use these guys regularly. If your baby doesn’t like being swaddled, don’t worry. You will still find these blankets super useful. They’re really versatile. I like that they’re lightweight, great as a nursing cover or to cover the stroller if it’s sunny day.
Video Monitor: Vasco slept in our room for the first few months but when we did move him to his own space, we were really happy to have a secondhand video baby monitor to use in his room. I don’t know if this is a first time parent thing or just a parent thing in general. But in the beginning, we were so worried that he wouldn’t be okay in his crib. The video monitor gave us peace of mind, because we could simply peak at the monitor and see he was happily sleeping away.
Zero Waste Baby Travel
Baby Wearing: Alright, this is another one of those zero waste baby registry things I’m going to strongly recommend you try to find secondhand. Vasco loved snoozing in the Baby K’tan Organic Baby Carrier when he was tiny but he outgrew it pretty quickly. We’ve upgraded to the Ergobaby now that he’s a little bigger, but honestly we don’t use it as much as I thought we would, because it’s SO hot here in Georgia during the summer. We both just get really sweaty pretty quickly when wearing it. I think if you live in a cooler region, definitely invest in one of these. It makes things so much easier when you can be hands free but still keep baby close.
Update: Now that we have a second child, I would say having a baby carrier of some sort is essential! It’s really helped me be hands free so I can continue to help my big kid while also snuggling the baby. My top three favorite carriers this time around have been the Ergobaby, my Hope & Plum ring sling, and rebozo baby wrap! We use all three of these carriers regularly with baby Zeta.
Car Seat: A car seat is one of those zero waste baby registry items you’re just going to have to buy brand new for safety reasons. Most car seats have an expiration date of about six years after purchase, so it’s important that you either purchase new or if purchasing secondhand, be sure the seat isn’t expired. One great way you can make your car seat purchase a little more zero waste conscious is by purchasing a convertible car seat rather than buying an infant car seat then having to transition to a larger car seat when baby no longer fits in the infant car seat.
We purchased this Britax convertible car seat on Amazon and would recommend for sure. I chose this car seat, because I read somewhere that it was a more environmentally friendly choice, but now I’m not sure where that info is. Just do your research when choosing a non-toxic car seat and make sure it’s safe and durable. Baby’s safety comes first!!
Stroller: I know some moms will say a stroller is optional, but we LOVE our stroller and use it all the time. It’s so hot in Georgia so rather than baby wearing, we usually take Vasco in the stroller. We are borrowing a secondhand stroller from my brother, but you can find it on Amazon – Mamas & Papas Cruise Umbrella Stroller. I’m sharing a link for this one not because it’s particularly natural or eco-friendly but because we really like this one so much. It’s super lightweight and easy to maneuver which is important in a stroller choice. UPDATE: Amazon no longer has this particular stroller available. However, they listed the Summer Infant, 3D Mini Convenience Stroller as a comparable option. I think it’s actually more affordable than the one we had.
Diaper Bag: You’ll definitely want a bag to carry baby essentials on the go, but I don’t think that necessarily has to be a “diaper bag.” A large bag with pockets would work great or even a book bag if you have one at home already. I like being able to carry Vasco’s bag on my back rather than on one arm. Also, you can probably find one secondhand if you do some browsing on Facebook Marketplace!
Zero Waste Baby Diapers
Cloth Diaper Stash: Oooooh cloth diapers. We have had so much fun learning about cloth diapering with Vasco. I actually whipped up a blog post about Cloth Diapering 101 with advice from my Insta friends before Vasco was born if you want to check it out. From my own experience, we didn’t buy newborn cloth diapers for our little guy. We used disposable diapers until he was big enough to fit into the one size cloth diapers. I realize that’s not the best zero waste option, but it’s what worked for our family. Those first few weeks are really hard and exhausting. I was thankful to not have extra laundry on top of that.
I also recommend that you don’t buy a bunch of reusable diapers before baby is born… Just buy a few different ones, preferably secondhand if you can. What I’ve learned is that every baby is unique and families prefer different styles and brands of cloth diapers. Work on building your stash after your baby’s arrival because you’ll know which diapers you prefer once you’ve experimented with them for a few weeks.
Wet Bag: We have one large wet bag that hangs in the bathroom for soiled cloth diapers. We toss the dirty diapers in the bag and when it is full, we do a load of laundry, washing the diapers and bag as well. You can probably find one on Facebook Marketplace but if not, the ones from Planet Wise are a great option.
Cloth Wipes & Spray Bottle: You’ll want some cloth wipes for cleaning up dirty diapers. You could definitely upcycle an old flannel sheet by cutting it into small wipes. Or there’s also the option of Organic Bamboo Jersey Cloths that you can find in the Tiny Yellow Bungalow shop. I like these, because they’re super duper soft for baby’s sensitive skin. Again, brand new cloth wipes are not essential, but if you want to invest in some, these cloths are great.
You might find this post about the best non-toxic baby wipes to be equally useful!
Diaper Balm: Surprisingly, we haven’t had any issues with diaper rash for baby Vasco. However, I know diaper rash is pretty common, so I’d say invest in a jar of diaper balm or diaper cream just in case. We have a diaper balm that comes in a glass jar. Good for baby and zero waste! I always look for products without harmful chemicals but especially for something that will be used on baby’s skin.
Zero Waste Baby Bath Time
Baby Soap: I don’t have a recommendation for packaging free baby soap, and we don’t have bulk soap options in my town. So we use a huge bottle of Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Liquid Soap – Baby Unscented for baby. This bottle is huge. We’ve been using it for washing body and hair for Vasco for four months now and have barely made a dent in the bottle. I feel like this bottle of soap will last us until he’s two years old!
Bath Towels & Wash Cloths: You’ll want to have a few sets of baby bath towels and wash cloths. See if a friend has any to spare first of course! I really thought we would just use our regular adult sized towels and wash cloths, but I’ve really liked having baby towels and wash cloths because they’re made of a thinner softer material which we really like. Choose organic natural materials whenever possible for you little one!
Baby Bath (optional): You don’t need a baby bath. Plenty of families bathe their children without one. However, my mom gave us a baby bath for Vasco and we’ve enjoyed having it. It does make it easier to wash our little guy. Babies can be so slippery haha! Vasco likes it too, because he’s able to sit up and see what’s going on.
Nail Clippers: Baby fingernails are tiny… you need a tiny nail clipper!
Zero Waste Baby Clothing
We are so thankful that we haven’t needed to buy any baby clothes for our little man. We have been borrowing baby clothes from Vasco’s cousin who is six years older than him. He has been so sweet to share with us! Babies grow really fast, so do yourself a favor and don’t spend a small fortune on new baby clothes. Instead, borrow some from friends or check Facebook Marketplace for some secondhand clothes. You can find them for cheap online! We have especially loved putting Vasco in hand-me-downs that my brother wore when he was a baby. It’s so fun comparing photos of them wearing the same cute outfits!
Oh and as far has how many clothes you need for baby – this is where my minimalist mindset goes out the window. Get a lot… because your baby will inevitably spit up or poo on his/her clothes at the very least once per day. You will constantly be changing baby clothes. Make sure you have a hefty stash so you aren’t doing laundry all day.
Zero Waste Baby Toys
Swing: You will get lots of toys from family and friends as gifts so I don’t really see a need to buy any toys. However, I would say get some kind of swinging/rocking mechanism for baby. We have a secondhand swing from my brother which we used daily in the first few months. It was essential for us so that I could leave Vasco by himself for some time to take a shower or cook dinner. Vasco loves his swing, but I know some new parents swear by the Rock n’ Play. Again, not especially eco-friendly but important for parent sanity 😉
I know it seems like a lot… And a lot of it is plastic… but these are honestly what I find to be the most important baby essentials for our eco-minded low waste family. What do you have on your sustainable baby registry? I’d love to hear your thoughts and learn what your family finds useful!
We were able to source about 85% percent of Vasco’s baby essentials pre-loved thanks to our sweet family. I tried to include links to most of the baby items on the list. Inevitably, there will be some things you can’t find secondhand. Of course, do your best to hunt for used items first but if not, I wanted to make it easy for you to find these items online. This first year will FLY BY so be gentle with yourself and where you’re at in your sustainable journey!
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