So, you just found out you're having a baby. Congratulations! Now you get to flood your Pinterest with baby clothes, plan your nursery, and pick out names. You start a registry, and you begin to research only the best items for your little one. But you're overwhelmed with choices and can't decide between the cheaper six pack of onesies that will probably get destroyed anyway, or the expensive bamboo viscose ones that state that they are ethically and sustainable produced. You care about the environment, but you also care about your wallet. You wonder, is it worth the investment?
So many items these days have labels stating that they are healthy, sustainable, organic, or ethically sourced. But what do all of these labels really mean? When considering spending a chunk of your paycheck on these higher quality items, take these factors into account.
1. Who you want to support.
I had both of my kids in the midst of the pandemic, so Amazon became my bestie. Mr. Bezos was making bank from the fact I couldn't leave the house and desperately needed about ten items a day to keep my baby calm and my sanity intact. But what I didn't comprehend at the time was the fact that while I was funneling money into Amazon, small businesses that relied on foot traffic were suffering. Since we were all trapped inside our homes and the convenience that Amazon provided was a massive relief, small businesses that feed our economy (and their families) were dwindling. Sure, you can find ethical and sustainable and organic products on Amazon. But what about those whose sole business purpose is to provide parents with the highest-quality sustainable and ethical products? Who has taken the time to really research where the materials come from and how they are produced?
2. Durability and wear
Listen, as a mom of two I get it. I have snagged my fair share of hand-me-downs and thought "ahh well, they're going to get stained anyway." But it wasn't until I was handed-down my first set of bamboo pajamas that I really felt the difference. The things I cared about at the time these came across my doorstep were efficiency and how easy it was to change diapers, how easy they were to clean, and how long I could get out of them. I got my first pair of bamboo viscose zipper pjs and was honestly hooked. The breathable fabric meant that my baby was comfortable and not overheated, and they came out feeling fabulous in the wash. I mean I threw them into a machine and didn't think twice about fabric care at that point. I had a newborn, and handwashing wasn't on my agenda. Also, my little guy LIVED in those pjs until 6 months. Like magic, this stretchy and soft material meant I was able to get six months of wear out of one set. Money well worth it in my opinion.
3. Your values as a consumer.
Yes, it sometimes does seem insane to spend $40 on a top your baby will - they will - spit up on. But, when it comes to your values as a consumer, it's important to consider how the clothes and items you're literally putting on your baby's back are manufactured and produced. Can you be certain that the clothing is manufactured in a way that is ethical to the workers involved? Can you be certain that you are supporting another family within the U.S. feed their own kids? Can you be certain that the fabric used won't eventually pollute the planet? Do you know if the company you're purchasing from gives back? If some of those answers are no, and you're okay with that by all means that's okay. As parents, we have enough to worry about. But if you are more of a conscious consumer, these are things that you may really want to consider.
More and more regulations around baby products are developed each year, and the things we relied on as moms to spare us from losing our minds are being recalled. I used to LOVE the Boppy Lounger for example. My daughter lived in that thing. I suffered from PPD, so holding my baby 24/7 made me feel suffocated and alone. The Boppy Lounger was my saving grace. It was the first thing on my registry with my son, and the item I wanted the most. The second he was born it was recalled and I was so upset. But safety had to take priority. With that in mind, as parents, safety is a large part of why we purchase certain items over others. We see a label with the words "organic" and wonder if this means less exposure to potential harmful ingredients or products. The answer? Potentially, yes. Certified organic products go through rigorous testing and are required to meet standards set forth by governing bodies within the US.
5. The environment
This was the icing on the cake for me when purchasing bamboo clothing. Not only was I able to buy a product I really loved, but I was also supporting sustainability in the textile industry as well? Bamboo clothing is made from a highly sustainable and eco-friendly plant, grows incredibly fast, and requires no pesticides or fertilizers to grow. It also has a much lower impact on the environment compared to other materials. Meaning that by choosing bamboo clothing for your baby, you're making a conscious effort as a consumer to protect the planet for future generations. That was something I could really get behind.
Personally, there is something to be said about recycling used clothing and accepting hand-me-downs. It's absolutely beneficial to the environment and also your wallet. But spending money on items that you can ensure are made with quality safe materials, and having peace of mind that you're supporting other small businesses and the environment is just as important, if not more important.