No Plastic Baby/Toddler
I assume this gets a little bit tricky...
*Know that I am writing this as a woman who hasn't yet had children.*
New parents already have a million new things to do and with very little sleep... Unless they have help or were aware of all the plastic waste that comes with having a baby, AND had the time and the energy to organize and plan way ahead of time, the chances are reducing their plastic use is not high on their to-do lists. That said, if you are pregnant, or do have a little one and magically, have some time to read this and make some changes, here are some resources.
Bannor Toys is a U.S. based company. They make rattles, teethers, wooden toys, building blocks and kids furniture. They use organic wood and paint.
Little Colorado is a company that makes "modern wooden toddler furniture". They are a U.S. based company.
Smiling Tree Toys is a family owned business. They make teethers, rattles, wooden toys, ornaments, building blocks, etc.
Pure Play Kids carries some organic cotton baby dolls and a number of other toys that are mostly made in the U.S. They seem to be a responsible company.
Palumba carries a number of different types of eco-friendly toys and toddler furniture.
Wild Apples looks like a REALLY interesting store! They make toys out of wood but I don't know what kind of stains or paints they use.
Uncle Goose makes beautiful wooden blocks with kid safe paints/ink. Really beautiful - check it out even if you don't have kids :) And the blocks come in a canvas bag not plastic!
Elves and Angels is a Maine company. They make kids furniture, dollhouses, pull toys, rattles, and the list goes on. Their website is a little overwhelming but I'm sure there are some gems to be found.
Hazelnut Kids have a number of organic stuffed animals, rattles and teething toys as well as toddler toys.
North Star Toys is another wooden toy company.
Organic and Natural Fiber Clothing
*I will add more to the organic and natural clothing list.
Disposable versus Cloth Diapers
"The Union of Concerned Scientists has estimated about 18 billion diapers are thrown into landfills every year. And a 1998 study by the Environmental Protection Agency found that diapers made up 3.4 million tons of waste, or 2.1 percent of U.S. garbage in landfills that year." - ABC News from May of 2005.
I am not sharing this information to judge or shame any parents or caregivers who use disposable diapers for their little ones. We all do the best we can. I'm sharing this for a little perspective and in case some people aren't aware of the amount of waste produced.
Unfortunately plastic pollution isn't the only concern when it comes disposable diapers. There are many chemicals (dioxins, sodium polyacrylate, etc.) in disposable diapers that end up in oceans or landfills.
The thing with cloth diapers is that you can't just throw the dirty diaper in the washing machine. You'd have poop all over the washing machine... You first have to scoop the poop out and flush it down the toilet, then soak the cloth diaper, and then wash it in the washing machine. So really it is no easy task if you're already feeling overwhelmed. And if you don't have a washing machine, you could potentially designate one pot as a diaper pot and after you hand wash the diapers (after scooping the poop and soaking it), you could "boil" them in the diaper pot on the stove. You won't be able to boil everything (some have lower temperatures on their tags) but you could most likely boil the plain cotton inserts - the poopiest parts.
This gets more challenging when you're out and about with your baby, obviously. Like reusable (washable) menstrual pads, I would carry a "special" bag (or a tin container) with me for pooped in diapers. Some of the companies below have interesting accessories you might want to check out.
Here are some places where you can purchase organic cloth diapers, swim diapers, training pants, and some accessories;
Kelly's Closet. Lovey Bums. Diaper Junction. Green Mountain Diapers. The Natural Baby CO. Bummis. Life Without Plastic. Babee Greens - This is a one size fits all. Check out the video they have on their website.
Note: Some of these stores also carry "eco" diapers, meaning diapers that are made out of plastic bottles etc. Try not to buy these if you don't have to since microfibers do wash into the oceans after each time you throw one of these in the washing machine. That said, you will most likely need some liquid proof stuff, so when it comes to plastics, it's more eco-friendly to purchase one of these eco-diapers than it is to use disposable ones.
*For more info on microfibers and plastic free clothing check out the No Plastic Clothing post.
FireFly Diapers. Lily's Dreams - Etsy. Nature's Baby Blankets. Oeuf NYC. Moonlight Slumber. Naturepedic. Pure Rest. Holy Lamb Organics. Patemm. Lil Helper. If you find yourself in the U.K. here's another company Lana Bambini.
Next Up: Nursing, Bottles & Bottle Cleaners, Food & Utensils