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Low Waste Nursery Haul!

This post contains affiliate links. This post has been updated as of 4/13/2024

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I say low-waste (not zero waste) because I believe the term zero-waste is a misnomer and nearly impossible to achieve. Even the staunchest zero-wasters recycle. So my goal is a low-waste household. The most sobering fact is that we (as a society) are not going to buy our way out of the ongoing environmental destruction occurring in our world. The best way to help our environment is to “NOT BUY IT”, buy used, or buy sustainable.

The items listed below were either purchased by me or given to me used or new. When I can no longer use the items, I plan to either donate or resell the items. I am hopeful that these items will help other individuals for an extended period of time, thereby lowering their waste streams.

On a personal note I haven’t been active on my blog since December 2017 because during the Spring of 2018 has been filled with trauma, sadness, and now joy. At the beginning of 2018, I had a freak hospitalization for blood loss and then my dad died. All of this occurred while I was pregnant, working full time, and in graduate school. Then I delivered my baby boy in May, but we had had complications, which extended the hospital stay for both of us. Needless to say when we returned home, my nursery was threadbare and not completely unpacked. This is my second baby so I put together a bare-bones baby registry with just the essentials. Thankfully my wonderful friends threw me a sweet baby shower for remainder of the items I needed.

I’m not going to lie. For the first month I used disposable diapers! I was barely functioning. After the first month in the newborn stage I was finally organized enough start using cloth diapers.

DIAPERING

Cloth Diapers

Knowing how expensive cloth diapers are I did a lot of research on cloth diapers before deciding to purchase Soft Bums. I’M SO SAD THAT SOFT BUMS HAS SINCE BEEN DISCONTINUED 馃檨 I was all about EASY at this point in my life. I was a working mom and I was in graduate school. I didn’t want anything complicated. I also wanted a cloth diaper that grew with my baby. I didn’t want to have to purchase various sizes throughout diapering my baby. Before deciding on Soft Bums, I have to give kudos to Katie at The Kitchen Stewardship who created an incredible post on cloth diapering. Katie reviewed dozens of cloth diapers, before gushing on Soft Bums.

Since Soft Bums have been discontinued I would highly suggest Alva Baby Cloth Diapers.

RELATED CONTENT: Why I love cloth diapering.

ALVABABY Baby Cloth Diapers 6 Pack with 12 Inserts One Size Adjustable

I originally purchased one of the Soft Bums packages for 9 cloth diaper shells and 36 cloth inserts. After Soft Bums went out of business I would recommend Alva Baby snap pocket diapers. I have used both velcro (hook and loop) and snap diapers. These cloth diapers are so easy to put on that they feel like they’re disposable. These diapers have it all– they’re easy to use, soft, colorful, effective, easy to clean, with flexible sizing. I absolutely loved these diapers and the baby seemed to like them too.

Edit: Wet Bags

I originally wrote this post in June 2018. Re-editing this post years later, I realize I had a lot to learn about cloth diapering! The first thing I learned was the importance of a good wet bag for both home and daycare. I didn’t want to constantly worry about not having a wet bag so I purchased three Planet Wise wet bags from Amazon. I love Planet Wise because they make silicone bags. I used these bags for years and was able to donate them to a new mom afterwards! I’m so grateful I found this wet bag and these cloth diapers!

Planet Wise Hanging Wet/Dry Bag

Cloth Wipes

Prince Lionheart cloth wipe warmer for under $30 ($28 euros). When my first child had a bad diaper rash we used regular old wash cloths with soap and water. It was a pain to run back and forth to the sink each time, wait for the water to warm up, then return to my screaming baby. This time I decided to purchase a wipe warmer, but I didn’t want a disposable wipe warmer. Prince Lionheart makes wipe warmers for reusable wipes cloths. The best part is when I open the wipes they’re nice and toasty and ready for the baby’s bum. When I used regular wipes the baby screamed when I wiped him. I used to think wipe warmers were a novelty, but my baby no longer screams or even fusses during diaper changes. His diaper changes are now a pleasurable experience…for him. I’ve been using regular wash cloths with the warmer. I don’t see the point of paying a fortune for a cloth to wipe my baby’s butt.

<img loading=lazy decoding=async width=558 height=480 src="Prince-lionheart-cloth-wipe-warmer.jpg" alt="Prince Lionheart Cloth Wipe Warmer">
Prince Lionheart Cloth Wipe Warmer

Diaper Sprayer

I watched enough cloth diapering videos to know I needed to treat the diapers before I put them in the washer. I needed a spray system to rinse the yuck off directly into the toilet before washing! I decided on the Charlie Banana Diaper Sprayer (but another bites the dust 馃檨) Charlie Banana is no longer sold! So now I would recommend Arofa Black Bidet Sprayer for Toilet. I placed this on my bare bones registry and received from a friend. The diaper sprayer attaches directly to the toilet.

Washing Routine: After spraying the diapers over the toilet, I run the cloth diapers in a rinse cycle, then a regular wash cycle with detergent, then air dry.

<img loading=lazy decoding=async width=559 height=352 src="Charlie-banana-diaper-sprayer.jpg" alt="Charlie Banana Diaper Sprayer">
Charlie Banana Diaper Sprayer

Diaper Cream

Coconut oil in bulk. I tried Motherslove Diaper Balm because I didn’t want to buy a tube of Desitin or Vaseline. Side note: You shouldn’t use Desitin with cloth diapers. It may leave residue (even after washing). My goal was to use more sustainable materials, such as glass, aluminum, cloth, or wood. I’ve had a revolution with regard to glass. Glass is not necessarily sustainable, nor is it recyclable. It really depends on your municipality.

Most diaper creams come in plastic or plastic tubing. Motherslove comes in a glass jar with a tin top, but it’s a 4 ounce package for $25.00 $11.00 (wow! inflation from $11 to $24 in 6 years)! It’s ridiculously priced and it only lasted a few days. I feel like a complete sucker for buying this. It makes much more environmental and economic sense to purchase a bottle of coconut oil in bulk (even if it’s in a plastic container). I purchased a 14 ounce container for $6.29 from VitaCost. The coconut oil may be in plastic, but if it lasts me a year then it’s worth it. Coconut oil has so many other uses besides a baby’s bum. I use coconut oil for chapped nipples and for various other concoctions like lotions and conditioner.

<img loading=lazy decoding=async width=312 height=383 src="Coconut-oil.jpg" alt="Buy Coconut Oil in Bulk">
Coconut Oil

Changing Pad/Table

I received a used Changing Table for free. The person who bought it purchased it used from a thrift store so double used, which I love! The point of this story is to buy used as much as possible. This sells retail for $105 from Amazon.

<img loading=lazy decoding=async width=364 height=337 src="Graco-changing-table.jpg" alt="Wood baby changing tables with shelf">
Graco Lauren Changing Table

BATHING

Burb cloths

I use regular wash cloths that I purchased from Amazon for $18.50 for a bag of 24.

<img loading=lazy decoding=async width=349 height=325 src="Washcloths.jpg" alt="Best white wash cloths for nursery">
Washcloths for nursery

Towels

I didn’t waste any money purchasing baby towels when my regular towels work just as well.

Infant bath

Another used freebie from a family member. It’s bright pink, but my little boy doesn’t mind and I don’t either. Everyone should love pink! The Summer Infant Deluxe Baby Bather retails for around $20.

<img loading=lazy decoding=async width=525 height=463 src="Infant-bath.jpg" alt="Pink girly infant bath baby bather">
Summer Infant Deluxe Baby Bather – Pink Dots

Baby liquid soap

The best option for liquid baby soap is to purchase in bulk. I purchase the 128 ounce Dr. Dr. Wood’s Castile Baby soap from Amazon. You can of course purchase from a bulk store where you fill your own container (for an exorbitant cost) or you can purchase in bulk yourself. I’m not against filling your own containers at bulk stores, but you’re still leaving packaging at the store. So whether you purchase from a store or in bulk there will be some form of packaging. The key is to lower your packaging creation, which is why I prefer to buy in bulk. I’m also concerned with the ingredients, which is why I switched to castile soap.

Baby Castile soap Dr. Woods
Dr. Bronner’s Baby Castile Soap v’s Aveeno Baby Soap

Baby bar soap

For bar soap, I’d recommend Kirk’s Castile Bar Soap for the win. It’s currently priced at $7.10 for two bars.

Kirks Castile Soap
Pure castille bar soap baby unscented

SLEEPING

Bassinet

My first baby was not the best sleeper so I decided to do whatever I could to get my newborn to sleep! I remember seeing ads for the Snoo Bassinet a year or so before. It’s incredibly expensive for a product that can only be used for 6 months. It’s $1,695 retail, but with the 30% to 40% discount my price was much cheaper. Once my baby outgrows the Snoo, I plan to sell for around $450. (Edit: After my baby outgrew it, I resold for $400).

<img loading=lazy decoding=async width=421 height=382 src="Snoo-Bassinet.jpg" alt="Snoo Bassinet Henry Karp Happiest Baby">

Baby monitor

No need for expensive video baby monitors. This baby’s lungs work just fine! I purchased a Vtech Sound Indicator from Amazon for under $20. I donated to a mom in need after my baby outgrew it and amazingly these are still sold!

<img loading=lazy decoding=async width=409 height=326 src="Vtech-baby-monitor.jpg " alt="Vtech baby monitor best priced cheap good quality">
Vtech baby monitor

Swaddles

I received a package of cloth swaddles during my baby shower. SwaddleMe original 2 pack for under $25.

<img loading=lazy decoding=async width=499 height=498 src="Swaddleme.jpg " alt="Best infant swaddles">
Swaddleme

Crib/Toddler Bed

I received a crib/toddler bed for free for my first child. It was a Serta Bethpage 4-in-1. (Sadly they no longer sell the Serta). We didn’t expect to have another child, but I kept it in the attic just in case. I’m glad I did. In lieu of the Serta, I would recommend Sorelle Furniture Berkley 4-in-1 retails for $270.

<img loading=lazy decoding=async width=478 height=395 src="Serta-Bethpage-4-in-1-Convertible-Crib-in-Dark-Chocolate.jpg " alt="Wood convertible baby crib dark brown 4 in 1">
Sorelle Furniture Berkley 4-in-1

FEEDING

Nursing (free!)

I would love to nurse exclusively, but I’m going back to work so pumping is essential.

Milk Monster

Breast pump

I received the pump free through my insurance, so I plan to give it away once I’m done breastfeeding and pumping. In the states, our healthcare is an absolute mess. We pay the highest healthcare rates in the world and have some of the worst health outcomes. So if you live in the USA and have health insurance you should be able to get a free breast pump through insurance. I would recommend Ameda. The great thing about a breast pump is that if you can pass it on to someone else when you’re done with it. The breast pump I ordered was the Ameda Mya Joy Breast Pump with Large Tote for $200.

<img loading=lazy decoding=async width=605 height=394 src="Ameda-breast-pump.jpg " alt="Best breast pump through insurance Ameda Aeroflow Easy">
Ameda Finesse Breast Pump from Aeroflow

Hand breast pump

The Haakaa Breast Pump works best if you’re nursing or pumping one breast. It’s made out of silicone. I donated this as soon as my little one is done nursing. I purchased it for $27.99. Amazingly, the price is still the same 6 years later!

<img loading=lazy decoding=async width=331 height=470 src="HaaKaa-Breast-pump.jpg " alt="Easy Best hand expressing breast pumps Haakaa">

Bottle warmer

A colleague donated the Munchkin Precision Digital Bottle Warmer to me, along with all of their Dr. Brown’s bottles. Score! You can find them online. I donated mine as soon as my child was weaned.

<img loading=lazy decoding=async width=456 height=459 src="Munchkin-Precision-Digital-Bottle-Warmer.jpg " alt="Best bottle warmer dr. brown bottles">
Munchkin Precision Digital Bottle Warmer

Bottles

Same friend donated all of his Dr. Brown’s bottles to us. This is the best kind of low-waste haul! No purchase needed. Maybe someone else would have an issue with using used bottles, but not me. After sterilizing them in the dishwasher they were as good as new. Dr. Brown’s original bottles retail for around $20 $11.89 for 3 (which is much more 6 years later!)

<img loading=lazy decoding=async width=300 height=263 src="Dr.-Browns-Original-Bottles.jpg" alt="Dr.-Browns-Original-Bottles">

Bottle labels

I tried Stretchy Bear labels with little to no success. The labels smear badly, even with their “special marker.” I decided to try the silicone labels that allow you to customize with your child’s name. That way I only have to write the date and whether or not it’s breast milk or formula. I chose Mommy & Me bottle labels and I’m hopeful they work better than the disappointing Stretchy Bears!

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<img loading=lazy decoding=async width=274 height=373 src="bottle-labels_mommy-and-me.jpg" alt="Mommy and Me bottle labels">

Baby food

I made my own purees with apples, carrots, sweet potatoes, blueberries, strawberries, and bananas. Before I discovered the low waste movement, I was wasting money on single use disposable baby food pouches. Knowing what I know now about single use baby food pouches, I’m in disbelief that I used to buy those things. I plan to use my Magic Bullet Blender.

<img loading=lazy decoding=async width=360 height=244 src="Baby-food-puree-carrots.jpg " alt="Best blender to make baby food purees">
Via Gayvoronskaya_Yana/Shutterstock

High Chair

I love free things! This was given to me secondhand. The best thing about high chairs (unlike car seats) is that for the most part there are not many recalls. You can likely find a used high chair through Craigslist, a mom group, or thrift store. I’m not sure of the model, but I believe it’s a basic Graco high chair.

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Graco Simple Switch High Chair

LAUNDRY

Hamper

We needed a hamper for our sweet boy. My son is now a big kid and we are still using this wonderful hamper! Again I wanted a hamper made of natural materials such as wicker, cloth, or bamboo. In our registry we settled for the Dark Golden Brown wicker hamper lined with cloth. I’m so happy this hamper is still available 6 years later. Check it out!

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Wicker Hamper – Dark Global Brown – Threshold

Dryer balls

Six wool dryer balls from Amazon. I’m still using these years later! They are still going strong. I haven’t bought a dryer sheet or fabric softener in 7 years! I purchased this in 2017 and have been very pleased with this. I haven’t had to purchase any dryer sheets in over a year. These dryer balls soften my cloths just fine!

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Laundry Detergent

I previously purchased laundry detergent from Costco聽in a bulk plastic container. It would last me a year before I started cloth diapering. However, the disposable plastic still bothered me, so I tried my hand at making my own laundry detergent (see below) but I quickly learned it was not good for my high efficiency washing machine. (Side note: If you ever need a washer or dryer I highly recommend Costco because they have a 2 year warranty.

Now I use聽Nellie’s Laundry Soda Powder Detergent powder laundry detergent, which comes in a metal tin. Over the last few years I’m not just concerned about the product’s packaging, but I’m also looking at the ingredients. A 2018 study from the American Thoracic Society found that many household cleaners are TOXIC. Depending on which products you purchase, inhaling household cleaning products is the equivalent to聽smoking a 20-pack of cigarettes a day. My previous favorite detergent was Tide! I loved my Tide, but Tide has toxic compound 1,4-DIOXANE, which can increase cancer risk. The original Tide and Arm & Hammer have been banned in New York as of 2023.

My secondary concern is the packaging. It is not lined with plastic so it easily breaks down and can be placed with my metal recycling. It does include a plastic scoop. I’ve yet to come across any commercial laundry detergent that doesn’t come with a plastic scoop. If you happen upon one please let me know.

Nellie's Laundry Soda Powder Detergent

Homemade Detergent Recipe

This is homemade recipe is specific for clothing (NOT FOR CLOTH DIAPERS). You cannot use soap on cloth diapers. This homemade laundry detergent recipe includes聽Castile soap, Arm & Hammer Washing Soda, and Borax. All of the products come in low waste packaging of either paper or cardboard. If you plan to make a large batch in a glass container then use 3 boxes of washing soda, 2 boxes of borax, 2 bars of Castile soap shavings. Halve or quarter the recipe if you need less.

<img loading=lazy decoding=async width=786 height=398 src="Homemade-Laundry-Detergent-Soap.jpg " alt="homemade powder laundry detergent zerowaste">
Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe

Cloth diaper laundry soap

After I spray the soiled diapers down I prewash diapers with 1/4th recommended detergent, run a full wash cycle with 1/4th recommended detergent, and then run the diapers in a rinse cycle. My manufacturer does not recommend a prewash, but every cloth diaper guru and website I have seen recommends a prewash. You can decide for yourself what works best for you.

Again do not include any type of soap when washing your diapers (detergent only). Soap will cause a buildup and will prevent your diapers from getting clean. PLEASE NOTE: Do not put borax in your laundry dispenser. Borax needs to be placed directly in the drum of the washer. There is some debate on using Borax as a clothing detergent, which is why I no longer attempt to make my own laundry detergent. You can find out more about that here.

Homemade Cloth Detergent Recipe

If you’re looking for a cloth diaper homemade detergent I’ve had some success with this one. Again, try at your own risk. I now prefer purchasing Nellie’s Laundry Soda. This recipe fills up a large glass container. 3 boxes of washing soda, 2 boxes of borax, 2 boxes of epsom salt.

<img loading=lazy decoding=async width=794 height=396 src="Homemade-Cloth-Diaper-Laundry-Detergent.jpg " alt="homemade powder laundry detergent for cloth diapers zerowaste">
Homemade Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent

I purchased epsom salt in cardboard boxes from Amazon.聽The epsom salt I purchased is no longer available but there is one in paper packaging I’d recommend. Most people who cloth diaper use Tide powdered detergent. There are Tide products that come in a cardboard box, but as I mentioned above, I’m no longer just focused on packaging. I don’t believe Tide is the healthiest option for my family considering the toxicity of 1,4-Dioxane.

I’ve also heard good things about Seventh Generation’s powdered detergent. You can purchase a 112 ounce box at Thrive Market. I’ve also heard of some cloth diapering aficionados using just Borax. Good ole’ Borax is always in a cardboard box and can be purchased anywhere, including Target and Dollar General. Borax can be purchased in bulk from Bulk Apothecary.

DRESSING

Clothing

Clothing donations or used baby clothing are the best way to maintain a low-waste baby haul! At one month, my little boy has already outgrown the newborn clothing so that’s already in the donate pile.

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Used baby clothing via hip2save.com

TRAVELING

Diaper Bag

The original bag I purchased is no longer available. Wow, what a difference a couple of years makes! I received a JJ Cole Satchel Diaper Bag from a friend used. Again, anything I don’t have to purchase (limiting my manufacturing and shipping imprint) is fine with me! I Part of living a low waste lifestyle is purchasing products that LAST. Products that can be used for years (decades) or passed on to another person. One of my new favorite diaper bags is the BabbleRoo Diaper Bag Backpack. This bag has been crafted by parents for parents! It’s sturdy and highly functional.

BabbleRoo Diaper Bag Backpack - Multi function Waterproof Diaper Bag

Car seat and base 

Like everything else, the original infant car seat I reused is no longer manufactured. So now I’d recommend the Graco SnugRide 35 Lite LX Infant Car Seat. Please note that car seats do have an expiration date and cannot be used indefinitely or if you have been in an accident. Thankfully, Target has a wonderful car seat recycling program! This was a gift for my first baby that we are reusing. Thankfully, this car seat has not been recalled or expired. Edit: Speaking of which, we were in a car accident (thankfully no injuries), so we had to purchase a new car seat. The car seat I purchased was specifically for compact vehicles. It’s called a Chicco NextFit Sport Convertible Car Seat. Amazingly it’s still manufactured, but it’s pricey.

<img loading=lazy decoding=async width=351 height=440 src="Chicco-nextfit-convertible-car-seat.jpg" alt="Best car seat for compact cars for infant and toddlers">

MISCELLANEOUS

Baby Wearing

I received a Boba Organic Baby Wrap as a gift. This is an excellent baby wrap that held my newborn closely. It put him to sleep almost immediately. You can purchase directly from Boba Organic.

<img loading=lazy decoding=async width=426 height=332 src="Boba-Organic-Baby-Wrap.jpg" alt="Best baby wear wrap for infants">
Boba Organic Baby Wrap

Lighting

I wanted to add a little whimsy to my nursery. I received a sweet Sloth Lamp (no longer manufactured) from my registry. Looking back I would recommend buying a sturdier piece, in a style that can grow with your child. If I can’t find or afford a locally made product, then the best option is purchasing a product THAT LASTS. I’ve since purchased some Safavieh lamps and I can attest to their high quality.

Safavieh Lighting Collection Bowie Blue Ceramic

Windows

My nursery windows were bare. I didn’t want to purchase vinyl blinds or faux wood plantation shutters. Real wood plantation shutters are quite expensive. Wanting a natural material I decided on the聽Cordless Blackout Cotton Roman Shade.

Cordless Blackout Cotton Roman Shade
Bamboo shade cordless

Liquid Soap

It’s somewhat cheaper for non-baby Castile baby soap in a bulk sized bottle. For regular liquid soap I use Natural Organics. You can find a gallon (128 ounces).

<img loading=lazy decoding=async width=328 height=372 src="Baby-castile-soap.jpg" alt="Best liquid baby soap">
Baby castile soap

Regular bar soap

I previously used Amish Farms Quality Handmade Natural Soap again from Amazon. It comes in various sizes. I had a bit of trouble with this Amish soap. There was a batch that had some metal pieces in them. I’m not sure what happened, but I’ve switched to a local soap maker (local to me), the Blue Ridge Soap Shed.

Baby's Natural Soap For Baby
Amish Farms Bar Soap

Organizer

I love shoe organizers for organization. I prefer the canvass bags versus the vinyl. I purchased a 16 compartment over the door Chevron organizer from Hollar for $3. Yes, $3.

<img loading=lazy decoding=async width=234 height=466 src="canvass-shoe-bag.jpg" alt="Cheap organizer over door nursery or closet">
Chevron Canvas Shoe Organizer

Kitchen towels

With a new baby you will inevitably wipe up messes in the kitchen. If interested the kitchen towels I use (in lieu of paper towels) are Utopia Dish Cloths 12 pack from Amazon for $13.99. What I love about these is that they soften with each wash.

<img loading=lazy decoding=async width=558 height=496 src="Utopia-Towels-Kitchen-Towels-Dish-Cloth.jpg" alt="Cheap soft dish cloth towels for kitchen">
Utopia Towels Kitchen Towels – Dish Cloth

I hope you enjoyed my low-waste nursery haul! I would love to hear some of your ideas and suggestions on how I can further lower my waste stream!

“The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours; The world and all it contains, You have founded them.” (Psalm 89:11)

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Low Waste Nursery Haul
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