For sustainability-conscious people, parenting can pose a bit of a conundrum. On the one hand, you want to protect the planet your little one will grow up on. On the other hand, babies sure do need a lot of stuff.

It can be overwhelming – and guilt-inducing – to witness the amount of waste generated each day, with many baby products, like nappies, wet wipes and food containers, heading straight to landfill after being used once. New research shows that 75% of parents don’t know how to be ‘green’ when it comes to their baby.

The survey by Baby Dove found 67% of parents would like to use more environmentally friendly products, but a third have found it too difficult.

Going completely zero-waste may not be realistic, but there are lots of ways to cut down on single-use plastics and reduce your family’s carbon footprint. Here are seven easy eco-friendly switches you can make as the parent of a newborn…

1. Reusable wipes
With all those nappy changes every day, plus feeding time, you can get through stacks and stacks of disposable wet wipes. Kidly.ie have soft reusable bamboo wipes to keep baby bums, hands and faces clean without relying on single-use wipes. Pop them in the washing machine at 60 degrees and they’ll be good as new.

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2. Biodegradable wipes
For times when reusable wipes aren’t practical, make sure your wet wipes are biodegradable. Dove has just launched Biodegradable Baby Wipes (€2.50 in Boots) which decompose in six weeks, around the same time as orange peel.

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3. Reusable nappies
Forget the thick, white towelling nappies and huge safety pins of the past – nowadays reusable nappies are cute and convenient, and there are lots to choose from.

Generally, reusable nappies are either one-part, where the whole thing is removed and washed, or two-part, where the washable inner cloth needs to be topped with a waterproof outer layer. While they may require more investment initially, over time you could save money as well as reduce waste.

Other Mother Creations have a fitted diaper made from upcycled materials that come in sizes newborn, medium and large for €10. EartMother.ie are selling the Best Bottom Cloth Nappy, designed to fit babies 10-45+ lbs, for €15.99.

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Read more: Reusable nappies & feminine products mark new age of parenting

4. Nursing pads
Absorbent nursing pads are a must for breastfeeding mums, and there are a wide range of reusable varieties available made from materials like cotton, bamboo or silk.

Jojo Maman Bébé have Close Pop-In Reusable Breast Pads for €16 while Holland & Barrett are selling thick cotton pads for €9.30.

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5. Toy libraries
How to keep little ones entertained without amassing tons of plastic toys that they grow out of in the blink of an eye? Toy libraries are a great way to refresh your tot’s collection and find age-appropriate toys, games and puzzles without having to buy new every time.

Usually run locally, all you have to do is sign up and pay a fee, then you can borrow a set amount of toys from stock that’s cleaned regularly.

Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus pandemic many toy libraries are currently closed, but with lockdown restrictions easing, hopefully, they will be reopening soon. Check local listings to find your nearest location.

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