Whether you're expecting a newborn any time soon or you’ve just had a new member of the family arrive, there are numerous ways to make a life for them more comfortable and sustainable.
After all, you want the best for your new bundle of joy. Luckily, with sustainable changes, you can not only make your house safer and more welcoming, but you can also ensure that they’ll be able to enjoy the planet’s greatest gifts throughout their lifetime as well.
Getting your house in order is one of the keys to nesting, however, it doesn’t have to be an expensive one — even if you’re planning on making sustainable renovations. In fact, most sustainable changes you can make are budget-friendly. These changes can range from having air ducts cleaned, inspecting HVAC units, and checking windows and doors for air leakages.
You can also review your energy bill and consider ways you can cut down on costs. Perhaps it means replacing incandescent light bulbs in the home with LED bulbs to consume less energy.
For instance, many homes fuel their heating and appliances with natural gas, and while that method tends to be more affordable than electric heating, it can introduce the potential for flammable hazards in the house that could be dangerous for children, such as open flame stove ranges, and potential gas leaks.
Think about the alternatives to your current energy solutions and consider if now is the right time to invest in another, possibly safer solution, like solar energy. Although they may come with an initial cost, solar panels will save you money in the long run and can be one of the many sustainable changes your home’s exterior during the nesting process. You may also be able to seek grants from the government to subsidize part of the cost and installation. There’s also the benefit of tax breaks that come with utilizing solar energy panels.
It’s important to check the temperature fluctuations in the room where you’ll have the newborn, as you’ll want a controlled environment that doesn’t vary from too hot or too cold. Inspect the ducts surrounding the room, if there are any, and apply new insulation if there isn’t any already there.
Remember that most homeowners can apply for a home equity loan to make improvements and renovations in their home, and to improve the quality of life for a newborn, those loans will have a good chance of being approved.
There are plenty of things we use as adults that, for one, shouldn’t be around us, to begin with, and for another, shouldn’t be around newborns.
For example, although moderate exposure to certain cleaning supplies is fine for adults that take the proper precautions, many are filled with harmful chemicals like Phthalates and Ammonia — especially those that come in aerosol sprays. Ironically, these types of cleaning solutions, while originally intended to clean surfaces, will actually taint the air in the home and even leave corrosive or harmful residues behind in their wake. Try opting for simpler and healthier cleaning solutions, like vinegar mixed with water, as a starting alternative to traditional household cleaning products.
Along the same lines as toxic chemicals, we also have plastics. So many children’s toys are made of unhealthy plastics that leak microparticles into the skin upon contact. It’s never apparent, but it’s a very real drawback to plastics in general, from toys to water bottles.
Parents of newborns would do well to replace any plastic toys with eco-friendly toys made of materials that won’t harm the environment. These can range from wood blocks to natural rubber toys, and cloth or knit toys.
Part of making life with a newborn more sustainable is minimizing the number of new features and clothing that parents bring into the home to start a life of parenthood.
This can vary from cribs to cradles, feeding bottles, toys, and clothing. Almost everything that a past newborn has used in one family can be transferred over to another.
Thrifting is a great way to access second-hand baby clothes and appliances. But also look into if your local area has hand-me-down groups on social media. These social groups, like BuyNothing, aim to share household items with people in their community to reduce needless spending on new merchandise and provide useful items to families that need them.
It’s great when sustainability can save you money, but remember that the end goal is to preserve the planet that the next generation will inherit. Our motivation in raising our children in today’s age should be doing so in a way that is healthy for them while also sustaining the world we live in.
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