Now in my 3rd trimester and expecting a baby boy in October 2021, I have been pleased to see it is possible to have a zero waste pregnancy that supports the circular and sharing economies, is easy, and saves a few bucks. The name of the game is to think about repurposing what you have, borrowing or asking for hand-me-downs from friends, renting some nicer pieces, and buying whatever else you need second-hand.
We are constantly barraged by marketers who want us to believe that we need an enormous variety of products during pregnancy ranging from special pillows and bolsters to bras and maternity dresses. I found that very little of this is true and with a little creative repurposing, our own belongings can go a long way to keep us comfortable during pregnancy without having to purchase a lot of items we no longer need in 9 months.
Pregnancy Support Pillows- Many women swear by these special candy cane-shaped or wedge support pillows that are marketed as essential during pregnancy. I have tried them from friends and have found that propping myself up at night on firm to soft pillows I have around the house is just as, if not more, comfortable than the special pregnancy pillows.
Maternity Clothing- I was able to continue wearing a lot of my own clothing all the way through pregnancy- especially leggings, larger t-shirts, flouncy tops and dresses, and stretchy workout clothes. I found that two of my one-piece bathing suits had enough stretch that they continue to fit me throughout- and two bathing suits were plenty this summer as my interest in donning a bathing suit and jumping in the pool waned except for the very hottest days! I asked around to friends and low and behold a number of friends had maternity wear they were no longer using and were very happy to pass onto me.
Second hand maternity clothes
I had a few special events happening during my pregnancy including a friend’s milestone birthday, my own small baby shower and date nights with my husband. Rather than go out and buy expensive maternity dresses I turned to Rent the Runway which has a good selection of official maternity wear as well as a lot of loose fitting (on trend!) dresses and tops that can be worn as maternity. There are also a number of specific maternity-wear rental services out there including Nuuly and Le Tote.
For the couple of pieces I still needed (a maternity T-shirt or two and maternity jeans) I shopped at Childish Things consignment boutique in Boulder which has a large variety of second hand maternity wear, baby clothes and gear, and kids clothes, toys and books. What’s more, they buy back used maternity wear in great condition after you are done with it- a win-win! Look for thrift and consignment shops in your area that carry maternity wear, many do.
Gifts and Baby Showers- When my friends offered to throw me a baby shower I was reluctant because this is not my first child and because I don’t want people sending us a lot of stuff that I know we won’t need. I want to enjoy a party with friends to celebrate our coming bundle of joy but without all the stuff (and waste) that comes with it! I found it helpful to minimize on the guest list and write very clearly on the invitation- NO GIFTS. I put together a registry on SoKindRegistry.org which is an awesome sustainability-inspired registry for all life’s events (weddings, showers, etc.) that emphasizes giving of time and services (time with friends and family, babysitting help, giving home cooked meals) over giving of things. Here I asked for what my family REALLY needs and wants which is NOT a bunch of baby crap, but is things like several hours of babysitting help so I can take a break after baby arrives, home cooked meals to tide us over when we are too busy bottle feeding to feed ourselves, donations to our favorite charities, money to help us pay for the cloth diaper service we will be using, and hand-me-down baby gear for just the essentials we know we need.
I am a big proponent of Zero Waste events, and baby showers are a great opportunity to celebrate without creating a ton of waste. We selected a local cater who’s willing to deliver food in large returnable/reusable containers. Having the party at my house means we will use zero disposables and instead opt for glasses, dish ware and linens that we will wash after the party. Décor is being repurposed from party leftovers including colorful streamers and centerpieces made of twigs and natural found materials. Water pitchers will be filled with filtered water from the tap and cut fruit and served alongside a pre-made special cocktail and mocktail in a pitcher, as well as wine and beers in aluminum cans which are more recyclable than glass bottles. We will be asking guests to bring a container to bring home leftovers, and for the few materials that do need to be composted or recycled, we will have clearly labeled bins out at the party so that there is no confusion about where these items go.
With a little care, creativity and repurposing, it’s not only possible but downright easy to reduce waste during your pregnancy and support the circular economy without a single online order (I promise!!)
I would love to hear your ideas for cultivating a low waste pregnancy, ping me at firstname.lastname@example.org.