Well, it must have really struck a chord with the editor, or been a really slow news day, when an article on green parenting made the cover page of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. It all started when the Saskatchewan Environmental Society asked me to do a talk on low-waste, or ‘green’, parenting as part of their evening speaker series at the public library. The day came, and then a reporter called. Which turned into a video-recorded interview and a photo shoot...
I based my talk around a silly challenge I had given myself and our family. In general, I didn’t want having a child to mean oodles more garbage, but specifically, I didn’t want to use any disposable diapers or wipes. Like, none. Zero. Not buy any, ‘borrow’ any, zilch. And I had done it. By the time it came to do my talk, my son was potty trained and not one disposable diaper or wipe had graced his bum. Yup, I’m THAT stubborn.
So for those of you who are curious about how a family could do that in this day and age, here’s the gist of it:
1) Have a no-excuses attitude towards waste, and drag the rest of your family along with you.
2) Learn about Elimination Communication. Its the art of teaching infants how to eliminate their waste into a receptacle (or the great outdoors) as opposed to a diaper. Holden had his first pee in a public toilet at 4 weeks old. No lies. His skeptical (but supportive) grandma was a witness.
3) Use cloth diapers as back-ups. I researched and purchased good quality cloth diapers while pregnant, to ensure they would be ready and waiting when baby arrived.
4) Make life choices that allow you to be successful at the above suggestions. Living a lifestyle that can be supported by one income gives more flexibility in child care - and diapering!
We officially took Holden out of diapers at 18 months. He wasn’t perfectly potty trained by then, but it was a natural next step for him.
Now that we are beyond the diapers, there are still many other ways which I try to be mindful of our waste. Toddlers are ravenous snackers, and there’s a lot of over-packaged food marketed to parents and kids alike!
My next challenge is to keep him fed and happy, while avoiding the multitude of individually wrapped mini-snacks when we’re on the go. Now that you know how stubborn I am, you can bet I’ll be perfecting the home-made snack menu!