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Plastic free baby #5, 6 month reality check

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6 months ago, our little baby Avani made her “takin’ my sweet time” way into this world, after 99 hours of labor and an emergency c-section. I’d “planned” on a natural, drug free birth. This was my first step down the long parental road of letting go….

For the months leading up to her birth, while my husband sailed across Tsunami debris fields and lead a youth summit in India, I began musing on how we would raise a “plastic free baby”, as well as how we would integrate a little tyke into our traveling lifestyle. Now 6 months in, I can report back on successes, hurdles, and bridges I have yet to cross. Such as… do I have the cojones to take our little cherub on an expedition at sea?

I’ll start with what I’d imagined the first big challenge would be: diapers. I wrote a treatise on this while pregnant, spent hours reading mommyblogs, and finally decided on a cloth service.

While cloth diapers at home is just fine, I didn’t factor on the challenges of cloth “on the go”. Were trying to bring little Avani along with us – she’s already been to a few conferences, a political rally, and Green Festival, she’s met the Prince of Monaco and Sylvia Earle, been camping on the most plastic covered beach in the country, been on three flights, and to a handful of networking events.

As a new mother, sometimes just getting out the door is a challenge. I haven’t yet had my s*%$& together enough to rock cloth on all of these outings. But I think I’m now ready to give it a try – so I’m looking to the other mobile moms out there to share their cloth-on-the-go advice! To date, we’ve gone with some sort of “eco-lite” disposable option for outings – Seventh Generation, and a compostable brand. Skeptical of the marketing here, Marcus decided to buy a bunch of so called compostable wipes and dipes, and bury them in the back yard in 50 little clay pots embedded with wheatgrass seeds. He’ll dig them up at various intervals to check breakdown progress. Report on this coming.

What has worked surprisingly well, and assuages some of my eco-guilt, is infant potty training – which we’ve been working on since she could hold up her head. Its mind blowing how quickly they pick up on cues! At 3 months, she learned that when I hold her over the sink, after a few minutes of cooing at herself in the mirror, its time for a “potty-tunity”. I feel like high fiving her every time it works! We save a diaper, and I feel momentarily like I’m doing something right.

Toys, clothes, and hand-me-downs have been fairly easy. Some bigger “plastic free” challenges have been medical – anything having to do with baby medicine (even Avani got the flu) and pumping (the women out there will relate). And now that she is at the “shove everything into my mouth” stage, I’m hyper aware of carpets, blankets, stroller straps – in short, anything synthetic that may find its unwitting way into her eager lips.

I’ll leave these for the next update – meantime would love other mom’s tricks and tips – medicines? Lotions and shampoos? What have been your biggest challenges?

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