Eco-Friendly Baby Shower Gifts
There is a camp in which some gift-givers reside: “Stick to the registry,” they say. Buy what the recipient has already deemed useful. Stay the course. I, for one, have never found myself at home among such constraints. My rule of gift-giving for expecting parents has always been to buy the thing they won’t buy themselves.
Sometimes it’s an item of which they can never have too many, an item that they will surely buy a couple of but which would seem perhaps at the outset of parenthood indulgent to own in the dozens. Believe me, it is not. Other times it’s a unique and thoughtful gift by an ethical and sustainable brand, something of which there are perhaps more economical and less ethical options available but you’ve found the crème de la crème. If you, like us, subscribe to this style of gift giving—as irresistible as it is responsible—then this is a list for you.
1. Books That Give Back
Price | Varies
This item falls into the list of things you can never have too many of. Reading to your child from the day they are born supports bonding and healthy development, but sustaining such regular and routine reading habits from an early age requires a deep selection. No matter how loyal your parent-to-be is to their local library, being able to reach for the well-worn favorites in the wee hours of morning is paramount. Purchasing a new or used book from Better World Books means that another book gets donated to someone in need, and they also help fund literacy programs around the world. A few of our favorites that are both easy to read while offering valuable lessons: A is for Activist, Horton Hears a Who, Wild, and Snail on the Whale.
2. A Safe Baby Tub
Price | $44.99
One of the sweetest and most fleeting routines of infancy is the sink bath. When they’re too tiny for the tub or being bathed too often to warrant drawing a full bath, being able to slip a baby into a warm soapy sink is such a simple solution. Puj (produced “Pudge”) was launched by parents and designers committed to simplifying parenthood through thoughtful designs and practical products. Their foldable tub launched their brand. It is little more than a mold-resistant and BPA-free piece of foam that folds to fit any sink, lining the cold harsh surface with a soft support for every tiny bather. What’s more? It hangs flat for easy storage in the tiniest of nurseries or even under your kitchen sink.
3. A Sustainable Sleep Sack
Price | $45–$55
There is little more sacred for parents than sleep. And it’s only when your baby sleeps well that you can too. An array of swaddles and sleep sacks in different sizes and for different temperatures always come in handy. Kyte produces luxuriously soft sleep sacks in three different weights that are roomy enough to grow with your little one through multiple seasons. Made of bamboo—a fast growing and sustainable textile—their sweet sacks are breathable and moisture wicking for your little one.
4. Organic Cotton Muslins
Price | $26
An extra large soft white muslin is perhaps the most underrated parenting item on the market. It is a swaddle and a burp cloth, a rag as well as as stroller shade. It can just as easily be laid down for a clean space in an airport as it can be balled up and stuffed away in the deep corners of a diaper bag until it is useful again. Beautiful patterns are readily available, but something about the simplicity of white against any nursery palette or baby wardrobe makes this the best gift. And the fact that it can be bleached clean and hung in the sun offers maximum practicality for the weary parent who can’t afford to fret about the next mess—we love this one from Modern Burlap.
5. Multi-purpose Play Mat
Price | Starting at $20
Parenthood, it might be said, is equal parts messes and magic. For the former, fortunately there are beautifully crafted playmates by Gathre. Made from bonded leather that is soft and supple while being stain resistant, lead-free, and impermeable to water, these play mats are a luxurious addition to any household. They work equally well as changing pads and under high chairs as they do as picnic spots or beach blankets and are available in a range of sizes. Anything that you can shake clean, wipe off, and fold up is a parenting win in our book.
6. American-Made Baby Carrier
Price | Varies
It’s not unusual for parents to have some sort of baby carrier on their radar. A sort of soft pack to hold the baby against their chests while providing head support for teeny tiny ones is, indeed, incredibly useful. Often overlooked, however, are the wraps and slings with simpler technology and more flexibility. Often little more than a thoughtful cut of high quality fabric, these accessories have less structure than the more robust carriers but as such hold the baby much closer to your body and generally offer more longevity as the little one grows. Two American-made companies with beautiful collections for any color palette are Solly Baby and Wild Bird.
Kassia Binkowski is a Contributing Editor at The Good Trade and the Founder of One K Creative. She grew up in Madison, WI and traveled her way around the world to Boulder, CO which she now calls home. Nestled against the Rocky Mountains, Kassia supports innovative organizations from Colorado to Kathmandu tell their stories of social change through writing, photography, and design. Kassia is an eternal optimist and forever a backroad wanderer.