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How Reusable Products Like Nursing Pads Help the Environment

As we celebrate Mama Earth during Earth Day this April 22, we want to encourage and inspire all mamas to realize a few ways they can contribute to the health of the Earth. Raising children is arguably the most rewarding experience there is. But while raising those children, simultaneously teaching them how to be sustainable and care for the Earth as they grow is important to ensuring the health of the planet well into the future.

Earth Day has been celebrated for over 50 years now, having been started in 1970 as a reminder to take care of our planet. Throughout the years, hundreds of millions of trees have been planted and 2.7 billion acts of green have been recorded, with up to 192 countries participating in the yearly celebration.1 The day is a reminder of how important sustainable and eco-friendly practices are as we aim to practice ways to help keep our planet healthy for years to come.

Every year Earth Day has a theme, with this year’s being “Planet vs. Plastics” as we focus on reducing plastic use by 60% by the year 2040. It’s estimated that humans add at least 14 million tons of plastic to our oceans every year. In addition, 79% of the plastic that’s ever been produced continues to inhabit landfills. Just because these plastics eventually erode down into microplastics doesn’t mean they’re harmless. These microplastics, or plastic that disintegrates into tiny fragments, are still there, contaminating soil, water, and eventually animals and humans when they’re ingested.2

But with the Earth so big and each one of us so small in comparison, is it even worth it to alter our habits? Absolutely! But how do we do it? There are some obvious ones that come to mind quickly. Recycle paper, plastic, cardboard, and other materials instead of throwing them in the trash. Reduce food waste. When possible, ride a bike instead of driving a car or choose to carpool to use less gasoline. Bring reusable tote bags to grocery stores so you can avoid using plastic ones you’ll likely throw out—or stuff in that not-so-secret grocery bag full of grocery bags we all seem to have lying around somewhere—as soon as they’re empty.

Cutting back on single-use plastics is an easy place for many of us to start, like using reusable containers for leftover food and reusable water bottles instead of plastic ones meant to be tossed after one use. Opt for reusable products like these when you can. As a mom, reusable diapers, wipes, changing pads, and snack storage pouches may not be for everyone, if you can start by swapping any one of your disposable options with one these ones, that’s a great start. The disposable versions of several of these products often contain plastic, which takes time to erode and contributes to pollution, so any small eco-friendly change is a good one!

Another big one for new moms? Reusable nursing pads. It’s common for breasts to leak milk after birth as your body gets used to producing milk—and producing the right amount. This can affect any new mom, whether or not she’s breastfeeding. In addition to being less eco-friendly since they’re a single-use product, plastic-lined disposable nursing pads can actually hold in moisture and increase the likelihood of painful, cracked nipples, according to The American Academy of Pediatrics.3

Instead, use a natural bamboo nursing pad, which will be gentler on your skin. As a benefit, because reusable pads can be washed and used multiple times, that cuts down on the waste that would have been created by single-use disposable pads instead. Bamboo is an extremely eco-friendly material. Its growth rate is incredibly fast, as some species can grow as much as three feet in just a 24-hour span. It also doesn’t need much tending to in terms of regrowth as it doesn’t need to be replanted after harvest, and it requires much less energy to transport because of its light weight.4

Though reusable products like nursing pads may be a higher upfront cost to buy, they’ll save you money in the long run because they can be used over and over again. It’s an investment that will likely also save you a last-minute rushed trip to the store at some point because you realized you’re out of disposable ones when you need them. Of course resources are used for production and washing of reusable pads, but typically not as much over the lifespan of the product when compared to disposable ones.

As a parent, there are endless lessons you teach you children throughout their lives. Make one of these lessons the importance of the responsibility of caring for their surroundings and environment. Observe Earth Day by explaining the importance of taking care of the environment and then creating practices your family will live out throughout the year.

The common “reduce, reuse, recycle” phrase you’ve likely known since you were young is a good place to start when teaching your children. Reduce the number of disposable products you’re purchasing, therefore reducing the waste of single-use products that head to landfills. Reuse products, saving money and resources. Recycle, and not only materials like plastics. Share baby items like clothing and toys with siblings and friends who have children, especially when babies grow out of things like clothes so quickly. This allows you to justify spending a little more money on quality products that are better for the environment.

Overall, there tends to be a lower carbon footprint on reusable products. Reusing products eliminates the need for as many disposable ones, therefore eliminating the constant cycle of production, transportation, use, and disposal of single-use items. Having an overall understanding of Earth Day and a caring attitude towards sustainability is a great start. When you understand why disposable products are harmful to the environment and our health, it makes taking the steps to start being more sustainable an easier choice to make. Finding sustainable alternatives for not-so-eco-friendly products will help you and those around you gravitate to those positive changes. You can do it, mama!





  1. org Our Legacy.
  2. org Fact Sheet: Single Use Plastics.
  3. What To Expect The Best Nursing Pads to Save Your Shirts From Leaks.
  4. Smart Cities Dive 5 of the world’s most eco-friendly building materials.

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