Life without Plastic

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Zero Waste Birth Kit

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Health and Safety Warning: I'm not a doctor, midwife, homeopath, herbalist, or other credentialed/licensed medical/health expert. All of the items in this kit were selected based on my own personal research for my family's needs and should not be taken as medical advice. Anyone who follows our example is doing so at their own personal risk and I cannot be held liable for any outcome, either negative or positive.

As we prepare for the birth of UG3, we have gathered our supplies, trying to reduce both plastic and waste by substituting plastic-free and/or reusable or compostable options. Here are the comparisons between the list the midwife suggested and what we were able to substitute and add to reduce mainly new plastic and waste-

Midwife's Birth Kit (All Boxed up) Included:
  1. 18 Basic 23 x 36 Disposable Incontinence Pads (Chux pads)
  2. 5 Large 30 x 36 disposable incontinence pads (Chux pads)
  3. 2 newborn 100% cotton hats
  4. 2 plastic cord clamps
  5. 10 Medline Post-Op sponges, 2 per package
  6. 4 lubricating jelly packets, 3 g 
  7. 1 Dyna-Hex scrub brush
  8. 6 Heavy OB pads
  9. 1 Peri bottle
  10. 2 oz bulb syringe
  11. Tenderfoot lancelet
  12. Near Nick Lancelet

My Birth Kit Substitutions:
  1. Bought 1 unlanolized lightweight wool swaddling blanket on Etsy
  2. Bought 1 wool Reusable/washable underpad and lanolized it (Plastic-free & can be reused for other births and as a changing pad) also on Etsy
  3. Reuse hand-me-down gender neutral 100% cotton hats, rather than using new
  4. 2 Stainless steel cord clamps, sterilized and can be reused
  5. 12 cotton bandages, to be boiled and use alcohol (in glass bottle) to clean baby's heel for newborn metabolic screening
  6. Olive oil for lubrication
  7. ?
  8. Homemade cloth Postpartum pads from old towels, my repurposed baby blanket, cotton layer for softness (old burp cloths could also work well)
  9. 1 rubber hot water bottle
  10. Bubzi Co. Nasal Aspirator-Part Silicone, Washable, Reusable, Works better than bulb and can clean better to prevent mold build-up
  11. &
  12. Sterile Exacto-Knife (Zero-waste and plastic-free yes, would midwife or anyone else go for it, no! So we're stuck with what midwife uses)

    Midwife's Birth Supply List( For Us to Provide):
    1. Twin Pack Newborn Metabolic Screen
    2. Hydrogen peroxide
    3. Bleach, & Lysol Household All-purpose cleaner
    4. Black trash bags/kitchen bags
    5. 2-4 gallon size zip lock bags (Placenta disposal)
    6. Medium/large mixing bowl
    7. pie plate
    8. Cookie/baking sheet
    9. Shower curtain liner/thin plastic drop cloths
    10. Thermometer
    11. Newborn clothes, diapers, baby hats, & socks
    12. Towels (6-10)
    13. Washcloths (4-6)
    14. Roll of paper towels-Viva brand preferred
    15. Receiving blankets (5-10)
    16. 2 packages of extra absorbency maxi pads/ granny panties
    17. Frozen maxi pads
    18. Pack of plastic bendy straws
    19. 3 bottles of Gatorade, Recharge, Coconut water, EmergenC (Electrolyte beverages)
    20. Foods easily digested (honey, yogurt, fruit, bread, butter, peanut butter, soup)
    21. Arnica Montana homeopathic 30 C
    22. Snacks for Birth team
    23. Car seat Installed & Ready to Go
    24. Postpartum Sitz Bath
    25. Nursing friendly PJs, robe, slippers for mom

    My Birth Supplies List Substitutions:
    1. Twin Pack Newborn Metabolic Screen from the Utah Department of Health (Formerly the PKU screening, a necessary and life saving test and so we aren't going to alter this item.)  Update on June 3rd, 2016: It's all paper, even the mailer (excepting the adhesive! So already plastic-free.)
    2. Birthing in the tub and cleaning with soap and water like any other day (Hydrogen peroxide for blood cleanup, may still use some if blood gets anywhere else. Luckily, this is a highly recyclable plastic.)
    3. Plan on using bathtub as birthing area (Bleach and Lysol are for water birth pool, so don't have to sterilize a rented pool.)
    4. Washing everything normally thrown away and using a large hand-me-down wetbag to put washables in. (Bought 100% potato starch/plastic-free compostable kitchen bags if midwife insists)
    5. 2 Wide-Mouth Half-gallon canning jars (We're encapsulating my placenta, so we're planning on putting it into half-gallon canning jars for the encapsulation specialist and sending a quart jar to send capsules home in. If we weren't encapsulating, I would use the jars to transport it and have it buried it under a tree. If specialist insists, we got the zip locks from my local grandmother who is not remotely zero-waste or plastic-free.)
    6. Medium/Large mixing bowl to carry placenta until in jar (Already plastic-free)
    7. Pie plate for sterilized tools to be carried in (Already plastic-free)
    8. Cookie/baking sheet for neonatal resuscitation (" ")
    9. Staying over the bathtub as birthing area (Several plastic drop cloths came with our house if we end up needing them, we can sterilize, so no new plastic.)
    10. Thermometer (Reuse UG1's, no new plastic. We'll eventually replace with a glass one when the batteries go out.)
    11. Gender neutral hand-me-down clothing and PUL newborn diapers/skin to skin contact and diaper free baby, (no new plastic and we'll eventually sell the diaper covers to get wool covers, no budget for it now.)
    12. Towels (already cotton, not plastic)
    13. Washcloths (already cotton, not plastic)
    14. Cloth wipes and washcloths (if midwife insists we will use Recycled, but packaged in plastic as there aren't any options with paper packaging)
    15. Receiving blankets (hand me downs from UG1 and skin to skin contact)
    16. Homemade postpartum pads (See above) and granny panties, mostly cotton with exception of plastic elastic waistbands 
    17. Frozen cloth maxipads, see Padsicles tutorial)
    18. Custom glass bended straws (For drinking in even the prone position)
    19. Coconut water in glass bottles (and grapefruit juice as a treat)
    20. Foods easily digested (All in plastic-free packaging already)
    21. Arnica Montana homeopathic 30 C (Only in plastic, but prevents bruising and decreases "pain" in labor, which I prefer to call discomfort. I will be contacting manufacturers to try and see if they would consider glass containers in the future.)
    22. Snacks for birth team (plenty of plastic-free options)
    23. Car seat installed & ready to go for emergency transport (No plastic-free options exist for driving with baby in the car, we just went with the least toxic and will be recycling all our car seats. If you solely ride public transportation, then you could just hold baby or wear in a sling.)
    24. Postpartum Sitz Bath Herbs (Already purchased before going plastic-free so there is tape closing box and a plastic bag holding the cloth herb packets, but you could make your own with homegrown herbs or purchase from a seller on Etsy.)
    25. Comfy clothing and nudity for skin to skin (Both plastic-free, but clothing seems more like a relaxation thing to me, rather than being an invalid in bed.)
    • Bonus:Shephard's Purse for Hemorrhage care, 15ml 3 times a day (Breastfeeding also helps)
    • Bonus: Raspberry Leaf/Nettle Infusion (Hemorrhage care and reduces blood loss, & boosts iron/Vitamin K levels)
    • Bonus: Cottonwood Bark Extract, 20 drops 2-3 times a day postpartum for afterpains (cleansing rushes, I prefer.)
    • Bonus:Bengkung Belly Binding Kit (Helps to heal and support rectus abdominus, along with appropriate exercise)
    • Bonus: Olive oil in glass bottle (on baby's bottom to prevent meconium from sticking)
    • Bonus: Tape measure (already owned plastic, to measure baby after birth)
    • Bonus: Candles for Cord Burning vs cutting (We already have the candles, otherwise we would choose beeswax candles. Burning actually cauterizes the cord, so cord remainder can be clamped, tied in a knot, tied off, etc.)
    • Bonus: Clean sheets for the bed after birth is over and nap is needed for baby, mother, and father.)

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