The Eco-nomical Baby Guide

I know many people aren’t really interested in living more sustainably just for the sake of bettering the planet, so I love books like this that give a little extra motivation – saving money. Who doesn’t want to save money? The book is written by the authors of and they show you how to reduce the average expense of first-time parents from almost $7000 to under $1000 in the first year.

Eco-nomical Baby Guide


Some of the great advice you’ll read about in the book includes what you don’t need to buy at all, which items to get used and what might be safer to get new, a comparison of diapering methods including “greener” disposables and explanations of many of the advances in cloth diapering in recent years, as well as ideas about feeding baby both healthier and cost-effective food.

One item to buy new

One of the items that the authors recommend buying new is a crib mattress. Used crib mattresses have been linked to a higher incidence of SIDS. Since I studied psychology in college and had to learn to understand (and write up) studies, I dug around and found the original text. If you’re interested, check out Used infant mattresses and sudden infant death syndrome in Scotland. You can draw your own conclusions, but also do a little reading about polybrominated diphenyl ethers or BPDEs.

BPDEs are flame retardants that are applied to conventional mattresses to meet federal fire safety standards. After doing all the research, we decided to go with a new organic mattress. Many organic mattresses use naturally flame retardant wool to meet the standards, and no chemicals. An organic mattress could easily blow half of our $1000 budget, but we kept costs down by finding a used mini-crib for $35 and an organic core-only mini-crib mattress for $90 which we will cover with a puddle pad and sheet.

Check it out

There is a lot more great information in the book and the authors really do give the “down-to-earth” advice they promise, including a bit of humor and humility. I’m so glad I read this book before we started preparing for baby. Besides the specific advice in the book, it really helped me get into the mindset of minimal consumerism and I feel we are going to be able to get started as a new family of three without a big footprint or spending lots of money on things that we don’t really need.

You don’t have to be an extremist to get your little one started on a greener path in life. So, as the authors suggest, check out the book free at your library. If you want to own the book, you can get it on Amazon (affiliate link).

One last thought

Here’s a great video that shows you how to cloth diaper without buying expensive diaper covers: Start Cloth Diapering at Home for Only $20.