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The baby years can be some of the most challenging years of raising a child. It gets even more complex when you realize, hey, I should probably raise this kiddo of mine to be eco-friendly. Luckily many eco-baby practices are as easy as pie and will save you scads of time and money — which will come in handy later when those college bills arrive. Following are the best green baby raising techniques that offer the most rewards with the least stress.

Introduce nature early on: Kids exposed to nature early on are more likely to develop a deeper love for nature, which in turn will result in an individual who wants to conserve nature. Exposure to nature is extremely important at every stage of your little one’s childhood, but to kick off nature love in the baby years, try letting your baby crawl around in the grass or sand. Let him pick up, smell and touch leaves, rocks, and flowers. Go outside at least once a day with your baby even if it’s raining or snowing.

Buy only what you need: First time parents receive many baby gifts and there’s no need to buy a whole bunch of excess stuff. Consumerism in America is rampant and kids latch on to your consumer attitudes very early on. Make a big statement by purchasing only the bare baby essentials and avoid gear you truly don’t need.

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Go reusable when diapering: Cloth diapers are way more sophisticated today than even five years ago. It’s easy to use cloth diapers and you can even make your own reusable baby wipe kit. Reusable diaper gear helps reduce your baby’s carbon footprint and saves you tons of cash too.

BreastfeedBreastfeeding is way more eco-friendly than bottle feeding and gives your child a healthier start in life. Plus, did we mention the cash savings? All those containers of formula, bottles, extra nipples and time spent running to the store for supplies really adds up. It’s much easier to pop open your shirt to feed your baby. There’s no reason every mom can’t try breastfeeding. If you’re having a hard time you can locate some breastfeeding support.

Serve healthy food: Good eating habits should be encouraged very early on. Once your little one starts solids, go organic and consider making homemade baby food. Homemade organic baby food is tastier, safer, healthier and far less expensive than store-bought jars.

At the end of the year congratulate yourself on a job well done and throw that little cutie an awesome eco-friendly 1st birthday party.

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