It may seem that the arrival of your baby is accompanied by a rise in household waste. New baby equipment, toy packaging, nappies, and starting on solid foods all add another layer to this. 

Babies are learning and love to explore food and their surroundings by putting things in their mouths – and often discarding it.  

As the cost-of-living increases, the decrease in household income due to taking parental leave is not going unnoticed. The best way to support this is by introducing small changes that can help you make the most out of your budget whilst having a positive impact on the environment. 


Figure 1. Reduce your waste. (Source:

Although many mums, dads and carers are getting onboard with the “reduce, recycle, reuse” message, once your baby arrives, reducing food waste can be a challenge.  

Babies may reject food, especially vegetables, upon their first presentation, which can produce waste. It might be tempting to encourage your baby to eat more or to have ‘one more bite’ but this can interfere with babies’ natural ability to regulate their appetite. With babies taking up to 15-20 tries of a new food before they learn to like it, how can we reduce food waste? 

Here are 10 ideas: 

1. Start small  

Give your baby small amounts of food to try initially. You can always add more later. 

2. Eat the same food as your baby 

Give baby the same food as the rest of the family to help them transition to family meals. Just adjust the texture as needed, according to their age and self-feeding ability. Remember finger foods can be introduced from 6 months of age. 

3. Change it up 

If your baby doesn’t like something you offer them, freeze it and offer on another occasion or add to a mixed meal to avoid wasting it.  

4. Cook in batches  

Cook once, eat a few times. Simply double the ingredients when making any recipe and save the leftovers for another quick meal on a busy day. Read about how to safely store food and to download a handy poster and guide go here. The My Baby Now (MBN) app also has lot of ideas for recipes suitable for the whole family.  

5. Freeze leftovers 

A freezer stocked with baby and family food will save you time and money. Use ice cube trays to freeze baby food in small portions. To safely defrost leftovers, just thaw the food in a closed container in the fridge overnight. If you need them faster, you could fill a large bowl with hot water and put the food in a container in the middle. If using a microwave, make sure the food does not have “hot spots” to avoid burning baby’s mouth.  

6. Bring your own (BYO)  

Take your own food for outings rather than relying on commercial baby food and pouches. Making and taking your own is not only significantly cheaper, it  helps to reduce the amount of plastic waste and is also more nutritious. Commercial baby food pouches are typically low in iron, smooth and sweetened with fruit limiting your baby’s exposure to a variety of taste and textures. Note: take frozen baby food for an outing on a hot summer day- it will defrost in the lunchbox. 

7. Compost food scraps

Use a cloth under your baby’s chair to catch dropped food. Recycle this and any other food waste into home compost/worm farm, or into council-provided compost bin, where available. 

8. Breastfeeding 

Breastfeeding is the ultimate zero-waste feeding practice both at home and when out and about!  

9. Reusable bottles 

Reduce plastic waste by planning your drinks before you leave home. Pack your own reusable water bottle for you and your baby to drink from. Bring a re-usable cup for your coffee or tea fix too! 

10. Shop in season 

Going local and seasonal with produce will help you keep costs down and reduce the distance your food travelled to get to your kitchen, reducing its carbon footprint. 


It’s not just food waste that can be reduced to be more eco-friendly and help you live sustainably. Other things to consider are: 

1. Gardening  

Either in your home or a community garden. Families who garden typically consume more vegetables than those who do not. This will introduce your baby to how food is made and foster a connection to nature.  

2. Embrace pre-loved goodies 

Utilise friends, mothers’ groups, local op-shops and online marketplaces as a source to get zero-cost or low-cost clothing or toys, furniture, and baby equipment.  

3. Borrow 

Get to know your local community library and toy library, where you can borrow toys and books for your baby.  

4. Share your preferences  

Ask your friends and family to not gift plastic toys and express preference for books, wooden toys or experiential gifts.  

5. Buy only what you need  

Babies do not need all the stuff we are told they need by marketers. A wooden kitchen spoon and a pot are just as fascinating to them as the latest developmental toy. 

6. Stick with eco-friendly products 

Glitter and balloons are not eco-friendly, try using bubbles instead to entertain your young children at a birthday party.  

7. Embrace re-usable nappies 

In Australia, between 3 and 4 million disposable nappies end up in landfill every day, and it takes up to 150 years to break one down, according to research by Sustainability Victoria. Check your local council’s website to see if it offers rebates on the purchase of reusable cloth nappies.  

8. Walk for health 

Instead of using the car, walk or catch a bus to your local amenities like a shop or a library. This will help you meet physical activity recommendations for adults in Australia.  

For more recommendations and tips to encourage low-waste parenting visit: Parents for Climate

The My Baby Now App where you will find recipes, feeding tips and active game and play ideas.  

Visit  INFANT for more information on joining INFANT sessions in your local area or download the My Baby Now app here.