The number of “list” blog posts circulating on the Internet is astounding and I told myself I would not write one. However, I LOVE lists. I just love them! I’m a sucker when it comes to clicking on those posts and taking in people’s perspectives of what’s important to them.

I have a number of friends who have their hands full with new little ones. It’s such a sweet and precious time, full of new beginnings and heart-tugging moments. It’s also one of the most crazy-making, mind-bending, heart-wrenching and confusing times in life.

With a new little on comes a lot of “stuff,” much of which is to make the lives of the parents easier and the life of the baby happier. That’s really not always the case. I do whatever I can to keep a clutter-free house, but it’s incredible how fast “things” can start to pile up.

Here are the top 5 material items that can help out an environmentally-conscious mamma. I realize that this is *my* opinion and other people’s top 5 list will be different.

Awesome diaper bag – There are so many helpful, beautiful and utilitarian diaper bags on the market. I had my eye on a gorgeous mint green Asian brocade side-hanging diaper bag and was so happy to acquire it at the baby shower. My husband wasn’t as excited as I was about this beautiful, feminine bag, unfortunately. When he was in charge of baby, he used an awesome plain, black backpack diaper bag. After a few months of transferring the main essentials from bag to bag, inevitably leaving key pieces in one or the other (you know you left your wallet in the diaper bag and didn’t figure it out until you were at the store) and creating mini-breakdowns for one of us, I gave in and started to use the plain backpack. The gorgeous green bag turned into our daughter’s overnight bag when visiting grandma. Everyone who uses the diaper bag needs to feel good about the style, so a plain black Skip Hop backpack bag worked best for us.

Kid sleeping tent – We still wanted to keep some semblance of our “old life” after we had our first child. We wanted to be able to go to dinner or events at other people’s houses and stay past our kid’s bedtime if possible. We came across a little pup tent that our first child loved to sleep in while away from home. Once she was old enough to roll over and move her body safely (around 9 months, I think), we were able to throw up the tent when we were at friend’s houses and she’d be as cozy as ever in her little warm womb and we could enjoy spending time with loved ones after 8 pm. Having this piece of equipment was essential for us to feel connected to friends and gave us a little bit of the freedom that we craved. We kept it in our car (with other essentials, such as a book, a nightlight and her favorite pillow) so that we could be spontaneous when we were out and about. Just that little bit of freedom and flexibility fed our souls at times!

Nose Frida – I have no doubt that this helpful item was NOT a favorite of our kids, but wow, was it helpful to us at times. It’s a long tube with a filter between two parts, and when you suck from one end, the air will pull the mucous from your kid’s nose, creating the possibility for her/him to breath during a cold. Most kids have an extreme dislike of this essential instrument, which makes complete sense. It’s really quite a surprise! But afterwards, it’s so nice to know that your kid has an open air passage through the nose – if only for a few minutes. If you want to know more about his funny piece of equipment, check out this funny youtube video.

There’s really only a handful of things you need for a new baby, although the beliefs our society holds, mixed with clever marketing by huge corporations does everything to brainwash pregnant mammas into believing everyone needs the massive amount of stuff to be happy.

Earthy-friendly diapers – After food and paper, diapers are America’s biggest landfill hogs. Over 18 billion diapers are dumped into the garbage every year (according to the Union of Concerned Scientists). I encourage everyone to purchase the most eco-friendly diapers as possible to decrease the impact on the planet. It’s not always easy, as eco-friendly diapers might not be readily available in your area or they might be out of the budget. I found that the ones we used (Nature Baby, via the Earth Baby Diaper Service in the Bay Area) to be incredibly sturdy, although a bit more pricey. They held a lot of pee and we experienced minimal blow outs. As a result, we used a smaller number of diapers throughout the week. Additionally, these are compostable by a service in the Bay Area called Earth Baby (but the diapers are not compostable in your curbside compost bin!) so the impact on the environment is less than most other brands. I know – this is really fun stuff to think about!

Honeysuckle breastmilk storage bags – I was lucky enough to be a major milk producer for my little ninas, for which I do feel quite grateful. Storing that precious liquid in conventional plastic bags made my stomach churn for two reasons. The first was that I wasn’t sure if chemicals from the bag would leach out into the milk. The second was that I absolutely hated putting those little bags into the landfill after just one use. I multiplied the number of bags I would need to use in a week/month/year, and then multiplied that by the number of new moms I knew who were doing the same thing. That’s A LOT of plastic to go into the landfill, to stay with us well into the lives of our future grandchildren. I was so happy to come across a brand of storage bags made by a small, startup company called HoneySuckle. These bags are are recyclable, oxo-biodegradable, phthalate-free, BPA-free and PVC-free. They break down when exposed to UV rays in 18 months. I never had an experience where a bag leaked, which would be a big disappointment after a session with the lovely breastpump.

Next up – the top 5 NON-material things that new parents need to help make the transition from taking care of themselves to being responsible for a tiny living being easier.