Archive for the "baby" category

How can I reuse or recycle baby cot mattresses?

We’ve had an email from Maggie:

I’m due to have my second baby in January but everyone has screamed at me when I mentioned reusing the cot so I’m going to get a new mattress. What can I do with the old one?

I don’t have kids so I’m not exactly knowledge but from what I’ve read on the subject, it sounds a bit like car seats – you can reuse them yourself if they’re still in good condition for your other children but it’s best not to buy/receive a second-hand one with an unknown history. You know how much it’s been used, what it’s been, um, soaked with and know how well it has been cleaned. Having said that, I can understand why people don’t want to risk it (although obviously so do baby mattress manufacturers…).

Some crib mattresses are fully sprung but others, particularly cheaper ones, are just slabs of foam so in theory, they could be reused for any spot needing a bit of foam cushioning.

When we were talking about reusing the actual cot last year, some people talked about turning them into essentially a day bed for the growing toddler/small child – if you had the space, you could keep the first mattress to use as extra seat padding or cushioning on the side/back.

Any other ideas?


How can I reuse or recycle baby sleeper suits/onsies?

We’ve already talked about baby clothes in general but CD, who writes the Canadian Doomer blog, has sent over such an excellent reuse idea for worn out baby sleepers/romper suits that I thought it was worth featuring these in particular:

I just posted this on my blog, and one of my readers thought your site might be interested. They’d have be super-frugal and have a real sense of the absurd.

I had recently read about someone making no-sew cloth menstrual pads by folding cut-up facecloths and placing them inside a longer folded
facecloth. Well, I’m not about to cut up my facecloths for that. However, with two small children, I have a LOT of baby sleepers that are becoming too raggedy to wear, but are still soft and amazingly absorbent.

So I cut off legs, leaving snaps attached. Then I cut off arms. I cut the body of the sleepers up so that I had various sizes of cloth without bulky seams. It’s quite an easy matter to fold a piece of the fabric into half or thirds and tuck it inside an “arm” (gravity-held) or “leg” (snap-on style) tube. I also made one that was essentially the entire upper body of a thin sleeper, making a “belt-style” for overnight, which I safety-pinned to my underwear.

Great reuse since it really will help reduce wastage in the future.

Any other suggestions for reusing or recycling them? Particularly ideas taking advantage of their super-softness — and also often their cute patterns?


How can I reuse or recycle excess sterilising solution?

We’ve covered a wide range of things during our cleaning themed week here on Recycle This – bleach bottles, plug-in air fresheners, making dishcloth & pot scrubbers, and yesterday’s very interesting discussion on reducing plastic waste from cleaning – so I feel it’s fine for me to go off on a bit more of a tangent for this last one: sterilising fluid.

When I’m making jams & preserves, I use the hot soapy water then time in the oven approach for “sterilising” my glass jars – but that doesn’t work for John’s homebrew stuff. Some of it is plastic, some of it is just too big for the oven, and some of it is both plastic and too big. Instead, he uses sterilising solution – either bought as a concentrated liquid or made up from tablets. The stuff John uses is 2% sodium hypochlorite – weak bleach – so maybe this isn’t off on such a tangent after all ;)

Anyway, when he’s doing some homebrew, John mixes up a big vat of the sterilising fluid and uses it to sterilise this things – but since they’re hot-water-clean already, the liquid doesn’t get too messed up. I’d imagine people sterilising babies bottles would be in a similar position. It apparently has an effective life of about 24 hours so we can reuse it for other things – but what?

According to this forum on MoneySavingExpert, it’s a good halfway house for bleach – you can use it as a safer bleach for cleaning places you wouldn’t want to use full strength bleach (the microwave, tea cups, camping water bottles).

Does anyone have any other suggestions for things to do with it? I know some people use a weak bleach solution for cleaning plant pots before sowing seeds/delicate seedlings in them – would this be suitable for that?


How can I reuse or recycle baby stair gates and play pens?

We’ve had an email from Karen:

How can I recycle a baby cot, stair gate and play pen?? Cant bear to throw them away but seems difficult to give away!!

It doesn’t have to be difficult to give them away – join your local Freecycle/Freegle group, post an “offer” message and chances are someone will come to collect it from your house, at your convenience, within a few days if not hours (or post an ad on GumTree [like Craig's List in the UK] or on eBay – if your goal is to get rid of it, start it at 99p and mark it “collection only” and it’s almost sure to go).

Or give them to a charity shop – it might have to be a furniture focused charity or charity shop but there should be one of those near you – and some places even collect furniture donations. The NCT also regularly organise local “nearly new” sales – for parents to pass items onto new parents in need.

As for reuses, we covered baby cots a few weeks ago – some nice ideas on there including making the cot into a bench seat/sofa for the growing kid’s bedroom. Stairgates are also used by people with dogs as well as babies, to keep pesky mutts in or out of certain places – if you know anyone with dogs (particularly small ones), they might be interested. Ditto a play pen to some extent – they’re useful for penning in all sorts of small animals, not just baby humans – someone who breeds cats or puppies might like to use it for a birthing area, or it could be used as a temporary run for ill/pregnant/new rabbits or chickens.

If they’re still in good condition, it would definitely be best to pass them on – any other suggestions for how to pass them on easily? Or for reuses/recycling ideas?

(Photo, which illustrates my doggy point, by ewen and donabel)


How can I reuse or recycle a baby’s cot?

We’ve had an email from Jess:

What can I do with my little girl’s cot now she’s too big for it? We’re not having any more so don’t want to keep it and I know you’re not supposed to use second hand beds for babies.

There is apparently an increased risk of cot death if the mattress has been used by a child in another home – but it’s the mattress not the whole cot/crib. All sorts of second-hand baby furniture is available via eBay, Freecycle/Freegle or NCT Nearly New Sales, so you should feel free to sell/pass yours on with a clear conscience.

While it’s best to keep using it for its original purpose for as long as possible, I know they’re reused in fun ways too – a blog I read, I forget which, showed one flipped upside down in a larger chicken run as a broody chicken house, and I’ve seen them used as growing containers in the garden – the plants either tied or climbing up the bars.

Any other suggestions for how to pass them on? Or for reuses around the home and garden?

(Photo by levigruber)