Sustainable living: Baby clothes

Ah baby clothes, the bane of a mother’s existence. You change the entire wardrobe every four months, can’t get the size right, and they are expensive. In my motherhood journey so far, it’s the baby clothes where I had the most doubt. Should I buy it? Am I buying enough? Should I go for practical or pretty?

About 70% of my child’s wardrobe, from age 0 until now, are hand-me-downs and presents. While still pregnant, I’ve notified friends and family that I was accepting donations of all things baby – clothes, stroller, toys. And of course many of them grab the opportunity to get rid of their trash clean out their closets, which I am very grateful of because it saved me thousands of euros.

But I am not numb to the allure of consumerism. Whenever I walk into a Zara Kids store or even when passing by Hema or Kruidvat to do my groceries, I couldn’t help but ogle at the pretty, sometimes very cheap, assortment of baby products. I’ve had many buyer’s remorse, too many that it’ll be boring to list them all down here.

After 20 months of trial and error (and a weeping bank account), I’m now wiser at buying baby stuff, clothes particularly. Unfortunately that means spending more. Baby clothes at big fashion chains are usually only pretty but not very functional. And since they are being sold dirt cheap, the question of sustainability glares at me every time I open an H&M website.

I’ve become more conscious about my buying practices. That comes with a price however. Eco-clothing are expensive to begin with, but the prices of sustainable baby clothes are mind-boggling to my Zeeuwse brain.

But that’s how sustainability and durability works. If we don’t practice conscious buying, our children will suffer the human and environmental impact of the current practice in the fashion industry.

What’s important to me about baby clothes is that my child is properly dressed for the season and can comfortable play outside. That I don’t have to worry about the cold, the heat, dirt, stain or the rain.

Anyway, I don’t want to preach. I just want to share some brands and stores I’m currently shopping at for baby clothes. It took me hours surfing the internet to find them so I hope this can help you next time you’re shopping for your little ones.

Online stores

Regenboogschaap – This Waldorf-style online store started as a school project of a marketing student. And it’s now one of my favourite online store for kid’s winter clothes. Brands like Joha and Cosilana for wool and silk and Maxomorra for their funky, colourful design are some of my staple purchases. Recently I’ve also discovered that they carry soaps and socks from small European eco-entrepreneurs as well as home eco-products. All their products are certified by different sustainability organizations.

Dilling – If you’re Danish, you’re probably already familiar with this brand. I’ve only discovered Dilling this autumn because I was looking for a woolen pyjama for my kid (they’re hard to find)! The colours are very basic and the design, if any, is minimalist but that’s exactly what speaks to me. They’re not cheap so watch out for sales.

Greenjump – Another go-to online store for me is, particularly for sustainable diapers. Since washable diapers didn’t really work for me (hello full-time working mom and marathoner here), I opted for the next best alternative – organic diapers. My brand is Bambo Nature for diapers and Attitude for baby wipes. They also sell Cosilana a few euros cheaper than Regenboogschaap. They carry a lot of eco-brands, from kitchen to shower, baby to adults.

Second-hand stores

I thought Marktplaats, the Netherlands’ largest 2nd-hand website should be on top of this list. But I haven’t found proper woolen clothes for babies here. And I don’t have time for endless surfing just to save a few euros. For second-hand clothes I usually go to a physical store because at I can feel, examine, and smell the clothes and T could try them (when she’s up to it). Here’s three stores that I’ve been so far.

Het Blauwe Ballon, Rotterdam – “It’s like Marktplaats but with a store” is how the owner described Blue Balloon, located in the chic Hillegersberg area of Rotterdam Noord. The store carry designer kid’s brands like Dolce&Gabbana but also fast fashion brands like C&A and H&M. I’ve recently scored pretty jackets, sweaters and dress for the kid, five items for only €58. To be able to fit it in the kid’s budget, I returned a whole bag of new purchases from Zara.  Het Blauwe Ballon also accepts exchange/returns. Adress: Kleiweg 178-a, Rotterdam, Tel, 010 4223 614.

de Junior Boetiek, Hattem – A cold summer morning during a weekend trip in Apeldoorn, led us to this baby store in Hattem.. It’s a cute, little store in the old town, sandwiched by adorable Dutch houses in Kerkstraat. The nice thing is that the owner can adjust the sizes at the store right away so if you buy something which is a tad bigger, you can have it adjusted while you wait. Adress: Kerkstraat 45, Hattem Tel: 038 4447 457

AnneLou, Vlaardingen – This tiny store second-hand store for both kids and adults that caters mainly to locals, is located in the city centre of Vlaardingen My best purchase here is a pair of silver boots that the kid used for at least six months while she was practicing walking. She wore them until they don’t fit anymore and I was actually quite sad to let those baby boots go. She got so much pleasure from it for only €15. Adress:  Nieuwelandstraat 6, Vlaardingen. Tel: 06 1310 3860

Friends and family

I can’t emphasize this enough. If you’re brave enough to ask (and are not ashamed of your child wearing hand-me-downs) friends and family would eagerly give or lend their baby items to you, clothes and more. I regularly borrow woolen clothes from a Norwegian friend who knows about proper winter dressing, my sister in-law kept many of my niece’s clothes, which the kid is using now, another friend borrowed me their series of Maxi Cosi  car seats. It’s one of the best ways to minimize the impact of babies in the environment and save you lots of money in the process.

Any more tips for addresses/links I should check out? Write them down in the comment section. P.S. None of these products/links is sponsored.