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The Eco-nomical Baby Guide: Down-to-Earth Ways for Parents to Save Money and the Planet

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  133 ratings  ·  31 reviews
Is it really possible to raise an eco-baby without breaking the bank? While the average parents spend almost $7,000 gearing up for a new addition, pregnant pals Joy Hatch and Rebecca Kelley each shelled out less than a thousand—and they did it by going green. In The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, the authors prove that bringing up baby can be easy on the pocketbook and the planet ...more
Paperback, 196 pages
Published March 1st 2010 by Harry N. Abrams (first published 2010)
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Dec 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010
This is definitely the best of the "green" baby books that I've read, as they avoid the preachy tone and scare tactics of other guides. I particularly appreciate the authors' focus on consuming less, focusing on what you really need, and using secondhand items rather than just buying new (expensive & trendy) organic and eco-friendly items. While I personally wouldn't go for a used car seat, they had a lot of useful practical tips and cost-comparison charts that make the book valuable. This is al ...more
Mar 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
As a grandparent who has the privilege of being a regular one day a week babysitter, I found the Eco-nomical Baby Guide to be an entertaining and informative book. I was appreciative of the encouragement to find toys among everyday household items, buy quality used items when needed, and avoid the trap of too much stuff. There seem to be many more “green” options than when we had our own children. This book is well researched and provides a wealth of practical suggestions. It was not a heavy-han ...more
Feb 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
i'm not even a breeder and still, i enjoy this book! stop buying paper towels, people! ...more
Kaitlyn Federwitz
This was a good book that is in some need of an update. Good information about cloth diapers and generally going green, but some of the links that I tried to check out were no longer in business. Their car seat information is also out of date. No child should be forward facing before 2 years, and that is bad advice in this day and age. I enjoyed the book, but having already had one child and having gone the cloth diapering, consignment store and garage sale shopping, and breastfeeding route, I d ...more
Dec 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
I would love to see an updated version of the guide or at least something comparable to it with newer information, but at its core, the guide was immensely helpful. It was even comforting as it left me more confident in knowing I can indeed have an eco-minimalist lifestyle with my future child. If it wasn't obvious, the only reason I'm giving this a 4/5 stars is that some of the information is a bit out of date given it was written over 10 years ago. Otherwise, a must have book for eco-minded pa ...more
Lauren Read
Dec 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Despite feeling I could have written this book, perhaps it is my social isolation that made me really enjoy reading something with which I agree so much. It was still a validating and emphasizing time well spent. And I recommend it widely, as there is so much parents can do so easily to mitigate the environmental impact of progeny. The book not only discusses but neatly presents great resources for all aspects of baby-rearing.
Apr 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
A- A great book for new parents who care about the environment. They tell you how to both save money and save the environment (and make things safe for your baby). So much great advice and I really am glad I read this book.
I'm not the 'greenest' person you'll meet: I do a few things for the environment, including small, everyday things and a couple larger gestures that ensure I leave a smaller carbon footprint, but I certainly could do more. When I knew that I had a baby on the way, I considered all the products and energy (as in electricity and gas) raising a little one means, and I really appreciated that this book was available to help sort through that quagmire.

Now that my little one is here, I have to especi
Aug 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: how-to, bambinos
I recycle, I use energy efficient appliances, I don't take long showers and I turn off lights when I leave a room. I'm not SUPER Eco girl but I do like to make little changes and do little things where I can.

I liked that this book provides realistic and budget friendly options for those who would like to do a green nursery and lower their carbon footprint with baby in tow.

LOVED the chapter on cloth diapers! It gave SO much information about cloth diapering! Affordable brands (and how much you sa
Feb 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. It had some good advice though a lot of it was more common sense than anything else. There were some things that I didn't agree with, or frankly wasn't willing to comprimise on. Some of the items that they suggested getting used (like cribs and carseats) I don't necesarily agree with (not many people are going to diligently research as they should when buying used) and some things like spending the money on eco-friendly mattress seems expensive and excessive for such short t ...more
Dec 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
I wish I had this book when I was researching cloth diaper options last year - it would have been more helpful to me than my hours of internet researching since there were no local cloth diaper stores to guide me through the process.

The section about organic formulas and store bought baby food was informative for me, but there are much better books to help you make your own baby food.

The rest of the book was a well organized, well written, and quick read, but fairly basic and known ways to both
Laura Stiller
Apr 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012, baby
I liked this book. I think I'd found most of this information on the internat and via various blogs before Cannon was born, but this was a great one-stop resource for moms not just looking to go green, but even just looking to save money. I liked the practical, no-nonsense, minimalist approach to parenthood. I also appreciated some of the websites/resources for natural toys. The cloth diaper chapters gave a very balanced look at the waste caused by not only disposables but by cloth as well (wate ...more
Aug 13, 2010 rated it liked it
This was a good read for parents-to-be or those with newborns. I had to rate it lower because it suggests become vegetarian or vegan in the book for environmental reasons. Meat is an important source of protein, iron, and B vitamins for breastfeeding mothers, and babies old enough to eat food. The book never even mentions finding local meats that are free-range and organic.

Overall, I agreed with their message of doing what you are comfortable with in being environmentally friendly and saving mon
May 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Oh great, I think I may have to switch to cloth diapers. While I like the idea of cloth diapers in theory, I am a bit of a germophobe, and the thought of poop swirling around my washer brings out my OCD. But this book includes a thoughtful discussion of disposable versus cloth, and really, cloth is the way to go, for the health of your baby, for the environment and your pocketbook. Also, lanolizing wool! Apparently you can lanolize wool blankets to make a greener version of waterproof liners. My ...more
Jul 15, 2011 rated it liked it
This is a worth while guide. It covers a lot of the basics but puts a green spin on everything. The author isn't hard to take or preachy. She presents a range of option that even the least green amongst us could embrace and highlights how the green option is often the most cost effective option AND the safest option for your baby. It goes into a little to much detail about cloth diapers for my personal temperment. Whether you're trying to reduce your carbon footprint, or you simply want to live ...more
Jan 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The first time I read this book was a few years before I had a baby, so I figured it deserved a re-read. I would recommend this book to all new mom's just for the in depth discussion on cloth diapers.

Whether you're motivated to live simply, save money or green the planet, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide: Down-to-Earth Ways for Parents to Save Money and the Planet is a must read for parents!
Melissa Sodano
Jan 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
A great book full of advice on how to be thrifty and green. Surprisingly, the two frequently go hand in hand. From tips about using cloth diapers, to obtaining used furniture for the nursery, this book uses the personal experiences of the authors to prove just how easy it is to avoid spending tons of money. Plus, they include many other internet resources to continue research for those that just can't get enough information about a specific topic. ...more
Jan 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. I'm definitely not the "greenest" person in the world but I would like to do better and this gave me some great ideas of where to start. I want only the essentials when my baby is born and this gave me a good idea of what I really need. It turns out most baby stuff on the market is not necessary! ...more
Apr 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: parenting
While this book is full of useful resources and advice, I found it leaves low income families and single parents excluded. When just paying rent is a struggle buying organic, eco friendly crib mattresses is simply not a realistic option for us. Many of the organic recipes take up my entire month's grocery budget.
Useful if you can afford it, but not strictly practical.
Dec 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Generally good, basic common sense information about cloth diapering, homemade baby food, used baby gear, etc, though not always practical for folks who are going the eco-nomical route out of necessity rather than choice. Also, some product and website recommendations are outdated, which isn't surprising since the book is 6 years old. ...more
Apr 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is a quick read and provides some good advice about cloth diapering and even has some sewing recommendations. As an injury prevention guru, I wasn't a fan of some of the advice like reusing car seats, but other than that, a fun book. ...more
Great info for the new parent and even some for the btdt parent. Practical and do-able ways to save money and the planet without the doob and gloom. Including comprehensive information on diapering.
A nice guide for folks who are just starting their green journey. I found I was already doing or planning on doing most of what this book recommended. The authors' main point is to buy less and then buy used the items that you determine you do need. Done. ...more
Ten minutes reading the cloth diaper chapter has given more useable information than the hours I've spent researching online. And it will be a good diapering guide for my husband, too. ...more
Nov 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
this book has an excellent resource guide and smart tips. so glad i read it before i outfitted my nursery - it saved me a bundle!
Kristy Ann
Dec 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommended for newbie parents
Mar 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Well written and really helped calm down the fears of "how are we going to pay for this." Breaks down a lot of options in an easy and fun to read format. ...more
Jul 06, 2012 rated it did not like it

This was not my favorite baby book. It was somewhat helpful, but almost over the top with all the "green" suggestions. Also very repetitive.
Jul 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
informative, funny and great tips on how to have a baby and not break the bank.
Andee Marley
Dec 17, 2014 rated it it was ok
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Rebecca Kelley is a fiction writer from Portland, Oregon. Her first novel, Broken Homes & Gardens, was published in 2015. She also co-authored The Eco-nomical Baby Guide with Joy Hatch. When Rebecca isn’t writing, she is conducting elaborate baking experiments, designing book covers, and keeping up her thousand-plus-day streak in Duolingo. Find her at


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