Baby steps to saving energy
18 October 2016
If there’s one thing that will probably increase when you have just had a baby (besides the amount of times you will put a kettle on each day), it’s your energy bill.
This sucks, because you’re usually not working at the time, and it’s an unnecessary and probably unexpected addition to what can be an already expensive period.
To start with, you’re suddenly spending a whole lot of extra time at home and that generally means a whole lot more power is consumed.
If it’s cold, like it is for me now, there’s heating required in the rooms that you spend endlessly breastfeeding the baby as well as in their rooms where they sleep. If it’s hot, it’s the opposite with air conditioning or fans doing the hard work for you.
You might have the TV on a whole lot more and at different times if you are feeding in the night. More lights on, more cups of tea made... it might seem small but it all might add up to a bigger energy bill.
Just being aware of all this and being smart with how you use energy should reduce some unnecessary expenses.
But why not plan for this stuff with everything else you have sorted out for when the baby comes?
Man (or woman) the stations
Try setting up a series of stations around your home and see how some small things can make a big difference.
1. Feeding station
Have your remote and phone handy, perhaps have a charger nearby too. Pillows? Water? Entertainment? Tick! Remember you can be stuck there for a while. I always found that catching up on phone calls was a good thing to do when feeding. I know! How novel. Actually speaking to someone! I’m sure the sound of your voice chatting away calms the baby and takes them back to your endless nattering when they were on the inside. It might not save you energy on your bill, but it will help restore your all important energy.
2. Washing stations
Have your clothes sorted into piles or baskets to clearly show what needs soaking, is ready to be washed, and is ready for folding and what can put away. You’ll be doing a lot of washing with a new baby and an organised laundry is a happy laundry. Or so I’m told.
3. Bottle cleaning stations
Try and keep the bottles to be sterilised, along with all the stuff you need to do it set up in one easy to reach area. This will save you leaving the tap running while you try and find where you left the bottle cleaner.
Practical ways to take steps towards energy savings
If the weather is fine, try and use the clothes line for drying rather than the dryer. The fresh air and sunshine on your back for a few minutes will be enough to give you a burst of energy and zen. Pegging washing can be just as good as meditation (well for me anyway!)
Good block out blinds won’t just help baby sleep, they’ll help insulate the room. Remember on cold days to open them wide and let as much natural sunshine in. It makes everything seem less overwhelming in those first newborn haze weeks and as a bonus it will warm things up
Use as many lamps as you can around the house rather than overhead halogen lighting, and try and switch the globes to energy efficient ones. Dim lighting will also help keep everyone chilled out in the middle of the night.
4. Heating & cooling
Heating on in the baby’s room? Keep that door shut so the heat stays in. Same goes with the air conditioner; trap that air!
Turn off small kitchen appliances that aren’t being used – though small they can all add up to 5% of your energy bill.
When cooking or re-heating home cooked meals that people have prepared for you make sure you use fan forced oven setting as it will cook quicker and more evenly.
Make sure you make the most of the days outside. For me, this is the key to feeling a little normal when everything can seem so upside down and not normal.
A quick cup of tea with the sunshine on your back in winter or a cool drink in the shade on a hot summer’s day will be as restorative as a nap. Let nature help you out as much as possible and if you feel up to it take the baby for a walk...it’s amazing for your head space!
Use blankets inside to snuggle and keep warm and hop into bed with the baby for a feed or a cuddle if you can in those first few weeks. They will be over before you know it and there’s no place warmer or better energy source for baby than on your chest!
Authored by Beth Macdonald
Beth blogs daily over at her blog BabyMac where she shares stories of her family life in the country in the Southern Highlands of NSW. She loves freshly mopped floors, flowers, pork and champagne, cushions and clean sheets day.