The Baby Products industry is going strong and proving to be a ray of sunshine in tough economic times. Over the five years through 2011-12, industry revenue is expected to grow 1.1% per annum to be worth $4.38 billion. Cashed-up parents have been buying up big for their newborns, with only the best in mind. This attitude, combined with rising birth rates to older parents, has given rise to a new area of growth: high-end baby products (Ibis World Research 2010)
That's basically $4.38 billion dollars worth of strollers, nappy change tables, toys, clothes, bassinets and other junk that is used at most for 3-6 months.
This junk uses energy, water and finite resources as it is made. If it 'works' you'll probably need a bunch more coal-fired energy and water to power it and then when the kid is sick of it it will inevitably have to go somewhere.
The waste and energy associated with buying stuff for the kid when it is a baby doesn't take into account the environmental impact of adding another (Westerner) to the earth. This is also a little worrying.
In a study done by Paul Murtaugh & Michael Schlax called "Reproduction and the carbon legacies of individuals" it was found that even if you live a really sustainable life (drive a Prius, use Green Energy, are vegetarian, use energy-saving bulbs etc.) these efforts are effectively useless if you have a kid.
In fact Murtaugh & Schlax also found that the in developed countries, each child adds about 9441 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide to the carbon legacy of an average female currently alive - this is 5.7 times her lifetime emissions.
Well the first option is to sterilise yourself and/or use contraceptions. But if (for whatever reason and seriously probably not a great idea to take sex ed advice from a preggo) this is not an option then raise a kid who will be a decent human being and attempt to fix things.
Apparently this is harder to do than it sounds.
So use the only power that you really have as a parent (until they're old enough to work) - try not to buy the kid anything new.
For as long as you can get away with it.
I don't know if this is possible, but I'm willing to give it a decent crack.
Will keep you posted.