With Earth Day right around the corner (April 22) we thought it a perfect time to talk about how to create a green and natural nursery. Earth Day is all but a national holiday to me, I thought I'd share my quick and easy tips on how to make a green and natural nursery. As we all know - everything about babies is delicate, from their soft, ultra absorbent skin, to their fragile heads to their respiratory and digestive systems and it is our job to protect them and offer them the safest, healthiest environment in which to grow, and thrive. That being said, here are my simple tips to creating a green and eco-friendly nursery for your little one.
Tips for making a Green and Natural Nursery
- Bedding: You can purchase an organic mattress for your cradle, bassinet or crib and cover it with organic cotton linens, including swaddle blankets. Your baby will spend a lot of time (fingers crossed!) sleeping and that's when they are doing the majority of their growth and development, best that it's done without breathing in harmful synthetics or fabrics covered in formaldehyde.
- Clothes: Avoid "flame retardant" sleepwear as it contains many toxic and harmful chemicals, opt for onesies made from organic cotton (even Gerber makes them) and pajamas or sleep sacks made from organic cotton
- Paint: Opt for no or low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint. Harmful fumes can last for months once on your walls, better to know that your little one is breathing one less toxic substance.
- Carpet: While untreated and unstained wood or hardwood coated with non polyurethane is best, that's not always an option. Try natural fiber area rugs like ones made from Jute or Sea Grass. If carpeting exists makes sure to steam clean it only (no chemical cleaners that will linger long after the stains reappear) and if new carpet is being installed, "air" it out for as long as possible before your newborn enters the space (it's not healthy for anyone to breathe in the "off gas" from carpets, so ventilation is strongly suggested)
- Furniture: Hand-me -downs are a perfect way to make your nursery more eco friendly, or when purchasing new furniture check for minimal use of fiberboard and pressed wood as they contain very toxic chemicals and harmful glues. Check the paint to ensure that's it's non-toxic, and doesn't contain lead. You can purchase unstained wooden furniture and then paint or stain it yourself using more baby/earth friendly products.
- Wipes/diapers: I believe that cloth is best. Cloth wipes made from organic hemp, bamboo or organic cotton with plain warm water work quite well on baby's skin and will clean them sufficiently between baths. Cloth diapers contain zero toxins, and chemicals are less wasteful and when used properly are just as effective as their disposable counterparts.
- Lotions, potions: When choosing bathing soaps or lotions, remember to look for ones with zero parabens, no SLS, No fragrance, No synthetics, or dyes. We love Dr. Bronner's Sensitive Baby (concentrated), California Baby, Earth Mama/Angel Baby, Dolphin Organics, and Babyganics. The natural kinds are more expensive but a little goes a long way, and your baby's skin is not only her largest organ, but it also extremely absorbent, treat it delicately. (on the subject of baths, no rubber squeaky toys for baby as they harbor nasty bacteria, mold and fecal matter!)
- Toys: Avoid plastic toys as contain a myriad of chemicals, instead try to purchase/request wooden toys that are made with plant or soy-based inks, are certified lead-free and are made from a sustainable wood source. We love Melissa and Doug, Green Toys, Green Sprouts, Discoveroo, Tegu. We are in luck as many toy companies are offering greener, safer and more eco-friendly options. Another way is do look for hand-me downs (might be plastic), although avoid anything made before 1978 when lead was banned out of all toys (better yet, get an instant Lead Test and see for yourself!)
- Baby Gear: All you really need to bring home baby is some clean clothes, and place for him to sleep and a car seat if traveling by car. We are obsessed with gear. Babies grow out of everything so quickly and are only entertained for so long by many of the "must have" items. Why not go green, and go simple and either forgo the unnecessary baby gear, or borrow what you can. This will cut down on clutter, waste, money spent, and a lot of overstimulation.
- Decor: In general, less is more! Creating a warm, stimulating environment has nothing to do with hanging character's from your child's walls. Babies need stimulation from you and only you. Save your money and time, decorate with green plants, simple wooden mobiles and photos of family.
While this list is in no way representative of all the steps you can take to a "green" nursery, implementing them is taking a huge step toward a healthier, more natural start for your little one.
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