If you have a baby on the way or your little bundle is already here then no doubt you want to ensure you have a green friendly and non-toxic nursery—read on! In these days of eco consciousness, for us to keep our children’s world as safe as we can, we need to start in our home and what better place than your baby’s first environment (after the womb of course)? Perhaps you don’t have a separate nursery because you co-sleep. That great! We just need to make sure all of baby’s hangouts are safe as possible. Experts abound to tell you all about making sure you have outlet covers and no stuffed animals in the crib. Few tell you about the potential toxins that could be lurking in the paint you used on the walls or the new mattress you bought for their crib or bassinet. Even fewer will tell you that you don’t need a fraction of the baby stuff being marketed to new moms.
This is serious business but it is actually getting very easy to outfit a nursery or sleep/play space with safe and green materials. When you also acknowledge that babies actually NEED very little by way of stuff then your job is even easier. You don’t have to go broke buying all the stuff in a baby catalog. Be honest…that stuff is more for you than for baby. They don’t care if their nursery is the perfect color combination of celery and aquamarine. All they care about is the touch, smell, and sound of their mom and dad. They are probably never going to care about how cute you decorated that nursery so your energy AND money is better spent elsewhere. Here are…
10 Tips For a Safe and Minimalist Nursery
1. If you are painting for baby use zero VOC paints or natural paints such as milk paints. Your color options may be slightly reduced but wall color is not as important as the potential for you and your baby to be breathing in noxious chemicals.
2. Avoid new carpeting. Carpet harbors all sorts of nasties like, mold, mildew, dust, dirt, and allergens. If at all possible go with hard wood flooring and wool rugs.
3. Use natural baby care products and avoid the conventional top sellers. You actually don’t need all the baby powder, baby oil, and lotion that the magazines and TV ads tell you that you do. If you must purchase some of these items stick with natural brands such as Earth Mama Angel Baby but in all honesty you can usually eschew most of these products.
4. Choose to use cloth diapers. They really aren’t that much more work (just a few loads of laundry) and they are way cuter than throwaway diapers. They are better for your baby’s skin/health and they are the planet friendly option as well.
5. Select an organic and/or natural mattress wherever your baby will be sleeping. Conventional mattresses are doused with nasty chemicals and flame retardants. Baby mattresses are often covered in plastic which tends to off-gas for a long time. Organic cotton or wool mattresses for cribs and bassinets are available.
6. Spring for organic sheets too. Your little one will be in close contact with all the chemical nasties in conventional options, as will you, for many hours each night. In the beginning they also spend a great deal of time napping. Their sleep environment should be as safe as possible.
7. Everyone’s clothing should be washed in safe, natural detergents but especially that of babies. Soap nuts are a good option…they are fruit with natural soap in them and they can be used repeatedly in the wash to clean clothing naturally.
8. Buy essentials ONLY. Wear your baby and you don’t need a pack-n-play. Change your baby on the bed and you don’t need a changing table. Grab a reusable tote when you leave the house (the kind you use for groceries) and you don’t need a diaper bag. Ask yourself how much you REALLY need for your new baby. The answer is…not much.
9. Use an air purifier in the baby’s room to clean the indoor air and remove allergens and other air born contaminants that are lurking there. Living plants are another great choice.
10. Buy a baby sling or wrap. Bouncy seats, baby walkers, strollers…you don’t really need them. Just get a nice quality, organic baby wrap and you and your partner can wear your baby. Both of you will relish the close contact.
When tackling the nursery and getting ready for your new baby just remember that the more “stuff” you buy or bring into the house the more you have to worry about potentially as far as chemical nasties and pollutants are concerned. It is best to go minimal and be on the safe side and to be more conscious about the few things that you do buy. The best part is that you can afford to be choosier because you aren’t throwing money after useless stuff that baby doesn’t need. Everyone wins.
What conventional and popular baby items have YOU found to be a waste of time and money?