One of the exciting parts of having a baby is deciding on the nursery. Before you get started, it’s important to give thought to what you’ll be putting in it. And we don’t just mean the type of decor, bedding or toys – while these things are important, it’s more important to think about what these products are made of and if they are safe for your new tot’s environment.
So, it’s great to know that creating an eco-friendly room for your baby is easier now more than ever. As baby planners we have designed countless green nurseries with a variety of aesthetics but in order to get you started here are 8 key areas for you to focus on first. This article first appeared in The Tot, a wonderful resource for all things green + kids:
There are two components to consider – a crib or crib alternative and bedding. Look for furniture and mattresses that have a Greenguard Certification (products that have been tested for more than 10,000 VOCs and certified low emitting for healthy indoor air quality). This will ensure that the materials are safer for your tot. We love the super comfortable and breathable Pebble Mattress from Nook. Infants can also start in a quality bassinet like the Moba Moses Basket, which allows for complete air ventilation and has hypoallergenic properties. Moba also makes a gorgeous 100% organic cotton blanket. Finding eco-bedding is also much easier these days – organic, untreated cotton is best – this also applies to baby swaddles and we adore Halo for their Organic Sleep Sack Swaddles and Wearable Blankets.
If you decide to bottle feed your newborn, choosing baby-safe bottles is an important priority. Avoid any plastic made from BPA and PVC (thankfully most feeding products don’t include these anymore) and consider using glass bottles like those from Natursutten. Don’t forget to eco your pacifiers as well with Hevea being our no.1 choice.
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What we put on bottoms and what we wipe them with shouldn’t be overlooked either. Cloth diapering is the green choice but we know that this may not always work for all families. At the very least make sure you have diapers that are chlorine-free and wipes that are fragrance and chemical-free such as the ultra-gentle Water Wipes. If you choose to use diaper balm, purchase one that contains certified organic ingredients such as the Acure Baby Buns Diaper Balm. It’s always good to have a jar of the Earth Mama Angel Baby Baby Bottom Balm on hand too. It’s pretty much a cure-all for everything from diaper rash to bug bites and scrapes and scratches. Remember though to always test a new skincare product on a small patch of your baby’s skin to make sure they don’t have any allergies or sensitivities.
Strollers, car seats, carriers – oh my! It’s also important to do your research when choosing baby gear as your tot will spend a lot of time going to and fro. Bumbleride holds a special place in our heart as they still remain the only company that offers a true eco-twin stroller (and single strollers). If there is only one thing that you check – look into the foam cushion treatment – as the flame retardent can be made with highly toxic ingredients.
There are a whole list of ingredients that we don’t want in our babies’ skincare so we have decided to simplify it for you – less is more. Avoid products that have an enormous list of ingredients with abbreviations such as ‘SLS’ or ‘SLES’. When we look at Natural Non-Scents Shampoo & Body Wash from Earth Mama Angel Baby, it contains 11 ingredients. This may sound like a lot to you but it’s nothing compared to the 40+ of other brands. We also can’t live without coconut oil, coconut oil, coconut oil as an all-round natural baby lotion.
Lighting: Choose energy efficient lighting such as LEDs or CFLs. Goodnight Light has a playful range of lamps that emit no heat and has a LED lifespan of 50,000 hours.
Flooring: When choosing flooring for your tot’s room, try to avoid wall-to-wall carpet as it can often give off fumes and harbor dust mites and allergens. If possible, opt for flooring made from sustainable materials such as bamboo or cork. If you are planning to install new wooden flooring, ensure that you thoroughly ventilate and ‘off-gas’ your tot’s room well before they move in. Once you’re happy with your flooring, baby-safe mats and rugs can also be a cute addition. Franck & Fischer have an adorable Nellie Polar Bear Rug that’s 100% organic and made using natural dyes and the Lollaland Playmat is a non-toxic and hypoallergenic alternative to a traditional rug and it’s really easy to clean which is always a bonus.
Walls: If you are going to paint the nursery walls, do your research on eco-friendly paint options. Remember that exposure to highly toxic paint fumes can lead to all sorts of problems like cognitive, behavioral and developmental issues. Ultra-low-VOC or zero-VOC paint are the best options for safer walls. And again, always allow ample time for ventilating the room well before baby’s arrival. Here are a few eco-friendly paint suppliers that you might want to look into further: Ecos Paints, Milk Paint and Auro USA.
Babies are naturally inquisitive so they’ll be doing lots of exploring with their little hands and their little mouths. That being said, all of their toys should be free of toxins, biologically harmful chemicals and dyes. Look for toys that are also free of BPA, Phthalates, Lead, and PVCs. Our top picks for baby’s first toys include the Skwish Natural, the Elephant Rattle from Bannor Toys and any of the super cute plush animals from Zubels. Once baby begins tummy-time, Finn & Emma’s Play Gym is an enchanting and eco-friendly option. All Finn + Emma Play Gym buddies are interchangeable and can be used in the car, the bumper bar of your stroller or on a high chair.
Keep baby’s room well lit with natural light and well ventilated. When you do need to clean the room, make sure you use safer cleaning products such as Better Life’s Nursery Cleaner. It’s non-toxic and biodegradable and safe for kids, pets, and the planet.
If you take anything away from this checklist we just want you to give consideration to the types of products that you are buying. Everyone can go eco-friendly on a range of budgets just enjoy being able to choose products that are best for you and your tot.
About the author
As a Mom to identical twin girls, Shannon O’Reilly-Fearn created Twin Love Concierge from experiencing first-hand the dire need of parents of multiples to have access to the latest parenting education and experts outside the world of singletons. With a team of renowned Multiples specialists from OB/GYNS, IBCLCs through to Nursery Designers and Baby Planners, TLC has become the globe’s premier service exclusively for Twins. Setting up roots in NYC, the company has now expanded to 14 cities with accompanying online classes offered worldwide.