If you haven’t read PART ONE and PART TWO, on the non toxic nursery, you might want to start there. Now that we have a beautiful, clean and healthy nursery set up, let’s look at all of the accessories that go into this space. Creating a space like this is pointless if your going to be cleaning with traditional toxic products, or filling the space with plastic toys from China that contain BPA and phthalates. Here is a list of additional things to consider in order to keep your baby’s space fresh and clean, while also being kinder to this awesome planet.
1.The first thing I would recommend doing, especially if you have carpeting or are allergy prone, would be to invest in a really good air filter. The one I recommended in PART ONE is considered the very best, and will keep your baby’s room free of allergens as well as VOC’s like formaldehyde. However, the IQ Air is very expensive and rather large, so another more affordable option would be the AUSTIN AIR. I love this one because it’s effective and it’s a nice small compact size for smaller nurseries like ours. This would actually be my first choice, unless you know that you have a lot of VOC’s or allergens to contend with.
2. A great way to clean the air in your baby’s nursery and in your whole house is by using plants! Plant’s are natures air filters and are truly incredible. NASA did a research study on the best way to clean the air in space stations (in SPACE! how dope is that!?) and they found that certain plants were completely effective at removing formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, trichloroethylene and ammonia. It was called the CLEAN AIR STUDY (here’s the link for all you research/science geeks like me). For those of you who don’t care to read the study, NASA recommends 1 plant per 100 sq feet. Be sure to only choose plants that are non toxic to babies. These include bamboo palm, boston fern, spider plant, snake plant, and warneck dracaena. Be sure to keep ALL plants out of reach of babies as they can still pose hazards such as choking. For those of you who have mold allergies, and cannot tolerate the potting soil, I suggest Air plants (Tillandsia’s). While there are no official studies on them, all plants act as air purifiers on some level. CO2 in, oxygen out. Plus air plants just look cool.
3.Toys, toys, toys. Oh my God I never imagined how many toys we would end up with in the first year. Here is a friendly piece of advice. YOU DON’T NEED A MILLION TOYS. Your baby is literally going to pick up that fifty dollar toy, maybe lick it once or twice, and then toss it aside in favor of the Amazon Prime box it came in. In fact just find out if you can order empty boxes from Amazon and cut out the middle man. Your baby will be THRILLED. But seriously, you need less than you think. When you do buy toys, be sure to get toys that are free of BPA, Pthalates, Lead, and PVC. You won’t always win this one. Sometimes you just need to give in and get some plastic. Particularly as they get older. I couldn’t find a suitable exersaucer that wasn’t plastic (though they are BPA and Lead free). So when they are brand new and tiny, and all they really do is chew on toys, opt for the most non toxic, natural and organic ones you can find. Raw wood tethers are great, as are organic cotton tethers and toys. My daughter loves THESE organic teether/rattles. The stacking cups from this company are great as well, my daughter loves them, and they have holes in the bottom for playing in the bath.
Wooden toys are a much better option than plastic. Particularly wooden toys that are sourced sustainably. I love PLAN TOYS. They use non toxic glue and water based paints, and the designs are adorable. 4. Clothing is equally important. In these early stages while a baby’s delicate body is developing and growing so rapidly, I would try to only use natural fabrics, preferably organic. Children’s clothing made with synthetic fabrics are manufactured with petrochemicals and PVC which we learned in PART ONE can contribute to hormonal disorders, immune system disorders and cancers. Most horrifying is the fact that baby sleepwear often contains flame retardants! If you read PART TWO, you know how awful and dangerous that is. Organic fabric cannot contain any of these chemicals so I would buy organic pajamas when possible. If that isn’t a possibility, pajamas that are tight to the body can get around the flame retardant law. Look for tags that say “This garment is not flame resistant”. Sleepwear for newborn babies does not have to contain flame retardants, but a lot of the synthetic materials used in newborn PJ’s may already contain them. So for newborns it is crucial to stick to natural non toxic fabrics like cotton and wool. Here are a few organic baby clothing brands that we really love:
- 5. Bedding should also be natural material, preferably organic. Non organic natural cotton and wool is okay if organic is not an option. But many pesticides are used in the process of growing cotton and some residue can be found in the fabric. So though it is an extra expense, I highly recommend going organic when it comes to babies and children. If you are Swaddling your newborn, then most definitely use organic swaddle cloths. Here are a few brands that have wonderful organic bedding and swaddle cloths.
- Aden & Anais
- Holy Lamb Organics
- Restoration Hardware Organic bedding
6. We talked about up cycling in PART TWO. This works great for accessorizing your baby’s nursery. Nursery’s will eventually need a lot of storage. Instead of buying plastic bins, try using any old baskets or boxes you may already have. We used an old wind chime we bought over a decade ago on a trip to Hawaii in place of a mobile. We hung it from the light fixture in the center of the room, and the little plum spent many hours staring at it and giggling when she was really little. Making your own mobile from natural materials you may already have is yet another option.
- 7. Last but not least, baby products. What you put on your baby’s skin is of the utmost importance. Our skin is our largest organ and is very porous. What we put on it is absorbed into our bodies. That goes double for the delicate porous skin of babies. When they are brand new, it’s best not to use anything on their skin AT ALL. For wipes I preferred to use gauze wipes we got from the maternity ward, and warm water. Even the ingredients in “natural” brand wipes seemed too much for brand new virgin skin. As she got a little older (a couple months) we started to use Water Wipes which are 99.9% water with 1% fruit extract as a preservative. For her skin we didn’t use anything for the first six months or so. She wasn’t dirty enough to warrant bathing with anything besides water. She also didn’t need any moisturizer, but if she did I would use a pure oil like virgin coconut or virgin olive oil. *Always patch test an oil on a small part of baby’s skin before using it all over*. As the little Plum got bigger we began to use some clean safe products. Here are some that we like and trust.
- For diapers we like HONEST CO. DIAPERS, they are eco-friendly and are free of harsh chemicals. I mostly use these simply because they come in the cutest prints EVER! Other good brands are BAMBO NATURE, SEVENTH GENERATION and EARTH’S BEST.
- For skincare we like EARTH MAMA ANGEL BABY and MOTHERLOVE.
- For laundering newborn babies clothes we liked SHOOSHA. As she got older we switched to SEVENTH GENERATION FREE AND CLEAR.
Oh and as far as cleaning the nursery, I would recommend only using natural non toxic products such as white vinegar, water, castille soap and baking soda. I will do a future post on making your own which is a very economical and easy thing to do.
So there you have it. My guide on creating a non toxic nursery. I hope this is helpful to you. Doing a nursery is SO much fun. I loved every second of it, and it is that much sweeter knowing you are giving your perfect little pumpkin the healthiest space possible.