Practical Steps to a Non-Toxic Nursery
Have you been wondering if choosing non-toxic supplies for your baby is truly worth it or just a trend and a way for manufacturers to make more money? Allow me to be the one to tell you that it certainly is worth it!
Pound for pound, children breathe more air, drink more water, and eat more food than adults. This means they are more exposed to water, food and environmental pollution. Removing toxins from your home as soon as possible, preferably long before getting pregnant, is an extremely valuable investment in your family's health and your children's future, as well as that of generations to come.
Our children are facing an unprecedented exposure to toxic chemicals. Many of the over 80,000 chemicals currently used in the US have not been thoroughly tested for their effects on human health and almost none have been tested for their interaction with each other. In the United States, most chemicals and products are allowed on the market and only removed after damage has been done and they have "been proven guilty."
The Environmental Working Group conducted research on the umbilical cord blood of 10 babies born in US hospitals, in Summer of 2004. They found an average of 200 industrial chemicals and pollutants and a total of 287 chemicals in the group.
"Of the 287 chemicals we detected in umbilical cord blood, we know that 180 cause cancer in humans or animals, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 208 cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests."
The good news is that we are in control of the environment that has the biggest impact on our children's health: our home! This is where children spend most of their time and most importantly, the place where they sleep. Our bodies restore, detoxify and prepare for the next day while we sleep. By removing all pesticides, toxic cleaning products, synthetic fragrances and toxic chemicals from our home, we take a huge load off the body and allow it to function and heal much easier.
The best place to start is with your baby's sleep environment.
Open windows for a few minutes before bedtime to allow fresh air to get in. Avoid opening the window during rush ours, if you live near busy roads. If you are able, consider investing in an air purifier that will clean the air inside your home.
Do your best to purchase organic, non-toxic sleeping surface, sheets, clothing and pacifiers, if using them. I included a few ideas below.
Non-toxic Sleeping Areas:
4-in-1 DaVinci Convertible Crib
Convertible DaVinci Mini Crib
3-in-1 Convertible Crib or this
3-in-1 Convertible Crib
Organic Baby Crib Naturepedic Natural Mattress
Organic Cotton and Natural Eco-Wool Emily Crib Mattress
Organic Snuggle Me Baby Lounger
Portable Travel Crib and Organic Crib Sheets
Burt's Bees Crib Sheets or
These Organic Crib Sheets
Organic Cotton Waterproof Crib Mattress Protector
Organic Waterproof Mattress Protector
Organic Bassinet Sheet (check with the manufacturer of your specific bassinet if these will work)
Swaddles and clothing
Cotton is one of the most chemically treated crops in the world. Some of the chemicals sprayed on cotton were named as possible or probable carcinogenic, by the EPA . That's why it's important to choose organic cotton, when possible. Synthetic fabrics are made with petrochemicals, plastics and other chemicals that have been linked to endocrine disruption, hormone imbalance, and even possibly some types of cancer.
The US Department of Agriculture and the Federal Trade Commission require that clothes labeled organic must be made from USDA-certified organic crops, but that's about the extent of it. Under their rules, even natural fabrics can be heavily treated with toxic chemicals, post production.
Flame retardants, among other toxic chemicals, are added to or applied to many kids products, including clothing, with the intent of preventing or slowing the start of a fire. Flame retardants have been linked to a host of health problems.
This is why you want to search for clothing with GOTS or Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification.
If you are unable to buy all clothing organic, start with those your baby sleeps in followed by clothing that comes in direct contact with baby's skin (shirts, PJs, pants). Wash all new clothes, sheets, blankets, etc a couple times, before using them, with a gentle detergent like this one or this one.
If unable to get any organic clothing, it is best to purchase all used clothing and bedding that has been washed several times. Here are a few ideas for non-toxic options for clothing:
Organic Adjustable Baby Swaddle
Organic Receiving Blanket
Organic Cotton Clothing and other misc.
Burt's Bees Organic Cotton Clothes and other misc.
Hanna Anderson Organic Cotton Clothing
L'ovedbaby Organic Clothing
Touched by Nature clothing and other misc.
Under the Nile clothing, toys and and more
Pacifiers and Bottles
Pacifiers are bottles can be a big source of toxins for babies, especially when it comes to endocrine-disrupting chemicals like BPA. Natural rubber and silicone are two of the safest materials for pacifiers. Rubber does not have any added chemicals so from a toxicity perspective this is the safest.
Natural Rubber Eco Pacifier
Because of the lack of preservatives in rubber, these pacifiers break down easier so they need to be replaced more often. Also, if your baby has a latex allergy, they are unable to use natural rubber. In this case, you have the option to use food grade silicone pacifiers.
Silicone Pacifier Clip
Wooden Pacifier Clip and Teether
As with pacifiers, research found that plastic baby bottles might be leaching harmful chemicals. Glass or stainless steel bottles with silicone or rubber tops are your safest options:. Here are a few examples:
Glass and natural Rubber Baby Bottle
Glass and Silicone Baby Bottle
Stainless steel Baby bottle. You can easily change the top on these bottles to turn them into toddler bottles. My son still uses these, at 3 years old.
Natural Baby Bottle Brush
Transitioning to Solid Food:
Bamboo plates and silicone utensil set, with suction
Easy to clean, silicone bib with pockets to catch spills
Car seats come in direct contact with your baby's skin and are close to their nose and mouth. Car seat manufacturers add toxic flame retardant chemicals to car seats to meet the flammability standards and to slow or prevent the spread of fire. Rather than chemicals, the car seats below rely on the natural flame resistance of merino wool, making them the least toxic options available:
MESA infant car seat or
Clek convertible car seat (mammoth model)
It is best to purchase the car seat as early as you can, take it out of its packaging and leave it in fresh air for as long as possible. Before using it, I also recommend washing the car seat’s cover according to the manufacturer’s instructions and wiping down all areas with a damp cloth, to remove any material that may be loose.
Diapers and Supplies
If cloth diapers work for your lifestyle they are your healthiest option, as long as you are choosing organic ones. We opted for cloth diapers until our baby started solids and we then transitioned to disposable ones. However, there are many reasons why cloth diapers may not work for you and that's OK. I included a few ideas for both options:
Prefold Cloth Diapers
Cloth Diaper Cover
All-in-One Cloth Diaper
You can make your own reusable cloth wipes from any organic fabric or purchase these
Reusable Waterproof Wet/Dry Bag
Reusable Diaper Pail Liner
Non-toxic, cloth diaper friendly detergent
If you prefer disposable diapers, we had great success with the Thrive Market brand. We almost never had any leaks at night, unlike other brands we tried.
Thrive Market chlorine-free diapers
Others have had good experience with these diapers
And these ones
These disposable wipes contain only two ingredients and are the safest for your baby.
You can easily make your own wipes also from paper towels. Google DIY baby wipes and select the recipe you like best.
Misc. Diapering Supplies
Organic Changing Pad Cover
Organic Diaper Balm (cloth diaper safe)
Wooden Toys and Teethers:
Children's main way of exploring the world around them is by putting things in their mouths. It is crucial to be mindful of the potential toxins your baby may ingest. Toy manufacturers often use cheap chemicals to make toys colorful, flexible, durable and flame retardant. Some of the safest toys are made of natural materials like wood, organic cotton or food-grade silicone. Here are some ideas:
Plan Baby Toys
HABA Wooden Toys
Bears for Humanity Stuffed Animals
Natural Rubber Toys
Wooden Giraffes Swing
Wooden baby Gym
Organic Cotton Lovey (security blanket)
Wood and silicone baby teether
Bath and Personal Care:
Many parents assume that is a baby product is on the store shelf, it must be safe to use. Sadly, this is not the case in the US. As with clothing, most chemicals in personal care products are allowed on the market and only removed after damage has been done. Many of the dangerous chemicals are included on the label under the word "fragrance."
Since skin is our biggest organ and everything we put on our skin ends up in our bloodstream, it is extremely important to invest in non-toxic personal care products. And remember that when you touch baby, your personal care products will end up on their skin also.
Earth Mama Non-Toxic Baby and Post Partum Product Line
Attitude Baby Product Line
Organic Nursery Towel Wrap Set
Silicone Training Toothbrush
I really hope the above list will take off some of the stress as you prepare for your precious baby's arrival. Please let me know in the comments below if you have any questions or suggestions for products to add.
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