Preparing for a new baby can be the most exciting time for a new parent-to -be but it can also be the most overwhelming. I remember being pregnant with my first child and the amount of “must haves” I was told I needed in order to have the _____________ (happiest, fullest, smartest, most independent….fill in the blank) child in the world was quite extensive. Having a degree in environmental science, and a very practical Earth Mama sister helped to guide me as to what I really “needed” before the arrival of my newest member of the family. I will note that there was a huge discrepancy from the amount of items for which I registered and the ones I actually kept. I was told I “had to have” a full registry; lesson learned, YOU don’t. I also borrowed anything and everything I could for my new baby, (and continue to do so!) We used a bassinet that had been used three times before by cousins (so special for us, and now it has served the needs of 4 more!), my great aunt’s changing table (from the 40’s), and so much more. I loved how so much of the baby’s nursery was filled with the history of other babies. But of course, not everyone has hand me downs to borrow and it is fun to have some new things ready for baby, so here’s a list of things this Green and Natural mama recommends:
- Organic Bedding-Your baby will spend a lot of time resting their precious body. Shouldn’t their environment be as non-toxic as possible? Opt for an organic mattress, organic mattress pads, organic sheets and organic blankets. Forgo the traditional bumper sets as they are now banned in several states for safety reasons and baby doesn’t really need a fancy place to sleep anyway.
- Organic, non flame resistant swaddlers, pajamas and “onesies”– Cotton made via organic methods means it contains no pesticides, chemicals like bleach, formaldehyde or herbicides. Better for baby’s delicate and ultra absorbent skin, better for Mother Nature.
- Non-toxic, paraben free, phthalate free, fragrance free, chemical free, organic lotions, body wash and detergents. We love Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild Castile Soap, and love everything by California Baby, Earth Mama/ Angel Baby and the more affordable BabyGanics. You can check any products using this amazing data base: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/
- Avoid BPA in toys, feeding products, pacifiers, bottles etc. The easiest way to avoid BPA is to avoid plastics.
- Feeding Supplies: Even though almost all mainstream baby feeding supplies say “BPA free” they could have other chemicals in them and once they are scratched up, I always wonder what’s lurking in those crevices…YUCK! We opted for stainless steel utensils, our own bamboo salad bowls or glassware, stainless steel water bottles, and glass bottles for breastmilk, nipples should be made from sicicone not latex that all too easily breaks down.
- Diapers-we are firm believers in cost-saving, energy saving, skin saving cloth diapers/wipes, and now cloth is available in major retail stores like Target and Buy Buy Baby. If you choose not to cloth diaper, there are several brands that carry chlorine-free diapers that are much better for baby. We have also learned that often (not always) the cheaper the diaper, the less additives it contains. Avoid anything with “talc” or fragrance.
- Gear: Just say, “NO!” Less is more, we used our baby’s infant car seat for everything or else he was placed on a soft blanket or in the carrier. We liked that he didn’t rely on contraptions, and we liked that we didn’t either. (this made for a lot less clutter, less unnecessary stimulation and made baby very flexible because he didn’t “need” anything.)
- A good breast pump: having the option of leaving breast milk for our baby helped me feel secure leaving him, enabled my husband to aid in some feedings and was quite useful for keeping expressed milk on hand to mix into cereals,and pureeed foods.
- Baby Carrier– wearing baby is natural for both of you. Invest in a good carrier, one that suits your every day needs, the needs of a growing baby and is both comfortable, convenient and safe.
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Michelle is a former elementary school teacher, turn SAHM and self-described “green” fashionista. She is a NYC woman, turned burbs mama, raising her 2 B’s in an eco conscious manner. She blogs about natural parenting and green living at www.everythingsabuzz.com. She is not only a contributing writer for Momtrends, but there you’ll also find her own column, Syncing Your Style. Find her on twitter @queentob or facebook.