If you follow celebrity news and gossip, there’s no doubt you’ve noticed the abundance of stories about green celebrity baby nurseries. The price tags on some of those eco-friendly digs, however, might lead you to believe that a safer, greener nursery is out of reach on anything but celebrity’s budget.
It’s absolutely true that a green nursery could easily cost a pretty penny but fortunately, with a little creativity, perseverance and time, you can give your bundle of joy some safer, greener digs without taking out a second mortgage.
1. Don’t be afraid to buy some things used.
I know with my firstborn, the idea of putting my baby in or on anything that wasn’t brand new was completely unacceptable to me. What I didn’t know then that I know now is that new stuff off-gasses all kinds of chemicals into the air and in your baby’s body. Getting something used (from friends, consignment stores or even Craigslist) means it’s probably already off-gassed those chemicals and also, buying used means you’re helping to conserve resources. You can’t get much greener than that! Ideal items to buy used are cribs (check models for recalls and other safety issues), dressers, gliders/rockers and changing tables. As these are also big ticket items, you’ll be saving plenty of green right out of the gate. Just make sure to clean everything really well with a NON-TOXIC cleaner.
2. Your baby’s bedding is one thing you should NOT skimp on.
Shop around online for good deals on organic cotton sheets, crib bumpers and swaddling blankets and most importantly, an organic crib mattress. There are several varieties — the key is to find one that contains no chemical flame retardants (wool is good natural choice of flame retardant) and contains no chemicals or non-organic materials. This is important because your baby will breathe in anything that is outgassing from the mattress. There has also been some speculation that the chemical cocktails used in conventional mattresses are a possible cause of SIDS because when babies lay on their bellies, they’re breathing them in with very little fresh air.
3. Use No-VOC paints.
Painting is almost always part of setting up a new baby’s room and the new, green No-VOC paints are the paints you want to use. No-VOC means “no volatile organic compounds” which really just means none of the toxic stuff that contributes to indoor air pollution and that you don’t want your baby (or you!) inhaling. No-VOC paint is more expensive than regular latex interior paint but for a bedroom, one gallon may be enough and trust me, it’s money well spent. No-VOC paint is available at most stores such as Home Depot. Just make sure it’s NO-VOC or Zero-VOC instead of Low-VOC.
4. If you have hardwood or tile floors, leave them.
Do NOT carpet the room. Carpet is the source of much indoor pollution and outgassing. You can pick up organic or natural area rugs for far less than re-carpeting a whole room — or consider FLOR. FLOR is eco-friendly, recyclable carpet that comes in self-stick squares so you can mix, match and make your own patterns while staying green. If you already have carpet and it’s not completely gross, leave it and use a green carpet cleaning system to clean it really well rather than install new carpeting.
5. Be picky with clothing.
Since clothing touches your baby nearly 24 hours a days, organic cotton or bamboo is the best choice. Regular cotton is grown with incredible amounts of pesticides and if you can avoid it, you don’t want that touching your baby’s sensitive skin. Scour eBay for deals on organic clothing. Try to approximate what season it will be when your baby is a certain size and you can get off-season clothing for far less. Also, there are oodles of stores on the web that sell incredibly cute organic clothing. Check their sale and clearance pages to score bargains. If you choose to cloth diaper, obviously organic cotton diapers are ideal. If you want to use disposable diapers that aren’t made with chlorine bleach and other chemicals, try G-Diapers. They’re totally biodegradable, flushable or compostable.
The quest to live a less toxic life in a very toxic world isn’t always easy or cheap but it can be done. Best of luck to you and your new green nursery!