Selecting products for a new baby can be dizzying, thanks to marketers who love to inundate parents with brands, styles, and prices. An overabundance of cuteness makes it even harder to sort out what’s best for bringing up a healthy, happy baby.
To add to the confusion, earth-friendly products have exploded in the marketplace in recent years, driven by parents’ concerns over exposing babies to unnecessary chemicals. While green baby products may contain less packaging and be gentler on the earth than their traditional counterparts, it can be difficult to sort through all the eco-friendly claims and discern which are best for your baby. Fear not—these ten products won’t disappoint in either quality or on the saving-the-world front.
It’s easy to go cloth these days with an array of styles and systems designed for busy parents. The greenest cloth diapers are made of organic cotton, like these by bumGenius. But if cloth isn’t practical, try Seventh Generation chlorine-free diapers. As a bonus, they come charmingly unadorned with cartoon characters.
When you’re shopping for bottles, look for those that don’t contain bisphenol A, also known as BPA, a chemical used in plastic products that may leach into milk and juice, which critics say is unhealthy for babies. Manufacturers have responded by producing BPA- and PVC-free (another chemical of concern) bottles. Try Sassy MAM or Green to Grow. You may need to try several brands to find one your baby likes. Some parents remain concerned about and prefer shatterproof glass bottles, like these from Dr. Brown’s.
Breast milk storage containers
Breastfeeding is one of the most personal decisions parents can make, and how and whether to store expressed milk is one of many choices to consider. Plastic bags should be free of BPA and PVC and designed for breast milk storage, such as these from Lansinoh. Some parents prefer BPA-free hard plastic containers such as these or glass jars like these, both from EvenFlo.
Babies spend a lot of time in their cribs and some parents worry about the chemicals they inhale from a regular crib mattress. The green option is an organic mattress like this one by Absolutely Organic Baby.
Options for infant bedding include puddle pads, for handling diaper leaks, and dust mite covers to control allergens. This organic wool puddle pad at Dandelion Summers will do the job, as will these dust mite covers. Finally, your baby will love a soft organic crib sheet. These sheets from Kate Quinn Organics come in beautiful muted colors and are extra soft.
When they’re not snoozing in the crib, infants spend a lot of time wrapped in blankets. An organic cotton blanket like this one from Ohgeez Organic Clothing Company will keep your baby comfy. In addition to being soft and snuggly, it’s extra large and ideal for swaddling. And besides being earth-friendly, it’s people friendly, meaning it was made in a U.S. factory with humane working conditions.
The greenest plush toys are as eco-friendly as possible through each step of production. And, they’re cute and soft. I love this organic cotton dragon stuffed with wool by Lana and available at Hazelnut Kids.
All babies are different and you may have to try several lotions to find the best product for your little one’s skin. Look for an organic lotion with a short list of ingredients that are easy to pronounce. Angel Baby Organic Lotion from Earth Mama Angel Baby gets good reviews.
Shampoo and Bodywash
Again, simple is the way to go when it comes to bathing your baby. California Baby Calming Shampoo & Bodywash is gentle enough for baby’s first bath. The company does not test its product on animals and uses materials grown using sustainable methods.
In this category of green baby products, the options are as endless as they are adorable. Even megastores carry organic clothing. The greenest choice is always a product manufactured using the lowest-impact processes every step of the way. New York-based Sckoon Organics manufactures its clothing in environmentally-conscious, certified fair-trade factories. Its clothes are bright and cheerful, proving that organic clothing isn’t limited to beige and sage.
But with organic clothing, the greenest option might also be the priciest. For the most affordable choice, reuse and recycle by buying gently worn clothes and then donate when your child outgrows them.
Green baby products consistently cost more—sometimes much more—than their eco-unfriendly counterparts. Why? They’re made with better quality products in factories with greater scrutiny and quality controls. They are also often made in smaller quantities, so they don’t benefit from the economies of scale like more mass-produced products. They are also more likely to be sold in smaller, independently-owned stores.
For many families, a 100 percent organic baby just isn’t in the budget. Pick and choose the products you think are worth the extra cost. Talk to your pediatrician about health and safety concerns. Don’t feel guilty about green products you can’t afford, and don’t get seduced by every chic product labeled “green.” After all, babies aren’t into chic anyway.