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Newborn Arrival Checklist: A Guide to Eco-Friendly Baby Products

June 04, 2020

Newborn Arrival Checklist: A Guide to Eco-Friendly Baby Products

Designing and decorating a nursery is one of the most exciting parts of planning for a baby’s arrival. While painting, installing furniture, and adding decor is a fun way to prepare for your impending adventure, you’re going to need plenty of practical supplies to transition to life with a newborn.  

new baby arrival checklist

We’ve created this comprehensive guide and printable checklist with all you need to create your eco-friendly nursery. 

Decorating the Space 

A host of eco-friendly products are available to create a cozy and comfortable space before your newborn comes home. When choosing paints or stains for nursery walls and furniture, look for products that are free of:

paint safe for baby

Biocides and Fungicides

Biocides and fungicides might be used to kill microorganisms and prevent mildew in paint and finished surfaces, but they also may contain harmful chemicals that have been linked to asthma and other respiratory illnesses. 

Volatile Organic Compounds 

Volatile organic compounds (also known as VOCs) are often found in paints, varnishes and waxes. They’re known to evaporate at a certain temperature in a process known as “off-gassing.” When this occurs, potentially harmful VOCs are released into the air – even when the product is not in use. 

VOC exposure has been connected to respiratory irritation, loss of coordination, nervous system and liver damage, skin reactions, and nausea. 

Inorganic Pigments

Paints tinted with inorganic pigments may contain questionable ingredients like calcium carbonate which can irritate the nose, throat, and lungs when inhaled. Titanium dioxide is also a common additive and considered a possible carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. 

Opt for paints and wall coverings with mineral and plant-based pigments for natural hues in every color of the rainbow. 

Puracy Pick

Sherwin Williams Harmony Interior Acrylic Latex isn’t just zero-VOC and Greenguard Certified for Children and Schools: This innovative product helps remove organic household odors like pets and cooking, and provides a necessary easy-to-clean finish.

Choosing Eco-Friendly Baby Furniture 

Like nursery paint, you want furniture that won’t impact the quality of the air your baby breathes in. Choose pieces constructed using real wood (and other eco-friendly materials) that both meet consumer safety standards and stand up to regular wear and tear.

eco-friendly baby furniture

Look for the Right Certifications

As the name suggests, Greenguard GOLD Certification is the gold standard for baby mattresses and furniture. GOLD-certified products meet stringent standards for low-VOC emissions and are approved especially for schools, care facilities, and other places where children and seniors spend lots of time.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Cribs and Infant Product Page is a good starting point. There, you’ll discover the latest safety guidelines for everything from cribs to bassinets to play areas. 

Check for Product Recalls 

It’s important to check for children product recalls on baby furniture, bedding, and toys. Retailers are generally compliant about pulling dangerous products off store shelves, but if you’re using vintage or second-hand furniture, it’s wise to check that they haven’t been recalled. 

Puracy Pick

This 4-in-1 Convertible Crib by Carter’s will work from infancy through childhood. It’s GOLD-certified and finished with non-toxic paints for a stylish, “green” nursery. 

Ensure a Safe Sleeping Space

safe crib space

The average newborn sleeps around 8-9 hours during the day and about 8 more hours at night. As most exhausted parents have learned, that’s not always continuous. That’s why it’s important to create a soothing, peaceful, and safe crib.

Choosing a Green Crib Mattress

Selecting your newborn’s mattress is a major decision. Look for the following features when choosing an eco-friendly baby mattress:

Puracy Pick 

Made of GOTS Certified Organic coconut, cotton, and wool, the Emily Crib Mattress is budget-friendly and handmade in the USA. 

Organic Bedding

The safest way for newborns to sleep is on their backs in a designated sleep area that’s free of loose blankets, bumper pads, toys, and other objects. The only thing you’ll need in your newborn baby’s crib is a mattress cover and/or fitted crib sheet. 

Choose Natural Bedding Materials 

Nursery bedding should be made of natural fibers that reduce the chances of overheating while allowing the baby's skin to breathe. As your baby gets older – and it’s safe to introduce sheets and blankets – continue to choose organic fabrics that are produced without harsh chemicals, dyes, flame retardants, and additives like wrinkle releasers

You might pay a bit more initially for high-quality organic baby bedding, but natural fibers that haven’t been chemically processed are often more durable and stand up to frequent washing. 

Puracy Pick

We love Crate and Barrel’s 100% Organic Bunny Crib Sheet. The cotton material is grown in a way that’s safe for consumers, workers, and environment alike. 

Eco-Friendly Sleepsacks and Swaddles

organic swaddle baby

Sleepsacks, wearable blankets, and swaddles are designed to keep the baby warm and cozy while encouraging safe sleeping. Some allow the baby’s arms to move freely while others are designed to keep their arms close to the body.

According to AAP guidelines, it’s safe to use swaddle blankets while the baby sleeps on their back and until they start trying to roll over. Select breathable organic cotton that does not contain dyes and chemical softeners. 

Puracy Pick

The 100% cotton Halo Organic SleepSack Swaddle transitions from a traditional swaddle to a wearable blanket in order to adjust to your baby’s sleep needs. 

Get Your Carrier and Car Seat Ready

carrier and car seat ready

Any parent will tell you that the first car trip with a newborn is nerve-wracking. A safe carrier and car seat will do a lot to put your mind at ease, but with so many infant car seat options available, it’s tough to know which one to choose. 

To help you narrow down your travel system options, check the following information: 

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the definitive resource for choosing and using car seats throughout infancy and childhood. 
  • NHTSA also provides a current, searchable list of recalled child restraint seats with an email sign-up for product recall updates. 
  • Consumer Reports named their top baby travel systems based on ease of use and performance in crash tests (among other factors). 
  • For real-life feedback from parents who have actually used various car seats, check out reviews left on online retailer pages. 

Eco-Friendly Infant Travel Systems

In a 2018 study on car seat chemicals, researchers at Indiana University tested a variety of newer-model products and found that almost all contained hazardous flame retardant chemicals in the foam and fabric. 

Children may breathe in these chemicals as they leach off car seat surfaces, especially in poor-ventilated vehicles or during warmer months when materials start to heat up. Some flame retardant chemicals pose serious health risks including:

  • Hormone disruption
  • Adverse effects on development 
  • Impaired neurological function 
  • Reproductive problems 
Fortunately, many car seats are available which meet the government’s flammability standard – without the use of harmful flame retardants. 

Puracy Pick

The Doona Car Seat & Stroller Travel System is a win for its convenience. In just seconds, you can transition from the car to the stroller without disturbing your sleeping newborn. 

Eco-Friendly Newborn Feeding

glass bottle baby cleaning

When your newborn isn’t sleeping, they are likely to be eating. Whether your baby is breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, or both, consider adding these eco-friendly baby products to your routine.

Eco-Friendly Baby Bottles 

From cans to containers to bottles, bisphenol A (BPA) is used in various plastic baby goods. BPA is then potentially leaked into our foods and drinks, and that risk increases when these containers are heated. 

This is concerning because BPA has been linked to a host of serious health problems including: 

  • Male and female infertility 
  • Early puberty
  • Reproductive system tumors 
  • Metabolic disorders 
Limit your baby’s exposure to BPA by choosing BPA-free plastic bottles and glass bottles for milk and formula. You might find it takes some trial and error to find the right fit for your baby, but a wide variety of sizes and shapes are available. 

Puracy Pick

Dr. Brown’s BPA-Free Glass Bottles help to reduce gas and belly discomfort to make mealtime happier for parents and babies alike. 

Natural Dish Soaps and Surface Cleaners 

If you’re going to invest in eco-friendly, non-toxic baby bottles, the soap you clean them with should be just as green. Puracy Natural Dish Soap is free of all the stuff you don’t want your baby touching, breathing in, or ingesting:

You’ll never have to worry about unsafe soap residue left behind on bottles or sippy cups.  

Eco-Friendly Baby Clothing

natural baby detergent

As much fun as it is to dress a newborn up in adorable clothes, you might want to keep their wardrobe simple for the first few weeks. Clothing that is simply-made, easy to put on, and simple to take off will make life much easier – especially during midnight feedings. 

Select Green Materials 

Eco-friendly baby clothing has evolved considerably over the past decade: Fabrics are softer, more durable, and more affordable than ever. 

Synthetic fibers are often made with PVC and petrochemicals, which can cause overheating, and skin irritation. Look for organic fabrics like cotton, hemp, bamboo, and wool that are also grown without pesticides and fertilizers. 

Choose Eco-Conscious Brands

Consider how and where your baby clothing is produced and choose brands that offer fair wages while practicing ethical labor practices. Visit the Global Organic Textile Standard public database to find brands that meet these standards. 

Consider Secondhand Clothes 

If you’re a first-time parent, you’ll be surprised at how quickly your baby outgrows their clothes. In fact, you might only get one or two wears out of that super-cute onesie. Incredible hand-me-downs can be found from friends, neighbors, online marketplaces, and local thrift stores. 

Reusing baby clothes saves on resources, and when you’re done, pass on any clothes your baby has outgrown to other friends, family, or parents in need – just be sure to wash them thoroughly first

Use Natural Stain Remover and Laundry Detergent

Between spit-ups and diaper duty, you need a powerful natural stain remover to keep clothes and blankets looking bright and clean. Luckily, our Puracy Baby Stain Remover is up to the challenge. 

Note: Always thoroughly launder clothes before using them.

Puracy baby stain remover

Milk, formula, and other messes are no match for Puracy’s powerful plant enzymes. After spot-treating clothing blankets, car seat cushions, and other porous surfaces, wash items in warm water using a natural, baby-safe detergent

A good way to conserve energy and water is by washing full loads whenever possible, skipping the extra rinse, and using less hot water. To dry baby clothes and blankets more efficiently, avoid overfilling the dryer and over-drying items. Consider line-drying items when the weather is nice – it can save up to 4% on your electric bill!

Selecting the Right Eco-Friendly Diapers

There are pros and cons to using both cloth and disposable diapers. A lot depends on your lifestyle and budget. Consider that babies need between 2,500 and 3,000 diaper changes in their first year alone: What makes sense for you and your growing family?

Cloth Diapering

eco cloth diapers

Cloth diapers reduce substantial landfill waste and you don’t have to worry about phthalates, dioxins, and dyes found in many well-known brands. 

There’s a flipside, however: Cloth diapers are initially more costly and far less convenient than disposable diapers. Cleaning them can be labor-intensive, though many come with pad inserts (which are removable for the washing machine).

Eco-Friendly Disposable Diapers 

Even if you choose cloth diapering, there will inevitably be a time where it’s inconvenient or even impossible. If you’re away from home – or don’t have access to a washing machine – single-use, biodegradable diapers are a good option. 

Caring for Your Newborn’s Skin 

Newborn babies’ skin is extremely sensitive, and they’re prone to certain common conditions like acne and cradle cap. These aren’t usually serious and tend to go away over time. Gentle baby body products will help reduce irritation and keep your little one’s skin soft and healthy. 

Baby Lotion

Puracy natural baby lotion

Use a small amount of lotion after bath time if your newborn’s skin is dry or irritated. Baby lotion should be soothing, hydrating, and free of harmful ingredients. Reach for products – like Puracy Organic Baby Lotion – that contain naturally-derived oils and clinical-grade vitamins to soften and protect skin. 

Natural Baby Shampoo and Body Wash  

Sulfates are used in many commercial soaps and bubble baths to create suds and foam, but those bubbles can be more irritating than soothing. Natural, sulfate-free baby cleansers gently cleanse without over-drying your baby’s skin or further irritating cradle cap. 

Diaper Cream and Wipes 

With frequent diaper changes, your baby’s bottom can quickly become red and irritated. Prevent diaper-area discomfort by using fragrance-free diapers and changing soiled diapers as quickly as possible. 

Choose organic creams and wipes that don’t contain dyes or perfumes and instead use naturally-derived oils and extracts to help heal and protect skin.

Puracy Pick

Earth Mama Organic Diaper Balm uses beeswax and organic herbs and oils to comfort skin and retain its natural moisture. $11

Use Safe Natural Cleaning Products Around Your Home

baby safe cleaner

From ammonia to sulfuric acid, many surface cleaners have the potential to cause negative effects on your growing family. 

Puracy Baby Multi-Surface Cleaner has been tried and tested for safe use on non-porous surfaces around your home, from removing spit-up on rockers to messes on changing tables., Since the ingredients are cruelty-free and biodegradable, this baby-safe cleaner is a good choice for your family, home, and the planet.

From Our Family to Yours...

Yes, your newborn needs a lot of “stuff,” but creating a green nursery can be fun, easy, and even affordable! Use our newborn checklist as a starting point to explore new and innovative sustainable baby products.

 

Related Reading: 

How to Keep Your Home Clean with a New Baby
The Complete Guide to Babyproofing Your Home

 

 

 

 

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