My Favorite Non-Toxic Nursery Essentials
Before I dive in, I have a note for any mom-to-be who may read this. Hear me say this loud and clear: LESS IS MORE. I felt such immense pressure to get Porter ALL the things. But now a year in (and a lot of money made selling baby stuff I never used), I realized how little babies really need.
So here is your friendly reminder that you don’t need half the baby items suggested by common registries. In fact, the less products your child is exposed to, the less chance of coming into contact with unnecessary toxic chemicals.
Looking back over this year there have been a few key items that we have used consistently for Porter and these were worth every penny! I was the crazy pregnant lady that researched EVERYTHING on her registry— its safety, what chemicals were in it (lots of emails to customer service teams), and its reviews from real moms. It brought me so much joy to be super intentional with what we were allowing into our home for our baby. After some research, these are the products we landed on for our nursery that are safe for tiny humans and also the items that we got the most use out of:
Look for cribs that are made of wood and that have a child safe, non-toxic finish. You will find that most company websites have product specifications including the types of materials they do not use so you can find a crib that works for you!
We purchased a Babyletto crib because it is Greenguard Gold Certified, screened for 360 VOCs and 10,000+ chemicals, and tested to be lead and phthalate safe. It also has a non-toxic finish and comes in trendy styles! Lastly, it is a 3-in-1 crib so Porter can continue to sleep in it as he grows.
Having a non-toxic mattress was a big deal for us. I knew that mattresses could be a major source of chemical exposure and with the amount of time he would spend sleeping, we wanted to make the investment. Mattress companies are NOT required to disclose all of the chemicals they use and have to withstand an open flame from a blowtorch for over a minute. To accomplish this, many companies douse mattresses in flame-retardant chemicals like polybrominated diphenyl ether, better known as PBDE. These chemicals are highly toxic and do not have to be disclosed. PBDEs are banned in Canada, Europe, and even parts of the US.
We purchased the BeautyRest crib mattress and got an organic mattress topper to cover it. Also, Avocado, Naturepedic and Babyletto all have wonderful non-toxic crib mattress options. When looking for mattresses, find ones that are Greenguard Certified and do not contain flame retardant chemicals.
These mattresses can be pricey, but view it as an investment or look for secondhand options of these brands or borrow from a friend!
Low VOC Paint
When painting your nursery opt for low VOC paint. Some good brands to look for are Lullaby Baby and Behr (available at Home Depot and most major stores). We used Behr’s Ultra Pure White and it turned out great!
I feel like I spent 9+ hours a day in my glider during those first few weeks of Porter’s life, so I am really thankful we got a good glider!
When looking for a glider/rocking chair make sure it’s flame retardant free. You should be able to turn the chair over and look for a label that clearly indicates (with a black X) that the chair was NOT treated with flame retardant chemicals. The Center for Environmental Health has been at the forefront of the fight against flame retardants and published this handy list of companies that are not using flame retardants in their furniture. Shop from these companies or check your labels on the back of the glider to find safer options. We found our glider on WayFair and just typed in “flame retardant free gliders” into the search bar and many adorable options came up!
Baby Skin Care
Babies do not need a lot of products, but it’s worth it to invest in a few clean options. Below are some brands and their products we love for Porter’s skin:
Dr. Bronner's baby wash (dilute, dilute, dilute!)
Diapers and Baby Wipes
Cloth diapering is definitely the way to go when it comes to sustainably diapering your baby, but after giving it a go, I knew I couldn’t do it 100% of the time. So if you are like me and cloth diapering is not for you, then opt for clean diaper brands. Below are a few of my favorite:
Earth and Eden - What we are currently using and loving!
Mama Bear (Amazon)
Up & Up (Target)
To help off set the cost of getting cleaner diapers, look into setting up the amazon reoccurring deliveries for a discount (thats what we do!), it helps save money and also is automatic so one less thing to think about. Several of these brands are also at Target and the Cartwheel App will run sales and specials on them to help you save money as well!
For diaper wipes you can check out this great post from Mamavation as she has done extensive research in this department. My personal recommendations for wipes are:
Babies grow so quickly that most baby clothes are worn a few times and then donated or tossed in the trash. This is a huge source of waste! That is why we loved buying things on Facebook Marketplace, Goodwill or second hand children's stores.
If you do buy new clothes for your baby, opt for high quality, organic pieces. A capsule wardrobe is the way to go for babies, as they only need a few things and are constantly growing! Here are a few of my favorite brands:
L'ovedbaby - I loved their infant gowns for when Porter was a newborn
For more affordable and organic baby clothes check out this helpful article by The Good Trade.
I planned on exclusively breastfeeding Porter as long as possible, but we had to stop when he was 6 months old. We use Mt. Capra Goat Milk formula - and I will forever be singing their highest praises. It has clean, organic ingredients with zero questionable additives and Porter loves it! Check out this article from a dear friend that helped us land on this formula for Porter.
For his bottles we use Phillips Avent glass bottles and absolutely love how durable they are and that they are glass.
When it came time to introduce solids into Porter’s diet we followed the Baby Led Weaning principles. I highly recommend the online courses Feeding Littles and Oh Baby Nutrition to learn more. For solid food “utensils”, we love our Mushie bib, Thinkbaby sippy cup, Simka Rose suction plate and NumNum spoons.
There is nothing that brought me more joy than wearing my baby! I still love to wear Porter, but he is liking it less and less these days so I feel my baby fever rising! We have two WildBirds because the linen material is lovely and they are so sleek and stylish. I also love how ethically they are made. We also love our Ergo 360. This is something Porter will grow into because it can be worn all around the torso and the baby can be facing front or back. Check Facebook Marketplace for both of these items because I see people constantly selling these as their baby outgrows.
We are really big on focusing on toys made from natural materials such as wood. This is especially important when it comes to teethers and other items that will inevitably end up in your baby’s mouth. Plastic toys and most pacifiers are made from several different chemicals such as PVC, phthalates, and more. A few of my favorite non-toxic toy brands are:
Oil and Carol teethers (we have their kale teether and its adorable)
We used a few items to help Porter sleep well, and create a safe sleeping environment, below are our favorites:
Snuggle Me Organic - I like that this is made from organic cotton
Burts Bees Sleeper Gowns - So easy for those newborn diaper changes!
Love to Dream Swaddle - He slept amazing in these - couldn't recommend more!
Organic Mattress topper - opt for a plastic free option if possible!
Pulling together a non-toxic nursery doesn’t have to be intimidating after all! Less is truly more when building your nursery. Focusing on getting a few higher quality, clean items instead of large quantities of items you don’t need is the way to go! Also, shop second hand as much as you can. You will be surprised that people are selling many of these items on this list!