From the moment we find out we're becoming parents, there's nothing we want more than the very best for the child that will be coming into our lives! What better way to ensure this than to start your baby's life with a healthy and toxin free environment?
Though it is difficult to control the environment outside of our homes, what we can control is the inside of our homes, including the space designated especially for our baby. You can create a healthy and toxin free environment by greening your baby's nursery.
There are many things to take into consideration when becoming a parent, and many purchases to be made for new parents or those who have been out of the new-born baby game for some time. When looking to purchase items for your baby's nursery, it is important to take into consideration how environmentally friendly those objects are, and educate yourself as a parent of the greener options.
For instance, the average baby sleeps about 16 hours per day (BabyCenter). This is why it is of great importance that parents pay attention to the type of mattress provided for the infant. It is a good idea to look into getting an organic crib mattress or check out other eco-friendly baby furniture. Try to find a crib mattress that doesn't have synthetic fibers, vinyl coverings, flame retardants, or chemical treatments that are typical of most crib mattresses. Also, anything stain resistant can also be harmful to the child's environment (Mother Nature Network). Instead, look to rubber latex and wool as naturally flame retardant green options.The bedding for the mattress should also be organic. Also, an extending mattress can save you money over time as it can be expanded as your baby grows in size, saving you from having to buy new mattresses for the different stages of your baby's growth. You will also be helping the environment as you won't be forced to purchase more items.
Similarly, it is recommended that you rest your baby's head on a pillow that has "natural stuffing such as kapok, buckwheat hulls, untreated wool, organic cotton or synthetic-free latex" (How to Create an Eco Friendly Baby Nursery). While the mattress should be organic, so should the crib, which should be made from natural woods with a low-VOC safe coat (which should also be used for bare hardwood floors and cabinets).
Another place that the baby will be spending a great deal of time is the floor. Though some disagree, many still argue that carpeting holds mold and dust, etc., that contributes to breathing problems and creates problems for people who have asthma which is why many would recommend to install a natural hardwood floor with wood from sustained forests with a non toxic sealant and then cover it with rugs or carpets made from organic materials like hemp, wool, jute, or organic cotton. However, if you must place carpet in the room, don't change the carpet too close to the baby's arrival. If you are going to put in a new carpet, it is best to do so long before the baby is due so that there is time for the carpet to off gas.
It is also important to allow the room to off gas after it has been painted. Try to use a low or no-VOC paint so that your baby is not exposed to as many chemicals as it would be if you were to use regular paint. Also, the carrying mother-to-be should not expose herself or her baby to such chemicals as well. Avoid chemical-heavy cleaners for the same reasons. Dust with a damp cloth and use biodegradable cleaners with natural and non toxic ingredients.
Furthermore, when purchasing toys for your baby, look for wooden toys made from treesgrown in sustainable forests so that natural habitats are not being disturbed. Other than that, try to find toys made of synthetic or organic fibers. Toys made of plastic can be harmful to your baby as they can expose the child to hormone corrupting chemicals (The Seventh Generation).
Another way of greening your baby's nursery is to buy things second hand. See if you can find things from other members of your family or buy them second hand through classified ads, etc. Buying things second hand is great because you are recycling, and though many want to buy new things for their newborns, it is important to take into account that with how quickly children grow, most of the things you will find second hand will be just like new as it won't have been used for very long. Also, buying things used is much cheaper than buying them new, and its not like your newborn will know the difference.
Greening your baby's nursery is meant to be beneficial for your baby as well as the environment, and can be done easily! All it requires is that you pay attention to the things that you put in the baby's room in regards to the materials that make up the baby's furniture, the paint, and the flooring - like any other room. Other things that go in the baby's room are toys, and possibly a chair which would only mean to follow the same standards of it being produced from a material that is beneficial for both the baby as well as the environment. Recycling items like a chair or crib is cheap for you, beneficial for the environment, and is sufficient for your newborn, just always be sure to inspect the item and see that it is safe for the child and that the item has not been recalled by the manufacturer as many toys are, for whatever reason. Try to keep the window open as much as possible to give your baby fresh air as the air outside our homes tend to be less polluted than the air inside.