**NOTE (Feb 2017):This post was originally written as a simple list of the baby items we personally used for our first baby, about 3 years ago. It is not an accumulative list of non-toxic baby items. If you are looking for more options, I suggest visiting the Baby Section of the shop!**
I spend countless hours researching baby-related items. Although random internet searches yield endless lists of highly recommended products, I have a hard time finding what I'm actually looking for.
My criteria? All items need to be safe, non-toxic, practical, & have to actually work. This combination is harder to find than you would imagine.
So here it is! It's not necessarily a registry list, & certainly not a product comparison. It's just all the things that have made life with baby easier.
I've categorized them...because it was fun! ;]
1. on the move
- When I was adding items to my registry I always rolled my eyes at the idea of a stroller. "I'm just going to wear the baby...what's the point?" I saw a stroller as an expensive closet ornament & the only reason I registered for one is because my mom was so persistent about it. Mom was right. I love my stroller. We wear baby boy quite a bit, but he also really enjoys being in his stroller. Not to mention the highlight of my mornings: my mommy/baby stroller workout class-which I couldn't do without my stroller! Stroller baskets also make trips to the farmers market or mall a lot more manageable!
- If I were to do it again I would not get an infant car seat at all. I never took it out of the car, we wore him or used the infant insert in the stroller instead of taking out the infant car seat. I could have saved money & kept an extra car seat out of a landfill.
- To be honest, when I first started looking at seats, extended rear facing was the least of my worries. It's not that I didn't care! It's just that 1. I didn't know much about it, & 2. it felt really far away. PSA: babies get old way faster than you think they will. As soon as Vincenzo rounded that 18 month mark, & I questioned turning his seat around, I decided I need to do more research. I'm happy I did! I now have no intention of turning him around for quite some time. This quick video gives the basics.
- There are tons of carriers & wraps that I haven't tried. I loved the few I had (chosen for their non-toxic & hip-safe properties) so I felt no need to seek others. I would have liked a sling, maybe next baby.
infant car seat: uppababy mesa
stroller insert: uppababy snug seat
convertible car seat: britax boulevard
UPDATE: convertible car seat: clek foonf & clek fllo
cart cover: itzy ritzy**
*A reader informed me that the ergobaby carriers (regular & organic) use PVC foam. These items are still superior in all other material and don't use flame retardant chemicals. However wraps, which don't use foam, may be a better option here.
**I was not able to find any information on toxicity of cart covers. My boy is pretty independent & enjoys sitting at the table in a high chair, & in the cart basket (rather than being worn). We bought this when he needed the extra fluff for support. It makes sitting more comfy.
They met all safety standards, & don't use many of the toxic flame retardants found in baby gear. They were also extremely responsive & giving with their information. Here is an e-mail that they sent me (they responded right away):
Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate your interest in our Uppababy Mesa car seat. At Uppababy we are required to meet the following standard of regulatory agencies:
-FMVSS 213 (Federal Motor Vehicles Safety Standards for Child Restraint Systems)
-FMVSS 302 (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for Flammability of Interior Materials)
-ASTM F 833 (Standard Consumer Safety Performance Specification for Carriages and Stroller)
-CMVSS 213 (Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards)
The flammability standard referenced above, FMVSS 302, is intended to prevent harm to occupants in the event of post-accident vehicle fires. State and federal safety standards (NHTSA FMVSS 302 and California TB 117) require all car seats meet stringent flame retardant standards. Many manufacturers meet these requirements by treating their fabrics with toxic brominated and chlorinated chemicals, like PBBs and PBDEs that can be harmful to children. All UPPAbaby products meet all applicable flame retardant standards without these potentially harmful chemicals.
A few years back Britax was rated one of the most toxic car seats on the market. YIKES. They didn't like being known as one of the worst & made a pledge to turn that around completely.
Their car seats & strollers are less expensive than Uppababy, but they were not as responsive to my emails, & wouldn't give me any information...I was just redirected to their website, which only stated that they were working on eliminating the use of brominated flame retardants.
By the time we needed a convertible seat (Uppababy doesn't make one) I had found this review of 2014 non-toxic baby gear, & I'm putting my faith in the fact that they must have gotten through to them for confirmation in order to put them on this list.
Extended rear facing is kinda what they do! They have more support in this area than any other seat I've seen. Nevertheless, they go the extra mile when it comes to safety when facing either direction. They offer extra clips, a rear facing support bar, & new REACT safety system technology.
Their fabrics are Greengaurd Select Certified (less toxic!) & they don't use any brominated or chlorinated flame retardants. As a bonus, their seats are also recyclable (no landfill!) & they offer a recycling program through their site.
2. for resting
- You may notice that none of my baby "soothers" are battery operated. If you read my post about natural fertility, you will see some information about the frequencies given off by electronic devices. Since baby's brain & organs are extremely close to bouncers, chairs, & rockers, I chose self-propelled options.
bouncer: babybjorn organic
hammock: la siesta yayita
resting "pod': snuggle me organic wool
They use simple materials, offer organic, certify their fabrics/products, & don't use fancy electronics. From their website:
All fabrics used in this product are gentle against your baby’s skin and safe to chew or suck on. They have been tested and approved in accordance with Oeko-Tex ® Standard 100 Class I. This means that the textiles are free from health-hazardous substances and allergens.
why snuggle me organic?
They use organic fabrics, an option for organic filling, & offer both cotton & wool. They also don't use any flame retardants. These co-sleepers/loungers are a great non-toxic option to replace boppys, dock-a-tots, or any other almost-but-not-quite-perfect baby rest cushion!
3. to sleep
- Just like the stroller, I didn't want a crib. My husband & I were dead set on in-bed co-sleeping & figured a crib would just be used for decoration. Once again, my mom was very persistent. She supported our decision to co-sleep, but thought it would be good to have-even if we only used it during toddler-hood. To this day, Vincenzo (Update:now 2.5 years old) has not spent one night in the crib. It is, however, a great place to dump the clean diapers for folding. :]
- There are a few brands that proudly market themselves as non-toxic (formaldehyde-free glue, VOC-free paint, safe lacquers, no press-board, etc.). These brands know that they are an asset & that people will pay for that type of quality. Therefore, they charge quite a bit. I thoroughly researched & committed to not one, but two different "high-quality cribs" before ditching it all & going in a completely different direction. I'll share all three!
- We never used a baby monitor or a co-sleeper, but I've found some amazing products in those categories that I'd like to share!
crib options: stokke sleepi <-- update: they use plywood & laminate as a base for the mattress. These woods use extra glues & I feel the crib is a bit overpriced considering the use of these cheaper woods. & oeuf sparrow
crib that we chose: ikea sniglar
mattress: naturepedic organic
crib sheet: american baby
baby monitor: belly armor smartNOVA
co-sleeper: snuggle me organic wool
Yes, we went with a $70 crib from Ikea. I couldn't bring myself to spend the money on something that I knew in my heart would not be used. The best part is that I didn't have to give in on my values. This particular crib is made without paint or lacquer (no toxic emissions) & you could totally paint it with your choice of safe paint if you wanted to-we left it plain. It also uses a mesh mattress shelf instead of press-board. The cherry on top is that Ikea meets the highest glue-toxicity standard in the world, so the bit of glue (that I'm sure was used somewhere) meets the absolute highest standards for low-emissions.
Naturepedic is the most common natural baby mattress choice, & for good reason. They make great quality durable products that can please even the most chemical-strict mama. Best part (for me) they use NO chemical flame retardants! That's a tough find in a mattress.
Due to our innovative natural design and intelligent mattress construction, Naturepedic passes all Federal and State flammability standards without the use of any fire retardant chemicals or flame retardant barriers. This is achieved through superior product design, the use of more natural materials (i.e. organic cotton fabric, organic cotton fiber and pla batting) and the elimination of polyurethane foam. More Info
Why belly armor smartNOVA?
Wireless baby monitors can be a huge source of EMFs around our precious babies as they rest. One of the effects of electromagnetic radiation is that it can stunt myelination, which is hugely important for overall brain development. (check out my article on EMFs to learn more.)
Luckily, Belly Armor& NOVA electronics know that--& they're doing something about it.They've created a monitor that release 97% less(!!!) radiation than traditional baby monitors.
4. to eat
- I didn't use a baby blender, but when I needed something lightly ground I used the NutriBullet, which worked great! Most of Vincenzo's food has been eaten in whole form, or pre-chewed by me (things like steak).
- A dear friend & neighbor bought us an authentic silver spoon as a sweet keepsake. Silver is naturally antibacterial/antimicrobial & can help fight off food born illness, so we actually use this pure silver spoon on a regular basis. I, unfortunately, don't have any recommendations for this category. :/
- We never used a bottle. I didn't plan it this way, I figured I'd use one every once & a while-but since I stay at home with him I never had to pump & went straight from breast to sippy cup. I know there are a few glass bottle brands out there, like lifefactory!
high chair: stokke tripp trapp
glass storage: weangreen
sippy cup: green sprouts* (the company is currently solving an issue, the new version will be updated here!)
*the cup has a glass insert, so liquid never touches plastic, & it's drop safe-Vincenzo tested.
They offer great quality pieces that grow with baby (nearly all of their products can be used from newborn-10+yrs) & they only use water-based non-toxic paints. Plus, they don't use any bisphenol or phtalates!
5. for mama
- I must admit, I was super unprepared to take care of myself postpartum. I had nearly everything that I needed for baby, but completely forgot about myself. These few things were literally the glue that held me together in those first few months.
- My midwives provided me with all the post-baby care necessities, like sitz bath herbs & "special underwear" (woohoo!) so I don't have any referrals for those. Although I do remember these amazing organic new mama pads!
- I had a heck of a time finding nursing shirts/bras that I felt comfortable with. Nearly everything I found was made with polyester & I really didn't want that artificial fabric leaching esters onto my skin & milk. My recommendations are cotton!
breastfeeding cami: gilligan & o'malley henley cami
nursing bra: gilligan & o'malley sleeping bras
engorgement problems: earth mama angel baby booby tubes
nursing pads: tl care organic cotton
stretch mark/body oil: mothers special blend
nipple butter: earth mama angel baby natural nipple butter
why earth mama angel baby?
There is nothing negative to say about this amazing company. Their products are truly incredible, & I am extremely grateful that they exist. Not only do their products work, but they are as pure as can be, organic, real, & smell lovely. From their website:
There are a lot of concerns about some of the ingredients commonly used in personal care products. Earth Mama never wants you to have to worry about those things, so we worked very hard to formulate the safest products for mamas and babies. All Earth Mama products are free from toxins and any worrisome ingredients, like artificial preservatives, fragrance, surfactants, emulsifiers, sulfates, parabens, antibacterial chemicals, nut oils and lanolin too.
Earth Mama’s salves and oils do not contain water so they don't need a preservative to keep them fresh and free from bacteria and mold. Lotions, on the other hand (or knee, or elbow), are made by emulsifying (blending) oils and water. And because of their rich, organic and natural ingredients, they can become a perfect medium for nasty bacteria or mold. To combat that, our 100% organic preservative system is a certified organic alcohol extract of healing and moisturizing organic herbs. Beneficial to you, and safely preserved too!
6. baby care
- As far as bath time goes, Vincenzo has bathed with us since he was about a month old. We loved our little tub (& it now doubles as a dirty diaper bucket), but it wasn't actually used that often.
- On the bath note, we decided not to bathe Vincenzo until about 7-10 days after he was born. There are so many important gut-building & immune boosting healthy bacteria that baby picks up on its way out of the birth canal. We wanted him to get the most out of them.
- Vincenzo had pretty bad gas when he was very tiny. My milk came out quickly & with force (I later learned that it was overactive letdown) which caused him to gulp in large amounts of air when eating. We burped him, walked him, soothed him, & cried with him (ha!) most days, but there were a handful of times that we used gripe water. I was thankful to have it & to be able to help my sweet boy get some relief.
body wash: earth mama angel baby, non scents
diaper cream: earth mama angel baby, baby bottom balm
gripe water: colic calm
bathtub: prince lionheart washpod
baby lotion: extra virgin coconut oil
why colic calm?
It's natural. I was searching for an option to help baby that I could trust. It was also midwife-approved :] From their website:
Colic Calm homeopathic gripe water provides safe, gentle relief for discomfort from gas, stomach upset and colic. Colic Calm is the only gripe water that is an FDA-registered medicine. Colic Calm contains nine all-natural, allergen-free homeopathic remedies and is specially formulated to ease the pain and discomfort commonly associated with colic. Our formula does NOT contain alcohol, sugar, sodium bicarbonate, binders or fillers, yeast, wheat, gluten, soy, dairy, animal products, or any artificial flavors or colors.
7. for playing
- We didn't register for many toys. I think there were a few teethers & some wooden trinkets on the list. Our family members have ensured that Chenz isn't toy-less...but I actually find that he is the most entertained with the least amount of toys. The more around him, the less interested he is in any of them.
wooden blocks: melissa & doug (babies r us also has their own brand)
stuffed animal/learning toy: my pal scout
wooden giraffe: melissa & doug
toy cars: b. wheeee-ls
ring stacker: melissa & doug (ikea also has one)
fabric friend: under the nile
shape box: melissa & doug (babies r us also has their own brand)
fruit set: melissa & doug
walker: melissa & doug
8. to keep warm
- We didn't know if we were having a boy or girl until the day that Vincenzo was born. It made shopping for organic clothing easier to do, because we weren't distracted by the vision of our little boy/girl in the adorable gender specific outfits. That being said, I could not believe how few organic baby clothing options were available.
- It was also harder than I thought it would be to find comfortable organic blankets. We have a mix of organic & non-organic
swaddle blankets: aden + anais organic
light blanket: american baby
thick/warm blanket: aden + anais dream blanket
larger/travel blanket: aden + anais stroller blanket
warm organic wool baby clothing: lana care
9. when poop happens
- Whenever mamas ask me about cloth diapering I always say the same thing. I love it. It's easy, saves money, lets me avoid chemicals on baby boy's skin, & is environmentally friendly (although there is a debate over water usage to clean the diapers). I also tell them that I'm not sure I would have had the brain power to choose cloth diapers had I not already used them as a nanny. Postpartum is not the time to learn any new tricks, at least not for me! That being said, they really are easy & the learning curve is very minimal. Maybe you could practice with prefolds on a bear or doll while you're pregnant! :]
- Speaking of prefolds (the old school diapers that usually come to mind when you think about cloth diapering), I recommend using those at the beginning. They are cheap(er), which is great since they are going through a million diapers & pooping out what looks like black tar & dijon mustard pudding. They are also easy to fit on tiny little bebes. Recipe: prefold, diaper clip, diaper cover. This is the most complicated that cloth diapering gets.
- Once baby is big enough you can move up to the more expensive all-in-ones that make life suuuuper easy. Since they go through less diapers with age, you can get away with buying less. The brand that we went with gives great deals for bigger purchases, too. Because of the lovely people who attended our shower, we were able to collect a whopping 32 all-in-ones, which allows us to keep some in the car & enough to last a couple of days if we don't get to the laundry ASAP (although more than two days is not recommended).
- There are a
millionzillion cloth diaper options. Not only are there national commercial brands, you can also find local small companies, & amazing etsy maker-mamas. It can be really overwhelming. I decided to avoid it all. I used a certain brand as a nanny-I liked them, so I used them with my baby.
- As far as wipes go, we make our own wipe solution with warm water, tea tree oil, & dr bronners baby mild soap. We keep it in a wipe warmer & dip cloth wipes into it before use. :] These natracare wipes are great for on the go, & I use honest in a pinch.
prefolds: bummis (they offer different sizes)
diaper clasps: snappi (5 is plenty, in my opinion)
diaper cover (for prefolds): thirsties duo wrap (they offer different sizes)
wool diaper cover: lana care wool soaker
all-in-one: bum genius elemental
diaper sprayer: bumgenius
changing pad: oeuf
wipes: charlie banana (we didn't use this brand, I can't find the one we use, but these are organic cotton)
wipe warmer: prince lionheart premium wipe warmer
wet bags (to store dirty diapers on the go): itzy ritzy
cloth-safe detergent: country save (cheaper in-store)
why bumgenius elemental?
They are super easy, give discounts for buying in bulk, organic (only the elemental variety), strong/long-lasting, & don't leak. I love them. From their website:
Looking for organic, natural fibers next to your baby's bottom? Our award-winning one-size bumgenius design features luxuriously soft, 100% organic cotton inside. bumgenius Organic One-Size Cloth Diapers offer an industry first - tabs that stretch for a perfect fit. Stretchy tabs combined with snap fasteners make cloth diapering easy.
They made study products that are eco-friendly & low-emission. From their website:
Use natural, renewable, recyclable materials that emphasize conservation and lead to environmentally sound products. Employ eco-conscious manufacturing processes that promote low emissions and sustainability.
Be Good is not just something we say-- its something we mean. As parents, we want our children to inherit a world that is better than we found it. As Oeuf, we have the ability to make that happen.
10. the unthinkables
- No, no, it's not what you're thinking...it's actually what you're NOT thinking! These are all the things that easily slip the mind when we have baby on the brain.
adult mattress: essentia
fan/cooling unit: luma evaporative cooler
*Before you click on the "night-light" options, let me explain. I don't know how, but night-time lighting completely slipped my mind. What? I was going to need to see in the middle of the night? Oh yes, only 12 or so times! :] At first, I used what I had on hand, a survival hat (you'll see in the links). When the batteries went out in the hat I used a battery operated light bulb that my mom had around the house. Once I didn't need a light anymore, I found out that they make night lights specifically for nighttime feedings. Of course.
We began looking for a non-toxic & chemical free mattress around the time that we knew we wanted to start "trying" for a baby. I had read about the effects of brominated flame retardants on fetal development, & that's just one of the many chemical worries with typical mattresses. We spend 1/3 (more, when I was pregnant) of our life on our mattress-that's a lot of chemical exposure if we aren't careful!
This was a BIG purchase & I didn't take it lightly. I did so much research. My husband was a trooper, but I'm sure he would have lost it if I mentioned one more thing about mattresses! I had finally narrowed it down to a few options & had some make-it-or-break-it criteria: It had to be flame-retardant free, the company needed to be transparent with their materials, & it had to be comfortable. Essentia actually allowed me to read a copy of their multi-lab test results, revealing any & all off-gassing information, they were open about the ingredients in their "natural memory foam" material, & no other mattress even came close in comfort. They also have pillows! They have a selection of firmness, we went with the Classic 8.
They have a ton of lab testing & certification, & use all natural ingredients:
Hevea Milk: Milky white "sap" of the Rubber tree, collected much like Maple tree sap. Our hevea milk is sourced from Indonesia, collected from Rubber Plantations where acceptable working conditions are maintained and there is no practice of child labor. This milk is processed to make our natural memory foam and Dunlop Latex Foam.
Dunlop Latex: A rubbery foam made from Hevea Milk (rubber tree sap) which is known for its durability, support qualities and purity. We use natural Dunlop latex foam, the finest natural latex foam available.
Organic Essential Oils: A natural and healthy alternative to man-made oils or petroleum, we use certified organic essential oils. Grapefruit seed, cone flower essence and jasmine essence all help us achieve proper consistency in our natural memory foam while providing soothing and rejuvenating properties to the body and spirit.
Natural Plant Extracts: As a substitution to harsh toxic chemicals used in conventional memory foam, plant extracts such as hydrolyzed corn help us achieve the proper consistency for our natural memory foam.
Vincenzo was born in a month with record-breaking heat. Being the crunchy mama that I am, I didn't want a traditional AC system that would be releasing freon around my sweet little baby. We looked into it & found out that we could get a baby-friendly water-based cooling system. The best part is that it was portable, so we could move it from room to room! It ended up being a great purchase that got lot's of use. I will say, it is not the same as an AC unit, but still helped!
to a healthier home & happier baby,