April 18, 2017

Eco-Conscious Baby Stuff

When I was pregnant, we decided to make a conscious effort to support companies that made healthy and safe, eco-conscious baby products - US made was our preferred choice; organic was important.  This criteria was for all baby items: toys, play mats, changing pads, cribs, crib mattresses and the like.  We didn't trust the "sustainably made in China" tagline that many companies boast, nor did we assume that not made in China items were of high quality.  The search was daunting (so many products to sift through), but we found many affordable options.  

Here's a list of my favorites:

Latex and BPA-free silicone teethers made in Wisconsin that can be safely washed with soap and hot water.  Baby A. loves the textures on these, as well as the fact that they bend to fit into her mouth.  Affordable and not made of plastic.

Nest Crib by Room and Board
Minimalist-style solid wood American-made cribs handcrafted in New York state.  We didn't want to buy China-made cribs, many of which smelled strongly of chemicals when taken out of the box (online reviews were helpful with this detail).  We also wanted a crib from a company without product recalls.  This crib, made by El Greco Woodworking Inc., was then perfect!  Made in the USA from US-sourced wood, this company has a proven track record of quality items.  Plus, the clean lines in this crib design were exactly what we were looking for.

(Thanks to this site for helping us choose a crib.)

Under the Nile
This wonderful US-based company makes quirky organic Egyptian cotton toys, baby clothing, bedding, etc. in Egypt.  Under the Nile was also the first US baby clothing company to be certified by The Global Organic Textile Standard.  Their toy selection is great, and new designs are often added.  However since cotton is thick, I'm unsure of how well they wash and dry.

Holgate Toys
Classic made-in-the-USA wood toys crafted from domestically sourced sustainable hardwoods.  The stacking rings shown above are smaller than plastic versions, but are healthier for little ones to play with.

(I found this toy at Pure Play Kids, which has an exceptional selection of US-made toys.)

Mother Earth's Woodwork
Of course I had to add a fellow Etsy seller.  Makes and sells unique solid hardwood teethers from the shop owner's own apple tree.  Love the artsy, fun shape - and baby A. enjoys grasping onto it (fits her hand perfectly).

Organic, aesthetically pleasing play mats for babies and toddlers.  The CorkiMat, their bestseller, is an earth-friendly cork-based modular play mat.  Each square has a non-skid bottom for safe use on hardwood floors.  Pillobebe also makes an organic cotton play mat, which has a quilt-like feel and thickness.  Like the CorkiMat, the bottom has a non-skid texture - and it works well.  For the organic cotton play mat, I recommend the add-on batting for extra cushioning.  A really unique (but ultimately pricey) product.

Side note: We purchased a sample of the CorkiMat Lite.  The CorkiMat Lite has thick polyester mesh instead of cork.  And like the CorkiMat, the "lite" version absorbs the impact of falls and is comfortable on the knees (perhaps even more so than the harder material CorkiMat).

(Thanks to this blog for their reviews of non-toxic play mats.)

The most useful: Baby Bjorn Bouncer

The Baby Bjorn Balance Soft Bouncer saved our sanity during the first few months.  And it's battery free!  Material-wise, it is made of cotton that's approved by the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 for baby products.  The gentle bouncing motion (done by hand) soothed baby A. those first few months, and mama got to calmly eat her meals.  One thing I dislike about bouncers is that poop explosions happen, but the material is easily washable.  Bonus feature: When baby can sit up unassisted, this bouncer can be simply converted into a toddler chair.  (Now that our baby is older and mobile, she uses this bouncer less but still enjoys being in it for short periods of time.)

Honorable mention: Burt's Bees Baby
I want to love Burt's Bees Baby because their products are organic cotton.  They offer baby and toddler clothing, bedding, and toys with simple unisex-like styles.  However the sizing is often incorrect, running large and small - and for us, a beloved striped pajama developed a large hole in the foot portion after only a handful of washes.  (I attribute this to the fact that BBB is made mostly in India.)  We still prefer this brand, though.  Plus, their website offers frequent sales.

P.S. This is a helpful blog post on US-made toys - made our toy search so much easier!

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What are your favorite eco-conscious baby items?  

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