Friday, June 6, 2008

Guest Post on The Playpen - 10 Eco-Friendly Nursery Tips

Recently, we were honored to guest post on one of our favorite blogs, The Playpen, on the subject of 10 Ways to Create an Eco-Friendly Baby Nursery. We thought we'd share that with you!

From The Playpen

Hello there, Playpen Readers! First I’d like to thank you for having me guest post on this wonderful blog! I’m sure many of you are thoroughly enjoying many of The Playpen posts and surely loving the wonderful baby items Aline and Matt have selected for your precious little ones. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Hilda and I am a 29-year-old happily married mother of two precious little girls. My husband KC and I have recently been quite busy with our girls Lily Jade (20 months) and Bella Rose (4 months).

Before our first daughter Lily was born, my husband KC and I decided we wanted to make some drastic changes in our lives. One of those changes included leading the way to teaching our children to live with gratitude, humility and with respect for our amazing planet. The lesson began with us making choices that would benefit our health, the Earth and our children’s future. One of our first steps was creating Earth and baby friendly nurseries. Below is my list of ways you can make your nursery Earth and baby friendly.

- Buy baby furniture that has already been gently loved by another family. This is a powerful way to recycle and have furniture that has had the opportunity to release the toxic fumes (from lacquers, stains and paint) before making its way into your baby’s room. If your furniture is covered in anything that releases fumes such as wood sealer, stain, paint or any other finish, place it outside or in a well ventilated garage for at least a month. This will allow for some of the fumes to diffuse from the furniture. Another alternative is to purchase natural wood furniture. This furniture is made of natural wood and coated with natural wood finishes. Check out: natures crib

- Buy a set of non-toxic all natural cleaning products. You will need them all around the house and especially for the baby’s room. A couple of popular brands are Method and Seventh Generation. This will also be especially helpful when baby proofing! Although you don’t want baby to swallow any of these products, if it was to occur you could flush the cleaner out of their system, simply by having the baby drink plenty of water.

- You can also save some cash and make your own cleaning products. Use baking soda to deodorize carpets. Lemon juice for cleaning glass, porcelain and removing stains. If you would like to learn more about making your own cleaning solutions, check out Green Stuff Connection’s May 12th blog post! Link to Green Stuff Connection’s Blog

- Use all energy efficient light bulbs for baby’s lamps and light fixtures. Energy efficient light bulbs reduce your energy usage daily and last a lot longer. They can be found everywhere these days.

- Although it may seem like the best thing to do for baby, stay away from energy draining appliances. Wipe warmers and bedroom heaters are a couple of great examples. It is possible to keep baby comfortable without having appliances that never turn off. Keep your wipes at room temperature in baby’s room and dress baby warm for bed time if you feel it may be a little colder at night. Wipe warmers have been identified as one of the least useful baby products and some moms even claim the heated wipes cause baby yeast infections and more severe diaper rashes. Space heaters safety features have improved in recent years; they still run a risk of sparking up a fire. If you must have one, check out this consumer reports review

- There are many new diapering supplies that can make your nursery much more earth and baby friendly, including chlorine free diapers and wipes. A popular brand is Seventh Generation. Even more earth friendly would be to use washable cloth diapers and wipes. A little more work but quite a money saver.

- Think Simple… Although it may be tempting to deck out the nursery with tons of décor, simple is just so much better for baby and the environment. A simple natural wood crib, wool area rug, organic cotton bedding and natural lighting are all wonderful alternatives to over the top décor, fresh paint fumes and energy sucking appliances. If you want to save money and go simple eco-friendly, give up the over-the-top and focus your funds on earth and baby friendly choices. Try some of the large retailers now stocking eco-friendly alternatives. (Target and Wal-Mart. Not my top choice, but a pocket friendly option.) The best option is to look for small local businesses stocking these products and companies who always follow earth friendly practices.

- Buy only what you need. When registering for baby, take time to research every product and be sure you NEED it! There are so many useless products out there being sold by the truck loads. Such over the top buying of useless items is not only depleting our natural resources but also your ever shrinking baby budget. All of these products have genius packaging and are backed by millions of dollars in marketing spent to tug at a parent’s soul. Don’t fall for this mastery of advertising! Buy only what your baby really needs! Have friends and family buy your baby savings bond certificates or plant a tree in the honor of their birth. The earth and your child will thank you in the future. Your baby only truly NEEDS your love and a safe, secure environment to live in and grow!

- Unplug all electrical items in baby’s room when not in use.

- Open up baby’s windows when the temperature permits! This will air out baby’s room of all paint and furniture fumes as well as all common household air pollutants.

- Decorate the nursery with some of your precious baby items. If your parents have saved any of your adorable keepsakes, there is no better way to decorate than with meaningful re-used precious memories!

- Make your own earth inspired decorations. Go outside and see what your environment offers you. Create your very own earth-friendly piece of nursery art. If you are lacking in the creativity department, ask a creative family member to make something earth-inspired and earth friendly as a baby gift.

Whether you’re just getting started or you are an eco-friendly pro, always keep in mind that every little bit of change is better than no change at all! Check out our “It’s easy being green book.” $12.95 By: Crissy Trask It’s a great little guide to making earth friendly changes that benefit our planet, your home and can even save you some cash!