I'm the furthest thing from Betty homemaker (I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve never even ironed before!). Yet as my baby bump continues to grow (and grow!) I’m finding that so do those notorious nesting instincts. Rather than making homemade meals and freezing so I won’t have to cook once baby is born, my nesting instincts sent me into research mode to figure out which nursery essentials are eco-friendly to help reduce my baby’s toxic load.
With the overwhelming amount of information out there I could really drive myself crazy trying to buy everything green certified and organic. Instead I tried to narrow it down to only the things my baby would use or be exposed to most in his daily life, and then make those things as healthy as possible for both him and the planet. So while he may not wear an organic, fair-trade onesie every day (and would it really make a big impact to his health even if he did?), I figured things like which type of paint we used in his nursery would have a bigger effect. So here are a few ways I’m trying to green up his home environment to give him a healthy start.
Since paint covers every wall in my apartment and has a big impact on indoor air quality, I decided to give it all a fresh coat. After doing some digging, I learned that brands labeled ‘low VOC’ is just marketing hype because every paint brand in the store is required by law to have low volatile organic compounds (solvents that get released into the air and can cause headaches and dizziness). Instead, I looked for paint labeled VOC-free, and opted for Benjamin Moore’s Natural No-VOC Paint. Since I’m having a boy, I chose to paint his room Wythe Blue, which is a more elegant version of a powdery baby blue.
I vowed to use cloth diapers should I ever have a baby after going on a dive trip a few years back and seeing a dirty disposable diaper on a coral reef 60 feet below the ocean’s surface. Sure, disposables sound way more convenient (and I’m planning on using the newborn kind for his first week or two as I get into the mommy groove), but opting for the cloth kind may be the biggest thing I can do to minimize my baby’s impact on the environment. (A disposable diaper may take up to 500 years to decompose, and one baby in disposable diapers could contribute at least one ton of landfill waste.)
As for personal benefits, reusable cloth diapers could save me money in the long run if I purchase 20 that last for two to three years rather than buying disposables every week. I registered for bumGenius 4.0 One-Size Cloth Diapers because they’ll grow with my baby so I don’t have to order different sizes, are made organic material, and have a built-in waterproof outer cover with easy-to-snap closures.
Keep Reading >>