Babies feel like they need a lot of stuff. As a first-time mom (or even second, third, fourth, etc.) it is easy to feel like you need to accumulate so many “critical” things but when you are debating wipe warmers and and 3rd rocking contraption it is time to step back and think what do you truly need and how to keep it free of toxic chemicals and materials that are poisonous for your baby and entire family. We have categorized must haves into 3 categories that all babies do: sleep, eat and go, and narrowed down the truly minimalist items without any non-toxic shortcuts, and recommended products that fit the bill. We tried to think about things that are the highest quality materials, thoughtful on price, and multi-functional so that you get the most bang for your buck.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Peurobaby.
Non-Toxic Items For Sleeping
A non-toxic baby mattress is the top item you won’t want to cut any corners on. Between naps and night sleep, babies can spend up to 16+ hours on their mattress, which compounds over the years if you end up converting your crib to a toddler bed. Many mattresses are marketed as “organic”, and but are actually still made out of polyurethane and have flame retardants added to them. Research shows that exposure to flame retardants during baby and childhood development can impact everything from the reproductive system, learning disorders, thyroid issues, Cancer and more. When flame retardants are combined with polyurethane foam, it off-gases both the foam and flame retardants, which studies have connected to SIDS. We recommend the endlessly trustworthy Naturepedic Classic 2 stage mattress, which is made of organic cotton and food-grade polyethylene and completely free of flame retardants. We love the 2 stage because one side is firm while the other is a bit softer when it is time to flip the mattress for a toddler conversion, so we feel this mattress really gives you healthy longevity and use for up to 5 years!
When thinking about the amount of time babies spend in their sleep environment, after the mattress the next most important item is the crib. Cribs, which babies will not only breathe in but sometimes gnaw on (teething sucks!) are critical to keep free of formaldehyde finishes and MDF woods, which are related to ENT issues, asthma and can be linked to various cancers. We adore the Alma Papa Foldable Wooden Crib because of its MDF-free solid wood materials, as well as its unique European size. This foldable crib is slightly smaller than the standard American crib, making it ideal for room-sharing, smaller spaces,and urban living while still having the flexibility to convert to a toddler bed for use until age 4. It also folds away when you no longer need it or it’s not in use, making it flexible and easy for growing and changing families.
Rounding out our must-have sleep list is are cotton pajamas (organic preferred but optional) and a cotton or wool sleep sack (organic preferred but optional). Most importantly, it is critical to ensure pajamas and sleep sacks are free of flame retardants which are by law included in most children’s pajamas! Look for pajamas that are “snug fit” or have wool materials and a large yellow tag indicating this, as this is a way to meet the flame retardant criteria without added chemicals. We adore sleep sacks because they take away the need for blankets in a sleep environment, which decreases the changes of SIDS and creates a safe sleep space. Our top pick is the Gray stripe organic sleep sack because of its pure materials including thermoregulating bamboo to help control baby’s temperature, unbelievably soft cloud like feel, and adjustable sizing in ONE sack from ages 0-2 so you don’t need to buy more as baby grows.
Non-Toxic Items for Feeding Baby
All babies and toddlers have to eat! With new food trends such as baby-led weaning where the child eats food based on their readiness and eats alongside family members, it is important to keep the eating environment as non-toxic as possible and keep plastics away from the eating environment. Plastics often contain BPA, BPS, and Phthalates mixed with other materials that are endocrine disruptors. We love wooden high chairs, especially ones that can sit right up at the table and make a baby feel part of the family, which encourages community and healthy eating habits. Our top pick is the Stokke Tripp Trapp high chair because of its solid wood construction and flexible design. Intended to start using at 6 months with the baby set, this chair grows with the child and turns into a full adult chair that blends right in with home furniture and can be pulled up as a spare chair for an adult up to 300 lbs.
Along with a way to join the family for a meal at the table, it is important to have child-size cutlery that is also free of plastics, especially if they are being heated in any form as the plastics can leach compounds such as BPA and BPS into food which will then be digested. We are big fans of bamboo and silicone baby sets such as this baby-led weaning bowl, plates, and spoons combo which can be used for all types of foods for beginner eaters, all the way through toddler and childhood, all while remaining free of any plastics and being easy to clean.
Non-Toxic Items For Baby On The GO
A carseat is required by law for any family to leave the hospital, and continues to be critical whether you in the suburbs traveling by car, or a city dweller moving around on buses or planes. Like many other baby products, cars seats are required to be flame retardant, which can be a toxic chemical when left in hot summer cars for long periods of time. Until recently, all car seats had some amount of chemical flame retardants. Luckily for new parents, a few market leaders emerged that are now using wool as a natural flame retardant instead of chemical flame retardants which include the Uppa Baby Mesa in Henry only or the Nuna Pipa Lite. The Mesa Henry can be installed with or without a base, making it the better choice for frequent taxi or public transportation users, while the Nuna Pipa Lite is also GOTS organic certified is only 5.3 lbs, making it the lightest car seat out there
Natural-minded mamas love baby-wearing and there is no question why. It helps keep baby close, regulates their temperature, makes for easier naps especially during that delicate 4th trimester, can support breastfeeding and gives parents an extra hand available for a toddler sibling, household chores, and endless activities because let’s face it, parents always need extra hands. Carriers need to have a few critical features — they need to be made of safe and breathable materials because of how close they are to two warm bodies, they need to be ergonomic and comfortable for parent and baby, and they need to be easy to use! Depending on the age or use, we recommend either a softer fabric wrap such as an organic baby bamboo wrap which was made by UK mama who was struggling with hard to use and non-breathable carriers, or the more structured Ergonomic 3-in-1 carrier, which allows for multiple positions for baby to face, includes OEKO-tex certified breathable mesh, and is recognized by the international hip dysplasia institute for how comfortable it is for parents.