Crib and furniture
Many experts agree that if you’re going to make one major green investment, it should be an organic crib mattress. “Think about it—a baby is on his mattress for 12 to 14 hours a day,” says Greene. “And the baby’s face is very close to it.” From an environmental standpoint, choose a mattress that doesn’t have PVC, the surface material used in nearly all baby mattresses.
Mattresses also contain phthalates, which have been associated with asthma, reproductive problems and cancer. Chemical flame-retardants used in mattresses may also pose a threat. “With organic crib mattresses, you don’t get any of the off-gassing that you do with conventional ones,” says Greene. Organic mattresses are made from clean, safe, certified cotton and organic wool.
They are chemical-free, and most are waterproof and fireproof. To make the purchase of an organic crib mattress more cost-effective for the long run, get a crib that can be made into a toddler bed. In terms of the actual crib, as well as other furniture in the baby’s room, look for FSC-certified wood and make sure that the crib is finished with low- or no-VOC paints.
Gone are the days when organic crib bedding was drab and boring. The colors and patterns—because they are all natural—are a little more subdued (not to mention more expensive) than conventional products, but there are still many great organic bedding products to choose from.
To conserve money, spread out your purchases. Your newborn probably only needs a flat sheet and a couple of receiving blankets; you can add more items as she grows. “Conventional cottons use lots of insecticides,” notes Greene. “Organic is such a nice choice for bedding, and it’s so gentle on the baby’s skin.”