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Best Organic and Eco-Friendly Baby Gear

Kermit the Frog was wise beyond his Muppet years when he said, “It’s not easy being green.” Not only is it tricky to figure out when it’s important to choose organic, it’s a challenge to scout out deals among all the green products vying for your attention. Whether you spend a little or a lot, the choices below will give your baby a healthy start while doing good for the earth. Whether you spend a little or a lot, the choices below will give your baby a healthy start while doing good for the earth:

  • Receiving Blanket

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    Dream it

    Lola & James have made a vintage cashmere baby blanket, $298, from recycled cashmere (still as soft), eliminating much of a product’s manufacturing waste. It’s available in a “boy” and “girl” color palette. For a more straightforward receiving blanket, try Petunia Pickle Bottom’s Organic Gift Set, three blankets for $79, available in two sets of graphic prints. And don’t forget your organic blanket friend, $18, a security blanket topped with a sweet little rabbit, all in super soft organic cotton.

    Do it

    The SwaddleDesigns Organic Ultimate Receieving Blanket, $27, is made from organic cotton grown from untreated GMO-free seeds.

  • Non-Toxic Crib

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    Dream it

    The Oeuf Crib in Walnut ($920) is hand crafted from solid birch, finished with nontoxic lacquer, and featuring medium-density fiberboard made from recovered wood fibers; this is a good-looking place to sleep, inside and out.

    Do it

    City Lights Commuter Crib by Sorelle, $406. With this piece, you’ll get modern design as well as the good-for-the-planet stamp. You won’t find solid birch at this price point, but this crib is made from poplar, uses water-based paint and odorless glue and makes use of a reforestation program to gather materials. While perhaps less virtuous in a lineup of nontoxic cribs, IKEA’s Leksvik Crib, $159, is made from solid, renewable wood sources (in this case, beech and spruce) and uses “less toxic” glues. In short, non-toxic = more money, less toxic = less money.

  • Organic Crib Mattress

    Dream it

    Natural Mat Mohair Crib Mattress, $625. Woven together from horsehair tail, organic coir and fleecy mohair, this mattress is a combo of the best available natural materials. No chemicals, synthetics or any ingredient that ends in -cide here. If you’re worried about a potential mohair allergy, there’s the oft-touted Naturepedic 2 in 1 Organic Cotton Ultra Crib Mattress, $399. This one’s waterproof (sides too!) and features organic cotton that’s unbleached, undyed, un-everything you worry about.

    Do it

    Organic when it comes to mattresses doesn’t come cheap. But remember that research has shown some connection between synthetic mattresses and toxins leaching into child’s bodies, so if you’re going to splurge, this could be the place to do it. Further down the rungs in the pediatrician-endorsed Naturepedic series is the No-Compromise Organic Cotton Classic 150 Crib Mattress, $259.99, which simply features fewer coils. Then there’s the Sealy Naturalis Crib Mattress with Organic Cotton, $99.99, though it’s unclear what else is in the mattress besides organic cotton. (That preposition “with” makes us skeptical.)

  • Organic Crib Bedding

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    Q Collection Organic Crib Sets in Sky Celestial Parade, $395, and Roxy Celestial Parade, $395. These are both made from 100% organic cotton printed all over with sophisticated little elephants (more Babar than Dumbo). Another great choice comes from Plover Organics, a company that insists on Fair Trade labor practices and sells its Plover Organic 4-Piece Crib Set for $335. You’ll get 250-thread count organic cotton with hand-blocked prints done in low-impact dyes that are sweet but not cloying. Q Collection and Plover sets come with reusable drawstring bags to hold bedding sets. For neutral organic crib bedding with no elephants, leaves or little birds in sight, try Dwell’s Organic Circles 4-Piece Crib Set, $450, in white Portuguese organic cotton.

    Do it

    Baby Natura Classic 3-Piece Crib Set, $169. The words organic cotton do not appear in the description of this set, but the company promises no off-gassing, harmful chemicals or toxins. You do the math. Or try Tadpoles Sage Organic Terry & Waffle 4-Piece Crib Set, $189.99. 100% organic and available in a chocolatey brown, sage green or pale pink. If you don’t want an entire set, start with well-priced organic sheets like the ABC Organic Cotton Interlock Crib Sheet, $15.95, in natural. And try ABC’s no-nonsense Organic Cotton Crib Bumper, $46.95.

  • Teethers

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    The gold standard in this category is Sophie the Giraffe, $22.95, which is made from natural rubber and non-toxic food paint. It’s BPA- and phthalates-free, and it’s French. A French organic giraffe named Sophie. Worth every penny. The Natursutten teethers, in apple and fish shapes, $11.50 each, also receive rave reviews. A cloth option (organic cotton and lamb’s wool) is the Teething Bonbon, $15, which you can dip in boiling water and then freeze for a soothing bite or two.

    Do it

    Organic Veggies, $6 per, by Under the Nile, made from organic Egyptian cotton. Helps with teething and supposedly inspires good psychological associations with veggies. There’s also the RazBerry silicone teething pacifier hybrid, $5.99, which can be frozen and is made from medical-grade, non-toxic silicone.

  • Organic Onesies

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    Dream it

    7 Days of Bodysuits Gift Set from Kate Quinn Organics, $98. A week’s worth of organic short-sleeve onesies in terrific, saturated colors that don’t scream baby blue or pastel pink. And while it’s dreamy to receive all seven, the breakdown per bodysuit is a more reasonable $14, so it may be worth buying the bunch. Then there’s the Fauna Long-Sleeve Onesie, $36, in organic cotton with hand-done screens of realistic-looking animals – giraffes, sea turtles, elephants, and a somewhat out-of-place Boston terrier.

    Do it

    Organics by Tadpoles Set of 2 Long-Sleeve Creepers, $24.99. Available in sage, pink or brown trim on white (the set is also available for the same price in a short-sleeve version). Under the Nile’s On the Side Organic Snapsuit, $14, is a long sleeve bodysuit made from Egyptian organic cotton with foldover sleeves to prevent scratching.

  • Green Baby Bath Products

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    Dream it

    An all-natural line called vedaPURE is the brainchild of Harvard-educated pediatrician Natalie Geary, who believes in ayurvedic practices. The line was inspired by the 6,000-year-old Vedas (but did account for inflation). Her chic tubs of sweet-smelling stuff include vedaBaby Diaper Balm, $40, and Shampoo & Body Wash, $40. There’s a vedaMAMA line for pregnant and post-pregnant ladies, too. Baby products from Erbaviva, from $10.99 to $25, get high marks for the high percentage of organic ingredients they use, and their diaper cream gets an A+ from Treehugger. They’re made in California and even donate a portion of proceeds to the Worldwide Orphans Foundation.

    Do it

    Babies don’t need a lot of products at first, and in fact many can irritate their skin. Remember that part of being green is not buying new stuff. Try to scale back on the lotions and potions to save money and landfill space, as well as avoid a rash or two. You can buy California Baby’s Calming Bodywash in bulk (meaning less packaging waste over time) for $17.99 for 17.5 ounces. And if you need diaper rash cream, Weleda makes a Calendula version for $8.

  • Organic Baby Food

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    Dream it

    Purchase the Beaba Babycook, $149.95, and know exactly what your baby is getting to eat. Cookbooks like the Organic Baby and Toddler Cookbook, $15, Top 100 Baby Purees, $16, and Superfoods for Babies and Children, $24.95, will give you plenty of recipes to try. (And since you’ll be saving the manufacturing, shipping and energy costs of buying jars of food at the store, this “dream” could actually be a nice long-term “reality.”) If you prefer your baby food Ý  la carte, Tasty Baby uses 100% organic, gluten-free ingredients packaged in BPA-free recyclable containers printed in veggie ink. And its co-founder, Shannon Swanson, was trained at Le Cordon Bleu.

    Do it

    The inconvenient truth is making your own baby food is still your best choice if you’re trying to shrink that carbon footprint to baby-shoe size. Instead of the fancy Babycook, try the Kidco Food Mill with Carrying Case (hand-operated), $14.99. Then, if you haven’t already, scout out your local Co-op or Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) options for organic fruits and veggies to prepare. Or pick up some pre-made organic baby food at whole foods: Earth’s Best (around $4-6 for a six-pack of jarred food; use this coupon for $1 off ten jars of baby food) and Plum Organics (boxes range from $3.49-3.99) are favorite brands.

  • Cloth Diapers

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    Dream it

    BumGenius 3.0, $17.95 each, and FuzziBunz, $17.95 each, are the two most popular cloth diapers. Both feature what is essentially a cloth outer diaper with removable, washable inserts. They snap shut with the ease of a disposable, claim to reduce diaper rash and, in terms of self-righteousness potential, are the equivalent of pulling up alongside a Hummer in a Prius at a stoplight.

    Do it

    At Diaper Swappers, you can find used cloth diapers (yes, they’ve been laundered) for a fraction of the price. You’ll also be overwhelmed by the amount of parenting and diapering advice among all your new “friends” at this site. The Hybrid Reality: gDiapers, $26.99 for a starter kit including two diaper covers with liners and 10 flushable inserts, are a good compromise if you share a washing machine with an entire apartment building. The outer diaper – aka hiphop-sounding “little g pants” – is reusable and washable, but the insert is flushable, plastic-free and biodegradable.

  • BPA-Free Bottles

    Bisphenol-A, a potentially hazardous compound used in many plastics, may hinder your child’s development. There are bills under review in Congress to ban the use of BPA plastics altogether. Even mass retailers like Walmart and Babies R’ Us have refused to carry baby bottles containing the pesky stuff. You can easily find BPA-free products in your price range. Those receiving the biggest raves from parents include: Dr. Brown’s (Newborn Gift Set, $17.99 for 5 bottles plus accessories), BornFree (Gift Set, $38.24 for 5 bottles plus accessories), Green to Grow (Welcome Home Set, $54.99 for 4 bottles plus nipples and blanket) and Thinkbaby ($15.99 for a TwinPack of 9 oz. Bottles).The best deals are from Playtex ($15.19 for 3-Pack Ventaire Crystal Clear Nurser, 9 oz.) and Evenflo (just $2.99 for a 3-Pack of 8 oz. Clear Bottles). You can also try glass bottles wrapped in protective silicone, like the Silicone Sleeve Glass Baby Bottle, 8oz., $12. And don’t forget your Klean Kanteen Sippy Cup, $19.95, for a little further down the road.

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