Claire Moshenberg

    Tips Tuesday: How to Make a Green Baby Registry

    Posted July 19th, 2011 by

    I love gift guides. I love the holiday season when bloggers decide that they’re gift mavens and publish lengthy lists of possible gifts for husbands, kids, pets, bank tellers, baristas, etc. Like window shopping in my pajamas, I like taking a long look at beautiful things that I will probably never buy.

    Creating a registry is like doing the gift guide dance backwards. You’re providing your friends and family with a handy list of what they should buy: basically, a you-themed-gift-guide. And as you set that up, you may start to feel like those top baby product lists, with their decadently priced nontoxic kid gear, don’t quite make sense for your gift buying public.

    Green baby gear doesn’t have to be expensive. We’re skipping the product-pitching gift guide and helping you develop a nontoxic baby registry strategy that makes sense for your life and your budget.

    Baby Bedding: Conventional bedding can be home to pesticides, chemicals, allergens, and more. Your best bet when it comes to fabric is organic cotton, which is easily accessible, soft and hypoallergenic. You can also try textiles made from hemp or bamboo. Re-Nest offers a detailed breakdown of different, nontoxic materials to look for as you select sheets, pillows, and more.

    Here are a few key words to avoid as you pick out bedding:

    • Permanent press
    • No-iron
    • Crease-resistant
    • Shrink-proof
    • Stretch-proof
    • Water repellent or water-proofed
    • California TB 117

    Prevent allergic or asthmatic reactions by avoiding down feathers in your baby bedding. To avoid flame retardants, the Green Science Policy Institute recommends choosing pillows made from polyester, down, wool (also a naturally flame retardant fabric), or cotton.

    Toys: We know toxic chemicals like PVC don’t belong in kids toys. Unfortunately, toy manufacturers aren’t always on the same page. Look up toys on and choose toys from their “No detected chemicals of concern” list and “Low detected chemicals of concern” list  when possible. As you browse the HealthyStuff site, you can start to organize a list of toys that interest you with their product list tool. You can also find product ratings and suggestions for toys and other baby products on the Good Guide.

    Furniture: For your baby crib, choose solid hardwood if possible and avoid particle board. Choose a nontoxic finish by looking for the following words:

    • Low-VOC  stains and sealants
    • Water based stains and sealants
    • Finished with tung oil and beeswax

    If you’re going to choose one piece of nontoxic furniture, the crib is the way to go: Newborns sleep an average of 16 to 17 hours a day. For all other nursery furniture, Healthy Child, Healthy World has a great nontoxic furniture buying guide, and The Smart Mama offers tips on what you can do to keep your nursery safe if/when you use particle board or off-gassing furniture. Check crib safety ratings by visiting Consumer Reports’ cribs page.

    Bathtime: As you select baby cosmetics, use this list from the Environmental Working Group of the top chemicals to always avoid in kids’ cosmetics:

    • 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1,3-DIOL (or Bronopol)
    • BHA
    • DMDM Hydantoin
    • Oxybenzone
    • Triclosan
    • Boric Acid and Sodium Borate
    • Dibutyl Pthalate
    • Toleune

    The Environmental Working Group has a handy tip sheet that shows you which chemicals to look out for, and recommends products that are nontoxic or less toxic than their conventional counterparts. (You’ll notice that EWG recommends avoiding conventional baby powder completely. For a nontoxic solution, check out this easy, two ingredient DIY baby powder recipe from The Smart Mama).

    Bottles: Your best, least toxic option is tempered glass when it comes to bottles. If you prefer plastic, stick to these tips:

    Visit Greener Penny for a list of BPA-free baby bottles, or look up bottles on the Good Guide , which helps you find healthier, less toxic options for a wide variety of products.

    Additional Resources:

    Green and Non-Toxic Essentials for Baby by Katy Farber, Non-Toxic Kids:

    Baby Shower Kit: Choosing Shower Gifts by Oregon Environmental Council:

    Giving Green and Responsibly at a Baby Shower by Janelle Sorensen, Healthy Child Healthy World:

    Do you have tips for setting up a nontoxic baby registry?  Leave them in the comments, or visit our Facebook page and share them with the MomsRising community.




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    Posted Under: H: Environmental Health


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    July 29, 2011 at 11:01 pm by Eco-Mom

    Great post Claire! I also enjoyed your tips on creating a green wedding registry! I would very much love it if you’d stop by my most recent blog post,, and leave some of your green ideas for my readers! All the best!


    Claire Moshenberg Reply:

    Thanks @Eco-Mom! Just left a comment on your blog about my favorite nontoxic DIY face mask :)


    July 21, 2011 at 5:22 am by Gloria

    Thank you for the very informative post!I enjoyed reading it!


    Claire Moshenberg Reply:

    Thanks @Gloria, I’m glad you liked it!


    July 20, 2011 at 3:03 pm by Janelle Sorensen

    Great guide, Claire! A wonderful thing about modern baby registries is that you can create wish-lists on-line to make it uber easy for people to find the specific products you want. Then, simply copy and paste the links into your shower invitation!


    July 20, 2011 at 12:16 am by Pierrette Mimi Poinsett MD

    As an alternative to bottle use…
    I like to remember that breastfeeding is very green…nice to add breast pads for mom made with organic cotton to gift registry.


    Claire Moshenberg Reply:

    @Pierrette Mimi Poinsett MD, Great tip!


    July 20, 2011 at 12:03 am by Kathleen Lage

    Norwex Enviro Products has a couple of lovely, soft products for babies. A baby hooded towel set and a Baby Body Pack (a set of three very soft antibac cloths).

    Norwex is committed to radically reducing the use of chemicals in personal care and cleaning to promote health. More than ever there exists the need to emphasize the positive environmental impact of reducing chemical use.



    1. Tips Tuesday: How to Create a Green Wedding Registry « MomsRising Blog
    2. Do we need a baby registry? « It's my blog and I'l opine if I want to

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