Update on gift registries

We’ve pretty much put everything on our registries. Feel free to peruse:

For Target and Babies R Us, you can either look at stuff online or go into the store and print the list. Diapers.com is only online.

Fyi, the only things not on there is the breast pump I want to get that is only available from the manufacturer so I plan to get that myself next month. Otherwise, here you go. 🙂


Making your own baby food

At Barnes & Noble this weekend, I plopped my increasingly plump heinie in an overstuffed chair with a bunch of baby-related texts. My favorite from this particular trip was the book Blender Baby Food by Nicole Young.

Blake and I both love the idea of making your own baby food for several reasons:

  1. Environmental: less waste on the packaging of store-bought baby food.
  2. Nutritional: by making the food, we know exactly what baby is eating and we can choose to use organic ingredients as plausible.
  3. Aesthetic: as Blake said while perusing the baby food aisle of Target, “I can’t expect the baby to eat food that looks like vomit if I won’t eat it.”
  4. Cost: it’s cheaper to make our own food than getting the individual servings. And we can make a bunch at once and freeze leftovers so it’s not inconvenient.

This book had tons of info, had meals plans for the different months, and lots of easy recipes.


Visually stimulating wall art

These stick-on wall decals from WallCandy are supposed to stimulate visual and cognitive development:

Appropriate visual stimulation is an important component of a child’s visual and cognitive development.

Images similar to those found in WallCandy Smarts have been scientifically demonstrated to capture a child’s attention and promote visual growth.

– Ophthalmologist Dr. Charles Barsam

From the website: Enhance your newborn & infants’ gross motor skill & eye sight development with our pediatrician and ophthalmologist approved 3 step nursery decoration program. Personalize with your own photos in our frames.

Apparently you start off with just the black and white checkers, trees, and bees. Then comes the red, blue, and yellow-colored variations. Lastly you add family photos. The whole set includes 50 movable and reusable decals, $24.99.


Bottles that are good for baby and the planet

In searching for the right type of baby bottle, there are many things to consider.

First of all, the bottle must be BPA-free. What’s the problem with BPA?

Bisphenol-a is a chemical used to make polycarbonate, a clear and rigid plastic found in many household containers. The problem with baby bottles made of polycarbonate is the potential for BPA to leach from the plastic to the milk. BPA has the ability to mimic the hormone estrogen and create an “endocrine disruption” that can interfere with a child’s normal development. Many studies published over the past decade have linked exposure to BPA to increased rates of breast and prostate cancer, reproductive abnormalities, ADHD, obesity, and diabetes. In spite of this, the FDA stands by its decades-old approval of polycarbonate based on two studies – both of which were funded by the plastics industry. {thecradle.com}

Second of all, colic control is very important. Bottles that help vent out excess air will help reduce colic and in some cases middle ear infections.

Third, glass is the most sustainable so I’d prefer to go that route. Also acceptable is recyclable plastics, although not my first choice.

And the winner is:

Born Free

Available at Babies ‘R Us, Whole Foods, Target, CVS, and other retailers, this brand is very accessible. What I like about them is that they have glass bottles in two different sizes. Even their plastic bottles are BPA-free and PVC-free, which is good for baby and the planet. You can get rubber sleeves to make the glass bottles easier to hang on to. Pretty much any bottle or pacifier from them would be good.

Also up for consideration:


While these bottles are plastic, they are free of the dangerous chemicals you’d worry about. They are dishwasher safe, which is great. And most of the bottle is recyclable. These would be ok too.

This comparison chart from TheCradle.com was very helpful!


Eco-friendly breast pump

I plan to breastfeed, assuming the girls cooperate. Still, I’ll need a breast pump and baby bottles. Let’s start with breast pumps.

First, electric or manual? A manual or basic electric pump is really for moms who will be nursing for most feedings. They’re for occasional use only. A heavy-duty electric pump is probably best for our situation since I will be away from baby a minimum of 11 hours a day, missing most of the day’s feedings.

Hygeia EnJoye EPS

Hygeia EnJoye EPS ($219) – double electric

A review in Pregnancy & Newborn magazine said it’s of similar quality to a hospital breast breast pump, meaning it’s fast. It’s also supposed to be comfortable and very quiet. The selling feature for me though is that it’s recyclable.

I also found this article about this breast pump:

Milking the Green Movement: Eco Friendly Breast Pumps

Milking the Green Movement: Eco Friendly Breast PumpsSometimes, the most important part of being eco friendly is finding new and innovative ways to be greener. These new methods aren’t always things that you would think of – case in point the new Hygeia EnJoye Professional Grade Breastpump.

Consider this number: over two million breast pumps are purchased every year by new parents. Most of these two million breast pumps are recommended by the FDA to be used by only one user. This means that even if a breast pump has only been used for a few days or weeks, it will eventually wind up in a landfill. That statistic equates to a lot of barely used breast pumps rotting in landfills!

Luckily, the new Hygeia breast pump is different. The FDA has registered this product as being safe for multiple users, which means that these new pumps are not only better for the environment, they are also more cost effective because after a user is done with the pump they can pass it on to another mother.

These breast pumps have other great features as well. Not only are they safe to use for more than one user, they are made from recyclable materials. In addition, if you ever want to dispose of your breast pump you can send it back to Hygeia and they will dispose of it in an eco friendly manner. The pumps also come equipped with a virus and bacteria filter that is designed to keep unwanted viruses and bacteria from entering the pump. All of these pumps are also guaranteed to be BPA-free, lead-free, phthalate-free and latex-free. If you end up not liking the pump for whatever reason, you can send it back to Hygeia and get a return credit or exchange during the first twenty one days that you own the pump.

For all these reasons, the Hygeia EnJoye Professional Grade Breastpump definitely appears to be a great choice for families who want to not only own a very quality breast pump, but also to be a little more eco conscious.

From what I can tell, it’s not available anywhere we plan to register. It’s only available on their website.


Gift registries

We will be registering at the following locations:

  • Target (and Target.com)
  • Babies ‘R Us (and BabiesRUs.com)
  • Diapers.com

We explored Babies ‘R Us today and I perused Diapers.com. We’re just starting and we are taking our time to really select the right stuff for us. I’ll post once it’s all up for your shopping pleasure.

Of course, let me remind everyone that we’re strong advocates of “less is better” so we encourage folks to not get us stuff. If you wish to financially share in our joy, gift cards to Target, grocery stores, food places, etc. would be best.



Recyclable Baby Strollers

Baby Planet offers a full product line of strollers made from aluminum instead of plastic and the company offers a free recycling program. Of course, the more eco-friendly option is to go used, but you never can tell what all happened in the stroller.

They have different lines to choose from. The Endangered Species line features the giant panda, the monarch butterfly, and the lemur leap frog in its design. These sell for approx. $170. I haven’t checked if it’s available at Babies R Us. As far as I can tell, it’s available online through a few different vendors.

I lean toward the frog one since we’re having a boy.


Car seats

So, apparently there aren’t any eco-friendly car seats, short of getting a used one which isn’t recommended given all the recalls on various brands. The best we can do is with whichever one we get, we need to air it out for as long as possible prior to putting baby in it.

Safety 1st Complete Air Convertible Car Seat

Blake and I looked at a few at Target and I decided we should definitely get one that converts from an infant car seat to a toddler one. From there, we have several options. After walking down the car seat aisle, wantonly punching the seats to gauge the cushioning, this one seems the coolest:

However, this may be the only thing I’m not picky about. Assuming the car seat meets these criteria, brand doesn’t matter:

  • Convertible from infant to toddler
  • Not part of a current recall
  • Side impact protection

If anyone sees or hears about a cooler seat, let me know.


VOCs in baby furniture

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

VOCs are a major class of both indoor air pollution and outdoor smog. Indoors, they can be found in:

  • paints,
  • carpets,
  • furniture,
  • glues,
  • stains,
  • finished,
  • copy paper,
  • printers,
  • cleaning products,
  • air fresheners,
  • paraffin candles, and
  • craft supplies.

VOCs can cause immediate reactions like eye, nose, and throat irritation, headaches, and nausea. They have also been linked to more serious health effects such as neurological disorders, liver and kidney damage, and even certain kinds of cancer. Babies and children, because of their developing immune systems, are especially susceptible to VOCs.

Did you ever notice how a piece of new furniture stinks when you first bring it home? That stink is the gases seeping out of the furniture’s glues, paints, and finishes, and it is loaded with chemicals that you really don’t want to breathe, like VOCs and formaldehyde. Babies, with their fragile and developing immune systems, are especially susceptible to the potential health risks associated with VOCs. Keep these toxins out of the air and out of your home by selecting furniture that uses water-based adhesives and natural treatments.

– from “The Everything Green Baby Book”

LEKSVIK crib from IKEA, $159.99

Originally, we were planning to use a convertible crib from Target, but since we want this crib to last several years as is converts to a toddler bed and so on, I’m leaning more toward one of the numbers from Ikea. The green baby book recommends them because their furniture is nontoxic. And guess what! Cheap! Their convertible crib sells for $160 and converts to a toddler bed. This means we’d still need to get a bed for the older kid but this’ll last a few years, is affordable, and isn’t going to make baby sick.



Hestlings Hemp Organic Sling Carrier

I’m not a huge fan of strollers, especially for newborns. I prefer the idea of wearing your baby until he/she is big enough to walk to encourage bonding. Babywearing comes in many forms, from wearing a cotton (preferably organic) sling to strappy number such as the Baby Bjorn. It really depends on personal preference: Blake’s not comfortable with the sling style because he thinks it puts the baby at risk of suffocating, which is understandable. Whichever style we go with though, it’s important to buy only organic fabrics for the newborn for both environmental and respiratory reasons. The chemicals in non-organic fabrics, such as the hefty amount of pesticides, insecticides, fungicides, and synthetic fertilizers used in production, damage the environment and are toxic for a baby to breathe.

Benefits of babywearing:

Baby Bjorn Active Organic Baby Carrier

  • Mothers’ progesterone (mothering hormone) is increased through physical contact with the infant, leading to a more intimate maternal bond, easier breastfeeding and better care. Thus lowering incidence of postpartum depression and psychosomatic illness.
  • Infants who are carried are calmer – all their primal/survival needs are met: caregiver can be seen, heard, smelled, touched, tasted, fed (breastfeeding mother) and motion necessary for continuing neural development, gastrointestinal and respiratory health and to establish balance (inner ear development) and muscle tone, is constant.
  • Infants IQ and brain mass are measurably greater. When primal needs are met, babies spend more time in a quiet state of attentive alertness, ideal for learning – rather than in a panicked survival mode.
  • Infants are more organized; parental rhythms (walking, heartbeat, etc.) have balancing and soothing effects on infants.
  • Infants are “humanized” earlier by developing socially; babies are closer to people and can study facial expressions, learn languages faster and be familiar with body language. {Very important for any spawn of ours because those who know us know we may not be the most natural of people-people.}
  • Developmental milestones such as learning to walk, talk and toilet train are reached earlier.
  • Contrary to western cultural myths, independence is established earlier.
  • Aggression is diminished.
  • From: [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babywearing]

There are many types of eco-friendly babywearers on the market that are around $100, but I think my favorite is the Baby Bjorn Organic ($99) because it is guaranteed free of any hazardous substances.

I’ll get more into strollers in another post. 🙂