The Ultimate Baby Registry Guide for Eco-Minded Moms
September 17, 2020
You may not live on an organic farm and sew your own baby clothes, but you still care about the environment and want to protect it for future generations—which makes registering for baby gear a bit of a conundrum, given that so much of what’s out there is made from plastic. Luckily, staying green while stocking up on baby supplies isn’t mission impossible. You’ll probably want to know about the materials used in each product to avoid chemicals, opt for renewables and go organic where possible, but you won’t need a degree in environmental science to make it happen. Our curated eco-registry has the earth-friendly baby gear that’ll cover your newborn needs and help you stay true to your green lifestyle.
Sustainable nursery furniture
When setting up a nursery, the key is to create a safe, healthy space for your newborn. By using sustainable furniture, you can also look out for the health of the planet. These days, there’s a huge selection of cribs, gliders, high chairs and more, all crafted from sustainably grown, responsibly harvested materials. And thanks to stylish designs, they look right at home in your modern nursery.
Chemical-free mattress and pads
Whether you’re looking for a crib mattress or changing pad, take a careful look at what it’s made of. Certain foams can contain harmful chemicals known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as formaldehyde, benzene and toluene, which can off-gas and might affect baby’s health. Go for natural, VOC-free options.
Cloth diapers are typically made from all-natural, biodegradable materials, making them easier on both the environment and baby’s sensitive skin. You could also go with partially reusable diapers—diaper covers that come with disposable, flushable or compostable inserts, so there’s less to wash and less to toss. If you opt for disposable diapers, choose brands that don’t use any fragrance, latex, petroleum-based lotions or chlorine processing.
Soft organic cotton is a dream for baby’s sensitive skin—the natural fibers are highly breathable, which helps keep baby cool, and they’re produced without the use of chemicals, meaning you don’t have to worry about unpleasant smells and uncomfortable skin reactions. With all the super-cute options out there, finding baby clothes that match your style won’t be a problem.
Eco-friendly skin care
Newborn skin is much thinner than ours, so it absorbs more chemicals—which is why it’s so important to choose baby-safe products that are free of parabens, dyes and other irritating and toxic ingredients. You’ll find listings of green light (low hazard) items (as well as red light, or high hazard) items on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database.
Fancy baby food equipment
Even if you plan to turn out Top Chef-worthy baby cuisine, you don’t have to spend a small fortune on appliances. If you cook fairly regularly, your kitchen is probably already stocked with all the gadgets you need, such as a mini food processor, blender, stick mixer and ricer. Anything more will likely land in an appliance graveyard.
Instead of shelling out for a special diaper pail that uses reams of plastic bags to encapsulate each dirty diaper, just toss used disposables in the trash—making sure to first flush poo down the toilet so it doesn’t end up leaking from landfills into rivers and lakes. Of course, you don’t need a diaper pail at all if you’re using reusable diapers.
Trendy baby outfits
It can be tough to resist adorable baby outfits—we’re talking ruffled dresses with matching diaper covers and hipster newborn jeans—but babies are actually most comfortable in cotton onesies and sleepers. Buy one or two cute outfits for special occasions and invest the rest of your budget in staples made from 100 percent organic cotton or soybean protein fiber (it’s as soft as cashmere) with non-toxic, low-impact dyes and sweatshop-free manufacturing.
Once baby starts scooting around, you’ll want to protect those little knees, but a room-size foam puzzle mat isn’t your only option. In fact, they may contain traces of formamide (which some say can be carcinogenic, even at low levels), and they’re not biodegradable. Plus, how long are you going to want a giant alphabet tiles on your family room floor anyway? A better option is to let baby crawl around on natural-fiber rugs made from cotton and wool. Layer it with a blanket for infants.
These green-minded moms have been there, done that. See what they wish they’d known back when they were registering.
“Navigating all the green products can be challenging and expensive, so we focused on what was most important to us—things that were rubbed into the skin like sunscreen and wipes.” —Marissa S., mom to a 3-year-old boy and a baby on the way
“Choose gender-neutral clothes and swaddles so you can use them again if you plan on having more children.” —Karyn D., mom to a 2- and 4-year-old
“Skip the breastfeeding pillow and use a pillow you already have. We bought an allergy and dust mite protective cover and it worked great.” —Elena P., mom to a 2-year-old girl
“Cloth wipes and reusable diapers with adjustable snaps ended up saving us an astronomical amount in the long run (and we liked not filling trash bins with disposable diapers). We also used homeopathic remedies like coconut oil as an alternative to lanolin and diaper cream.” —Lindsey S., mom to a 3-year-old boy and a baby on the way
“We used one reusable swim diaper that lasted us all through the summer.” —Drew F., mom to a 2-year-old son
Best stroller: Bumbleride Indie
All-wheel suspension, all air-tires and an SPF 45+ retractable canopy make this a lightweight all-terrain stroller—even for infants, as the backrest reclines to a flat position and the fabric can enclose the footrest area. Features you’ll love:
- The fabric is made from 100 percent recycled plastic water bottles—each single stroller recycles 28 bottles
- Bumbleride works with eco-conscious factories to minimize water use and pollution
Buy it: $529, Bumbleride.com
Best car seat: UppaBaby Mesa 2017 Henry
There aren’t many eco-friendly cars seats, but this one meets all the marks on chemical-free fabrics and ergonomic design. The UppaBaby Mesa in Henry Blue Marl is the first and only car seat on the market to pass federal fire safety testing with zero flame retardant chemicals added. Features you’ll love:
- Made from soft, breathable, moisture-wicking Merino wool, keeping baby cool and comfortable. It’s naturally fire resistant, so you won’t find any traces of flame-retardant chemicals.
- A unique tightness indicator and self-retracting LATCH connectors make for fast, accurate installation—and a green confirmation signal lets you know when you’ve set the base up correctly.
Buy it: $350, Uppababy.com
Best crib: Babyletto Eero 4-in-1 Crib
Leave it to Babyletto to develop a sleep solution that’s not only environmentally safe and responsible, but also chic and modern. The Eero crib is a stylish, eco-friendly option made from sustainable New Zealand pine wood and a nontoxic finish. Features you’ll love:
- Made without any lead or phthalates
- Converts from a crib to a toddler bed to daybed to full bed, meaning it’ll last for years
- GreenGuard Gold certified, meaning it’s screened for 360 VOCs and more than 10,000 chemicals
Buy it: $499, Babyletto.com
Best mattress: Naturepedic Lightweight Organic Cotton Crib Mattress
Baby is going to spend a lot of time sleeping on her mattress, so you can rest easy knowing that this one is made from organic cotton instead of foam and is GreenGuard Gold certified, meaning it won’t give off any potentially noxious fumes. Features you’ll love:
- At 10 to 12 pounds, it’s super lightweight, making sheet changes a breeze
- An easy-to-clean polyethylene surface does double duty as a stain-resistant waterproof cover and dust mite barrier
- Made in the USA
Buy it: Starting at $260, Naturepedic.com
Best crib sheets: Pottery Barn Organic Taylor Crib Fitted Sheet
These pure organic cotton sheets feature endearing elephants and small birds in soft shades of gray, so they can be reused for the next child, girl or boy. Features you’ll love:
- 100 percent organic cotton percale makes this sheet extra-soft.
- The natural fibers and both durable and highly breathable, keeping baby cool and comfy.
Buy it: $24, Potterybarnkids.com
Best baby carrier wrap: Moby Bamboo Wrap
Keep baby snug in this cult-favorite wrap, now made with uber-soft sustainable bamboo fibers that are naturally anti-bacterial. Features you’ll love:
- The fabric has built-in UV protection so you can slather baby with less sunscreen
- Bamboo is more breathable than cotton for greater comfort in all seasons and climates
Buy it: $50, Mobywrap.com
Best baby carrier: Ergobaby Organic Baby Carrier
This sustainable organic cotton carrier is ergonomically designed for the comfort of both baby and parents. Wear it for long treks outdoors without ever needing to switch to a stroller. Features you’ll love:
- It cradles baby in a natural position, with his knees slightly above his hips, in line with the carry position recommended by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute.
- Three carry positions—front-inward, hip and back, and the back-carrying position that accommodates up to 45 pounds—mean you can use it even when baby is a toddler.
Buy it: $130, Ergobaby.com
Best reusable diapers: Tidy Tots Newborn Cloth Diapers
These cloth diapers are all about conscientious convenience: They come with cornstarch liners that you simply toss in the toilet, making cleanup a cinch. Features you’ll love:
- The snap-in diaper insert is made with organic hemp for extra absorption.
- Covers are made in the USA.
Buy it: $99 for newborn starter set, Tidytotsdiapers.com
Best disposable diapers: The Honest Company Eco-Friendly Disposable Diapers
If you’re going to go disposable, trade plastics and chemicals for plant-based layers that are gentle on the environment—and baby’s tush. Whimsical dinosaurs and giraffes are a cheerful bonus. Features you’ll love:
- The absorbent core is made from a bio-based pulp that comes from sustainably managed forests
- There’s no chlorine or other bleach, and no artificial fragrances or lotions—only naturally derived odor inhibitors from citrus and chlorophyll
Buy it: Starting from $0.27 a diaper, Honest.com
Best changing pad: Simmons Kids BeautySleep Naturally Contour Changing Pad
The contoured shape of this pad makes a comfy, secure station for diaper changes, with an organic cotton waterproof cover, non-skid bottom and safety straps. Features you’ll love:
- Made in the USA means a smaller carbon footprint compared to pads manufactured overseas.
- The foam inside is CertiPUR-US and Greenguard Gold-certified to ensure low chemical emissions.
Buy it: $99, Landofnod.com
Best diaper bag: Honest City Backpack
Nope, not real leather! That’s just one of the many reasons you’ll feel good carrying this stylish, spacious bag long after baby is potty trained. Features you’ll love:
- Made from 100 percent polyurethane vegan leather, there’s no toxins or PVC here.
- An extra storage bag and a changing pad are included.
- An separate insulated pocket is perfect for a bottle or snacks.
Buy it : $150, Honest.com
Best glass bottle: Lifefactory Glass Baby Bottle with Protective Silicone Sleeve
Colorful silicone sleeves protect this glass bottle from breaking—and lend it a super-mod look. All components, including nipples, stoppers and even the silicone sleeve, are free of BPA and phthalates, so no worries if baby chews on them. Features you’ll love:
- Thermal shock-resistant glass lets you take the bottle directly from the freezer and place it in hot water to heat up baby’s milk.
- Transforms into a sippy cup and a flat cup for longer life
- Completely Dishwasher safe—you don’t even need to remove the silicone sleeve.
Buy it: $17 for a 9 oz. bottle, Lifefactory.com
Best plastic bottle: Thinkbaby Starter Set
A no-spill silicone nipple that mimics breastfeeding is just the start. Once you’re done with this plastic No. 5 bottle, which has no trace of BPA, phthalate, lead, PVC, PET or any harmful chemicals, you can toss it in the recycling bin instead of the garbage. Features you’ll love:
- Anti-colic nipple helps cut down on gas and spit up.
- The one-piece design means fewer parts to assemble and clean.
- Use the conversion kit to turn baby bottles into sippy cups for kids as old as 4, saving money and avoiding environmental waste.
- 10 percent of each purchase supports select charities, such as Healthy Child Healthy World.
Buy it: $20 for the four-piece starter set, Gothinkbaby.com
Best budget-friendly layette: Burt’s Bees Baby Clothing
This brand offers one-stop shopping for baby’s organic cotton wardrobe, from velour coveralls and terry cloth hoodies to pajama sets and more. Features you’ll love:
- All clothing is made from super-soft, 100 percent organic cotton.
- The company’s farms don’t use synthetic pesticides, fertilizers or GMO seeds
Buy it: Starting from $10 for a two-pack of bodysuits, Burtsbeesbaby.com
Best luxury layette: SoftBaby Clothes
Kourtney Kardashian, Drew Barrymore and other celeb moms are swathing their tots in super hip SoftBaby onesies, rompers, tees, pants and more. Features you’ll love:
- The brand’s 100 percent organic cotton is grown on an environmentally conscious farm, free of chemicals and pesticides.
- Oversized sea horses, moose, penguins and pineapples make for bold, graphic.
Buy it: Starting at $20 for a baby hat, Soft-baby-clothes.com
Best baby skin care: Sophie La Girafe Baby Hair & Body Wash
The French company behind the iconic giraffe teething toy has expanded to include an organic baby skin care line that promises to garner just as much devotion. Features you’ll love:
- All products are 100 percent vegan, gluten-free, nut-free and cruelty-free, without any perfumes, dyes, phthalates, parabens, chlorine or sodium lauryl sulfate, making them ideal for babies with allergies and sensitivities.
- Packaging is recyclable.
Buy it: $22, Amazon.com
Best teether: My Natural Eco Teether
These cute, easy-to-grip animal teethers have stimulating ridges to soothe baby’s sore gums when those chompers start coming in. Features you’ll love:
- Made from corn, potato and sugarcane starch
- Food-grade materials are free of BPA, phthalates, PVC and latex.
Buy it: $8, Walmart.com
Best high chair: Keekaroo Height Right High Chair
This may be the only registry item that baby is guaranteed to never outgrow. We love that the sleek wood finish is easy to wipe down after messy meals. Features you’ll love:
- The high chair suits a 6-month-old and then adjusts in 1-inch increments to fit a toddler, child and even an adult up to 250 pounds
- Made from renewable rubberwood and finished with a plant-based lacquer
Buy it: $190, Target.com
Best activity gym: Finn + Emma Play Gym
Made from 100 percent birch wood and free of pretty much any chemical or toxin you can think of, this play gym is just as easy on the environment as it is on the eyes. Features you’ll love:
- Every part is non-toxic and eco-friendly, including the dyes, stains and lacquers.
- Those adorable knit stuffed animals are handmade from Peruvian certified organic cotton yarn and wool stuffing.
- Those wooden pieces? They’re teething toys.
Best baby skin care: Mustela Liniment
If you’re wary of wipes, this diaper change solution can be applied with a cloth; it cleans and moisturizes without needing to be rinsed off. Features you’ll love:
- It’s made from 99 percent natural ingredients, including extra virgin olive oil
- Liniment is fragrance-free and safe for sensitive skin
Buy it: $15, MustelaUSA.com
The Bump Ultimate Stroller Guide:
Updated November 2017