Finding cute, eco-friendly baby items is getting easier and easier. If you want to go green with your decor, you no longer have to choose from the standard muted tones that sustainable design is known for. Now there are plenty of environmentally friendly nursery items that incorporate cheerful color into your baby’s room, so it’s possible to move beyond the beige!
Bonus! Eco-friendly items have less of an impact on the environment. Things made with sustainable and organic materials, and non-toxic chemicals are healthier for your family and planet earth.
Here, we’ve compiled a selection of nursery furniture, must-haves, cute toys, and decorating tips to help you get started. When creating your registry for your nursery or making inspiration boards, remember babies’ brains are like sponges soaking up the environment around them. Consider how stimulating, comforting, and imaginative you want the design to be. Mix these fun items with your functional must-haves to create a nurturing, eco-friendly space:
Tell us about the eco-friendly nursery items you like!
This is part of our ongoing series helping consumers better understand chemicals, chemistry, and product formulations. We translate the science, bust the myths, and give you an honest assessment, so you can make informed choices for your family!
Ingredient: Polyvinyl Alcohol (also known as PVA, PVOH, or PVAI)
What it is: Polyvinyl alcohol is a synthetic polymer, which is a substance made up of many, many molecules all strung together. It starts its life as ethylene, a natural gaseous hormone given off by plants that causes the fruit to ripen. In this case, the ethylene is synthetically produced (but nature identical), then turned into vinyl acetate through a chemical reaction with oxygen and acetic acid (in diluted form known as vinegar), then polymerized (bonded to form repeating molecules), and then dissolved in alcohol to become a water-soluble polymer.
What it does: PVA has oodles of uses from strengthening textile yarns and making paper more grease and oil resistant to creating children’s play slime and contact lens lubricant (yes, it’s safe enough to go in your eyes!). We use it to create the water-soluble, single-size pod packages that hold our dishwasher, oxy-boost, and laundry formulas.
Why we use it: People love cleaning pods—what’s not to love?! These pods (aka “packs”) streamline cleaning, which is always a good thing! But, in this case, all it takes to make doing laundry and dishes a little easier is a convenient pack of pre-measured detergent. We chose to encase our detergent in PVA because it’s strong, colorless, odorless, biodegradable, and non-toxic!
Why we’re featuring it today: PVA is sometimes confused with polyvinyl acetate (aka PVA or PVAc—a wood glue), an easy enough mistake to make given they sometimes go by the same acronym. PVA is also sometimes thought to be related to polyvinyl chloride (aka PVC – the poison plastic). We wanted to make it clear that even though they all contain the word “polyvinyl” and are all types of polymers, they are all indeed very different substances.
Still have any lingering questions about polyvinyl alcohol? Let us know in the comments and we’ll do our best to respond!
One of my biggest life-altering events was the birth of my two boys. If you feel anxiety about being a new parent, you’re not alone. Many new parents feel overwhelmed when it’s time to bring their new babies home from the hospital. As a nurse in the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Newborn and Infant Critical Care Unit (NICCU), I am positioned to help give you the confidence in caring for your newborn. Continue reading for helpful newborn care tips!
Getting Started Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is a team effort between you and your baby. One of the keys to successful breastfeeding is simply sitting up while you breastfeed—sit up in bed, in a comfortable armchair or in a rocking chair. Use pillows behind your back, under your elbow and on your lap to support the baby. Use a footstool to bring your knees up or use pillows under your knees if you are sitting up in bed. You should be relaxed with none of your muscles straining. Your baby should be lying on his side with his whole body facing you and his knees pulled in close to your body. There are a number of breastfeeding pillows to help, but you don’t necessarily need one of those to succeed.
Overcoming a Poor Latch During Breastfeeding
Getting your baby to latch onto your nipple properly helps promote successful breastfeeding. A poor latch (nipple is too shallow in your baby’s mouth) at the breast will cause discomfort and can make your nipples sore or cause them to crack and bleed. Here are some suggestions to help overcome poor latching:
Mary, my fellow RN Remedies blogger, talks about how to properly handle, store, and thaw your breast milk.
Curing a Stuffy Nose
Babies are born nose breathers, probably because that how they breathe during breastfeeding—mouth breathing begins later. If your newborn has a stuffy nose, not only does it interfere with breastfeeding but it can cause other respiratory issues. If your baby shows signs of a stuffy nose (e.g. nasal secretion around their nostrils, sneezing) here are some ways to help clear their nasal passage to promote better breathing. One of the most effective ways to remove blockage in their nose is to use a bulb syringe:
Your newborn’s nails grow quickly and will require a trim at least once per week. If you forget, you’ll be reminded by a small scratch on your arm or hand, or they may accidentally scratch themselves.
Safe Sleep for Your Newborn
Since 1992, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that infants sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). SIDS is the sudden and unexplained death of a baby under 1 year of age. Even though there is no way to know which babies might die of SIDS, there are some things that you can do to make your baby safer:
It helps to educate anyone who cares for your baby about safe sleep for your baby. This RN Remedies blog post can help.
By Robert Giesler, BSN, RN, CPST, Pediatric Nurse, Newborn and Infant Critical Care Unit (NICCU) at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
To read more of Robert’s pediatric health care tips, visit WeTreatKidsBetter.org!
When I decided that our family should set some goals my two boys were immediately excited. “Yay soccer!” said my six year old. “I’m really good at scoring goals,” said my four year old. Those aren’t exactly the kind of goals I meant.
There are areas in our daily routine where we all need some improvement. One of my friends mentioned she created a chore chart for her older son to help him learn the connection between work and money. I love this concept but I don’t want to give my kids an allowance yet for housework. However we could work on changing some bad habits.
We could also use more family time. My husband and I split most of the parenting duties. For example, he hangs with the boys on Saturday mornings while I go to the gym, then he gets some free time while I take the kids on a play date. Sundays we each split-up and take a child to their various sports activity. While this allows each of us to get some personal time, it also means we aren’t creating a lot of family togetherness for our boys or each other.
So, I created six attainable family goals that will hopefully change some bad habits and bring us closer together.
Family Goal #1: Eat a sit-down dinner together without electronics at least one night a week. Although my kids are young and have minimal to no homework, we still have after-school activities, play dates, and other appointments that sometimes make it hard to get home and have downtime before the dinner-bath-book-bedtime crunch. This year, instead of committing my kids to a different activity every single day of the week, I’ve dedicated one day for having dinner as a family. This has been a big adjustment for my boys and I can’t say they’re too thrilled so far with no TV, iPads, and us trying to find out about their day. Definitely a work in progress.
Family Goal #2: Do at least one activity together on the weekends. Instead of divide and conquer, I’d like to do at least one thing together, even if it’s just a walk around the block with the dogs, a board game, or riding bikes in the neighborhood. I think this is going to be an easy one.
Family Goal #3: Create and follow chore charts for the kids with room for mom & dad to help. My six year old loved the idea of a chore chart so of course his little brother wanted one too. Now that we’ve started using the chore chart, I realize I have to rethink what’s appropriate for each kid. “Get self dressed” isn’t doable for my four year old without a little help.
Family Goal #4: Less Yelling. When you hear other people yelling at their kids it just sounds awful. Yet it doesn’t stop me from losing my cool with my kids much more than I’d like to. Everyone does it but that doesn’t mean it’s effective. My husband and I need to practice counting to three before we turn-up the volume.
Family Goal #5: Encourage Creativity. I want to encourage my kids to use their imaginations to build towers and invent superheroes rather than follow the directions on the box of some creative-type activity. I’d much rather see them make something on their own that can be built and rebuilt a thousand different ways. One of their favorite toys is a set of brightly colored interlocking plastic tubes. They’ve made creations as diverse as a super powered laser blaster to the world’s largest fork. I could use some work on tapping into my own creative side too.
Family Goal #6: Kids’ Choice. Once a month, have a kids’ choice day where they get to pick what we do, within reason of course. I’m hoping the possibility of a trip to the local arcade will be an effective incentive to encourage them to follow the chore chart!
How do you set family goals? What are your family goals for 2014?
If you’re pregnant, or planning to get pregnant, there are a lot of things to consider as you prepare to bring a baby into the world. Skincare, as in what you put on your face and body, is one important consideration for moms-to-be in part because all those extra hormones may cause skin problems. While some women get a glow, others get acne, which is the most common pregnancy skin problem. Or, maybe you have both.
In the course of about a year, your hormones will fluctuate drastically, so considering your skin’s changing needs will help you take better care of yourself. But, more importantly, your skin is your body’s largest organ and it’s porous—meaning what you put on your skin can be absorbed into your bloodstream and even travel to the placenta. When you’re pregnant, it’s especially important to read labels and avoid putting anything on your skin containing questionable ingredients. Follow these simple and safe skincare tips:
Before Getting Pregnant
After Giving Birth
One final tip: Check out the Environmental Working Group’s database, Skin Deep, to see which body care ingredients and products to avoid.
What are your pregnancy skin care tips? Share them with us in the comments!