The excitement of expecting a baby in the family, whether it's our first, second, third... (or a surprise one!) spreads like a contagion. It's always happy times and more often than not, we forget the other things that are important to us or we are passionate about. If you are thinking of having your own nursery or redecorating the old one, going green is one of the trends today. Eco-friendly nurseries have their obvious benefits, but it can also be cut-price and less of a hassle. Here are ten good tips to the parent that wants to go green but is actually green on how to go about it.
10 The Actual Room
A room that's suitable to be a nursery room has to have adequate natural light in it. It doesn't really have to have sunlight shining through the windows, but there has to be enough space exposed for plants to be able to flourish inside. Natural light is always better than any other eco-friendly bulb or LED light out there, so choose a room that has plenty of that for your nursery. Or plan to tear down part of a wall in the room to make space for a new window that lets in more natural light, whichever sounds easier and more practical.
9 The Walls
This item is more about the paint we use for the walls rather than the walls themselves. VOC is what parents need to be concerned about, the three most important letters when it comes to painting nursery walls, and every other wall in the home, for that matter.
VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compounds (or chemicals), these are what separates the regular paint, lacquer, or finish from the more eco-friendly paint. The after-smell is just one effect, but the low-level chemical content of these kinds of paint can be very harmful to newborns. Search for paint brands that are eco-friendly, there's quite a number to choose from.
8 Lightings And Fixtures
Let's not forget to do our part in conserving energy while thinking of the pretty lights and fixtures we want to get installed in our nursery. It's easier today. LED lights and bulbs are now cheaper and much easier to find. The energy consumption of an old-fashioned light bulb is off the charts compared to the most technologically advanced LED light.
Dial down on the fixtures a bit, remember that less is best. If you want to go all out, try putting everything in one fixture, like a ceiling light, fan, and night light fixture. Check out Nanoleaf for the latest in LED technology for homes.
Do you want to really get down and dirty for your nursery? Then it's time to get back in touch with those carpentry skills and do it blue-collar style. Pieces of furniture you might need for a nursery are relatively small, and you can run to the nearest hardware store and check out how much the materials are going to cost.
Of course, you might then realize that after labor, it's better to just buy one, especially if you don't have the skills to pull it off. Cribs, cabinets, drawers, all these are wood-made. So get to those eco-friendly furniture stores that use recycled wood, for instance.
Houseplants are an essential member of the nursery, it's just logic. They clean the air, so they must be good for the baby. But not all houseplants are actually fit to be inside a nursery. Let's get the non-toxic ones and, if it matters, the low-maintenance ones if we tend to forget to water them.
For low-maintenance plants go with Donkey's Tail, Baby Rubber, and Snake Plant. By the time the baby can pick their own head up, the plant won't be all withered and dead. For hanging plants, the Boston Fern is the best. For empty corners, it's the Dracaena. For cool green colors choose the Spider Plant and the Fittonia.
5 DIY Items
If carpentry is too much, you can still try to make your own things, but do it with something that's more realistic based on your DIY skills. A simple wooden box for easy toy storage is doable, and you get to finish it the way you like, custom-made!
Then for parents skilled in sewing, we can decorate the crib or bed with a colorful DIY skirt, or a tassel crib skirt if you can pull that off. DIY other small items like cute little stuffed toys. Dreamcatchers, a growth chart, and a baby mobile need not be bought new, you can also easily do those things ourselves.
4 Baby's Bed
It's a good idea to ensure that the thing inside the nursery that baby will come into contact with the most is the greenest out of all of them. There are a lot of eco-friendly cribs with different models and designs, colors and finishes that you can choose from.
Then you'll want to splurge a bit on the mattress, the best ones are those with organic cotton and non-toxic waterproof covers. Some great brands out there are Naturepedic, Essentia, and The Natural Sleep Store.
3 Baby Bottles
In this item, B, P, and A are the three most important letters. BPA stands for Bisphenol A, which can be found in a lot of containers, including food containers made from plastic material that's lined with BPA. Most feeding bottles claim they are BPA-free products after the FDA banned the use of BPA in baby bottles and other baby products. But plastic is still plastic, and we are going green, aren't we? So take plastic bottles out of the equation and choose either glass bottles or stainless steel ones. Now we can flip the meaning of BPA and make it Baby Pampered Always.
2 Toys & Essentials
The best way to go green when it comes to baby essentials is going with cloth diapers instead of disposable ones. But if you can't go full throttle, the next best thing is eco-friendly disposable diapers. Pampers has them, or you can also try Bamboo Nature or Seventh Generation.
When it comes to toys, you want to avoid any that are made of plastic. Wooden toys are the best bet, and cute wooden baby toys are available at any favorite online store. For stuffed toys, choose those made from organic material only, from the soft inside to the outside material.
1 Maintenance And Cleaning
No matter how green and eco-friendly a nursery is, it will still get dirty. We have to clean it, of course. Eco-friendly cleaning products can either be a DIY effective solution from a trusted source, or baby-friendly and non-toxic cleaning products that you can buy. The secret cleaning formulas handed down by grandmas are probably the best bet, just try them out in a different room first. But if that seems like too much work, just make sure your laundry detergents, all-purpose cleaners, and dishwashing soaps are either organic or have zero toxic chemicals in them.