Well hello there, friends! I’m baaaaacckkkkk. I know, it’s been a bit silent around here for the past while. But I promise it’s for good reason. We’ve welcomed another wee one into our HEN Family. Our little baby E is the sweetest and happiest little gal there ever was (except when you want her to nap hehe).
My pregnancy was a bit rough, a bit crazy (two other ones underfoot will do that) and madly exhausting. So the blog took a bit of a backseat for a while. I’ve missed the blogging world though and am happy to be back in the swing of things. I’ve been working on this post of eco-friendly baby gear for quite a while and am glad to finally put it out to the internet world. If you’re like me, you’ve researched eco-friendly baby chairs, eco-friendly baby play mats and eco-friendly strollers for way too many hours. I’ve compiled a list of all the big ticket items for you. Don’t forget to check out my ultimate list of eco-friendly baby essentials for all of the other smaller items, which you can use as a handy checklist.
Eco-Friendly Baby Gear: The Big Ticket Items
So, baby gear. There are SO many options when it comes to baby items. TOO many options, if ask me. I remember when I was pregnant with my first. I walked into the big baby store, thinking I’d register there, and was completely and utterly overwhelmed. Baby baths? 20 different kinds. Washcloths? 10 different kinds. Playpens? 50 different kinds. I felt light-headed. I’m a researcher, meaning I research every little thing, to the max. My husband *loves* it (insert sarcasm here). But it also means I’m always searching for the safest, most durable, and also natural items out there. Especially when it comes to my babies. So, to be honest, this does actually make choosing eco baby gear a bit easier. I just narrow the focus down to products that are the most natural and eco-friendly.
Big baby items, like playpens, carriers, chairs and play mats can be a bit trickier. There are definitely less options in the eco-friendly world. Thankfully though, there are some great companies creating natural alternatives. I’ve already written about my favourite safest & natural carseat company, as well as eco-friendly cribs and crib mattresses, so today I’m going to share with you my top eco-friendly big baby items.
Baby Bouncer Chair – With Mr. K & Miss K, we used the Baby Bjorn bouncer chair. It’s great for travel and I like the simplicity of it. I did however, find it has its limitations and Miss K never really seemed to be a fan of it. Getting a baby in and out of could also be very tricky, especially if they’ve fallen asleep – oy! With this third baby, we’re now all about the Nuna leaf. “Nuna what” you say? The Nuna leaf is simple, beautiful and eco-friendly. It’s made with certified Oeko-Text fabric that is 100% organic cotton, and the insert is so, so soft. Anyone who has come over to our home has remarked that they wish they made them in adult sizes – as do we! One of the best things about the Leaf is that it can be used all the way up to toddlerhood and beyond. We first got the Nuna Leaf chair when Miss K was 18 months and it immediately became a favourite chair of both the oldest ones. Now that baby E is here, she’s the one who is in it most of the time. The Leaf works by gently swaying in tune with the baby/child’s movements, so it’s much more natural than the battery-operated ones. The motion will also continue for 2 minutes with a gentle push, and Mr. K loves being the helpful big bro that he is by pushing it whenever needed. It’s also the perfect little cradle. Because both of our girls have suffered from reflux (which is the worst, by the way), they need to sit in more of an upright position for a while after feeding. Having two other little ones to care for means I can’t always be walking around holding baby E for half an hour after every feed. Even sitting down for a nursing session can be tricky with the other two! The Leaf is the perfect place to put her. The base also easily pops in and out so you can bring it with you to the grandparents house – bonus points! Since the weight limit is a high 130 pounds, we’ll definitely be using this for years to come. If only we had one for every child…I’m not kidding. If you’re on the lookout for a Nuna Leaf chair, check out their website for a list of retailers in Canada.
Miss K LOVES to lounge and read in her Nuna Leaf – too cute!
Playpen/Pack ‘n’ Play – Babies spend SO much of their time in a crib or playpen. Ideally, a lot of this time is spent sleeping, but some times, it’s a lot of back and forth in attempts to get said baby to sleep (been there, done that). Since they are so little and their bodies and organs are developing so much, I like to err on the side of caution and stick with natural and organic sleeping surfaces whenever possible. I have two favourites when it comes to baby play yards. The Nuna Sena (and Sena mini) is an awesome option. It’s simple and beautiful, for starters. But it’s also free of PVC, flame retardants and lead. I love the clear mesh and soft quilted mattress and it’s really easy to set up and take down again. My other favourite is the Lotus travel crib. It’s also free of flame retardants, PVC, phthalates, lead and heavy metals. Plus, the clear mesh also has a great zipper option for easy access. These are both simple and great playpens that you’ll get a ton of use out of for play areas as well as sleeping options.
Baby Carrier – There are tons of options out there when it comes to babywearing. Ring slings, mei tais, structured carriers, you name it. For baby wraps, which are great when they are very little, the Moby wrap and K’Tan are both good options. They’re made of organic cotton and will be safe for those wee babes to breathe in. Although these are both awesome options, I find that I need a bit more support than what they offer, especially as babies get bigger. I’ve also never had a baby smaller than about 8 pounds, so there’s also that haha. We tend to make chunky babies around here. My absolutely favourite baby carrier, the one I recommend all the time, is the Ergobaby. They make a great organic baby carrier, which we have. We also have the new Ergo 360, which is amazing. Ergo baby carriers distribute the weight evenly, offer the safest positions for babies to be in, and you can even use them from birth with the infant insert. Plus, we’ve carried heavy toddlers in these, so the sky’s the limit. Or, err, the weight. You get the point.
Activity Gym – While there are more options in the simple play mat department, it’s slim pickins’ in the activity gym department. That being said, we love our Skip Hop Treetop Friends activity gym. It’s made of natural cotton and has simple soft toys that dangle. You can move them to different positions and angles, which is key for babies. We ended up taking off the bars and just using the mat on its own with the mirror for quite a while. It’s also washable, which is wonderful, because, you know, spit-up. Ikea also makes a simple wooden activity gym, which is compact and can be used with any blanket underneath it.
Play Mat – There are a few great play mat options. One of my favourites is the Kutchu play mat. It’s designed right here in Canada by an awesome Canadian mama, is massive (yay for crawling babies) and is made of natural rubber. It’s non-toxic and free of nasty phthalates and flame retardants. The rubber smell was quite strong when we first opened it up, but we let it air out in the great outdoors for the afternoon and the smell dispersed. Plus, it’s a natural rubber smell and nothing like that smell that comes from nasty chemical-filled mats or toys. This mat is also nice and cushy and I love the simplicity of it. It also doubles as a family yoga mat – win, win! This mat is loved by all our kiddos, from the baby to the kindergarten, as well as us!
Stroller – Oh, strollers. Probably the most researched area of eco-friendly baby gear. I did my fair share of research here. While there are plenty of good options, nothing beats the Uppababy Vista, in my opinion. I love that it comes with a baby bassinet, which is ideal for those first few months. Better even though is that the bassinet is lined with an organic soybean fiber and cotton, so it’s super safe for tiny babes. UPPAbaby also doesn’t use any flame retardants, BPA, lead, PVC, latex, teflon or phthalates in any of their strollers, which is very reassuring. I also love that UPPAbaby recycles materials from old strollers and donates used ones to charity. Their main office is also pretty eco-friendly, and they also partnered with Healthy Child Healthy World to help educate parents about eco-friendly baby gear options. Love that!
So there you have it. Let me know if I missed anything or send me a message if you have a question about a specific product – chances are, I’ve researched it:)
*Disclaimer: I received a Nuna Leaf chair to review, but opinions are completely my own.