An Earth-Friendly, Made In America Baby Registry- Part Two - Dressing and Bathing your Baby

by - Monday, September 18, 2017

pregnant woman An Earth-Friendly, Made In America Baby Registry- Part Two - Dressing and Bathing your Baby
picture taken by Jenny Bickel Photography
You are having a baby or celebrating someone who is! That's awesome! Babies are cute! When you are looking down the barrel at so much cuteness. Serious cuteness. Teeny Tiny cuteness. It can be easy to only focus on the cuteness.

I get that, but there might be something more important to think about.

So much of the baby goods we register for is having a profoundly negative effect on our world. It creates (literal) tons of waste, garbage that will add toxicity to the land and water. This may seem like no big deal at first (I mean, everyone throws things "away" right?), but if you love that tiny bub enough to be excited for their cuteness, are you really ok with their food being poisoned? Me either. And this is just the beginning.

The VAST majority of the clothes made for tiny people are made in countries with extremely loose labor standards (I am looking at you, Carter's and Gerber), so those cute, cheap clothes come with a bunch of crappy baggage. They are wasting massive amounts of fossil fuels with shipping AND other human beings are working in deplorable conditions so you can buy that super cute onesie for a dollar less.

I could keep going, but let's get to the good news. So many companies are recognizing these problems, so better options exist for almost every item on your registry list. Even better news? If all new parents switched even a quarter of their registry items over (and cut the plastic- trust me, you will want to when you realize how bad plastics are for your kid), they can make the world a considerably greater place for their little ones!

We aren't powerless, and this is the perfect opportunity to make a difference. I know I wish I had done more, and you can learn from my mistakes. This is the second part of the Made in America and Eco-Friendly Baby Registry, filled with information on how to avoid what we did wrong.

Three Steps to Transforming Your Registry


1. Get Less- Oh, the things people will tell you that you need. It can be tempting to take all the advice (and get all the things), because first time parenthood is means you have no idea what the hell you are doing. Trust me from the other side, you need less than you think. Take advice with a grain of salt and talk to some parents who are still new to the game. Also, reuse what you already have! Do you need washclothes if you already have soft ones?

2. Get Things Used- There are tools that will be absolutely essential in your life for about a month (like a swing) and then you will never need them again. All those Fisher Price Rock n Plays or Swings have such a short life with each baby, so they are still in great condition. Join a Buy Nothing Group and get in touch with the other moms in your neighborhood (you can also hand your stuff off when you are done with it to keep your house from cluttering up). Check out kids consignment stores.


 If you aren't buying the majority of your kids' clothes in consignment, you are wasting your money. Tons of it.

Even worse, these purchases are sending that much more to the landfills. Save money, save the Earth, get your baby stuff used (you can even state this preference on your baby shower invite).

3. Get it Made in the USA- Most mainstream stores (think Babies R Us) won't make the manufacturing information readily available, because it will show their shortcomings and lack of ethics. But I have done all the research for you. Check out these companies while you do your research, and switch these items over to something that uses less fossil fuels, takes care of the economy your child will inherit from you, and is made with higher labor and environmental standards. It's more expensive, but since if you mostly buy used, it will even out.

You can do this! Let's get started on Part 2.

baby bear bunting- An Earth-Friendly, Made In America Baby Registry- Part Two - Dressing and Bathing your Baby

what to dress your baby in


When all is said and done, you need 3 or 4 newborn sleepers in season appropriate fabrics and a bunch of onesies. After that, each size depends a lot on the frequency you do laundry and the season/ climate you are in. This link gives you a quiz that can give you an itemized list of what clothes you need based on when your baby is coming (awesome, but you could still do a little less). We will split it up another way:

Key Pieces (2-3 for every size)
Basics (sleepers, onesies, pants, and socks)
Shoes
Hats/ Noggin Cuteness


2-3 Pieces per Size you LOVE (and Get New)

Our Pick- City Threads
Other Options- Bamboosa, Chubs, Winter Water Factory, LittleFootClothingCo, Honest Elements, Jamjamsjam, LolaandStella

 My basic estimate is that about 80-90% of a baby's wardrobe in any size should be used. They go through it fast, so hand me downs and consignment finds are going to save the environment and your wallet more than anything else. One of my friends even requested people buy consignment on her shower invitation, which is pretty genius.

That being said, there is always something you have in mind you can't find in consignment stores.

For those last few things, you can buy (or register for) American-made baby clothes to guarantee your child is wearing something ethically-made that isn't traveling crazy distances. You can find simple basics from companies like City Threads or special pieces for holidays or to treasure forever on Etsy. Yes, people will mostly buy you other things, but you can at least try to direct them to things you will actually love (see: animal onesie that says "I love mommy" I know that's what you want).

There are a few American companies- City Threads (on Amazon too)- that sell baby basics that are adorable and no more expensive than Carter's or other mainstream baby companies that make their clothes far away with unethical labor. I just bought City Threads t shirts for the Bub and they look so good, but we also love Winter Water Factory (from New York) and some Etsy sellers that just make standout pieces every time. Just enough awesome to take our consigned wardrobe to another level.

I love so much on Etsy, so you should really browse on your own, but here are my favorites we have bought for our kids. Is it as cheap as buying Carter's? No, not always, but they make great gifts and paired with a consignment wardrobe, you will still come out on top.

honest elements toddler t-shirt blowing bubbles

My favorites, which are in that sweet spot between special and usable, are the organic cotton baby leggings from Lola and Stella.  I am looking at coming home outfits a lot lately, and I love these get ups from Little Beans Baby Shop. I also have found this is a great opportunity to support makers in the US who are actively trying to do the right thing by our kids and the environment- my favorites are Honest Elements and Urban Earth Co. I have bought clothing from both stores and found them to be especially wonderful.

Preemies often get left out of these things, but Preemie-yums sells clothes specifically for the under 6 pound set.
secondhand baby clothes
from Jenny GG- all clothes in this picture are used

secondhand baby clothessecondhand baby clothes

Most Everything Else (used) 

Our Pick- Buy Nothing, Thred Up, Any and All Local Consignment Stores, Garage Sales, and Events

Soon after having the baby, I realized it is a fools game to ever buy a onesie for more than 5 dollars at a consignment shop. Baby clothes are tough, because no one wants to spend 50 dollars on something that will be worn a few times, but we also don't want someone else's child to be making our child's clothes, right? It's a tricky line to tread, unless you buy secondhand.

When the bub was 8 months old, I would guess about 50-60% of his wardrobe has been gifts (maybe 2 things we specifically asked for?), 35% we have bought secondhand or received through Buy Nothing, and that last 5- 10% have been things we specifically needed and couldn't find used (or we just loved). At 20 months, I would guess the ratio was about 85% used clothes, 10% made in America, and one gift pair of shoes and shorts from my mom which are neither.

Now, I would say both boys are solidly at 90% used, and I have no regrets, because their favorite toy is dirt. And not to toot our own horn, but our kid always looks cute (well, not so much after they play in the dirt, but you know what I mean). We have learned a lot, and we love saving money by switching up this strategy. If I could only give a new parent one piece of advice, it would be to buy less and buy used, and save that money for more interesting things. Like college.

Go and check any local consignment you know of, because you might be surprised. Always stop at garage sales with baby clothes, and when someone offers you a box of handmedowns, the only answer is yes. Anything you don't want you can donate, but those gifts are precious. If these aren't readily available options, you still have consignment websites like Thred Up, which have a pretty wide variety of clothing items for kids. Plus they wrap in paper, not plastic.

We bought Christmas pajamas used, swim clothes used, and tons of pajamas and onesies used. People are gifted these things and use them a hand full of times. You can do this too!

baby shoes
From the Wee Little Piggies

Baby Shoes (wait)

 This pains me to say, because I love them, but most of the baby shoes I have bought weren't used enough to justify the purchase. My best advice is to only buy things with velcro closures. We only used them in cool weather, so if it is hot, I recommend no shoes, as much as it hurts my heart. If you want a couple of pairs, I suggest looking in consignment stores (so many cute ones, and before they walk you don't have to worry about use at all).

 If you want something really special, Etsy has you covered- Clam FeetStitches and SolesCady and JaxCharlee Oh Creations (from Alaska), Little KMDWild ExplorersWren's Nest Baby Shoes and Bitsy Blossom (has toddler stuff too), Simply DanikaHoney and HideWoolbyLil Sweetie PiesWinter PeachOgres by JamMarley OceanMis Mar DesignRaspberriezAll Things for Baby,  and Pitter Patter Baby Shoes,



baby in the bathtub

bathing, health, and skin care

Bath time is such a sweet time in our house, as long as you don't mind getting wet. Those tiny babies need a lot of extras to take care of their skin and health, so be sure to check consignment stores first. Anything you can get on this list used (and get clean), just get it used!

Baby Detergent
Baby Shampoos
Bath Toys
Bath Tub
Cradle Cap Brush
First Aid/Grooming Kit
Gripe Water
Nail Clippers
Snot Sucker
Thermometer
Toothbrush
Towels
Washcloth

the simply co laundry detergent

Baby Detergent (new or handmade)

Our Pick- The Simply Co and The Refill Revolution
Other Options- Make your Own, Seventh Generation detergent,

The wisdom is that you want to get super gentle detergent to at least start your baby out on, in case they have sensitive skin. If they the course of our toddler's life, I discovered no sensitive skin, but I did find that you can save money and be kinder to yourself and the environment by changing your detergent. I love The Simply Co detergent-  healthy ingredients and packaged in reusable glass. I wouldn't go back to using liquid detergent- with our super messy toddler, one jar has lasted us well over 4 months. Making your own detergent is probably the most eco and wallet friendly, but if you don't have the time, this works.

If you want another option for powdered detergent, check out ZamoraFigThreadFarm, Northern Suds, or SimplyBSoap.

If you like fluid soap, check out the incredibly cool The Refill Revolution, which skips containers and sells refillable and returnable pouches. Seventh Generation or other "natural soaps like this one from ReverieFarmSoaps.

Also, your laundry is about to really keep you busy, and there are a lot of loads in your future. I recommend buying some dryer wool balls instead of using the wasteful one time use dryer sheets. My mother-in-law bought these for me as a birthday gift, and they get the job done again and again. There is no reason to go the other way.

Baby Shampoo and Wash (new)

 Our Pick- Noodle and Boo
Other Options- Mommy's Bliss Aveeno head to toeEarth MamaCalifornia BabyGaia organics

Noodle and Boo shampoo and head to toe wash smells great, works well, and is made in the US. Also, one bottle lasts a very long time when you wash tiny heads. We are only on our second bottle. One of the best options I have seen is Mommy's Bliss which is made in the USA, all organic, and packaged in a recycled bottle (huzzah!). That is what we will get when our gifts run out.

We received a big bottle of Johnson and Johnson's head to toe wash that lasted us at least 9 months (they say the origin is the USA on Amazon, but the bottles come from a mix of places actually). We also have used the Aveeno head to toe shampoo, which smelled really good and was listed as being made in Canada.

Almost all of these companies also sell some form of baby lotion, which a lot people use. It gave our baby a rash, so we stopped, but if you want a little to start, I recommend poking around these companies. Noodle and Boo has a wide variety of baby care lotions and such, and they are both eco-friendly (recyclable packaging) and pretty socially responsible (no animal testing).

green toys tug boat
Green Toys from Amazon

Bath tools and toys (used)

Our Pick- Green Toy's tug boat, Used toys
Other Options- Replay CupsGreen Toys pots and pansCelebriducksWowie StarsCozy Chipmunk

Cups work. You really don't have to get complicated here. Cups and strainers can help for getting them wet early on, and those might be available used, then you can definitely find bath toys used. We got a set of foam letters on Buy Nothing, and that is most of what he plays with. We do have one Green Toys Boat we love for play and (more practically) getting The Bub's hair wetmade of all recycled plastics too (check out everything they offer).

Want a rubber ducky? Celebriducks makes theirs in the US. If you want a teether that can have a second life as a bath toy,  Wowie Stars might do the trick. Begin Again uses eco-friendly materials, but they are made in China, so it depends what your priorities are. My new favorite are these washcloth sea toys from Cozy Chipmunk - cute, useful, and easy to clean! That's a winner.

Bathtub (used)

Our Pick- USED (seriously, so many are out there)
Other OptionPrimo Eurobath

 Bathtubs are another thing that if you work ahead, you can find at consignment stores or on Buy Nothing EASILY. The Fisher Price ones are all made in China, but you can find one in stores if you keep an eye out. We loved ours because we could use it from infancy all the way into toddlerhood. That being said, before a year, I just brought him in the shower with me, so I am not sure how long they actually last (second time around we made it to 10 months). I think a sink works for a good chunk of time, but a bathtub might actually save you water (we have also taken our water out and use it to water plants, no joke).  Also, does anyone know of one made of recycled plastic? It seems like that should exist!

If you can't find a used one, there is one pretty ok new option. Primo Eurobath is made in the US, and we received it as a gift, but I only recommend it if you have a lot of space for storage, because it is quite large.

Cradle Cap Brush (just wait)- You won't know if you need this until that cap is out and showing its colors. If you do need one, this one is made in the USA.

A First Aid/ Grooming Kit (new)- We really like ours from The First Years. Made in the US.

Gripe Water (just wait) can be a godsend, but it may not be needed. We used Wellements, which is made in the USA and is organic (I just wish they used less packaging).

 Nail Clippers (new or used)- I still find clipping nails slightly horrifying, but these clippers help my meaty fingers with the itty bitty baby nails.The fear of clipping just becomes less than the fear of their wolverine claws. These "No-Mes" clipper look even better, and you don't have the tiny nails popping around. If you could find those tiny clippers used, I say go for it.

Snot Sucker (new)- Nosefreida- You hear what it is, and you just think gross, but those baby noses don't clear themselves out.

A Thermometer (new)- You need one, and the only US-made one is gone  (can you hear me screaming to the wind?). Just one you probably have to just bite the bullet and go for whatever works (we like forehead ones).

baby banana toothbrush
Baby Banana from Amazon

Toothbrush (new)- By a year, our son loved to brush his teeth (all 7 of them) while we did, and it is good to establish it as a habit early on. I highly recommend these silicon banana toothbrushes; they are made in the US and are perfectly shaped for little mouths and little hands. Once they are a little older, Preserve makes great recycled toothbrushes.

minimalist hooded towel
from Curly Monkey

Towels (new)

Our Pick- Curly Monkey and Yikes Twins
Other Options- BamboosaWee ChateauCherub's BlanketSophia and Sam Organic

 When they are really teeny, you want to have a soft towel to put their delicate skin in. At some point along the way (2 or 3 months?), you use a regular towel in a jam, and you realize that is fine too. Our favorite is Curly Monkey's simple (but good-sized) hooded towel with pretty trim. Clean and minimalist with just a little bit of fun, made in America, and eco-friendly materials.

The other big winner? Bamboosa's simple hooded towel. Nothing too fussy, but really sweet, made in America, and they use bamboo! Our towel is almost 3 ft by 3 ft, and I recommend a bigger size like this to grow into. Cherub's Blanket and Sophia and Sam Organic have simple towels as well (which honestly are more useful, and no cutesy hooded towel will be as cute as your baby).

Still want one of the cutesy hooded towels with animals on them? Me too! I am never above cutesiness. The ones you see at Target or on Amazon are all made in China- no good, but there are some exceptionally adorable options on Etsy. Wee Chateau is selling the ones you are imagining, but even cuter, I promise. We bought a monster towel from Yike's Twins, and it is so cute (but maybe a little big to start with? We use it more for our toddler, who very much likes being a nakey boy monster).

baby bear washcloth from busy bonnie bee
from Busy Bonnie Bee

 Washclothes (just wait)

Our Pick- Busy Bonnie Bee and Bamboosa
Other Options- Cherub's BlanketCurly MonkeyMarley's MonstersRemiusablesCreated for BabiesGeorgia Threads, Lulu Woobies, or Color me Reckless.

 These are always listed on registries. But they are washclothes. If you already have some you like, that is probably fine. You could get a washcloth puppet like these from Busy Bonnie Bee, and at least they fill two purposes. If you do want to get some, there are some great bamboo and organic options that were also made nearby-  Bamboosa baby  has some soft, bamboo-made, from the USA options, but there are a bunch so check the links. This is an easy one to get right.

eco-friendly and made in america baby registry


There we go! Clothes, diapers, and everything you need for the bath. Just by switching out some of your registry, taking a different approach that can save waste, save you money, and actually be healthier for your little one. By switching out your registry that way, you can start making a positive impact on your baby's life before you even meet them!

Check out  Part One for all your pregnancy and delivery needs, or look at the whole Made in America Baby Registry to find lots of links, ideas, and eco-friendly goodies for every baby shower gift you could ever think of. Want to do some other environmentally-responsible shopping? Woot! Check out our Giant List of Shopping Lists for ideas you will love. 

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2 comments

  1. I've been collecting cloth diapers my entire pregnancy at consignment stores and garage sales! In fact, I just scored some great cloth diapers and a ton of inserts for $3 at a garage sale today! I also like to make my own :) I've been looking for a good place to get a wet bag. Thanks for the suggestions! This is a great post!

    ReplyDelete
  2. That's awesome and congrats on your coming bub! We do love our wet bag from Planetwise. It has never let us down. You are making a great world for your baby with all of that effort!

    ReplyDelete