An Earth-Friendly, American-Made Baby Registry- Part Five- Baby's Nursery and Bedtime Essentials

by - Tuesday, October 03, 2017

One of the most fun parts of getting ready for baby (other than the ultrasounds... so relaxing, then so cold) is planning the nursery. We had a great time picking a theme and setting up our nursery (you can read all about that here).

I firmly believe places and spaces are important, but much more important than that or anything is sleep. So the place your baby sleeps deserves a lot of attention and thought.

A lot of thought doesn't necessarily mean a lot of stuff. When we feel nervous or not prepared for something, we tend to overbuy. Think about it- overprepared really just means way too much stuff.

It may seem cute, but this is a real problem. Overconsumption, especially in America, is considered one of the key factors in Climate change. Long shipping distances, plastic packaging, and waste left and right is adding to environmental problems all over the place.

Lucky for all of us, we can be part of the solution! 


I have written an epically giant Baby Registry (you can see all the parts here) to help you make earth-conscious decisions without spending all your time researching. It's so easy to do the right thing once you have the information.

Here are some simple ways to approach your baby's space and sleep in an environmentally-friendly, sustainable way.

1. Just Buy Less- They will still have stores once the bub is born, so when you are choosing between 2 crib sheets or 3, always pick the smaller number. If you aren't sure whether your bub will like a halo sleep bag, ask around to borrow one before you buy. Focus on getting less.

For nurseries, this also means using what you already have. Refurbish an old dresser into a changing table or reuse a bookshelf as your toy storage. You probably have to buy a crib, but most other things can be made  out of things you might already own.

2. Get it Used- Babies go through everything SO FAST, so every time someone offers you a hand me down, say yes. Go check out what you can get at consignment stores. And for goodness sake, join your local Buy Nothing group (if you don't have one nearby, start one!). This is my first advice for every new parent. Stop wasting your money on things you will use for less than six months. It will save you money, but more importantly, it keeps tons of stuff out of landfills and begins to model healthy consumption for your bub.

This counts for recycled things too- always better!

3. Buy it Local or Made in America- Shipping distances and materials are both huge wastes. Stop buying stuff from China when you can get something better and more ethically made here. Yes, it will be more expensive, but if you are buying most of your stuff used, you will have more money for the stuff you want new. It is always worth it, and it adds up.

Ok, that's the easy guidelines, but when you are facing down long lists of what you need, following them is a huge task! So I have pointed you to all of the plastic-free, made in America, consignment-store favorite, and generally better items I know. Check out the list as you make your registry, and your baby can have a positive impact before they even arrive!



furniture and nursery decor

Bassinet
Crib
Changing Table
A Few Pieces you Love
Glider or Rocking Chair
Growth Chart 
Toddler Chair
Mobile
Monitor
Pack n Play
Shelving
Swing/Bouncer
Wall Decor

Bassinet (used)

Our Pick- Used, Borrowed

This can be absolutely essential, but only for a short window, so it can be tough to find one at a reasonable price that isn't made in China. Our Fisher Price Rock n Play was a lifesaver for a minute, but don't buy from them. Just don't. Everything they make is from China, and their packaging isn't even recyclable. Just, boo all around.

This can be found at consignment stores, or if you ask to borrow one on Buy Nothing, people will lend you theirs for the 3-4 months you need it (I think lots of moms keep theirs because it reminds them of that time when everyone was sleeping, but they can part with it for a while). Ours was passed around for 4 babies to use between our two babies. Bassinets have such a short use time, and lots of people just use a Pack n Play instead, so I would take a minute before buying one.


Crib (used, new)

Our Pick- Used, Kids n Cribs, or Baby Eco Trends
Other Options- Land of NodOeuf,  Berg FurnitureWhitney BrothersBayletto

 If you have the chance for one used, and you can look into its history (this is important, don't just get one from anybody), go for it. If not, there are plenty of options made in the USA (at different price points too, so poke around)

 You can look at sites that have a pretty wide variety of American-made cribs and cradles like Kids n Cribs and Baby Eco Trends (though I am slightly suspicious that they don't list an exact location). Land of Nod and Ouef have clean and minimal cribs that are made in America and perfectly on trend. Too cool (and expensive) for us, but it might be perfect for you.

Berg Furniture has two stately nursery collections as well. Two foreign, but sustainably made crib options are Whitney Brothers (in Europe) and Bayletto (in New Zealand).

Changing Tables (just wait)

Our Pick- Just use a Dresser
Other Options- Used

 This is a perfect opportunity to use something you already have. I know some people love them, but you don't need one. We put our changing area on top of a repainted dresser. It won't change your life if you try to use a more flexible piece of furniture, and with another coat of paint, it could last you until the baby graduates highschool (where that changing table will be on its way out in no time).

Seriously, what are you going to do with that changing table? Just use a dresser with a changing mat on top. Need a dresser? Go to any and all consignment stores.

Something You Really Love


You want to register for a few things you feel really tie the room together that you just love- a funky lamp or braided rug could make all the difference, and you can find all sorts of things out there. The key is to not feel pressured to get a bunch of stuff to just fill the walls or the space- it will fill up in time by itself. Instead, think about what would be really special to you to anchor things over time. Buy one great thing, not 10 things you think are ok.

 There are tons of options for cute details that are made in America you can feel pretty good about, while also nailing whatever theme you set (and you should if you want to- you can make any theme still work while shopping green).

 Carousel Designs has lots of cute, Made in the USA options. I'd say check consignment places first, but you can fill in the blanks easily enough.

These purchases are so individual, but you can still find things that you like and that are made ethically. For the nursery, we bought a couple of really special things- hot air balloons to hang from the ceiling, steampunk prints for the walls (along with a map from a flea market and our shower decorations), and gear stickers (that did not work in the end- so it goes). We also bought a bunch of pillow covers, since his nursery has a futon but not a lot of walls, This can be fun. Write your nursery theme into the search bar on Etsy and get inspired!


 Glider or Rocking Chair (used/new)

Our Pick-Land of Nod or Used
Other Options- Baby Eco Trends or Newco International

 If you have one already, perfect! If not, you can start by checking basically any Goodwill. You could probably spice up an old rocker pretty easily- it's still cheaper to reupholster or paint depending on what you can do yourself or who is available to do it for you. If that isn't your deal and you want to splurge on a new glider, Land of Nod has a pretty big collection of made in America gliders and rockers. My only other advice is to get an ottoman with storage if you can. You are having a baby. Your life of single purpose furniture is over, you need to hide the baby shit anywhere you can.

 Baby Eco Trends also has more traditional wooden options to consider, Newco International sells gliders that are still made in America, but they are a little more affordable.

from Half Pint Ink Studio

Growth Charts

Our Pick- Half Pint Ink Studio or Your Custom Signs
Other Options- Maple LandmarkGrace Words by MelanieSir Silas

 I love these things, especially if you are not sure the house your bub is starting in won't be his or her home for too long.  I absolutely love the ruler growth charts (you can find them all over Etsy), but find something that suits your style.

Little Chairs

Our Pick-Land of Nod
Other Options- Used

No, you probably don't need this, and it would make a better first birthday gift probably, but if you do want a kid sized chair sooner (maybe for monthly pictures), then I've got you covered.  I can't get over the cuteness of these made in America ones from Land of Nod- we got The Bub one for his second Christmas, and it gets use everyday. LL Bean still makes beautiful personalized rocking chairs as well in Maine. We got one as a gift from the Boy's parents and one at Goodwill to refinish. Makes a very sweet gift.


Mobiles

Our Pick- Make your Own or Drops of Color Shop
Other Options- Etsy

 The Boy made the Bub's, and it is truly awesome, and you can do it too if you so please. It was just felt, blanket stitching, and a whole lot of trial and error. Still, if you want to spend your time on other baby crafts (or something else, though who knows what that would be), Etsy stores like Drops of Color make amazing mobiles that fit basically any theme you can think of. That store is a gem. Other great mobile stores on Etsy? The StarcraftEnchanted PedulosityMy Dear EllieCinnamon Moose Crafts, and Sweet Dreams Baby Shop.


A Monitor (new)

 Yeah, you probably need one (if you aren't co-sleeping or next door to the nursery), but I am not the girl to tell you which, as I am not tech savvy, and I just mostly don't care about these things. But, like most tech gadgets, these are almost all imported. If you can find a used one (with or without a camera- that depends on your temperament), you are golden.

 Pack n Play (used)

Our Pick- Used

 If you can get it used, do it, because I can't find one brand that makes theirs in the US or with recycled materials.

They can be good to have, but unless they have a specific role in your plan, wait it out to get one used. Our consignment store usually has at least five out on the floor. They also last freaking forever, so there have to be lots floating around in the world. When we go back home, The Bub sleeps in one previously used by his Godmother, who is now 22 years old. Maybe you want something more modern, but know you could get it for much cheaper and register for other things instead. You can get the Pack n Play sheet Made in the US!

Shelving (used/new)

Our Pick- Something you Already Own or Used, Little Colorado
Other Options- Ameriwood SauderSteffy Wood Products

 If you take something sturdy and fasten it to the wall (do it now, while you still have lots of time), most shelving with a coat of paint (and maybe some toy baskets on the bottom shelf) makes for perfectly great baby storage. Transform something you already own to save money, and you can get something to last for the adult spaces. If you don't have something that works, get thrifting! Shelves are a dime a dozen.

 That being said, we didn't own anything that would work, so we bought our shelves from Ameriwood (made in Canada). I love ours because the have toy chests at the bottom. My favorite company for kids furniture may now be Little Colorado, which makes all kinds of the sturdy pieces you will need (including some cool shelving options- I love the cubbies) without getting too expensive or moving out of the United States. Sauder sells bookshelf/toychest hybrids that were made right in Ohio.   If you like the bookshelves where you can see the covers, check out Steffy. 

Sun-Blocking Curtains

 If you are a parent, the sun is your enemy. You become a vampire. If you are buying curtains, only buy ones that can block the sun. I can't find any that are made in the US other than these paper ones, but if you are buying curtains, it is something to think about. 

 Swing and/or Bouncer (used)

Our Pick- USED
Other Options- Baby Bjorn or 4moms Mommaroo bouncers 

 These are amazing lifesavers while they are amazing lifesavers. For about two minutes. Then? They are out. The swing helped us all get rest for the first 2 months, then he mostly grew out of it. The Bub moved into his bouncer, which was also amazing until month 5 or 6, when he was almost flipping it to get himself out (but he really was a bruiser). Fisher Price has great versions of both if you can find one used, but they have very Earth unfriendly practices, so I wouldn't put my money there.

Short answer? Get them used. Worst case scenario, open box. Ask around with friends and family. Check your Buy Nothing. Find one at a consignment store. It is ludicrous to buy this new.

 If you can't find one used, Swedish Baby Bjorn makes a clean-lined, recycled material bouncer that you can buy various toys for (one of my friends has this exact set, and their baby loves it). Their carriers are made in China, but their bouncer is made in Sweden.

Momaroo bouncers can sometimes serve as both (but their swings are imported), so it makes up for them being expensive (I see some open box), but I would try your baby in one before taking such a big leap.
from minted

Wall Decor (new/used)

Our Pick- Make Something, Shower Decorations, Minted, and Etsy
Other Options- Land of NodOopsy Daisy, Uncommon Goods

One of the things I love most about our nursery is how much we used the decorations from our shower as the art. Put frames around the diaper cake animals, and they look great, plus it has so much more meaning. If you can have a nursery theme before your showers, I highly encourage it, because everyone can join in, and that will make the room.

My brother and sister in law just had their shower, and I specifically bought all decorations that could be used again in the nursery. Why waste money on things that can be used once when you can waste money on things that will be used for a long time?

While you are prepping for baby, you could also make something for the walls yourself. It may seem like a challenge, but I know I treasure things that my mother made me, so you could be making something they will love forever. Saves money, could be fun, and way more meaningful. Look around on Pinterest and get inspired!

If you are looking for inspiration or something specific, you can still find so many green and locally-made options out there. I personally love Minted- their wall art is inspirational, beautiful, and stylish and you can get it printed on recycled paper. We bought this adorable animal map from our nursery and I love it. You also can't do better than Etsy- whatever your nursery theme, you can find cool art to match. Here are a few highlights- alphabet cards from EverydaySummit, wooden name signs from theDuoStudio, or vinyl stickers from SurfaceInspired.

Oopsy Daisy has all kinds of wall stickies and art that are made in the US. We did a little subtle gears sticker in the Bub's room, so it is do-able! Land of Nod has this cute garland and tons of made in America wall decals. Uncommon Goods also gets cool stuff often made out of recycled goods or made in America- I like this coat of arms art.


bedding

Bedding Sets
Crib Mattress
Crib Sheets
Mattress Pad
Sleep Bag
Swaddle Blankets


Bedding Sets (just wait)

 So cute, so useless. You can't use most of the components (bumpers are a SIDS hazard, and the quilts aren't useful for at least the first year). A smartly chosen sheet may do the trick for nailing down your nursery theme, you will save money, and you will have plenty of blanket chances later.

If you are getting a shower, you will get blankets. Handmade blankets, store bought blankets. So many blankets. The matching bedding set is outdated (maybe tacky?)- so save your decorating focus on something else.


Crib Mattress (used)


Our Pick- Used or Oeuf 
Other Options- NaturpedicMy Green Mattress

Good used, since it will be washed and covered up anyway, but watch out for things with a lot of synthetic materials. You want natural here. Oeuf offers a Made in the USA version for all you Eurofancies.  Naturpedic, My Green Mattress, and SavvyBaby have organic and American-made options as well. You can get something way cheaper, but not near as good for your little one- a mattress is worth it to splurge on if you can't find a safe one used.

from Woolf with Me

Crib Sheets (new/ used)

Our Pick- Carousel Designs
Other Options- SheetWorld, Etsy stores- Woolfwithme, Louloumade, Madlywish

 You can probably get a lot of bedding and sheets used or for free. People have a lot of crib sheets. That being said, if you skip out on your whole bedding sets (which really, you should) buying a sheet or two you really like might be a good way to splurge (or to give a big gift). I would say 4 or 5 sheets are nice to have, and only one or two need to actually be attractive.

Carousel Designs makes all kinds of sheets and changing covers that might fit your vision, all made in the USA (and now on Amazon and Etsy). I love this company, and they have so many options that you are guaranteed to find something you like. Cute, affordable, and made in America, so this one is a no brainer. If you want lots of great and affordable options, check out the SheetWorld section on Amazon as well.

If you want that perfect crib sheet for that perfect look for the whole perfect nursery, no judgement, friend. If you are skipping the whole bedding shebang, you have saved yourself a bunch of money and you can put some of it toward a spot on sheet from Etsy. They have a million of them, so here are a few of my favorite stores for bedding- Woolf with MeBabieaseGoodnight DollWhimsical and WittyMadly WishLou Lou Made, and Little Necessities.


A Mattress Pad (new)

Our Pick- Exceptional Sheets
Other Options- Used

 I haven't seen these really for sale in consignment stores, but you might look before you make a decision. Exceptional Sheets (owned by a veteran!) makes Crib/ toddler mattress pads out of bamboo in the US. So this one stands a little more expensive than your average purchase, but it might be worth it.  Go ahead and register for it- you might be surprised! Most of the others are made in elsewhere out of plastic nonsense, so I would look used or go big.


Two to three Sleepbags (new/used)

Our Pick- Used
Other Options- Taraluna or Swaddleme

 We started with Halo Sleepsacks, and they do work great compared to just swaddling, and we bought ours the second time around at the consignment store and we found TONS open box on amazon.

Can't find any used? There are more eco-friendly options! Taraluna sleepbags are simple and cozy. Swaddleme carries great sleepbags (in like a million designs), but they don't have any additional swaddle to them for the arms. You can also find some sleepbags usedsince they mostly don't last that long.



Swaddle Blankets (new)

Our Pick- Used or Snug Bug
Other Options- BamboosaSwaddle DesignsLola and StellaStitched in Seattle

 You will get so many of these without asking, and many of ours were homemade, so that is awesome. People LOVE Aden and Anais blankets. I do not blame them- we have a set, and they do in fact make the rest feel pretty lame. They are also made in China. So buy them used. Keep an eye out for them in consignment stores (and really, don't worry about gendered design- one of ours turned peach in a laundry accident, and it still works just fine). We have, since then, bought them for friends for 4 dollars a piece (maybe a third of their in store price).

It's the muslin fabric that makes these blankets flexible, stretchy, and weirdly always a good temperature. I like these Snug Bug ones, which aren't muslin, but have a little bit of that stretchiness. Bamboosa has a stretchy material as well, though I can't vouch for it completely.

Swaddle Designs has some great versions of the soft, stretchy blanket as well if you want that to work out. Etsy stores are also a good place to look for swaddle blankets- Lola and Stela, Stitched in Seattle, Rainy Day Woolies, and more have great options.   has a collection of really great printed ones that come in 3 sizes.  also has really pretty patterns in organic fabrics (I may be a bit partial to this one- buy local!). Also try Rainy Day WooliesLittle Logan DesignsTumbleweed Babies, and Rosie's Idea.

Swaddle Me Baby Wraps (just wait)

Our Pick- Used or Blue Okra

 Some parents swear by these, and some never use them. We used ours maybe 2 weeks before The Bub outgrew them. They usually get such short use that they are easily found in consignment stores (and most of the namebrand options are made in China- not worth it!). My advice? Get one at a consignment store (or borrow from a friend) and see if it works for your baby before you invest a ton in them. We preferred sleep sacks.  If you are all about them, Blue Okra's are organic and made in the US.


safety


Play Yards and Baby Gates
Window Covers
Latches

We started with all sorts of babyproofing materials and you know what ended up doing about 90% of the work? These latches. They keep doors and drawers closed but aren't a total puzzle to get out. We have a couple other things around, but this is really the best advice I can give you- keep it simple.

Play Yards and Baby Gates

Our Pick- Used
Other Options-  North States

North States manufactures all of its plastic gates in the US and their metal gates in China. They do baby gates and cute play yards like this one. Since buying ours, I've noticed you can find them used often (makes sense, since they aren't necessary that long), so I would check around first.


Window Covers


Our Pick-Guardian Angel 

 Ok, this all depends on your house, which I can't tell you about, but these window grids that keep your little ones from pushing out might be incredibly helpful as they get bigger and moving. Guardian Angel ones are all made in the US too.

Everything Else (used)

 You need things to keep drawers closed, doors closed, etc. In consignment stores, there is usually one little basket of discarded options that people didn't use (generally still in their packaging). You can also ask for people's odds and ends on Buy Nothing. Start there. Also, you will be encouraged to put up baby gates the second you start baking that embryo- that's crazypants. I would start putting things up as the baby starts crawling, but even then, there is not the rush they suggest, so you have time to figure out what actually works for you. For us, these are the big winner, because we can open and close them with one hand, but it depends on your space.


Want more? Check out the rest of the Eco-Friendly and American-Made Registry!

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2 comments

  1. We tend to buy most everything for our kiddos used, since they outgrow things quick and are hard on others. Great tips here!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I try to buy kids' stuff used as much as I can! It is so wasteful to purchase newly manufactured items, especially when baby and kid items often get very little wear and tear.

    ReplyDelete