Everything You Need on your Green Registry for 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 Green 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 (they will offer you their stuff. Take it).

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. You can even ask for secondhand items on your shower invitationEncore Baby Registry is an awesome baby registry where you can register for brand new and secondhand items in the same place. 

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. Like a fool. 

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 Locally- Most mainstream stores (think Target and Walmart) 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.

This blog has affiliate links for Amazon and Etsy. You are better off registering somewhere like Buy Buy Baby, where people can mark things off the list if they get it secondhand). And you are always, always better off buying items locally, not from the Walmart of the Internet. 

You can do this! Let's get started on the fun part of the Registry.

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

what to dress your baby in

Registering for clothes is a bit of a scam. People will buy whatever it is they think is cute (and sometimes they will just be so wrong). Don't bother much with it unless you have particularly good listeners in your life. But you can still plan your wardrobe.

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)
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, Nooches, LolaandStella

 My 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. You can even request people buy consignment on your shower invitation.

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.

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 Urban Earth Co and Nooches. 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

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.

Now, I would say both boys are solidly at 90% used (Christmas pajamas, dress up clothes, all of it), 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.

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 ExplorersHoney and HideWoolbyLil Sweetie PiesWinter PeachMarley Ocean,  Raspberriez, and Pitter Patter Baby Shoes,

If You Want to Give the Best Gift Ever... 

Are you going to a shower and hoping for an amazing idea? I have all of them for you. Don't give the couple new clothes for their baby- they will get plenty of that. Instead, offer to do their laundry once a week for the first few months. It's more work, but otherwise free, and it could be just the little thing that keeps the family holding on when things get rough. It's an amazing gift as long as you pull through.

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

Baby Detergent (new or handmade)

Our Pick- 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. Making your own detergent is probably the most eco and wallet friendly, but it can be hard to find the time.

If you want another option for powdered detergent, check out ZamoraFigThreadFarm, Northern Suds, or SimplyBSoap. You can try out plastic-free bar soap as well.

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

 Our Pick-  Bar Soap or Noodle and Boo
Other Options- Mommy's Bliss Earth MamaCalifornia BabyGaia organics

The most eco-friendly decision you can make for soap is to use bar soap. Burt's Bees, Wee Bar, and Shea Moisture all sell great options. This one from Primally Pure looks amazing.

If you just feel more comfortable with a bottled soap, Noodle and Boo shampoo and head to toe wash smells great, works well, is made in the US, and lasts. 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!).

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 Stars

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. My boys mostly love pouring, and about half our toys are old containers or kids cups from when we ate out. It doesn't have to be complicated. I will always love the Green Toy tug boat too; it's a perfect bath toy.

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) or skip
Other OptionPrimo Eurobath

 Bathtubs are another thing that if you work ahead, you can find at consignment stores or on Buy Nothing easily. It's just something you don't need that long. 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, both of my babies didn't use it all that long before they moved on.

If you can't find a used one, Primo Eurobath is made in the US. It's pretty big. Really, look secondhand first here.

You can skip the whole thing and use your kitchen sink, which eliminates another piece of plastic from your home.

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. We didn't need one, but lots of people do.

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.

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 Chateau,

 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. Bamboosa's simple hooded towel is not fussy either, and made in America from bamboo. A slightly bigger size is ideal too. too

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. We bought a monster towel from Yike's Twins, and it remains beloved at our house.

baby bear washcloth from busy bonnie bee
from Busy Bonnie Bee

 Washclothes (just wait)

Our Pick-  Bamboosa
Other Options-  Curly MonkeyMarley's MonstersRemiusablesCreated for BabiesGeorgia Threads, 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.

If You Want to Give an Amazing Gift...

Skip the cutesy bath stuff, and gift the family cleaning or handyman time. Tasks like a bath perfectly shows that you are always busy with a baby (they take 100% of the time and attention), and sometimes everything else can take a serious back seat. Having a contractor help fix the odds and ends, or being able to call and get their house cleaned when they absolutely cannot take it anymore could save their sanity.

Everything You Need on your Green Registry for Dressing and Bathing your Baby

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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  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!

  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!



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