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Here are some of my favorite brands of non-toxic toys:

Yellow Label Kids  Absolutely gorgeous handmade toys that are fair trade.  I love their knit toys, especially their play food.  http://www.yellowlabelkids.com/

HABA   Wooden and cloth toys with water-based, solvent-free stains.  Made in Germany.  They offer a number of safe baby toys.  I especially like their play food.  http://www.oompa.com/cgi-bin/category/HabaToys

PlanToys  From their website: “All PlanToys® are made with clean, natural rubberwood from rubber trees which no longer produce latex. To keep the rubberwood pure, no fertilizer is added to the soil for three years before the trees are cut. To strengthen the wood, PlanToys® uses a special chemical-free kiln drying process.  PlanToys® are assembled using a proprietary, non-formaldehyde E-Zero.  PlanToys® does not use dyes containing lead or any other heavy metals. We use only safe, non-toxic water-based dyes on all of our toys.”  I love their dollhouse accessories.  http://www.plantoys.com/

Oompa Toys  A wide selection of toys made in the United States and in Europe.  You can purchase toys from all of the above-named brands here.  They provide thorough information on all of the brands of toys that they sell.  They also offer a number of other safe children’s products, such as lunchboxes and backpacks.  “No batteries.  No blinking lights.  No cartoon-themed toys.  Period.”  http://www.oompa.com/

Please feel free to share your favorite non-toxic toys in the comments section!  Thanks!

Here are some resources to help you choose toxin-free toys for your children:

HealthyStuff.org– Toys  This website tests popular toys for cadmium, chlorine, lead, arsenic, bromine, and mercury.  You can view the toys by type, such as Action Figures or Dolls, or by brand, such as Fisher-Price, or you can simply look at lists of toys organized by their safety ratings.  While you’re there, vote for which toys you’d like them to test next!  http://www.healthystuff.org/departments/toys/index.php

The Safe Toy Watch from The Daily Green  Browse by age group (0-3, 3-6, or 6-10 years old) to find safe toys that are made in the United States.  http://www.thedailygreen.com/green-homes/eco-friendly/toys

Mighty Nest: Simple Choices, Mighty Impact  “Helping parents create a healthier home for their family.”  Find safe toys here, in addition to a wide array of other safe products for your family.  http://mightynest.com/

Here are some of my favorite non-toxic baby products.  Please feel free to add your own favorites in the comments section!

1.  Tushies: The Gel-Free Alternative Diaper   This is the only disposable diaper that doesn’t contain sodium polyacrylate, the superabsorbent gel.  Diapers such as those from Seventh Generation aren’t bleached with chlorine, but still contain the superabsorbent gel.  We’ll be using cloth diapers for Paulie (see a previous post), but I plan to have these on hand for trips to Grandma’s house.  http://store.tushies.com/c-4-diapers.aspx

2.  TushiesWipes Unscented Natural Formula with Aloe  These wipes earned a zero rating from the Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetic Safety Database!  I’ll use cotton balls with water when Paulie’s first born, but these will be nice to keep in the diaper bag for when we’re out and about.  I’m thinking that, when we’re at home, I’ll use cloth wipes when he’s just wet, and disposable wipes when he’s poopy (there is a limit to the amount of  grossness that I can handle!)  http://store.tushies.com/c-2-wipes.aspx

3.  bumGenius Bottom Cleaner  I’ll use this with my cloth wipes.  There are a few different spray-on bottom cleaners available; I chose bumGenius’s because it doesn’t contain chammomile (I’m allergic to ragweed).  http://www.bumgenius.com/bottom-cleaner.php

4.  IPlay Organic Baby Clothes  Some clothes that are labeled “organic” are made from organic fiber but are still treated with bleaches, dyes, wrinkle resisters, and stain repellants that are unsafe.  IPlay’s baby clothes are not only made from organic fiber, but are also chemical-free.  I like the bright colors– it’s nice to find something organic that’s not just off-white!  Made from Oeko-Tex 100 certified organic cotton.  http://www.iplaybabywear.com/2006/Content/?mod=products&nav_mod=products&section=4

5.  Kee-Ka Organic Clothing  Adorable baby and toddler clothes with sayings like “sweet pea,” “cupcake,” “pumpkin,” “peanut,” and “You are my sunshine.”  Made from certified organic cotton and treated with low-impact dyes.  http://www.kee-ka.com/Merchant2/sfnt.html

6.  The Safe Starter  Stainless steel baby bottle with silicone nipple– see my previous post on this item.  http://www.kid-basix.com/thesafestarter.php

7.  MooMee Veggie Bibs  After reading that some baby bibs contain lead (gulp!), I set out in search of safe baby bibs for Paulie.  These are not only organic and sweatshop-free but are also incredibly cute.  They have photographs of fruits and veggies on them, and come packaged in baby food jars!  Adorable!  Winner of an iParenting Media Award.  http://iparentingmediaawards.com/winners/17/27213-16-159.php

8.  Mimi the Sardine  Cotton bibs coated with a water-based acrylic.  Comes in bright, cheerful patterns with airplanes, cars, jungle scenes, and more.   They also sell adorable placemats, lunch bags, and book bags.  Oeko-Tex 100 certified.  http://www.mimithesardine.com/kids_bibs.html

I don’t sell baby products, and I don’t make any money from recommending these– I just thought I’d share the results of my research for Paulie 🙂  Enjoy!

I was so excited about this product, that I just had to tell everyone about it.  Don’t worry, I’m not selling it 😉  It’s a stainless steel baby bottle.  I was thrilled to hear about this because using plastic bottles makes me really, really nervous.  Plastic leaches into liquids (among other things), and heat and plastic are not a good combination, and so even using a BPA-free plastic bottle didn’t seem safe enough to me.  But the thought of using a glass bottle doesn’t seem safe, either.  Maybe if I weren’t so clumsy.  I know that the glass bottles come with silicone sleeves, to make them less breakable but, well, if you’d seen my kitchen after I’d “exploded” our glass blender, and narrowly escaped injury… well, you’d understand why I’m nervous about glass.  No glass near my baby!!

I was reading a back issue of Parents magazine when I learned about The Safe Starter, a stainless-steel baby bottle from Kidbasix.  It comes with a silicone nipple, and has a silicone sleeve, which insulates it and also protects your hands from the warm metal.  Yes, it probably wouldn’t be good to get whopped with a stainless steel bottle if your baby decided to throw it, but at least it wouldn’t break.  And it’s not made of plastic!!!!

You can learn more about The Safe Starter here: http://www.kid-basix.com/thesafestarter.php  It comes in 5 oz and 9 oz sizes, in pink, blue, or green.  You can purchase nipples designed for 0-3 months old, 3-6 months old, and 6 months +.  In addition to this site, I’ve seen it for sale on Amazon and on the 1-800 Diapers website.  I’ve added a 9 oz bottle, in blue, to my baby registry for Paulie!

I’ll be breastfeeding Paulie, so he won’t be getting a bottle that often.  Only when I’m away from him for some reason.  But still, I only want him exposed to the safest stuff.  I don’t think I’m being overprotective– I think I’m just being a mom 🙂

I’ve read the argument that cloth diapers are just as bad for the environment as disposable, but I have to disagree.  Articles I’ve read that compare the environmental impact of cloth vs. disposable diapers often only consider the fact that disposable diapers end up in our landfills.  They say that the use of water and electricty to wash cloth diapers makes them just as bad for the environment as throwing away disposables.  But disposable diapers’ environmental impact doesn’t start when they’re thrown away.  The manufacturing and distribution of disposable diapers has a significant impact on the environment.  Cloth diapers are manufactured once, then shipped to the consumer once.  These diapers can then be used for multiple children.  I bought about half over Paulie’s cloth diaper stash secondhand, so another child has already benefited from them.  I plan to save Paulie’s diapers to use for his future sibling, and when my kids are done with the diapers, I’ll pass them on to someone else.  I’ll probably end up using 18-24 size small Fuzzi Bunz diapers, and about the same number of diapers in size medium.  So all in all, no more than 48 diapers will have to be manufactured for my children.  Compare that to the amount of disposable diapers that other children go through in just one week!

Yes, washing cloth diapers does use energy.  But so does the manufacture of disposable diapers.  And remember, diapers have to be shipped from their manufacturers to stores, and then disposable diapers also have to be transported to the landfills.  Fossil fuels, anyone?

There are a number of things that you can do to make cloth diaper use more convenient.  First of all, you don’t have to use cloth diapers 100% of the time.  I’ll be purchasing Tushies gel-free disposable diapers to use when we go out of town.  Even if you have to send disposables to day care, you can still use cloth diapers at night.  Flushable diaper liners can also make cloth diapers somewhat more convenient.  Kushies, Imse Vimse, Real Nappies, and other companies offer diaper liners that can be removed from the diaper and flushed, along with the  mess that they contain.  I’ll be purchasing Biosoft flushable liners to use with Paulie once he starts eating solids.  They seem to be the softest liners available.

I’ll also be using cloth wipes for Paulie, when we’re at home.  Most of the time I’ll probably just use them with warm water, but I’m going to try out Bumgenius’s Bottom Cleaner.  I’ll wash the wipes along with the cloth diapers.  Using cloth wipes doesn’t mean giving up your diaper warmer– Prince Lionheart offers a diaper warmer made especially for cloth wipes.

Happy diapering!

We’re going to be using cloth diapers for Paulie.  We want to save money, and I’m concerned about the sodium polyacrylate in disposable diapers.  Sodium polyacrylate is the chemical in disposable diapers’ super-absorbent gel (you know, those crystals that come out of the diaper and get on your baby).  Even so-called “natural” brands of disposable diapers, such as those made by Seventh Generation, still contain sodium polyacrylate (although they are chlorine-free).  The only disposable diapers that don’t contain super-absorbent gel are those made by Tushies.  I plan to use those for Paulie during trips to Grandma’s house.  You can buy Tushies diapers by the case on Amazon and get free shipping.

Thankfully, cloth diapers have come a long way from the pins and plastic pants that I wore as a kid.  Cloth diapers are more convenient and more functional than ever.  There are all sorts of different cloth diapers available– prefolds, all-in-ones, fitteds, oh my!  After doing a lot of research I decided to use Fuzzi Bunz Perfect Size cloth diapers for Paulie.  Fuzzi Bunz are pocket diapers, which means that they have a pocket into which you put inserts that absorb the wetness.  You use one to three inserts at a time– for example, you might put three inserts in there at night time.  Each Fuzzi Bunz diaper comes with one microfleece insert, but I’ve read that the microfleece can start to smell, and so I’ve registered for BabyKicks Joey-Bunz hemp inserts to use instead.  These inserts are made to fit Fuzzi Bunz diapers, although they’ll work in any pocket diaper.  Hemp in naturally anti-microbial, so that’s a bonus.

Fuzzi Bunz diapers have a waterproof layer on the outside and a layer of soft fleece on the inside.  There’s elastic in the legs, so that the diaper will fit your baby well.  They seem like they’ll be easy to use.  You put the inserts in, and then use the snaps on the diaper to close the diaper on the baby (no pins!).  There are a lot of different snaps on the diaper, so that you can customize the fit.  When it’s time to wash the diaper, you remove the inserts and throw everything in the wash.  Pocket diapers dry more quickly than all-in-ones diapers because the inserts are seperate.

Fuzzi Bunz sells one-size diapers and “perfect size” diapers.  The perfect size diapers are available in XS, S, M, L, and XL, but most babies only need the small and the medium diapers before they’re potty trained.  The one-size diapers claim to fit your baby from birth through potty training, but I’ve heard that they’re bulky and that they don’t fit well, and so I decided to go with the Fuzzi Bunz.  I think that prefolds with covers would be easy to wash, but you have to buy the covers in a bunch of different sizes as your baby grows, and the point here is to save money!  Also, the prefolds just don’t seem thick enough for older babies.  And I don’t want to use anything sharp around the baby– if I used prefolds I’d have to use either pins or Snappis.  The waterproof cover is supposed to protect your baby from the Snappis, but I still say, nothing sharp around my baby!

I hope this information helps you as you research cloth diapers!