Chemical Free Sleep
Forget monsters under your bed, they are sleeping right beside you! So I “greened” the rest of the house, my food, my beauty products, even my clothes and breathed a sign of relief that I was all done. Nope, not finished at all because that night I climbed into a bed of toxins. As a couple we decided to share our bed with baby so co-habituating in a toxic mess is not what I planned. Those horrible radio mattress ads always remind me how gross a mattress can get, they talk about how they double in weight because of dust mites and your discarded skin cells. Of course they do not mention the flame retardant chemicals, formaldehyde, chlorine bleach and fabric softeners that they pack into our mattresses. All of this is disgusting, however, I can’t just run out and purchase a very expensive all organic mattress every time I get that “yuk” feeling. So I offer a few compromises to clean up your bed and baby’s crib.
Organic Mattress Toppers
You do not have to toss out your mattress and start all over again unless you have the money and the inclination. Instead purchase an organic mattress topper, they are much more cost effective and you can replace it every few years. These come in many different varieties but I like ones filled with wool because dust mites hate wool and it is water resistant (but not water proof). If you are allergic to wool don’t worry, it always has a thick organic cotton cover so your skin never comes in contact with the wool itself. Other options are organic cotton and natural latex. The last option, natural latex is the most expensive and the most luxurious. It acts like memory foam but with out the off gas fumes and harmful chemicals. We have a 3 inch wool mattress topper that I purchased from a lovely local store called Greenspace, their prices are the same or better then online retailers.
Organic Baby Sleep
If you do not have a family bed or co-sleeping arrangement then you will be creating a comfy bed for just baby. Eventually baby will have a bed of her own in our house (and having one now was required as part of our adoption home study) so I had to redo two beds in our house. Here is what I found about cribs. First, just because it is for baby does not mean that the manufacturers eased up on the chemicals. Make sure you get a crib that has a non-toxic finish that you wont mind baby chewing. The safest, and most expensive, ironically is a crib with no finish or one that has been rubbed with beeswax or oil. These were out of our price range and I was not counting on baby using the crib until she is older so I purchased a non-toxic, formaldehyde free crib from Babyletto. What I love about the crib is that is converts from a crib to a toddler bed to a full sized bed. It was also in a affordable range, has a nice design, and is from sustainable resources. There are more expensive brands with the same idea that I also love like Stokke and Oeuf but this one made the most sense for us. The Second thing I learned is organic baby mattresses are much more affordable then grown up organic mattresses. Since the price difference was not huge I bought an organic mattress, if you read the article in Healthy Child below it will scare you into an organic mattress as well! You can count on the fact that baby will have an accident in the bed fairly often make sure to get a mattress pad but please stay away from ones that are waterproof. They do not breath and the manufacturer had to use something unpleasant to make it waterproof. Instead get something water resistant like a wool piddle pad and buy two or more so you can swap them out when accidents occur.
Here is one section where I am not cheap or a bargain hunter. The pillow is the most important part of the bed, you are rubbing your face in it every night and half of your life is spent in it’s soft loving arms. Pillows come in the same options as mattress pads but I love the hybrid option. My favorite cost effective pillow is from Natura and is filled with natural latex shreddings, with a layer of wool and a cover made of organic cotton. My favorite money-is-no-problem pillow is by Omi and is just like the Natura but you have the option of unzipping the pillow to pull out latex or add more so you can adjust the pillow to your sleep position. For these pillows you cannot throw them in the wash like their evil counterparts so make sure to purchase a pillow cover that can be washed. Again, Greenspace saves the day on this one. They have great price points and answered all my annoying questions!
The last piece of the puzzle, bed clothing. These days you can buy all kinds of organic bedding but be warned, it is not all the same. I must admit I gave into the wonderfully priced organic sheets at Target. With in a few days the sheets began to get those annoying little fabric balls. It was not worth the money we saved. For a little more you can buy well made organic or bamboo sheets, duvets and pillow shams from West Elm. They have sales often so I usually keep an eye out for the “green” section. Our duvet cover is a pin-tuck sage green organic cotton beauty from West Elm. Through many washes it remains pretty and fabric ball free.
Book Resources Green Babies, Sage Moms by Linda Fassa Ecoholic by Adria Vasil Healthy Child Healthy World by Christopher Gavigan Web Resources http://www.greenspacecompany.com http://www.babyletto.com http://www.westelm.com/gift/trends/organics-naturals-trends/ http://www.naturalnews.com/025611_chemicals_mattresses_health.html http://www.healthychild.com/toxic-sleep/five-problems-with-baby-mat...