Having lots of stuff makes me feel claustrophobic and we basically have zero storage space in our house, so when I found out I was pregnant I knew I wanted to create a minimalist and nontoxic baby registry. My goal has been to maintain a house where a stranger could walk in and not know we have a baby. At one year in, I can say we have (mostly) done that. No giant plastic toys, no barrage of stuffed animals, no baby gates… you get the idea.
I also knew I wanted to buy mostly or all nontoxic and organic baby products. Babies have really delicate skin and you would be surprised how many products have harsh chemicals in them. Buying natural baby products is definitely more expensive and we got several underhanded comments from family members because of our crunchy baby registry. But it was so worth it! If creating a nontoxic baby registry is important to you but you don’t have the funds for it, I strongly suggest scouring craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and thrift stores for what you’re looking for. We did this A LOT. It’s good for the environment to reuse things and it saved us tons of money. You could even create an ultra eco-friendly baby registry by asking friends and family to buy secondhand too. That said, there are some things you shouldn’t buy secondhand, like a car seat, crib mattress, and breast pumps made for single use. Just about everything else is fair game!
So here is my tried and true nontoxic baby list- the must have baby products everyone should have. Stay tuned for a blog post on common baby products we DIDN’T buy or things we bought and didn’t use.
1. Infant car seat
Finding the right infant car seat was tough. We went back and fourth between the Nuna Pipa and the UPPAbaby Mesa. The Nuna Pipa is a great nontoxic baby option and provides some extra safety features, like the steel stability leg that serves as an extra anchor to absorb shock in the case of a wreck. But the UPPAbaby Mesa (Henry and Jordan versions) is a more eco-friendly car seat because the seat is made with wool, a natural fire retardant, so there are fewer chemicals. We went with the Nuna Pipa because of the extra safety features. It’s soooo easy to install if you’re moving the base from car to car like we did. I can’t say enough good things about it!
Sniglar Crib available at Ikea
There are some really beautiful natural wooden cribs out there, but damn do they get expensive. We opted for the Ikea Sniglar crib because it’s made of natural materials, it has a simple look, it’s affordable, and you can convert it into a toddler bed. This made my minimalist heart sing!
3. Crib mattress
Newton Crib Mattress available at Amazon and Buy Buy Baby
There are so many nontoxic crib mattress options and a huge range of price points. We were trying to save money and wanted to use those Buy Buy Baby 20% off coupons everybody gets in the mail (beware that many brands are off limits when you use that coupon) and found the Newton mattress. It’s 100% breathable, which means if your baby rolls over face down on their stomach, they can breathe through the mattress. This was a HUGE deciding factor for me, especially with my background working with SIDS. It’s also 100% recyclable because it doesn’t use foam, glue, latex or springs. But wait, there’s more (feeling like a corny saleswoman right now but I’m SO happy with this mattress), it’s also washable and it’s a two-stage mattress so you can flip it over to a softer side when you transition to a toddler bed.
If you’re on a budget, I would say this and the car seat are probably my top two nontoxic baby product picks.
4. Mattress Protector
There are varying viewpoints on whether to use a mattress protector. It definitely introduces extra chemicals into the mix, but the Naturpedic mattress pad is a really low toxic option and will help extend the life of your crib mattress. We bought a washable mattress, so technically we didn’t need this but I also wasn’t willing to sign up for middle of the night mattress cleanings. That said, if you are aiming for a 100% nontoxic baby registry, you can probably leave this off since there are some chemicals in it.
This was another thing we technically didn’t need since we bought a crib. But, I was lucky to be able to breastfeed and having a bassinet made my life so much easier while Pepper was nursing at night. We room shared, so she was right next to my bed and I could pick her up without ever getting out of bed. There are lots of options for bassinets out there. We bought a really simple, timeless bassinet that an Amish lady made by hand with natural materials. This is probably one of the only big baby things I’ll keep as an heirloom to pass on. We bought ours in person and I can’t find a link for the same one online.
6. Snuggle Me Organic Lounger
Snuggle Me Organic Lounger available at Snuggle Me Organic
We used a Snuggle Me Organic in between the bassinet and crib. I never thought I would co-sleep, but that’s the only thing that was working for all of us at the time and the Snuggle Me Organic lounger made me feel safer about it. At first, we put the lounger on the edge of the bed between me and a bed rail. Eventually, we put the lounger in the middle of the bed between Wes and I and both ways worked well for us.
7. Baby monitor
We didn’t start using a baby monitor until Pepper was about 2 months old, so if you need to wait on a few things then this is probably one that can wait. The night vision on the Infant Optix DXR-8 is great and I love that you can connect two cameras to it.
Do you want to sleep? If yes, buy a swaddle (actually, at least two in case there’s a middle of the night blow out). Enough said. I loved the SwaddleMe brand for when Pepper was really teeny, the Love to Dream swaddles for when she was about 3 months old and Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit until Peps figured out how to roll over in it.
9. Swaddling blankets
Little Unicorn swaddling blankets available at Amazon
These were so useful – we used them as burp cloths (extra surface area coverage = a huge plus), as blankets to cover Peps in her car seat when it was cold outside, and sometimes even for their intended purpose as swaddles. I say treat yourself and get a few. They’re so cute.
10. Changing pad
Naturepedic Organic Changing Table Mattress Pad available at Amazon
The price difference between an organic changing pad and a normal changing pad is HUGE, like $80. But let me tell you, your baby will spend a lot of time on this thing. To me it was worth the peace of mind knowing Peps wasn’t inhaling tons of chemicals every time I changed her.
We bought cloth diapers, thinking we would use them after Pepper grew out of newborn diapers (HA!) and still haven’t broken them out. Until we do, we’ve been using Honest diapers. The patterns are cute, you can schedule deliveries to your door, and they’re about as eco friendly as disposable diapers can get.
13. Diaper pail
Ubbi Diaper Pail available at Amazon and Buy Buy Baby
Okay. This diaper pail is expensive, especially being that it’s just a trash can. But let me tell you. It’s SO worth it. I have friends who have to take individual poop diapers outside because their diaper pails don’t hold in the smell. I’ve never had that problem. I’ve waited more than a week before taking dirty diapers out of the Ubbi diaper pail and never smelled anything.
I love the Pura Kiki bottles. They’re stainless steel, they come in several different sizes, and you can change the nipple out to use it as a bottle, sippy cup, straw cup, or food container.
15. Breast pump
Pepper had a really intense tongue tie that prevented her from being able to nurse initially, so this was essential from very early on. Even if you’re planning on staying at home full time, I would still consider getting a good breast pump. Your insurance is required to pay for one and it’s nice to be able to pump and leave the baby with another caretaker so you can get a break to eat, sleep, or get out of the house. Check out how much it costs to upgrade beyond what your insurance covers. I only had to pay $20 to upgrade to a chargeable breast pump (I went with the Spectra S1). It made a HUGE difference for me.
16. Hands free pumping bra
Simple Wishes Hands Free Pumping Bra available at Amazon
Trust me, you don’t want to be holding two flanges up to your boobs. This was something I even put in my hospital bag just in case I had to pump there.
17. Baby carrier
For teeny tiny babies, I love the solly baby wrap. They’re super soft, easy to use, and an absolute lifesaver when your baby can’t hold their head up and you need to be hands free. For babies that are a little older, I like WildBird slings. After you break them in, they’re buttery soft and I think they make outfits look cuter.
18. Himalayan salt lamp
Salt lamp available at Amazon
A friend recommended this to me and it has been so essential to me that I ended up buying one to keep permanently at my parents’ house for our visits with them. Salt lamps give off a really soft glow and you can buy lamps that have adjustable brightness (do that). I used this lamp for middle of the night feedings. It was soft enough to light up the area I needed to see but not so bright that it made it hard for me or Peps to fall back asleep.
NoseFrida available at Amazon
I love hate this product. Every time I use it with Pepper, I get whatever she has. It sucks. And every time I vow I will never use it again because of that. But then she gets congested and there’s nothing that works quite like the the NoseFrida, so I come back to the trusty snot sucker.
20. Baby soap
I love Earth Mama Angel Baby products. We bought the large container of body wash before Pepper was born and still haven’t run out. The orange vanilla scented soap is great because orange scents are supposed to make you feel happier. It’s very subtle. I love it!