Just like all female animals, female humans have an innate desire to care and fiercely protect their young. Currently, I am pregnant with my third child and again I am amazed at how instinctual I feel during pregnancy. It should come as no surprise that there has been a huge upturn in the market for sustainable and safe baby products with recent research on the toxins in our food and our environmental resources. Our bodies are designed to give life to future generations and we cannot take that responsibility lightly!
As both an Interior Designer and an expecting mom, I have been researching the companies of the products that I will be using to take care of my baby boy. In addition, I have taken extreme caution in selecting products I am installing in his nursery. Since my body is now his habitat, I have been exceedingly careful about the vitamins and food I intake. I am also intentional about the finishes and materials that will surround him once he’s outside my womb. It is important to me that the floor and wall finishes, furniture selections, and decorative accessories all come from vegan, sustainable sources that are safe for the interaction with my baby. A vegan decorative item or furnishing is not made from a living creature. So, no fur, down, leather, wool, and silk are part of the décor. Vegan décor is humane and healthier.
Walls: Choose Zero VOC Paint Containing no Animal By-Products
VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are both human-made substances and naturally occurring elements that become vapors or gases at room temperature. Unfortunately, due to atrocious manufacturing processes the majority of products and finishes on the market today release VOCs into the atmosphere. This can negatively affect indoor air quality for any human but, can be especially detrimental to tiny, new humans. So, to create a safe, healthy and aesthetically pleasing environment for my baby, I started with non-toxic, zero VOC paint as an obvious choice for his nursery. The interesting item to note is that although these paints may be considered zero VOC, they can still contain cow milk casein! Colorhouse Paint, a company out of Portland, OR provides Green Wise certified LEED compliant paint that does not contain animal by-products. To quote the company, “Colorhouse is committed to making the world more colorful and less volatile.” Who doesn’t want that for any room in their house, especially a baby’s?!
Floor: Finding a Rug That is Soft and Welcoming yet Made of Cotton Instead of Wool
Next, carpet or a soft rug underfoot is a must for a baby’s room as it provides a sense of warmth for late-night feedings while offering the perfect place for your baby to play as he or she develops. I chose this comfy soft rug from Hook & Loom Rug company.
Crib Mattress: Selecting a Safe Surface for your Baby to Spend the Majority of his / her First Year
A new baby will spend 10-14 hours sleeping every day so the choice of bedding that he lays his head upon is incredibly significant to me. You would be surprised to find out what goes into many crib mattresses on the market today. Wool, horsetail hair or mohair is three examples of products from animals that can end up in your baby’s mattress. After extensive research for a crib mattress that doesn’t contain any of these derivatives I discovered Naturepedic. They do not advertise their products as vegan but as indicated on their website, they “have identified and selected the most natural and non-toxic materials that make sense on a practical level.” “Their products are regularly tested for chemical emissions and are certified by GREENGUARD Gold Certification standard.”
Accessories: Find all Natural Decor and Accessories to Style the Room
I am a big fan of the Scandinavian bohemian style that is all the rage in interiors these days. I love white walls paired with plants and black accents. I of course wanted to bring a little bit of this look into my little one’s special place, so I decided that a shabby pouf would be a nice addition. It will also provide his sisters with a place to sit or an ottoman for me to prop my feet up during nursing. The downside is that most of these poufs are typically made of leather. As I wanted to find a vegan alternative, I found this great cotton, comfy pouf It was just right and I love the texture and durability.
Toys: Be Intentional About the Objects That will Touch Your Baby’s Mouth
It’s safe to say, most of a young child’s toys will end up in their mouth at some point. Consequently, it is incredibly important that these objects be completely natural and not made of animal by-products. Many parents shop for BPA free toys for their children these days. It is touted on many labels and a plethora of product lines are available at mass retailers including online retailers like Amazon. However, these toys can still contain non-organic material that is very difficult to recycle. Toys made from wood, cotton or natural rubber are much better alternatives that will be safe for your child to have in their mouth as well as not damaging their future environments by filling landfills.
There is quite a lot to consider when selecting the items that will make up your baby’s surroundings. Be intentional about these selections, considering both your young one’s well-being as well as the negative effect many products can have on our environment. Document your nursery designing process so you can help educate future generations on what it means to be empathetic to the animals that share this planet as well as the humans that will use our planet after us.