Nesting (Part Deux)
Whether they’ll be sleeping in there or not, it’s important that baby’s room is clean, green, and if you’re like me, put together just so.
By Shannon Gallagher
I have always been a compulsive cleaner. Bad day? Vacuum. Feeling anxious? Wash everything. So now with baby’s arrival just around the corner I am a nesting machine. Though I have found myself in recent days enjoying a state of acceptance about my imminent transition from pregnant lady to mom, I’m simultaneously combating a nagging anxiety that things won’t be done by the time she gets here. The rational side of me (what’s left of it) says: “I have everything she technically needs ready — breasts, diapers, and a whole lot of love.” But the hormonal maniac at the end of her pregnant rope says: “But there are still so many things to do! Like mop the floors for the third time this week!”
Brief moment of rationality: I really just need to finish getting the nursery together. Build the crib, put things away, that sort of stuff (although there’s an inherent irrationality to that as I plan on bed-sharing, but that’s pregnant logic for you — everything in its place, just because). As I said in “Nesting (Part One)”, there are a lot of things to consider when you’re prepping a house for a newborn inhabitant, from the cleaners you use to what’s on your walls. This is especially important in the nursery. Whether they’ll be sleeping in there or not, it’s important that baby’s room is clean, green, and if you’re like me, put together just so. Here are a few things to consider when putting together baby’s room:
Whether you’re going for pink, blue, or a lovely gender-neutral yellow (like me), make sure you choose a no- or low-VOC paint. You don’t want that little one surrounded on four sides by those harmful volatile organic compounds. A milk-based paint is even better, though more expensive. Throughout my house I used Benjamin Moore’s Pristine EcoSpec paint, which is low-VOC, reasonably priced, pretty much odorless, and easy to work with. If wallpaper is more your style, just make sure it’s PVC-free.
Chances are there’s going to be a lot of wood in your nursery (unless you’re going for something really avante garde like this). While wood is, comparably, one of the safer materials out there, wood furniture can be made or treated with nasty toxins like formaldehyde. To be on the safe side, try to avoid cheap furniture made from pressed wood, and look for products that are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), so that you know they were made by sustainable standards. I love the maple cribs from Pacific Rim Woodworking, which are made from managed forests.
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: Cotton is one of the most chemical-intensive crops in the world. But thankfully organic cotton has gone mainstream! So when choosing bedding for that lovely sustainable crib, go organic — it’s not so hard to find anymore. As I mentioned in a previous post (Stuff, Stuff, Stuff, Stuff, Stuff) companies like Gerber make organic cotton clothing, and stores like Babies R’ Us have a pretty extensive selection of organic products, from breastfeeding pillow covers to car seat covers to crib sheets. I’m really excited about my blue elephant crib set from QCollection Junior — the sheets, bumper, and crib skirt are all made from organic cotton and are an EKO certified sustainable textile.
Now you wouldn’t want to go putting those lovely organic sheets on a toxic mattress, would you? Conventional crib mattresses are pretty much spongy bricks o’ chemicals. As if PVC, phthalates, formaldehyde, and polyurethane foam weren’t bad enough, there’s a good chance the mattress has some highly toxic pentaBDE in it, too, a fire retardant (included because polyurethane foam is highly flammable). Doesn’t sound like anything you’d want to rest your weary bones on, does it? Go for a mattress made from organic cotton and wool. The same goes for a changing surface; since I have limited space, I didn’t get a changing table, and instead plan to use the top of the dresser (which is still only waist high). I picked up a Serta organic contoured changing pad from Babies R’ Us.
What sort of crazy things did you find yourself doing when you were nesting? Use the comment space below, and please share — help me know I’m not alone (and that it will pass).