Eco-baby ideas from a future (Earth) mother

April 21, 2010 at 5:33 PM ET

By Meredith Barnett, editorial director of The Inside Source I have an Earth Day confession: Up until now, my commitment to the eco-cause has been fairly limited — mostly according to what is most convenient for me. I turn the water off while I’m brushing (but I still take long showers), recycle plastic and paper at home (but nevertheless buy way too many plastic water bottles) and try to take public transportation (honestly, because cabs are so expensive). Though my vote lies squarely with the green team, I admit that my actions don’t always show it. But now that I’m pregnant — 37 weeks and counting — and have been expressing my nesting instinct by engaging ina whole lot of shopping to prepare for the arrival of my future baby boy, my research on the best products for my baby has led me down a planet-friendly path. Why? First, my baby’s health. Conventional clothing materials, toys, and skincare and cleaning products can be rife with all sorts of chemicals and irritants that I don’t want anywhere near my baby’s skin. Organic and all-natural products, on the other hand, boast higher levels of natural nutrients and antioxidants than and have fewer irritants and allergens. Second, the health of the earth he’ll inherit. Since the greenest product is that one that already exists, by purchasing pre-owned products (or even ones made of reclaimed materials), I’m keeping keep trash out of landfills and reducing waste and energy consumed by manufacturing new merchandise. Plus, I’m saving money — a major added bonus since kids grow out of their toys and clothes so quickly. A good way to get started is to check out sites like eBay’s Green Shopping Hub. Similarly, by looking for sustainable or organic products, I’m using my dollars to support more earth-friendly production processes. Third, setting a solid green example will instill good habits in my child from the start. So after copious amounts of research, here are a few of my favorite product picks and tips:Toys: Look for toys made of recycled or organic materials. A few of my faves: the Green Toys Recycling Truck and Green Toys Tea Set aremade from recycled milk bottles, while this adorable Under the Nile Veggie Crate boasts 100% organic (cotton!) vegetables.Clothing: Sweet William is a Brooklyn-based stores and website with some of the sweetest kids and baby clothes around. Look for brands including Mini Rodini, Clover, PopUpShop, and Nico Nico — all made from organic cotton, bamboo and other sustainable ingredients.Skincare: Since over 60 percent of what you put on your skin is absorbed into your body, this is an important category for me. My favorite brands include Earth Mama Angel Baby, California Baby and Little Twig. While you should always read the label to find out the exact benefits, these products tend to be made from organic and natural ingredients and are hypoallergenic, fragrance free (or made with no artificial fragrances), paraben free and toxin free.Cleaning products:Dapple, BabyGanics and Eco-Me Baby are a few of my favorite brands. Look for products that are all-natural, chemical and toxin free; made with recyclable or biodegradable packaging; and made with organic ingredients.Furniture: While there are plenty of products out there made of reclaimed or sustainably harvested wood, I prefer to keep existing furniture out of landfills (and save money!) by buying pre-owned furniture on sites like eBay’s. There’s nothing a coat of low VOC paint can’t do! Related links: