Looking for ways to give your baby a natural and environmentally friendly introduction to the world? This green baby registry checklist can help you find natural, eco-friendly and organic baby products to include on your baby shower registry. Or, if you are shopping for a baby shower gift, find the perfect natural or organic baby gift for your eco-conscious friend or relative.
Here are some points to consider when creating a green baby shower registry:
What does a baby actually need?
As a child, I loved caring for my baby dolls. I fed them bottles of magically disappearing milk, applied a cloud of baby powder while changing their diapers, and pushed them in a stroller around our yard. But now that it is time to prepare for my real baby, I do not plan to use bottles, baby powder, or even a stroller!
While extensively traveling during the past four years and seeing how other cultures care for their infants, I realized that many of the baby items we call essentials in the U.S. are not actually necessary. I can picture baby-themed wrapping paper, covered in "quintessential" baby products (baby carriages, bottles, pacifiers, diapers)-- none of which are actually needed to raise a baby! Yes, even diapers are a luxurious extra. With their extensive populations, it's a good thing that most parents in China and India do not rely on diapers. In China, babies and toddlers commonly wear bottomless pants, which allow them to go when they've gotta go. Attentive parents in India know when to hold their babies away from themselves, to allow for potty opportunities.
In the U.S. there is a version of this practice called "natural infant hygiene" or "elimination communication (EC)". I like to call it "pee in the potty". For this method you can still use diapers as back-up, but also catch pees and poos in a potty. This is an eco-friendly alternative to complete diaper reliance, as far fewer disposable diapers or cloth diaper washes are needed.
A stroller is not crucial, either. While traveling throughout Sri Lanka I only saw one baby stroller, and that was at the airport. Parents simply carried their babies in their arms. In many Asian cultures, babies are carried in backpacks or worn in a sling. In addition to making it easier to navigate crowded places, baby-wearing facilitates attachment parenting techniques, breastfeeding and elimination communication.
Keeping Your Baby Registry Eco-Friendly
To keep your baby registry eco-friendly, reduce, reuse, and re-evaluate.
When it came time for me to create a baby registry, I wanted to make it as eco-friendly as possible. I realized that just as important as the items I chose to include on my list were those I chose to exclude. I skipped any items not needed for my lifestyle and parenting philosophies. Most baby registry checklists are compiled by stores wishing to sell their products. No wonder you need 2-3 strollers and 10-12 bodysuits! A first step to greening your baby registry is to leave off items you are not likely to use on a regular basis.
As a second step, you may be able to get many items second hand or slightly used from friends or relatives.
Finally, when selecting the items to add to your registry, you can look for those products which are the most natural, organic and eco-friendly. To make this process easier, I compiled a list of items you may want to add to your registry, including specific recommended products. Some of these items I did not include on my personal registry, since I was able to get hand-me-downs from friends and family. And it is more than likely that you will want to add a few items you consider essential, since my parenting style is more minimalist than many Westerners.
Update August 13, 2017: Now that my baby is a toddler, I went through my baby shower checklist and noted which items are our favorites and have served us well over the past three years. I hope that helps when you are sorting through ooodles of baby products!
Where to Create a Green Baby Registry
If you want to focus on natural and organic baby products, you will have better luck registering online than at Babies "R" Us. I recommend that you Create an Amazon Baby Registry, which allows you to add items not only from Amazon, but from any website. I used the Universal Registry feature to add handmade items from Etsy, as a way to support small businesses and find unique items.
Green Baby Registry Checklist
Disclosure: Many of the links below are affiliate links. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, there will be no extra charge to you, but I will receive a small commission. Thanks for your support!
- Bassinet or Co-sleeper
- With our first baby we used this next to our bed. With our second baby we bed shared.
- (2) Fitted Organic Sheets
- (2-4) Receiving / Swaddling Blankets
- Favorite: These Woombie Air-wrap Blankets work well not only as swaddle blankets, but also as nursing or sun covers. We are still using them 3 years later!
- (2) Baby Blankets
- Favorite: The aden + anais Dream Blanket is another item we are still using 3 years later.
- (2) Sleep Sacks
- Book about Cloth Diapering
- Diaper Bag with Changing Pad
- (1) Medium Wet/Dry Bag
- For using in diaper bag.
- Favorite: We are still using our Planet Wise wet/dry bag, only now we use it for carrying a travel potty and change of toddler clothes.
- (1) Wet/Dry Clutch
- For using in diaper bag to carry an extra baby outfit.
- (2) Diaper Pail Liners
- These work well with an open diaper pail, for air flow.
- (24-36) Newborn Cloth Diapers
- On average, newborns use about 12 diapers per 24 hours.
- It's nice to have 36 of the absorbent inserts, but you don't need that many covers if you use a two-part system.
- (6) Cloth Diaper Covers
- (24) Cloth Inserts or Prefolds
- Or you could hire a diaper laundry service that provides and washes prefold diapers.
- Cloth Swim Diaper
- Contoured Diaper Changing Pad
- My Organic Sleep offers a changing pad made of natural latex covered in wool.
- Holy Lamb Organics offers a wool filled changing pad.
- With our first baby we used a contoured changing pad on the floor. With our second baby we used a wool puddle pad on the bed.
- (2-4) Changing Pad Covers
- (36) Cloth Wipes
- Optional: Disposable Wipes
- Diaper Rash Cream
- Diaper Caddy or Storage Baskets
- Diaper Sprayer
- Unscented Laundry Detergent
- Book about Elimination Communication Philosophy
- Book on How to Practice Elimination Communication
- Diaper Belt
- Holds prefold cloth diaper in place without a diaper cover.
- (24-36) Prefold Cloth Diapers
- For Cloth-eez prefolds, Preemie size prefolds fit in newborn gDiapers, Newborn prefolds fit in small gDiapers, and Small prefolds fit in medium gDiapers.
- Small Potty
- Favorite: The BabyBjorn Smart Potty has served us well from infancy into toddlerhood.
- Wool Puddle Pad
- Book about Breastfeeding
- Favorite: The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding is a wealth of knowledge and prepared us for a successful breastfeeding relationship.
- (2-4) Nursing Nightgowns
- Nursing Robe
- Nursing Pillow
- I didn't end up using a nursing pillow, since we do laid-back breastfeeding.
- Nursing Pillow Slipcover
- Backrest Pillow
- For laid-back breastfeeding.
- (4-8) Burp Cloths
- Warm / Cold Packs
- Nipple Cream
- Cloth Nursing Pads
- Handheld Breast Pump
- Electric Breast Pump
- A breast pump is most likely covered by your health insurance.
- Glass Bottles
- Natural Bristle Bottle Brush
- Breast Milk Storage Bags
- Glass Bowl with Lid
- For collecting hand-expressed milk.
Eating Solid Food
- Book about Baby Led Weaning
- Wooden High Chair
- Booster Seat
- Favorite: The Chicco Pocket Snack Booster Seat folds up compactly and served us well while traveling in SE Asia with our toddler.
- Splat Mat
- (2) Bibs
- Favorite: I love that the OXO Tot Roll Up Bibs can be rolled up and taken on-the-go. The catch pocket wipes clean.
- Plates and Bowls
- Crinkle Cutter
I discovered Montessori education once my son was already a toddler. With my second baby I tried incorporating some Montessori principles from the start.
- Book about Montessori
- Wool Rug
- Wooden Play Gym
- Mirror and Bar
- Learning Tower
- Weaning Table and Chairs
Bathing and Grooming
- (6-8) Washcloths
- (1-2) Hooded Bath Towels
- Shampoo/ Body Wash
- Or just use water!
- Baby Oil / Moisturizer
- Wooden Hair Brush
- Nail Clippers & Emery Boards
Before choosing a wrap, ring sling, or baby carrier, I recommend looking up your local chapter of Babywearing International. A volunteer babywearing educator can help you try on different styles and learn how to safely wear a baby. If you become a Babywearing International member, you can even rent carriers. You may also want to read their flyer Babywearing 101.
- Soft Structured Carrier
- When I first compiled this list in 2013 there were no carseats on the market that were free from flame-retardant chemicals. There is now one carseat that uses naturally flame-resistant Merino wool instead of flame-retardant chemicals, the UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat, Henry.
Natural and Organic Baby Clothing
- (2-4) Sleep Gowns
- (6-8) Baby Tee Shirts, Dresses, or Bodysuits
- Tee shirts and dresses are more convenient for EC than bodysuits.
- (1-2) Sweaters
- (2-4 pairs) Pants
- (2-4 pairs) Leg Warmers
- (2-4 pairs) Long Socks
- Sun Hat
- Wooden Hangers
- Hamper or Laundry Bag
- Wall Decals
- Night Light
- For preparing for bedtime, but not for leaving on all night.
Which natural baby products do you recommend including in an eco-friendly green baby shower registry?