Tag Archives: GOTS certified

Is organic clothing worth it? Organic versus non organic cotton (and other fibers).

I have a lot of people ask me if it is worth it to buy organic baby clothes.  What about used baby clothes that aren’t organic.  Then there is hemp, bamboo, soy, and wool.  There are so many options it can get confusing.  Then throw in there the types of dyes, and other toxic chemicals, that are used that potentially can make your organic clothing toxic and it gets really confusing.  I’ve been doing a lot of research on this, talking to fabric manufacturers, emailing with companies and reading up on things online.  I know about certifications of raw cotton, fabrics, and final pieces that clothing can have.  Unfortunately, I now know more than I wish I did!  I will never look at clothing the same.  First I’ll go over the environmental (and social) aspect for each of the types of fabrics, then some information on dyes, then the certifications, and finally my opinion if buying organic is worth it.  The reason this is so important is that your skin is your largest organ.  Everything you put on it gets absorbed into your blood stream.   If you don’t want to read all of this you can skip to the bottom for the link to the list of recommended clothing companies (but I do recommend reading this so you are an educated consumer!).

Conventional cotton (non-organic): 

  • For every 1 pound of cotton produced, about 1/3 of a pound of chemical pesticides and fertilizers are used.   Just to give you an idea of how much cotton that is, it takes just under 1 pound of raw cotton to make t-shirt.
  • 25% of the world insecticides are used on cotton crops where only 2.5% of the world’s land are cotton fields.  Cotton is  the most pesticide intensive crop grown on the planet. $2.6 billion worth of pesticides are used on cotton worldwide each year.  That is a huge percentage of toxic chemicals used to grow conventional cotton!  Think of the overspray, which can travel up to 2 miles, that is in the air (that you breath) and getting on other crops (your food) just from cotton.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency considers 7 of the 15 pesticides used on conventional cotton as possible or known carcinogenic (cancer causing) agents.
  • Cotton is considered the world’s dirtiest crop due to its heavy use of insecticides, the most hazardous pesticide to human and animal health. 
  • According to the World Health Organization, 20,000 people die every year from accidental pesticide poisoning in conventional cotton agriculture, and 1,000,000 people a year suffer from long-term pesticide poisoning (Pesticide Action Network).  
  • 100 million conventional cotton farmers, from Russia to South Africa, are living in conditions of abject poverty and near starvation.  Conventional cotton subsidies (funded by American taxpayers) are causing poverty in the developing world as they lower the world price for cotton.
  • Cotton is an extremely water intensive crop
  • Most conventional cotton being grown is now GMO cotton a whole other post could be written about GMOs!
  • Most cotton clothing is now being produced in China in sweatshops where women & children are being exploited and are working well below the minimum wage.  How do you feel about your new shirt or pants when you think a child might have made it?  Looking for clothes not made in China is a big challenge too.  I’ve found several companies that I will share with you.
  • Sadly, the suicide rate for conventional cotton farmers is high (especially in India).  Some say it is no higher than it always has been.  Some say it is higher now that cotton farming is GMO.  Either way, it is a sad situation.

Organic Cotton:

  • No pesticides, fertilizers or other chemicals are used when growing organic cotton
  • To be certified organic the soil must be free from chemicals for at least 3 years
  • The land, and soil, benefits from crop rotation
  • Cotton is an extremely water intensive crop
  • A lot of organic cotton is grown in other countries so it requires shipping to the US.  However, there are several states in the US that are getting on the map for growing organic cotton.
  • Look for the GOTS certification to make sure the clothing is organic and non-toxic from field to finish.  You can buy organic cotton, that is not certified, that has been finished with toxic dyes or chemicals (I find this very sad but it is true).

Hemp:

  • No pesticides, fertilizers or other chemicals are needed to grow hemp
  • The traditional way to get to the hemp fiber in Europe is to leave the stalks out in the fields and have the weather brake the stalks down.  Then the farmers can harvest the hemp.  In China, some of the farmers are now using chemicals to break down the hemp stalks to speed up the process of harvesting.  This is very sad that such a great, natural fiber, is having chemicals added to it for no reason other than speeding up the harvesting time.  Another reason to avoid things made in China!

Bamboo:

  • Is being touted as a “green” material.  It is true that it is hearty, grows very easily and can be cultivated quickly.  From that standpoint, it is green.
  • Getting bamboo into a usable form can be a very chemically invasive process which uses harsh chemicals.  Bamboo must go through several chemical processes to get into usable form and the human exposure and damage to the environment surrounding the factories make bamboo not as green as everyone is saying it is.
  • Most all fabric and clothing that is bamboo, is bamboo rayon or bamboo cellulose, which is made using the chemically intensive process described above.
  • Bamboo linen is generally made without the use of chemicals but since it is such a labor intensive process there is very little bamboo linen on the market.
  • Very little water is needed to grow Bamboo
  • Raw bamboo lets most UV rays through the clothing (unlike cotton) and there have been talks about adding chemicals to the clothing for UV protection.
  • Bamboo is very soft which makes it appealing for clothing.

Soy:

  • Soy is one of the largest GMO crops worldwide.
  • It requires a lot of water and pesticides to grow.
  • Soy is biodegradable and has minimal impact on the environment – non GMO soy that is!
  • Soy fiber is not as durable as cotton or hemp
  • Soy fiber is made from the byproduct of the soy industry (tofu, soy beans, etc) so it is not grown specifically for clothing.  That’s nice that it is dual purposed.
  • The process to turn soy into clothing is very chemically intensive process.  The same chemicals are used repeatedly so at least chemicals aren’t be dumped as often.  However, those chemicals are still being applied to the clothing you will be wearing.

Wool:

  • Wool is a great renewable fiber.
  • Wool keeps you warm in the cold months and cool in the warm months.
  • Wool is naturally flame resistant.
  • It tends to be both dust mite and mold resistant.
  • Wool is lightweight.
  • Lower quality wool can be itchy but most wool is not itchy at all.
  • Some people can be allergic to wool.  In most cases, it is very rare for someone to be allergic to organic wool.  Most people have a reaction to what the wool was treated with if it wasn’t organic.
  • There can be inhumane practices associated with wool, like mulesing in Merino wool which is cutting out strips of skin near the sheep’s rear to prevent pests, some places will kill a sheep for the wool and some sheep farmers pack in the sheep like you would see on a factory farm.  If you Google mulesing just be prepared to see some grotesque and upsetting pictures.  I would say that these practices aren’t the norm, and if you look for certified wool you won’t have to worry about contributing to inhumane practices.
  • Sheep can be sprayed with pesticides.
  • Organic wool and Zque certified wool do not allow inhumane practices (like the ones mentioned above) or pesticides to be used.  Another reason to buy organic!

Synthetic fibers:

  • I’m not going to go into the details but just stay away!

Common chemicals, and toxic dyes, added to conventional clothing:

  • Formaldehyde.  This keeps clothing from becoming wrinkled during shipment and prevents mildew.  It also increases stain resistance and is used for color fasting.  It is a known carcinogen.  The US does not regulate formaldehyde in clothing where other countries like Germany, China and Japan do.
  • Nonylphenol ehtoxylate (NPE).  This chemical is very toxic and is banned from being used with the exception of some factories in China and Southeast Asia.  This has hormone-disrupting properties and can be hazardous at low levels.  14 major brands in the USA have their clothing made in factories that use NPE.  From what I could find these companies had clothing that was tested to have NPEs – Calvin Klein, Abercrombie & Fitch, Adidas, Ralph Lauren, Nike, Puma and H&M.  Another reason to not buy clothing made in China!
  • Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs).  This makes clothes wrinkle free or no iron.  This is the same chemical that is used in Teflon.  It is used a lot of times to make clothing water repellant, like outer wear.  This chemical has been linked to cancer and kidney disease.
  • There are many other chemicals in clothing including phthalates which is very toxic.  Instead of listing every chemical used and getting depressed about it, I’ve decided to move on to discuss ways to protect your family.
  • AZO dyes, use heavy metals.  They are extremely toxic and are still used in clothing made in China.  The use of AZO dyes have been banned in the USA.

Clothing certification:

  • GOTS – Global Organic Textile Standard – is the leading certification for organic, non-toxic fibers and clothing.  You can read more about the standard here.  This certification is the most stringent certification on clothing.  No flame retardants are allowed, no AZO dyes using heavy metals, no formaldehyde, no pesticides, no phthalates , no PVC, no PFCs, no NPEs, no chlorine bleach to list a few.  There is also a social aspect to it as well, employees must have fair working conditions and be paid a fair wage.  There can be no animal cruelty.  It really is the best certification out there. Pretty much all GOTS certified clothing will have a logo on the inside of the clothing stating it is GOTS certified. You can have GOTS certified organic cotton but if the final product wasn’t produced in a GOTS certified factory then that company is not allowed to use the GOTS logo. When you see the logo you can be rest assured that the entire product is GOTS certified.
  • Oeko-Tek – is a certification that doesn’t allow hundreds of toxic chemicals in clothing.  Clothing does not need to be organic to receive this certification (pesticides are allowed to be present on clothing to pass this certification)  Also, some chemicals, like flame retardants (that are deemed to be the least toxic) are allowed to be used.  If you are buying Oeko-Tek clothing or baby products check to see if they are using flame retardants.

So, what do I buy?

I think GOTS certified organic cotton or wool is the best, and safest, clothing to buy.  I found out early on that just buying organic cotton doesn’t mean that the safest dyes or no toxic chemicals are being used.  The organic clothing industry is growing by leaps and bounds and some companies are trying to cash in by using organic cotton but not truly making an “organic” piece of clothing.  I also buy organic cotton that is Oeko-Tek certified but it is my second choice.  Currently, I just buy Oeko-Tek organic pajamas for my son.

If I can buy used GOTS certified clothing I do.  However, I’m picky about it.  I’ve purchased a few things on Ebay only to have them reek of laundry detergent or dryer sheets that have toxic chemicals.  Side note – wash your clothing in non-toxic detergents.  Most commercial brands are toxic!  I love soap nuts which you can buy here.  I felt like buying used, washed in chemicals, defeated my purpose.  So I’m specific when I buy used.

I know not everyone wants to buy new organic clothing.  The order I would buy clothes in is:

  • Used GOTS certified organic (cotton or wool) clothing
  • New GOTS certified organic (cotton or wool) clothing
  • Used or new hemp, verifying if it’s organic would be ideal, clothing
  • Used conventional cotton clothing. Side note – I personally would try and buy Oeko-Tek certified used cotton first before buying non certified conventional cotton. At least then you will know that the dying and finishing process isn’t toxic. However, pesticide residue and flame retardants are allowed in the Oeko-Tek certification.

Doesn’t washing your clothes wash away the chemicals?

Yes, maybe, but I don’t think anyone knows.  You should for sure wash all clothing before wearing it.  Even GOTS certified.  I’m weird and wash clothes several times.  However, I have read reports that it can take 50 washes to get all the chemicals out.  That’s my other issue with used.  You don’t know if it’s been washed once or 50 times.  If it’s toxic to start with you aren’t guaranteed buying used will make it any less toxic.  Buying used is no doubt good for the environment.

Are there children’s brands that I avoid?

Some of the worst brands from a toxicity standpoint that I wouldn’t buy (even used) are:

  • The Gap / Baby Gap
  • Old Navy
  • J. Crew
  • Disney
  • American Apparel (they do make GOTS certified organic clothing so that would not apply)
  • Burberry
  • Nike
  • Adidas
  • Puma

One thing all of these companies have in common is that the clothing is made in China (except American Appeal).  Toxic clothing is coming out of China.

You can read my follow-up post on organic children’s brands that I love.

 

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Things I wished I registered for….

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a lonnnnng time.  The task has seemed a little daunting but I’m finally ready to do it.  My sister-in-law is due with our little niece in a few months so I wanted to get this post done before she started registering.  Nothing like an arrival of a new baby to get you to do things!

Before my husband & I even had a baby we said no way would we register at Babies R Us.  That place was like hell to us.  It was huge, full of a bunch of crap, things were all over the store (we literally walked back and forth across the store like 5 times for someone’s registry), and a lot of the staff is lacking in knowledge (to be polite).  I’m also not a fan of supporting big box stores either.  Well, what do you know, we registered at Babies R Us!  Silly us.  We thought we didn’t have any other choice.  We thought it would be easiest for everyone else.  We didn’t want to but we did it for ease.  In all fairness we also registered at a small boutique store; however, most people went to Babies R Us probably because it was easier.  Sadly, we use very few of the items that we registered for there as most are pretty toxic.  If I had to do it over again, we definitely would NOT register at Babies R Us or any equivalent.  I wish we had stuck to our initial instinct to not register there.  Wherever you register this is what we would get knowing what we know now.

Disclaimer: I use affiliate links at times. It doesn’t cost you any more but does help support my time running my blog and this page. Other affiliate links might get you a discount which is a win, win! I appreciate you supporting my links as a way to help me offset my time by bringing info to you. I will never be swayed financially, and I will only post products and companies that I would, and do, personally use for my family.

High Chair:

What we registered for: I really wanted something small in scale.  I ended up registering for, and receiving, the Fisher Price Space Saving High Chair.  I liked that it sat on our dining room chair and that it was small.  I later read that they didn’t even use BPA free plastic (I didn’t reach out to Fisher Price to find out if this was true or not).  I know a lot of seat cushions in high chairs have fire retardants as well.  I haven’t verified this with Fisher Price but if I was a betting gal I would bet that there are fire retardants in this high chair.  When I have some more free time I will reach out to Fisher Price and find out and update this post.  Lucky for me, I was able to return this high chair before we used it.

Also, a lot of people I know have the Chicco Caddy Hook on Chair, the red high chair that hooks onto a table.  I reached out to them when I was looking into high chairs and the seat cushion does have fire retardants in it.  For me, I wouldn’t buy it because of that.  If you have the chair you can replace the cushion with a cotton or wool cushion (wool is naturally water resistant) or at least take the cushion out and wrap it in something airtight (even plastic).

What I wished we registered for:  There are a handful of non-toxic high chairs out there.  We ended up buying the Stokke and I really love it!  I love that my son sits at the table with us, that the chair will grow with him and can be used for many years, and that it is nice looking.   It comes with a higher price tag but you are buying a quality, wood, non-toxic high chair that will last years longer than any plastic high chair you buy.  We didn’t buy any of the “accessories” that come with it (the seat supporter, tray or cushion).

Another less expensive option is Keekaroo.  It’s really similar to the Stokke.  Here is what I see as the main differences between the Stokke and the Keekaroo:  the Keekaroo costs less though the quality of wood isn’t as good (made of rubberwood vs beechwood) and it comes in less color options.  While both the Keekaroo and the Stokke have trays, the Keekaroo has a wooden tray with a removable plastic cover.  The Stokke only has a plastic tray.  If I would have known about the wooden tray I may have gone with the Keekaroo.  I really love having my son sit at the table with us but occasionally it would be nice to have a tray.  I do think any of these choices would be great.

Travel Crib: 

What we registered for:  The Graco Pack N Play.  It has fire retardants in it.  End of story.  My son never even sat in his.  As soon as I found this out it was gone.

What I wished we registered for:  Baby Bjorn Travel Crib.  This travel crib is Oeko-Tek certified to be free from harmful substances.  We never purchased this since we ended up co-sleeping but if we did ever go out and buy a travel crib this would be it.  If you want to be hard-core about it, or if you are going to be using it a lot, you can get an organic travel crib mattress too!  You can finish it off with an organic sheet and you will be all ready to go.  As this blog, and time, has passed I’ve come to realize that most foam has flame retardants it in.  If you are going to buy a travel crib and use it often get the organic travel crib mattress.  Even if a company says that the foam doesn’t have flame retardants some testing is showing that they do (whether it’s done without the companies knowing or before they get the foam that I don’t know)

Baby Bouncy Seat:

What we registered for:  We registered for a bouncy seat, one like this, but it wasn’t this one.  I can’t remember which one it was and it doesn’t really matter which brand as all the bucket seat / bouncy seats are the same in my opinion.  It turns out a friend had one that I could borrow so we returned the one we got.  My son pretty much hated his bouncy seat from day one.  He just wanted to be held which is understandable!  It also is pretty confining and doesn’t allow your baby to move his arms or legs very much.  I only ended up using it in the bathroom.  After a few months I looked at the tags and sure enough the CA TB 114 tag was on there.  Yay, more fire retardants!  So we stopped using that.  Two negatives.

What I wished we registered for:  Hands down, the BabyBjorn Babysitter Balance is the only chair to buy!  It is Oeko-Tek certified (free from harmful chemicals).  The one I linked above is organic.  There is a non-organic option too but I would without a doubt buy the organic one.  Besides being non-toxic it also allows your baby to move their arms and legs.  My son was MUCH happier in the seat.  He still didn’t like to be in it for too long but I could take a shower with him in this seat where I could not with the other.  I ended up buying this seat used off of a mom’s group that I am part of for $15 – sweet deal!

Baby Swing:

We didn’t register for one but ended up buying one used off of the mom’s group after feeling like I needed to have one.  I was asked multiple times about a swing so I broke down and bought a used one last-minute.  You don’t need a swing.  I’m a big fan of baby wearing and holding your baby.  Your baby would rather be with you than in a swing.  We sold our swing after several months.  He did nap in it and I’m sure there were fire retardants in it.  I don’t know of a swing that doesn’t have fire retardants but if full disclosure I didn’t do much research on swings since it wasn’t very important to me.

Car Seat: 

See my blog post on car seats for more info and links.

What we registered for:  Chicco KeyFit 30.

What I wish we registered for:  Orbit Baby.

Stroller:

What we registered for:

Well, we bought one stroller and registered for another stroller.  I did ZERO research on strollers before buying / registering.  I took the word of other moms.  All I heard was the BOB was the stroller to get, especially if you are a runner, so I went out and bought a BOB.  Well, we had a decent dividend at REI so we didn’t have to spend much on it.  Turns out it is coated in polyurethane to make it waterproof.  The rain cover is made up of PVC as well.  Some PVC can contain lead and it is also known to create dioxins which is a carcinogen.  So definitely don’t use a cover on your stroller which can trap all those toxic chemicals in for the baby to breathe.  If you want to know more about PVC in children’s items see the WA Toxics Colliation site.  Polyurethane, which is used in a lot of children’s items, can cause liver, thyroid, and neurological toxicity. Ugh, gross.

We registered for a Baby Trends Snap N Go.  It’s treated with fire retardants.  I don’t even understand why a stroller would be treated with fire retardants.  Stupid laws.  Anyways, this thing is just so you can take your baby from your car seat and set them in a stroller without getting them out of the car seat.  I did use this a handful of times and it was handy when my baby was sleeping.  If I had to do it over would I use it?  Nope.  I would put my baby in a carrier and hold him.  Physical touch is very important to these little people and we have come up with so many contraptions to not hold our babies.

What I wished we registered for:

For a jogging stroller, the Mountain Buggy Urban Jungle is the safest option.  It’s made of Nylon (no foam).  For an all over stroller system, UPPAbaby is a great, safe system.  I am removing the Uppababy and Orbit stroller systems from my recommended list.  I’ve seen testing results showing that they have toxic flame retardants even though both of these companies have said that they don’t use toxic flame retardants.  The only thing I can say is that if you have to use a stroller get one without foam like the Mountain Buggy Urban or get a cheap umbrella stroller (I have done no research on umbrella strollers so you would still want to reach out to make sure they aren’t using toxic materials).  OR, gasp!, NONE.  Invest in a couple of carriers and call it good.  Get a stroller, if you need one, when you can no longer carry your baby.  I haven’t used a stroller since our son was probably 4 months old.  He is almost 13 months and I still use my carrier everyday.  Our BOB is sitting very nicely in our garage.  Update, now that my son is 2 1/2 we use our Mountain Buggy that I got off of craigslist if we are going on a long walk.

Baby Carrier:

What we registered for:  We registered for two, the organic Moby and the Beco Gemini.  Ugh, this still makes me sad.  The freaking Beco Gemini is treated with flame retardants.  I can not even understand why that would be.  I mean, seriously.  They said it is a CA state law.  That’s not totally true.  Yes, if you use certain materials then they have to contain fire retardants but there are a whole host of other materials they could have used.  Many, many different brands of carriers are made WITHOUT flame retardants.  Shame on Beco.  They sent me an email trying to tell me that toothpaste was more harmful than the chemicals that they use because in large doses fluoride is toxic.  I wanted to write back that I am totally aware about fluoride and that has nothing to do with the baby carrier.  I didn’t but I did tell them that I didn’t want my child to be wrapped in flame retardants and I wanted to return it.  Lucky for me, the store I bought it from was awesome about returning it and getting me something that was free from chemicals.   UPDATE on BECO:   Beco stopped using flame retardants in their carrier on the newest carriers (mid 2013).  This is great news!  The Beco is now made in China instead of the USA though which I think is a bummer.  The organic Moby is a perfectly fine carrier.  People love the Moby.  I liked it when my son was younger.  I did find wrapping the fabric all around to be kinda annoying.  Maybe I’m just lazy, who knows.  Once he started getting heavier it stretched out too much and just wasn’t comfortable.  It worked for a while but I would have loved for it to work longer.  It’s totally non-toxic though.

What I wished we registered for:  This was really hard for me.  I spent months researching and trying to find the perfect carrier.  For me, it doesn’t exist.  I liked the idea of a more structured carrier that didn’t have padding in the straps or if it did have padding that it wasn’t polyurethane foam.  I had to settle but I made some modifications.  I traded in my Beco for an organic Ergo.  The organic Ergo is GOTS certified (free from harmful chemicals) and that was the final selling point for me.  I then bought some organic teething straps that I put on the carrier so my son wasn’t sucking on the foam pads.  Now that he is older and his face isn’t near the straps we no longer use them.  I also bought an organic Mei Tai which I kinda like but my laziness sets in with the wrapping that is involved.  I also bought an organic sling too.  So I have 3 carriers.  I like the sling for its small size and for how easy it is to pack around (compared to the Ergo).  My plan was to use the Mei Tai and sling at home and the Ergo for longer walks out and about.  Many months later I primarily use the Ergo and occasionally use the sling.  I haven’t used the Mei Tai in months.  If I had to do it over, I would buy the Ergo and the sling.  Also, the Baby Bjorn carrier is really popular but it’s not recommended because of the way the baby hangs from the crotch.  It has very little support and should be avoided.  Look up how to wear a baby properly, the basics of it is that the baby’s knees should be higher than their bum.

Teethers:

See my blog post on teethers for more info and links.

What we registered for:  The Natursutten teethers.

What I wish we registered for:  Dress Me Up Organics Teething Bunny, Maple Landmark’s natural teether, and an Amber Teething Necklace.

Toys:

What we registered for:  None

What I wish we registered for:  A few toys would have been fun since we get a lot of use out of the toys now.  See my post on toys for more info and links.

Clothes:

What we registered for:  A few items but not much.

What I wish we registered for:  Anything from Under the Nile or Kate Quinn.  I look for GOTS certified clothing because then you know it’s free from fire retardants (which is required in PJ’s from 9 months to 14 years unless there is a tag that says that it doesn’t contain fire retardants and must be worn tight), AZO dyes (which contain heavy metals), formaldehyde, or any other harmful substance.  Just because clothing is organic doesn’t mean it’s non-toxic!  They can use toxic dyes in organic clothing.  Also watch out for “made with organic cotton”, that basically means some small piece of the clothing can be organic (like the thread).  Babies skin is 1/5th the thickness of ours so protecting them from chemicals in their clothes is important!

Make sure you get some onesies, a couple of hats in addition to pj’s and clothing.  Kimono style onesies are great for the first few months when pulling a shirt over a babies head is hard.

Bath Products:

What we registered for:  Safety 1st bathtub.  We also registered for the Satsuma towel and wash clothes which are bamboo.  I’m not really sure how I feel about bamboo.  It’s touted as being an eco-product, which I guess it is from a growing and harvesting standpoint, but the process to get the bamboo into fabric form is / can be toxic from what I have read.  I don’t know if this is true about all bamboo and about Satsuma.  I’ve moved on from bamboo and decided to stick with organic cotton so I haven’t research bamboo any further.

What I wish we registered for:  Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild Soap, Earth Mama Angel Baby Soap, Under the Nile hooded towel & wash cloth, and no bath tub since I take a bath with my babe.

Diapers:

See my blog post on diapers for more info and links.

What we registered for:  None, how silly!

What I wish we registered for:  Wool covers (LOVE wool, it’s the best cover we have used and it’s a natural fiber!), cloth diapers, and wipes.

Bottles:

What we registered for:  Dr. Browns glass bottles, both the 4 oz and 8 oz.  I didn’t know this at the time but breastfed babies never eat more than 4 to 5 oz at a time no matter what age they are.  The 4 oz bottles easily hold 5 oz.  It was a total waste for us to get the 8 oz.  The only reason for the 8 oz is for formula.  These bottles worked for us when I was away from my son.  There are quite a few pieces to these bottles to clean which can be a bit of a pain.  Dr. Brown’s bottles are supposed to help with colic and burping, I can’t tell you if it really did or not.  I was also pumping and freezing milk in these bottles.  After a couple of times, I realized that this is not advised!  Right on the package it says this.  They do not use tempered glass and there is a risk of the glass cracking if frozen.  Some cracks can be so small you might not even notice.  It is definitely not worth the risk of using these bottles to freeze milk in.  You can freeze milk in the bottles listed below.  This important to me because I was never froze milk in the plastic bags.  Something just didn’t seem right about it to me.

What I wished we registered for:  First, only a few 4 oz bottles.  I don’t have any issue with Dr. Browns glass bottles but I think the Lifefactory bottles are better and more versatile.  They can be frozen because they use tempered glass.  The nipple can also be replaced with a sippy cup lid and you can continue to get use out of it when your little one is older.  Then when they are even bigger you can just put a regular lid on it and they can use it as their water bottle.  I love being able to use an item for a long time.  Plus the silicone sleeves come in fun colors!

Mattress:

What we registered for:  We didn’t register for a mattress.  I felt like that is something that we should buy but it doesn’t mean you can’t register for it.

What I wished we registered for:  There are only a couple of options – Lifekind and Naturpedic.  See my blog post on crib mattresses for more info.

Nursing Pillow:

What we registered for:  The Bobby with an organic cover.  This does have the CA TB 114 tag on it but it does NOT contain fire retardants.  It just means that they are in compliance with the technical bulletin and did so without the use of chemicals.  A lot mainstream nursing pillows contain fire retardants so be careful when you purchase.  I only reached out to the pillows I had and confirmed that My Breastfriend and Luna Lulliby do use fire retardants.

What I wished we registered for:  The Bobby is great.  I really liked it best when my son was learning to sit to protect him when he would fall backwards.  I never used it that much while nursing.  After the first month of so I just held him without a pillow.  In my opinion, the best nursing pillow on the market is the Holy Lamb Organics nursing pillow.  I like that is it made with wool and organic cotton.  I think simple is best.  Either one is a great option though.

Personal Care Supplies:

What we reigstered for:  The Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometer and we love being able to just run this across our son’s head to take his temperature. 

What I wished we registered for:  I love the thermometer above.  I also really like the Green Sprouts brush and comb.  You will also need a pair of nail clippers and any will do.  We have the Safety 1st clippers and they do the job.

Bassinet:

What we registered for:  We didn’t but borrowed the Arm’s Reach Mini Co-Sleeper.  I really loved having this until I found out there are fire retardants in it.  Good news is that the newer models (2012 and newer) are made without fire retardants.  The company has said if the CA TB 114 tag is not on the co-sleeper then it doesn’t have fire retardants.

What I wished we registered for:  I now wish I had a moses basket with an organic bassinet mattress.  My second choice would be the Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper probably in the full size.  We had the mini and our son was large so he started to outgrow it before I was ready for him too.  You can find organic mattresses that will fit these as well.  If your room is big enough you could also just set up the crib in your room and save yourself some money!

Baby Play Gyms:

What we registered for:  We didn’t actually register for a baby play gym (the thing that babies lay under that hangs toys above their head).  We were going to borrow one from a friend but we ended up receiving one as a gift.  At the time I felt like I knew they were toxic but didn’t know the details.  Most all of these gyms have fire retardants and formaldehyde in them.  Then we lay our babies on them for them to play – so gross.  I always put a blanket down on mine but I’m  not sure if that really helped any.  Some people are against these as they feel that it is forcing the baby to do something they may want to do.  You don’t really need one of these but for whatever it’s worth my son did have fun batting the toys around.

What I wish we registered for:  Plan Toys makes a wooden baby play gym that I really wish we had.  Just lay a blanket down and you can put this play gym over the top of it.   It’s non-toxic so you don’t have to worry about your baby laying on a toxic filled mat.  They can also play with this once they are sitting too.

Diaper Changing Pad:

What we registered for:  We registered for the Naturopedic Organic Changing Pad and the Organic Changing Pad Cover.  These are both non-toxic and a great choice.  A lot of changing pads contain fire retardants (even brands labeled organic).  In my opinion, it’s worth the extra money for this one.  You will be using your changing pad a lot!

What I wish we registered for:  Naturopedic is a great option.  Another option is Holy Lamb Organics Changing Table Pad.  It’s made of organic cotton and wool.  Either changing pad is great.  I would also recommend getting a wool changing pad to take with you on the go.  A lot of the portable changing pads are pretty gross in my opinion.  I have this changing pad  from Organic Caboose in my diaper bag and really like it.

Burp Clothes

What we registered for:  I’m not sure what exactly we registered for, if any.  We did receive a lot of burp clothes.  At the time I thought I had too many but soon realize you can never have too many burp clothes!  I still go through so many every day cleaning up food, spills, etc.

What I wish we registered for:  Some of my favorites are these preemie diapers from Bummis that we use as burp clothes.  I also really love these wipes from Kissas.  We use them for everything from spit up to spills to bath time.

Crib Sheets:

What we registered for:  Well, we just went out and bought Pottery Barn Organic Crib Sheets.  This was one of the turning points for me and one of the reasons I wanted to blog.  This and the Beco Baby Carrier.  It’s also when I realized that organic doesn’t mean non-toxic.  The Pottery Barn Organic Crib Sheets are treated with something, which they won’t say what it is, that makes them wrinkle free.  I found this out after using them for months!  I heard from a woman in the green textile industry that she heard it might be formaldehyde along with possibly something else (she didn’t know what that something else was but had been trying to figure out for years).

What I wished we registered for:  Organic, GOTS certified sheets.  Your baby will spend a lot of time sleeping in their crib (or your bed if you co-sleep).  Their bed should be the one place that is toxin free.  Glo-Organics and Coyuchi both have GOTS certified crib sheets.  If you feel like being crafty you can buy GOTS certified fabric and make your own sheets.  I love the designs of Birch Fabrics.

Cribs:  We didn’t register for a crib but a quick note of what I think is important to look for.  All cribs meet the same safety standards.  The difference between a $200 crib and a $1,000 crib is the materials, style and brand.  For us we had 3 things we wanted.  The most important to us was that it was made of real wood.  We didn’t want MDF since it contains formaldehyde.  We also wanted a non-toxic finish, and we really wanted it to be made in the USA.  We ended up buying our crib at Land of Nod.  I think now I would have found a crib that was finished with beeswax (the ultimate non-toxic finish) instead of whatever we have.  Overall, we are happy with our crib even though we rarely use it!

Rocker / Glider:

What we registered for:  We purchased a Dutailier rocker / glider.  I was told it was one of the nicest on the market.  It was really, really comfortable.  I spent a lot of time in that rocker when my son was born.  Then I found out that it has flame retardants in it.  I had even asked before I purchased it if it was non-toxic and the person at the store said “oh, yes, they know who their market it and they make everything safe for baby”.  When my son was about 4 or 5 months old I gave them a call and found out that they do in fact use flame retardants.  So, we sold it.  This was another reason I started the blog.  I was really sad to learn that this was toxic after I asked about it.  I realized that I didn’t ask enough questions or at that time even know the questions to ask.  This could be an entire post on its own – why are even being put in this position to have to even think about this stuff.  Baby products should just really be non-toxic!

What I wished we registered for:  I wouldn’t have registered for one but I would have gone out and got an old-fashioned wood rocker.  I ended up borrowing one from my dad (which was my grandma’s rocking chair).  I love that I am using her rocker.  If you feel like a wooden rocking chair won’t be comfy enough you could make some cushions.  You will just need to make sure the foam you buy doesn’t have flame retardants in it (a lot of foam is spayed before stores even get it).

Where should you register?

That’s a good question!  I’m a big fan of supporting a small, local store.  If they don’t have everything you need then Amazon would be my choice.  Update:  My sister-in-law found this amazing site – BabyList Baby Registry.  You can register here and pull items from big stores, amazon, etsy, etc.  So cool!

I hope this post was helpful.  If there are any other products you would like to know about please let me know.  I talk a lot about fire retardants and if you need a reminder as to why you should stay away from them see my post about fire retardants for more details.  The basics are that it can cause cancer, learning disabilities, thyroid problems, entering puberty earlier, and the list goes on.  I also mention formaldehyde and the side effects can cause irritation of the eyes and nose, asthma, ADD/ADHD, increased risk of cancer and many more.  The best thing is try to avoid these two chemicals as much as possible.