When it comes to our children, it is safe to say that we are cautious and careful.
We are, of course, far more aware of what we place around our children than ourselves. We are careful to ensure that if something can be put in their mouth, it cannot be swallowed. We studiously cover all outlets and sharp corners and read all the labels on their food. Their medicines are thoroughly researched, as are their sleep routines, and their care providers. We--and everyone we know--are acutely aware of what percentile the baby is currently in, and at what age they should be doing this or that.
Why then, with all this caution and good intentions, do we still let our babies sleep on mattresses made from petroleum and under blankets made entirely of synthetic material?
Below are the four products that are closest to your baby, the ones they are in contact with most, and that should be organic, natural, and safe:
Babies typically sleep 16-17 hours a day (even though it may not seem like it). Most of those hours are spent on their mattress, which often remains in use even after the infant becomes a toddler. Most crib mattresses are made of poly-foam, a cheap petroleum-based foam (the yellow stuff), and covered in plastic that off-gasses and quickly breaks down.
Of course there are crib mattresses, such as the ones we make, that are made of 100% organic latex and covered in organic wool and cotton. Why aren't they all made like this? Because poly foam is cheaper--way cheaper--and mattresses can be made by the thousands and sold en masse. As with everything, you get what you pay for.
Babies and mommies spend a lot of time nursing, a wonderful time when mom and baby bond. It is also time often spent on a nursing pillow, which is specially designed to prop your baby up and give your arms a much-needed rest. These pillows are normally made from petroleum-based poly-fiber fill, and promoted under the guise of washability.
We have a nursing pillow that is made from all natural, 100% organic, sheep wool that is also completely machine washable and dryable. There are no synthetics, no chemicals, and no messes.
Baby sheets are generally made out of microfiber, which is a poly-fiber. Poly-fibers, like polyester, are made from petroleum and are essentially plastic. These fabrics are inexpensive and easy to clean, but they also don't breathe; they also reflect body heat back towards your baby, making them hot and uncomfortable.
Organic cotton is light and breathable, keeping your baby cool and wicking away moisture from the body naturally.
In the first few months after a baby has been born they sleep in a sleep sack, which is exactly what it sounds like and takes the place of a blanket, which can get tangled and be unsafe. Unfortunately, like sheets, most of these sacks are made from cheap poly-fibers such as polar fleece. Non-breathable and made of purely synthetic materials that trap heat and don't let it dissipate naturally, these poly-fiber sleep sacks create clamminess and discomfort—hardly the best conditions to promote a good night’s sleep in anyone, let alone a baby.
The products we choose to surround ourselves with matter, but those that surround our children matter even more. Most baby bedding is cheaply made from materials and substances chosen for convenience and price, not durability, health or safety.
The organic food movement has made parents increasingly aware of what they're giving their children to eat. It's time we think about what we are giving them to sleep on.
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Quarantined? Sheltered in Place? Home with the kids and looking for things to do? Here's a couple quick tips to help everyone sleep better - starting tonight:
1) Air your bedding. When cherry trees blossom its a great reminder to hang a temporary clothes line and air your winter bedding.
2) Do a thorough launder of your mattress pads, dust mite covers, pillow liners. Flip the mattress and catch up with those dust bunnies hiding under the bed.
3) Check your labels! C'mon - how long have you really had those bed pillows?
We green consumers may be a small portion of the economy - but we are growing and we can appreciate how nuts the rest of the economy can be. Our kids can teach us not to use plastic straws, or to avoid one use plastics at the grocery store - but who teaches us not to purchase a 300 lb plastic mattress? (How many thousands of recycled straws would that be?!)
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