Healthy Baby Nursery

Natural Healthy Home Cleaning Tips
Healthy Baby Nursery

The Healthy Baby Nursery
By Annie B. Bond

Author of Home Enlightenment: Practical, Earth-Friendly Advice for Creating a Nurturing, Healthy, and Toxin-Free Home and Lifestyle

It is heartbreaking for me to see well-meaning and excited new parents decorating their new baby's nursery by painting it, installing new carpeting, and buying a crib with a brand-new foam or synthetic mattress. I did some of these things when I was pregnant; I knew better, but I wanted to be "normal" (and not chemically sensitive) and provide standard things for my baby like everybody else did. I bought a new foam crib mattress, discarding it when my daughter spent her first night there after sleeping in a bassinet for a few months.

first night in her new crib, she tossed and turned all night long, exposed to the neurotoxic fumes outgassing from the foam. Fortunately for her, I knew the symptoms of central nervous system agitation, and I removed the offending fumes from her life the next day. Often, a mother-to-be paints the nursery, first exposing her baby to the fumes in utero and then from the outgassing paint when the baby sleeps in the room after birth.

The nesting impulse is powerful before the birth of a baby, and I am not advocating that parents squelch this natural desire. Instead, they should be aware of chemical exposure and put their decorating efforts into nontoxic approaches (for example, non-VOC paint, natural carpet, and organic bed linens), which won't increase their baby's burden of chemical exposure.

 Mothers & Others for a Livable Planet: Guide to Natural
Baby Care by Mindy Pennybacker and Aisha Ikramuddin is a good book on the subject and is full of ideas and resources.

Paint and Carpeting

Want to take the first step in ensuring a healthy nursery? Find out whether there is lead paint on the walls! Lead paint was not sold after 1978, but the walls of any home built prior to 1978 could be problematic.

As cozy as carpeting may appear to be for a nursery, it can be a reservoir of dust mites, mold, mildew, and VOCs. If there is old carpeting in the nursery, pull it up and replace it with untreated hardwood floors or floors treated with a water-based, low-VOC finish. If carpet is a must for the nursery, choose completely untreated carpeting with natural latex or jute backing.

Much of today's furniture is made of pressed wood, something to avoid because of the formaldehyde in the glues that will continually outgas for the entire life of the piece. Choose real wooden furniture instead.

Yard sales offer abundant supplies of simple furniture for very little cost. And what about a changing table? If it is going to be covered with any kind of plastic, the older the better, and the more used the better, as long as it is still safe and sturdy. You want the plastic to be completely outgassed before putting it in the nursery.

 Toxic Crib Mattresses

In a study of six brands of crib-size waterproof mattress covers conducted by Anderson Laboratories, all were found to emit toxic fumes in various degrees, and some caused acute toxicity to the respiratory tract of male mice. Five of the mattress covers were made of polyvinyl chloride covered with cotton or polyester layers. The remaining cover was made of polyolefin. Chemical emissions included suspected carcinogens.
Crib and bassinet mattresses made of organic, natural materials are now widely available online, through catalogs, or in natural product stores. For the largest selection, go to your favorite online search engine and type "organic baby." Retailers who are likely to sell organic bedding for babies are also likely to offer safe accessories, including nontoxic toys.

If buying an organic mattress isn't feasible, enclose a standard crib mattress with a cotton barrier cloth.

Avoid plastic or polyurethane encasements. To prevent moisture from seeping onto the mattress from leaking diapers, invest in an absorbent "wool puddle pad," designed to insert between the sheet and mattress. Avoid pillows until the baby is at least 1 year old, and after that, invest in a natural fiber, organic pillow.
Reprinted from: Home Enlightenment: Practical, Earth-Friendly Advice for Creating a Nurturing, Healthy, and Toxin-Free Home and Lifestyle by Annie B. Bond © 2005 Rodale Inc. (October 2005;$27.95US/$37.95CAN; 1-57954-811-3) Permission granted by Rodale, Inc., Emmaus, PA 18098. Available wherever books are sold or directly from the publisher by calling (800) 848-4735 or visit their website at

AuthorAnnie B. Bond is considered an authoritative voice on the natural lifestyle. In her work and her books, she offers advice for creating a home that is in harmony with the earth. Her insight and wisdom are a result of her struggles with the aftereffects of two chemical poisoning accidents that left her unable to function in the world as she knew it. Annie's experience with chemical sensitivity has been a catalyst for change on two fronts -- in her own life as she learned to create a healthy home without toxins and in the lives of those whom she inspires to eliminate synthetic chemicals, off-gassing products, and indoor air pollution in their homes.

Her journey toward health led to her first bestseller, Clean & Green, and then to The Green Kitchen Handbook and Better Basics for the Home. Annie is also an intuitive energy healer and dowser. She is the executive producer of's Healthy Living channel, editing six free e-newsletters that are sent to 1.8 million subscribers; and she hosts Annie's Healthy Living Network in Care2Connect, where she also posts a blog. Annie is also a columnist for Body+Soul magazine.

Home Enlightenment

Rick and I (Sharon) have started reading this book, Home Enlightenment: Practical, Earth-Friendly Advice for Creating a Nurturing, Healthy, and Toxin-Free Home and Lifestyle. We have read many books on the subject of healthy home cleaning and so far, this book is,  by far, the best written, most informative book on the subject.

The author, Annie B. Bond, writes in a way that makes you want to keep reading more. Her passion for the subject is so intense because she is a victim of chemical exposure that has left her with permanent central nervous system damage.

She writes, "My story is one of recovery, renewal, and transformation. By healing the immediate world around me, I went from being poisoned to being healthy. I also became healthy enough to lead a normal life, albeit within a few carefully maintained parameters".

The Call
Heed the call of your nature.
Know the call of your senses.
Smell the sweet scent of the honeysuckle.
See the newborn foal struggling to stand upright on gangly legs.
Taste the nectar of a peach.
Touch the velvety, bright green moss that grows on boulders near the edge of forests.
Hear th eood sthrush at dusk in summer.
Intuit how to make people feel welcome in your home.

Know the call of the elements.
Eat food infused with the vibrancy of new life, the essence of Earth.
Quench your thirst with Water that is clean and fresh.
Warm up with the Fire of the sun on our face after a long, cold winter.
Breathe deeply of the Air that gives you life.

Know that you are one with the planet.
--Annie B. Bond
from the Introduction to Home Enlightenment.

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