16. Buy a crib mattress made from organic natural fibers such as cotton and wool. (Munchkin's ComfortSafe Organic Crib Mattress is only $130 at Target!) Babies spend up to 16 hours a day sleeping, so it makes sense not to expose them to the off-gassing of synthetic materials.
17. Buy bottles that convert to sippy cups, like those from Thinkbaby (thinkbabybottles.com) and Born Free (newbornfree.com). You'll save space, money and landfills.
18. Skip wall-to-wall carpeting in the nursery — its fibers trap allergens. Stick with floors made from material like wood, bamboo or cork and finish with a nontoxic sealant, says Alan Greene M.D., author of Raising Baby Green.
19. Make the most of baking soda. At about $1 a box, it's powerful, natural and versatile. Three effective uses:
- Sprinkle a few spoonfuls into baby's bath water to help relieve diaper rash.
- Mix baking soda and baby oil into a paste and gently rub into baby's scalp to wash away cradle caps' flaky skin.
- Combine 4 tablespoons of baking soda with 1 quart of warm water to clean toys, then rinse and dry.
20. Be picky about paint
The fumes in traditional paints have been linked to respiratory illnesses, says Parenting/Babytalk contributing editor Dr. Greene. Opt instead for low-VOC paints (volatile organic compounds).
The price is comparible to high-quality brand paints. You can also save by thinking long-term and choosing a gender-neutral color in case a sib joins the family or a color that'll take her to tweenhood.