If you’re reading this, I think it’s safe to assume that you’re expecting a little one on the way. First off, congratulations mama! And second, I know it can be daunting to prepare a baby registry.
That’s why I created this minimalist green baby registry checklist to make things a little easier for you! All product recommendations are also vegan and cruelty-free (links open in a new tab). So breathe, mama. I got you.
The social pressures of parenthood might make you feel that you need “x, y, and z” to be the best parent, but this is far from the truth. You are your child’s ultimate source for comfort, food, education, entertainment, love, security, and transportation.
You do not need to buy everything new. Buy or accept second-hand items as much as possible. If you buy new, please avoid plastic within reason – there are many natural and eco-friendly materials that can fit within any budget.
I used Babylist.com for my baby registry. What I loved most about this registry is that I was able to support small businesses on Etsy.com – you can add anything from any online store (big or small). You can ask for cash funds, home-cooked meals, and favors. Also, the registry compares product prices directly from their shop, Target, and Amazon, so your friends/family can get the best deal.
Please note that everyone is different. I simply want to share with you what works for me and my baby’s first year of life.
Click here to download a free printer-friendly checklist of this Minimalist Green Baby Registry.
Baby Lotion: Choose a non-toxic moisturizer that’s free of synthetic fragrances, antibacterial chemicals, phthalates, parabens, and harsh sulfates. I’m obsessed with this organic baby lotion (our entire household uses this lotion), but a greener option is argan oil that comes in a glass bottle.
Baby Wash: Choose a non-toxic baby wash as well (to meet the same criteria as baby lotion). I use Earth Mama for baths, and Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Castile Soap as a multi-purpose cleaner to wash pacifiers, breast pump equipment, and dilute it in a spray bottle for quick clean-ups (it’s concentrated, so a little goes a long way).
Bathtub: You can take baths with your baby, or use the kitchen sink when baby has control of their head. However, I got this infant tub as a gift and I love that it’s temperature controlled and filters out water, which is great when baby pees or poops. The tub was nice to have for the first couple of months, but I find it to be an unnecessary chunk of plastic that takes up too much space! I honestly prefer taking baths with my baby and using this natural, PVC-free, and biodegradable bath mat to help against skidding. If you decide to get a tub, stay clear of inflatable tubs made with toxic plastic.
Bath towels (2): Hooded towels are pointless as baby will outgrow them. I use organic Turkish cotton towels for myself and my baby. These will last for years to come.
Wash cloths: I like these soft organic wash cloths that I alternatively use as burp cloths and cloth wipes too.
Blankets (1-2): Get some thick blankets for when your baby is in the car seat/stroller.
Crib: This is technically an optional item, but I added it here as a necessity because it depends on whether you co-sleep and for how long you plan on doing it (check out safe co-sleeping guidelines by James McKenna here). Basically, your baby just needs a safe place to sleep. If you’re bedsharing with your baby like I am, then chances are, you won’t use a crib for awhile (if at all). That’s why I have a 4-in-1 crib that converts into a toddler bed, daybed and a full size bed. You can find high-quality cribs second-hand. If it’s not to your liking, you can upcycle with non-toxic Unearthed vegan “milk” paint.
Dresser: Used furniture is best since it has had time to gas-off. I have an dresser from an old bedroom set of mine that I upcycled with decorative knobs. Again, you can find second-hand dressers at an affordable price and upcycle with non-toxic Unearthed vegan “milk” paint.
Mattress: Look for an organic, non-toxic mattress. I have the Naturepedic No Compromise Classic 150 Dual Seamless – it’s considered to be the only 100% organic cotton mattress (interior and exterior materials) available and uses absolutely no chemical flame retardants. It’s an expensive mattress, but definitely worth it in my opinion. There are more affordable options though – you can read about the 5 best crib mattresses here.
Sheets (2-3): Get a couple organic fitted crib sheets (accidents happen, sometimes twice in a row!).
Swaddles (4-6): Organic muslin swaddles are versatile. They can be used as a swaddle, blanket, towel, nursing cover, and burp cloth.
Co-sleeper/lounger: This is a good option if you’re uncomfortable with bedsharing, but still want to have your baby next to you. You can look for a second-hand co-sleeper that attaches to the bed, your baby will outgrow it quickly so it’s not the best idea to buy new. I had a co-sleeper bassinet, but I only used it for a week before I switched to an organic lounger.
Rocker: You don’t need anything extravagant. Swings, bouncers, and rockers that have toys hanging above the seat are overstimulating for newborns. I’m usually babywearing, but there are times where I need to put my baby down – she likes sitting in a chair to look at me, instead of laying flat down.
Night light: Convenient for those late night feedings and diaper changes.
Babies outgrow their clothes quickly, so they only need a minimal amount of clothing for the first 6 months. Also, in the early months, babies don’t really get dirty (besides the occasional spit-up). My baby would wear the same outfit for a couple days. It wasn’t until my baby started drooling at 3 months that I had to change her outfits multiple times a day.
Dress your baby according to the weather in your area. A rule of thumb is to dress your baby with one extra layer than what you’re wearing (skin-on-skin contact counts as one layer).
Buy or accept second-hand items whenever possible. If you buy new clothes, choose organic fabrics as much as your budget allows. 90% of all cotton produced worldwide is genetically modified and is one of the most chemically treated crops. In addition to the use of insecticides and pesticides, some common toxic chemicals/dyes that are added to conventional fabrics include formaldehyde, nonylphenol ehtoxylate (NPE), perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), phthalates, and AZO dyes!
Choose GOTS certified organic to ensure the fabric is organic and non-toxic from field to finish. Some of my favorite brands are Burt’s Bees, L’oved Baby, Lamaze, and Under the Nile. To make GOTS certified organic fabrics more affordable, I recommend building a wardrobe capsule with neutral colors that will last through a number of children.
Bodysuits (4-6): Get a variety combination of short/long sleeved white onesies, and kimonos (snap-style shirt makes it easier to put on).
Footed sleepers (4-6): L’oved Baby is by far my favorite brand for footed overalls because the material is soft and thick, and they have fold-over mittens.
Seasonal items: Jacket, bathing suit, snow suit, etc.
Shoes: Babies don’t really need shoes until they start walking around 9-12 months old, but it’s nice to have a pair if you’re out in cold weather.
Here’s the dirt on disposable diapers: ingredients vary by brand, but most disposable diapers include non-biodegradable plastics/elastics, wood pulp, and superabsorbent polymer (SAP), which can leak out of diapers and crystallize on your baby’s bottom if she’s left in a wet diaper for too long! Also, disposable diapers release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as toluene, xylene, and styrene (you and your baby inhale these gases!) Not to mention, it’s estimated that 24 billion disposable plastic diapers end up in the landfill every year. Cloth diapers are a more sustainable, safe, and affordable option. Although it’s a higher up-front cost ($400-$1,000), you’ll save about $2,000 a year per child in the long run. You can check out more information on cloth diapering here.
You can even try ditching the diapers with elimination communication (EC). Newborns naturally don’t want to soil themselves – peeing in a diaper is learned behavior! EC is the most sustainable and natural method, but do what works for you and your family. If you decide to go this route, a top hat potty would be handy. I didn’t find out about this until just recently and I wish I would’ve implanted EC from the beginning, but it’s never too late to start!
Cloth diapers: 20-24 cloth diapers (all-in-ones or covers/pre-folds) is ideal. KellysCloset.com is my preferred website to buy diapers from because they offer trial diapers, and free diapers with qualifying purchases. Sign up for a free account to get rewards points. If you decide to invest in newborn cloth diapers, Thirsties offers organic ones. Just note that your newborn will have meconium (thick, dark, tar-like poop) for the first few days of life and it’s hard to wash out of the diapers (if I could do it over, I would use diaper liners for the 3-6 days until the poop changes to a normal mustard color/seedy stool). I recommend getting the hook-and-loop (snaps) instead of velcro because you can adjust accordingly around the umbilical cord stump. For all-in-one cloth diapers, I swear by BumGenius and Thirsties – they offer diapers made with organic and/or natural fibers.
Wet bags: When I’m on-the-go, I use a small wet bag to soak my clean cloth wipes in water, and a large bag for dirty diapers and clothes.
Wipes: Choose organic cotton or hemp cloth wipes, or repurpose old t-shirts. You can toss them in the washer with cloth diapers for easy cleaning. If you decide to use disposables while on-the-go, choose brands that are unbleached and free of dyes/chemicals such as Kinder by Nature (what I use on vacation), Seventh Generation, or Honest Company. A quick note on another popular brand, WaterWipes – the fruit extract used is Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) which is not natural and can be contaminated with parabens, triclosan, and benzalkonium chloride. For the price of these wipes, you’re better off just rinsing your baby’s bum with water and drying with a cloth wipe (that’s what I do)!
Changing pad: I got a changing pad, but ended up not using it much. Honestly, I just change my baby on the bed or floor! If you get a changing pad, stay clear of toxic foam pads. Opt for a peanut diaper pad that’s latex, PVC, BPA, phthalate, and formaldehyde free. The solid surface wipes down easily and limits bacteria growth (no special changing pad cover needed).
Diaper cream: Breast milk works wonders for a diaper rash (but don’t do this if your baby has a yeast rash infection as it will feed the yeast). To prevent and/or heal a rash, try a dab of organic coconut oil or this organic diaper balm with frequent diaper changes (you don’t have to do it with every diaper change if you have a good routine). Be sure baby’s bum is completely dry before application.
Diaper pail: You can either toss cloth diapers in a diaper pail wet bag or a stainless steel diaper pail that will last throughout a number of kids. Unlike plastic, steel isn’t porous and blocks the smell inside. Also, you don’t need special refill liner bags (less plastic waste).
Diaper pail liner: If you decide to get pail liners, opt for cloth pail liners that you can wash and reuse.
Babies don’t need anything except your breast milk! And once they start eating solids around 6-9 months, they’ll eat with their hands for awhile, so there’s no need for fancy utensils with baby-led feeding (read more about why you should let your baby get messy eating here). When the time comes, you can choose natural bamboo feeding sets.
Bibs/burp cloths: You can just use any towels that you already have on hand, but you’ll go through these like nobody’s business. If you decide to buy new ones, choose organic burp cloths, and bibs or bandanas with non-toxic dyes as they will touch your baby’s mouth.
Bottle warmer: Save money, electricity, and space – skip those fancy gadgets! You can heat your baby’s bottle by leaving it in a bowl of warm water until it’s a suitable temperature. If you’re going to be using your milk within 4-8 hours of pumping (3-4 hours is most ideal, but it all depends on the temperature that day), you can leave it at room temperature. Read more about breastmilk storage and handling here. If you really insist on getting a bottle warmer, kill two birds with one stone and get a dual warmer/sterilizer.
Breast pump: Consult with your doctor/midwife/doula/IBCLC for a breast pump that best fits your needs. Medela was recommended by my lactation consultant. I rarely ever bottle-feed my baby (she feeds directly from my breasts), but a single-pump is nice for me to have on hand when I need to alleviate engorgement and donate breast milk. If you have ample milk supply and you’re able to share your milk, I highly recommend that you do it! I only pump once a day (10oz) and give it to my local donation bank. Visit www.hmbana.org for more information on how you can get involved!
Feeding bottles : Consult with your doctor/midwife/doula/IBCLC in regards to nipple flow, but Dr. Brown’s Glass Bottles were recommended to me. I skipped the small 3oz size and went with the larger 9oz bottles so that it lasts longer. But I wish I would’ve known about Born Free bottles – they offer conversion kits so the bottles can double as sippy cups for the toddler years.
High chair: You won’t need one for awhile until your baby starts eating solids, and it’s not really a necessity, but I’m sure it would make your life a heck of a lot easier. Opt for a natural wooden high-chair, either used or new.
Milk storage bags: Look for BPA-free milk storage bags to store your breast milk in. I use them when storing milk to donate. If I’m pumping for my daughter, I just store the milk in a glass bottle and refrigerate it (will last 3-4 days refrigerated).
Nursing Pillow: You can use your bed pillows or just hold your baby, but as a first-time mother, I found that a nursing pillow really helped me with my breastfeeding techniques. I have a used nursing pillow and bought a new organic cover.
Pacifier: If you decide to give your baby a pacifier, choose a natural rubber material like Natursutten. The Original Round style touches to the nose to mimic breastfeeding. Natural rubber pacifiers wear out more quickly than other materials because they’re not being held together by toxic polymers (it’s a good thing). It’s recommended that you replace these pacifiers every 6-8 weeks for sanitary reasons.
HEALTH & SAFETY
Laundry detergent: Look for a gentle detergent free of dyes, fragrances, and nasty chemicals. Avoid detergents with optical brighteners and enzymes for babies with sensitive skin. Bio-Kleen Free & Clear, Ecos Free & Clear, and Charlie’s Soap are gentle, vegan options (no animal by-products and no animal testing), but they have optical brighteners/enzymes. I was using Charlie’s, but I recently switched to Country Save Powder because it’s free of brighteners/enzymes. For cloth diapering, companies will have washing guidelines and recommended detergents to use (be sure to confirm if the brand is vegan). “Anything with oxygenating additives, enzymes or whiteners will slowly ruin your diapers. Also, anything with natural oils will leave a residue that will in time will build up on your diapers and cause them to reduce the amount of absorbency they can absorb. This may take a week, or 3 months to show up.” – SoftBums. Click here for an in-depth list of detergents.
Nasal aspirator: NoseFrida is not an eco-friendly option, but it works so much better than the traditional bulb syringe, in my opinion. My only dislike is that the hygiene filters are made of polypropylene plastic (although it is BPA-free, latex-free, and pthalate-free). You’re supposed to change the filter with each use, but I only change the filter every 4-6 uses depending on how much gunk I get.
Thermometer: Rectal thermometers are the most accurate, but forehead ones work just as good.
Monitor: There are two types of baby monitors, traditional with a standalone monitor/receiver or smartphone-based. I chose a traditional monitor because it runs on its own receiver signal, unlike smartphones that use wi-fi. If your wi-fi is randomly disconnected, you won’t be able to see what’s going on (nighttime should be a concern). I chose this traditional monitor because it has a long battery life, big screen, and interchangeable zoom lens.
Nail file: I’ve never been a fan of nail clippers. Electric nail files are much safer in my opinion. Want to forgo this? A tip my midwife told me is to bite baby’s nails. It sounds weird, but it works!
If you decide to buy toys, look for simple toys that don’t require batteries or make noise (overstimulating for babies). Also, ditch the plastic – many are laden with BPA and PVC. Look for natural materials such as solid wood (unfinished, non-toxic finish, or painted without VOC paint), natural rubber, or organic cloth/hemp. Many stuffed toys are made with petroleum-based foam filling and treated with flame retardants.
Here’s a list of my favorite toys:
- Natural Rubber Bath Toys
- Natural Rubber Teether
- Wooden Teether
- Organic Stuffed Toys
- Wooden Animal Shaker (+6 months)
- Submarine Bath Toy (+6 months)
- Wooden Bead Maze Toy (+6 months)
You can also head to EcoCenter.org to check their database for the products they’ve tested.
Baby carrier: I use stretch wraps, ring slings, and carriers. This organic wrap was easier for me to learn how to use and I like that it stretches, so I don’t have to adjust. Ring slings are a little more sturdy and fashionable in my opinion. You can easily wear it over your clothes. I sew my own slings, but I’ve heard great things about Sakura Bloom. However, there was a bigger learning curve for me. My fiancé and I have this heavier-duty carrier and this one, if I’m cooking or doing chores that require a lot of bending because it provides the most amount of support for me and my baby.
Car seat: This is an inevitable chunk of plastic that you must have, regardless of whether you own a car or not (if you travel in a cab, your baby needs to be secured in a car seat). Safety standards are constantly changing, so it’s not the best idea to buy a used car seat (especially if the seat has been in an accident, which would make it unsafe product). Many are made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which contain harmful phthalates. Also, by law, manufacturers have to treat car seats with flame retardants, but the kind you want to stay away from is brominated flame retardants. Some brands to consider are Chicco (works well for me), Britax, and Maxi-Cosi.
Extra car seat base: This is convenient for your husband or another caregiver, like a grandparent, to have in their car. That way, you can easily switch the seat from one car to another.
Stroller: You probably won’t need one for awhile if you’re babywearing, but it’s nice to have one if you want to go on long walks with your baby. Keep in mind that rear-facing strollers are better for baby’s brain development, and baby can easily focus on you instead of street noise and other overwhelming distractions. If you’re baby is anything like my baby, she’ll hate the car seat/stroller (I’m stuck babywearing for a long time, but that’s okay, it’s more natural for us).
Nipple cream: I tried using coconut oil, but I prefer nipple cream. Look for lanolin-free cream (lanolin is made from sheep wool fat). As a first-time nursing mother, I highly recommend getting some sort of protective shield.
Nursing bras/tanks (4-6): I prefer nursing tanks over nursing bras. They’re comfy, keep your stomach warm, functional, and easy to dress up. Add a cardigan over your tank for an instant outfit!
Pads: Conventional pads have a bunch of nasties in them! Choose reusable pads or natural organic pads free of chlorine, fragrances, or plastic. NatraCare is a great disposable option – get different sizes (regular, ultra long, overnight).
Calendula: Calendula has natural antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and healing properties. I put a few drops in my peri bottle (your doctor or midwife should provide one for you) with warm water each time I went to the bathroom post-partum. Make sure you get an organic tincture extract, not the oil.
Diaper bag: Upcycle an old backpack or purse with insert organizers.
Mother’s milk tea: Mother’s Milk Tea is a combination of fennel, anise, and coriander. These herbs have long been used in Ayurvedic medicine to support breast milk production. It’s a perfectly soothing decaffeinated tea that you can enjoy daily (I definitely do).
Milk saver: In the early stages of breastfeeding, you’ll leak a lot until your milk supply has regulated itself. In my case, I leaked a river on one breast while I was nursing on the other (this is normal, my body didn’t realize it wasn’t feeding for twins yet). I originally got bamboo nursing pads to soak up the milk, but the pads would eventually dry out and get stuck to my nipples…not fun! Then, I realized that milk is precious – instead of letting it go to waste, I could be saving the milk for my baby or donating it. So I bought milk savers (not the most eco-friendly option, but it is BPA-free and phthalate-free), a nifty gadget that collects milk from your non-nursing side and doubles as a protective nipple shield when you’re finished.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to leave a comment below. I’d love to chat!
<!– Pinterest Pixel Base Code –!>