Babies today are surrounded by plastic. Their bottles are plastic, their toys are plastic, their stuffed animals are plastic, even their blankets, lovies and clothes are plastic, made from synthetic materials. Many of these plastics that surround them come in the format of microfibers, small tiny synthetic fibers made from polyester, nylon, rayon, spandex, and Lycra that shed into our oceans. I hate synthetic microfibers with a passion (see my blog on the Plastic Pollution Coalitions website to learn more about why) and I have tried to stop purchasing items that shed synthetic microfibers. It had not occurred to me until recently that all of my own childhood stuffed animals were polyester on the outside and inside. Babies put everything in their mouths and the idea of my kid sucking on and ingesting small pieces of plastic microfibers is unsettling to me.
I’m expecting my first baby in September and it has been extremely important to me to avoid plastic clothing, blankets and toys, so I’ve spent a lot of time the past few months researching plastic-free, earth-friendly alternatives. Yes, they are definitely more expensive than mass produced goods made from plastic, but I’m a quality over quantity kind of gal. Here are some of my favorite baby gifts that both look classy and are not made from plastic!
- Organic cotton lovies – lovies were not a thing when I was a baby, but they are all the rage now. If you aren’t familiar with them, they are basically a mix between a stuffed animal and baby blanket. Most of them seem to be made from polyester fleece that I see, so I was happy to discover this Bitte elephant lovie made from organic cotton on the outside and stuffed with upcycled latex on the inside. Trying to avoid latex? Check out this elephant lovie sold by Amazon made from 100% organic cotton both inside and out. Be sure to check your so-called organic cotton lovies for polyester filling in the head, since many seem to have tried to cut corners by using cheaper poly fill instead of natural fibers.
- 100% Organic Cotton teddy bear – most stuffed animals are made from plastic both outside and inside, but not this one! My sister found this polar bear stuffed animal for our baby and it is super cute! It is extremely hard to find stuffed animals that are both organic cotton on the outside and stuffed with it on the inside, so this is a diamond in the rough. Good job, sis!
- Wooden rattles – not only are these gorgeous and made from a renewable resource, but they make a really nice noise when you shake them. Bitte has a really nice collection of wooden rattles that are sealed with things non-toxic oils like flax seed oil and beeswax, making them safe for kids to put in their mouth. Be advised that some of Bitte’s cloth rattles are filled with polyester, so read the description carefully before you buy.
- Leather moccasins – I love the ones from Starry Knight Design, which come in a variety of sizes and colors. While they all have elastic bands to hold on the shoes (which is typically made from some kind of synthetic material), they are the best option that I have been able to find.
- Natural rubber duck – most rubber ducks these days are made from plastic. However, Rose and Rex sell a rubber duck made from natural rubber and food dyes, so they are safe for babies to chew on in the bath.
- A mobile for counting sheep – this mobile is made from metal and felted wool, and is pretty stinking cute. It’s similar to something I found in Nepal for my niece and is nice and lightweight, so if it ever were to falls on a baby, it won’t hurt them (unlike the hard plastic mobiles that I imagine would lead to quite a few tears if they ever fell down).
- Organic Cotton Swaddles – swaddles are all the rage these days and we wanted to make sure that the ones we got were made from organic cotton, since the way we farm conventional cotton is awful for the planet and people working in the fields. I love these ones from Margaux and May for the design and these super basic, undyed ones from Cotton Organics; both are very large and will work both for swaddling or as a stroller blanket. I personally got them for my baby shower (thanks Josh!) and the quality so far looks great, although I’m still waiting for my baby to arrive to really put them in action.
- Organic Cotton Baby Carrier – if you want to get someone a really nice gift, the Lille Baby Organic Cotton Baby Carrier is stunning, super soft and will get daily use. It was the only one I could find that was made from organic cotton and you pay a $20 premium for it over their conventional cotton carrier, but to me, it is worth paying a tiny bit more for a healthier planet.
- Organic cotton hooded towel – there are lots of adorable hooded towels on the market for babies, but most are made with conventional cotton. This one on Etsy is made with organic cotton and is really well constructed. Bonus – it comes with a washcloth!
- Organic cotton bedding – babies sleep a lot, so if you want a gift that will get used all of the time, go with an organic cotton crib sheet. The great news is that there are tons of options for every budget; from Burts Bees crib sheets at the lower end to Coyuchi and Boll and Branch at the higher end, the biggest difference between them will be fabric weave & sewing quality. I personally requested Boll and Branch because they have the perfect gift set that contains 2 crib sheets plus a stunning baby blanket.
For more plastic-free inspiration, check out the Plastic Pollution Coalition’s Healthy Baby Guide. It contains a lot of rich information on products that have been certified safe for babies by Made Safe.