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I'd love to hear more about that White Lotus futon crib mattress. This is something that I've wondered about, ever since I had my first two boys (now 11 and 10) and that smell their Serta crib mattresses had never went away. I have one still, and it still smells like new shower curtain (perfect description, by the way). We mostly co-slept in our bed, but it still bothered me. In their beds, I would put a few thing receiving blankets over the mattress, under the mattress pad and sheets to help reduce that funk from getting to the babies.

We're planning another baby and I worry about the mattress issue. So, how do you like that White Lotus mattress? Is there anything in particular that you found when searching for a crib mattress? Thank you so much, Jo.


Melissa, we have the toddler mattress, which is a little less hard than the crib mattress. The crib mattress is probably better for little babies, but since Sophia was already crawling and stuff when we got the crib, we figured it didn't matter. Anyway, we chose White Lotus because we already loved them, have a futon from them too, they're local, sustainable, and our friend works there. Can't say enough good about 'em.


off-topic but i can't seem to find the link to that little birthing pool of yours. if you've got the name, would you mind letting me know it? a friend is considering a home birth and wants a pool. she's been looking at the hard plastic ones recommended for home birth, but i mentioned yours and she's interested...

and as for the dipes - thanks anyhow but we're all good. i'm pretty sure they're too small now. and if not, oh well. my true goal with cloth diapering now is to encourage potty training ;).


afrindiemum, it's this one. I really liked it; could hang on the side or push with all my weight, and Sean could get in too. Nice and deep.

Also tell her to get an air pump, for quick filling, and a Python valve (for aquarium use, usually), for ease of drainage. Oh, and a white drinking-water-safe hose. The green ones are evil lead-contaminated vinyl.


Wow. This is impressive, and helpful. I'm wondering what you think about the "take and toss" sippies, which are #5 plastic - that's a "good" plastic, right? Those are what we use. (And we "take" them, not "toss" them...I've never thrown one away and don't plan to.) I'm debating getting a Sigg bottle but I'm afraid I'll lose it and curse myself for buying such an expensive sippy.


Oh, I forgot: about the hose. We just let DD play in a vinyl pool filled with an evil green hose for about an hour today, and she splashed water in her mouth many times. How bad is that?? We're at my parents' house and my mother is definitely not going to run out and buy a white hose any time soon! But I can't deny DD her pool time; she literally wails if I take her out to the backyard without filling it up and letting her splash around. So is it a really bad lead hazard, or OK if she doesn't actually drink the water purposely?



Best thing you can do is run water entirely through the hose until it runs very cold, and then fill the tub. The water that sits in the hose is what will have more lead dissolved in it.

Thanks for another great post, Jo! We see eye to eye on a lot of these issues.

BTW, the Colgate mattresses I think do use vinyl and foam but they are treated to not outgas (or, are outgassed significantly at the factory). We got one and other than the wrapping it came in, which we threw away, we can't smell a darn thing from them, and I'm super duper sensitive to such things. So I think that is a good option.

Excited to try the SS sippy cups when the time comes. I wouldn't use it with avent nipples, though, because you'd be creating a vacuum in there which is bad for the eustacian tubes, etc. We use dr. brown's due to this. I wish they weren't polycarb.

A hint to reduce bis-A in polycarb bottles: after you wash them in the dishwasher, take them out when they are still wet and rinse them again with cold tap water and shake out. That way, hot water from the dishwasher doesn't dry in the bottles- and hot water always leaches more of anything than cold.


I know this is completely ridiculous, but I'm getting paranoid about silicone. It's supposed to be great because it is inert inside our bodies? We can't digest it in anyway and it all comes out the other side, correct? Well how do we really know that? You remember all those women doing those lawsuits because their silicone breast implants were slowly leaking in them, and they said they were having bizarre immuno-suppressed response issues?

And doesn't Silicon Valley have one of the highest rates of autism in the country? And isn't the newest research pointing to some kind of immuno-suppression issue as the core of autism? And so what if you were laying down these insoluble silicon fibers in your body and your immune response kept trying to get rid of it, but couldn't, and so that's why you have these other issues?

I'm sure this is completely ridiculous, as I have no real scientific knowledge of the issue... but still... it bugs me.


so if bamboo spoons and plates are on your OK list, what about straight up bamboo? we've got a herd of it growing in our back yard...think i could lob the more bendy upper parts off for my 5 month old to chew? seriously, that almost sounds so crazy it just might work! she's really starting to chew on anything she can get her hands on. perhaps she'll be a panda for halloween this year...


Jo, thanks so much for this! I've been trying, since you first blogged about this, to start replacing my plastic dishes with ceramic, plastic cups with glass, etc.

My hardcore thriftiness (and general poverty) are at severe war with the whole concept. Stainless steel sippy cups and cotton crib mattresses are a drop on the credit card for some, but nigh-on impossible for lowly me (I just wanted to use the phrase 'nigh-on'!)

I wonder if one can find old glass bottles online? Like eBay? I wonder if the NUK silicone nipples would fit them? Hmmmm.

Now! Off to purge the house of vinyl!



I. want. that. BED.


I don't have children yet, don't even know if I can have children yet, and am already hyperventilating as I contemplate finding dome of those things here in Portugal. Gah! But I am more and more informed and I can only thank you.


Hey, I never knew about this stuff until I was 6 months along, and baby's grandmom loves to give him plastic toys...we're working on her. But thanks to you, I've made a real effort by buying little glass ramekin bowls to feed him from, and avoiding new plastic thingydoobers whenever possible.


What your readers should know is that Avent BOTTLES may be bad plastic, but Avent SIPPY CUPS are not.

And the point of that? The nipples are interchangeable between the two.

So, Avent nipple on luridly coloured better plastic Avent bottle. And tell all the ladies at the post office it's juice in your three weeks old's bottle. They'll find it amusing, honest!


ah, expat,
that is excellent. i was just going to post a question about that... *going to the store right now to buy sippy cups*
:) k


I'm buying a klean kanteen sippy RIGHT NOW - thanks for the link. A few days ago I tasted the water from my daughter's sippy. YUUUCKK!! Plastic and dishwasher detergent flavors commingled. I was SO horrified.


Another teething toy option would be organic cotton, such as these dolls:


Thank you for all these tips! I will look into the Kleen Kantee for my 4 y.o.. And if I EVER have another baby and find i need bottles from time to time, i will certainly use glass. I appreciate you taking the time to share all this info with us.


I was going to ask if anyone had an non-vinyl alternative to those ubiquitous contoured changing table pads, but I kept obsessively searching online and eventually found one. While I suppose one could use a pile of folded towels, or perhaps even supplement said pile with a wool puddle pad, a Snuggle Wool bassinet/changing table pad looks like a viable option:

New Mama

Great post. Any idea where I can buy stainless steel dishes? I JUST bought a ton of re-usable plastic dishes from Target for family get-togethers (we don't have enough regular dishes for big gatherings, and I didn't want to use disposable), but I like the idea of stainless steel better.


By the way, it seems that The First Years brand is PVC-free. At least they are the only big name brand I can find that lists that on most of their products (including teethers). I'm telling the inlaws that they can buy that brand (since it's found at Target and such) least they know they *should* be PVC-free and that some of us care about it. The other brands don't even throw us a bone...

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