What eco friendly rocking chairs for nursing do you recommend?
July 17, 2011 8:59 AM   Subscribe

I'm due with my first baby later this year and am on the search for eco friendly products. I'm looking for a rocking chair that can also lock, is comfortable and cushioned (there's lots of just wood options out there), and is relatively reasonable budget wise (under $500 preferred). I want to avoid as much off gassing from new furniture as possible. What I've found so far is this and this one (which is not eco but more representative of what I'm looking for). Any experience with these or any other suggestions? Bonus points to anyone who can point me to an eco friendly, safe, well rated car seat (do they exist?!). Thanks.
posted by healthyliving to Home & Garden (22 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
IMHO, eco friendly baby purchasing = used! I'm pretty environmental (we do cloth diapers, for example), but I find that most baby gear that is marketed as "environmentally friendly" is really not worth the price. The fact is babies destroy clothes, lose toys (or have no interest in them whatsoever), and it isn't worth it to buy the best of the best stuff unless you have no financial constraints whatsoever. (I wasted a lot of money on organic toys and stuff... sigh.)

Moreover, the companies that do baby stuff WELL are not always the ones that do eco-friendly well. The eco-friendly baby stuff companies tend to be new on the scene, big into the marketing, and not all that great on actual practical use.

Anyway, getting off my soapbox...

Also IMHO (and based on Internet research), Dutailier gliders are the best. Keep an eye on Craigslist. We got ours for under $200 with an ottoman. You'll use the heck out of it for the first 6-9 months (and for most people it is more likely used in the living room rather than baby's bedroom, FWIW) and then your use will probably drop off.

As far as a carseat, all of them are safe if they're being sold. I've been an avid reader of baby/parenting blogs and review sites for over 3 years and I've never seen a carseat advertised as "eco"...

Personally, if I were to do it all over again, I'd buy the best mid-range infant seat like the Graco Snugride (carseats) (my kid only used it for 6 months and we had bought a Britax super fancy one... and carseats have almost no resell value) and then find a nicer convertible seat (Britax probably) for later infant and toddler years.

Best environmental/safety site for baby stuff? ZRecs.
posted by k8t at 9:13 AM on July 17, 2011 [5 favorites]

Perhaps the most eco-friendly option would be to consider a gently used non-eco rocking chair. You'll save money, avoid off-gassing and be able to choose from a larger palette of chairs.
posted by thejoshu at 9:21 AM on July 17, 2011

Buy a used rocking chair/glider to be the most eco-friendly, then resell it after your done.

Please do not buy a used car seat though. I'm not aware of any eco-friendly carseats, and IMHO safety ratings should be your top priority on that one item, whereas you can afford to value eco-friendly construction first for everything else.
posted by Joh at 9:43 AM on July 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

2nding buying a used glider set. The money you save can go to a good upholsterer for refurbishing with an eco-friendly fabric.

And what do you mean by "eco-friendly" car seats? I don't know of any that market themselves as such. They all have to meet federal safety standards, which requires a certain amount of plastic, foam padding, flame retardants, etc., and as a result I doubt there are any that would qualify as "eco" as most people define it. They're also not something you should normally buy used. I ordered most of our seats from Elite Car Seats -- I quite enjoyed getting those bulky boxes shipped to my front door -- plus they have lots of reviews and advice.
posted by hms71 at 10:33 AM on July 17, 2011

I think you have a bit of a contradiction here; if you want to be eco-friendly, the way to roll is to not buy unnecessary stuff. You don't need a special chair to nurse in, I promise; your sofa or bed or floor or computer chair or ??? will work just fine. But if you are set on a rocker, nth used.

I would get the pricy Britax convertible from the get-go; I don't get the 'infant seat' thing -- and if you are looking to minimise your impact on the environment you definitely want to minimise your purchasing, and the convertibles are suitable for use from birth.

I have not seen any "eco friendly"-marketed baby whatnot that was not really mostly just greenwashing. A dizzying array of totally unnecessary and very disposable schlock is out there at the moment under the guise of "green for baby," quite appalling. Be choosy...!
posted by kmennie at 10:35 AM on July 17, 2011 [4 favorites]

Echoing kmennie, if I were to have a 2nd baby, I'd do a convertible from the getgo, but if baby turned out to be a "I don't transfer well from the car to the house" type of kid, I'd probably then buy an infant bucket seat OR if baby was a preemie or small and the convertibles weren't really street legal for the baby's size.
posted by k8t at 10:38 AM on July 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

A suggestion: buy it in person, not on-line. I tried at least ten gliders in a store and hated them all, then the last one I tried was wonderful.

I agree with kmennie that they're not necessary, but I sure liked mine and I didn't have any other comfortable chairs at the time. If you already have a comfortable arm chair or sofa, just skip the glider.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:38 AM on July 17, 2011

I am personally a person that likes to move, so being able to sit in the glider to rock the baby while boobin' was pleasant to me.
posted by k8t at 10:44 AM on July 17, 2011

I never had a glider, and managed fine without one. I did use the baby bucket seat and loved it though, it was great being able to pop a sleeping baby out of the car and carry him to a restaurant, and sit him on a chair next to me, still asleep. Agreed that a convertible is definitely the most frugal way to go, but your preference may depend how much you use the car. If you do get a baby bucket, then I also recommend you buy a used snap'n'go stroller frame from craigslist, as it folds up enough to easily go in the trunk, unlike the gigantic travel systems etc. Also, soft structured baby carriers are great, and you can find tons that fulfill the eco-friendly requirements.
posted by Joh at 11:00 AM on July 17, 2011

"I don't get the 'infant seat' thing -- and if you are looking to minimise your impact on the environment you definitely want to minimise your purchasing, and the convertibles are suitable for use from birth."

The difference is often your state and your baby-having plans, and sometimes what fits in your car. OP, think about how long your kid has to be in the seat; for us, w/r/t our state laws, it made more sense to get an infant seat and then a toddler/booster convertible (rather than an infant/toddler convertible and a booster seat). Also we had a little trouble finding an infant/toddler convertible that wanted to fit in our car comfortably, whereas the combo we ended up with fits very nicely in my compact car. (Obviously buying a low-MPG SUV because you can't fit car seats in your high-MPG compact car is far more environmentally unfriendly than the seats themselves!) You might also consider child spacing if you intend to have more -- what will result in having to own the fewest car seats, given your state's laws? Like, when will #1 graduate from a seat, leaving it for #2 to use? Will they overlap in the same type of car seat, requiring you to own two?

(It's also not necessarily the size of the car; some seats just fit better in certain cars than other seats do. There are websites that try to rate this information though I don't know of any that are super-comprehensive.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:32 AM on July 17, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for all your suggestions. I am a fan of Craigslist, used, and trying in person. The question was coming from a place of knowing we have out of town relatives who want to purchase these types of items for us and I wanted to present them with the greenest, well made, non off-gassing option, basically looking out for baby's best health as well as my comfort.
posted by healthyliving at 11:34 AM on July 17, 2011

Oh, I was big on pushing relatives to respect our wishes about buying used primarily and putting eco friendly stuff on the list. Some listened to me, others were offended... whatevs. But I was SO specific about my desired carseat and stroller and baby carrier that I refused to register for them and just bought them outright or on Craigslist.

Here are some thoughts for you on the "relatives want to buy big ticket stuff, but we're environmental" front:

- While opinions vary on infant carriers, just about everyone comes around to wanting an Ergo. It's environmental and expensive, so perfect for registering. They also don't appear on Craigslist as frequently because people use them for many years, unlike a swing. They're also available both online and in most upscale baby shops, so relatives can go shopping in person if they like.

- If you're going to do cloth diapers (an investment of hundreds of dollars), asking relatives to buy them for you is a great idea because they're useful and eco and expensive (Although I'd be hesitant to stock up on a particular brand in case you don't end up liking that model). See about getting ~5 of these and ~5 of these to start.

- Wipes! Cloth wipes are cool for some, but we don't do them and they're not as practical for on-the-go. And, for me at least, I'm cool with any of the more eco-friendly wipes [7thgen] [earth's best]. More importantly, relatives can buy them online or locally and be happy about it.

- Books! You can't go wrong with registering for baby books. People can buy a few that you register for and then buy a few of their favorites. People also often tack on a book or 2 to gifts anyway.

- Everyone wants swaddle blankets, so register for organic ones.
posted by k8t at 11:53 AM on July 17, 2011 [2 favorites]

Be careful buying a used car seat - they usually expire (whatever that means) after 6 years.
posted by radioamy at 12:46 PM on July 17, 2011

Makes A Change from the UK

The new owner should know what to recommend to buy if they don't have a product you want already listed. If they don't, please memail me and I'll put you in touch with the original founder who specializes in this area and has only ecofriendly, organic etc stuff for her babies. (which she rigorously tested on her own two sons not to mention hapless friends ;p)
posted by infini at 1:02 PM on July 17, 2011

The problem with old, expired car seats is that the plastic ages and becomes brittle over time, especially because it's being exposed to extremes of temperature in your car. It might look perfectly serviceable, but the material might be just weakened enough to be no longer protective in the case of a crash. Hence the expiration dates.

The problem with used car seats is that likewise, being used in an impact may have damaged the plastic in meaningful but non-visible ways, and you have no way to tell if it's still strong enough to do its job in a crash short of having a crash, which is not when you want to learn that it doesn't work anymore.

Beyond that, car seats don't seem to really have eco alternatives, alas.

If you have loved ones who want to spend a lot of money on you and the baby, might they also consider sending you some sort of post-partum meal service, or a nurse to help out around the house with diapering and getting you fed in those first few sleep-deprived days?
posted by Andrhia at 1:36 PM on July 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

In terms of a locking glider, find a used one that doesn't lock, but is built such that the side of the seat under the arm rest overlaps the bottom foot rest and both pieces are made out of wood (this should be a no brainer, btw).

Then with the chair in a neutral position, drill a 5/16" hole into through the side into the base. You can now put a 1/4" dowel through them both and it will lock. For bonus points, put a screw eye into the end of the dowel and a key ring through it so doesn't get lost.
posted by plinth at 5:04 PM on July 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

IMHO, I think gliders are not at all comfy. What I got instead was a rocker recliner chair. It was snuggly comfy and I use it to this day - my youngest is 5. I love being able to curl up in the chair. I loved it when I had my babies and could comfortably tuck my feet underneath me while I rocked or fed them. I loved it when there was inevitably a night when one of my children would not sleep unless they were somewhat on an incline and sleeping on my chest - I'd recline the chair and ta da! we all would be able to sleep! And now that they're older, I still use that chair - for reading, using the 'puter, whatever.

So, perhaps buy a used recliner (or maybe they make an environmentally friendly one) and keep it and use it forever.
posted by Sassyfras at 5:26 PM on July 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Great, great suggestions everyone, thank you.
posted by healthyliving at 6:34 PM on July 17, 2011

Baby Earth maybe what you are looking for.

As stated on their website:
"While only a portion of their products are eco-friendly, BabyEarth boasts one of the largest selections of eco-friendly baby products in the market today."

posted by BuffaloChickenWing at 8:19 PM on July 17, 2011

Just want to 2nd the PP who recommended you try out the glider or recliner/rocker (what we ended up with) in person... the dutalier gliders are supposed to be the best, and they made me car sick, I'm so glad I didn't buy one. You'll be living in that chair for the first few weeks, so you want it to be comfy!

If you haven't been there already, I highly recommend the Baby Bargains forums, another nice and knowledgeable group of folks over there.
posted by snowymorninblues at 8:59 PM on July 17, 2011

ugh they just redid their website and broken the link, Baby Bargains forum
posted by snowymorninblues at 9:00 PM on July 17, 2011

This popped up in my RSS reader today: Most and Least Toxic Car Seats. No idea of accuracy or usefulness to you, but just in case it helped, I wanted to come back and post it.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:48 AM on August 12, 2011

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