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Constance Marie’s Blog: Greening My Baby!

06/16/2010 at 09:00 AM ET

It’s been an interesting month with celebrity blogger Constance Marie! So far, we’ve met the family, gone “into the trenches,” learned all about cloth diapers and have gone through the ups and downs of her fertility fight.

This week, the actress — who lives in California with her fiancé, yoga instructor Kent Katich, and their 16-month-old daughter, Luna Marie — tells PEOPLE Moms & Babies about going green when designing a nursery for her baby girl.


Courtesy Constance Marie

Once again ladies, you impress me so much! I read your comments — THANK YOU for so openly sharing your stories! We are all paying it forward to help other women and letting them know they are not alone.

My new topic: Your organic baby!

Okay — so you’re probably thinking, “Oy, she’s gonna talk about all that earthy, crunchy, non-toxic stuff now. Who has time to research all that?” Well, if you read my last blog, you’d understand that I had a really long time to investigate why I wasn’t getting pregnant and what could be contributing to my lack of fertility. I had nothing but time and I read everything! Research was all I could do! It was the only thing that helped me feel a little bit in control — and I LOVE control! Just ask Kent!

Once I became pregnant with Luna Marie I realized, “If I detoxified my environment, wouldn’t I apply all this knowledge to keep my baby as non-toxic as possible as well?” I saw how Bisphenol A (BPA), mercury and other chemicals were affecting my body and wondered how it would affect my baby once she was born.

Everyone says a certain amount of toxins in acceptable levels are fine. Well, that example of acceptable usually done with a model that uses a 155 lbs. man as the test subject, not an infant with an immune system three times more vulnerable than that of an adult, Dr. Sanjay Gupta said on the recent Toxic America CNN special. Out of the approximately 83,000 chemicals we are exposed to daily, only 220 have been studied to see if they are safe for us humans!

Thus began my organic baby journey. I had my precious, pure little baby on the way and I had to make sure I didn’t bring her home to a dirty, germy, chemical-ridden world.


Courtesy Constance Marie

My research showed that the nursery is one of the most toxic rooms in the house. Why? Because EVERYTHING is new! Made with new glues, new paints, varnishes, flame-retardants and pesticides and your baby breathes in all these fumes as they sleep. The toxins are there for years!

Are you thinking, “Ugh, going green is hard and expensive. Now I gotta make my nursery drab and ugly?” Not so! If you have seen all the photos I’ve been sharing, they’re all taken in Luna Marie’s 90 percent green nursery. Yea, I said, 90 percent! I am not perfect — 90 percent was all I could do. Every bit counts!


Alison Dyer

Here are the four things I started with:

1) Paint — That’s where we all start, right? We want our perfect little baby to wake up to a room that makes them feel loved and happy. Well, the problem with paint is that it can off-gas things called volatile organic compounds (VOC’s). These are toxic fumes and are in the air for up to a year. One of these gases is formaldehyde — a known carcinogen! CRAP! That is not what I wanted my baby to wake up to! I had to find an alternative.

To my surprise, the answer was pretty simple — and inexpensive! Lots of brands now sell low VOC or zero VOC paint — even Benjamin Moore sells some. When Kent and his dad painted the room — we used Safecoat — as soon as it dried, BAM! No VOCs! My baby’s air was gonna be clean.

2) Crib — The average baby can spend up to 15 hours a day in their crib — if you’re blessed with a sleeper, which I hope you are! The baby’s crib is put together with particle board, which contains glues that off-gas. Then the wood is coated with paint or varnish that off-gases. If it’s shipped from overseas, they spray it with pesticides and then they off gas! Holy crap! I thought to myself, “Man, is there no end to this off-gasing thing?! Getting a solid wood crib is gonna be frickin’ expensive!”

Well ladies, to my surprise, the least expensive crib I found was the greenest! Who knew? It was made of solid wood, good old-fashioned screws and not painted! Instead, it just had a coat of organic linseed oil. I found it at Green Cradle. I LOVE this store — it’s the greenest baby store I have found! In fact, if you mention “Luna” on the site or in the store they will give you a discount.

A friend who wanted to give me a beautiful, imported, elegant, painted crib thought I was crazy — Well, I am a little crazy, it’s sorta an occupational hazard … but I digress. When I saw my little Luna Marie chewing on the bars, I knew I had made the right choice!

3) Mattress — A baby spends the longest, most uninterrupted time lying on the mattress … face down, curled up, drooling, looking adorable and so vulnerable. However, while they’re there looking so cute, there are up to 39 toxins being released into the air from an average inner spring mattress, Walter Bader writes in his book Toxic Bedrooms. Gasp! Is there no end? Flame-retardants, formaldehyde and so many others with long names that I won’t even bother trying to spell! Let’s just say that they aren’t good for your baby to breathe!

But don’t panic! They now make organic cotton and natural fiber mattresses, among many others that are way better for your baby. Whew — thank God!

As for me, I high-tailed it back to Green Cradle and bought a natural rubber mattress. It doesn’t off-gas, it’s anti-microbial and dust mites can’t live in it. It’s pretty darn comfy too! When I put little Luna Marie down, I knew she would be getting a good night’s rest. Lord knows, I needed one!

4) Air Purifier — Last but so not least, if you can only do one thing I suggest this one! The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has estimated indoor air to be 7-100 times more polluted than outdoor air. Because all of our stuff — TVs, plastic, carpet, wood floors, computers, etc. — emits chemicals into the air that you and your babies breathe. Investing in an air purifier is a must! Unfortunately, it does nothing for bad breath, BO and poop smell. :)


Courtesy Constance Marie

I know it’s a lot of info. As moms we don’t have a lot of time, and there are 50 million things we’re doing simultaneously. We can’t do everything perfectly. I say, “Start slow and just do the best you can!”

There are many, many other things you can do to green your baby’s world. Limit the BPA, lead, phalates and PVC in your baby’s life. I could go on and on! I know that it’s more than a little scary to know about all the toxic stuff out there. But the good news is that, as moms, we have a lot of power — the power of where we spend our money! If we were only to buy green/organic things for our babies, I guarantee that manufacturers would put less toxins in everything.

Moms literally can change the world — even if it is one toy at a time!

To help you while I am working on my book, Greening My Baby’s World, I’m going to give you a great resource. I found it so helpful. It’s a book called Greenopia. It’s like a Zagat guide to all things green! Want a green dry cleaner? Baby store? Carpet cleaner? Just look it up!

Uh oh — my time is up! Luna Marie is screaming, “Mama! Mama!” Daddy has been in charge for the last hour — I hope she hasn’t climbed the stove again! Gotta go!


Courtesy Constance Marie

– Constance Marie

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Showing 38 comments

Izzie's Mom on

I choose to protect my baby by making as much of her food myself as possible. I buy organic when I can, cook, and puree everything. It may be a control thing, but I feel better knowing what I am putting in her little body rather than relying on some company’s word that it is safe. Too many times I’ve read where baby food has been tampered with. It’s just not worth it! I love your blog and look forward to reading it every week. Your daughter is beautiful!

Susie on

Try this for cleaning and disinfecting – http://www.benefect.com/ or http://www.cleanwelltoday.com/ for hand sanitizers and more cleaning products. It’s made of thyme and natural plant oils – so great!!

Karen on

everything sounds great im currently 5 months pregnant and i have a 2 year old baby boy. I wanted to know is there a web site where you could buy all these stuff at an affordable price ? im going nuts looking for things and all that info you talked about make me worry even more! ugh but i love reading your blogs :)

xxx on

the baby looks like Harlow Madden

Hanna on

It’s interesting how anti-chemical (in some ways) the modern world is becoming. I suppose it’s just a natural cycle, and the turn to organic/green is the next step in toning down the synthetic chemical use of the 20th century. Once upon a time it was a godsend to have preservative chemicals on your food to keep it from going off, but now people see that as a manifestation of all that’s wrong with the world today.

I mean, even the word “chemicals” gets a bad rap nowadays. If you mention chemicals everyone assumes you mean something synthetic, unnatural, man-made, but everything in nature is a chemical too. I mean, oxygen is a “toxin” in certain situations – so is water – yet we think of them as natural and pure.

Anyway, this isn’t directed at your blog particularly, Constance, it’s just some random musing on the world at large. I think it’s wonderful you’ve gone to so much effort to make your baby’s nursery as safe for her as possible. And little Luna is gorgeous – thank you for sharing these wonderful pics!

Tina Marie on

Constance Marie,

I totally agree with you, I try my best to have my son’s room as green as possible and feed him organic foods. I feel that as mother’s it is neccesary that we do everthing possible to keep our babies as healthy as possible. I love ur blog!

Jane on

You and your baby are so beautiful! I never realized how many toxins there are since of course companies do not want it publicized….or just don’t know. When I have kids I will definitely try this stuff : ) I love your blog, keep it up!

Amanda on

And people think going green has to be expensive. Truth is it’s the opposite! Yes, organic foods tend to be more expensive. This is a reason I love living in a rural area, we live on acreage and have a large garden, aka organic fruit and veggies! It doesn’t provide our fruit and veggies year round since we live in WI but the money we save during the summer and fall offsets what we have to spend in the winter and spring. We plan to get our own chickens in the next few years too. As far as cleaners, vinegar is an excellent natural cleaner, and it’s cheap too. And those ‘free and clear’ detergents are great but making your own detergent you can see just what goes in it and you save money to top it off. I’m just a normal mom, I’m not an extreme environmentalist or anything but I do find it almost fun to find ways to save my family money and provide a more healthy environment.

Anonymous on

Luna is so cute. Love the going Green idea very improtant.

Emily on

First of all, I just have to say, ya’ll are just beautiful together. Secondly, I had my son at 40 after many fertility treatments and years of trying. So I get where you are coming from.

I make everything as fresh as possible. When I can’t find good fresh produce, we buy frozen. He eats very healthy and we have switched to mostly green cleaning. He also wears 100% cotton (he gets welts with anything else) and it is a bit more expensive to buy coats and stuff, but we do what we have to… (he’s got asthma/allergies/eczema too, so I have extra incentive to be green).

There are many American Made, organic toy companies. We love Magic Cabin (fantastic cotton dolls, wooden toys, etc).

I promise I do have a point. I think moms should encourage each other in whatever we choose to do, because there are so many “right ways” to do things. And I appreciate your quest for green and pure. It’s refreshing.

Many blessings for you and your family!
Emily

Shay on

I cannot get enough of the pics of little Luna! She is BEYOND adorable!!!

Tiffany on

I’m glad to see celebrity moms talking about making their homes “green”. There are some great blogs where you can read a lot more of this type of information:

http://www.mommygoesgreen.com
http://www.safemama.com
http://www.healthychild.org

Luna on

When I got pregnant with my first, I decided to make everything as healthy as possible for my baby boy. That meant organic EVERYTHING and cloth diapers. Next pregnancy, I had two on the way and one already, so I was more lenient. Huggies and Pampers were purchased and things were more chaotic. I began to notice that my daughters were a lot fussier than my son was at about three months. I made it my mission to purify again, and the fussing stopped. I’ve not strayed from the organic path since. My mom thinks I’m nuts because she raised four kids the non-organic way (i.e. disposable diapers, regular crib, regular paint etc). However, my kids are among the healthier ones that I know, rarely getting colds or viruses. Plus they’re skinny and the doctor always gives them a clean bill of health. Constance, I love your blogs and Luna is the cutest baby! Good for you giving Luna Marie the clean world our children deserve.

Ash on

Thanks for recommending that website. Unfortunately, I still think $500-600 is more than most people can spend on a crib. The couple that runs the Young House Love blog are “greenies,” but they’re also pretty frugal so they went into detail about how they created their daughter’s nursery. They wrote an entire entry about their crib search (trying to find one that was both safe and affordable) and, believe it or not, they ended up purchasing theirs from Walmart of all places!!! It’s worth a read.

Lachesis7 on

I wonder … everyone who mentions toxins and going green and making their baby’s foods … how many of you do not wear perfumes?

RhoRho Greenie on

I’m glad to see celebrity moms talking about making their homes “green”.
visit for some more green ideas:

http://the-green-buzz.blogspot.com/
http://newworldsolar.blogspot.com/
http://2much2doaboutnothing.blogspot.com/

Carol Alaniz on

I think your blog is great! I’m a 52 year old mom of two sons in their 20’s. I wish the
empathasis on green living had been strong in the 80’s when they were born. I’m sure they would have been better off.

Thanks for your enlightening blog, you’re a good writer.

babyrama on

I love the tree scene you painted in your baby’s nursery!

Melissa on

If you don’t live near a store that sells green products, shopping online is a great alternative. Check out http://www.lifekind.com/index.php/site_category_product_report/9 for organic baby products. Both of my boys slept on a lifekind organic crib mattress. The mattress was awesome.

Anna on

Are you able to tell me where Luna Marie’s hair clip is from in the second picture. it looks like one from my company, but i have to make sure! :)

Thank you!

torgster on

What a little doll – her face is so expressive, like she is wise beyond her years lol.

ILuvPerfectParents on

I love the nursery & her baby is soooooo darn pretty.

Kaitlin Rose on

Thank you for spreading the good word about non-toxic and organic materials! I think it is so important to surround ourselves, our loved ones and most importantly, our children with chemical-free products.

Before my pregnancy I was mostly organic, but took it a step further when I made the decision to give birth to my daughter at home. Given the crazy cesarean section rate and other often unnecessary medical interventions during labor and birth, I thought it would be the best thing for our family. As it turns out, it was! In fact, I ended up having a perhaps safer birth at home than what could have happened in the hospital. But that’s a long story.

Since then I’ve been working tirelessly building a website and blog to help empower and educate women about home birth – it’s not as far out and scary as one might think.

Slowly but surely the tides are changing, from buying non-toxic chemicals, to eating local and organic, all the way to how we choose to bring our children into the world. I think it’s all connected to how we treat our planet, and how we can reduce our carbon footprint in several aspects of our lives.

Thanks again for spreading the word!

Nina on

Hey Constance Marie! I could not agree more with the idea of “greening” a baby’s environment. It is absolutely astounding how many people are completely unaware of the toxins that they live and breathe each and every day, which is very distressing considering the fact that these toxins can be very dangerous to our beloved babies! I truly feel that the idea of creating a organic and natural environment is so important yet it seems that it is rarely discussed, so allow me to say thank you again once again for bringing up a topic that is so incognito. As mommies I think that we all belong to this sort of hidden community, so to speak, and have a responsibility to share our knowledge with one another especially when it comes to the health and well being of our babies. As you said mommies have the power to change the world, so if we can educate even one person about the toxins that exist in our environment and ways that we can prevent coming in contact with them, I will truly feel that we have fulfilled one of our many responsibilities. Thanks again for the very informative blog and I can’t wait to read the next one :)

rich on

Typically the largest source of formaldehyde in homes is from the fiberglass wall insulation. CA reports that 98% of the homes tested exceed the maximium recommended concentration of formaldehyde. The typical home was four times the recommended concentration. You did good in paying attention to secondary sources but appear to have ignored the major source.

MiB on

I just wanted to add that buying things second hand is a good and cheap way of going green, you immidiately reduce your baby’s footprint and the gear is already off gased; just check that it is sturdy, lead free and conforms to modern safety standards. Mattresses should of course not be purchased second hand, but with the mony you save on buying everything else second hand, you can buy a new woolen mattress, which does not have to be treated with flame retardants.

Lorelai on

Luna’s nursery is soo beautiful! I love the tree there! It is hard to change everything and become a green mom. Nonetheless I have started by doing small changes in my home like changing the lightbulbs, recycling and other stuff. I do not buy anything that may have BPA for my babies, and that is as far as I have gotten in the green world. I love reading your blog. Luna gets prettier by the day!

Maria on

Going green is great but Im tired of everyone always worrying so much. I have a friend who is just like this and she is always stressing about what the baby is doing, whats she eating. She never relaxes. Its insane. Kids need to be kids. We all grew up this way and we all turned out fine. I think we all need to be more relaxed and always worrying. Its to much.

Allyson on

Anna – Luna’s hair clip is from Ladybugs and Lullabies. The clip is lead free and uses non-toxic adhesives as well.

Anna on

thanks so much for letting me know! could have sworn it looked like this: (hot pink/plum)
http://moogclips.com/products/appliques/flowers#id_4-petal-flowers-1

Allyson on

It’s actually the Summer Butterfly snap clip, seen here: http://www.ladybugsandlullabies.ca/item.php?item_id=386&category_id=48

The hot pink portion has recently been changed to a darker, more vibrant hot pink as Luna is wearing and the base of the butterfly is Orchid (purple).

FC on

I’m just trying to go green for myself, since I don’t have a Luna of my own quite yet. Some of these tips are quite helpful.

And, it never hurts to see Luna and Marie, yet another mommy/daughter duo I adore. :)

Anna on

Thanks so much for the help, much appreciated.

Vanessa on

It’s great to see celebrities discuss being green – I love when people bring more attention to the cause.

Three great sites I found for moms who want green baby products:
http://www.giggle.com – I registered there, they offer every green baby product you need
http://www.greenista.com – information on how to be green as a mom
http://www.samababy.com – I got tons of organic accessories and clothes from them

Nicki on

Thank you thank you thank you for all your amazing tips!!!! I just love reading your blog. My daughter is now 2 and I’ve tried to do the best I can at greening her world but man it sure can get overwhelming. Reading your blog has helped so much. Thanks again for taking the time to post all this yummy info. :-) Btw Luna is beautiful!!!

svp on

I just love little Luna’s expression in the last photo. Heck, I adore her expressions in all the photos! She is just so ridiculously cute! Can’t get enough of her pictures. I can’t wait to read about raising her veggie.

Anna on

Allyson, is there a way to send Luna Marie some clips? She’s just so cute and they would be perfect!

Thanks!

Minneapolis Shades on

look at her pointy toes! you can tell she’ll be a dancer someday.

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