Since becoming a mom (and this includes pregnancy), I have become very aware, even obsessed, with reducing my family's exposure to chemicals and other toxins. Instead of just assuming the products I purchase are safe for my family, I've begun researching, learning, and questioning. I even hope to begin advocating.
Due to financial limitations (I'm not a celebrity), I have to pick and choose which less toxic and toxic-free products I purchase. I can't replace all my Ikea MDF and particleboard furniture with solid wood pieces, but I can open my windows daily, bring live plants into my house, shop my local farmers' market, switch to vinegar, baking soda, and Castille soap for my cleaning, and even save up to purchase a mattress that does not contain vinyl, PVC, polyurethane foam, or flame-resistant chemicals for Linus's big boy bed.
One change I recently made (albeit a little late) was to get rid of Linus's foam changing pad. I never considered that the foam it contained could be off-gassing dangerous chemicals until I read HealthyChild's list of the Top Ten Toxic Products You Don't Need (check out #8). That was enough for me. It wasn't really a necessity and I immediately had an idea for a quick replacement.
Here's how I easily (and at no cost) created a new changing pad for Linus's room.
1. Locate a few of those baby blankets you received in excess at your shower.
2. Locate a spare pillowcase you have laying around. (Bonus points for a cute one.)
3. Laying the blankets alongside the pillowcase, fold the blankets together and down to a size small enough to slip into the pillowcase. (If your pillowcase is light colored, use a light colored or white blanket as the outer layer. I didn't here but this one was just for the how-to.)
4. Slip the folded up cushion of blankets into the pillowcase and VOILA you have a chemical-free changing pad.
You can easily wash the pillowcase if it gets soiled.
Plus, it's so much easier to find a pattern that really pops in your nursery decor instead of being limited to the selection of covers at BabiesRUs.