I have been trying to buy mattresses, etc. that lack flame retardant chemicals and other materials that off-gas, but I am struggling with "baby gear." My MIL wants to buy us a playard, which is very sweet of her, but I can't find any organic or chem-free mattresses to fit in them (or any eco-friendly playards, for that matter). Lots of organic sheets, but... what's the point of that if the mattress fumes get right through? Does anyone have a good source for this sort of thing?
Buying eco-friendly or organic "baby gear"
One thing you could consider is a used play yard/ mattress. My understanding is that the chemicals have had time to off-gas, and in general, re-used things are much more eco-friendly anyway. We're custom-making a crib/co-sleeper and are making our own mattress out of wool panels (not organic, but flame resistant, waterproof, and not too chemical-y), but I'd actually prefer a used pack&play over new. I totally relate to what you wrote though! Good luck!
We didn't have a pack n' play for our first and don't have plans to get one...so I'm not completely familiar with how they work. Is there a mattress that sits down in the bottom? And you cover it with a sheet? I would second what Amy May said...although, what are pack n' plays made of anyway? If any part of it is vinyl then I think there's no end to the off-gassing. Dax Stores is a great online source for things like organic/toxin-free mattresses at good prices. You might check there to see if they have a mattress that would fit.
I was going to post what amy may did. Used is better. Maybe there is no end to the offgassing but there would be less if it has been around a while... Plus you are being eco friendly by keeping something from being tossed and not buying a new product AND it is way way cheaper. If you are really worried I would buy a wool mattress pad or piddle pad and use that under your organic sheet. Then there would be something between the sheet and the mattress.
I think there are some sites like Ecobaby Organics that will custom make an organic mattress with whatever dimensions you need.
For me, whatever the baby is sleeping on/in is most important. We have a mini cosleeper with an organic latex and wool mattress and an organic moses basket. I have a pack & play, baby swing, and baby bouncer seat and I'm not worrying too much about those because I won't be using them as much as the things baby will sleep in.
Thanks for the advice! We are going with a used playard (though how I will explain that to my MIL has yet to be revealed to me...) And Dax stores has proved to be a great resource (I don't have a crib yet either).
Meggles, agreed to the sleeping. We've got a moses basket as well now, plus our stroller came with a bassinet that has a latex organic mattress. Working on the crib... I think my MIL was thinking that the playard would be convenient, since it also has a bassinet on top, and since she's already had 4 children and 9 grandchildren, it's the culture of the family. Sigh...
We're making our own co-sleeper, as well as the mattress. An organic mattress is a bit pricy for us, and because the co-sleeper is homemade, the mattress also needs to be custom-sized.
We haven't finished the mattress, but we're making it out of wool panels. Basically, we ordered 3 100% wool blankets from an Army surplus store, as well as lanolin. We'll felt the wool in the washing machine. I don't know if we'll lanolize all of the wool pieces, or just the top and bottom. But, we'll sew togetehr 6 or so panels into a mattress. The felting process makes them stiff, and wool is naturally flame resistant, and waterproof, and doesn't contain the chemicals of a synthetic mattress. It'll be fairly hard and thin, but neither of us believe that a baby needs a super soft mattress anyway.
We're also going to get a used pack & play. Good luck with your baby products!