New Urban Baby Store Promotes Buying Less Stuff, not More

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Photo Credit: Neil Chambers

Have you been looking for a one-stop shop for well-designed enviro-friendly baby toys and supplies as well as classes for more natural methods of pregnancy, birth preparation and parenting? If so, Caribou Baby, a new store in Greenpoint, Brooklyn specializing in simple, green, healthy baby care, just might fit the bill. The store held its grand opening this weekend (March 6, 2011) in coordination with a lecture by Ina May Gaskin about her new book Birth Matters.

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Photo Credit: Neil Chambers

Caribou Baby is the inspired work of Adriane Stare, who fell in love the simplicity and beauty of traditional babywearing when she began to wear her newborn with a sling as she went about her life in New York City. Babywearing isn't the newest green fashion trend, but the art of mothers carrying their infants close to their body versus in a stroller, push chair or pram. It is eons old and practices in many cultures around the world. Stare says that wearing her baby was the single most important she learned as a new mother. The act of keeping infants close to the body has positive attributes such as easy of feeding and mother-child bonding.

The store is geared toward urban families that live in New York City style dwellings (read: small apartments). The goal is to provide high-quality, safe, and necessary basics that support intuitive parenting and inspire parents to engage with their children. The store's design reflects the commitment to a natural lifestyle says Kristen Reifsteck, designer of Caribou Baby. The floors were treated with a non-toxic wax and all paints are non-VOC. They used most of the strap wood from the previous interior to form a pattern on the wall that tells a story of the space that goes back nearly a century. Instead of crates for displaying toys and baby supplies, Reifsteck repurposed hardware nail bends to showcase products.

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Photo Credit: Neil Chambers

They opted not to use CFL light bulbs in the space...and during the grand opening the reason was obvious. At any given time 10 to 12 infants and/or toddlers were about the store, and the risk of mercury poisoning didn't fit the overall spirit of the establishment. They are planning to replace the current light fixtures with LED bulbs in the coming weeks.

The shop is located on Driggs Avenue in Greenpoint, just two blocks from the McCarren park playground. The in-store class space is 20x20 with sustainable carpeting tiles from FLOR, a sky-light for natural daylighting, a kitchen and direct access to a backyard garden. They also have a generously-sized treatment room for pre- and post-natal practitioners to meet with clients one-on-one.

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Photo Credit: Neil Chambers

Some of the products I noticed were Eco-Me Baby Care that are 100% Natural & Chemical-Free, has no dyes and no synthetic fragrances, Pura Kiki Baby Bottles, made with stainless steel and are safe and durable, and handmade diaper bags from upstate New York.

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Photo Credit: Neil Chambers

After the grand open, around 400 mothers, fathers and non-parents packed into the Warsaw to hear Ina May Gaskin talk about her experience as a midlife and her new book Birth Matters. The event was an incredible cap on the day of green baby care. Gaskin explained her efforts over the last 40 plus years of helping women find empowerment via childbirth.

More on Green Baby Care
How to Go Green: Babies
Make Your Own Cloth Diapers and Baby Wipes
The Green Baby Checklist: What New Parents Need (Slideshow)
Solve the Diaper Dilemma: The Cloth Option