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Green Nursery interview: Aliza Pressman, co-founder, The Seedlings Group

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Aliza Pressman is the co-founder of The Seedlings Group – a team of child development experts that help “navigate the challenges of raising a happy, healthy baby”.  Aliza and her husband Jeff have two daughters – 3.5 and 6 months.

Jesse:  In creating the nursery in your home, where did the goal of creating a healthier / greener nursery rank for you?
Aliza:  Like all parents, I am very committed to trying to provide the best, safest, healthiest choices for my children.  I would say I fall somewhere in the middle.

Jesse: Assuming it was a consideration, what were your main reasons for this?
Aliza:  Considering that in the first year of life a baby sleeps between 12-18 hours per day, my main consideration is providing her with good indoor air quality.  We were focused on the mattress, toys and crib.  I like knowing that when she decides to chew her crib or eat her toys that I can relax and let her because I know she is safe.

Jesse:  What were the easiest & hardest aspects of creating a healthier / greener nursery?
Aliza:  A rug or carpet is the one thing that is still just so difficult to do properly.  I want a plush cozy room for a crawling baby but I also don’t’ want all of the off-gassing, glues and dust.  In the end I chose a natural wool area rug.

Jesse: What is your child’s favorite aspect of their nursery?
Aliza:  She has a shatter proof mirror along the bottom of the wall and she loves staring at herself!

Jesse: What resources did you rely on in creating a healthier/greener nursery?
Aliza:  I feel very lucky when I am overwhelmed that I can reach out to people who know their stuff, including:

-          MT Sinai’s Children’s Environmental Health Center run by Dr Phil Landrigan (previous post discussing his work can be found here)

-          Healthy Child Healthy World

-          My friend Lexy Zissu can green-proof for you if you feel overwhelmed (link to her site and information is here)

Jesse:  What advice would you give a family just starting the nursery planning process?
Aliza:  Try not to feel overwhelmed by the fears and enjoy the fact that you are making a cozy room for your beautiful baby.  We do the best we can.  Of course we can’t do everything.  We use no or low VOC paints, natural fabrics, an organic mattress and sustainable / healthy furniture.  Those things are easy to access and made beautifully.

Jesse:  My wife & I are both customers and supporters of The Seedlings Group.  Any chance you’d give our readers some free nursery layout advice?!
Aliza:  Consider making a cozy corner with a very low magazine rack, book shelf or book bin, some furry friends and a cozy toddler chair to hang out to start to love of reading.  Resist getting everything at once.  You will change your mind about what you need throughout your baby’s development.

When you consider decorating your nursery, remember that babies are on the floor a lot!  Put things for her to look at closer to the ground rather than thinking about things that are appealing to the adult eye.  That also means things on the floor are going to go in your baby’s mouth!

About Jesse Johnson, Green Nursery Guru

Jesse is the co-founder of Q Collection & Q Collection Junior – leaders in designing adult and children’s furniture and textiles. Jesse has a joint masters in business (MBA) and environmental management (MEM) from Yale University. Jesse currently serves as a member of Yale's Environmental Leadership Council and is an advisor to Harvard’s Center for Health and the Global Environment.

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