I did! Thankfully Rebecca had a newborn when I was in the later stages of my pregnancy. She guided me through the very confusing world of cloth diapers and even took me to a consignment store to help me buy the gear.
Recently I met a mom in Maryland who lamented that she would have used cloth, but she just didn’t know a single soul who had ever tried. Were you in that boat? Did you try them anyway? Are you worried about trying them? We’d love to be your guide if you’re hesitant to jump in. Please feel free to comment or even email us if you have cloth diapering questions. Or read our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide: Down-to-Earth Ways for Parents to Save Money and the Planet for tips, diagrams and definitions!
This post is a part of the illuminating “Why don’t you” series. No judgment! We’re just curious.
I’ll bet I know the answer to this one: cost. A long time ago, Joy wrote something like this for our blog or our book: “Most Americans would love to buy all organic if they didn’t have to spend more.” I remember questioning that statement. Is that true? Sure, our readers probably do prefer organic food, but a surprising number of people don’t see any benefit to organics and might even prefer conventional stuff.
I have to admit that I’m not motivated to buy organic food for personal health reasons. It just feels really abstract to me. I’ve eaten conventional food all my life, and I’m fine! (No need to educate me about this—I know on an intellectual level that it’s not good to ingest chemicals or feed them to my family!) Less abstract (in my mind) is the global benefit of organic farming practices, which is why I strive to eat organic fruits and vegetables. (And I have to admit I didn’t make much of an effort to buy organic produce until I had a baby.)
Enough about me! If you don’t buy organic food . . . why not? If you do buy organic groceries, any tips for saving money?
I’m happy to report that our 13 month old is going strong with infant potty training! To be clear, she still wears cloth diapers and our only focus is getting her to poop on the potty. She started pooping on the potty at around seven months and her progress is continuing. It means fewer poopy diapers to wash and strong steps toward actual potty training when she’s ready. We even toted our little potty seat to Maryland with us on our family vacation and she used it many times while at her grandparents’ house.
During the trip, she started using the sign for “poop” which was even more exciting. While we were driving home after nearly twelve hours of travel, she did the sign in the back seat along with the sign for help. We were so exhausted and shocked that she would be able to tell us, that we didn’t stop. When we did arrive home, she had pooped in her diaper and we felt horrid that we didn’t listen to her.
That’s the down side of this infant potty training business. Yesterday we were on our way to blueberry picking when she needed to poop so we trooped back home, only to find she wasn’t ready. She then filled her pants at the blueberry patch. We have just the one potty seat so I don’t plan on toting it with us everywhere, especially when she isn’t always comfortable pooping in public restrooms. Still, every chance that we make it to the toilet is one less poopy diaper to deal with!
I only share these stories because even though I used cloth diapers with my first child, it didn’t even occur to me to begin potty training until right around 2 years old. He was trained by 27 months, but if I would have started sooner, I think it would have gone even faster. In many other parts of the world, people don’t even use diapers and potty train their children very, very early. If you have a potty seat and time on your hands, why not give it a try?
This post is a part of the illuminating “Why don’t you” series. No judgment! We’re just curious.
This is a funny one. Joy’s first baby was born just seven months after mine, so I was her go-to cloth diaper expert for a while—until she became an expert herself. She was 100% on board with cloth diapering, but something kept her from using cloth wipes. She claimed it would take more time and energy, even though I insisted it wouldn’t. I tried to reason with her. She just wouldn’t listen.
Thank goodness she had a second child and was able to see the error in her ways. Here she writes all about it, though somehow she neglects to credit me with her change of heart!
If you use cloth diapers and disposable wipes, tell us all about it! WHY or why do you do it?
I’m bone tired. The kind of exhaustion where you sit and look at all you have to do and then just sit some more. After seven rough vacation nights full of nighttime nursing and a full day’s journey back from the East coast, I can’t seem to get anything done.
And green parenting requires us to get things done! There’s a garden to water, cloth diapers to wash, food to prepare and summer produce to pick and preserve. How do we keep up with all this while so very tired?
And when will my baby resume sleeping through the night? For now, I have just resigned myself to serving my family pantry food and scrambled eggs so that I can avoid grocery shopping or intensive cooking. I’ve watered enough to keep the garden alive, but the berries will have to wait.
Are any of the rest of you facing the battle between your green ideals and your need for rest? Did you get a nap today? Please feel free to give yourself regular breaks. This green parenting gig is a marathon, not a sprint!
It may sound difficult, but making homemade organic baby food has tremendous benefits for baby, the environment and your budget. Also, it is by no means difficult to plop cooked food into a blending device and swirl it up. Both Rebecca and I have conquered the art of baby purees despite the fact that both of us felt totally overwhelmed as new mothers for the first year. Have you given homemade baby food a whirl? If so, what are your standbys and how did you get started? What challenges have you faced? We find that like many other green lifestyle pursuits, most people gain the confidence to make the shift when they have friends or family who have tried it before. Hopefully our readers can provide that online community for each other. Thanks for sharing your baby food secrets! And for more recipes and tips, check out our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide: Down to Earth Ways for Parents to Save Money and the Planet.
Here is a friendly reminder: Chinet paper plates are eco-friendly! We discovered this two years ago when Chinet wrote us. Did you know they’re made from 100% recycled material AND they’re biodegradable, so you can home compost them?
Normally we endorse reusing, but we realize some summer festivities do require disposable dishes. Chinet is a guilt-free way to do it!
The truth is, when I hang them to dry, my cotton prefolds resemble white shingles. They are hardened, rough, and rigid and have to be bent instead of folded.
Now, I could still hang them and them cart them all into the house while slightly damp for a quick fluff in the dryer. Or I could just dry my prefolds and hang the polyester diapers and covers out to dry, but both of those seem too labor intensive.
So what do I do? I hang ninety percent of my laundry all week, but I still toss my diapers into the dryer. I can’t seem to replicate that fresh soft feel without a stint in the dryer. I don’t mind our rough towels and cloth napkins, but I do want her diapers to be soft.
Do you have an easy solution for softening up air-dryed diapers? Do you have other diaper truths you’d like to confess? (Also, many thanks to Suzannah at the Smitten Word for the photo!)
Joy’s recent post on saving money grocery shopping sparked an interesting debate in the comments. Erin B. provided some great tips, including this one:
ALWAYS make a list, NEVER buy anything not on the list. Ever… ever… seriously, I know we are all grownups and we think we can walk around Target without a case of the “gimme-gimmes” (a great Berenstein Bears book, by the way!) but we can’t. Make a list with literally EVERYTHING you need and buy off the list and not a single item more. Seriously, it works.
I loved all of her ideas except for that one above, which I hear a lot. Here was my response:
I don’t agree with tip #2! I love grocery shopping and part of that is scouring around for interesting foods and deals. I always thought people wasted tons of money by meal planning first, then shopping off a list. Say they planned to make eggplant parmesan, then bought eggplants, tomatoes, and the cheeses–but none of it was on sale. They would spend a lot on that one meal.
Kate had Erin’s back. She added,
I have to agree with Erin about making a list — and about substitutions. (In fact, I love all of Erin’s suggestions.) Yes, when I try a new recipe exactly as written, I might spend a little more than usual. But I choose new recipes in part based on what’s in season and what I have on hand, and after I make it once I figure out what I can substitute for or leave out.
Now, I stand by my original assertion: making lists and sticking to them wastes money! I spend $175/month on three people (as I may have mentioned once or twice), and I believe this has to do with buying foods only when they’re on sale and then improvising with all those discounted ingredients in the kitchen.
I realize my way of thinking is unconventional, and I will admit it wouldn’t work for everyone. If you find yourself tempted to buy expensive treats at the store, the “stick with the list” rule would probably help curb your temptations. (I have the opposite problem in that I have to almost force myself to buy things that cost too much. I’m still stuck in the “no more than a dollar a pound” mentality I’ve had since the ‘90s!) It also wouldn’t work if you work from recipes and don’t like to just make things up as you go along.
So that’s my wacky tip of the day: Don’t make lists and don’t stick to them! Much like the ol’ “I don’t buy in bulk!” argument, I believe I may be in the minority on this one!
We have a magical contraption at my house. You put dirty plates and cups onto its gleaming white racks, push some buttons, and they come out clean! Well actually, they’re often a bit filmy with bits of goo here and there.
Having a dishwasher is a huge life change after eight years of hand washing, but we were sad to see that our dishes don’t come clean when using Biokleen Dishwasher Detergent. Rebecca is also the proud owner of a new dishwasher, and she wrote a great post about the merits of Biokleen powder over even traditional detergent, but we were only able to find the liquid locally. And shockingly, it didn’t work as well for us as other cleaners. Should we chuck the rest of the bottle and give up on our dreams of gleaming dishes, or invest in mainstream rinse agents that may or may not work?
In desperation, we tried Seventh Generation’s rinse agent, which handles 75 loads in comparison to Jet Dry’s 40, for a similar price. We filled our soap dispenser to the brim to compensate for hard water, loaded up the rinse agent compartment, and confidently awaited the results–which were spotty and once again covered with bits of oatmeal. Ugh!
I tried again with half the detergent and the results were better, but not all that great. Prior to our Biokleen purchase, a friend had given us the Method Smarty Dish tabs, which are wildly expensive by comparison, but they worked like a charm. I shall keep you posted on our dishwasher issues, but please feel free to recommend your favorite eco-friendly dishwasher detergent options!