Archive for June, 2011


Cool summer baby carriers

A couple years ago, Joy asked our readers this question: What are the best summer slings? Toting a baby around in hot, summery weather calls for breathable, durable fabric. With that in mind, here’s what our readers recommended:

Hotsling $50.00

The Peanut Shell Adjustable Sling $54.99

Maya wrap $67.46

They also suggested getting something in linen. I found the Snuggy Baby Linen Banded Ring Sling Baby Carrier for $85.

Two years have gone by since our last “summer sling” post, so we may be missing the latest and greatest in baby wearing fashion. What are your favorites?


As of yesterday, all new and used drop-side crib sales in the United States are banned.  Crib manufacturers have already adapted, but what happens to every drop-side crib currently in use?  Are they all destined for disposal?

The government ban states that no crib manufactured before July 23, 2010 can be sold or even donated.  It extends to cribs sold at yard sales, resale shops, and on craigslist.

Honestly, it makes me feel ill.  I know that more than 30 babies died in the past dozen years from drop side cribs, and obviously better standards needed to be enforced.  Still, why can’t people use a crib immobilizer kit that will make any drop-side crib into a safe, stationary sleeping space for baby?   People can buy it for ten dollars and install it in under an hour.

My solid maple Child Craft crib, with plenty of life left in it, will have to be dismantled and recycled, even though there are several families and charities in desperate need of a sturdy crib.  The amount of waste that will be generated by this one act boggles my mind!  Does anyone else have ideas about what to do with their used drop-side crib?

Another product I’ve been reconsidering—alongside wipes warmers and diaper sprayers—are recycled paper towels. If you are a faithful reader of the Green Baby Guide, you know how my proudest claim to greenness is that I’ve never bought paper towels in my life. However . . . I’m beginning to make room for some changes.

Would recycled paper towels improve my life at all? Could they possibly be better than washable rags sometimes, especially if I promised to compost them?

In exactly four weeks, we shall be moving and do not want to lug along a dozen cans of black beans and pound of bulk cashews. So for upcoming summer dinners I shall plan meals creatively around the provisions we already have. At this point my ideas include peach and pumpkin veggie-fruity popsicles, white bean soup with summer greens, and nut flour pancakes.

Half eaten bananas, overripe fruit, and unfinished bowls of yogurt will make their way into smoothies, homemade popsicles, and baked goods. Dried beans, pasta, rice and canned tomatoes will contribute to soups and goulashes. When the shelves of my fridge and cupboards are clean and bare, it shall be time to shop again. Until then, we shall think outside the recipe box.

How do you prepare foods you forage from your own cupboards? Marmalade mustard chicken? Dried fig and cranberry biscuits? While not always delicious or even edible, the possibilities for creative cooking are endless!

Packing up everything we own and shlepping it to a new address isn’t usually an orderly process for us, and it will be less so now that we’re moving with kids. It can become hugely wasteful as we could end up buying items that we can’t find, eating meals on paper plates, and just feeling overwhelmed by the quantity of stuff we have acquired over the years. We’re now four weeks away from our actual moving day and I think I should probably get packing soon. Do you have any tips that make moving with kids easier and maybe even greener? Have you been able to stay rooted in one spot for the last several years? If so, do you dread the potential of a future move?

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  • Eco-Friendly Diaper Pail Alternatives

    In our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, we talk about how we avoided buying a white, plastic monstrosity of a diaper pail by buying a classy five-gallon push-pedal garbage can in stainless steel. Not only would this work better for cloth diapers, with its removable bucket, but it would be a much greener option than the dreaded Diaper Genie. Why? Because after its diaper pail days ended, it could be reincarnated as a regular trash can.

    That was the idea, anyway. I bought a no-name stainless steel trash can at a discount store, and guess what? It broke. After a couple years, the push-pedal stopped working and the top came off the hinges. Not even a trip to the workshop could restore it to its former diaper-containing glory. Now it stores scrap wood and the lid landed in the dump.

    What could I have done instead? Perhaps a higher quality trash can would have lasted forever, like this Simplehuman Butterfly Step Recycler. But $159.99 for a diaper pail? In the The Complete Tightwad Gazette, Amy Dacyczyn recommends using a simple 5-gallon plastic bucket with a lid, found at any hardware store. This will set you back just $7–and you could probably recycle it if you couldn’t find a way to re-purpose it after your diaper days.


    Do you have any green solutions to the diaper pail dilemma? Or is this something–like many things in life–I have put way too much time and energy thinking about?

    Is there a greener way to buy a vacuum cleaner? Just as we prepare to move to a larger, carpet-filled home, our trusty old Eureka has perished. We could purchase another machine used, but it’s tricky to know whether we’ll find one that’s nearing the end of it’s life. If we do end up buying new, it’s best to buy a high quality product that won’t hit the landfill for a few decades. And we’d like a bagless vacuum so that we can dump its contents in the compost bin or garden rather than the trash.

    Friends have been recommending Dyson, but it’s so tough to spend several hundred dollars on a vacuum! They swear it’s worth it and that it’s a piece of equipment we’ll be using on a daily basis. I’m really, really not that fastidious about vacuuming, but perhaps this gadget will convert me! They also swear that since vacuuming is a regular hobby of new parents, it’s wise to invest in a machine that makes it enjoyable.

    Others really like the LG Kompressor vacuum for it’s three motor speeds, it’s detachable cleaning sweeper, and the sheer force of suction it exerts upon unsuspecting gunk lurking in your carpet. It does sound like the weight can be cumbersome, and we will have stairs, so I’m not sold on it yet.

    Then there’s the good old Hoover Windtunnel, endorsed by Consumer Reports with a price tag significantly lower than the other two. It’s a bagless model with a retractable cord that might get the job done for a lot less.

    Honestly, I know that we’re investing too much effort and research into the vacuum decision, but part of being an environmentalist is finding quality products that work well and stay out of the landfill for as long as possible. Thanks for contributing your opinion!

    I ran across Broody Chick 100% Natural Fully Compostable Diapers and wondered if anyone can attest to their fit, leakage protection, and eco-friendliness. Broody Chick diapers are chlorine-free, fragrance-free, and hypo-allergenic. They seem like a great product, especially if you are actually able to compost them curbside. (I don’t think they can be home composted.)

    One package costs $17.99, and the customers who’ve reviewed them on Amazon seem happy with them. They come in four sizes:

    • Newborn 3 – 6 kg (6.6 – 13.2 lbs) / 36 diapers
    • Infant 4 – 9 kg (8.8 – 19.8 lbs) / 32 diapers
    • Toddler 7 – 16 kg (15.4 – 35.2 lbs) / 28 diapers
    • Junior 12 – 25 kg (26.5 – 55.1) / 24 diapers

    If you’ve tried Broody Chick diapers, let us know what you think!

    Our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, is a record of how we saved thousands of dollars by going green. In my podcast with Tanya Lieberman of Dandeliondish.com, I got to reflect on how The Eco-nomical Baby Guide can support new parents as they save money and the planet. If you’re wondering exactly what the book is about, take about fifteen minutes to listen to this interview and see if it might work for you. (And The Eco-nomical Baby Guide is still miraculously cheap right now at just under eight bucks on Amazon–it will earn several dozen times its cost in savings!)

    How Did You Wean Your Child?

    Did your toddler simply lose interest in breastfeeding, or did you have to wean her? If you’re in the latter group, how did you do it?

    My daughter, Jovi, turned two last week and I feel thoroughly ready to cut off her supply. She has different ideas. Jovi would like to nurse morning, noon and night for hours a time. She affectionately calls the source of her precious milk “eyes” or “boo-boo’s” and emphatically makes the milk sign (grabbing at an invisible cow’s udder) while she wheedles a long and desperate “plleease.” It’s hard to resist, I admit. But she’s still trying to nurse in the middle of the night, when she’s lonely, when she’s tired, when anyone else is nursing, when she’s cold, when she’s hungry and when she’s thirsty. And, honestly, all of those things happen during the day multiple times–which leaves me trying to fight her off as she reaches her chubby little fingers down my shirt and tries to abduct my breasts. It’s time.

    Please, please, please share your wisdom with me! I so wish to have full possession of my body once again! Do you look forward to weaning or dread the day that you’ll lose the special bond of breastfeeding?

    For the record, I fully support extended breastfeeding–but I also believe that it’s totally acceptable for a mom to decide when she’s ready to stop. And I’m there!

    The Eco-nomical Baby Guide
    Eco-nomical Baby Guide
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