Are you in the first trimester or are you raising two year old twins? We often wonder where our readers are in their parental journeys and how we can best help them.
Where are we? Rebecca is raising four-year-old Audrey while Joy is enjoying four-year-old Roscoe and sixteen month old Jovi.
Thanks for sharing your current location in this grand green parenting adventure!
Breastfeeding is an amazingly glorious experience that can take your breath away as you look into your baby’s newborn eyes at 3am. But let’s be honest. In the beginning, it can be brutal. There’s the all-important latch, the endless night feedings, the chapped nipples, and the general loss of sleep.
And it is great, really. But no one tells you how hard it can be at first!
There is a sudden transformation of something (your breasts) that once seemed sort of like an unnecessary but attractive part of your body into something that drips, leaks, hardens, and chafes. What a shock!
Luckily I had access to a free weekly baby clinic through the Peacehealth Nurse Midwifery Birth Center where I delivered. I desperately needed those appointments, both for the time with the midwives and for the discussions in the waiting room. We, the haggard, un-showered, spit-up-upon crew of mothers and fathers instantly bonded like a herd of war veterans. There was hysterical laughter, there were tears, and there was a general sense that no one really knew what they were doing. And that was the most reassuring of all.
So yes, those early days are magic and breastfeeding is blissful. But it is also painful. It will get so much better! In the meantime, get support, laugh, and embrace your own fallibility. If you’d like more information, we heaps of information for breastfeeding mothers –from a milk-making cookie recipe to solutions for pumping breastmilk at work. Most importantly, you can read dozens of stories in, “Was Breastfeeding Worth It?” that may give you hope for sticking with it.
Did you have good breastfeeding support? Were you alone in those early, sleepy months of nursing your baby? Please share with our readers who may be there now!
Most of us would swoon with delight if a new, eco-friendly crib mattress showed up on our doorstep. It could happen to you! Kolcraft (Sealy’s partner in this product) is sponsoring this month’s fantastic giveaway. If you’d like to read more about the product, check out our review of the Sealy Naturalis crib mattress with organic cotton.
Since this is such a huge prize, and we want to include listeners who are finding out about our site from the interview on Preg-tastic, we’ll be keeping this going for a full month. (Preg-tastic is also sponsoring a giveaway of The Economical Baby Guide, so stop by and check it out!)
If your due date is sooner or you don’t win, you can rest assured that this is still a very affordable product. The Sealy Naturalis crib mattress with organic cotton is currently available for less than a hundred bucks.
Our favorite part of this giveaway is all the ways you can enter:
1. Simply leave us a comment on this post.
2. Email friends or family and tell them about the giveaway (and comment)
4. Link to this giveaway post on Facebook or Twitter–tell all your friends to stop by (and comment each time)
5. Link to this post on your blog (and don’t forget to comment!)
***The contest ends on Monday, December 6th, 2010***
Winner will be randomly selected from the list of comments so don’t forget to note your multiple entries with one comment each!
We will notify the winner via email. Please Note: This contest is open only to U.S. readers. Enjoy!
I love cloth diapers, and have used them since my four year old’s infancy. Unfortunately, we had problems early on with nighttime leaking and yeast infections with cloth diapers. Finally, we reluctantly switched from cloth to disposables diapers for bedtime.
It made me so sad that I frequently revived my nocturnal cloth diapering efforts—with the same results. Now my son is four, he is nowhere near potty training at night even though he was day trained at a little over two years old. When we try to wake him to go to the bathroom, he begins to scream and flail and doesn’t seem to be able to rouse enough to use the toilet. After the whole ordeal he wails and flails for fifteen minutes before falling asleep. We quickly decided that this isn’t going to work.
Most tips I’ve found on the Internet suggest that some children don’t night train until six years of age. Ugh! That’s a long time! Plus Roscoe has started wetting out of his huge diapers and we’ve had to switch to pull-ups. Has anyone had success with cloth pull ups? We’re worried about the yeast infections becoming an issue again. Any tips? I don’t want to be buying disposable pull ups for the next two years!
If you’re like most of us, you’re scrambling to handle those last minute Halloween decorating and costume creation challenges. We’ve put together a quick list of some great green Halloween tips for your festivities that are easy and cheap!
If you’re hosting a Halloween party this year, Rebecca has a lineup of simple and elegant Halloween crafts. You may want to cut out a DIY Halloween spiderweb, or if you’re feeling less ambitious, you can make a DIY Paper Jack-O-Lantern with your little one in a matter of minutes. There’s nothing quite as simple and spooky as the vintage DIY simple paper spider in its web from last year’s post.
Still haven’t picked up that Halloween candy? There are several Organic and Eco-Friendly Halloween treats to choose from, or you could fill a bowl with coins, marbles, crayons, stickers and decorative band-aids and let the kids pick their own loot.
Simple DIY Halloween costumes can be the best part of the whole celebration! They’re especially fun when you’re choosing family themed Halloween costumes or creating last minute baby Halloween costumes. If you want to get some laughs out of your pregnancy check out our list of DIY Maternity Halloween costumes.
How is your Halloween planning going this year? Are your spiderwebs in the windows? Are your costumes all set? Please share!
Are your cloth diapers disintegrating before your eyes? Do you pull a larger lump of lint out of the dryer with every cycle? Are you a bit ashamed to send those raggedly cloth diapers off to daycare? You’re not alone!
My small batch of cloth diapers has seen some serious wear and probably kept thousands of disposable diapers from the landfills. I bought them secondhand from a cloth diaper service, used them with Roscoe, lent them to a friend for her two children, used them with Jovi, and then passed them onto another baby. Wow! I have to confess they were looking a little tired by the end, but I also knew that concerns about their appearance were a little silly considering that their only purpose was to soak up her waste. All that wear had softened them up quite nicely and while I was a bit embarrassed at times, I knew that she’d only be using that size for a matter of months.
How could I have kept the diapers in better shape? By avoiding bleach. When I first started cloth diapering I didn’t realize that you could use things like Bac Out or hydrogen peroxide to clean diapers and eliminate odors. I also didn’t know that smelly diapers could need to be stripped by washing them in a few loads of hot water without soap. (By the way, our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide: Down to Earth Ways for Parents to Save Money and the Planet is PACKED with dozens of cloth diaper care tips we wish we would have known about years ago!)
Jovi is now in the next size of diapers, which are in much better shape, and the most worn diapers have made it into our rag pile. Those that were mostly intact are now diapering another baby. I have to say that it thrills me that cloth diapers really don’t hit the trash until they are in shreds, while disposables head there after just one use.
Are you using diapers that are a bit worn? Have you suffered from diaper embarrassment? Did you buy your diapers secondhand? Please share with other parents who may be in the same boat!
When the autumn air reaches the perfect crispness and the light through the yellowing leaves is angled just right, I know it’s time for our yearly Halloween family tradition, a trip to the local pumpkin patch. We have visited a large local farm every year in mid-October to pick our fall pumpkins straight from the field, ride the horse cart, and munch on sugar coated appleasauce doughnuts while the chickens peck at our feet.
Since this fall tradition started before we even had kids, we have great memories of tromping through the mud all the way out to the pumpkin field because we couldn’t afford the hay rides while my husband was in graduate school. Years later, we remember bundling Roscoe up in his thrift shop pumpkin suit and clumsily adapting to a family outing with a one-month-old baby. Isn’t he the grumpiest pumpkin baby you’ve ever seen?
Roscoe came to appreciate the patch a bit more when he turned two and started hiking out across the field.
Last year Jovi was with us for the first time and we suited her up in Roscoe’s old Halloween costume for the occasion.
This year’s visit was by far my favorite as Jovi happily toddled over pumpkin vines and Roscoe identified the make and model of all the tractors on the farm. Plus, we’re not nearly as tired as in years past! I’m laughing hysterically here because my husband has balanced the camera on a nearby pumpkin and then hurdled over squash to be by our side by the time the flash goes off.
So beyond the good memories, why is this a beneficial activity when you could just plunk a pumpkin in the grocery cart and call it good? For one, autumn harvest visits are a huge source of income for local farms. Even though you may be splurging a bit on the hayrides and apple cider, that money goes straight back into the farm to grow produce in your local area. (Our favorite is Thistledown Farm which is less than twenty minutes from our house.) We also pick up fresh sweet corn, onions, squash and other farm fresh produce while we’re there.
Of course, it must be impossible to have this experience in some locations. (I’m thinking Florida, Alaska, Hawaii…. but I could be wrong!) Do you visit a local farm in your area to pick a pumpkin? What makes it worthwhile for you? Any other autumn family traditions you’d like to share?
We are all perfect before our babies arrive. We do the newborn rearing research and survey our fellow moms. Before the shock of sleep loss, before the hormones surge, and before the poopy diapers pile up, we have it all figured out.
If you read our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide: Down-to-Earth Ways for Parents to Save Money and the Planet, you know that we try to prepare you with our humble input, but also assure you that progress is far more important than perfection. We are so hard on ourselves as new parents when exhaustion seems to exacerbate our insecurities. (Example of ridiculous self-judement: I once cut my baby’s finger instead of his nail. A full teaspoon of crimson blood leaked out of his tiny wound. I wept heartily and earnestly questioned my ability to parent. No joke.)
With stakes this high, going green as parents can become one more area where we can fall short. A woman in my friend’s yoga class cried hysterically because she felt bad about using bleach on her cloth diapers. Her logic? Since chlorine is toxic to the environment, she had killed some penguins while giving her child cancer. Again, it’s bizarre logic but the cocktail of fatigue and perfectionism (green or otherwise) never turns out well.
In that stack of books that sit next to your nightstand, we hope The Eco-nomical Baby Guide can bring you some solace and sanity. To be a good green parent you don’t need thousands of dollars of high-end organic baby gear or a complete commitment to home blended baby food made from homegrown kale.
You just need to trust that you can do this. That secondhand gear is just as green. That less is more. That you will fail, and that afterwards, you will keep working on it. Progress, not perfection. It’s not a bad saying for going green, for being a parent, and for using on that baby someday.
Last week we reviewed the Sealy Naturalis crib mattress with organic cotton but somehow accidentally merged it with the Sealy Soybean Foam-Core crib mattress. After some thoughtful readers clarified our error, we emailed the company to get more information and are now back to you with the answers.
The Sealy Soybean foam core crib mattress (from $131) doesn’t claim to be organic in any way, but does use soybeans in the mattress core. You’ll save 32% at Amazon on this mattress, which adds up to nearly sixty bucks! Since the soybeans only contribute partially to the foam, it isn’t a perfectly green solution but it is trying to utilize a renewable resource instead of depending on crude oil for a completely polyurethane mattress. The cover is vinyl but is tested for phthalates, lead and other chemicals.
The Sealy Naturalis crib mattress with organic cotton is currently twenty percent off at Amazon, making just under a hundred dollars. The cover is a vinyl laminate which is again tested for phthlates and other toxins. Since it’s nearly impossible to find even a partially organic crib mattress for that price, it’s currently our top pick.
As for the flame retardants, the company wasn’t able to disclose the details, but explained that they are naturally-derived and have been tested for safe use with infants. (They apparently don’t want to disclose them so that their competitors don’t know either.) But when I spoke on the phone with the customer service representative, she shared that the fire proofing components were made from a salt-based material. My guess is that they use boric acid—which seems to be one of the preferable fire proofing options available.
It’s wise to be concerned about potential toxins, but I’d be worried if my child’s mattress wasn’t fire resistant. Surely flames would be more dangerous to her than anything else if there ever was a fire. The other route is to buy something like the Organic Wool and Cotton Crib Coil Mattress, which is a whopping $350.00. The wool is naturally fire retardant, and the product has gotten excellent reviews, but the cost will most likely keep many families from being able to buy green.
Did you go organic with your baby’s crib mattress? Was price an obstacle? Both Rebecca and I used mainstream mattresses with both our kids, but I think I would have bought organic way back when if lower cost options had been available.
I set out to find the very best bibs and then found myself quite stuck. Bumkin bibs worked great with our baby, but there are hundreds of brands out there and I have no idea what the favorites are for other parents in the trenches. Of course, it’s best to avoid vinyl and BPA in your bibs, since those are potentially toxic to babies and the environment.
Does your baby even wear a bib? Do you make bibs from kitchen towels? Do your children simply eat in the bathtub? Thanks for giving other new parents your tips!