The Friday Question: How Old is Your Baby?

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!

The Truth About Breastfeeding and Survival in Those Early Months

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.
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Sealy Naturalis Crib Mattress with Organic Cotton Giveaway!

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.

You can also head over to Kolcraft’s blog to read more about our journey as green moms and also win their giveaway of a signed copy of our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide.

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!)
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Cloth Pull Ups and Night Potty Training A Preschooler

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.
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Last Minute Green Halloween Tips

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.
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Worn Cloth Diapers: Embarrassment or Achievement?

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.
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Green Halloween Harvest Traditions: The Family Pumpkin Patch Visit

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?

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Embracing Green Fallibility as a New Parent

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.)
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Low-Cost Green Crib Mattress Options: The Sealy Naturalis Crib Mattress Update

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.
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What Are The Best Baby Bibs?

They lighten our laundry loads, stop stains, and keep a certain amount of sweet potato puree out of your baby’s lap.  Bibs are undeniably helpful and even eco-friendly.  But which ones are the best?

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!