Your infant sleeps for hours on end each day. (Not in a row, but still….) How important is it to choose an organic sleeping surface for baby? And why are there so many concerns about traditional crib mattresses?
In our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, we thoroughly explain why many families opt for organic crib mattresses, despite their extra expense. Although we’re big believers in reducing, repurposing, and buying used baby gear, an organic crib mattress is one of the two items that we recommend parents purchase new. Still, there are some critical questions to consider before you invest in a secure place for baby’s (fleeting) sleep.
Are you going to co-sleep?
If you’re planning on bringing baby to bed with you for the first few months or even years, you may want to think about buying a queen or king sized organic mattress for your bed instead.
Are you having your first child?
While it’s tough to shell out the extra cash for an organic crib mattress, you may have other children who will benefit from it as well. If you convert it to a toddler bed down the line, you can get several years of use out of it.
Can you afford it?
We should point out that organic crib mattresses have really come down in price. Pictured above are the LA Baby Organic Cotton Crib Mattress on sale for just over a hundred dollars and The Sealy Naturalis Mattress with Organic Cotton also on sale for just under a hundred bucks.
If the expense is still an obstacle, consider using an Organic Waterproof Crib Cover or Naturepedic’s Waterproof Fitted Crib Pad. They will at least provide a natural barrier between baby and the crib mattress.
An organic crib mattress can be expensive is a great item to request for a baby shower or family gift. Everyone can pitch in a bit of cash and you’ll receive a quality organic mattress and maybe a whole cloth diaper kit too! Have you opted to go with an organic mattress? Why or why not?
So you read What’s in your diaper bag? and learned that I survived those early days of motherhood without a diaper bag. Then you stuck around for Retiring the Diaper Bag and Diaper Bag Alternatives and decided you really don’t feel like spending years substituting a Ziploc bag for something, well, nicer. What is a fashion-conscious, eco-conscious new parent to do? Here are some of the most popular eco-diaper bags on the market:
Petunia Pickle Bottom organic cotton diaper bag ($115)
ErgoBaby Organic backpack ($64.55)
OiOi Baby Ikate Diaper bag ($139), made with 100% organic cotton.
Diaper Dude diaper bag ($88)
Amy Butler diaper bag ($250)
DadGear diaper bags (from $78)
If you have a favorite diaper bag, let us know all about it in the comments!
Do you need a diaper bag? In What’s in your diaper bag? I asked that very question. And in Retiring the Diaper Bag, I lovingly described the beat-up black bag my husband lugged to and from our daughter’s daycare for five years.
Obviously, you don’t need to buy a bag dedicated to diapers. You could simply tuck your supplies in your purse, a messenger bag, a backpack, a canvas shopping bag, or even a crinkled plastic bag. You could carry extra diapers and wipes in the pockets of your cargo pants, you could snap a clean Fuzzibunz over your baby’s head and use it as a hat until changing time. I’m just brainstorming here. . . .
These skinny cargo pants are just the thing for toting around cloth diapers, wipes, a few snacks, and an extra onesie
Stay tuned for my next post in this diaper bag mini-series, in which I provide some eco-friendly diaper bag suggestions for parents who don’t feel like stuffing diapers in their pockets. In the meantime, we want to know what you use if you go without a dedicated diaper bag.
ReCrib is a dreamy place to purchase high quality baby gear or make money selling used baby items. Thank goodness a site like this now exists!
If only we would have had reCrib when our babies were little. In our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, we share that we each spent about a thousand dollars on our babies’ first year, and we did it by reducing, recycling and repurposing what we already had. (Typical american families spent upwards of seven thousand on baby’s first year alone!)
With reCrib you can buy heirloom quality baby gear at 40-60% off retail prices, and then sell it back (using reCrib) for a respectable sum when your baby has outgrown it. It’s essentially a top quality, online consignment store.
For more information on reCrib, here is an interview with one of its founders, Daniel Lehmann. (The images you see are items that are currently on sale at reCrib for about half of what they’d cost new.)
1. What exactly is reCrib and how can people use it?
reCrib is a free online marketplace for the best gently used baby and kids gear – the must have cribs, strollers, high chairs, etc. It’s great for parents who want to declutter and recoup the costs of items their kids no longer use – and also great for new parents who want all the best brands and products for their kids but at a significant discount. But the best part is that it’s the green thing to do!
2. What inspired you to start reCrib?
We were moving apartments and decided to take the opportunity to declutter and sell the gear and toys our kids outgrew.We assumed there would be a great site targeted towards parents but were surprised to found out it didn’t really exist. We had all this amazing stuff – Netto Cribs, Bugaboos, Peg Perego High Chair, etc. – in nearly perfect condition. As parents, you acquire all this stuff that you use for only months to a couple of years. We wanted to create a solution and believed there would be a market for this idea.
3. What types of gear can people buy and sell and on reCrib?
Think of a dream list for a baby registry at a top modern design store. Cribs, strollers, high chairs, bikes/scooters, bouncy seats, toys, furniture, and more, all by the best designers and manufactures.
4. Many people say that parents should only buy new cribs because of safety concerns. We at Greenbabyguide are in full support of used cribs, but how do you ensure that the used cribs you offer are safe for consumers? How do you deal with drop side cribs? ( We wrote a post about crib side stabilizers and I wonder if you offer those to customers)
We try to stay as informed as possible about any safety issues and constantly monitor the site. We will immediately pull an item off the site if there is any recall or safety concern. We also do our best to keep people updated through Facebook and Twitter. Additionally, we encourage our users to do their homework regarding product safety.
5. At Greenbabyguide.com we firmly believe that buying secondhand is greener than buying new. Have your customers had similar reactions?
Yes!! reCribers care deeply about sustainability and do whatever they can do on the green front. It feels good to know you are doing the right thing.
So what can you buy at reCrib right now?
This bugaboo black stroller sells for over a thousand dollars on Amazon, but you’ll find it for just $500 on reCrib. We realize that’s still a lot of money, but if you resell if for $300 after you use it, it will cost less than many lower quality travel systems on the market. And top quality baby products will last through dozens of babies–it’s better to be the second or third family to use it than the first!
In my 2008 post, “What’s in your diaper bag?” I questioned the need to lug around a gigantic tote stashed with diapers and burp rags. Even when Audrey was small, I got by just fine without a diaper bag at all!
I may not have mentioned that my husband did carry around a diaper bag. In fact, now that my daughter has started kindergarten, it is only now being retired. We received a cheap plastic diaper bag for free at the hospital where Audrey was born. I believe it came with a complimentary canister of Similac formula. When Audrey started daycare at eight months, my husband saw no need to buy something fancy like a Diaper Dude diaper bag ($55). Nor did he seem drawn to the organic cotton fabrics on the Amy Butler diaper bags ($250) that are all the rage in some circles. So he stuck with the hospital freebie.
Diaper Dude Diaper Bag
Over the years, he’s taken that bag (and Audrey) to her wonderful daycare provider. At first we needed it to transport bottles of expressed breast milk and bundles of cloth diapers. Later we filled it with a change of clothes and shoes, a swim suit, and a snack for the ride home. Now it’s literally falling apart. The white plastic lining is torn, the pockets have ripped. It’s too battered to donate to a thrift store.
I’ll miss this beat-up little bag, even though I never carried it around myself. I guess I’ll have to get by on the memories!
Nursing tanks were my absolute favorite breastfeeding support gear. While I was quite comfortable nursing in public, I loved that they helped me to flash as little flesh as possible. And they also provide post-pregnancy tummy coverage and an extra layer of warmth in the chilly months.
If you’d prefer an all-in-one nursing tank, Glamourmom’s Nursing Bra Tank is a good option. It’s extra long to accommodate our shifting sizes in the months after baby and comes with a soft cup bra built into the tank. Clips allow you to fold down the top part of the tank for easy nursing access.
Bravado! Designs Essential Nursing Bra Tank also provides a built in bra and comes in a variety of colors. The length of the tank extends to the thigh and many consumers rave about their love of this product. It’s available in a wide variety of sizes too, although I notice that there aren’t many small cup options.
Nursing women who already love their nursing bras can use a Nursing Tank by Undercover Mama that actually clips onto the straps of your nursing bra. It comes in three colors and still allows you to have the coverage of a nursing tank without having to use a built-in bra.
A similar option is Ecoscape’s Undershirts for Nursing Moms. The tanks actually just come with two large circles cut out of the breast area, allowing women easy access to their nursing bras.
The most deluxe nursing tank I came across was the Double Cream Nursing Tank by Ecoscapes. It’s made to support mom and baby with simple, easy to unhook shoulder straps, but it’s two layer design also allows for hands-free pumping. (I never learned how hands-free pumping was possible with my two babies, but I have to admit that it does sound appealing!)
I used about five cotton nursing tanks from target. They shrank, didn’t provide any support, and were ratty and worn by the time I finally finished nursing. If I would have realized that I would spend a total of four years breastfeeding my children (2 years with each child), I would have just invested in some high quality pieces right from the start. (Or looked for some gently used, high quality
nursing tanks in consignment shops.)
Have you used nursing tanks? What would you recommend for other breastfeeding mothers?
If you use cloth diapers on the go, you need someplace to stash the wet ones until you’re back home again. On the minimal end of the spectrum, you could simply use a Ziploc bag or any old plastic zipper bag. That’s what I did for several months. When my daughter started going to daycare at eight months, we needed a heftier option and ended up getting something like the SealLine Dry Sack, which we found at a sporting goods store for under $10. At the time, I don’t think we realized there were cuter options out there, but this bag did the trick. They’re available in a variety of sizes. Ours could hold a whole weekend’s worth of diapers.
Now there are several cloth diaper wet bags on the market, all of which are much classier than a Ziploc bag:
We’ve always had a thing for Monkey Foot Designs, and we can attest to their attractiveness and durability.
Kushies On the Go 2 pack wet bag. ($10.99), with a draw-string closure.
Bummis Fabulous Organic Wet Diaper Bag ($14.37)
Itzy Ritzy Zippered Wet Bag ($17.95)
Planet Wise Diaper Wet Bag (from $16.50)
Kissa One Size Antibacterial Wet Diaper bag ($11.99)
Munchkin Damp Goods Bag ($8.99)
What do you use when you change a cloth diaper out on the town? Chime in with your recommendations (or anti-recommendations) in the comments!
“Organically Cute is all about bibberizing your baby.” So reads the copy on Organically Cute’s website. If you want organic bibs made from vibrant designer fabrics, this is where you’ll find them. All of their bibs are made from 100% natural, organic cotton that is grown without the use of insecticides or synthetic fertilizers. To top it all off, five percent of every sale gets donated to charities that benefit children in the U.S. or the environment.
Here’s your chance to win a set of four Organically Cute bibs for your own fashion-forward tot! The winner gets to choose from all of these great designs.
You can enter twice! Here’s how:
1. Simply post a comment here.
2. Visit Organically Cute’s website. Come back and tell us what your favorite bib design is in the comments.
We’ll choose a winner September 29th. United States addresses only, please. Good luck!
Another back-to-school quandary: What is the perfect water bottle? It should be made from either safer plastic or stainless steel to avoid harmful chemicals such as BPA, and it should be easy for a young child to manage on her own.
Once upon a time, Joy wrote about her favorite stainless steel water bottle, the Nathan Stainless Steel flip-straw bottle. Are there similar options geared toward children? The same brand does offer a kids’ version: the Nathan Kids Stainless steel bottle ($13.99). For her son, Joy loves the CamelBak Kids Stainless Steel Water bottle ($15.23) that he has been toting to preschool for the last two years, and she has also heard wonderful things about Klean Kanteen water bottles, which transition easily from a sippy cup to a regular bottle when you buy the attachments.
As for me, we settled on the Crocodile Creek Stainless Steel Reusable Drinking Bottle (from $9). We got the ballerina design for Audrey, to go with her Crocodile Creek backpack and Crocodile Creek Lunchbox. (We saw many other kids sporting other Crocodile Creek designs at her elementary school, so it seems we made a popular choice!) If you’re interested in saving a few bucks, on Amazon some of the designs are cheaper than others.
Sigg Kids water bottles ($18.95) are a more expensive option, but they come in several great designs. They’re also suitable for very young kids; many of the reviewers rave about their toddlers figuring out how to use it on their own.
The Eco Vessel kids bottle with straw top ($13.95) holds 13 oz. of liquid, so it’s bigger than the other kids’ bottles out there. It also comes in some great designs.
Do you have a favorite water bottle for your child? Let us know!
Halloween, already? Not exactly, but National Costume Swap day is less than three weeks away and we wanted to be sure to give our readers ample time to prepare. In years past, we seem to announce the event just after it occurs, or maybe the day before. Not this year!
On Saturday, October 8th, families across the nation will trade old costumes in for new trick-or-treat wear. It’s green, it’s free, and it’s a great way to connect with local families. And the truth is, no matter how adorable our children look in their baby bumblebee costumes, they can usually only wear them once. Why not share them with someone else?
Green Halloween has a directory so that you can find the swap in your area, or get one started. The site is run by the illustrious mother-dauther team of Lynn Colwell and Corey Colwell-Lipson who also co-authored Celebrate Green. We love their work on Green Halloween and are excited to see how National Costume Swap day is growing each year.
Are you planning on dressing up your babe this October? What are your costume concepts? You may want to think outside the box and use some of our rather creative (and odd) ideas for baby’s Halloween ensemble this year. —or better yet, head to the National Costume Swap near you!