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!
When I first posted about finding the perfect BPA-free lunch box for my kindergartner, I hadn’t decided what to buy. Audrey had already chosen the Crocodile Creek Pocket Lunch Box, so that was taken care of. I knew I wanted some sort of container to put inside, and I was leaning toward the Easy Lunchboxes 3-compartment containers.
I decided against buying them after reading the product description more carefully. While I like the idea of having one divided container rather than a collection of containers to keep track of, the lid doesn’t seal each compartment. Some reviewers complained that if you packed something like strawberries in one compartment and chips in the other, everything had a chance to mingle around before lunchtime.
For years we used the Sassy Baby Bento box (read my Sassy Baby Bento review for more information) for Audrey’s daycare snack. I was really happy with this product, but there was one big problem: She couldn’t open the containers herself.
I ended up buying something I hadn’t run across in my initial search for BPA-free containers: Ziploc divided containers ($8.75 for 2—much cheaper than Laptop Lunches!). They are similar to the Easy Lunchboxes, but the lid does seal each section separately. Also, according to Ziploc’s website, their storage containers are BPA-free. My five-year-old can take the lid off and put it back on by herself. And best of all, a container does fit perfectly inside her Crocodile Creek lunch box. There is even room left over for a cloth napkin.
Monday was Audrey’s first full day of kindergarten, so we’ll give this whole system a whirl and report back in a few months!
As you may have read in my post on zero waste lunches, my son’s school has banned all single serving food items to eliminate trash. It’s time to invest in some greener food storage options!
I was excited about trying Lunchskins or other reusable snack bags, but read a comment on Monday from a user who struggled with mold on the fabric. Many parents LOVE the product, but others have also complained about stale food and not being able to dry the bags out enough before the next use.
Moldy bags and stale food reports make me hesitate on the brink of a purchase. At $7-15 dollars a bag, it’s tough to shell out so much and not know whether or not it will work. Does anyone else have feedback on reusable snack bags? Are you able to use them successfully? What’s your trick for avoiding mold on the fabric?
My son, who helped to inspire our book The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, just turned five. Did he request reclaimed wood toys or organic cotton garments for his birthday? Nope. He’s in the midst of a feverish obsession with monster trucks, which are just about as ungreen as you can possibly be.
On the other end of the gender spectrum is my two-year-old daughter Jovi who must wear the finest dresses available (purchased at thrift stores), jewels, and purses on a daily basis. For her brother’s fifth birthday party (which included “pin the wheels on the monster truck”), Jovi received one special gift: A Green Toys Tea Set.
My thrift shopping habit has wildly skewed my price perception, so spending over twenty bucks on a plastic tea set was slightly painful, but I was happily surprised with the quality of the product. And when I did some research on the company, I was glad that I shelled out a bit more. All Green Toys are made in the U.S. from recycled milk containers. The whole process happens in California which saves the carbon cost of having raw materials shipped into the factory from overseas. They’re BPA free and meet the strict toy safety and environmental laws for the state of California.
I love the practical heft of the plastic, the colors, the simple design, and the fact that all lids are completely interchangeable. Since she got the set two weeks ago, we have had dozens of tea parties, and I think there are hundreds more to come. With a quality product like Green Toys, you get an heirloom toy that is made of recycled materials and costs just a bit more cheap plastic sets made in China. I’d definitely recommend it!
Do you own any Green Toys? Have you been satisfied with their quality?
I feel like I must have asked this question before. Believe it or not, almost six years after giving birth, I still have boxes of tiny garments tucked away in my attic. I may have hung on to some maternity clothes, a nursing pillow, and a high chair as well.
I’m sure having a high chair sitting around in the basement will come in handy at some point. . . .
Back when I was debating between the Boppy pillow and the My Breast Friend, one of my big concerns was resale value. Imagine spending under a thousand dollars on baby gear (which I did) and then making most of it back when I sold it at a consignment shop or on ebay (which I didn’t).
Can I interest you in a six-year-old Boppy pillow?
If you want to know how I scrimped and saved on baby gear, check out our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide. And if you want to know the very best way to recoup your expenses . . . well, that’s what I’m asking our knowledgeable readers right now! I’m thinking that selling back these odds and ends might be more trouble than it’s worth. What would you do–make an effort to sell it, or give it all away?