Since we’re nestled here in the Pacific Northwest where our biggest complaint is rain, I can’t quite imagine toting my newborn home in sub-zero weather. We’ve hit a patch of chilly days here lately and it had me wondering what mothers in cold climates do to keep their infants warm on winter walks. After all, part of maintaining the motivation to live a green lifestyle is simply getting outside and connecting with nature–which can be challenging in places like Northern Alaska. Finally, I can across an image of a car seat cover.
So just what is this contraption? It fits around the outside of the car seat to provide a cozy cocoon for a newborn or infant. The one pictured above is a JJ Cole Carseat Cover and costs just under $30.
The Jolly Jumper Sneak-a-Peak Infant Carseat Cover keeps baby entirely enclosed within the car seat, providing just a tiny window for peering out. It’s also water repellant and is elasticized for a snug fit with any car seat.
Babbaco’s Babbacover Snuggle Fleece Beepbeep wins the prize for being being utterly adorable, but it’s also one of the pricier covers at $61.00. It’s nice that it does have a flip down window so that you can cover baby if she’s napping.
Are car seat covers really worth buying? It depends entirely on your geographic location and your personal values. If you live in an incredibly cold climate and are feeling desperate to get outside, it might warrant the cost. You can clip the carseat into a travel system stroller with the cover and take baby out for a walk on a freezing day without feeling like you’re risking her health. (Would you then need to put the stroller on skis? Hmm….)
Or you may just want to purchase some ultra warm baby clothing and skip the car seat cover altogether. Of course, if you only experience severe winter cold for a few weeks out of the year, it’s probably not worth worrying about car seat covers or extreme winter clothing for baby.
Have you ever even seen an infant car seat cover in use? Are they common where you live? Do you use one?
Although I really wanted to cloth diaper, I was haunted my myths that I kept hearing from non-cloth diapering moms. Luckily I had Rebecca, who guided me through the world of cloth diapers and later became my co-author and co-blogger here at Greenbabyguide.com. Now we can support other new parents by dispelling some of those cloth diapering myths that we found to be utterly untrue.
Myth #1: You’ll have to use pins and plastic pants.
When I tell people that I cloth diapered my children, it’s amazing how many of them say they just couldn’t imagine having to use pins with small infants. I show them pictures of the hourglass design and velcro and snap closures and they are amazed.
Myth #2: Cloth Diapering is very expensive in the beginning.
I was worried about spending a few hundred dollars on cloth diapering, only to find out that I couldn’t manage the laundry (another myth) or that the diapers were the wrong fit for my baby. Rebecca helped me clear this hurdle when she took me to a consignment shop where I picked out some gently used super whisper wraps and a half dozen other diaper covers for just one dollar each. I then bought three dozen gently used cotton prefolds from a diaper service and was ready to go with only a thirty dollar investment. (Note: Many of our readers have shared that Jillian’s Drawers allows you a no-risk cloth diaper trial for only ten bucks. They’re also tremendously supportive for trouble shooting.)
Myth #3: Cloth diapering is more complicated and labor intensive than disposable diapering.
Rebecca and I are self-confessed slackers. The diaper laundering systems that we used in our households are not rocket science and require very little effort. (We go over this system in detail in our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide.) The very best part of cloth diapering is never having to strap your screaming infant into a car seat to go buy diapers. What a relief to have everything you need at home!
Myth #4: You need to choose one cloth diapering system and stick with it.
I agonized over whether to use prefolds or all-in-one diapers, and after careful research, I chose prefolds. (For this reason, we include graphs, cost comparisons, and illustrations in The Eco-nomical Baby Guide for those parents who want to understand their cloth diapering and hybrid diapering options.) Prefolds worked just fine, but when I was sent a batch of FuzziBunz pocket diapers, I fell in love. Then some friends gave me their BumGenius all in ones, and I saw how convenient they were. In short, different types of diapers work best in different situations and it’s perfectly fine to have a mix of diapers. Why limit yourself?
Myth #5: Cloth diapering is less eco-friendly than using disposables.
Intuitively we all know that washing and reusing something is more eco-friendly than tossing it in the landfill. In The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, we take a careful look at recent studies and provide detailed comparisons of cloth and disposables. We also show how using the right washing methods can cut down dramatically on environmental impact and share how hybrid diapers and greener disposables fit into the mix.
Myth #6: You have to choose between cloth or disposable diapers.
Sometimes families shy away from cloth diapering because then they think it requires a total commitment. A good percentage of our readers use cloth diapers exclusively but some families use cloth during the day and disposables at night while others use disposables about half of the time. In truth, using cloth even part of the time saves money and trash. Hybrid diapers such as Grovia Diapers and g-Diapers incorporate both disposable and cloth options, making them an appealing choice as well.
Now that I’m on the other side of cloth diapering apprehension, it’s fun to see how people don’t seem to know how incredibly easy cloth diapering has become. As a result, people look at me with admiration and awe while I perform a cloth diaper change in a public bathroom. I didn’t imagine that cloth diapering would make me appear to be a genius while changing a poopy diaper, but I don’t mind it either.
Have you dispelled any myths while using cloth diapers? Have you found them to be far easier or more challenging than you first imagined?
Maybe one of these years I’ll think of a truly creative Halloween costume idea for my child and spend my whole summer putting it together. But not this year. Audrey has decided to be a princess (again). At our favorite consignment store, I found this dress for $4.50. After mending a torn ruffle and safety-pinning a piece of Velcro back in place, it’s ready for some serious trick-or-treating.
Need more of our favorite eco-friendly Halloween costume ideas for babies and kids? Look no further!
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!