It pains us to admit that cloth diapers do not always win the fight against disposables. We love cloth diapers for their cuteness, cheapness, and eco-friendliness, but the truth is, many people waste so much water and energy laundering their Fuzzibunz that they might as well switch to Huggies as far as the Earth is concerned.
So how can you tell if you’re doing more harm than good? Do a little bit of math to determine how much water you’re using laundering your diapers: multiply the gallons of water your washing machine uses by the number of loads you do per year. (If you aren’t sure, use 40 gallons for a top loader and 12 for a front loader.) Is your resulting number less than 4,000? Then you are on the right track! More than 4,000? You should probably re-evaluate your laundering habits.
Let’s say you have a top-loader and wash diapers every other day. You’re using at least 7,280 gallons of water a year to wash diapers. Do you do an extra rinse each time? You could be blowing through twice that much water.
But don’t panic! There are several easy ways to reduce your impact. Try washing fuller loads less often, eliminating extra rinse cycles, or thinking of ways to reduce the overall amount of laundry you do to “offset” the diaper loads. Our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, contains a thorough list of ways to “green” your cloth diapers to cut down on the water and energy you use. Check it out if you’re ready to get serious about conserving resources!
How many gallons a year do you use on diaper laundry?
Our new book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, costs $13.57 on Amazon. Is it truly worth that much when you can read our tantalizing posts for free?
Only if you want to save thousands on baby’s first few years. Thousands? Seriously? How can that be? Here’s a quick outline:
Nursery Gear. If you use our tips for scoring quality, safe secondhand gear or repurposing what you already have, you’ll save several hundred dollars on nursery furnishings alone. Plus there’s a directory of quality green products for your eco-splurges.
Diapering. Want to avoid spending nearly two thousand dollars on diapering per child? Check out our tips on using cloth! It’s easier than ever and your savings will accumulate without regular runs to the store to stock up on pampers. When your second or even third baby arrives, you won’t need to spend a dime on new supplies. Plus you’ll keep several tons of waste out of our landfills!
Clothing. Secondhand clothing is hip, cute, and infinitely better for the planet. Prepare to dress your baby in the best brands for seventy to ninety percent less than retail!
Food. Packed with tips on breastfeeding, using organic formulas, and making your own baby food, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide will help you nourish your child with healthy foods for hundreds less.
Still not convinced? You can request that your local library purchase our book and then check it out for free! You just might find that it’s worth having on hand for as a trusty resource for eco-friendly, budget friendly living in baby’s first few years.
Although I pride myself in being somewhat crafty, I didn’t take on that many DIY projects to prepare for my daughter’s birth four years ago. I did make my own cloth wipes. Anyone who can cut squares with scissors could do the same—I used my husband’s cast off T-shirts! I also created a mobile out of paper and twigs. It hangs in my daughter’s room to this day, so I consider the endeavor worthwhile. Plus, it cost nothing!
In The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, we provide a list of resources for making your own baby gear. Now we want to know—what did you make yourself? Did you sew or knit your baby’s clothes—or even diapers? What about building furniture for the baby’s nursery? What did you make, and what resources did you find the most helpful?
Garage sales always seem like too much work to me. I don’t like waking up early to snag the best deals, I don’t enjoy driving around, and it seems like a pain to wade through piles of other people’s cast-offs to find a few good pieces of clothing or furniture.
This is why I prefer getting my secondhand goods at consignment shops. Everything has been culled over, so the clothes are in good condition and up-to-date with the current trends. If I like Danish Modern furniture, I can usually find a few shops devoted just to that style. So convenient!
But did you know that garage sales will save you 50% or more over consignment or thrift shops? You did if you read our book, the Eco-nomical Baby Guide! We go over the pros and cons of all the usual resale methods to help you find the best deals on used baby gear. I am lucky enough to live within walking distance of a few different children’s consignment shops. I drop in frequently to keep my child properly attired. I’ve found good deals on toys, too.
Where do you prefer to find your secondhand children’s gear? Garage sales, eBay, thrift stores? Why do you prefer one method over the other?
Does your baby know the difference between a free-trade, hand-crafted bamboo stacking toy and your old set of stainless steel measuring cups? Probably not. That’s why we devote a page of The Eco-nomical Baby Guide to “The Top Ten Most Fun Household Objects for Baby.” Chances are, you don’t need to spend a fortune on eco-friendly doo-dads in order to entertain the little one. Dangle some keys in front of his face, let her tear up some old cereal boxes, watch him dig through the compost heap—(okay, maybe not that last one).
The point is, you don’t always need to buy something to fulfill your baby’s needs for fun and excitement. And what’s greener than buying a free-trade, hand-crafted bamboo stacking toy? NOT buying a free-trade, hand-crafted bamboo stacking toy.
Are there any eco-toys you regret buying? And what are your baby’s favorite household objects?
You love your baby with your whole soul, right? Well that is how Rebecca and I feel about our new book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide: Down-To-Earth Ways for Parents to Save Money and The Planet. (We love our actual children more, but this creative work is a close second…) It has taken us years to write this gem and it may take us years to celebrate its arrival. So bear with me for today’s adventure in substandard poetry….
Ode to The Eco-nomical Baby Guide
Oh manifesto of glorious green thriftiness
How I love perusing your pages
And deeply understanding
Every cloth diaper in existence.
Oh treatise of eco-frugality,
Your creativity and humor
Fill my life with laughter,
my wallet with cash,
and the nursery with adorable
secondhand baby gear.
Oh green gift of practicality,
You help new and expectant
parents with your kind wisdom, and tips
from the trenches. You make
eco-friendly, budget friendly parenting
a spine-tingling adventure.
Thank you, humble guidebook,
for your emphasis on progress, not
perfection, as we seek to go green
despite our lack of sleep and the spit-up
smudged perpetually on our shoulders.
In those early days with a newborn, did you by any chance find yourself staggering through a Target in search of a swing/bouncy seat/miracle blanket/breast pump? Something—anything—to deal with the demands of caring for a squalling babe? We have a few tricks for avoiding “desperation purchases” in our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide. (And now I’m picturing bleary-eyed parents tearing through a book store, desperate for a copy for our book!)
Will your baby feel deprived and sad without this plastic contraption?
Here are a couple questions for our veteran parents:
Let’s help out those expecting parents!
Do you need a wipes warmer in order to be the best parent you can possibly be? Will your youngster grow up sickly and deprived without a vibrating bouncy seat that teaches him the colors of the rainbow and how to count to ten in five languages?
In our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, we answer these pressing questions and give some commonsense ideas for reducing the amount of baby gear piling up in the nursery. As I was looking over the “Nursery Necessities” chapter of the book, I wondered if we failed to address an important point: Some people truly enjoy buying things—finding adorable little socks and spoons adds to the anticipation when you’re expecting a new baby.
So—what are some great ways to prepare for a visit from the stork without buying anything? Any ideas?
It’s hard to quantify just how much I love the Nurse Midwifery Birth Center here in Eugene, Oregon. Their supportive and empowering staff helped my family welcome our two children into the world. Throughout my entire pregnancy and birth we never felt rushed but enjoyed long leisurely appointments that educated us and allowed us to make our own choices.
The new Midwifery Birth Center opened its doors today on May 1st. It’s situated close to the new hospital, in a stand of old trees, and is built to support ongoing natural birth. It’s complete with a birthing tub for water births, a nature path among the old pines, and a classic interior.
The best part of all is that our entire community came together to support the clinic and did tremendous fundraising to be able to build and open the center. Nurses and midwives were flexible as they moved to the hospital for the year while the center was built. Many of the moms who helped fundraise were due during the construction and so weren’t able to have their babies at the clinic. Still they put in time and energy so that new birth center would open their doors to new families in time for Mother’s Day.
Somehow the nine month gestational period of human life seems to require expectant parents to paint. Whether you’re sprucing up the nursery or putting a fresh coat on all your walls, we often find ourselves with paint smudges on our swollen bellies in those last few months. And why not? Painting is a cheap and easy way to change a room without a huge investment.(And as authors of The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, we love simple, inexpensive solutions for baby’s room!)
But what color should we use? Should we attempt a mural? Will we need a nap after just a few brushstrokes? And what about those fumes?
Not to worry! This week’s giveaway features, Paint Style, a book that’s packed with fabulous ideas that the rest of us are too tired to come up with. It’s put together by Benjamin Moore, the same company that creates gorgeous color palates and offers the Natura line of zero emissions paints! My husband, an interior architect and color snob, prefers Benjamin Moore over all other paints for their rich palates and quality paints. He was thrilled to know that they now offer their greenest paint line yet!
Benjamin Moore’s Natura paints are safe for you to use while pregnant and are shockingly fume-free. I painted my son’s room with a sample can and was amazed that I couldn’t detect even a whiff of chemicals. (It has virtually no odor and zero volatile organic compounds.) We painted in the afternoon and tucked him into bed that night without a care.
One lucky reader is going to win a copy of Paint Style: The New Approach to Decorative Paint Finishes. This Benjamin Moore book on creative painting techniques is loaded with beautiful, vibrant ideas for bringing color into your home. The tips will be inspirational for baby’s nursery along with the rest of the rooms in your house!
Eight Ways to Enter the Giveaway
You can enter more than once! (If you’ve participated in our giveaways before, you’ll know this already). Each way listed below gets you one entry. All comments have to be posted BEFORE Wednesday the 12th of May to win.
Remember, leave a separate comment on this post for each entry you want. If applicable, please leave the link to your Facebook/Twitter/Blog in the comment you leave here.
***The contest ends on Tuesday, May 11th, 2010***
Winner will be randomly selected.
We will notify the winner via email. Please Note: This contest is open only to U.S. readers. Enjoy!