I did! Thankfully Rebecca had a newborn when I was in the later stages of my pregnancy. She guided me through the very confusing world of cloth diapers and even took me to a consignment store to help me buy the gear.
Recently I met a mom in Maryland who lamented that she would have used cloth, but she just didn’t know a single soul who had ever tried. Were you in that boat? Did you try them anyway? Are you worried about trying them? We’d love to be your guide if you’re hesitant to jump in. Please feel free to comment or even email us if you have cloth diapering questions. Or read our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide: Down-to-Earth Ways for Parents to Save Money and the Planet for tips, diagrams and definitions!
I’m happy to report that our 13 month old is going strong with infant potty training! To be clear, she still wears cloth diapers and our only focus is getting her to poop on the potty. She started pooping on the potty at around seven months and her progress is continuing. It means fewer poopy diapers to wash and strong steps toward actual potty training when she’s ready. We even toted our little potty seat to Maryland with us on our family vacation and she used it many times while at her grandparents’ house.
During the trip, she started using the sign for “poop” which was even more exciting. While we were driving home after nearly twelve hours of travel, she did the sign in the back seat along with the sign for help. We were so exhausted and shocked that she would be able to tell us, that we didn’t stop. When we did arrive home, she had pooped in her diaper and we felt horrid that we didn’t listen to her.
That’s the down side of this infant potty training business. Yesterday we were on our way to blueberry picking when she needed to poop so we trooped back home, only to find she wasn’t ready. She then filled her pants at the blueberry patch. We have just the one potty seat so I don’t plan on toting it with us everywhere, especially when she isn’t always comfortable pooping in public restrooms. Still, every chance that we make it to the toilet is one less poopy diaper to deal with!
I only share these stories because even though I used cloth diapers with my first child, it didn’t even occur to me to begin potty training until right around 2 years old. He was trained by 27 months, but if I would have started sooner, I think it would have gone even faster. In many other parts of the world, people don’t even use diapers and potty train their children very, very early. If you have a potty seat and time on your hands, why not give it a try?
I’m bone tired. The kind of exhaustion where you sit and look at all you have to do and then just sit some more. After seven rough vacation nights full of nighttime nursing and a full day’s journey back from the East coast, I can’t seem to get anything done.
And green parenting requires us to get things done! There’s a garden to water, cloth diapers to wash, food to prepare and summer produce to pick and preserve. How do we keep up with all this while so very tired?
And when will my baby resume sleeping through the night? For now, I have just resigned myself to serving my family pantry food and scrambled eggs so that I can avoid grocery shopping or intensive cooking. I’ve watered enough to keep the garden alive, but the berries will have to wait.
Are any of the rest of you facing the battle between your green ideals and your need for rest? Did you get a nap today? Please feel free to give yourself regular breaks. This green parenting gig is a marathon, not a sprint!
The truth is, when I hang them to dry, my cotton prefolds resemble white shingles. They are hardened, rough, and rigid and have to be bent instead of folded.
Now, I could still hang them and them cart them all into the house while slightly damp for a quick fluff in the dryer. Or I could just dry my prefolds and hang the polyester diapers and covers out to dry, but both of those seem too labor intensive.
So what do I do? I hang ninety percent of my laundry all week, but I still toss my diapers into the dryer. I can’t seem to replicate that fresh soft feel without a stint in the dryer. I don’t mind our rough towels and cloth napkins, but I do want her diapers to be soft.
Do you have an easy solution for softening up air-dryed diapers? Do you have other diaper truths you’d like to confess? (Also, many thanks to Suzannah at the Smitten Word for the photo!)
We have a magical contraption at my house. You put dirty plates and cups onto its gleaming white racks, push some buttons, and they come out clean! Well actually, they’re often a bit filmy with bits of goo here and there.
Having a dishwasher is a huge life change after eight years of hand washing, but we were sad to see that our dishes don’t come clean when using Biokleen Dishwasher Detergent. Rebecca is also the proud owner of a new dishwasher, and she wrote a great post about the merits of Biokleen powder over even traditional detergent, but we were only able to find the liquid locally. And shockingly, it didn’t work as well for us as other cleaners. Should we chuck the rest of the bottle and give up on our dreams of gleaming dishes, or invest in mainstream rinse agents that may or may not work?
In desperation, we tried Seventh Generation’s rinse agent, which handles 75 loads in comparison to Jet Dry’s 40, for a similar price. We filled our soap dispenser to the brim to compensate for hard water, loaded up the rinse agent compartment, and confidently awaited the results–which were spotty and once again covered with bits of oatmeal. Ugh!
I tried again with half the detergent and the results were better, but not all that great. Prior to our Biokleen purchase, a friend had given us the Method Smarty Dish tabs, which are wildly expensive by comparison, but they worked like a charm. I shall keep you posted on our dishwasher issues, but please feel free to recommend your favorite eco-friendly dishwasher detergent options!
I had every intention of weaning my child at one year. Breastfeeding while working had been burdensome and I dreamed of the days that my body would be fully mine again. Then my son became very sick and had to be hospitalized for days. The only thing I could do for him was offer the breast, and it was a huge comfort as he underwent endless tests. After that I realized that I could feed him just in the morning and before bed, and wouldn’t need to pump ever again. Since my supply fit perfectly with whatever demand we worked out, it wasn’t such a burden. I ended up breastfeeding him until he was two. I’m glad I did it as long as I did, and was also at peace with my decision to stop.
Are you trying to make up your mind about how long to breastfeed? Are you glad you weaned when you did or wished you would have continued? Are you successfully breastfeeding your toddler? Please share your wisdom with our other readers who may be pregnant or in the early stages of motherhood! (and please be gentle–there can be a lot of judgement either way on this one.)
In our new book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, Rebecca and I recommend the “slacker” method of cloth diaper laundering. It doesn’t involve intensive prewashing or excessive toilet dunking, and it should keep your nursery smelling fresher than it would with disposables. (Remember that with cloth the feces is properly disposed of in the toilet rather than smelling up your home.)
So, what happens if your cloth diapers seem to give off a distasteful odor of fermented waste? Try these handy tips.
Any other ideas? Are you also struggling with smells this summer?
Shocking Truth #1:
No matter how many limits you put on the playthings that enter your home, you will find yourself amazed by how the toy paraphernalia builds up.
Shocking truth #2:
Although you may beg people not to shower your tiny infant with a million rattles, shiny singing doodads and plastic xylophones, they will. Then they will do it again annually.
Shocking truth #3:
Your child will play with just ten to twenty percent of her toys.
Am I wrong? I hope so, but in our household we have been amazed by the sheer quantity of stuff that entered our lives with our children’s arrival. I co-wrote The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, a book in which we clearly state that voluntary simplicity is the way to go with baby for a myriad of economic and environmental reasons. And yet, somehow gifts found their way into our lives and my son’s room was overrun with clutter.
What’s the magic answer for toy purging? For us it was talking about one (hypothetical) child who doesn’t get playthings because his family can’t afford it. We talk about what he might like, and how happy he’ll be to get it. If my son wants to give this imaginary boy toys but feels that he can’t get rid of them himself, he’ll even let his dad sort through the toys that aren’t being played with so that we can ship them off to Goodwill.
We also do a toy rotation, so that the items he doesn’t want to play with can be shifted out every month or so. It feels like he’s constantly getting new toys and there’s less to trip over and clean up in his bedroom.
As for the limiting of the gifts, for our baby we specifically asked for no presents at her first birthday party and will probably limit gifts for her until she’s about three and can actually know she’s getting something. For our son, we do ask family for gift certificates to children’s museums or swimming so that we can have experiences instead of stuff. It doesn’t always work, but it’s worth a try!
Any other ideas? Have any of you had success with actually keeping the wave of shiny new toys at bay in those first few years?
Do you like it? I’m blushing a bit right now, but we are really proud of our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, and are hoping that many of you find it helpful as you prepare for baby or select a gift for pregnant friends who are looking for eco-friendly, budget friendly solutions. Please let us know if you’ve read it! Also, if you have ideas on how to spread the word on our little gem, please let us know. We loved writing it and editing it hundreds of times, but marketing isn’t our favorite hobby. Still, we’d like to let expectant parents know how to save thousands of dollars while going green. Thanks for your creative ideas!
With my husband being a stay at home dad last year, our income took a dip and we vowed to cut back. We carefully recorded all our expenses and tried to spend less. And we did in many ways, but not at the grocery store. We went to one budget store for dry goods and hit another one for organic produce and healthier foods.
We felt great about our choices until we recently checked our overall grocery spending. It had skyrocketed to nearly as much as our mortgage payment! (I must confess that we have a really low mortgage payment, but still!)
Now that I’m the one at home, our income has dipped even further and I’m in charge of trying to cut back expenses. The grocery bill is our biggest monthly cost, and I’m eager to bring it down, but I don’t want to give up on organics. So far I’m trying to offset the cost of organics by couponing a bit more and checking out Grocery Outlet for organic deals. We’ll also be eating a lot from our garden this summer and picking local fruit, but I hope that I can figure it out without feeling like I’m sacrificing my ideals. We don’t need processed foods now that I have more time to cook, but somehow just produce, dried beans, and basic canned goods add up to quite a lot!
I have to confess that if the choice was between giving up organic foods to allow me to stay home with the kids and working to pay the grocery bill, it would be pretty clear to me that being at home was my priority. Surely things aren’t this black and white if I continue to pursue gardening and try to pick local produce. Right? Please provide inspiration!