Archive for the ‘Product Reviews’ Category

Monkey Foot Designs Wet Bags are sturdy and functional, but also sewn from rich and colorful prints that almost make cloth diapering seem, well, glamorous! We’ve loved them for years here at the Green Baby Guide and one of our readers will be winning one soon.

In case you have no idea what a wet bag is, you should know that it can be used for toting damp items  including used cloth diapers, swim suits, breast pump parts, and baby wipes.  Although I initially stuffed a freezer bag into my purse for used cloth diapers on the go, I was so thrilled to have my Monkey Foot Designs wet bag.  (For one, I didn’t always look forward to washing out that used freezer bag by hand and a Monkey Foot Designs wet bag can simply be tossed in the laundry!)

The inner part of a Monkey Foot Designs wet bag is made with ProCare, a waterproof material that keeps wetness and odor within the bag.  The outer fabric is sewn separately to avoid leakage and all seams are serged for reinforcement.  While other wet bags shut with drawstrings, Monkey Foot Designs bags zip shut to seal up odor and wetness.

I just received a lovely Monkey Foot Designs double pocket wet bag with the rich multicolored elephant fabric to review.  My first thought was, “How sad that my daughter will be fully potty trained soon.”  I think I may use it as a purse in the future simply because it’s so beautiful!   It’s incredibly reasonable (just $30!) and has two pockets to accommodate more.

Today Monkey Foot Designs is sponsoring a giveaway of one solid black double pocket wet bag. This one little item will last you through years of cloth diapering!  No one will know you’re hauling around wet gear in this sleek bag and you can use it after baby for years!

Four Ways to Enter the Monkey Foot Designs Wet Bag Giveaway:

1. Simply post a comment

2. Like us on Facebook (then tell us you did it in the comments)

3. Visit Monkey Foot Designs website and comment on what you learned.

4. Spread the news about the giveaway! Email someone, post it on Facebook, tweet it, blog it, or send someone a message about it via carrier pigeon. (And again, don’t forget to tell us all about it in the comments!)

This contest ends on Wednesday June 15th and is only open to U.S. Residents.

Great luck!

Last week we asked readers if they used Wipes Warmers for cloth wipes–and they did! I guess we’ll have to retract our previous disdain for them. So which models work best for cloth wipes? I found two good choices:

Prince Lionheart Warmies Wipes Warmer ($23.94). This product comes with some cloth wipes, though some users prefer to use their own cloth wipes.

Munchkin Warm Glow Wipes Warmer ($21.96). This one lights up for nighttime changes and can be used for disposable or cloth wipes (wipes not included). Customer reviews recommend it for cloth wipes!

Need cloth wipes, too? Try the Prince Lionheart Warmies Reusable cloth wipes (8 wipes for $9.99)–these wipes, derived from bamboo, go with the Prince Lionheart warmer mentioned above. Or try the Imse Vimse cloth wipes (12 for $16.11).

Also–make sure to check our other posts about cloth wipes:

Switching to Cloth Baby Wipes
Saving Money on Cloth Baby Wipes
Why don’t you . . . use cloth wipes?
Do you use eco-friendly baby wipes?

Looking for the perfect teether?  Vulli’s Sophie the Giraffe toy is a classic that parents heartily endorse.  It’s always been BPA and phthalate free and has lots of lovely angles for baby to gnaw on. It’s currently 28% off on Amazon, making it just $17.00.   It’s also much larger than other teething toys which will extend its appeal long after baby’s gums stop aching.

Parent recommendations are paramount when considering a new product, and Sophie the Giraffe was very positively reviewed  by over 1,000 people.  The toy is crafted from 100% natural rubber that comes from the Hevea Tree and decorated with food grade paints that are safe for babies.  Sophie has been around since 1961, but was more popular in Europe than here in the U.S.  Still, it’s always been natural and is again coming into fashion now that parents are worried about toxins in children’s teething toys.

Vulli, the company behind Sophie, also has a rubber soft chew toy called Chan Pie Gnon, which comes from the French word champignon, meaning mushroom. It’s had very positive parent reviews and comes with a built in squeaker device.  It’s also crafted in the French Alps with natural rubber and food quality paints.  You can pick it up for $13.00 on Amazon, which is almost 20% off.

Does anyone own either of these little items?   Are they as magical as they seem?  (We also believe in using cold celery sticks for teething, which work wonders as well!)

Wipes Warmers: A Moral Quandary

We’ve gone on the record saying that wipes warmers are completely unnecessary and probably even evil. They’re made of plastic and require electricity—they represent everything we abhor! At least, that’s what I used to think. Lately I’ve been reexamining some of my long-held convictions and I’m confronting some painful realities. For example, after years of denial, I’ve come around to accepting that diaper sprayers might be a good thing. (Or—even better—try the DIY diaper sprayer option.)

Today the difficult philosophical question I’m asking is this: Can wipes warmers be green? Here’s a little story to help us decide: Joy admitted she didn’t use cloth wipes  with her first child. Why? Because she thought it would be too much trouble to take the five seconds to wet the wipe with a spray bottle or squirt bottle. I’m happy to report that she changed her tune with her second baby.

I’ve heard of cloth-diapering parents using a wipes warmer for cloth wipes—thus eliminating that five-second hassle of wetting each cloth. As a bonus, the baby’s bottom gets treated to a nice, warm wipe instead of a bracingly cold one. If this little contraption keeps thousands of disposable wipes from getting used and discarded, is it—in its own roundabout way—a green product?

What do you think? Have you tried using a wipes warmer for cloth wipes? Or do wipes warmers fly in the face of everything we stand for, as we originally suspected?

Rebecca and I survived years of poopy cloth diapers in our households without the help of a diaper sprayer. Still, if I would have seen this video and learned how to make one for so little, I may have taken the leap! (They’re about $50 on many websites but the do-it-yourself version comes it at less than $20 and takes just 20 minutes to set up!) Do you have a diaper sprayer? Have you yearned for one and felt they were too expensive? Check out this link to the video and you’ll have one for much less in no time at all!
DIY Diaper Sprayer for Less!

This year will be a banner year for reading in my household. Right after my daughter’s fifth birthday, I made an amazing discovery: Audrey finally has the attention span to listen to me read chapter books out loud!

The first book we tried was The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. She surprised me with her ability to follow this 111-year-old tale of Dorothy and her little dog Toto’s extraordinary adventure. There are some scary parts (the flying monkeys creeped her out), but she stuck with it until the end.

I had fond memories of the Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner, so we tried that next. Success!

After that we began working our way through the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary. Ramona’s antics have provided us both with hours of amusement. So far we’ve finished Beezus and Ramona, Ramona the Pest, Ramona the Brave, Ramona and Her Father, Ramona and Her Mother, and Ramona Quimby, Age 8.

Another Beverly Cleary classic we read and enjoyed was The Mouse and the Motorcycle.

We’re almost finished with Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. This one has required more interruptions than most of the others, while I stop to explain, as  best  as I can, why the Ingalls family must churn their own butter and make their own bullets.

I’m thinking of giving the Roald Dahl books a try this summer. James and the Giant Peach was one of my favorites in elementary school.

Do you read chapter books out loud to your kids? Please give me your recommendations–we need a healthy reading list to get through the summer before kindergarten!

Giveaway Winner Updates!

From the Hygeia EnJoye Breastpump, to a copy of Fifteen Minutes Outside, to a Smartklean Laundry Ball, we’ve been hosting fabulous giveaways in the last few weeks.  And now it’s time for a drum roll:

Juley A. from Anchorage, Alaska will soon be getting her copy of 15 Minutes Outside on her doorstep.  Enjoy!  Now that the weather is getting a bit warmer, it will be even easier to gain inspiration to be outdoors with baby.

In just a matter of days, Andrea B. from Chandler, Arizona will be able to toss a the Smartklean Laundry Ball into her washer without using any laundry detergent–for an entire year!

And, our biggest winner so far of the Hygeia EnJoye Breastpump is….Ashley B from Los Angeles, California.

Thank you so much for your comments and interest.  We have some more exciting giveaways coming up so keep coming back to see if you’ll be our next lucky winner!

Here at, we’re all about simple eco-friendly changes.  They have to be things you can do while sleep deprived, nursing, and trying to get at least one load of laundry done per week.  That’s why we love Marcal Small Steps 100% recycled paper products  All you have to do is throw them into your cart instead of traditional toilet paper and you’ve just made a difference!

Marcal is a small company that has been making paper products for more than 60 years.  Their products are easy to find in mainstream stores, affordable, and high quality.  Since we just use rags around here, we haven’t yet given their paper towels a try, but we love Marcal’s Small Steps toilet paper.  While some other recycled paper products can be flimsy or extremely rough, Marcal’s Small Steps toilet paper seems indistinguishable from any mainstream brand.

If a family of four switches to 100% recycled paper products, in just one year they’ll save two trees.  And in 20 years, they’ll save about 34 trees.  (That’s a small forest!)  Imagine if businesses and schools switched to fully recycled paper products.  It seems like such a small change but the benefits are tremendous!

If you chose to “like” Marcal on facebook, you’ll get a $1.00 off coupon for your next purchase of Marcal Small Steps recycled paper products.

Do you buy greener paper products?  If so, what are your favorites?  If not, what’s holding you back?

Just what is a laundry ball, you ask?  It’s a device designed to replace laundry soap that lasts for an entire year.  (If you wash approximately 18 pounds of laundry per day.)  The SmartKlean Laundry Ball is a perforated plastic sphere filled with ceramic pellets.  Don’t ask me about the specific chemistry involved, but the product claims that the pellets eliminate mold and bacteria, elevate PH levels to simulate soap, and break down water clusters to reduce rust in washing machines.  Honestly, the other features of these pellets are a bit too science-saturated for me to grasp.

Skipping detergent altogether and throwing a ball into a washing machine filled with stinky socks and sour milk smells seemed a bit crazy, but I have to say that it works.  You can hear the ball bouncing around inside which must help agitate the laundry a bit more.  We even used it with our diapers, which are mostly wet these days since Jovi uses the toilet for bowel movements, and they came out smelling great!  It doesn’t do a whole lot for stain removal, but if you pretreat your clothing, it comes out just fine.  (The company also recommends adding white vinegar and sea salt to very soiled clothing to boost the cleaning power.)

Would I buy this product?  Probably not.  I simply am not a purchaser of new-fangled laundry devices and it costs $45.00.  Some people spend this much on dryer sheets and laundry soap in a year, but I don’t think we actually do.   Still, I have to say that our laundry ball stays in our machine and we use it most of the time.  It can be recycled if your local site accepts #7 plastics or it can be sent back to the company.   It does require a bit of maintenance since it should be placed in the sun to regenerate the pellets once a month.  For more information on the product, head to their FAQ page.

You shall have a chance to try it out for yourself if you’re the lucky winner of our SmartKlean Laundry Ball giveaway!

Three Ways to Enter the SmartKlean Laundry Ball Giveaway:

1. Simply post a comment

2. Like us on Facebook (then tell us you did it in the comments)

3. Spread the news about the giveaway! Email someone, post it on Facebook, tweet it, blog it, or send someone a message about it via carrier pigeon. (And again, don’t forget to tell us all about it in the comments!)

This contest ends on Friday May 13th and is only open to U.S. Residents.

In our research for The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, our favorite organic choice was Nature’s One Baby’s Only Organic Formula.  And in our recent exploration of hexane, Baby’s Only again stands out as the best choice.

So what is hexane anyway?  It’s a petroleum derivative that’s found in glue and gasoline and has recently been used in infant formula to help obtain the DHA and ARA fatty acids from fermented algae and fungus.  Since breast milk is packed with DHA and ARA, there has been a recent drive to get these components into formula.  (Don’t get us started on the advantages of breastfeeding.  If you possibly can breastfeed, there are a million reasons that it will provide you with better health, your baby with better immunity, and save you heaps of cash.  Since not everyone can, we want to be sure to share organic formula options. If you are breastfeeding, don’t forget to enter our Hygeia EnJoye Breastpump Giveaway!)

Similic Organic Formula and Earth’s Best Organic Formula both state that no trace of hexane is detectable in their formula and that it’s just used to process the DHA and ARA.  But Nature’s One Baby’s Only is the only organic formula to derive their DHA and ARA fatty acids without hexane.  They are also the only organic formula to have 100% BPA free packaging.

There’s just one problem with Baby’s Only Organic formula.  In an effort to encourage breastfeeding, the company recommends their formula as a follow up to a full year of breastfeeding.  However, they offer a nutritional chart comparing their formula to others on the market and recommend that you consult with your health care professional.  It’s clear from viewing the chart that Baby’s Only  meets or exceeds other brands with its nutritional components and would be more than adequate as an infant formula.

Baby’s Only Infant Formula isn’t even the most expensive option!  It comes in at $0.88/oz. while Earth’s Best Organic Formula costs $1.15/oz. and Similac Organic is a bit cheaper at $0.73/oz. (These are my current rough estimates based on buying from Amazon in large quantities)

What’s your favorite organic infant formula?  Any tips on finding the best prices on formula?

The Eco-nomical Baby Guide
Eco-nomical Baby Guide
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