What Were Your Favorite Baby Guide Books?

During all nine months of my first pregnancy, our home was littered with books instructing me on how to gracefully cruise into motherhood.  Many of them simply freaked me out while others seemed utterly unrealistic.

None urged me to trust myself, buy less stuff, use cloth diapers and opt for used gear–all of which we emphasize in our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide.  In fact, back in 2006 I could not find a single book on green pregnancy or parenting!  That was part of the reason Rebecca and I were so inspired to write The Eco-nomical Baby Guide.  During the months that we wrote and re-wrote the text, green baby books started to pop onto the market, but none of them had the frugal emphasis that was essential to our eco-friendly message.  We were also surprised to see that none of the green baby guides had an in-depth section about cloth diaper usage and we were careful to dedicate two detailed chapters to cloth diapering, although we could have filled an entire book with our cloth diaper wisdom.  (If you don’t already know, we are rather ardent cloth diaper fans who strike up conversations with total strangers about Fuzzibunz and flushable diaper liners.)
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Green Toys—Recycled Plastic Playthings

What happens to all those plastic tubs and bottles you keep throwing in the recycling bin? If they’re lucky, they get reincarnated as Green Toys. I’ve seen Green Toys for sale in baby boutiques and Whole Foods, and my daughter is the proud owner of the Green Toys Tea Set ($20). They’re thick, brightly colored recycled plastic toys that come in recyclable cardboard packaging.

While you can’t beat secondhand toys for eco-friendliness, Green Toys come in handy when you need a new toy for a gift or special occasion. They also seem more accessible and mainstream than wooden toys, which may not go over so well in some circles. They’re also reasonably priced! Check it out:
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Mamadoc Product Review and Giveaway

What if your OB/Gyn was a mother of three who actually invented things to make women’s lives easier as they journeyed through the rough landscape of early motherhood?  The bad news is that most of you won’t be able to become patients of Dr. Somi Javiadshe’s busy enough as it is!  The great news is that  she, along with her business partner, Kim Howell, have founded a website and product line to support new and expectant mothers.  Mamadoc was developed by Howell and Javiad to offer practical, eco-friendly pregnancy products to women that can make pregnancy and new motherhood a bit more comfortable.

Some of Mamadocs clever inventions include Nox, a compression bra to help nursing mothers with engorgement when weaning, Preghose to help pregnant moms prevent swollen feet,(I could have used a dozen pairs of those!)  and Bellyup to support a pregnant woman’s back and abdomen during the late months of pregnancy.
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Eco-friendly Dishwasher Detergents

There are a lot of eco-friendly dishwashing detergents out there—but how do they work? It can be frustrating experimenting with so-called green products, only to spend extra money on products that don’t function nearly as well as their toxic counterparts. Believe me—I struggled through all of this during my liquid dish soap search.

Luckily I hit the jackpot with the first dishwashing detergent I tried: Biokleen automatic dish powder. I wrote all about it here: Best eco-friendly dishwasher detergent: Biokleen! So should everyone rush out and buy my recommendation? Not so fast. What works for me here in Portland may not work somewhere else with different water. We have very soft water here.
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Greener Disposables—Compare and Contrast

It’s been a while since we’ve discussed chlorine-free disposable diapers on this site and in our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide. With my diapering days well behind me, I haven’t been able to try any of these out on a real-life baby. Has anyone had a chance to compare the brands below? Which do you prefer, and why?

Seventh Generation Chlorine Free Baby Diapers

Earth’s Best TenderCare Chlorine Free Diapers

Nature Babycare Eco-friendly Chlorine-free Diapers

Tushies Diapers

gDiapers

Bambo Nature Chlorine-free Eco-friendly Baby Diapers

Am I leaving out a great brand of chlorine free disposables? I know Whole Foods makes a store brand that ends up being more cost effective than Seventh Generation. What else do we need to know in this complicated world of greener sposies?

Eco-Shampoo Crisis! The Problem with Sulfate-free Shampoo

After I posted Sulfate-free Shampoos: Do They Work?, everything fell apart. My hair, exhausted from moving from one sulfate-free shampoo to another, gave up. It was limper and greasier after washing it than before washing it and felt coated with a sticky film of wax. It was if I’d doused my hair in a mixture of oil and glue. Because it had so much product build-up on it, it took over ten minutes of drying with a hair dryer—and still didn’t feel dry. (In better days, my hair would dry completely after three minutes.)

One of the many “natural” shampoos I tried

This is when green living gets me down. Regular old shampoo always worked just fine for me. It would take over a year to get though one bottle. Once I decided to switch to paraben-free, sulfate-free shampoo, however, I started going through a bottle every six weeks or so. The sulfate-free shampoos all worked for a few weeks, but then my hair started revolting, necessitating a switch.
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The Eco-nomical Baby Guide is Available on Indiebound!

What is Indiebound, you ask?  It’s a great way to support local bookshops without having to haul yourself away from your keyboard.  Simply search for any book through Indiebound, and it will be shipped to you directly from your closest independent bookstore.

What is The Eco-nomical Baby Guide?  It’s our entertaining and educational treatise on eco-friendly, budget friendly living with a baby in tow.  In fact, our frugal, green lifestyles helped each of us save over five thousand dollars on each of our babies’ first year, while staying true to our environmental ideals.  There’s hilarious humor, there are tips from the cloth diapering trenches, and there are hundreds of ways to keep the waves of plastic blinky toys at bay.  In fact, it’s pure, practical genius!  (Of course, we may be biased…)
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The Best Valentine’s Gifts For Expectant and New Moms

As a new mom or a pregnant woman, I didn’t always feel particularly romantic on February 14th.  But I did appreciate any efforts to make me feel loved and appreciated.

My husband, who is a fantastically thoughtful fellow, took me out for Valentine’s Day sushi while I was pregnant with my son.  I had been experiencing deep and vivid sushi cravings and enjoyed the food so much that I actually asked him to stop talking so I could chew in silence with my eyes shut.  It was so rude–but the sushi was divine!  That kind of patience and grace is really the stuff of true love.
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Eco-friendly Potty Training Gear

After Joy’s recent posts about The History of Potty Training in America and Training Pants for Babies and Toddlers, I’m sure you’re left wondering, “What’s new in eco-friendly potty training gear?” Well, we’re here to satisfy your curiosity.

Safety 1st Nature Next 3-in-1 Potty

($9.99)

According to the product description: The Safety 1st Nature Next potty is made of 50% bio-plastic in a zero landfill factory. Besides being eco-friendly, it’s also one of the most versatile potties available: a potty, trainer seat, and step stool, all in 1. Removable bowl for easy cleanup.

TrendyKid becoPotty

($12.10)

  • Made from natural plant fibers
  • Ethical manufacturing
  • Biodegradable
  • High back offers extra support
  • Large splashguard helps keep potty training hygienic
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Training Pants for Babies and Toddlers

If you read my post on the history of American potty training, you know that infant potty training was the norm until the 1980’s when disposables gained a growing market share and experts re-thought toilet training norms from decades past.  In fact, I can’t help but mention that in the 1950’s and 1960’s, 95% of all toddlers were toilet trained by 18 months!

Today, most of the mainstream training pants come in size 2T and larger.  My daughter is 18 months old and her training pants invariably end up around her ankles after ten minutes of running through the house.  I’m searching for a smaller pair of training pants that will accommodate  younger children.

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