The smiles, the coos, the spit up… Let’s face it––babies give gifts year round. Still, you might like to find a keepsake that baby could give grandparents or other family members this year.
So what does baby have to give? At this point photos, handprints, or foot casts are the best they have to offer.
If you’re a crafty soul, you can simply use an ink pad to make a print of baby’s foot or hand and frame it artfully next to a photo. It’s simple, tasteful, and will be treasured by any member of baby’s vast fan club.
For the rest of us, there are kits available that will make up for what we lack in creative skill. The Babyprints Keepsake Kit comes with a frame and a spot for baby’s footprint. The kit claims to require no mixing, baking, painting, or mess. It dries overnight and is ready to go in the morning. And it’s currently 30% off!
If you’d like something a bit smaller, you can go for the Baby Handprint Hanging Keepsake Kit, which creates a small ornament for the Christmas tree out of baby’s handprint.
Has anyone experimented with using plaster of paris straight from a craft store for baby’s prints? It would be vastly cheaper than buying a premade kit but I’m not sure how easy it would be. Any other ideas for simple gifts from baby?
Lately it seems like every other mom totes her tot around town in an Ergo Baby Carrier. Seeing all these other mamas with their Ergos made me wonder, what’s the big deal? My curiosity was also piqued by several comments on our baby carrier post. Ergo owners enthusiastically declared their loyalty to this comfy contraption.
We didn’t, but we probably would have if we would have known with our first. A friend urged us to borrow hers, but we were still hesitant. It seemed difficult to strap on and like just another carrier to pack into our tiny house. But when we used it, we were surprised by how much better it worked for our bodies. When Jovi has been snoozing in it for over an hour, we aren’t struggling with aching shoulders or necks. Plus, she can ride in the front or the back when she gets older. Since her weight is centralized and the device has padded straps, we found it to be much more “ergonomically correct” –which may just be how this carrier got its name.
It’s amazingly easy to breastfeed your little one when she’s strapped into the Ergo. (I did it while waiting in line to get swine flu vaccine and none of the hundreds of other people around had any idea.) Other features we enjoyed are the little fabric flap that you can flip over babies head when she’s sleeping and the front pocket that you can use to store keys or pacifiers.
The strapping on is still a bit trickier than dropping baby into the pouch sling, but it’s worth it to me to have a happier body hours later. If I would have known what I know now, we definitely would have purchased an Ergo for our first baby. They are expensive, but it’s a good investment in a piece of quality gear. And, you can always search Ebay if you have the time to hunt down a used one.
What is your favorite baby carrier? Would you recommend the Ergo as a gift for an expectant mother?
It’s a bit strange to recommend a baby blanket as a holiday gift idea since we found ourselves submerged in mountains of fleecy, cottony, polka-dotted blankets for both our baby showers. Really, how many blankets does a baby need?
Just one. The Baby Bambu Bamboo Crib Blanket has turned out to be our absolute favorite after trying dozens upon dozens of others. But we were skeptical in the beginning. With a price tag over $40.00 (although it’s currently on sale for $30) and a “dry clean only” recommendation we were sure it would quickly be stashed in the closet along with the others.
Its incredibly soft bamboo fabric was the first thing to impress us followed by its perfect thickness—not too bulky, not too thin. Still, we tossed it in the wash along with all our other laundry in rebellion of the dry cleaning recommendation—sure it would disintegrate when exposed to water and detergent. It has emerged stain free and just as soft after dozens of washings. (The company has since changed the recommendations to “machine wash, tumble dry.”)
We also love its ample size (40”x55”) which is ideal for swaddling or draping over the car seat when baby falls asleep—unlike those smallish square blankets that become completely worthless after just a few months. Although the picture shows several colors of border stitching The Bambu Baby Blanket is only available from Amazon.com in white or blue border stiching, which makes it an heirloom that can be used for several babes, regardless of gender. If you really love the other colors, you can check Baby Bambu’s website.
While bamboo is certainly more environmentally friendly than polyester, it does have a lot of impact as it is processed to be made into fabric. Still, it’s nice to support an eco-friendly company that makes such a high quality product. In short, it’s a wonderful gift for a newborn that will last well into toddlerhood.
What are your favorite holiday recommendations for baby? Do you have a favorite brand of blanket that has stood our amongst the rest? Or did your child choose his or her favorite?
Before I ever cracked it open, I was impressed that the first two ingredients are olive oil (which we’ve recommended before as a homemade solution for diaper rash) and calendula oil. It’s also loaded with essential oils, shea butter and jojoba.
The cream has a heavenly lavender smell, a smooth consistency and good coverage, which makes the diaper changing experience just a bit more pleasant. Located right here in my home state of Oregon, Earth Mama, Angel Baby Organics is a small company that specializes in natural products for mothers and infants.
I also love that the company makes Earth Mama Bottom Balm for recovering mothers. Since many of us had to deal with episiotomies, hemorrhoids and other delightful post partum injuries, it’s nice to know there’s a natural option.
But are either of these products worth the price? It depends on how much your little one is struggling with diaper rash or how much you need some soothing care after your labor. It seems a bit pricey at ten bucks an ounce, but it may be worth it to you depending on your circumstances.
Have any of you tried natural diaper creams or creams for post partum moms? What would you recommend? Thanks for your thoughts!
Breaking news: one year and three months after writing this cost-comparison of eco-friendly laundry detergents, I’m still using my Biokleen laundry detergent. I think I got my money’s worth out of that old ten-pound box. In that post, I discovered that Biokleen was actually cheaper than even conventional cheap detergent, especially with a high-efficiency machine.
My child’s diaper days are now behind me, but I used the Biokleen powder on both pocket diapers and prefold diapers and never had a problem with residues or detergent build-up. (Read Joy’s post about diaper-friendly detergents here.) I also like the detergent for all of our other clothes. My only complaint is that the powder didn’t dissolve completely if I put it in the detergent compartment of my front-loading machine. I took care of that problem by putting the powder straight in the machine over my laundry.
I just noticed that the Biokleen is on sale for just $11.00 (that’s less than $.07 a load!) at Fred Meyer’s right now, so I may just have to pick up two more boxes, which will last me more than two-and-a-half years. At that point I will have to report back with yet another exciting “laundry update.” Stay tuned!
On a whim, I picked up a pack of Eco-Safe compostable bags. I’ve been home composting my table scraps for years, and I love how it keeps my garbage light and smell-free. Thanks in part to composting, we have once-a-month garbage pick-up, which saves us $108.00 a year on our trash bill. I keep my compost in a little push-pedal garbage can and take it out to the big compost bin once it fills up. In the summer I can just hose it down and pour the water into the bin to keep it moist, but in the winter this isn’t necessary. Plus, it’s kind of a pain.
Enter the compostable garbage bags. I thought I could line my little bin with the bags and toss all my scraps—bag and all—into the bin. I am not really sure what these bags are made out of (the box says “compostable plastic”), but they never did break down in my bin—and that’s with frequent aeration. I finally had to pick them out of the bin and throw them out because I could barely turn the compost with a pitchfork with all the bags sticking to the prongs.
So much for that experiment in green living. How do other people manage their compost? I know Joy’s husband runs their table scraps out to the compost bin every day, but I’m really not that energetic. Any method that allows me to compost without exerting too much energy will suit me just fine.
Here at the Green Baby Guide, we’re all about hand-me-downs and Craigslist steals. Sometimes, though, it’s nice to splurge on something for your new bundle of joy. For me, it was the stroller. I chose the Maclaren Triumph stroller for its light weight (just 11 pounds) and foldable design. I imagined I’d be using it a lot on public transportation, since I don’t have a car. I’ve found it more convenient to simply walk everywhere. My daughter is now three-and-a-half and still rides in the stroller almost every day–so it was definitely worth it for me to get exactly what I wanted.
What was worth a little extra money to you? Let us know!
Who knew sunscreen could be so complicated? After slathering Audrey in sunscreen all summer long during her first year, I read that it’s dangerous to do so until she reaches her first birthday. Then I found out that only certain sunscreens were safe. Yes, that cancer-preventing lotion was–get this–carcinogenic! The good news is, you don’t need to keep your baby covered from head to foot in loose-fitting robes or hide under a gigantic umbrella all summer long.
Check out the Environmental Working Group’s list of safe sunscreens. After studying thousands of sunscreens, they found that “4 out of 5 contain chemicals that may pose health hazards or don’t adequately protect skin from the sun’s damaging rays.” Here are the top four safest ray-blockers on the market:
|1. Soleo Organics Sunscreen Organic chemical free sunscreen SPF 30+|
|2. Keys Soap Solar Rx Cosmetic Moisturizing Sunblock, SPF 30|
|3. California Baby Sunblock Stick No Fragrance, SPF 30+|
|4. Badger Sunscreen, SPF 30|
Fretting about all the potential toxins I’ve exposed myself and my daughter to over the years doesn’t do me any good–but switching sunscreens seems like an easy way to block the rays without going into summer lock-down.
This post is a part of Works for Me Wednesday, a blog carnival at We are THAT Family.
You may recall my dish soap saga of last fall: First I wondered if eco-friendly dish soaps were any better than conventional ones, then I tested several greener dishwashing liquids, then I perfected my hand-washing method to use as little dish soap as possible. Finally, I offered a few alternatives to liquid dish soap.
During this quest, Green and Clean Mom contacted me, telling me I had to try the Shaklee dish soap she sells at her online store. She insisted that this dishwashing liquid would last a very long time. I was skeptical, considering some 32-ounce bottles of other brands lasted just six weeks. The Shaklee soap was in a 16-ounce bottle, which is smaller than average.
Last November, I started using the Shaklee soap. Over half a year later, I squeezed out the last drop. It lasted a whopping THIRTY-ONE weeks–almost three times longer than Planet , which I had deemed the top performer. It costs $8.10 (or $6.90 for members). This may seem like a lot, but if you look at the chart in this post, you’ll see it wouldn’t cost much more per year than Planet or Trader Joe’s dish soaps, considering how long it lasts. The best part is, you’d have to recycle just two small bottles of Shaklee soap each year–you’d go through nine bigger bottles of some other eco-brands in the same amount of time!
In addition, here are the “clean credentials” of this product:
In short, I would recommend the Shaklee Get Clean Dish Wash. It’s eco-friendly and super-concentrated. It also smells good and leaves dishes squeaky clean.
Do you want to try this wonder-product for free? Green and Clean Mom is giving away a bottle of the Shaklee Get Clean Dish Wash Concentrate along with a microfiber sponge. Just post a comment by Monday the 22nd and you’ll be entered to win!
This post is a part of Works for Me Wednesday. For more Works for Me Wednesday ideas, head on over to We Are THAT Family.
When Joy and I started working on our book two and a half years ago, we thought we had the most original idea ever. We searched Amazon.com and couldn’t find any green baby books on the market. We rushed the idea off to publishers, sure we’d have a bidding war on our hands. Imagine our shock when no one seemed to jump at the chance to publish our unwritten masterpiece.
Okay, so we were a little naïve. Eventually we did get a publishing contract, and we’re proud to announce that our creation will hit bookstore shelves next spring. And we’ll have company! Since we’ve started the project, other eco-minded writers have published some green baby books of their own:
We’ve read most of these titles and are thrilled to see that there’s just so much to say about raising babies with the environment in mind. Each book has a different slant. Green Babies, Sage Moms, for example, focuses on finding nontoxic alternatives to mainstream lotions and potions used during pregnancy and baby’s first year. Healthy Child, Healthy World contains useful information about avoiding toxins–and shows how some celebrities went green with their babies. Itsabelly’s Guide to Going Green with Baby is packed full of green gear recommendations, from sustainable cribs to organic clothing. Organic Baby is a beautifully photographed book that illustrates how to create a tranquil nursery and make appetizing baby food. Raising Baby Green takes the reader on a tour through the house (and garden), showing how to rid these spaces of harmful environmental toxins.
Our book won’t contain eco-tips from Julia Roberts–but we will have down-to-earth ideas for bringing up baby. You just have to wait until next spring to read all about it!
Green baby books work for us! For more Works for Me Wednesday ideas, head on over to We are THAT Family. (This week’s WFMW is a themed edition: “Mom, I’m Bored!” Needless to say, I was not aware of that theme until too late.)