Ode to the Humble Prefold (Or, Why Prefolds Could Beat Pocket Diapers in a Diaper Duel)

Don’t get me wrong–I think pocket diapers (like these pictured from BumGenius) are adorable.  They come in a variety of prints and colors, look cute flapping in the breeze on the clothesline, and go on just like disposables.  That last reason is why I see many parents recommending pocket diapers to new parents or cloth diaper novices.  Joy went on and on about pocket diapers here and herePocket diapers are advertised as “daddy and daycare approved;” meaning, I suppose, that once they are stuffed with an absorbent liner, they go on just as easily as a disposable.

Before my daughter was born, I stocked up on three dozen prefold diapers (like these pictured) and about six Velcro covers (like these basic Prorap covers Audrey is wearing).  I chose this system because they were the more economical choice.  Prefolds run about $1.25 each, whereas a Fuzzibunz costs about $17 new and $7 used. 
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Affordable, BPA-Free Sippy Cup Solutions

I wanted a BPA-free sippy cup for my son, but I heard so many complaints about leaks and design flaws from other mothers, that I was hesitant to shell out the cash.   I was under the (misguided) impression that most BPA-free cups cost $15-20 dollars apiece, plus shipping, which was tough to swallow considering that I hadn’t heard great reviews.

The Tightwad Gazette offered the simple, thrifty solution of having a child drink out of a cup after turning one.  After all, what did people do before plastic was invented?

We tried instructing our child to gently sip with a straw, but a few dozen cups of spilled milk later, I felt we needed a better solution.  Just then, I read a post on Green and Clean Mom announcing the happy news: Target now carries Munchkin BPA-free sippy cups for between one and three dollars! Eureka!  In her post, Green and Clean mom apologizes for her wild enthusiasm about finding these cups, but I instantly shared her thrill. 

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The Saturday Question: Which Cloth Diapers Provide the Best (and Worst) Leakage Protection?

We love gathering up green parent advice and are already thankful for the tips we got from last week’s post on potty training.  This week, we turn to cloth diaper users for their experiential wisdom.

What are your favorite brands/styles of cloth diapers?  We’re especially interested in which diapers have provided the least leakage and the best fit, but we’d also like to hear about brands that turned out to be total duds. Thanks for sharing your wisdom!

Saving Money with Store Brand Organics

Although I’m always trying to shift my grocery selections to organic products, sometimes my inner tightwad cannot handle the sticker shock—especially with the recent rise in food prices.  Buying our produce through a Commmunity Supported Agriculture subscription and having our own raised bed garden has helped, but as a working mom, I depend on having some packaged products to feed my family. 

Store brand organics have come to my rescue with quality, eco-friendly products at reasonable prices.  I have found organic applesauce, crackers, and beans made by Western Family (a generic brand popular in the Pacific Northwest) at my local grocery store.  Even chain stores such as Safeway and Fred Meyer also offer their own organic selections, including baby food.

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Natural Wool Changing Pads and Baby Clothing from the Cozy Bunny (+ Giveaway!)

Ali Palmeri began making wool clothes and changing pads for her son when he was a little baby. “I’ve been opposed to having plastic be a regular part of his life, both for his own health and the health of the planet,” she says. Now she has her own company, the Cozy Bunny, offering handmade woolen changing pads, mattress protectors, and wool-cashmere baby pants and overalls made from recycled sweaters.

Palmeri loves the way wool keeps her baby warm, especially during the cold winter months ahead. “Another great aspect of wool is that is soaks up diaper accidents and is great for elimination communication,” she says. “Wool is absorbent and antimicrobial, so items only need to be laundered about once a month; otherwise, I just let them air dry.” She recommends washing her products on the gentle cycle and laying them flat to air dry.
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Did You Buy an Organic Mattress for Your Baby?

 The truth is, I didn’t. I had no idea that the chemicals used to flameproof mattresses sometimes include arsenic and phosphorus.  Friends who purchased organic crib mattresses spent large amounts of money on their babies without a second thought.  At the time, an organic mattress seemed like an indulgence rather than a necessity.   It has only been in the last six months that I’ve read all the scary facts about traditional mattresses.

Will I buy an organic mattress with our second child?  Absolutely!  I’ve found a few eco-friendly mattresses that are in the $200-$300 dollar range and I’ll spring for one when the time comes.  

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Monkey Foot Designs Wet Bag Review and Giveaway

Monkey Foot Designs wet bags are different from the other bags we’ve discussed here on the Green Baby Guide.  Joy used a plastic bag to haul her wet diapers from daycare until she switched to a Bumkins Dirty Duds bag.  I’d always used a bag from a sporting goods store.  What sets the Monkey Foot bags apart from these other options?  They are much, much more stylish and beautiful. 

These custom-made bags are so nice that I almost hesitated using mine for wet diapers, but in the spirit of an honest review, I did.  I have the small bag ($16) in the sea coriander pattern.  When we went on an overnight trip last weekend, I took it along.  My daughter is mostly potty trained but still wears a diaper at night, so I brought just two cloth diapers.  They both fit in the small bag.  I’d recommend the small bag if you need to store just one or two diapers at a time.  The larger bag ($22) will hold four to five diapers, so it would work perfectly for daycare.
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Brown Rice Protein Powder Boosts Nutrition in Baby Food

Back when I wrote my Fattening Baby, Naturally post, I was searching for alternatives to Pediasure.   Although Audrey’s pediatrician wanted her to drink Pediasure in order to gain some weight, I hesitated giving her something with non-organic dairy products, artificial flavors, sugar, and maltodextrin.  I ended up doing all sorts of things to boost the calories and fat in her diet, and I also made a discovery: MLO brown rice protein powder.

A 24-oz container of the powder costs about $10.  I found it in the health food section of my local grocery store.  It’s gluten-free, vegan, and contains two simple ingredients: rice protein concentrate and rice bran.  As rice is often a first food for babies, it seemed like the perfect thing to add to her food without bombarding her with unnatural or unhealthful ingredients.
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Comment to Win a Natural Pod Organic Onesie or Shirt of Your Choice!

Our last Natural Pod giveaway was so successful that we’re doing another one!  Last time we oohed and awed over the wooden play kitchen, gnome family kit, and wooden cups and plates–and our lucky reader won the natural stacking rings.

Natural Pod also sells organic clothing.  Here’s what they have to say about it:

Natural Pod has a great range of unique organic clothing for babies, toddlers and children up to 8 years. We have worked hard to find pieces that are comfortable, soft and hand-made. Our current selection includes pieces that have been plant-dyed, just using items from the garden.

Roscoe is now the proud owner of this yellow crew neck shirt, and Audrey has the orange kimono.  Neither Joy nor I have had much experience with new, organic clothing.  We even wrote a post in which we wondered if used clothing was “greener” than organic duds.  I always thought something like an organic onesie or baby shirt would cost an exorbitant amount, but all of Natural Pod’s clothes are just around $20.00–that’s just a few dollars more than new, conventional baby garments. 
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Affordable Play Kitchen Set: Wooden Toys Make Great Green Gifts

Today’s Works for Me Wednesday is a themed edition: Toys that are actually worth buying.  At first I was going to write something about how kids don’t really need toys to be happy, or how I made Audrey a doll out of a cornhusk, but then I decided to take the topic a bit more seriously.  So what do I think is worth buying?  A toy kitchen. 

At first I resisted buying a play kitchen for my daughter.  I didn’t want to clutter up house with plastic, and wooden ones are expensive.  I even considered making her one, but that project floundered in the idea stage.   I never had a toy kitchen, can’t she live without one?
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