Eco-friendly Paper Plates from Chinet (+ Giveaway!)

I never thought I’d be singing the praises of a disposable plate company on the Green Baby Guide, but I am about to do so.  Here’s how it happened: first, I wrote about Greening My Family Reunion.  I noted that with over forty people in my extended family, we used as many real dishes as possible and supplemented with paper plates and cups, which racked me with eco-guilt.  Next year, I vowed, we could reduce our impact by choosing recycled paper products.  I then checked out the paper plate selection at my local grocery store and noticed that Chinet’s plates were made from “recycled materials.”
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Bumkin’s Review–and Giveaway!

Recently we’ve had the opportunity to try some Bumkin’s products, including the pull-on nighttime training pants.  The great thing is that Bumkin’s products are all PVC-, phthalate-, BPA-, and vinyl-free. Before we ever received samples Joy used hand-me-down Bumkins bibs and loved them.  She later bought a Bumkin’s Dirty Duds bag and reviewed it here.  We’re pleased to report that they’ve fixed the issue with the bag’s drawstring closure.

Bumkin’s waterproof baby items come in several bright prints that kids will adore.  My daughter begged to wear the pull-on training pants to bed.  She’s potty training now but is never totally dry when she wakes up, so these worked well for her.  The only complaint I had is that they are just HUGE.  We had the medium size, which is the smallest size available for these pants.  They’re supposed to fit toddlers from 20-30 pounds.  Audrey weighs 23 pounds and was swimming in them.  Roscoe got a large and it’s gigantic for his 30-pound frame.   Bumkin’s website advertises “generous sizing,” but I think they went a little overboard.
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Save Water with BPA and Phthalate-free Baby Bathtubs

We’ve received a couple emails asking us about BPA and phthalate-free bathtubs.  This Spa Baby European Style Tub claims to be BPA-free, and the baby in the picture appears to enjoy the “European spa” experience the tub offers.  At $45, it’s a bit pricier than the typical tubs found at Target, but if you are worried about toxins, it may be worth the higher price.

Of course it’s possible to go without a baby bathtub.  One water-saving option is to have the baby bathe or shower with a parent.  Babies can also use the full bath tub, but that can end up being a waste of water, especially in the early days when the baby isn’t interested in splashing around for the fun of it.
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Isabooties Product Review

They’re comfy, they’re washable, they’re lace-free and they come with flexible soles­­––what more can I say?  IsaBooties sent Rebecca and me some sample shoes to try out with our toddlers a few months ago and they’ve become some of our favorite footwear.  I appreciate the fact that they don’t require fastening of any kind and also can be worn sock-free in the summer months. 

Before I discovered IsaBooties, Roscoe wore Robeez.  We loved the comfort and simplicity of the leather moccasins but were hesitant to have him wear them in the winter––which is always wet around here.  IsaBooties are made with ultra-suede fabric, which means that after they get covered with water or mud, they can just get tossed into the washer and the dryer. To be fair, Rebecca thought this was a downside of the IsaBooties—they can’t be worn on wet surfaces without soaking through.  She had her daughter use them as slippers.

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Flushable Diapers (gDiapers)–What Do You Think?

One of our readers wrote in to The Green Baby Guide asking us about flushable diapers.  Neither Joy nor I has ever used gDiapers, but we’re hoping our readers have.  Have you tried them out on your babies?  Why did you choose gDiapers over cloth diapers or regular disposables?  Did you love them?  Hate them?  Please post a comment and give us your honest opinions!

Riding on Public Transportation with a Baby in Tow

I will risk my green cred by admitting that I never got the hang of riding the bus with my daughter.  Before I had a baby of my own, I’d see parents wearing their babies in slings or pouches, hopping on and off the bus with ease.  During the ride, the babies would sleep or calmly stare out at the view.  Maybe it wasn’t as easy for these parents as it looked–I know it wasn’t that easy for me!  I tend to choose walking over bus-riding most days, so I hardly qualify as a baby-bus-riding expert, but here are some pros and cons involved in the different ways of traveling with your tot.
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Cloth Diaper Recommendations for a Complete Novice

We love getting email here at the Green Baby Guide.  One of our readers is planning to switch over to cloth diapers and wrote in with the following questions:

I really want to switch to cloth diapers and have been doing a lot of research on the different kinds out there and it is really overwhelming!  I think I am leaning towards prefolds and/or flats with a Dappi cover for the most inexpensive option.  What kinds do you gals use?  Any specific brands of diapers and covers that you like?  Any helpful tips for someone just starting out??  Thanks for your time, I know you are busy mommies! -Amber
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Earth-friendly Beverages for Baby: Organic Milk from Local Dairies

As soon as my daughter turned one, I wanted to introduce her to whole milk.  Like many other parents, I wanted her to have hormone-free milk, so that meant paying more and buying organic.  Right?  I like to save money, but organic milk costs a lot more than conventional milk–sometimes up to twice as much.  There was also something else I wondered about: all the organic milk I found on the shelves came from other states–some as far as Ohio!  Part of the reason I tried to buy organic foods was that I wanted to help the environment, but buying something that needed to be ultra-pasteurized and taken on a thousand-mile road trip wouldn’t be any better for planet Earth than buying conventional milk from a local dairy.  In fact, it would probably be worse.
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Save Water, Energy, and Money Washing Diapers with a Front-loading Washing Machine

Our old clunker of a washing machine came with our house.  A typical top-loader from the 1970s or ‘80s, it probably used about forty gallons of water per load.  Another downside of this appliance is that it did not even get the clothes clean.  Dark clothes (i.e., all my clothes) came out with streaks of lint, clumps of detergent, and the dirt and grime they had before “washing” them.

A positive pregnancy test motivated me to replace my washing machine.  I wanted to try cloth diapers and figured pre-baby was the ideal time to switch.  I knew a good front loader used just ten gallons of water per load, but I was disappointed that they cost so much more than top-loaders.  The cheapest one I saw advertised was $800.  Knowing I could save hundreds of gallons of water, not to mention all the energy used to heat the water, I convinced myself it would be worth it.
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Using Pocket Diapers at Night

Like some cloth diaper users, I assumed that disposables were the best option for nights, but felt conflicted about chucking them into the trash just to buy us a bit of rest.  I posted about the battle between my exhaustion and my eco-guilt here.

A few weeks ago Roscoe solved the problem himself by wetting through his disposables two nights in a row.  Erin, Wendy, and Alissa all submitted comments to my “Nighttime Diaper Dilemma” post that recommended using a pocket diaper with extra inserts.  In sleepy desperation we gave it a try.  The result was blissful slumber and a clear conscience!

Although I was originally a staunch supporter of prefolds with covers, I have come to love our pocket diapers for their convenience and aesthetic appeal. A pocket diaper consists of a diaper cover lined in a moisture wicking layer.  There is a pocket between the outer cover and the liner where you insert a long terry cloth pad to soak up moisture.  Since you insert the pads while you’re folding the laundry, it makes for a more convenient diaper change than prefolds. 

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