Using a Cloth Diaper Wet Bag: Convenience on the Go

The “Dirty Duds Bag” by Bumkins was an impulse purchase for me.  I was tired of packing plastic sacks into Roscoe’s daycare bag and relieved to see that someone else had thought of an easy solution.  After I bought it I almost headed back to the store.  $12.95 for a bag that I could easily sew myself?  (If I had a sewing machine and any extra time.) Plastic is free!  Still, it seemed unsanitary to recycle plastic bags after they had been filled with Roscoe’s poopy diapers and I didn’t want to take the time to wash them out and wait for them to dry. 
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Sugar-free, Whole-grain Cereal for Babies: A Natural Alternative to Cheerios

Ever since Audrey started on solid foods at six months, she’s loved oatmeal. We spoon-fed oatmeal to her for months, and now she asks for her “oats” and feeds herself. I was happy to find a cheaper, more nutritious alternative to the typical rice cereal, which many parents are now avoiding as a first food. (Read an article about how to choose baby and kid cereals here. Learn more about the oat porridge I made Audrey in the early months here.)

I had a harder time finding a dry cereal that Audrey could enjoy as finger food. Cheerios, a common baby finger food, contain both wheat and sugar–two ingredients doctors say to avoid during baby’s first year. Plus, they’re not organic. My neighborhood stores offered plenty of organic Cheerio-like cereals, but almost all of them also contained wheat and sugar (sometimes disguised as organic cane syrup). Kamut puffs are delicious!
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The Cheapest Eco-friendly Laundry Detergent

Right around when Joy wrote her post about diaper-friendly detergent I was in the process of phasing out my conventional laundry soap. I hadn’t switched over to an eco-friendly brand because I kept getting hung up on the price. Imagine my shock when I discovered that eco-friendly detergent can be cheaper than conventional detergent! I no longer have any reason to use a mainstream brand.

Laundry Detergent–from cheapest to most expensive

T.J.’s powder  / $5.49 / 40 loads / $.137 per load

Biokleen laundry powder / $13.99 / 100 loads / $.139 per load  BEST DEAL

T.J.’s liquid HE  / $8.99 / 64 loads / $.14 per load

All (not eco-friendly)  / $14.00 / 96 loads / $.145 per load
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Works For Me Wednesday: Finding the Safest Glass and Plastic Bottles for a BPA-Free Baby

When my belly was bulging with baby, I imagined my newborn gulping breast milk from the clearest, most rigid plastic bottles that I chose, thinking that the ones that appeared closest to glass would certainly be the safest.  Months later as I read through the latest research, I was surprised to find out that my instincts were wrong. 

In fact, the rigid plastics used to make some baby bottles and almost all Nalgene bottles have the highest risks of leaching toxins.  (Nalgene will be pulling their BPA-laden bottles soon.)  On Friday, Canada’s health and environmental ministries announced that it will ban the use of bisphenol-a (BPA) in plastic products because of health concerns.  Read here for further details on Canada’s landmark decision. 

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Green Babies, Sage Moms: Book Review

Green Babies, Sage Moms will appeal to eco-curious types living on the Upper East Side in their Jimmy Choos rather than the canning-mung beans-in-their-Birks set.  Author Lynda Fassa takes readers through pregnancy, the baby’s arrival, and the subsequent years with baby, identifying harmful toxins and replacing them with organic products.  So while there isn’t much on reducing your baby’s carbon footprint, there are many great product recommendations for getting started on your household detox mission.

Fassa looks at pregnancy and early motherhood as times when we have a heightened awareness about our bodies and the world around us.  We all know we should watch what we eat when pregnant.  But what about the toxins lurking everywhere, ready to taint the very world we live in?  Page after page we learn about the toxins in everything around us.  Toxins in cigarettes, soft cheeses, sushi.  Nail polish, nail polish remover, hair products, pesticides, milk, fruit, vegetables, grains, wine, blush, mascara, foundation, lipstick, hair dye, perfume, drain cleaners, air fresheners, antibacterial soap, oven cleaners, furniture polish, rubber duckies, plastic toys, teethers, baby wipes, lotions, creams, crib mattresses, disposable diapers, conventional cotton, fertilizers, ground water, fish, deodorant, vaccines, drawer pulls, paint, floors, school buses, park benches, and playground equipment.
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Works for Me Wednesday: Finding Diaper-Friendly, Earth-Friendly Detergent

I remember the day we made our first eco-friendly Trader Joe’s detergent purchase. We loved the smell of our fresh laundry and basked in the green glow of our new standby.  While the large plastic container was an environmental downside, the price was reasonable and the lavender essential oils gave it a crisp, clean scent.

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 Roscoe helps with the laundry

We wanted to switch to a greener detergent for our family’s health and the environment. Green brands don’t contain optical brighteners, chemicals which bond to the skin with traditional detergents. We also liked the fact that scents are often plant-based rather than petroleum-based, which tends to cause less skin irritation. As if that weren’t enough to convince us, natural detergents biodegrade easily in water and don’t contain phosphates, which are very harmful to aquatic wildlife.

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Best Green Parenting Blogs–Encore Edition

Joy and I have been friends for over fifteen years, and even back then we were budding environmentalists (not to mention accomplished penny-pinchers).  In writing the Green Baby Guide, we’ve discovered many other green mom bloggers.  Some have years of experience with green parenting and others are just starting out.  Holly writes in her first Ecobaby blog post that she doesn’t consider herself an environmentalist–and she’s not even pregnant.  She says, “There is something about the prospect of having a baby that compels me to live a more natural life, and in the process, work towards creating a better environment for my children and future generations.”  The Ecobaby blog is a great resource for others beginning their green parenting adventures.
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Works For Me Wednesday: Cooking With Homemade Mixes

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In case you didn’t notice, you are currently enjoying a carnival–minus the expensive rides, suspicious ferris wheel operators, and heartburn.  Today is greenbabyguide.com’s first post in Rocks in My Dryer’s “Works for Me Wednesday” blog carnival.  “What is a blog carnival?” you ask.  It’s a herd of bloggers all writing themed blogs on a similar subject–in this case, a simple solution that works.  On Works for Me Wednesday greenbabyguide.com will strive to provide an eco-tip that makes life a tad easier for you and a bit better for the planet as well.  

As a working mother, I sometimes long for packaged foods—but I’m not thrilled with the economic or environmental costs.  Oftentimes the nutritional content is horrid and hydrogenated oils seem to be lurking everywhere.  Plus all that packaging isn’t exactly eco-friendly.  But still, I love the idea of pulling warm homemade cookies out of the oven to share with my eighteen-month-old. Do I have a Betty Crocker complex?  Very possibly. 

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Ultra-Green Transportation: The Bike Trailer/Jogging Stroller

We are outdoors people, and therefore took plenty of walks with Roscoe tucked into his sling in our early parenting days. Even so, I always watched the bikes and their toddler trailers with a certain excitement as they zoomed by. 

When Roscoe was just eight months old, I couldn’t take it anymore and bought a used bike trailer. Our Instep Schwinn bike trailer was $100 on Craigslist and had only been used twice.  It isn’t a fantastically great deal, considering that many of them go on sale for that much new at the end of the season and cost $160 full price, but we’ve been quite happy with it.  It also seats two children so we may eventually use it as a double stroller in the years to come.

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Unfortunately, when my safety-oriented hubby checked all regulations on our trailer, I found that baby shouldn’t be riding in it until one year of age.  Since Roscoe’s birthday is in September, we’d have another summer of envying family bike caravans before we got our chance.  Some parents work their way around this rule by putting a child car seat into the bike trailer, but our instructions specifically stated that it was not a safe option.  So, we waited impatiently for Roscoe’s September birthday and then headed out for our first rides.

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We were happily surprised by how much we used the bike trailer in the fall. I hooked up the trailer to take Roscoe for wading pool play dates and afternoons in leaf-strewn playgrounds.  There’s enough room for a diaper bag, a raincoat, and a bag of groceries in the back, so I found the trailer/stroller to be ideal for running errands on my bike or by foot.

Besides converting to a running stroller, the trailer has a weather-proof flap that makes it perfect for rainy day walks.  (In Oregon, that’s almost every winter day). We even managed our first family bike caravan on Christmas.  Roscoe was happily impervious to the rain pelting us as we biked at full speed to make it home before the hail hit.  We laughed and sang “Old McRoscoe” as we skedaddled our damp and bundled selves homeward.  It’s a bike trailer memory that will last far beyond Roscoe’s years in it.

Biking with Roscoe is the ultimate environmental solution because it creates benefits that extend well beyond planetary health.  Every time we opt to bike we’re getting exercise, saving loads of gas money, and enjoying the trip just as much as the destination. 

The Best Eco-friendly Diaper Websites

Diaper girlIn real life, it’s often hard–or even impossible–to find cloth diaper supplies.  Big box stores like Target or Babys-R-Us sell a few cloth diapers, but these are generally the flimsy varieties that are better used as burp cloths.  If you want to get started with cloth diapers, your best bet is to find a brick and mortar store in your town.  Here in Portland, I’ve had good luck at Mother Nature’s (for new supplies) and The Children’s Exchange (for used supplies).  Joy purchased all her cloth supplies at Bambini’s in Eugene, which carries both new and used items.  In your local shop, it’s possible to look at the diapers, ask the shopkeepers questions, and avoid shipping costs.  Many stores will offer starter kits so you can get everything you need for less than buying everything piecemeal. 
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