Monday, July 25, 2011

Change the World Wednesday: Take Shorter Showers

The ladies at Green Baby Diaper Service, as well as many of their customers, are into being “green”—taking actions to use sustainable resources, reduce their carbon footprint, and help the environment a little at a time. We’re optimistic—we think little changes made by individuals can change the world. Like using cloth diapers. Or washing your hair with baking soda.

So we’re joining in Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) at Reduce Footprints, a blog that gives advice for interacting peacefully with the Earth. For more information, you can visit the website and learn about the idea behind #CTWW, but here’s the gist of it:

A few people plus a few small changes equals BIG CHANGE

This week’s challenge was to take shorter showers. We’re trying to save water, so we’re limiting our showers to 5 minutes or less. There are other ways to “up the ante,” like turning off the water while you’re soaping up or sharing a shower with a buddy. (Don’t get any crazy ideas--these days, those buddies tend to be our kids. And yes, they usually pee in the shower, saving even more water. See? Saving the environment is innately programmed in us, it seems.)

Liz and I are getting in on the challenge. We have each tried it since last Wednesday. This is how it went down:

Saturday, July 23, 2011

How to Soothe a Crying Baby with a Moby Wrap and a Butt Pat

I posted something about the butt pat on my blog recently. Basically, it goes like this:
  1. Baby cries
  2. Mama puts baby in a carrier
  3. Mama bounces around and pats baby's butt
  4. Baby calms down and goes quietly to sleep
It works. Every. Time.

The only time it hasn't worked is if I'm trying to avoid nursing (as sometimes occurs after I've nursed every hour on the hour in the middle of the night and I think baby is just nursing out of habit) but baby really wants to nurse. Then I have to give in and nurse.

During last Friday's babywearing class, I had a sweet mama with an even sweeter 2-month-old baby who wanted to learn how to use the Moby. Of course, attending a scheduled class with an infant isn't always what the infant wants to be doing at that given time. And when infants don't want to be doing something, they cry.

The little sweet pea was a little sleepy, and he wanted a nap. So I held him while mama got the moby situated. He knew I wasn't his mama, though. I didn't smell like his mama. (I smell like natural deodorant, after all). But I did the only thing I knew how. The butt pat. It worked. Little sweet pea was instantly relaxed.

So if you're wearing your baby and baby isn't all that happy about it, or it's time for a nap and baby is being fussy, try the bounce and the butt pat. I love being able to show mamas how to adapt to baby's crying, especially when they're getting used to something new like a wrap.

You can even do it while you already have one child in the wrap. This is what I looked like. (fake baby alert... we didn't think to get a pic while I was holding sweet pea and Little M was asleep in my own moby. But you get the gist). It just took a butt pat and a bounce and both babies were happy:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Green Living: Natural Personal Care Products and Toiletries

Green Baby Diaper Service supports green, natural living. In an effort to eliminate unnecessary chemicals from our everyday lives, we’ll be posting some blog entries with recipes for natural personal care products, cleaners, and lawn care. This is the first in the series, and we’re talking about natural toiletries: deodorant, face wash, shampoo, and baby wipes.

I recently read an article somewhere online—I can’t remember where—that said cancer used to be a disease of the elderly and the feeble. Now it often occurs at any age and in otherwise healthy people. So many things are different nowadays, but one is the pervasive use of chemicals in toiletries. For all the studies that show that these chemicals are safe, there are just as many studies suggesting they are harmful.

Call me paranoid, but if scientists have a reason to study the link between a certain chemical and cancer, wouldn’t you want to limit your use of that product and perhaps not spread it all over your body? Researchers began to study the antioxidant properties in berries because they had reason to believe berries were good for your health. Perhaps they have begun to study the damaging effects of chemicals in personal care products because they have reason to believe they are bad for you.

Also, only a few of the thousands of chemicals registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have undergone comprehensive testing to determine their effects on human health. It usually takes dramatic injury or poisoning combined with extensive public outcry before the government will regulate a certain chemical. The government assumes chemicals are innocent until proven guilty. But just because a chemical has not been proven to be harmful doesn’t mean it’s not.

I would rather stick to the opposite idea and restrict my use of unnecessary chemicals until they have been proven safe. Just like I’d rather eat products with fewer ingredients, I’d rather use products with fewer ingredients on my body, hair, and skin. It just feels right.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Benefits of Babywearing: Digging Deeper

When you hear about the benefits of babywearing, you often hear how babies who are worn cry less and learn more. If you have any experience with babywearing, this makes sense. I have worn both of my babies since they were born, and it’s an uncanny way to soothe them when they are fussing—even more than nursing or rocking them. And I always heard that babies who are worn cry less. But I couldn’t help but wonder why.

And I know you can’t spoil a baby by holding them too much, but I always wonder what kind of habits my parenting will build. When my first son was a baby, I couldn’t help but wonder: would wearing him lead him to want to be held more as he grew older? My son is a creature of habit (if you have a toddler, you know what I’m talking about) and he certainly likes to be held, but I’m glad I’ve given him all the benefits that babywearing provides. Did my wearing him make him be the kind of kid who always wants to be held? I don’t know. I kind of think that’s the kind of kid he always was, which is why he liked to be worn so much.

It all finally came together for me while I was reading the book “What’s Going on in There?: How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life” by Lise Eliot. She explains how the first senses to develop are touch and the vestibular system—the system that detects motion and position—and how stimulating these senses decreases stress levels in babies and can actually make them smarter.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

And the Winner Is......

We have drawn the winner for the amber teething necklace from Inspired by Finn, and the winner is...


There were two Melissa's. The winner is the one who wrote:
"Melissa said... I have always been a facebook fan (and general fan of the Green Baby family) and I am now a blog follower"
Congratulations, Melissa! You didn't leave your email address, so please email by 5PM on Wednesday, 7/13/11 to claim the teething necklace, or the prize will go to the second place winner. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

5 Reasons Why Using Cloth Diapers and a Diaper Service is Freeing

There is a cloth diaper carnival going on this week, hosted at Natural Parents Network. It’s basically a conglomeration of bloggers who just can’t get enough of cloth diapering. I’ll admit, it is pretty addictive. I didn’t start cloth diapering my first son until he was about 3 months old, and I hadn’t planned to cloth diaper my second son until he was out of the super-fresh newborn stage. I didn’t have small enough diapers, or so I thought.

#1: Disposables don’t contain the mess

It turns out that I got so fed up with him peeing out the top of the diaper (moms of boys, you know what I mean: they magically pee everywhere but in their diaper if you don’t point things the right way). So I pulled out my stash, and at about one week old, the cloth diapering began.

#2: Cloth diapers fit better

Maybe because my son wasn’t super small—he was born weighing 8 lbs, 10 oz—what I already had fit him. I bought a new stack of prefolds and used the Thirsties diaper covers I already had. Prefolds are so absorbent and covers have such snug elastic that I never dealt with a leak again.

But now, coordinating cloth diapering between two kids was getting complicated. My oldest does not use cloth at daycare, so I only cloth diaper him part time. So planning to have all of his diapers clean and available on the days he’s home is important. And I liked planning to wash his with the baby’s diapers to make a full load.

But my older son gets horrible diaper rash, so half the time I wasn’t using cloth anyway, because it seemed to exacerbate the rash. I tried a variety of detergents and even tried no detergent at all. A few months ago, I was ready to give up cloth for my older son altogether.

#3 It gives you time to do things other than wash diapers

And then I started using the diaper service. It has taken away an element of stress from my life. Is washing diapers all that stressful? No. But I would undoubtedly forget and have to scrounge while they were going through their 3 or 4 wash/rinse cycles. I couldn’t wash and dry diapers overnight because the cat sleeps in the laundry room, and having the machines on freaks her out. Not that I really care—she’s a very mean cat, so I have no sympathy—but she howls.

Then there were the two dryer cycles, or the one dryer cycle and then lay the diapers out in the sun. Which inevitably meant I would be collecting diapers from all over my yard by the end of the day. Then putting them all away: stuffing pockets, folding prefolds, and stacking the lumpy diapers up where they went. Which I usually didn’t do until a day later.

I was constantly washing diapers.

Using the diaper service has made me feel so free. Really. It’s a little thing off my plate, but it’s one less thing to hover in my brain. I pick up a neatly stacked pile of diapers, come home, and put them away. That’s it. No more laundry baskets sitting around or washer/dryer being occupied for days. At least not with diaper laundry.

#4 It saves money

Even though my water bill was up at least $20 from all my washing and I was spending $30 a pop on special detergent, my son was still getting major diaper rash. The diaper service was my last chance at cloth with him, and he hasn’t gotten diaper rash since I started. After spending last month boiling extra water to throw in the wash cycle, stripping my diapers, sunning my diapers, and running rinse cycle after rinse cycle because I was convinced I could still feel detergent residue, it is so nice to be able to put a diaper on my son and not have to worry that his skin will get red, raw, and blistering.

I don’t know if it’s because the laundry service uses industrial machines to get every last bit of detergent out of the diapers or if it’s because prefolds are so absorbent that the moisture isn’t sitting next to his skin as long, but the diaper rash is gone. Another worry that can stop squatting in my brain.

Also, because I was so worried about the diaper rash, I kept trying to buy new types of diapers to combat the problem. I was using prefolds and covers with my infant and pocket diapers and all-in-ones with my toddler. You can’t reuse a pocket or all-in-one when you change it, so that was making a lot of diaper laundry, and I would stress if I didn’t get the wash timed right and ran out of diapers for the next day.

Using the diaper service, I literally only use 2 covers for my toddler (who I only cloth diaper 3 days a week because of daycare) and about 4 for my infant. You don’t have to change a cover unless it got pooped on. I tend to just use one cover all day (or alternate with 2 if one gets too wet) and then throw it in the wash. Then I wash the covers with my regular laundry and hang them up to dry.

I’m still addicted and want to try different kinds of covers now, but I can restrain myself. I can also use wool soakers that I make myself, which saves a ton of money.

Yes, there’s the cost of the diaper service. But in the grand scheme of things, it’s super cheap. You don’t have to pay for water, special detergents, or extra diapers. And you have plenty of diapers, so you don’t have to scrounge and use disposables on the days you forget to do laundry. Not having to buy disposables saves a lot of money too.

#5 You don’t have to deal with the mess

Cloth diapering isn’t bad for a breastfed baby, but once they start eating solids and their poop resembles yours, it’s an entirely different matter. I didn’t want to invest in a diaper sprayer, so I had sacrificed a pancake-flipping spatula to the cause. That’s right, I would scrape my kid’s poop off the diapers with a spatula. Inevitably, it would get all over me.

When you use a diaper service, you don’t have to deal with the poop. Take the diaper off, throw it in the bag/bin, and wipe your kid’s butt. That’s it. Liz, I’m so sorry you and your mom have to deal with my kids’ poop, but it’s really nice to take a break from pancake-flipping poop. So thanks.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Fourth of July Giveaway Prize Is...

This Amber Teething Necklace!

Amber has long been used as a remedy to treat ailments. Amber is fossilized resin from trees. It came from life and helps heal. The main ingredient in amber, succinic acid, is a natural substance that works gently with the body’s immune system to help protect it from infection and pain. Succinic acid is naturally produced by the body. It is crucial for cellular function and the metabolism of energy. 

When a baby wears an amber teething necklace, the resin becomes warm to the touch. Besides feeling soothing, the warmth allows the release of the oil containing succinic acid, which helps improve the body’s ability to heal. Amber teething necklaces are not made for baby to chew on; they help soothe and heal when worn against the skin. And it’s not just for babies--some people even report that wearing amber jewelry against the skin can help relieve PMS pain, arthritis, and other ailments.

Many moms report that amber teething necklaces take the edge off of their babies’ teething pain. You know that restless fussiness that characterizes teething babies? They fuss and squirm, whether they are nursing, sleeping, or just being held? Amber teething necklaces can help a fussy baby relax. This means more happy play time, and possibly more sleep for everyone.

What will I win?
Green Baby Diaper Service is giving away a 10.5-inch unpolished cider-colored teething necklace from Inspired by Finn.
It’s not at all shiny and has a higher retention of succinic acid. The gender-neutral jewelry is perfect for boys or girls

How do I win?
Just do two of the following things:
1. Follow the Green Baby Blog
2. Like Green Baby Diaper Service on Facebook 
3. Follow @GreenBabyDiaper on Twitter

If you're already our biggest fan and have done all of those things, you still have one more chance: You can like our blog author, Tmuffin, on Facebook or Twitter.

Then, let us know what you did by leaving a comment under this post or this post
I forgot to tell you before: If you leave a comment, please leave some identifying info so we can get back to you: either your email address or your facebook or twitter name. If you already left a comment and didn't leave the info, we'll figure it out. We'll post the winner on Saturday anyway. 

The giveaway closes on 11:59 PM next Friday, July 8. So go follow us all over the place and keep checking back to see what you're going to win! Each "like" you give us gets you an entry, so the more you do, the more entries you'll get. We'll randomize the drawing on and let you know who won on Saturday.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Fourth of July Mystery Giveaway!

In honor of Independence Day, Green Baby Diaper Service's two-year anniversary, the new blog, and a beautiful, sunny summer, we're offering a giveaway.

We're about to give you one of our best-selling items. For free. And you can stay in your air-conditioned home to win it.

How Do I Enter?
Just do two of the following things:
1. Follow the Green Baby Blog
2. Like Green Baby Diaper Service on Facebook 
3. Follow @GreenBabyDiaper on Twitter

If you're already our biggest fan and have done all of those things, you still have one more chance: You can like our blog author, Tmuffin, on Facebook or Twitter.

Then, let us know what you did by leaving a comment under this post. 

We'll let you know what the prize is on the Fourth of July!!

After that, you still have time to enter. The giveaway doesn't close until 11:59 PM next Friday, July 8! So go follow us all over the place and keep checking back to see what you're going to win! Each "like" you give us gets you an entry, so the more you do, the more entries you'll get.

Good Luck, and Happy Fourth of July!