Our Baby Class

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Mama Cloth

I'm coming even more out of the crunchy closet now with this one.  In my postpartum days, I started using "mama cloth."  Mama cloth is another term for reusable menstrual pads.

I can hear some of you thinking: gross!

Bear with me here. And gentlemen readers, if you are squeamish about "that time of the month," stop reading here and catch up with us next time.

I'm a long-time tampon user.  I've heard of more eco-friendly options before, but tampons really work for me. I went as eco-friendly as I could with an organic cotton version of OB (applicator free) tampons.  But immediately post-partum, tampons are a no-no, and the bleeding continues for weeks.  I can't even wear disposable maxi pad for a day without my lady parts getting irritated.  I was dreading having to wear them for six weeks.

So, I thought about reusable pads.  Cotton would feel so much nicer against my skin, I thought.  And I'm already going to be doing diaper laundry.  I could just throw them in with the diapers.  So I took the plunge and picked some up at the Abby's Lane brick and mortar store.

They were great.  My skin didn't get irritated. There wasn't as much smell as with disposable pads.  And the blood washed right out of them.  I would highly recommend them for postpartum use.

I haven't had a period since Abby was born, so I haven't used them again.  However, I plan on continuing to at least use the panty liners when Aunt Flow does come around again. I feel cleaner with tampons, but might investigate some of the other options out there when the time comes.

If you are interested in trying out mama cloth, Mother Moon Pads will be stocked in the Green Mama Life shop!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Go Green or Go Home?

Today on Facebook, I saw a picture of a box of macaroni and cheese with "organic milk" and "organic butter" in the cooking directions.  Bad Parenting Moments pointed out that this is in fact boxed macaroni and cheese.  I giggled, and then thought about a question I've been bumping around for awhile.

Is it only worth going green if you go in 100%?

DH and I care a lot about making green choices.  We use CFLs, buy organic, recycle, reduce, and reuse.  We cloth diaper, breastfeed (yes, it's an eco-friendly choice), and I use reusable menstrual pads.  That should put us firmly in the hippy camp.  Right?

Confession time:

  • There are still light fixtures in our house with incandescent light bulbs. 
  • I have every intention of recycling all of our cardboard and paper waste, but sometimes things on the top floor get thrown in the trash. 
  • Despite arguments that conventional meat and produce is more expensive in the long run, when working with our grocery budget, organic meat and produce is just too expensive up front. 
  • I really love frozen jalapeno poppers, and sometimes, DH and I eat an entire meal of frozen fried food. We call it despicable dinner. It may or may not have happened more than once during my last trimester.
  • I didn't stop eating McDonald's after watching Food, Inc. I stopped a few months ago (several years after the fact) when it finally stopped tasting good to me. 
Do these confessions negate everything I do to go green? No.  I'm a firm believer that each person takes the steps that are right for them.  I'm constantly improving in all of the above categories.  When the incandescent lights burn out, we replace them with CFLs (except the ones on the dimmer switch in the basement).  I'm better than I used to be about making sure paper products end up in the right place.  We support our farmers' market and raise food in our own garden.  We don't keep processed food in the house, and it's an occasional treat.

There is a parable, called the Star Thrower, retold often by motivational speakers.  The following version was adapted by Starfish Charity from the original essay by Loren Eisely.

An old man had a habit of early morning walks on the beach. One day, after a storm, he saw a human figure in the distance moving like a dancer. As he came closer he saw that it was a young woman and she was not dancing but was reaching down to the sand, picking up a starfish and very gently throwing them into the ocean.
"Young lady," he asked, "Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?"
"The sun is up, and the tide is going out, and if I do not throw them in they will die."
"But young lady, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it? You cannot possibly make a difference."
The young woman listened politely, paused and then bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves, saying, "It made a difference for that one."
The old man looked at the young woman inquisitively and thought about what she had done. Inspired, he joined her in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved.
My minister told the starfish story as part of a sermon recently, and it has stuck with me.
Turn off the lights when leaving the room. That's one starfish saved.
Line dry the cloth diapers. That's another starfish saved.
Use natural light during the daytime. Happy starfish.

We don't have to save every single starfish to make a difference.  Start by throwing back as many as you can, and together, we will save many.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Cloth Diapering a Newborn

Over at my old personal blog, Townhouse Homestead, I wrote a post about why we decided to start cloth diapering and why we love it so much. Since now I'm starting a store, I've decided to continue the series on this blog.  I'll begin with how we cloth diapered our own newborn, and leave all the definitions and terminology up to the many other brilliant sites who have already covered that information.

In the hospital, we stuck with disposable diapers. They were free, we were learning the ropes of caring for a newborn, and I wasn't ready to worry about diaper laundry.  I've also heard mixed information about staining from meconium, the tarry nightmare that comes out of a newborn baby's behind.  We decided not to risk staining our diapers and waited until the meconium was an icky memory.

When we arrived home, we started out with newborn prefolds and covers. (Prefolds are what our moms and grandmoms used). Newborns go through an astounding number of diapers in a day, and prefolds are a very economical way to start out.  DH (Dear Husband) did all of the early diaper changes, especially at night, since I'd had a c-section.  He opted for disposables at night instead of trying to mess with folding and Snappis (which, if you haven't heard of them, are the awesome modern alternative to diaper pins).

We had a beautiful stash of pocket diapers all ready to go, and I was impatient to put something colorful on Abby's bum. We chose pockets for our main diaper system because of the removable inserts.  The removable insert makes the diaper dry faster, and the pocket can accommodate extra inserts for added absorbency.  When they are assembled, they are as easy to change as a disposable diaper. We also opted for one-size diapers to maximize the amount of time we could use our diapers.  In our stash, we had mainly two kinds of one-size pockets: Fuzzibunz Elites and BumGenius 4.0.  Looking at our barely eight pound baby, the BumGenius looked much too wide.  They adjust in rise (length) through snaps but the width remains the same. The Fuzzibunz, on the other hand, have hidden adjustable elastic both in the waist and in the legs.  We had them on the recommended newborn size setting, and they worked for us before Abby was even a week old.

Abby at 3 days old in a Fuzzibunz OS Elite

There are newborn diapers, often with a notch to accommodate the umbilical cord.  Stephanie over at Abby's Lane has found that this is often unnecessary.  Newborn diapers are adorable, and have a great resale value, but we wanted to avoid that upfront investment.  My dear readers, what have you done to diaper your newborns?