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Archive for November, 2010

Guest Post: Cloth Diapers: Cute, Easy & Comfy-cozy!

Our guest post this week is from Shirley Murdock and Maeghan at Bummis, a cloth diapering company that has been in business since the ’80′s. That’s a lot of little bums in cloth diapers. We asked them to explain the basics and give us some insider tips on successful (and easy) cloth diapering. Thanks, gals!

New parents put a lot of thought into the choices they have to make. One choice that is sometimes overlooked is the option to use cloth diapers instead of disposables. Contemporary cloth diapers are innovative, easy to use, and really, really cute! Not only that, the choice to cloth diaper your little bundle will save you a bundle in the long run, since cloth diapering is much less expensive than disposable diapering.

They Don’t Make ‘em Like They Used To – Thank Goodness!

If grandma plans to help with diaper duty she may need a tutorial first, because today’s cloth diapers are nothing like they used to be! Many cloth diapers are designed to be just as simple as a disposable: they have easy-to-use features like stretchy tabs, Velcro and snaps. Contemporary cloth diapers are made of absorbent fabrics like bamboo, hemp, organic cotton and microfiber. Their waterproof exteriors are usually made of laminated polyester – much more breathable and leak-proof than the vinyl pants of yore. In fact, many people who have experimented with both cloth and disposables have concluded that cloth diapers do a much better job of containing messes and preventing “diaper blowouts”!

Arguably the most groundbreaking innovation in modern cloth diapering is the flushable liner, like the Bio-Soft liner. The liner is placed inside the diaper so that when your baby poops, you simply scoop up the liner and flush it down the toilet – along with the mess! If you thought that choosing cloth diapers meant getting your hands dirty – think again!

Diaper Anatomy

There are two basic categories when it comes to cloth diaper design: 1-piece or 2-piece. A 2-piece diaper consists of an absorbent interior: either a prefold insert, contour insert or fitted diaper, as well as a waterproof wrap with snap or Velcro-style closures. 2-piece diapers are very versatile, simple and easy to care for. 1-piece diapers combine the absorbent interior and waterproof exterior into a single unit. All-in-ones and pocket diapers, like the Easy Fit, fall into this very user-friendly category.

Easy to Use, Easy to Wash

It’s the 21st century, after all, so let’s let the machines do the washing! Here’s what a cloth diapering routine looks like:

Ÿ         Put diaper on baby, with Bio-Soft liner inside.

Ÿ         Change diaper when soiled or wet: scoop up Bio-Soft liner and flush down the toilet. Put soiled diaper in diaper pail or wet bag.

Ÿ         Repeat this process until diaper pail/wet bag is full. Choose a pail or wet bag that closes securely – like the large Fabulous Wet Bag – to prevent odours from escaping!

Ÿ         Empty pail/wet bag into washing machine.

Ÿ         Start with a rinse cycle if you have a front-loader, then select a regular wash cycle using the highest water level and hot water.

Ÿ         Choose a clean-rinsing detergent (no additives like perfumes, enzymes, or fabric softeners) and use the right amount for your machine – not too little, not too much.

Ÿ         Throw the diapers in the dryer, or hang them on a clothesline

Basically the difference between using cloth and using disposables comes down to this: instead of carrying a stinky garbage bag full of disposables to the curb, you carry an odour-contained wet bag full of diapers to the washing machine. You do a couple of extra loads of laundry a week, and your baby has soft, cozy cloth next to her bum instead of questionable chemicals, you prevent literally one TON of diapers from sitting in a landfill for hundreds of years, you’re keeping human waste where it belongs – in the sewage system, AND you save a lot of money.

So don’t forget: diapering is a dilemma – and you have the option of choosing cloth!

For more resources on how to choose, use and wash cloth diapers, click here.

To see the whole range of Bummis cloth diapering products, click here.

Green Parenting Apps

With an app for just about everything short of the kitchen sink, it only seems fair that natural parenting apps get some time in the spotlight. We picked a few of our current favorites, some fun and useful apps for parents, babies, and high-tech citizens of the virtual world.

Treehugger

Considered by many to be the leading media outlet dedicated to driving sustainability mainstream, TreeHugger.com has an iPhone app. From the latest stories Mother Nature would Digg, to equally earthy podcasts (stream these on your bike ride to work), TreeHugger partnered with the folks at 1800Recycling.com to incorporate both apps into one (see the individual review of the 1800Recycling app below). Also available on this free app is a stream of the latest “green” tweets enhanced with a sizable collection of contributed posts from industry writers.

My Recycle List

A free app from the creators of 1800Recycling.com, My Recycle List allows you to be “green on the go.” Say you want to recycle used children’s toys; the app sorts through a database of over 120,000 recycling locations in the US and Canada and suggests the nearest household donation center to you. Using a combination of GPS technology and Google Maps, the app even gives you directions to the store.  The nine main app categories include: plastic, electronics, paper, glass, metal, households, automotive, yard, and hazardous. Favorite locations, categories, and even your own personal “My Recycle List” can be marked within the app. Recycling is now officially cool, convenient, and high-tech.

Good Guide

A portable, personal shopper with a conscience, the Good Guide app rates over 60,000 food, personal care, household cleaners, and toys on a scale of 1 to 10 according to the following criteria: overall, health, environment, and society. 1 is bad, 10 is good. Take Good Guide with you on your next trip to the store and you can comparison shop at the scan of a barcode. A quick trip to our bathroom revealed that my brand of deodorant is slightly better than my husbands’, but we both could stand an upgrade in the personal health department. Personal care for babies includes lotion, shampoo, soap, bath, sunscreen, wipes, and diaper cream. If the product isn’t in the existing database, Good Guide searches for it online. Create favorites and lists of your favorite products. Oh, and it’s free!

NeutriSleuth

NutriSleuth is an iPhone app that “translates” everyday foods that you buy in the grocery store into ‘allowed or not allowed’ based on an individual’s medical, allergy and lifestyle needs. The app allows a user, i.e. a parent, to create individual profiles for each member of the family and indicate each person’s specific dietary needs.” In our family we have a severe almond allergy and sensitivity to MSG. We also avoid high fructose corn syrup as much as possible. Similar to Good Guide, NeutriSleuth scans product barcodes and returns information on ingredients and nutritional information. Individual profiles can be configured on the app based on medical condition, allergy, and lifestyle; flagging warning messages when contraindicated items are scanned. A $4.99 investment, I would gladly re-use this app than our EpiPen.

Cook IT Allergy Free

Food allergies shouldn’t control your life. Thanks to the Cook IT Allergy Free iPhone and iPad app from the allergy experts at www.cookitallergyfree.com, you’ll find a library of recipes for those of us sensitive to gluten, dairy, eggs, and nuts. Offering substitution suggestions (without compromising taste), the app lest you add to your own virtual recipe box where you can save your favorite recipes (modified or not).  My favorite parts—the one-click “generate grocery list” button and the ability to share culinary success with your friends using email, Facebook, and Twitter. Less expensive (and bulky) than a traditional book, the app is available on iTunes for $4.99 (iPhone) or $8.99 (iPad).

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