Thursday, April 5, 2012

Confessions of a "Newbie"

Contributed by Miracle- our newest employee!

When I first discovered I was pregnant with my oldest son in 2007, I immediately began thinking about the best way to birth him and feed him. Like any pregnant or new mother, you research the best options for your child, from car seats and cribs, to daycares and pediatricians.

For me, breastfeeding was a given, as was attempting the most natural and intervention free birth possible. For some reason, it never occurred to me to think about using cloth diapers as part of a more “natural parenting” lifestyle. Diapering was hardly a blip on my radar!

After my son was born, a friend mentioned her use of a hybrid cloth diaper and this allowed me a tiny peek into the world of cloth, but I was still unconvinced. It seemed like this unreachable goal for me and I kept visualizing dipping diapers into the toilet and smelly, stinky mess everywhere. I did not have the
confidence in myself as a new mother to try out a new system. (I have since learned that I am capable, strong, and absolutely can do this!)

As he grew older, I discovered multiple problems with using disposables. He would break out into a rash, they always seemed to leak (up the back blowouts anyone?), they were expensive and smelly, we ran out constantly, and it felt as though my trash was always overflowing. I also started thinking more the environmental impact of these diapers…where do they end up when they are used? A landfill? What resources are being used to make them? What exactly are in these things?

All of these questions continued to follow me through the course of my son’s baby and toddlerhood, but I did not have adequate information, support, or resources to make a decision at that time. When I discovered I was once again pregnant with baby #2, I made a firm decision to research cloth diapering.

What I found was definitely surprising. The variety, ease of use, and flat out cuteness of cloth diapering was amazing. I knew this time I would be able to have success with cloth, I just needed someone to inform and encourage me. With the help of my sister and several people at the store, I was able to stock different types of diapers and covers. Since the birth of my second son, I have not only had success with diapering, but I have grown to love cloth and trying out and collecting different diapers. My husband teases me whenever I come home with new diapers! One of the best moments I have had with cloth diapering is my grandmother telling me how proud of me she is for using cloth. If cloth was good enough for her, it is good enough for me!

So, my confessions are that I was not a faithful cloth user with my oldest son, but I am a loyal cloth user now and I am so glad I made the change! It is never “too late” to try cloth. Even if your child is a toddler, you did not use cloth with your older children, or you just aren’t sure what is out there, switching to cloth can still be a very cost effective and helpful change,. So if you aren’t already using cloth or
considering, give it a try!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Spontaneous Product Review: purEcosheet

Confession: I love fabric softener and/or dryer sheets. I love the smell. I love the feel of fluffy towels. I think part of my adoration stems from warm, fuzzy memories of my mom giving me clothes straight from the dryer that still smelled like Snuggle :)

Sadly, my love affair with "main stream" dryer sheets and fabric softener had to end when I started cloth diapering my son. Part of it was because I knew that they were bad news for the absorption factor of my stash. The bigger issue was my newly gained knowledge of what is actually in those products. Just a few of the ingredients found in fabric softeners like Downy and Snuggle: alpha-terpineol (causes CNS disorders), benzyl acetate(carcinogen-linked to pancreatic cancer), choloroform(neurotoxic, carcinogenic, anesthetic, ethyl acetate (narcotic), linalool (narcotic). Pretty scary, right?

After learning about the potential poisonous side of fabric softener I went cold turkey. I found that using better detergent like Country Save eliminated some of the static automatically but not completely. I've experimented with Ecover's line of fabric softeners but was not overly impressed. Bayla, our fearless leader here at Soft and Cozy Baby, ordered a product called purEcosheet and I was intrigued.

PurEcosheet bills itself as having "all the advantages of a traditional dryer sheet, with none of the chemicals. The perfume, dye and chemical free way to keep your fabrics soft, natural and free of static". I figure it was worth a shot. Two reusable sheets (good for 100s of loads according to the box) is $14.95 so fairly comparable in price to other options out there. The package gives instruction for how to prep (wash in any load of laundry after their first three uses) and maintenance (wash again every 3 months for best performance). After about a month I can tell you that these really do work! My towels and sheets feel softer and my clothes have less static. I cannot think of a single drawback!

Here are some other great things about purEcosheets:
*made in North America
*100% hypoallergenic
*safe for use on infant's sleepwear, cloth diapers, technical fabrics, fine linens and towels
*safe for allergy and eczema and allergy sufferers
*great for baby's sensitive skin
*available from Earth Angels Diaper Company!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Hey Target, What's the deal??

In case you have not heard, a mother was recently harassed in a Target store while she tried to breastfeed her 4 month old baby under the cover of a baby blanket. Initially an employee of the Texas Target informed her that she should nurse in one of the changing rooms. When she declined another employee told her that she could be cited for indecent exposure. Within minutes word must have spread throughout their staff and several other workers walked by to get a peek and shake their head in disapproval. Disapproval of a woman feeding her baby. Apparently these employees were concerned that her public act of breastfeeding would bother her fellow shoppers. How many customers complained? Not one. After this story had garnered national attention (at least among those concerned with breastfeeding and women's right), Target issued a statement saying that “guests who choose to breastfeed in public areas of the store are welcome to do so without being made to feel uncomfortable".

Unfortunately, I did not find this story very shocking. As a mother that breastfed two babies for a total of 35 months between them I had experienced a fair amount of ignorance and ill treatment. A museum employee once approached me while I nursed my son under a nursing cover and told me that I would be more comfortable in the "mom's lounge" in the bathroom? When I walked into the stale air of the restroom I was greeted by a folding chair. I turned right around and assumed my former position and fed my son. I have several stories like this and they all end in me standing my ground and feeding my baby. Many times I was able to nurse my babies while wearing them and no one was the wiser. Who was I hurting??

What disturbed me most about this incident was reading the comments on articles about the story. Grown men and women referring to breastfeeding as "icky" and "inappropriate". That this woman must have wanted to cause a scene because she refused to be relegated to a stall to feed her baby. Others questioned her fitness as a mother for not pumping bottles in anticipation of his hunger. Still more made rude comments about her body (HELLO, she just had a baby four months before!. I was aghast. Do these same people clutch their pearls when they pass a Victoria's Secret? when they watch cable? Can't they understand that this woman was just trying to provide milk to her baby??

Listen, I know that not everyone can or wants to breastfeed. I feel very strongly that "breast is best" but I know that every mother just wants to raise a healthy baby and has to make her own choices. What I do not understand is why all the moms of the world are not enraged at what happened in Target. Why it is okay for corporate America to use images of breasts to sell clothes, beer, cars and so much more but not okay for me to feed my baby? Nursing moms are not trying to expose themselves, to shock people or to cause a commotion- they just want to feed their babies. They do not want to feed them in a dank public restroom or in the broom closet. Why aren't we more concerned with nurturing these moms so that they can feel more comfortable in their role as a mother? Why are breastfeeding moms being harassed in 21st century America??

My sons are 5 and 2. I have no problem with them witnessing a mother nurse their child. I want them to grow up knowing that breasts serve a biological purpose and are not just there to be ogled. If I am ever blessed with a daughter I want her to know the power of her body and all that it is capable of. I want her to breastfeed confidently without feeling as though she is going to be harassed. I want her to feel as though her rights as a woman are upheld.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cyber Monday Sales at Earth Angels Diaper Company!

Cyber Monday is going on now!

Here are just a few of what we've got on sale this Cyber Monday at Earth Angels Diaper Company!
  • Buy 4 Get 1 Free on Rumparooz!
  • Tiny Tush Buy 5 Get 1 Free!
  • GroVia Buy 2 Get 1 Free!
  • Lollidoos are 40% off!
  • Econobum Buy 1 Get 1 Free!
  • EcoPosh are 10% off!
  • Ergo, Free Infant Insert with Purchase of Carrier!
  • Boba are 20% off!
  • Peanut Shell Carriers are 40% off!
  • Beco Discontinued prints are only $85!
Plus Flat Rate Shipping of just $5 or Free Shipping on Orders over $100!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cost of Cloth Wipes Solution. Is it worth it?

I had the opportunity to use Knickernappies’ Baby Bum Drops back in May. I had been making my own solution with water, baby shampoo and oil. I really thought I was saving some money and doing a good thing for my boy’s skin, however, after trying the Baby Bum Drops for two weeks I changed my story.

Now that I have two little ones I can honestly say that one of my favorite things about Baby Bum Drops is how easy they are to use. I really feel like I’m doing laundry 24/7. With cloth diapering, I’m washing diapers every other day now because my daughter is four months old and goodness does she know how to pee! The less work I have to do – like mixing my own wipes solution – the better. I didn’t understand the beauty in the Baby Bum Drops at the time I did my review because I only had my boy. Alas, apparently one little addition does make a huge difference in the amount of time you have during a day.

Let me submit an idea to you: you’re cloth diapering and using clothwipes. You have to wash and dry them. You need to put them together by stuffing them, folding them before you put them on your baby or adding an insert to a shell. Why do everything on your own? You don’t have to. Use Baby Bum Drops and take one more thing off of your “to do” list.

Still not convinced? Here’s the breakdown in price that my hubby figured out (he’s the brilliant numbers man in this household):

Avg. Retail Price of Baby Bum Drops: $13.95
Baby Bum Drops makes 50 8 oz spray bottles
Price of Baby Bum Drops per ounce: 3.5 cents

Avg. Cost of making solution made out of water, shampoo and oil: 2.1 cents per ounce
50 Spray Bottles of Own Solution: $8.40

Price Difference between Baby Bum Drops and the solution I made: $6 per year

If you’re making your own solution as a way of saving money like I was perhaps you should re-evaluate if it’s worth the time and effort. If it’s just one more thing to add on to your day, I think the extra $6 you’re going to spend by buying the Baby Bum Drops is worth it.

Elizabeth (aka Bert) Anderson married her college sweetheart in 2005, and started her journey into motherhood in 2008 with the birth of her son.  She started blogging in 2009 as a way to keep track of her thoughts on being a first time mom, especially her struggle with postpartum depression, and as a way of reaching out to other moms who are struggling with the same things.  This June, Bert had another first in her motherhood travels - a little girl!  Even though she's newly a mother of two, Bert maintains that no matter how many children you have you will always be a "first time mom" because there's a first time for everything!  Visit her blog, at FTM. Bert is a contributor for She Thinks Media.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

This one time...I thought my nipples were going to fall OFF!

Breastfeeding, it's not supposed to be painful but is it?  Considering that most first time mom's aren't used to nursing a baby, practically around the clock, there certainly is a little room for error and some pain, although not "normal" is to be expected.

I'm an only child and my mother was a La Leche League Leader so when I got pregnant I was going to breastfeed, it just was what you do, for me at least.  My mom had some experience, some advice...She said you should sit in the bath, before you deliver, and use a wet washcloth to rough up your nipples. I laughed!

Sure, like that would really work! Ha Ha Ha!  Like I'm really going to sit in the bath and use a washcloth to do that!  An old wives tale I was sure.  Did I do it?  Absolutely not.  Who listens to their mother anyhow?

So baby came and I was nursing!  Yippee, see this was easy, piece of cake.  Until....maybe a few days or so into it.  I started to feel a burning pain when my daughter nursed, it turned into a searing pain, and then into an eye watering excruciating pain, a very bad I am now totally dreading breastfeeding my new baby pain.

I asked my mom in all seriousness "Is my nipple going to fall off?  Can it fall off?"  I was really worried.  It felt like someone was cutting it off with a razor blade every time my daughter nursed.

Turns out that having a baby gnawing and sucking at the breast takes a little getting used to, a lot of getting used to and there is a learning curve.  Sure, baby is getting milk and appears to be nursing just fine but is she latched on properly?  It's hard to know, especially since everyone's breasts and nipples are different.

We figured out that she wasn't latching on quite right, not enough of the areola was in her mouth.  Using my thumb to gently encourage her to open a little wider seemed to help.  It took a couple weeks for the latch to improve and the pain to go away.  I'll never know if I had used the washcloth method to rough up the nippples for a couple weeks before the birth if that would have helped but heck, hindsight is 20/20 and when I was in pain I seriously wished I had given it a try.

My advice is...
  • Make sure you have a good nipple cream.  Lansinoh, Earth Mama Angel Baby, Coconut Oil...Something that will help relieve the pain and discomfort you might experience.
  • Use cloth breast pads.
  • Ask for help.  You may be modest but you just have to get over it.  If you're in pain past about day 10 you need to see a lactation consultant, doula or midwife who can take a look and make sure baby is properly latched on.
  • Stay positive.  Once you've got the right latch and you've found your breastfeeding groove, it only takes a little while before you're poor nipples adjust.
Well I hope you're found my post a little helpful.  Don't forget, this too shall pass!

Here's a good couple of links if you need to check out latch-on techniques:

Julie, Cloth Diaper Geek

Monday, October 17, 2011

New Product: Charlie's Soap Hardwater Treatment & Laundry Booster!

Did you know that we carry Charlie's Soap Laundry Treatment and Hardwater Booster?  Did you even know that there was such a product?  Well we do, and there is!

What exactly is it and how can you tell if you need it or not?
Charlie's Soap Laundry Booster & Hard Water Treatment uses a biodegradable phosphate that leaves no residue on your clothes while softening your wash water. 

Certain phosphates can safely eliminate these problems and be environmentally friendly. They're only a problem with overuse.

If hard water is an issue, why not use an environmentally-safe product from Charlie's rather than take a chance with other detergents that put bad things into the environment?

The advantage of using Charlie's Soap with our new Laundry Booster & Hard Water Treatment is that you get the benefit of really clean clothes without a lot of chemicals left behind.

The Charlie's Laundry booster and hard water treatment works hand in hand with our Powder or Liquid to give you the best of both worlds. 

How to use it?
Simply add a 1/2 tablespoon per large load with your Charlies Soap detergent!  Your laundry will be whiter, brighter, softer and you can rest assured that they'll be clean, even if you have hard water issues.

MSRP, Just $18.99 for enough to treat 80+ large loads

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