Monthly Archives: February 2009

The 3 Rs with a Baby, Part 3: Recycle

Just as in the rest of life, recycling that which you can’t reuse is important. If you’re good at reducing and reusing, you can cut down the need, but odds are you’re going to have to recycle a fair number of items.


Perhaps the most obvious thing you can recycle with a baby would be the baby food jars. That glass is so easily recycled is one of the reasons aside from BPA concerns to choose glass jars when you buy baby food. Of course, if you’re making your own baby food you won’t have a lot of jars to recycle. But there are times for most parents when jarred food is a simpler choice.

There’s also a site called that offers recycling of those things you don’t feel are worth reusing. I haven’t tried it, but the plan looks good. They break the goods apart and send them for appropriate recycling. If something is, in their opinion, still usable, they’ll donate it for a family to use.

The 3 Rs with a Baby, Part 2: Reuse

Yesterday’s post covered some of the areas you can reduce what you buy for baby. It’s a challenging topic, but very worthwhile. Today’s topic is in many ways one of the easiest:


There are just so many things you can reuse with a baby. Their needs are pretty simple, and many baby items can go from child to child to child with no problem at all.

This is particularly true among friends and extended family. You can cut down the cost of having raising a baby as well as the environmental impact if you’re fortunate in available handmedowns.

Baby clothes are the classic, especially in the smaller sizes that tend to be all too prevalent as baby shower gifts. So many outfits get worn once, maybe twice, maybe not at all before baby outgrows them.

If you’re lucky, you have handmedowns, and plenty of them.

CPSIA has made buying used baby items potentially more difficult. No one is quite sure what’s happening there, or what the one year delay really means, if anything. So many statements made have a note at the bottom that they may not be the official position of the CPSC, making it impossible to tell if they mean it or not.

Hopefully things will clear up soon in favor of making it easily possible to reuse appropriate items for children.

Don’t Forget…

Someone else can probably reuse the items your baby used. Keep the cycle going as long as each item is worth reusing.

The 3 Rs with a Baby, Part 1: Reduce

Having a baby means you start using a lot more things. You can’t help it. Babies have a lot of needs. But you can do your best to keep things under control. This week is about keeping up with the the three R’s with an infant in the house.

Anyone with more ideas is welcome to share.


This is a difficult one in some ways, as having a baby means you will have a lot of new needs. You aren’t going to be able to avoid it all. But you can cut back, way back, on what people say you need for a baby.

Reuse is the easy way, but today we are looking at reduce.

I posted last month about things I feel you don’t need for a new baby. Not everyone will agree with the list, but it’s a place to start thinking.

Things I didn’t find useful included changing tables, multiple strollers and walkers. There’s more, but you can read it there.

If it works for your family, cosleeping also lets you reduce the things you need for baby. You can probably skip the cradle and maybe even the crib, depending on how dedicated you are to the idea. It works great for many families, but others struggle. Do what works for you.

Another key step to reducing what you get for a baby is taking control of baby showers and such. This is difficult, since you aren’t generally the one throwing the party, but if your registry is under control it will help. Better yet is if you can talk to whoever organizes the shower so that you can encourage simplicity and maybe even encourage used gifts in appropriate categories.

When your baby is old enough, making your own baby food is a great choice. You’ll cut back on waste by not buying so many jars of baby food. You will, however, need some other supplies.

With my first too, I used a baby food food mill once my babies were old enough for food that wasn’t completely pureed. It worked great, and I’ll be using my food mill again this time. I had one of the KidCo mills.

But I also want to use our blender to create my own pureed food, and then freeze it in blocks for use. BPA free baby food trays are getting easier to find, making it simpler than ever to make your own baby food.

There are a lot of things to be careful about with making your own baby food. You have to be very careful about food contamination. Wholesome Baby Foods has some great resources to help you figure out how to make baby food safely for your infant. I’ll be looking at keeping our current VitaMix blender in condition to be safe. I’d prefer to not have to buy something just for the purpose of making baby food when I have a good blender at home already. That would make a bit of a mess of the whole point to reducing.

Reduction is one of the hardest areas to come up with ideas specific to having a new baby, I think. Reuse, tomorrow’s topic, is in many ways much simpler. There are so many things that can be handed down from child to child.

Building Up the Rechargeable Battery Supply

It’s getting to be that time for us. Time to buy more rechargeable batteries to work with the toys the kids got for Christmas.

At least those I really like. Some I’m honestly just as glad to only occasionally have batteries in.

The EyeClops BioniCam my kids got is a good example of a toy I like. It’s nice for the kids to get a good, close look at things. I won’t say I’m ecstatic about the plastic, but it’s a great learning tool.

Probably the most frustrating thing about that one is it’s need for 5 batteries. An odd number just doesn’t work well in most chargers; they prefer even numbers for AA batteries.

On the plus side, my daughter is so sweet about that toy. She says she wants to help us earn more money by selling the magnified pictures she takes.

We have a charging system, so all we lack is enough batteries to keep the appropriate toys running. I’ll be checking and to see where I want to get the batteries this time around.

After baby comes.

The challenge is keeping track of which toys have rechargeable batteries in them, especially during cleanouts. No point in giving away rechargeables. They cost extra and who knows if the toy’s new owner would have a charger or bother with it?

We like being gradual about this. One thing we know we don’t want is an excessive supply of rechargeables. What would be the point?

So far I haven’t seen any standouts in terms of performance. I know some are supposed to hold charges better than others, but it’s hard to tell with the way kids use toys; that is, like crazy for a week or two, then leave it alone for weeks, then go crazy again.

Lemony Fresh Cleaning

I do a lot of my cleaning with baking soda and vinegar, but sometimes another choice is better. That would be cleaning with lemon juice.

You can’t beat the smell for one thing. An area cleaned with lemon juice smells good!

A classic use is as furniture polish. There’s a reason why so many store bought furniture polishes are lemon scented. You can put two parts of olive oil to one part lemon juice to make your own hardwood furniture polish.

Plain lemon juice is also good for cleaning wooden cutting boards.

Mixed with baking soda into a paste, it can polish chrome or copper. Salt can work in place of the baking soda, as it provides grit for scrubbing. I like baking soda in most cases, although it is less gritty.

Lemon juice is also good for your laundry, as it can help with natural bleaching. Hanging clothes out to dry in the sun can help with stains too, but sometimes you want that boost from lemon juice. Just add a half cup of lemon juice to the rinse cycle, then dry in the sunlight. A small amount of lemon juice also just makes clothes smell good when they dry, but honestly I’ve never found the need to worry about how my clothes smell after washing.

You can also soak clothes in a mix of vinegar and lemon juice to get a stain out. Just soak for a half hour before washing.

Lemon juice is a pretty flexible cleaner, and delightful for those times you don’t want the smell of vinegar when you clean. Sometimes scent matters.