Tag Archives: baby supplies

10 Popular Green Products

One of the most popular ways to go green is by shopping green. It’s perhaps not always done right, as people buy more than they need, but it’s usually better than ignoring the environmental impact of products altogether.

Some kinds of products are more popular than others, of course. Today I want to take a look at some of the more popular green product types, what I think of them, and share individual examples.

Eco Friendly Electronics

Eco Friendly Electronics

Electronics are a huge part of modern living for most people, so finding more environmentally friendly options is a big deal. Look for Energy Star ratings and EPEAT registration. Be aware that EPEAT registration doesn’t cover all kinds of electronics, but you can look at the information the manufacturer provides to decide what’s green enough for you. Familiar brands such as Dell, HP and Apple have EPEAT-registered products. EPEAT at this time appears to be mostly for computer products.

Apple MacBook Pro
I’m quite fond of my MacBook Pro, and it’s one of Apple’s products on EPEAT, with a Gold certification.  It’s a good laptop, and I love the mobility, as before I had only owned desktop computers. It has made working from my home much easier.

Samsung UN32EH4003 32-Inch LED HDTV
This is a popular example of an Energy Star television. Nice size, well reviewed by users. It sounds like a good replacement for when an older television needs replacing. Not something that happens much in my family, as there’s one TV in the living room and another, rarely used one in the master bedroom

Organic Food

Chia Seeds

Not everyone agrees about the benefits of organic food, but then it depends on the benefit you’re looking for. Many organizations that compare conventional and organic produce focus on nutrition, but may neglect pesticide and other residues. Organic fruits and vegetables may cost more than conventional produce, but you can get some good deals at farmers markets or through a CSA. It should end up being more local that was too. Just check to be sure you’re definitely getting organic produce.

Chia Seeds
Chia seeds have become very popular as a superfood. I find that soaked chia seeds go well in smoothies and yogurt, plus they can be added to other recipes. The antioxidants in chia seeds are said to be more stable than those in flax seeds, and they’re also high in omega-3 acids, protein and fiber.

Cacao Powder or Nibs
Perfect for chocolate lovers, cacao powder and nibs give you a healthier way to add a chocolate flavor to a variety of treats. It doesn’t taste like chocolate on its own, however; it’s rather bitter. The nibs have cocoa butter in them, but the powder doesn’t, so be aware that there is a difference between them. I like the nibs, but not by themselves. They add an amazing chocolate taste to smoothies. On their own, cacao nibs are very much an acquired taste, but a healthy one if you can manage it.

Baby Supplies

There’s no way around it – babies need a LOT of stuff. My favorite way to deal with a lot of it is handmedowns, and those can cover quite a bit of the clothing and toy needs for the first while. Sometimes even years of supplies, depending on how good a system you have going with family or friends. My youngest daughter, for example, very rarely gets new clothes because she has such an absurd amount of handmedowns, and she’s nearly 4 years old.

For babies, safety is absolutely a concern, which is a part of why people like eco friendly items. It’s one way to avoid potentially harmful chemicals.

Cloth Diapers
I got into cloth diapers with my youngest; couldn’t convince my husband that we could make it wish sooner, and ended up wishing we had done cloth diapers all along. Saved a lot of money with them. We used Bum Genius, but there are a lot of good brands out there. Don’t forget the cloth wipes.

Babies spend a lot of time sleeping (sometimes at the wrong times for new parents!), and so you may care quite a bit about what they’re sleeping on. From the mattress to the sheets, think about your eco friendly options, such as whether the materials used will tend to offgas. Look for Certi-PUR-US certification for mattresses.


Kids of all ages want toys. The trouble is how quickly the things pile up over time. Add in how often toys are plastic, and it’s not often you can call children’s toys green.

I’ll readily admit to being imperfect in most areas, but especially with toys. My kids do have some handmedown and used toys, including an old Capsela set they enjoy, and a whole lot of LEGOs, most of which were my husband’s from when he was growing up. One thing I will say for those is that once in a while you can take advantage of things lasting just about forever.

Bamboo Toys
Bamboo is very popular right now for toys. More environmentally friendly than wood according to many, it makes some pretty nice toys. There are some nice looking bamboo toy cars and bamboo games available.

Plan Toys
Plan Toys offers a wonderful range of toys that are meant to be more environmentally friendly. They’re also fun. They have a good range of toys, including some very nice dollhouses. There’s even a little vegetable garden for the dollhouse.

Reusable Replaces Disposable

I have a few reusable items that are very much favorites. It’s nice being able to keep one thing rather than throwing many out. The trick here is to pick good quality – I’ve had reusable items that just didn’t last well enough for the difference in cost.

Reusable Bottles
My absolute favorite. I have a reusable bottle that I use every day for my water. So does my husband. My kids take reusable bottles to school rather than juice boxes or water bottles. We have saved a lot of money this was.

My husband has a large Klean Kanteen he really likes. The one problem is that it doesn’t fit in the car’s cupholders, but it’s otherwise a great bottle.

I much prefer stainless steel reusable bottles to plastics or polycarbonates. I’ve had polycarbonate and plastic bottles break on me, but so far no one has managed to break one of the stainless steel ones. Dent, yes, but not severely enough to matter.

Rechargeable Batteries
Rechargeable batteries can be challenging for some uses, but for others they’re wonderful. We have a nice charger that can take pretty much any size, and a stash of batteries.

If the toy or other item is going to sit a lot without being used, rechargeable batteries may as well be taken out. In my experience, they don’t hold a charge for months on end for items that aren’t being used. It’s very frustrating for kids to try to play with a toy they haven’t noticed in some time, only to find out that they have to wait for the batteries to charge. Pulling the batteries on less-used toys doesn’t make them any more ready to go, but it does mean you can use the batteries for more than one thing, and you might be able to move them from toy to toy as interests demand.

BumGenius 3.0 Review – One Year Later

We’ve been cloth diapering my little girl for right about a year now. It’s been interesting, and I figured now is a good time to share how the diapers have held up.

Overall, I’m pleased with how the bumGenius 3.0 diapers have held up. They’re in generally good shape.

The Good Parts

The cloth diapers have held up really well. I can see that the elastic is a little looser on some of the covers, but most are still in very good shape. The elastic is not so loose as to cause problems on any of them.

They’re all still nicely waterproof. The colors have all held up quite well. They still fit great.

We’ve run out of snaps to undo on the diapers for sizing, but given how long each section lasted us, that doesn’t worry me. Especially since we’re already encouraging the baby in her potty training. She does use it just a little. We aren’t pushing hard yet, just having her sit on the potty at every diaper change or before a bath. But there’s a bit of interest and she’s very happy when she does something.

We’re still using Country Save detergent to wash the diapers. It’s also working quite well. The occasional use of an oxygen bleach or some original Dawn dish detergent takes care the occasional stain or smell issues.

My One Complaint

The one problem we’ve been dealing with is that the tabs that hold the velcro in place when you wash the diapers isn’t holding them anymore. This means awful chains of diapers when I do the laundry, and makes me feel that they aren’t rinsing out as well.

Having to pull apart convoluted chains of cloth diapers that have firmly velcroed together is inconvenient. It’s causing some extra wear to the fuzzy side of the velcro too.

I really need to spend a little time figuring out the solution to this one. It’s pretty minor, all things considered, but I’d sure like to solve the problem.

Toys R Us Baby Gear Trade In

I’m pretty excited about a deal Toys R Us has going on right now. I heard it on the local news the other day, and it can be found on their website too. But you have to go into your local store to participate.

From now until February 20, 2010, they’re allowing people to bring in certain types of used baby gear to trade in for a 25% off coupon toward one new baby gear item. The categories for both include car seats, strollers, cribs, play yards and more. It’s only for participating brands also.

You don’t have to have bought the item from them or have a receipt. You do have to make your purchase on the day you do the trade in, and only in the store.

The condition of the item doesn’t matter. The whole idea, in fact, is to get unsafe baby gear out from where it might be used.

This is exciting for me because I have a car seat that is on the old side. Selene’s about the age where she’ll be going into that size, so it’s nice that we’ll be able to upgrade to a newer model for a nice savings. The car seat is heading toward 7 years old, which is older than is commonly recommended for use, especially since it has spent most of that time installed in the car as my two older kids used it.

I gather they destroy the trade ins, and I hope they recycle what materials can be sent for recycling. An awful lot of baby gear has significant plastic content, so I don’t know how easy that is. But it’s nice to think that some of it could be recycled.

Figure out what you want and contact your local store to be sure they have what you want before you bring in your trade. That step could save you a lot of trouble if what you want is out of stock.

Probably Unnecessary Gadgets for New Parents

I was reading about the Itzbeen Baby Care Timer over at Free Range Kids and it got me thinking about how many gadgets parents are encouraged to buy for their new babies that they probably don’t need.

I mean, I agree that there are situations where a parent might need a timer like the Itzbeen for a special needs or premature baby, but for your average, healthy baby at home I just can’t see it. I have no doubt that such things are priceless to parents who have genuine medical concerns for their baby or possibly for daycare situations.

But even with my youngest baby I knew when to feed her, and she’s quiet about that. Diaper changing is also easy to figure out… not sure when you last changed the diaper? Take a look! If it’s wet or soiled it’s definitely time for a change.

Similarly there are many other gadgets parents are encouraged to buy or put on their baby shower lists that just make me say “What a waste!”

Video baby monitors

Cute, but do you really need to watch your baby sleep? There may be few things more precious than a sleeping baby, but for most purposes a regular, audio only baby monitor or just listening for baby should be quite enough.

Wipe warmers

In most climates I just can’t see this one. So long as you aren’t keeping the house really cold the wipe temperature is probably just fine.

Another interesting point I saw on the reviews for one wipe warmer is the possibility of infection. Warm, moist environments certainly are great places for germs to breed.

The Zaky

This is a fancy sleep positioner. Nothing more. It’s supposed to feel like the mother holding the baby.

WhyCry Baby Crying Analyzer

I just don’t get it. Pay attention to your baby and you can generally figure out why they’re crying pretty quickly. Hungry, wet diaper, sick, just needs held… especially in the early days there aren’t a lot of needs to go through before you get to the right one if it’s not immediately obvious.

Padded crib bumpers

Yes, they look cute. Then you have to remove them by the time they might do some good, and there are some indications that they aren’t perfectly safe.

Baby helmets and knee pads

Babies are going to bump their heads and scrape their knees as they learn to explore their world. It’s a part of life, and mostly not a bad thing.

I had the necessary kind of helmet for my son (he had craniosynostosis, the helmet was to reshape his head), so I can tell you some of the big problems with using any kind of helmet.

First of all, they’re hot. They make baby’s head sweat, especially in summer. That will quickly make the helmet stink too, even if you clean it out every day.

Second, the day will come when the helmet must come off. Baby outgrows it. Then baby learns what it really means to bump one’s head. Believe me, my son was utterly shocked at how awful it felt the first time he bumped his head without his DOC-Band helmet on. He had no idea.

I suppose helmets might help if baby is always on tile floors or something, but that’s not the case for most babies.

Knee pads I’m almost in sympathy with after watching my youngest learn to crawl, but not quite. Our carpet here is pretty rough, and her knees had a hard time of it. Know how we handled it?

Long pants! No more carpet scraping her knees. Simple and we already owned them.

Now when they’re learning to ride a tricycle, skate, etc., helmets and knee pads are an entirely different story!

Baby Einstein

You know, there’s a reason why they’re offering money back if you are disappointed that they aren’t educational after all. They were talked up as being really good for babies. Yet television watching in general is considered to be bad for vocabulary development in children under two.

Yes, I was given some. My kids have watched them, just a little. But they’re entertainment, nothing more. You don’t need them, and if you want to expose your baby to classical music you can probably buy plenty of high quality classical music off iTunes and play it on your computer. Just don’t expect that to make baby a genius either.

Walking Wings

So your baby can learn to walk with your help.

You know, I kind of figured that most babies will learn to walk eventually anyhow. This is the exact phase my youngest is going through, and yes, she gets frustrated. Frustration within reason is GOOD for children. It helps with emotional development. Life does not throw everything at you easily.

On the other hand, if your child has a definite disability, then yes, this might be good. But not for the average baby who will learn to walk on his or her own in time.

Can Baby Go Organic?

I’m greener these days than I was when I had my first two kids. It’s amazing how things change once new ideas get on your radar. It makes some things more complex.

I’ve blogged a lot about how we use cloth diapers with our baby. That’s still going really well. We also use a lot more homemade cleaners. But there are a lot more things we want to do this time around.

We’ve resisted the temptation to get organic sheets and such for her bedding. Just about all the baby clothes and other supplies we have are handmedowns, and have likely off gassed pretty much anything there could be to worry about with them. Shopping for organic replacements strikes me as a bit of a waste at this point.

Baby food, on the other hand…

Going organic here is going to be pretty affordable with any luck. We have a garden, and one of the big things I want to do with any excess is prepare it as baby food.

I figure it will be a great way to get cheap, organic baby food. No question of how it was grown or prepared.

We don’t have any fruit trees, so I will still have to buy fruits to prepare for her, but if the garden behaves we’ll be in pretty good shape with certain varieties.

For the early days we have the VitaMix blender. That should make some really good purees. As she gets big enough to have a little texture, our little KidCo baby food mill should do the job at each meal.

Yes, I know organic baby food is fairly easy to buy these days in jars. I’d still rather make what I can. It makes sense financially and I know to be very, very careful about keeping things clean when making baby food, as food poisoning is more dangerous to infants.

I have a bit of time yet before taking this step, but it’s definitely time to get planning. Selene is three months now and I want to be ready to get things started when she’s six months old, not still trying to figure the whole deal out.