Thursday, February 21, 2013

Fall In Love With Fluff Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Fall In Love With Fluff Giveaway hosted by the GreenPath Baby Cloth Diapering Store, GreenPath Baby Blog, and Happy Mothering.  We have come together to help mommas fall in love with cloth diapers!  Follow all of the blogs on this hop for multiple chances to win over $270 worth of your favorite cloth diapers and accessories!  If you have never cloth diapered before here is a chance for you to win a whole stash and fall in love with cloth diapers!  See what everyone is talking about and how great it is to do something healthy and positive for your baby and for the environment.

I want to tell you a little love story. Once upon a time, a very handsome man and a woman fell in love. This handsome man asked the lovely woman to be his bride. The lucky couple got married in a beautiful enchanted ceremony and they lived happily ever after. Then they had kids...this is where the love story diverges a little from the traditional tales of old. You see, the couple had a beautiful little baby, and this baby developed a pretty serious rash from his little perfumy disposable diapers. His mommy decided to do some research and found out that that wonderful baby smell eminating from his pants was actually bad for his delicate skin...and so she decided that her little prince needed a fluffier option for his royal booty: cloth diapers. 

Ever since then, the little prince's bottom has been covered in luxurious clothy goodness.  All of the other mommies in the royal playground would ask: "What is this lovely, wonderful invention that this little prince is wearing?"  The prince's mommy would always answer, "these are the newest and bestest in cloth diapers!" and she would show them the baby's bottom.  Everyone "oohhhhed" and "ahhhhed" in amazement!  Ok, so this story is crazy, but seriously. I gave cloth diapers a try. I started with a small half-day stash and was completely hooked. It was so much easier than I thought and I was able to really be proactive in my baby's care. He no longer had rashes.  If I was really so preoccupied with everything that was going into his body, whether it's food or drink or anything else, how could I justify using something littered with so many chemicals?  Especially touching his most delicate of areas?  Cloth diapering now a days is not done with pins, cloth and a bucket of bleach!  There are a ton of different options out there!  Pockets, Hybrids, All-in-Ones, Fitteds, and prefolds all play a part in making cloth diapering simple, safe, cute, and effective!  If you need support, or are not sure where to start, plug in with a local cloth diapering group.  Support a local business that sells cloth diapers, needless to say all of our cloth diapers are purchased at GreenPath Baby, which serves the North Palm Beach, FL community.  I am positive that once you truly give cloth diapering a try you will never go back!  It's addictive!

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February Natural Living Blog Carnival: Addressing Sleep Challenges

Welcome to the February 2013 Natural Living Blog Carnival: Addressing Sleep Challenges. This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Natural Living Blog Carnival hosted by Happy Mothering and The Pistachio Project through the Green Moms Network. This month our members have written posts about how they address sleep challenges in their homes.
I know what it's like to not sleep.  As a matter of fact, as I am typing this, my entire family is already in bed.  Everyone except that is, for me.  Being a mom comes with a lot of sacrifices.  Sacrifices that I was sure I was willing to take in my naive days (sans kids!) before I really lacked a good night's rest.  Let me explain...I come from a long line of no dad worked nights and when he got home his favorite thing to do was stay up all night watching movies.  I was a terrible sleeper as a baby, I would fuss and cry for hours unless someone rocked me to sleep while walking around (apparently it it did no good to rock me sitting in a chair), and my husband still wakes up randomly at 3am as if it was 8, to him there is no difference.  So it is no surprise that my kids would be terrible sleepers.  Sure enough, when my oldest was an infant, I wrote down on a piece of scratch paper that he woke up 19 times in one night (did that mean he even slept that night?).  He did not really sleep through the night until he was about 2 years old.  The lack of sleep decimated my husband and I.  It was stressful, it was terrible, everyone was always cranky and on-edge.  I remember buying all of the recommended reading for sleep deprived parents of newborns, The No Cry Sleep Solution, aka "The Pantley Method", How to Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems, aka "The Ferber Method", Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child, aka "The Weissbluth Method" and finally, The Baby Sleep Book, aka "Dr. Sears' Method".  I read all of under two weeks.  How you ask?  Because all I did was nurse.  All.  Day.  Long.  I was in a trance, and on a mission, to get my child to sleep through the night.  All of these books offered very different solutions to various sleep problems, and I can honestly say that all of them contained at least something that helped me understand the process of infant sleep and how to get through some hurdles.  But nothing worked.  After a few months, my baby's schedule did become a bit more regular, the problem was that this regularity was very odd for us.  The baby would go down at 6:30-7:00pm, wake up 2-3 times during the night and finally wake up for good at 4am.  Come rain or come shine.  Now, I don't care how much energy you have, 4am is impossible.  Especially after nursing at night.  Any adult getting up at that time is trashed during the day.  We went on and on, back and forth with this crazy schedule until one day my neighbor suggested that we try to put him to bed later so he would wake up later.  I scoffed.  I thought it was bad advice.  All of the baby books I read suggested that a baby should have an early bedtime anywhere around 6:30pm-8:00pm.  I don't remember why I decided to finally take her advice, but we did.  We moved his bedtime to 8:00pm and after a few days he started waking up at 5:00am!  Yay!  So the next week we moved his bedtime to 9:00pm, until we finally reached our ideal bedtime of  9:30pm.  He was waking up at 7:00am.  I could not believe it!  He slept better through the night, was less cranky and we were able to have a somewhat normal schedule.  Fast forward a couple of years, he has stuck to that schedule and has been a pretty good sleeper ever since.  I think the key was by that point he was actually pretty darn tired.  With that schedule our family could hang out after dinner, or even take a stroll before putting him to bed.  What a luxury.  I guess the point is, there is no right or wrong answer.  Every child is different (don't get me started on my second child's sleep issues!).  It's a lot of trial and error, but once you figure out what works for them stick with it!  It might go against what the books say, but hey, if it works for your family, then it is right for you!  I would be lying if I were to say that I would revisit those sleep deprived days.  Life is so much better when you have sleep!  What are some of the sleep challenges you face at home?     

Visit Happy Mothering and The Pistachio Project to learn more about participating in next month’s Natural Living Blog Carnival! Please take some time to enjoy the posts our other carnival participants have contributed:  
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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Thanks Mama Onya Baby Carrier and Gift Card Giveaway Event

I love babywearing.  I have a colicky child and it is the only way that I can get anything done around the house-and as an added bonus, the carrier also doubles as a nap machine! Yay!  I wear baby at home, shopping for groceries, at the mall, anywhere I go! Babywearing keeps everyone happy - baby, mom, siblings. The convenience of having your hands free and your baby content makes the daily tasks of mothering much more manageable. We are excited to have partnered with Thanks Mama to give away the Onya Baby Carrier to one reader so that you and your little one can savor the joy and convenience of babywearing as well! In addition you will get $50 to spend on anything you please - cloth diapers, potty training pants, wooden toys, bedding, baby care items, or nursing essentials, to name a few.

Thanks Mama online baby store features a selection of twelve baby carrier brands, among them the versatile Onya Baby Carrier. The unique feature that we love is that it doubles as a baby carrier and a baby seat for when you are out and about. It comes in beautiful, modern colors and two different materials. The soft cotton is suitable for most situations and climates and the rip-stop nylon with mesh lining is perfect for hot weather, hiking, and active outdoor enthusiasts.

Our Favorite Features of the Onya Baby Carrier: 
  • Can be used as a baby carrier and chair harness, perfect for travel
  • Padding at the leg openings for baby's comfort
  • Can be worn on the front or back
  • Attached sleeping hood that can be tucked away
  • Available in either soft cotton or rip-stop nylon depending on your lifestyle and needs
  • Fits babies from 15 to 45 pounds

Our Favorite Features of the Thanks Mama Store: 
  • Large selection of 28 brands of cloth diapers
  • Over 15 options of reusable potty training pants
  • Eco-friendly and non-toxic baby care solutions
  • Classic and modern wooden toys
  • Non-toxic mattresses for the whole family
  • Eco-friendly furniture for baby and kids made of rubberwood
  • Free shipping on all U.S. orders over $60 and Worldwide shipping rates available
  • Earn rewards dollars with every purchase
Purchase: You can purchase the Onya Baby Carrier at Thanks Mama. Use code CARRIER for 15% off!

Win It! Thanks Mama is generously giving away the Onya Baby Carrier (winner's choice based on availability) and a $50 gift card to Thanks Mama store to one winner.

Special thanks to AnaB Social for hosting this giveaway. Huge thanks to Thanks Mama and all participating bloggers as well! Giveaway ends March 13th at 12:01 am, open WORLDWIDE, ages 18+. To enter please use the Rafflecopter form below (see directions on how to enter here). Thank you!

Disclaimer: AnaB Social, Eco-Babyz, and all participating event bloggers are not responsible for sponsor prize shipment. 
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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Virtual Cloth 101 Class: How To Strip Your Cloth Diapers-Easily!

Buildup.  It's an ugly word in the cloth diapering community.  And if you have any experience with cloth diapers you know why.  Leakage, stink, stains, are all par for the course when you have detergent build-up on your diapers.  Now here is the million dollar question; how do I keep my diapers clean and build-up free?  Well first off, always make sure that your washing routine is a good one!  A typical washing routine is as follows: A cold pre-rinse to get rid of all of the yuck.  A hot wash with cloth diaper recommended detergent.  An additional cold rinse. (a total of two final rinses).  The type of cloth diapers you own will determine the kind of detergent you use.  It is always important to use  the recommended detergent for your diapers.  Not only because it will help them last longer, but it will also allow you to send the diaper back to the manufacturer in case of a faulty elastic, bad snap, or any other manufacturer defect due to normal wear.  When you purchase new diapers from an authorized retailer, most cloth diaper companies will repair your diapers for free with proof of purchase.  If you find that after establishing a good washing routine, you are experiencing problems with build-up, the simplest and most benign method for stripping your pocket diapers, your all-in-ones, fitteds, hybrids, and inserts is using blue Dawn.

Yes, good ol' blue Dawn...the stuff that cleans penguins caught in oil spills also helps cloth diapers!  Yay Dawn!  Pretty much all types of modern cloth diapers can be stripped this way: Follow the washing routine described above.  In the wash cycle, in addition to detergent, add a squirt of blue Dawn.  If you open your washing machine during the rinse cycle you will see bubbles galore.  That is totally normal.  Basically what the blue Dawn does is it binds to the build-up and oils trapped in the pores of the cloth and helps wash them away (same as the penguins).  Once you are done with your two rinses, you will have to keep rinsing until you see no more bubbles in the wash.  For my washing machine, it is about 2 more rinses (in addition to the 2 after the wash, a total of 4 rinses).  For super tough build-up you can literally add a tiny drop of blue Dawn to the spot in your diaper where you are having trouble (perhaps a side that always leaks?) and scrub it with a little brush before putting it in the wash.  Check out this video by smartipants where this technique is demonstrated.

Follow this routine to kick the build-up in your cloth diapers to the curb!  Have you ever stripped your cloth diapers using the blue Dawn method?

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Mama Baby Love Giveaway Event

There is no question, one of the best moments my life was the birth of both of my little ones.  No momma can argue that there is definetly something really special about that moment a mother delivers her baby, and first puts her newborn baby to her breast. We live for that moment!  It is so priceless and monumental, so filled with love, joy, and gratitude. Though that moment really doesn't need anything extra, we're hosting a Mama Baby Love giveaway to make it even more special! We will outfit two mamas and their babies for their breastfeeding journey.   Good nursing bras and apparel are really hard to find.  So Annee Matthew has got you covered.

Thanks to our generous sponsors, you can win some gift certificates from Annee Matthew ($100 ea) and A Mother's Boutique ($50 ea) to use toward nursing apparel as well as a nursing hat from Moboleez and breastfeeding baby apparel for your little one from One Creative Mama. 

Our Favorite Things About the Prizes: 
  • Huge selection of bras and nursing apparel at A Mother's Boutique
  • Annee Matthew nursing apparel has some of the most stylish nursing clothing on this planet!
  • One Creative Mama breastfeeding advocacy baby shirts speak for themselves and break the ice

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Battling the Yeast Beast: A Journal

My LO has been cloth diapered for a very long time now...well not that long, but pretty much all of his life which is about 9 months now. I thought I was one of the lucky few who escaped it: the dreaded yeast. I am so methodical with my cloth diapers and am so attuned to baby's sensitive skin. Well, last week as I was getting him ready for bed I saw it. Little red irritated bumps everywhere! I knew immediately what those evil little bumps meant: Yeast. Dang it. I texted Maggie (my neighbor and fellow CD obsessed momma). Even though I technically knew how to handle yeast, up until this point I have not had it myself, so I needed the support. I also called the pediatrician for good measure. The Ped recommend Lotramin and Maggie suggested a mix of 10 drops of Grapefruit Seed Extract mixed with water in a 4oz spray bottle.  She recommended spraying it on the baby's bottom with every single diaper change.  She also recommended lots of air drying time, and of course, disposable diapers.  All of my cloth needed to be disinfected (see recipe for disinfecting yeasty cloth diapers at the end of the post!).   I had hubby run out and buy me a pack of sposies and so started our journey.  When I woke up the next morning his bum looked much much better. What a relief!  I alternated between using the Lotramin and the GSE, unfortunately, it took a few days for the bumps to disappear.  I thought I was out of the woods and started cloth diapering him again.  Within a day the bumps were back.  This time I took him to the Ped's office.  She confirmed it, his yeast rash had not gone away completely...tricky little beast.  She prescribed some medicine which I used, and within a week, the bumps were still change.  So I started getting aggressive.  I used the prescription, the GSE, and I continued to use the Lotramin sporadicaly, and he was starting to look better-except for one little spot, right where his legs met his torso.  It was really badly irritated, but it didn't look like yeast.  It turns out he has an allergy to sposies.  Remember I said he has been cloth diapered pretty much all of his life?  Well, this has been the longest he had ever been exposed to disposable diapers, and let's just say his skin didn't react very well to it.  So now I had two conundrums:  yeast and allergic reaction.  So, I once again disinfected all of my cloth diapers and decided to not wear disposables anymore.  This meant that I had to dissinfect my cloth diapers with every single wash, so about every 2-3 days.  I also had to protect the diapers from all of the medicine, cream and the extract.  So I used fleece liners to create a barrier between the diapers and all of the stuff going on with the baby.  Fortunatly, the process worked well for us.  Within a day of using the cloth, his irritation to the disposables cleared up.  He still had yeast which we continued to treat.  Eventually that went away too!  Battling the Yeast Beast took a total of 3 weeks for us, but I am glad to say that his skin is back to normal and healthy on all fronts!  Have you ever battled with yeast? 

How to Disinfect Yeasty Cloth Diapers (for regular washing machines):
  • Wash cloth diapers if they are soiled.  Make sure you start this process with clean diapers.
  • Wash the diapers in hot water with detergent and 30 drops of grapefruit seed extract (GSE) along with 10 drops of tea tree oil.
  • While the water is filling up on your washing machine, mix in a pot of boiling water into the laundry. 
  • Do an extra cold rinse (in addition to the rinse at the end of a wash cycle).
  • Dry in the dryer on low heat, better yet, dry in direct sunlight which also helps to eliminate yeast.  
Spray Bottle Mix 
  • 4oz spray bottle.
  • 4oz of water
  • 10 drops of grapefruit seed extract (GSE).
  • Spray on affected area with every diaper change.

*Please note we are NOT doctors.  This is simply a guideline of what has worked in our home.  Please consult your pediatrician if you have any health related questions!