Category Archives: Baby Care

Catnip: Kitty crack, kiddo calmer

Catnip: Nepeta cataria

Catnip is an herb in the mint family commonly used to make cats twitchy and insane. Every time I have had a bag of catnip in my herb stash not properly stored in an airtight container, my cats have completely annihilated it and gone on a crazy kitty catnip binge that rivaled WWI. Cats have receptors for the chemical nepetalactone that enhance emotion that people do not have, which is why we do not roll around in piles of the stuff making a mess all across the house. Fair warning, cats will destroy the live plants as well, so protecting your plant if your home is around cats may be something to consider when growing it.

Catnip is commonly used with humans to treat colic, headache, toothache, colds, and spasms. It is a calming nervous tonic and USUALLY will help a person fall asleep. Some people might have an opposite effect so if you are trying it as a calming agent, try it the first time during the day to see if it calms you so you are not accidentally up all night.

It is effective for treating anxiety, insomnia, and nervousness, and is also great for easing migraine headaches, stomach complaints, and also reduces swelling associated with arthritis, hemorrhoids, and soft tissue injuries.

An oil infusion of catnip is useful in baths and good for massages for children suffering from measles, chickenpox, whooping cough, colic, fevers, hives, insomnia and hyperactivity.

It is one of the best herbs you can find to use with children because of its gentle calming nature.

I add catnip to my daughter’s chamomile tea when she is teething. The combination helps alleviate pain and calm her so she can sleep. It also adds a slight minty flavor which is pleasant. I keep a sippy cup with the tea in her crib at night for when she wakes up. I also add it to a teething glycerite I make for her, and add it to my husband’s sleepy time tea.

You can see why this wonderful, gentle herb has made it into my “medicine cabinet“. How do you use Catnip in your home?

Shared on Wildcrafting Wednesday, and Simple Living Wednesday.

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Washing cloth diapers: a learning adventure

I have been meaning to post about washing cloth diapers for a while but never really know where to start. Everyone I know washes diapers a little differently, but there is the basic outline that everyone sticks to. The reason in the different ways we all wash diapers is that we all have different washing machines, water quality (soft/hard), and diapers.

Here is the basic “How to wash cloth diapers” that everyone starts with

1. Put the diapers in the wash and run a cold cycle with an extra rinse without detergent. Make sure your water settings are set to “large load”. The more water you use, the better. This just rinses the diapers and any extra big “deposits” left on them. If you have pockets be sure to un-stuff them before putting them into the wash. I unstuff them before putting them into the laundry bag so I don’t have to deal with smelly 4 day old urine/poop when I am doing laundry.

2. Change the cycle setting to Hot/Cold with the extra rinse and add detergent. What detergent you use will depend on what you like, what works with your diapers and what you can afford. More on detergent below.

3. Run another laundry cycle on cold with no detergent as an extra rinse for your diapers. Some people just run an extra cold rinse, some people run the whole cycle. This will depend on your washer and how well your diapers rinse. I have to do two wash/rinse cycles after the original wash because my washer sucks so badly. If I do not do the extra cycles then my diapers get build up and smelly. I believe this step is why so many people have build up/smell issues in their diapers, they just do not get all the detergent out at every wash. I know all the extra cycles are not as “green” as we want BUT it is better than having smelly build up diapers that give our babies rashes. E hardly ever gets diaper rash.

I have an old crappy washer that needs some love. It was making some very bad noises today doing a not so large load of clothes. I think it might be nearing its retirement age. Having an old crappy washer means I do need those extra rinses.

A friend of mine has an HE washer and this is her regimine for washing her diapers:

We do one rinse/spin cycle (no detergent),then I add a couple soaking wet towels to the load (otherwise the machine doesn’t use enough water) and do a heavy-duty cycle, hot water, extra rinse. That usually does the trick, but sometimes if it’s a bigger load I do another rinse/spin at the end. It took some experimenting to figure out what worked for our machine, but with this routine we haven’t had build up issues in forever, so I’m pretty happy about that! – Alison P.

About Detergent:

The kind of detergent you use will depend on the type of washer you have (HE washers need to have very low suds detergents), what type of water you have (hard/soft), and how your diapers handle detergent. We have very sensitive skin in this house, and hard water so I prefer to use the un-scented Hard Rock laundry detergent. It works great for us. I know people who hate that brand. You can always make your own detergent, or get one of the many cloth diaper safe detergents. There are great lists out there that tell you the best cloth diaper detergents so you don’t have to feel so lost in the woods.

A fair warning, if the detergent you are using has artificial colors/scents/fabric softeners they are not good for your diapers. You at best will have build up and diaper rash issues, and worst might ruin your diapers and have to throw them out because they wont absorb anything! Be fore warned.

Also, if you use those detergents on your regular clothes, and use the same washer to wash your diapers, even with the cloth diaper safe detergent, you still might have build up issues. I suggest stripping your washer before starting to cloth diaper, and sticking to natural laundry detergents for all of your laundry needs so you do not have to worry about build up issues and cross contamination.

As I said earlier, everyone washes their diapers a little bit differently. Do what works best for you, but remember, it never hurts to run that extra rinse cycle if your diapers are getting a little extra build up/smell.

How do you wash your diapers?

The wonders of Chamomile

As a mother, and a woman who has been pregnant or breast feeding for almost 2 1/2 years straight, and counting, Chamomile is my go to herb for just about everything. It is gentle and great to use for so many different problems and, as long as you are not allergic to it (it is in the ragweed family), has no real side effects. Even the main stream medical sites I have checked have no side effects listed for Chamomile! It is safe to use with children, during pregnancy and breast feeding.

We give chamomile tea to our daughter when she has an upset stomach, teething, emotionally upset, sleepless, has a fever, cold, flu, and pretty much any other problems that might come up. I drink Chamomile tea to calm down and relax after a stressful day, induce sleep, ease “the crazy“, reduce inflammation, and help ease my nasty stomach. I also use chamomile oil in my salves and baths as it is wonderful on the skin. Chamomile is also used to treat skin conditions  like psoriasis and eczema, helps heal wounds and abscesses, reduces inflammation, and can be used as a tea in a bath to help treat and sooth chicken pox, diaper rash, and colic. It is a wonderful nervous system tonic as well.

Of all the herbs in all the land, this is one that is easy to get ahold of, even in tea bags. It is cheap and very available. It is easy to grow (since it is a weed and will take over any dirt it gets its little seedlings into) and wild craft.  This is a MUST HAVE in any pantry or herbal medicine cabinet.

How do you use chamomile in your family medicine cabinet?

What is in my “medicine” cabinet

It is cold and flu season. If you have children, are around children, work outside the home, or have any contact with society whatsoever I am sure you are aware of this. I am in a wonderful group of natural living mamma’s who all have kiddos the same age as my little one. We are all different levels of “Green and Crunchy” and have discussions almost daily about the green stuff we are doing in our lives. I love that we all have special things in our life that we focus on, I am big on herbs and healing.

Almost every day someone’s little one is sick and I (or one of the other more herbally inclined mamma’s) have recommendations about herbs that might help the kiddo/husband/mamma feel better, and the moms who do not use herbs on a regular basis never have the herbs I suggest on hand! I decided to make a list of my “natural” medicine cabinet. It seems like a lot but using just these herbs and oils we have drastically reduced our use of Tylenol/Ibuprofen and we don’t even keep stomach medicine, cold and flu medicine, teething gel, sleeping pills, store-bought lotions, diaper creams, shampoo, conditioner, you get the idea.

These are specific to my family. As you get used to using more herbs in your every day life, and find a good herbalist, you will find the perfect combination to have on hand in your home.

Here is my list of things I try not to go without in my home. This includes Herbs, Essential oils, and the extra stuff you need to turn these into medicine. I know the list seems daunting BUT with these few herbs you can take control of your family’s health and be your own family physician.

I will go more into detail with one herb or oil every week for “Wellness Wednesday” so keep an eye out every Wednesday for an update on the benefits of each of these herbs and oils for your family in detail!

Herbs:

Chamomile, CalendulaCatnipDandelion rootElder Berry, FennelLavender, Licorice, Marshmallow root, NettleOat straw, Peppermint, Red Clover, Red Raspberry Leaf, Rose Hips, St. John’s Wort, Valerian, Yarrow

Essential oils:

Basil, Breathe oil, Digestzen, Frankincense, GeraniumGinger, Lavender,  Lemon, Melaleuca,  OnGuard oil, Peppermint.

Things that help make medicine:

Honey, Vegetable Glycerin, Vodka, Bees Wax, Olive oil, Almond oil, Baking Soda (aluminum free), Epsom Salt, Sea Salt, Vinegar (white and apple cider vinegar), Tea pot, Tea strainer/ball/french press

What is on your families “Must Have” natural wellness list? I would love to hear what is in your natural medicine cabinet and why! 

This blog is featured on A Delightful Home‘s Your Green Resource, and Frugally Sustainable’s Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, and Wildcrafting Wednesday.

Saving money, living better, being green.

Ok so I have been thinking a lot about our budget lately, and looking at the “average” budgets most others have. I am trying to figure out where people get their numbers! Comparing our budget for a 3.5 person house to the national average is eye-opening.

Where we spend:

Food

We spend 18% of our income on food. We do this because it costs more money to eat organic whole foods. There is really no getting around that. By increasing the quality of what we eat we save in other areas of our life. My husband was missing a lot of work because of health problems before switching our diet. He is out of work 3-5 days less a month than he was before the switch saving us his PTO time and the salary cut he had to take when he ran out of PTO.

We spend less on doctors visits because of our diet changes as well.

Healthcare

Our insurance is subsidized through Mikes work, so we “only” pay about $400 a month for insurance. We do get the good insurance though (an extra $60 a month) so we can take advantage of the alternative care. I get masages almost every week for prenatal/post natal care and health maintenance. Mike and I take full advantage of the Chiropractor/Acupuncture benefits as well. I wish I could say we used a Natropath instead of a MD but there are no ND’s in our area who accept insurance and we don’t have the money to pay out-of-pocket and hope for reimbursement from the insurance company. I have found a holistic MD that I think I like though. We have a FSA so our co-pays are at least paid with tax-free money. It is helping a lot too with the hospital and midwife payments for the pregnancy. Too bad they are changing the way FSAs work starting next year due to the new health care legislation. Maybe we will get lucky and our insurance rates will drop?

Where we save:

Cleaning products

We have made our last big market cleaning product purchase. From here on out we make our own house hold cleaners, bathroom cleaners, kitchen cleaners, laundry detergent AND dish washer soap! I am terrified of the dish washer soap, that is one we have not switched yet I just stocked up on my favorite out of fear, but when we run out I am making our own! Mark my words! Instead of spending an average of $30 a month on cleaning products we will be spending an average of $14 about every 3 months on vinegar, baking soda, borax, and Dr. Bonner’s soap.

By switching to home-made, natural cleaning products we not only reduce our cost of living but also reduce our families exposure to many carcinogenic, teteratogenic, and mutinogenic chemicals lurking in our home.

Personal care products

I make our personal care products. I have been using the Oil Cleansing Method on my face which has been FABULOUS and cleared my skin right up. More on that later. I make my own body lotion and oils, bath salts, diaper salve, eczema salve, deodorant, and have been “poo free” for 2 months now. Yes I still bathe daily but use baking soda and apple cider vinegar for my hair instead of shampoo and conditioner. My hair looks and feels great by the way! We buy hand-made goats milk bar soap from farmers markets and craft fairs for soap, which feels so decadent to me. I love it! I used to spend about $40 on personal care items, not including makeup, which cost me another $20-30 a month.

By simplifying our personal care products, and knowing exactly what is going onto my family’s body we can better control the toxins we expose our selves to. I am not sure the accuracy of this statement BUT the herbalist I worked with in Spokane mentioned that 40% of what we put onto our skin is absorbed into our body and blood stream.  The skin is the largest organ on the body after all. If you could reduce your risk simply enough wouldn’t you? More on the health benefits of cleaning up your personal care products here.

Housing expenses

We live in a smaller than necessary apartment and keep the heater between 62 and 65* on a day-to-day basis. We turn down the heat and turn off the lights when we leave the house. Our light bulbs are all CFL’s which save a lot of power usage and our water heater is at 120* unless I am tackling some stubborn diapers. We spend an average of 19% of our income on our housing expenses when the average family is at 34%. (Note that is not including the cost of our home in Spokane, which is a rental and netting $0 profit or loss at the moment).

Baby products

We cloth diaper almost all of the time. Ellie gets a rash at night, or wakes up wet in cloth so she sleeps in sposies almost every night. Other than that though we cloth diaper. If we were buying her disposables at the rate we change diapers and in the brand we use that does not cause her rashes, we would be spending an average of $90 a month, which would end up being about 1,080 a year. In Ellie’s first year of life we spent $320 on cloth diapers (that includes the very generous gift of my wonderful sister for Ellie’s baby shower), and I just bought some new-born diapers for when #2 comes for an additional $200. We are now over supplied with diapers and I will probably sell off some of my extras once we see how well we go through what we have. I spend $12 every 3-4 months on laundry detergent and the water/electric cost really is minimal with the washer and dryer, especially since we line dry during the summer. So we can call that a $59 a month savings on cloth diapering in the first year, and more for the second year into potty training, especially since half of year 2 will be spent diapering 2 kids! Good planning on our part.

And really what is cuter than a kiddo in a cloth diaper. Yeah she posed for this.

By cloth diapering we are reducing our child’s exposure to the toxic chemicals in children’s diapers. Ellie rarely gets diaper rash or yeast infections like a lot of babies I know who use disposables. I think once parents get over the learning curve of cloth diapering they will truly appreciate the health and financial benefits.

Breast Feeding

Ellie was exclusively breast fed for 6 months and is still breast fed to this day. She does not get cows milk when she is not nursing, she gets water. This saved us $1,733.75 in her first year of life alone (according to these calculations done with numbers from 2007). This is not including the cost of Organic Whole Milk we would have switched to afterward.

This cost is also not including the fact that miss Ellie has very rarely been sick enough to take to the doctor. Here is a good article about the benefits of BFing and some great links to scientific articles.

Clothes

We rarely buy new clothes for our selves, but when we do we buy quality. We never buy brand new clothes for our child unless they are on serious discount. It just seems like a waste of money for something she will grow out of quickly or destroy while playing. My MIL does buy her a new wardrobe at least twice a year because shopping for little girls is so fun. My savings tip: do not buy small children new clothes, they don’t need new clothes (unless it is a special occasion) nor do they care if they have new clothes. Let them be a little rough and tumble, creative and artsy, and have fun without worrying about staining or tearing. It will make your life much less stressful.

This is why we don’t need to destroy new clothes. 

How is this green? Re-use baby , re-use!

Transportation/vehicle expenses

We have 1 car. It is 10 years old and well maintained, most days. We own the car outright and have no monthly payments. Maintenance cost (including the big repairs spread out over the year) average about $80 a month. We spend about $80 a month on gas if I am driving a lot.  We live 5 miles away from Mike’s work and he bikes to work as weather permits, which is about 9 months out of the year. The rest of the time I give him a ride to and from work or he carpools. Bike maintenance is about $10 a month. Insurance cost is about $60 a month. That makes our transportation cost $230 a month, about 4.6% of our budget. The average American household spends 16% of their household income on transportation. It pays to drive an old car with decent mileage and only have 1 car if your situation allows.

By only driving one car we reduce our emissions by half, our gas usage by half, and our 10 year old car is just as fuel efficient as a car of the same size made this  year.

I could go on about how we save “being green” but I would love to know how you save? What are your tricks to benefiting your family and your environment by “being green”? I find the changes we have made help us support our expensive food habit and make our life much more enjoyable. I would love to hear your experiences.

Shared on Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, and Our Simple Farm’s Simple Living Wednesday.

Attachment parenting for the win.

So I don’t usually post a lot about parenting styles because it becomes such a heated debate so quickly. I did see this cartoon that a friend of a friend of a … well you get the idea, posted on face book and a lot of my mommy friends have encountered a similar situation!

I do my damnedest not to judge other parents and their methods, although I may not understand them, and they may not work for my family in most cases I can say, “Well its your kid, you know what is best.” I wish other people could do the same!

As you may or may not know we chose to co-sleep. It was not planned that way from the beginning but as everyone who has children know, it is all a learning experience. We decided to co-sleep because SHE WOULD NOT SLEEP anywhere but in my arms. I guess that makes sense right? Why throw her in another room in a crib all alone and cold when she has been nice and warm and safe inside me? Plus co-sleeping let me get so much more sleep! It was amazing. Yes we followed safe co-sleeping practices, I understand people are afraid of co-sleeping but you can debate that somewhere where else. Lets just say that’s what we did and it worked well and leave it at that.

For good information about co-sleeping and if it may be right for your situation I love the ask Dr. Sears website. http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/sleep-problems/sleep-safety/safe-co-sleeping-habits

We also breast-fed on demand. I am of the opinion that, especially new borns, know when they are hungry. Their bodies tell them so and we, as parents, need to listen to their needs. I found it quite easy to tell the difference between her hungry cry, wet cry, tired cry. We spoke the same language. We were completely in tune to each other. It was pretty amazing. She knew what she needed and I gave it to her. She was such a happy baby that she hardly ever fussed and I think this is largely because we breast-fed on demand and I listened to her signals.

We got into baby wearing for a similar reason. Her needs were to be with mommy ALL THE TIME. She constantly wanted to be held. She would scream bloody murder if I set her down too long, so I wore her around the house, when shopping, and pretty much any time I needed my hands. This let me meet the emotional demands of my child AND be a functional adult! Why suffer with a screaming un happy child because “you don’t want her to be spoiled” when you can easily resolve the situation by wearing her around?

Babies need physical contact, they need adult interaction, they need to know they will be cared for. They are defenseless and need our presence, love, and support.

I never read a book about attachment parenting. I rarely read blogs about it either, but I am an attached parent and could not be happier at the results.

In fact, the only problems and complaints we have really had about parenting have been when we have tried to fit into other people’s expectations of how our child should be sleeping, eating, etc.

“Is she sleeping in her crib yet?” – No she is not sleeping in her crib, she is sleeping with us. When we tried to transition her she was obviously not ready and caused severe emotional distress. Mind your own damn business. She will sleep on her own when she is ready. (She now sleeps in her crib just fine and made the switch nicely between 11-12 months using the No Cry Sleep Solution http://www.amazon.com/No-Cry-Sleep-Solution-Gentle-Through/dp/0071381392 methods which I highly recommend.)

“Are you still breast-feeding?” – Yes we are still breast-feeding. It is best for her and for me. No it is not inconvenient, in fact it is very convenient! I forget sippy cups often and the boob is easily at hand when in a pinch. Of course now at 17 months she gets too distracted when we are out and about to even think of boob. See my diatribe about breast-feeding here: http://naturallivingmamma.com/2011/08/09/breast-feeding-yeah-we-are-still-doing-that/

“Aren’t you going to wean her when the new one comes?” – No. We thought about it and after much research have decided that as long as she wants to nurse, it is the best for all of us to tandem nurse. No I  do not think it will cause jealousy, in fact most people I know who have tandem nursed said it helped the children form a life long bond. No the baby will not starve or suffer, my body is made to feed a child or children from it. My body will make food fit for the baby’s needs not the toddler. The human body is an amazing thing and knows what the correct priorities are better than we do.

“Don’t you ever put your child down?”- Sometimes, when she wants to. When she was smaller I wore her or carried her all the time. Now she is a fiercely independent toddler who likes to run and explore. She tests her boundaries and learns her limits. She likes being carried but prefers to walk or run wherever she is going. She is not afraid of me leaving her behind because she knows I am right behind her. We have a bond of trust that works great for us. It doesn’t hurt that I watch her like a hawk while still maintaining that she be able to explore, safely, on her own.

Yes my little girl is a happy well-adjusted child. She rarely throws fits or tantrums, and does not hit, scratch or bite. She gets along well with other kids and is very self-assured and not at all afraid of experimenting or trying new things.

A lot of people say I got lucky. Maybe I did. I think the real luck is that I was in tune enough with my self, and my child to know that Mother Nature has instilled me with the instincts to properly take care of my child in the way that she needs. The more I listen to my body, her body, and our interactions together, the better our relationship becomes. I love my little girl and would not change a thing. I am also very excited to co-sleep, breast feed, and baby wear #2 in 10 short weeks!

How have you fielded the “naysayers” responses to your parenting style (whatever it may be)?

Ellie’s Eczema Salve-Improved

One of my very first blogs was about an eczema salve I made for my daughter. This was one of the very first salve recipes I made and it worked pretty well. After a lot more education and practice I have modified the recipe that is much more effective, feels great, and works super well! A little bit goes a long way.

Ingredients:

1/2 c Nettle/olive oil infusion
1/4 c Plantain/olive oil infusion
1/4 c Chamomile/olive oil infusion
1/4 c Callendula/olive oil infusion
1 oz Beeswax
4 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp almond oil
15 drops tea tree essential oil
 

Using the double boiler method on low heat combine oil infusions (see how to make an oil infusion here: http://wp.me/p1zBYP-2u ), coconut and olive oil with the beeswax.

When the beeswax is completely melted remove from heat, add essential oil and pour into container.

While still hot you can check the consistency by dipping a metal spoon in the salve, put it in the refrigerator to cool. Once cool check for consistency. Add more beeswax for a firmer salve, or more almond oil for a softer salve.

Use liberally wherever eczema is. This is safe enough to use on the whole body and is cloth diaper safe. I tend to slather it all over dry skin too. It works like a charm.

Why these ingredients? A reminder.

These ingredients are great for any skin problem, burns, cuts, insect stings, and redness too. It is amazing! Here is the rundown of the plant properties of the plants that went in:

Beeswax: Excellent emmolient and support for moisture. Protects skin from damaging environmental factors. Anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-allergenic and a germicidal antioxidant.

Coconut oil: Works well for damaged or dry skin. Works wonders for burns, cuts, rashes, bruises, and speeds healing while it fights infection. Oh, and it smells really tasty too!

Almond oil: As a dry skin treatment, almond oil relieves itchiness, soreness, rashes, dryness, irritation and burns.

Nettle oil infusion: Analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic, anti-dandruff, anti-histamine, astringent, noted for the treatment of infant eczema

Plantain oil infusion: Used for wounds, skin inflammations, malignant ulcers, cuts, stings and swellings and said to promote healing without scars. (Great if you have a bug bite or sting, takes the pain and sting right out!)

Calendula essential oil: Analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic, anti-anaphylactic,anti-rheumatic, anti-asthmatic, anti-convulsant, anti-dandruff, anti-histamine, astringent, decongestant, depurative, diuretic, haemostatic, immunomodulator, stimulating tonic

Tea Tree Essential Oil: Tea tree oil is efficacious in various dilution in treating abrasions, minor cuts, acne, arthritis, asthma, athletes foot, minor burns, chapped lips, rash from chicken pox, dandruff, dry skin, eczema, herpes lesions, warts, hives, shingles, etc.

Chamomile:  anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-allergenic and sedative properties

 

Posted on Live Renewed – Your Green Resource

Diaper Salve-For the angry baby butt

This is just a quick post about the diaper salve I make for Ellie. It works great, is all natural and is anti bacterial, viral and fungal. Yes it kills fungus. Thank you tea tree oil! And as an added bonus, you can use it with cloth diapers!

1/2 cup Plantain infused olive oil
1/4c Nettle infused olive oil
1/4 Callendula infused olive oil (You can also use chamomile in a pinch)
1 oz of bees wax.

Melt together on low heat with the double boiler method. The bees wax melts faster and more evenly if you grate it on the cheese grater first. The flakes melt nice and evenly. Remove from heat.

Add

20 drops tea tree (Melaleuca) Essential oil,
20 drops Lavender Essential oil
10 drops Callendula Essential oil.

Pour in container and let solidify. If you want it a little creamyer add 1/2 cup coconut oil, 1/2 oz bees wax instead.

Apply liberally to baby’s bum as needed for rash. Enjoy!

For how to make an herb infused oil see http://wp.me/p1zBYP-2u

This cream also works well on baby (and mommy’s) dry skin in a pinch.

Stripping Diapers

We have been cloth diapering for just about a year now and have had many adventures. We use a combination of systems depending on what we need. Some AIO’s, pocket diapers, and pre-folds with covers. I have used the dawn and RLR strip with my diapers when stripping them before but they recently have just had a lot of amonia build up which I think has been leading to Ellie’s diaper rash that WILL NOT go away! I know it is not yeast because it does not look like it so ammonia is my next colprate.

So today I boiled my diapers. Since we have so many systems I had to be careful not to immerse any of my diapers with PUL in them into a boiling vat of water so I did a few different things and took pictures. I do have to say you have to be very careful with your diapers with PUL because it will separate if you abuse them with excessive heat for too long. Thankfully the way I did things today did not cause PUL to separate.

I did notice a huge release of detergent build up and ammonia build up from my diapers. When they came of of the dryer they were so soft! I never realized how much stuff gets stuck in there thinking the other stripping I was doing was working well! I will probably boil my inserts about every 3 months and my pockets/aio’s every 6 months to keep them nice and squeaky clean.

So first I boiled two large pots with water.

Then I put my inserts into the boiling water about 3 at a time and swirled them around with tongs for about a minute and a half. Most of the websites I read said you only have to do it for 10-30 seconds but I found the longer I left them in the more ammonia came out of them so I let the inserts boil a bit. Then I put them into a glass bowl and threw them in the washer for a spin cycle. That was the easy part.

I do have 2 grow-via inserts that have plastic snaps on the back. I just made sure the plastic snaps did not touch the side of the pot, which was pretty easy because the bottom part poufs up and floats. They cleaned up just fine.

Then I boiled more water. I think I went through 6 of these big pots of water. So the all in one diapers I have are Bummis Easy Fit. They have a long tongue that you fold into the diaper. You can not immerse them into a boiling pot of water so what I did was swish the part that folds over so it could be boiled, but not the part of the diaper touching the PUL. I swished the bottom part around with tongs like I did with the others just making sure not to boil plastic.

Then once that was done I placed the diaper face up in a glass bowl, poured the boiling water directly onto the diaper, then flipped it upside down so it was soaking in scalding water. I then did the next diaper, put it on top of the last diaper and poured water on the top of it, then flipped it over. I could fit 3 at a time in the bowl, face down, immersed in the scalding water. I let them set until I needed the bowl for the next load (about 5 min).

I did make sure the water was not at a rolling boil but at a slow simmer so it wasn’t as hot. The PUL did not separate when I did this. I do have to say check with your diaper companies cleaning instructions. My warranty on my diapers is over that is why I was willing to risk it. I had no PUL separation using this methods on my Bummis, Kawwais, or BG 3.0 diapers.

I then hung my diapers out to dry for some UV sunshine power which made them cold and soggy, so hopefully the UV rays did their job even if it was really cold outside, then threw them in the dryer on low with my wool dryer balls.

All in all it took about 2 hours to strip 25 diapers and a lot of inserts. I am a messy cook and that translates into a messy boiler. I did splash water on my stove top and floor but the good news is my floor and stove and counters got a nice scrub down afterward.

Also a word of caution having a meddling toddler under foot is not recommended for this activity. I did about half of the job while my husband was still home before work, and the other half engaged in some good ole bad parenting and sat the kid in front of the TV watching Gnomeo and Juliette. I had a cute picture of this but I can’t get it rotated correctly for the post. 😦

But I have to say boiling worked great and I could not be happier with the results, just use caution and common since and you will be fine!

What are your experiences with stripping your diapers? Have you had delamination issues?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breast feeding…. yeah we are still doing that!

Ok so no post for a long time because life has been SUPER busy! So I have had a lot to catch up on. \

This Saturday we went to an event called the Big Latch On where a bunch of moms from around the world gathered at the same time to breast feed their children hoping to set a world record for the most people nursing at the same time! Ellie was the oldest at the location we were at by two months.

Last week was world breast feeding week and I am SO glad we are still breast feeding at 11 months. I know people stop earlier for various reasons, or don’t bf at all but we chose to extend breast feeding. I feel very good about this choice and am so glad I have a great group of moms who have also made this choice for their families who I can go to for support.

Now I understand we are coming out of the big “formula is best because it is made with science” generation. The last two generations of children (including me) were formula fed because that’s just what people did, or because people tried to breast feed and had no support and failed. Let me tell you though I AM SICK of people treating me like it is weird that I am still breast feeding my 11month old daughter. I am going to assume it is because people are miss informed and not because they are just idiotic pervs who only think breasts are there for sexy fun time and do not serve a functional purpose.

SO here are some reasons as to why we have chosen to extend breastfeeding.

– Breast feeding a child past infancy is NORMAL

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that  “Breastfeeding should be continued for at least the first  year of life and beyond for as long as mutually desired by mother and child… Increased duration of breastfeeding  confers significant health and developmental benefits for the child and the mother… There is no upper limit to the duration of breastfeeding and no evidence of psychological  or developmental harm from breastfeeding into the third year of life or longer.” (AAP 2005)

The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends that breastfeeding continue throughout the first year of life and that “As recommended by the WHO, breastfeeding should ideally continue beyond infancy, but this is not the cultural norm in the United States and requires ongoing support and encouragement.

It has been estimated that a natural weaning age for humans is between two and seven years. Family physicians should be knowledgeable regarding the ongoing benefits to the child of extended breastfeeding, including continued immune protection, better social adjustment, and having a sustainable food source in times of emergency. The longer women breastfeed, the greater the decrease in their risk of breast cancer.” They also note that “If the child is younger than two years of age, the child is at increased risk of illness if weaned.” (AAFP 2008)

A US Surgeon General has stated that it is a lucky baby who continues to nurse until age two. (Novello 1990)

The World Health Organization emphasizes the importance of nursing up to two years of age or beyond (WHO 1993, WHO 2002).

Scientific research by Katherine A. Dettwyler, PhD shows that 2.5 to 7.0 years of nursing is what our children have been designed to expect (Dettwyler 1995).

– Breast feeding children are better nourished

– Breast feeding children are sick less often

– Breast feeding children have fewer allergies

– Breast feeding children are smart

– Breast feeding children are socially well adjusted

– Breast feeding reduces the mothers risk for breast cancer, and the longer you breast feed the lower      your risk is!  It also reduces your risk for ovarian, uterine, and endometrial cancer.

– Breast feeding increases the mothers bone density without the need of calcium supplements reducing the risk of osteoporosis.

– Breast feeding moms lose weight easier (YAY)

So these are the reasons why we chose to extend breastfeeding. I hear those of you out there asking questions in the back of your head so here are a few I have heard and my answers:

Q: But she has teeth doesn’t that hurt?

A: Well it hurts but only if she bites and we have done some training with her so she does not bite that  often. If she bites she gets the boob taken away and she does not like that.

Q: I heard breast feeding was only for comfort after the first 15 months.

A: See above and don’t be ignorant

Q: Doesn’t it hurt your sex life?

A: Anyone with a child can tell you that a child puts a wrench in your sex life; I doubt any choices we have made make it any worse. Seriously, only someone who has not had children can ask that.

Q: Isn’t it a lot of work to breast feed all the time?

A: No. In fact I would say breast feeding is the lazy parents way out. When my baby is hungry in the middle of the night I grab her, lay her down next to me, boob her, she nurses in her sleep doze. When we are done she goes back to her mattress and sleeps and I roll over and go back to sleep. This is instead of waking up, getting the bottle (hopefully there is a clean one), measuring formula and putting it in the bottle, adding water and heating it and hoping that it is not too warm or cold. Then burning your child because you did not test the heat of the bottle, getting up and sitting in a chair to feed baby then burping baby then putting baby back to bed all over again before going to sleep. I will nurse a baby any day over that!

That all being said I do miss my freedom. It is so wonderful and sometimes kind of annoying to have someone so dependent on you. I am the center of her universe and although that is wonderful most of the time, sometimes I would love to do something without considering what effect it will have on my child, my milk, my milk production etc., etc. But these are sacrifices I am willing to make for the relatively short time that I am supporting the child with my body.

In a few years she will be weaned and off on her own and want nothing to do with me, so I will deal with the cling monster and the slight inconvenience  and the love and cuddles and hugs and slobbery wet baby kisses for a little longer.

Thank you for reading and if you see a woman out there nourishing her child with her body smile and support her!

How did you celebrate world breastfeeding week?