You have probably heard that some children’s products are made from plastics containing BPA (Bisphenol A) while others are not, these are called BPA-free products.
BPA is an organic compound that is commonly found in many plastics. While not much attention had been given to BPA plastics, that has begun to change in the past few years. Several recent government issued reports have questioned the safety of using BPA in plastics, especially regarding its exposure to children.
So, is it time to throw away every plastic thing in your house, especially those items that your kids use? No, this is just not a feasible thing to do for most families, but you can take steps to ensure that most of the plastic products you buy from now on are BPA-fee, especially your child’s feeding products (bottles, sippy cups, bowls, etc.).
Check back often for new suggestions and featured products for your BPA-free family and home.
The ZRecs Guide collects information about potentially harmful chemicals in a wide range of baby products. The website allows you to search almost any product by type.
Naturemoms.com provides resources on natural family living, including an extensive review of BPA-free products for children.
Sometimes it feels like we spend a fortune on cleaning supplies. Did you know that cleaners don't have to be pricey or store-bought?
You can make many of your own cleaning products right at home. They are still effective and they contain no harsh chemicals for your family. Check back often for new homemade cleaning recipes and suggestions for your home.
This a great cleaner for use all around your home. Create your own natural and toxic-free, all-purpose cleaner by filling a spray bottle with equal parts water and white vinegar. Squeeze a lemon for a refreshing smell. Then simply shake up the mixture. Note that this cleaner is safe for most surfaces, but not granite.
Skin Deep is a safety guide to cosmetics and personal care products brought to you by researchers at the Environmental Working Group.
I love the Sunscreen Guide…who knew that only 3 out of 5 sunscreens (they tested over 1600!) either don't protect skin from sun damage or they contain hazardous chemicals?
The site also has a "What Not to Buy" section - it outlines the most toxic materials found in cosmetics/beauty products
Here's a company interested in "Protecting Planet Home." Seventh Generation creates household and personal care products that are effective and safe for the air, the surfaces, the fabrics, the pets, and the people within your living home.
Their line includes: disinfectants, baby, laundry, household cleaners, paper * supplies, feminine care and dishwashing products.
Pre-folds | Old fashion cloth diapers that must be folded around the baby and secured in place. Require a cover (see below for cover options) and come in sizes from newborn to toddler. $
Contours | Shaped to baby, also need to be secured in place and require a cover. Usually made sized but sometimes available one-size-fits-all. $$
Fitteds | Shaped to baby and fastens with Velcro or snaps, but require a cover. Made sized and as one-size-fits-all. $$-$$$$
Pockets | Cover and stay-dry liner sewn together with an opening at the back creating a “pocket” in which any desired absorbent cloth may be used, and fastens with Velcro or snaps. Made sized and as one-size-fits-all. $$$
All-in-Ones | Cover, absorbent insert, and stay dry liner sewn together and fastens with Velcro or snaps. Made sized and as one-size-fits-all. $$-$$$
Wraps | Shaped to baby and fastens with Velcro, snaps, or as a pull-on. Comes in various materials ranging from nylon, to polyurethane laminate, to wool and fleece. Made in sizes. $-$$
Wool | In various forms from hand knit or crocheted to interlock fabric. Available as pants, shorts and skirts. Made in sizes, often to specific measurements. Requires separate washing and care. $$-$$$$
Fleece | Available as covers, pants, shorts, and skirts. Made in sizes, often to specific measurements. $$
Tools of Ingenuity
Flushable Liners | Thin paper liners to be placed in the diaper and enable any solid waste to be flushed after use. $
Snappi | T-shaped rubber fastener with small teeth at each end that grip the diaper and hold it in place, used in instead of pins. (www.snappibaby.com) $
Diaper Sprayer | Small showerhead like device used to spray any solid waste off of the diaper after use. $$
$ - Low
$$ - Moderate
$$$ - High
$$$$ - Very high, special item
Confessions from a Cloth-o-holic
It started innocently enough. I had two children in diapers, the cost alone was crushing, and the trashcans had no room for anything but diapers.
My daughter was also cursed with highly sensitive skin and prone to endless bouts of diaper rash. I was forced to eat crow and reach out to the very friend I had shamelessly teased about her plan to use cloth diapers on her newborn son. “Ok, tell me where to start” I said, with my head hanging low. If only I knew that I would soon end up frequenting a message board dedicated to cloth diapers. If only I knew that I would soon greet the postman with glee, as if he carried little packages of gold to my door. If only I knew I would become obsessed with cloth diapers.
I began with the most simple and economical “stash”, as us cloth-o-holics call our plethora of diapers. Pre-folds, pins, and rubber pants are what most people think of when someone mentions cloth diapers. It’s true, I did start out using pre-folds, although only diehard “purists” use pins now thanks to wonderful replacement called a Snappi. I bought two-dozen prefolds, three covers, and one Snappi and I was ready to go! Turned out, it was relatively easy to use cloth diapers. I washed diapers twice a week, so I didn’t use nearly as much water as I feared, and I never had to run to the store to buy diapers. My husband was also much appreciative of not having to take the diapers to the trash anymore. But not long after I started using them, someone in Cyber Land mentioned a message board dedicated solely to the use, buying, selling, trading, making, etc of cloth diapers. Soon, I reveled in a myriad of fabrics, designs, and specialty items.
After my daughter outgrew that first humble stash, I started trying out types of diapers I never even knew existed. I began with the “ease of use” styles. Pocket diapers (amazing little ditties that are a water proof cover and a stay-dry liner with a pocket that can be filled with any absorbent cloth you choose that neatly Velcro’s or snaps closed) were my gateway diaper. From there I moved on to All-In-Ones (cover, absorbent insert, and stay dry liner all sewn together in a neat little package) and it was only a short moment in time until I had delved into high end fitteds (cloth diapers fitted to the baby, fastened with Velcro or snap closures) and hand knit luxury wool pants. There was a never-ending supply of gorgeous diapers made with designer prints and high-end fabrics like organic bamboo velour or unbleached Egyptian cotton. And the smart little tools that have been created to make cloth diapering easy were astounding! From the simple, such as Snappis to use in place of pins and flushable liners, to the complex, like diaper sprayers that preclude you from ever having to deal with the less pleasant aspects of diaper changes.
Yet, I wasn’t alone in my obsession. There were hoards of us, crashing servers of websites where work-at-home-moms sold their hand made gems daily. The feeling of procuring one diaper from the most sought after mom-made company was like the victory of buying a Cabbage Patch Kid in the ‘80s! Eventually I had amassed a rather large stash. If I am being perfectly honest I had enough diapers that I could have gone a week without having to wash any! But eventually the high wore off. Those one of-a-kind diapers that I chased weren’t so hard to get anymore and I had learned how to crochet my own wool pants for my daughter. I had even gone as far as having taught myself to sew my own fitted diapers. There was no area left uncharted. The mystery was gone.
Thus began my healing. Diapers were once again regarded as utilitarian. My daughter was almost potty trained. And soon, I was pregnant again. The best part was, and still is; that I have every diaper I will ever need and don’t have to spend a dime on diapers for this newest addition to our family. That is not only great for my wallet, but it saves thousands of diapers from sitting in a landfill. It’s part of my everyday life; it’s my “normal.” It wasn’t hard to get here and it sure was tons of fun along the way. Now there is room in my life for a new obsession. Bring it on!