Green Parenting l 10 “Biotiful” Ways Of Raising Your Baby

I was naturally inclined to use mostly eco-friendly, natural, and chemical-free products for baby long before she was born. Here is a list of ten things you could do to bio-tify your baby.

  • Diapers. They produce so much waste that they had to be on the top of the list. Cloth diapering would be the greener option but for those of you who can’t or don’t want to cloth diaper, eco-friendly diapers are  better than big brand names. They are free of many of chemicals and work just as well as their counterparts. We do both and it works wonders for us. Sixtine has never had a rash since she was born and we don’t use any ointment.
  • Wipes. Even the milder wipes are very irritating for the skin of your baby. You could make your own baby lotion and use cloth wipes, or if you are like my husband and like things to be practical, get scent-free, chlorine-free, alcohol-free, paraben-free wipes. I have used several brands (Naty, Seventh Generation,…) but my favorites are the NatraCare which are just the best. “They are free from detergents such as sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) or any of its close relatives, parabens, SHG and other types of formaldehyde releasing preservatives.” They are very efficient, smell naturally delicious and leave Sixtine’s bum moisturized and softened.
  • Baby products. Wash. Shampoo. Balm. I know times are hard but don’t let yourself bribed by big brand name companies and check the labels of your baby’s products. You will be surprised to see how many toxic chemicals are in them. I use products such as Lüsa organics, Dimpleskins and I am always on the look for new natural products.
  • Food. Many store-bought meals (ie.jars) contain lots of preservatives, thickening, salt, and sugar that your children don’t need. They also don’t taste as good as a real homemade meal so why take the chance? If you don’t have time to cook, then look for organic products are they are a much healthier and tastier option for your baby.
  • Clothing. Organic cotton, pure cotton and bamboo are the best for your babies’ skin. I like my daughter to look nice and unfortunately, organic clothing is expensive and not always very fashionable which is why I only buy them in onesies. They are the closest to her skin; she looks nice on the oustide and (I like to think) feels wonderful inside.
  • Detergent. Babies are messy, the real kind ! They go through a lot of clothes and if you are cloth diapering, you can double or triple the number of laundry a week.  A great brand we use is Rockin Green Laundry Detergent, you can also use other eco-friendly detergent that will respect baby’s sensitive skin and Mother Nature. Another great option would be soap nuts  which are suitable for the most sensitive skin and are organic and vegan.

  • Check your labels always and refer to EWG, Environment Working Group, (“works to protect kids from toxic chemicals in our food, water, air and the products we use every day.”) to find out if your products are safe and compare them.
  • Natural play. Outdoors, wooden toys, homemade playdough, flower and leaves picking…, they are a lot of natural ways of playing that are non-toxic and will bring a lot more to your children than some over-stimulating toys. Be crafty and creative !
  • Bring Earth awareness to your home. If Mummy and Daddy are respectful to the Earth, baby will as well.
  • Now tell us. How Biotiful is your baby? Please share your tips on to raise an eco-friendly baby !

Finally, I know that it is not always possible to get the greener option (financial, location, or even lack of knowledge on the subject) and I am still learning everyday. I think the more important is to try and get informed. I am lucky to have a few green-oriented friends who have been very helpful in the process and I will be happy to answer questions to the best of my abilities or direct you to someone who would know.

Win A Cloth Diaper Picture Contest: Check

Win A Cloth Diaper Picture Contest: Check

The Emotional Journey Of Being A New Mum

I don’t know what it is but I have butterflies in my stomach today. Not the fun butterflies, the nervous ones. I feel somehow overwhelmed. Being a new mum has been a very emotional journey so far. I wrote about being “the perfect mum” a little while ago and really, I am not trying to be  perfect. But I want to be the best I can be for my daughter.  I feel that I didn’t give the best start to my daughter for these two particular reasons and it saddens me a lot.

  • Sixtine was born with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. They had to quickly care for her, which didn’t allow us to have one on one time. She wasn’t put on my chest, still covered in blood and whatever it is called. They gave her to me all clean and wrapped in a blanket. Although I know it was what was best for her, it makes me sad that we didn’t experience that moment.
  • I didn’t breastfeed as long as I wish would have. It simply didn’t work for us. I was in extreme pain and had to pump for a couple days while my breasts would “recover”. In that short amount of time, the baby didn’t want to take the breasts again when it was offered to her. I felt somehow relieved because it was a very painful situation. I still remember crying a little before she was due to eat as I knew how excruciating the experience would be. I feel really bad about the fact that my baby didn’t get breast milk as long as she deserved. It took me a while to be at peace with the fact that she was now formula-fed and I am still not completely over it today. Some people’s comments have made it worse.

As for parenting style, I feel somewhat lost between what is generally done, generally told to do, and what I want to do. Between breastfeeding vs formula feeding, spoon-feeding vs baby-led weaning, cloth diapering vs disposables attachment parenting vs Montessori (although they share some values, they have differences ie. babywearing), pacifier, thumb sucking vs none, green baby vs regular products and so on, I find it hard to find my place. I take bits and pieces of whatever I feel comfortable doing but I sometime feel guilty for doing something because I read/hear it is not a good thing to do or no one I know does it this way. When really, I don’t see where’s the harm in doing it.

Let’s try to sum this up: I formula-feed my baby with love, she uses a pacifier but only at bed time and naps, I want to start baby-led weaning but I don’t see where is the harm in baby cereal, she has been sleeping in her own room since she was two months of age, but I enjoy a little morning sleep-in nap with my baby, we cloth diaper but I don’t mind using disposables on the go, we mainly use green products for her but I am a big L’oreal make-up fan…so what does that make me?

There is something strikely different between French parenting and English-speaking countries parenting. I can feel the difference, and I think this is where I am confused. I was raised in a French environment, stern but fair. Whatever this lady talked about in her Bringing Up Bebe is probably true to life, although I have yet to read it but the excerpts I read were pretty convincing. I am not saying that raising baby the French way is best but this is the only way I know. I am well-aware of the differences ( I was a nanny in London, UK, and I have been living in Canada for about 18 months), I find that English-speaking parents are more focused on their children, everything seems to revolve around them, whereas French parents aren’t as children-focused and the list is long but in the end, we just raise our kids with a main ingredient: love.

If you are a second, third-time (or more) mum, you probably must be thinking that I am going to have to learn to not care about what people think, and that I will get more confident with time. It is probably true – I just know that right this second, I am a very emotional first-timer trying to do the right thing.

Thank you for taking the time to read my ramble for I don’t have the butterflies anymore…

Cloth diapers and disposables l Our bumGenius Baby

Our 5-week old daughter wearing a bumGenius 4.0 one-size stay-dry cloth diaper.

We are both cloth diapering and using disposables. Cloth diapering at home during the day and using disposables at night and other occasions (outings, …). It was my husband idea at first, I then did the research and made it happen. I have a couple friends who use them and were very helpful : they managed to help me find a good balance between what was right for our family and what was good for the environment. I felt pretty overwhelmed at first as there are a ton of websites about cloth diapering, and it wasn’t something I had been used to (although I did work with a couple children who were cloth diapered – I wasn’t at home with them so wasn’t sure how things worked once the diapers were put in the bucket).

It is actually fairly easy to cloth diaper once you get the hang of it. We decided to try bumGenius by Cotton babies (www.bumgenius.com) – which had very good reviews and were the diapers used by my friend. What I like about them is that they are almost as easy to use as disposables. And that is something I was looking for in a cloth diaper. I wanted to do something good for my baby and the environment but I didn’t want the hassle of it.

There are plenty other great cloth diapering brands such as Apple Cheeks (applecheeks.com) , which is a Canadian brand ( I plan to get a couple swim diapers from them and will review them as soon as we tried them on) so there really isn’t one type of cloth diaper good for everyone. It really depends on what you are looking for. You can visit this link which will provide you with all the information you need to make a good decision: http://www.bynature.ca/cloth-diapering-101.html.

So far, here are the pros and cons of cloth diapering for us:

Pros:

  1. we are saving a lot of money by using cloth diapers.
  2. they are easy to use.
  3. our daughter hasn’t had any case of diaper rash since birth.
  4. caring for the diapers is very easy and they dry faster than I thought they would despite the cold weather.
  5. no stains on the diapers yet despite some messy business !

Cons:

  1. she has to be changed more often (which is actually a good thing) as I find cloth diapers aren’t as absorbent.
  2. she won’t fit some of her smaller fitting clothes when wearing a cloth diaper. I like to call her bumble bee for that reason. 🙂

As for disposables, we have been trying pretty much all brands available and they are all working well. However, we will no longer be using big brand names as PC and Shoppers brand work just as fine and are much cheaper. We would like to start buying Chlorine free only disposable diapers (PC and Sobeys sell them) and have tried the PC green version and they work great.

We are not buying big brand names wipes anymore either and have switched to seventh generation wipes which are, in my opinion, a much better choice for our daughter and the environment.

If you would like to inform yourself on better options for your baby and family, I recommend you check this website out  http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ and see for yourself.  It has been a great resource for our family and was recommended by a friend of mine who has herself been a great resource for our family as well.

I am obviously just sharing my way of doing things and not criticizing you if it is any different than mine.

Tell us about you ! Which diapering option have you chosen? Why? Do you have tips for diaper rashes? Best place to buy diapers for a good price?