Category Archives: baby

Happy Birthday, Baby!

let them eat cake

let them eat cake

Aurora is one year old now! I can hardly believe it! I thought I had better post about her birthday party because I remember when I was doing a lot of talks at schools and community centres, birthday parties were a big concern. So here’s what we did:

We had a potluck and used real dishes.

We asked people not to bring packaging so gifts came in cloth or reusable paper bags.

I made cloth loot bags with tinfoil pouches of home-made cookies, 3 crayons tied with ribbon and one Plan toy from a box of toys that I separated.

OK so tin foil is  not really garbage free, but we do use ours over and over, so I hoped other people would do the same. It’s also good for crafts. Ooooo shiny.

We immediately recycled the Conservative Party sign that someone mysteriously tied to our porch during the party.

I “made” Aurora a growth chart- no packaging at all. I say “made” because it’s actually still not done due to a series of sewing machine malfunctions, but it will be  soon. I’ll try to post pictures of it and the loot bags.

I made her cake and it was really good. Thank you to  Jessica for posting the recipe.

We bought beeswax candles at Grass Roots, instead of using paraffin.

Oh and when I was shopping for loot bag toys, I saw party hats made out of felt- very cool idea, but most 1 year olds don’t really like wearing hats so I decided against it. It would be fun for the adults but not the children.

I must confess that we are not perfect and we  ran out last minute to buy chips and salsa. Also, Aurora had another gift from us, a Casio keyboard, which did come with 2 pieces of Styrofoam. Gah! Don’t worry, I ate the styrofoam so at least it will be kept away from landfill until I die;)

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Another baby update

dscn0952.jpgMany people have been asking me how our garbage-free lifestyle has changed since having a baby. Of course having a baby changes everything, but it doesn’t mean you have to just give up. Here’s a chart of what makes us green and what gives us the blues.

Green Blue
We use cloth diapers and “natural infant hygiene”We also use wash cloths and natural wipe solution instead of disposable wipes. -a lot more laundry due to diapers and accidents on towels, sheets, my pants etc.-dryer use
We have been able to get most items that we need from Craig’s List, second Hand stores or hand-me- downs from friends and family -some times people save the original packaging and pass it on to us
Our garbage production hasn’t increased much, but our recycling has. -We don’t spend as much time looking for package free goods. If we feel the baby needs something, we’re more likely to just get it in a package after looking at only a few stores.
We still save our bath water to flush the toilet and have also started a bucket in the kitchen that we fill when waiting for the water to heat up and we use it to water plants, rinse the sink etc. -Due to sleep deprivation, I’ve had a lot more accidental garbage because I haven’t checked carefully enough and I always forget to ask for drinks without a straw at restaurants.
– When we order pizza, we order from a place that doesn’t use the little plastic holder uppers, so all we have is the box to recycle – We order more pizza than ever before and we now often get pre-made rice milk or juice instead of making our own.
-now that we have a baby, we have a new life for our socks that can no longer be darned. I cut of the toes(which is usually the darned holey part:) and make little leg warmers for her.  
 

Rob Grand has a really great post about being a careful consumer, now that green is hip. I find it harder to be careful in my shopping now that I have a wee one. I am more susceptible to marketing ploys, as I have less space in my brain-it’s all for the baby now!

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Wonder Wash

Wonder WashSince having a baby, our energy and water consumption has increased because of laundry! I never thought my pants could be peed on by someone else so often! Not to mention spit up, cloth diapers etc. We share the washer and dryer with 4 other units, and it’s in the basement. It’s hard to go down the stairs and outside with the laundry and the baby, so Kyle pretty much does all of it. If we had our own machine, I could help.

Kyle was internet surfing and he found a great portable washing machine that we want to get. It won a bunch of awards at environmental trade shows, and it’s less than $50. It uses a very small amount of water and takes only a few minutes to wash a five pound load. It’s small, but our apartment is already packed, so the only problem now is finding space for it.

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For Maria…useful baby stuff

Maria asked me to do a post on baby gear I found most useful. Keep in mind, I’m posting from an environmentalist perspective as well as a parent who is practicing Natural Infant Hygene.

1. A sling or carrier of some sort.

If you want a sling, my sister makes beautiful ones.

2.People to bring food for the first few months.

Make a chart at the shower-people were more willing to do this than to clean.

3. A housekeeper

Instead of getting us a housekeeper, my sister gave everyone at my shower a job to do when they came to visit. The only problem is that no one did it! I would collect money at the shower and buy your friends a green housekeeper, even if she/he just comes a few times. Another option would be a doula.

4. Washcloths-lots.

5. Wipe Solution

5. Receiving blankets

6. Hot tots, Bamboozle diapers
These are quite expensive but the are awesome for night time or going out, because they are very absorbant and don’t leak. For the day tome we put her in thin cloth diapers without a cover, so it’s easy to get her out of them ond on to the potty to pee.

7. A swing or bouncy chair to give the mom some time to eat or shower. Try second hand places or craigs list.

8. Baby Bjorn little potty

9. Clothes that are easy to get in and out of-the things that snap all the way are great.

10. Thick baby quilts (we got a few beautiful hand made ones) to lay on the floor and play on.

11. Hooded Towels

12. A few pre-fold diapers.
13. Baby leg warmers.These are also quite easy to make by using old socks or sweater sleeves and adding a draw string at the top.
14. Ann Douglas baby books, particularly The mother of all… series.
15. Clothes appropriate for the season.

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Green Baby update

dscn0809.jpgWow, it’s been about a month since I posted last! Sorry about that. It’s hard to find time with a babe in arms. In fact, she’s in my arms now and I’m typing one handed.

So here’s the scivvy on continuing our green lifestyle with a baby on board:

1. Shoppping

It is harder but still possible to shop for packageless items with a baby. My parents were down from edomton for a few weeks and my mom was my personal shopping assistant in bulk food stores. That made it really easy! It would also be relatively easy with a baby in a stroller- Aurora likes the sling better. Yesterday I went to Kensington with her in the sling and I managed quite well. The few times that it was getting difficult, a staff member helped me.

2. Diapers and Elimination Communication

We are still getting the hang of getting Aurora to go on the potty. The first three days that we had the potty, she went every time we offered it to her. Now it’s hit and miss (one time literally when the pee ricocheted off the potty!). Often she goes on a pad or open diaper so it’s not really lightening our laundry load so far. We do a load a day, and also use the dryer!!! We tried really hard not to- we never used it before the baby, but the diapers are just not drying at all on the line and it takes too long inside. So our energy and water consumption has gone up a bit. We are still reusing bath water to flush the toilet and we collect the water when the tap is heating up or cooling and use it as well.

I’m really surprised at how few people use cloth diapers. It doesn’t seem that difficult to me (may be because Kyle does most of the laundry!)  People seem amazed that I do use them. I took my mom to one of my favorite bulk shops in Kensington market and when the owner saw the baby she said “what are you going to do, recycle diapers?” and I said “well sort of. We use cloth” and she couldn’t believe it. I was surprised that she was surprised. Cloth diapers have come a long way though. We have some all in ones that are as quick to use as disposables.

3.Eating

I have accepted gifts of packaged items from people, but still try to get non packaged things when I shop. We have ordered in more than before, but it’s been pizza and we compost the box. We have also gotten beans in cans a few times instead of soaking and cooking dried ones, which I am actually doing right now. Ahhh the smell of simmering beans on a cold winters day!

4. Medical

We were just discharged from the midwife and will soon have a pediatrician. The midwives were great about allowing us to being our own change pad, towels etc. so we wouldn’t have to use dispoables. Hopefully we can find a like minded doctor.

My migraines came back the day after giving birth and Kyle has also been getting bad headaches so we have a bit of waste from Advil and Tylenol.

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Suck it up:)

Aurora has now gained a full pound since she was born three weeks ago. She came into this world at 7 pounds 13 ounces and is now 8 pounds 13 ounces- not surprising as she eats all the time!!! It was suggested to me that sometimes she just wants the comfort of the breast rather than milk and that we should look into a pacifier. I don’t like the idea of giving my baby a piece of plastic to suck on, but I do like the idea of being able to type with both hands again. I did some research on plastic free and eco- friendly pacifiers and this is what I found.natural rubber pacifier

It’s a Natursutten All-Natural Rubber Pacifier from Europe and we North Americans can order it through Zoe B. Even “safe” plastics have no guarantee about not leeching substances-as far as I know there are no nasty substances that can leech out of natural rubber. Any one wanna call me on that?

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Birth- a wonderful and messy business

Aurora was born on Friday at 11:33 am!Welcome to the world, Aurora! We are very excited and proud.

We had a hospital birth with a midwife. We were in the hospital only a little more than four hours. We had brought a huge bag with us, with everything we might need, including a number of items to help reduce the garbage (a reusable cup, cloth pads, cloth diapers etc.) We did end up making some garbage because birth is a messy business and at the hospital there are rules and regulations to follow. It would be easier at a home birth, I think.

We forgot to tell the midwife about our reusable cup and ended up with a Styrofoam one full of juice for me.

***WARNING- gory detail coming up***

My cloth pads didn’t cut it and were soaked through before we got my pants pulled up. We did use a cloth diaper instead of the plastic ones they had, and we avoided getting a straw. I knew we would create some garbage and I wasn’t too upset by it. I was just exhausted and elated!

Anyhow, Aurora is home with us now. We are using cloth diapers but I didn’t buy nearly enough, since we were planning to practice EC. We are doing it, but she still soils twice as many diapers as we had expected, so Kyle is doing laundry every day, and for the first time in ages we are using the dryer too. Also sometimes we “catch” a pee or poo but it’s in the diaper sitting under her butt, that hasn’t been put on yet, so we aren’t really cutting down on how many we use. We will get more diapers very soon, and hopefully be able to hang dry. Using wash cloths as wipes is working great and really, at home we are not producing any more garbage with a baby than without.

Here she is! My posts may get less frequent now. It’s taken me 3 days to do this one!

bw-family-day-2.JPG

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