About us...

Two moms trying to raise their families a little greener, a little healthier, and with a whole lot of love. All this while trying to save a little green along the way. Product reviews, green ideas, money-saving tips, and more!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Major Shoe Sale!

I've been wearing Simple Shoes since about the 7th grade. I totally heart them. They are super comfy and were the only shoes that I could wear while pregnant (aside from flip-flops)!

They are having a mega sale with free shipping right now. You can get the super cute shoes pictured above in a variety of colors for just $14.90 with free shipping! These are regular $60 and let me tell you, finding Simple Shoes on sale is a rare occasion.

What could make this deal even sweeter? How about the fact that most, if not all, of Simple Shoes are SUPER eco-friendly. Take the Satire shoes pictured above, these cute little numbers have:
  • Certified 100% organic cotton linings
  • PET laces (that's recycled soda bottles!)
  • Ortholite/recycled car tire pedbeds
  • Outsoles used to be a car tire
  • 100% post-consumer paper pulp foot forms
  • Ships to you in totally state-of-the-art/back-to-the-future post-consumer recycled box
  • Member of the ecoSNEAKS® collection & part of the Better category (see the Simple Shoes website for more details)
Peruse the website, be enlightened on how shoes can be eco-friendly (they have great keys and explanations letting you know what each shoe is made of and how it is environmentally friendly), and get yourself a pair or two at an awesome sale price- with free shipping! Added by Daniella: I just have to say that I wasn't initially sold on these shoes. That is, until Jackie raved about them. So of course at these prices I had to try them out. After a few days of debating which styles I just decided what the heck...and I ordered 5 different pairs! Get this, at regular price the five pairs would have cost me $345 but I only spent $69.50! Plus, if you order through the Simple Shoe link on Cashbaq.com you will earn 7% cash back into your cashbaq online account (if you don't already have an account you will also earn $5 just for setting one up). I can't wait to try these shoes out. Thanks Jackie!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Urban Fluff Liquidation Sale!

GASP, cloth diapers on sale (jumping up and down)! A great cloth diaper sale is rare, and believe me I am always on the hunt for a cloth diaper sale. Urban Fluff is having an inventory liquidation sale, everything is $10 and under! Imagine this...an organic all in one diaper originally $24.95 on sale for $10! I have not yet tried Urban Fluff diapers so I can't share my opinions on them. However, I of course have some on the way so a review will be in the future! Happy shopping!

50% off Nursing Bras!

I am sure that the nursing mamas out there understand how important a good quality nursing bra is. I'm sure you also know how expensive they are! I rarely have seen quality nursing bras go on sale and I have NEVER seen them on sale for 50% off (and free shipping)! So here is your chance to stock up! I did and I'm not even nursing right now (I cheaped out on my last nursing bras and they have fallen apart)! Check out Moms Milk Boutique for some super savings. Don't forget about the clearance section as some bras are already marked down and you will receive an ADDITIONAL 50% off these bras too! This sale ends August 31st and inventory is limited so hurry on over! Happy shopping!

Monday, August 24, 2009

No frills, no fuss, a SIMPLE cloth wash routine!

carnival2 copy

This post is part of the Cloth Diaper Blog Carnival! The topic of this carnival is, "what is your wash routine".

When people find out that T wears cloth diapers they often look at me like I have three heads. They then follow up with, "isn't that a lot of work?". I'm not gonna lie, when I first began contemplating the idea of cloth diapering I was pretty overwhelmed with the vast amount of information all over the internet. At first it did seem to me like it was going to be a lot of work. There were so many diapers to choose from, how would I know which was the right choice for our family? In reality, deciding what diapers to use was actually a piece of cake compared to figuring out how to wash the diapers (or so I thought)! I was so intimidated with the various wash routines I found recommended online. Many of the routines seemed so complicated and time consuming. I knew that I would never stick to cloth diapering without a super simple routine. Simplicity became my mantra. I found that cloth diapering doesn't have to be overwhelming and time consuming. It can be as easy as using a disposable! Here is my simple, no frills, no fuss routine...

1. COLD rinse cycle with NO detergent

2. HOT wash cycle with detergent (I use Tiny Bubbles detergent), one scoop in a HE front loading washer and two scoops in a top loader.

3. Additional cold rinse cycle No detergent

4. SUN, SUN, SUN, on sunny days I dry all my diapers in the sun and then fluff them in the dryer on a 20 minute setting. The sun acts as a natural bleaching agent, kills bacteria, and leaves the diapers smelling fresh. In the winter I do one dryer cycle and then finish drying the diapers overnight on the radiators.

Once I had conquered the laundry routine I thought everything would be smooth sailing... Until my diapers started to have an awful stank. Ugh, now my diapers needed to be stripped and the stripping techniques I read about were even more daunting than the laundry methods I first encountered. In the past year I have had to strip my diapers once. Which, I think is pretty good since I have read that many people have to strip their cloth diapers every month or so. In my search for the simplest method to strip I found that the main reason for needing to strip diapers is due to detergent build up. It doesn't make much sense to strip diapers with detergent when the issue is due to detergent. Therefore I found that rinsing, and rinsing, and rinsing with NO detergent in HOT water pretty much did the job. I also added 1/2 cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle of the final wash (followed by one additional rinse). The vinegar helps to:
  • neutralize the urine in cloth diapers
  • equalize the pH balance
  • eliminate soap residue
  • deters the setting in of stains
  • can help keep colors from bleeding
  • acts as a natural fabric softener
I believe that the reason I needed to strip my diapers was due to a build up of detergent. When I first began cloth diapering I used detergent in both my first and second wash cycles (I was also using a different detergent). I was just using too much soap. It's funny how using too much detergent can cause diaper stank. One would think that more detergent would lead to fresher smelling diapers, boy is that wrong! Since I have changed my routine, I have not had an issue with build up or with stinky diapers.

And there ya have it, that's it. That's my simple wash routine. There are no frills, no fuss, and it gets the job done! I don't think it can get much simpler than that, and if it can PLEASE comment and let us know how!

Click the link below to find other blogs in the cloth diaper carnival and read about their laundry routines!

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Diapers.com coupon code

Are you looking for a great deal on diapers delivered right to your door? Use coupon code GREENIES to receive $10 off your purchase of $49 or more on diapers at diapers.com (plus receive free shipping). This online store sells a number of different diaper varieties including some environmentally 'friendlier' disposable diapers such as seventh generation, earth's best, and nature baby care. Sorry, but this deal is only good on disposable diapers and not any of the cloth diapers they carry. Diapers.com also honors all manufacturers coupons. All you have to do is mail in your manufacturer's coupons and upon receipt diapers.com will credit your account. One more great thing about diapers.com - you can order diapers by the case. Buying in bulk usually also means saving money! Don't forget to add code GREENIES at checkout to receive your deal!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

30% off at Gymboree

If you know Daniella or I personally, you know we are HUGE fans of Gymboree!

Their Circle of Friends sale is going on today through Sunday which means 30% off everything (regular price AND SALE!) in store or online. To get the 30% off online, use code: GYMCLUB and purchases over $100 ship for free. A coupon is required in-store, but I have found they pass out the coupons when you walk in the store or sign up for their emails via the website and you should get a coupon emailed to you.

Additionally, it is Gymbuck earning time, so for every $50 you spend, you'll get a $25 Gymbuck! If you're not familiar with how these work, you can use a $25 Gymbuck like a credit when you purchase $50 worth of merchandise during the redemption dates! That's like getting everything you purchase for 50% off!

Shop on, ladies!

Added by Daniella:
I love gymboree clothing. I think the quality is great and pieces hold their value. I also know that I will get a fair resale price on items in good condition when I am done using them. However, gymboree clothes are pricey and at full price are way out of my budget. I have very strict rules when shopping for T. I can't fathom spending a lot on items that he may wear a few times or grow out of in a matter of months. So, my gymboree shopping rules are as follows:
1. I only shop during gymbuck earning time and gymbuck redemption time.
2. I only purchase items on sale and the items have to be at least 50% off the original price.
3. I attempt to never spend more than $10 on any one article of clothing. I usually spend much less than this but there are some things like jackets, holiday clothes, etc. that I may have to spend more than $10 on.
4. I only shop with a coupon. Coupons can often be found in various magazines. (Recently I found a 20% off coupon in the September issue of Oprah's magazine).
5. I only order online when I can get free shipping.
5. I keep all my receipts and don't remove tags until T is ready to wear the item. If I find the item marked down more than what I purchased it for I will re-buy the lower price item and return the one I bought at the higher price.

I recently added up my gymboree receipts for the last year and figured out that on average I only spent $5 per item of gymboree clothing that T has. That's a great deal because I should be able to resell it for that price and in the end I could break even!

Hope those tips help. Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Free Udder Cover!

Udder Cover is offering a limited time promotion - 100% off their patterned and non patterned covers. Yes, you read that correctly, 100%! You can get any of their covers for free, all you pay is shipping and handling ($8.95).

"Go to www.uddercovers.com , click on "Shop Now" where it will then display all the nursing covers we offer as well as other products and sets. Select the product you would like and you will automatically be directed to the center of the page where you can enter in the promo code "backorder1"! This backorder promotion will give you a $32.00 discount off your total order no matter what you put in your cart! This promotion code is valid once per transaction so order as many times as you would like".

I have not used an udder cover, nor have I seen them in person. I have no idea what the quality of this cover is like. However, for a total of $8.95 I'm willing to give it a try! If you have tried an udder cover we would love to hear your input. What were your experiences with the udder cover?

Baby Half Off is open again!

Baby Half Off, another deal-a-day site catering to moms and dads, has reopened and is under new ownership. Be sure to add it back to your list of websites to check each morning! You can also follow them on twitter and become a fan on facebook to really keep up with them!

Boppy Winner!!

Congrats to Sandra, who said "I follow you on twitter (I finally joined!)". Please email us your address and we'll forward it on over to the Boppy people to get your Boppy w/ organic slipcover on its way!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Medela Controversy

I was just reading a very interesting post on a fellow Mommy-blogger's site regarding Medela and their blatant refusal to follow The International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. Kind of shocking and hypocritical that a company that is the most popular and foremost in the arena of breastfeeding products isn't supporting this, isn't it?? I have yet to fully digest and investigate more into this, but wanted to share and get YOUR thoughts on this. Rather than reiterating what has already been so eloquently written and rather thoroughly researched, please visit the Makes Mom Happy blog and read her post.

Please tell us... Does this change your opinion of Medela? Will you continue to support Medela?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Happy 5th Birthday, Hooter Hiders!

A product, both of the Gaga Greenies LOVE, Hooter Hiders (AKA Bebe Au Lait) are turning 5! And YOU get the birthday gifts! They are celebrating with promotions:

Purchase any Hooter Hiders nursing cover, and get a second Hooter Hiders nursing cover of your choice for only $5! Every order is also eligible for free domestic ground shipping!

Simply select any two available Hooter Hiders nursing covers, then use coupon code HHFOR5 during checkout.


For a limited time, purchase any Bebe au Lait Simple organic nursing cover, and receive a Free 3 Pack of matching organic burp cloths, a savings of $24. Every order is also eligible for free domestic ground shipping.

Happy Shopping!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Free 8x10 photo good only for 8/16/09

This offer is good for today only (8/16/09) through Walgreens. You will receive a free 8x10 photo when you enter the coupon code 8x10 at checkout. If you schedule an in store pick up you also won't have to pay shipping charges! Just upload a picture to your Walgreens photo account, click order, make sure you have an 8x10 in your cart, enter the code, and voila, FREE PICTURE!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Goodmama 50% off 8/15/09

Today only goodmama is offering 50% off your total purchase at their online store. This includes diapers, wet bags, carriers...EVERYTHING! Their inventory is selling fast so hurry on over to scoop some up! I have never tried goodmama diapers so I can't give you my opinion on them. However, I did snatch up two of their bargain diapers which made this deal even sweeter! Stay tuned for a goodmama review in the future!

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Bebe au lait nursing cover winner is...

Congratulations Nikki! Please email us with your mailing info and your pattern selection!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

40% off Organic Baby/Toddler Food!

I am excited to share this deal that I found on Organic Deals. This is a fabulous 40% off deal on the following brands: Mom Made Foods, Petite Palate, Plum Tots, Tasty Baby, and Yogos on Amazon.com. Just use code BCKSCL09 at checkout. PLUS, you can get free shipping on orders over $25.o0! That's a steal! This offer is valid though September 6, 2009.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Boppy Giveaway!

Boppy has generously offered one of our readers a Boppy pillow with the Organic slipcover! Be sure to check out my review of the pillow and why I love it so much!

To enter to win the Boppy and slipcover, please head on over to their website and tell us in a comment what boppy product you would love to have. I sure would adore that newborn lounger for our next baby! If it is the pillow, let us know your favorite slipcover pattern.

For additional entries do any or all of the following. Please note: to get your extra entries you must leave a separate comment on this blog post for each additional entry. Confused? Let us know if this doesn't make sense.

1. Follow us on Twitter - link to the right (or if you already follow) and leave a comment HERE on the blog letting us know, along with your Twitter username.

2. Become a fan of us on Facebook - link to the right (or if you're already a fan) and leave a comment HERE on the blog post letting us know your Facebook name.

3. Become a fan of Boppy (or if you are already a fan)- and leave a comment HERE on this blog post letting us know your Facebook name.

4. Follow our blog (or if you already follow) and leave a comment HERE on this blog post letting us know.

5. Tweet about this giveaway and then leave a comment HERE on this blog post with the permalink of the tweet.

Contest will run until August 18th at midnight MST. Winner will be chosen at random and announced on Wednesday, August 19th. Please include your email address in your comment for notification or check back on August 19th to see if you were the lucky winner! If we don't hear from you within 72 hours, we'll redraw and pick a new winner. Good Luck!

A Breastfeeding Stool. No, not that kind of stool. ;)

Ok, World Breastfeeding Week may be over, but I have another quick review of another nursing accessory. I bought the Medela nursing stool on a whim. Ya know, the kind of whim where you have one of those $5 off a $25 purchase at BabiesRUs, but can't figure out what you need? Well, this was while I was still pregnant and I thought it seemed like a good idea, and if I didn't actually use it for nursing, I have short legs... it might make TV watching on my couch more comfy.

I have to say, while it totally not a necessity, it DOES make nursing and even just sitting in the rocking chair or on the couch a whole lot more comfy! This could have something to do with my smaller stature (my feet don't touch the ground when I sit all the way back on the couch) but there IS something to this whole stool thing... A couple of weeks ago when I was having my hair cut and colored, I was offered a stool to prop my feet up on as I sat in the heat chair. I said, "Absolutely!" I looked at everyone else in the room sans-stool with pity. If they only knew!

For breastfeeding, I think it really helps your posture as it lifts your legs up a bit and allows you to have the baby lifted up more without having to lean towards your baby and killing your back. If I don't have the nursing stool handy, I have to sit on the couch or bed cross-legged to get myself in position that doesn't kill my back. Of course, you also don't have to buy the specific slanted nursing stool that Medela and others make, you could just purchase a small step stool that can later be put to use in the bathroom for your little kiddo to reach the sink. I love things with multiple uses and that certainly would be put to good use in the future, but I think there just may be something to the angle of the Medela stool- I am sure it is a little more natural. Skeptical? Read all of the rave reviews on amazon.com.

For all you breastfeeding moms out there- what are your thoughts on nursing stools-Did you use one?

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Posh Pads winner is...

Congratulations to JENNIFER! You have won yourself a pair of "Go Green Baby" Posh Pads! This Michael Miller design isn't even on the market yet and won't be available to the public until the end of the month! We hope you love them! Please email us your contact info and mailing address!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Bebe au Lait nursing cover GIVEAWAY!

I think one of the most convenient aspects of nursing is that you always have food with you, ready to go, at the right temperature, and in the most perfect delivery system with no mess. While some women are totally fine with nursing in public without a cover or blanket, I am not that comfortable doing so. Call me modest, but I prefer to use something to cover up while nursing in public as I am rather well-endowed and find it quite hard to nurse discreetly. An added bonus of using a nursing cover is that my easily-distracted little E can focus on the task at hand without the distractions of people walking by!

My choice of nursing covers is the Bebe Au Lait/Hooter Hider nursing cover. Sure, you could throw a blanket over you and the baby, but that isn't nearly as attractive or functional as the Bebe au Lait nursing covers! They come in the hippest, most fashionable fabrics- I can not tell you how many times I get complimented on my covers! I have the Yoko and Kimono (sadly, I think this one has been retired) patterns. If funky patterns aren't your thing, Bebe au Lait has added an organic line of nursing covers in sweet pastel tones most recently. The covers also offer a unique ribbing inside the top - so that the top curves out, allowing you to have eye-to-eye contact with your babe while he is eating; this also allows for more ventilation than just using a blanket. The cover wraps around your neck with a soft, fabric, adjustable strap, so this puppy isn't going anywhere unlike a blanket just tossed on your shoulder.

The size of the cover is very generous- larger than other brands, so it offers you the most coverage. That's something important to me, as I don't wear nursing shirts and don't like my post-baby belly hanging out for all to see! One corner of the Bebe au Lait is a small pocket covered in terry cloth - for quick clean ups and to store things like a paci or nursing pads. My Bebe au Lait is something that is ALWAYS in the diaper bag. They sure don't take up much space and double as a lightweight blanket, diaper changing pad, sun-shade on top of the infant carrier, and something for E to play peek-a-boo with in a pinch.

If you're confused as to the two different names, the company originally called the covers Hooter Hiders, then changed the name to Bebe au Lait. Fans of the Hooter Hider name were upset! So, the company makes nursing covers under both names... but the actual nursing cover is the same- the tag is the only difference! Aside from offering organic fabric choices, I wanted to mention that the Bebe au Lait company has taken additional steps in becoming more green by packaging all products in recycled and recyclable materials. Check out even more of their green efforts on their website!

Bebe au Lait has generously offered to sponsor a contest via the Gaga Greenies blog- we couldn't be more excited! To enter to win a Bebe au Lait nursing cover of your choice (that's right- you'll get to pick! Organic or a cool print- it's up to you!), please visit their website and peruse their goods. In a comment, tell us which cover you would choose if you won. Be sure to check out their other products too- gorgeous hooded towels, bibs, and burp cloths.

For additional entries do any or all of the following. Please note: to get your extra entries you must leave a separate comment on this blog post for each additional entry. Confused? Let us know if this doesn't make sense.

1. Follow us on Twitter - link to the right (or if you already follow) and leave a comment HERE on the blog letting us know, along with your Twitter username.

2. Become a fan of us on Facebook - link to the right (or if you're already a fan) and leave a comment HERE on the blog post letting us know your Facebook name.

3. Become a fan of Bebe au Lait on Facebook (or if you are already a fan)- and leave a comment HERE on this blog post letting us know your Facebook name.

4. Follow Bebe au Lait on Twitter (or if you already follow) and leave a comment HERE on the blog letting us know, along with your Twitter username.

5. Follow our blog (or if you already follow) and leave a comment HERE on this blog post letting us know.

6. Tweet about this giveaway and then leave a comment HERE on this blog post with the permalink of the tweet.

Contest will run until August 13th at midnight MST. Winner will be chosen at random and announced on Friday, August 14th. Please include your email address in your comment for notification or check back on August 14th to see if you were the lucky winner! Good Luck!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Breast Milk Storage Bags

As a first time mom I took every parenting class my O.B. office offered. In each and every class the nurse discussed the benefits of breastfeeding. I had every intention of giving breastfeeding a try but I didn't know many people who had tried and maintained exclusive breastfeeding. Most people I had spoken with said they had given breastfeeding a shot BUT; their milk didn't come in, they didn't have enough milk, the baby was too hungry, they didn't have the time, it hurt, etc, and so they supplemented with formula or they stopped nursing all together. I honestly thought that the majority of new moms tried nursing but eventually turned to formula. I would say that my dedication to breastfeeding didn't truly start until my milk came in. Not that I wasn't committed when T and I were still in the hospital but at that point it still didn't seem real to me. It wasn't until the morning that I woke up with gigantic rock hard boobs that I knew this was the most natural experience for T and I.

Let me tell you, breastfeeding didn't come naturally for me, and the emergency c-section didn't make it any easier immediately following T's birth. I remember reading in books and being told that a proper latch was not supposed to hurt. So why did my toes curl and my body wrench in pain every time T latched on for the first week or so? According to the nurses and lactation consultants I was doing everything right I just needed to give it a little time. It did get better, much better, and once I got the knack of breastfeeding I was determined to provide T with breastmilk for his first year of life. In my mind this meant stockpiling as much frozen milk as possible! When I reached over 200 ounces my husband and I purchased a deep freezer so the milk could remain frozen for a year if needed. I would need lots of milk storage bags to store all the milk I envisioned I would be able to collect. I was fortunate enough to be able to take a 5 month leave from work so during that time I pumped like crazy (in addition to nursing T). I set collection goals for myself (200 ounces, 400 ounces, etc). I felt a huge sense of accomplishment each time I added to my stash. So, through this process I tried out a variety of milk storage bags. While the 'greener' storage solution would be to use reusable breastmilk storage bottles or containers that wasn't an option for me with the quantity that I was looking to store.

The first bags I tried were the Medela Pump and Save breastmilk bags. These bags are BPA free, feature a zipper top, no-spill bottom, and exclusive self-stick strap that attaches to breastpump. The bags also have a special double-walled plastic which retains the beneficial properties of breastmilk. These bags are pre-sterilized, disposable, long-term freezing bags, and are compatible with all Medela breastpumps for pumping directly into the bag. I never pumped directly into the bags so I can't comment on the that feature. These bags hold 5 ounces of expressed breastmilk and feature a tab that allows you to record your name, amount stored, and the date. In general I loved these bags but I wish that they would hold just one more ounce! These bags will cost around $18.99 for a 50 count. These are definitely the priciest of the 4 mentioned here but they do seem to be the best quality.

Lansinoh breastmilk storage bags became my go to bag. The main features I liked about this bag were that it is BPA free, has a double zipper feature, and it can hold 6 ounces. I felt that the more milk I could store in a bag the more room I may be able to save in my freezer. This bag also features a pretty large tab to write pertinent information on. I loved how flat these bags froze when placed flat in the freezer. They froze in super thin sheets and saved me a ton of room. However, these bags are thiner than the Medela bags which I didn't think was a problem until I started to defrost my frozen milk. There were a number of times when I would defrost the milk in a container of warm water and the bag would begin to leak. Can you imagine my horror! It seems like these bags tear or ding easily. I had to resort to defrosting all my Lansinoh bags inside another plastic zip lock bag so I could save any milk that could possibly leak out of a tiny tear or hole. I never had any problems with my Medela bags leaking. However, after my experience with leaking bags I will ALWAYS defrost the storage bags inside a zip lock bag, no matter what the brand of storage bag I used. The Lansinoh bags will cost about $11.99 for a 50 count. These seem to be the best value out there.

I also tried out
The First Years Easy Pour Milk Storage bags. These were my least favorite of the milk storage bags I tried. Honestly, I hated them. In my opinion they were bulky, I hated the easy pour handle, and the easy pour spout was by no means easy. These bags also held 6 ounces which was the only aspect that I liked. Another downfall of these bags is that they do not have a tab to write the date and ounces stored. The space to write the information is right on the center of the bag. Call me crazy or paranoid, but I didn't want my milk laying against marker ink. I imagined the ink seeping through the plastic and tainting my precious milk. I also felt that these bags were pretty thin and I thought the 'zipper' was difficult to close. I would use these bags again if I was in a pinch and had nothing else available, but that is about the only circumstance. The First Years milk storage bags will set you back about $7.00 for a package of 25. (I could not locate info on if these bags are BPA free)

A friend of mine uses the
Gerber Seal N Go storage bags and loves them. I have not been impressed with any Gerber product that I've tried so I didn't even bother to try these bags out. The Gerber bags will cost around $12.99 for a 45 bags. (I could not locate info on if these bags are BPA free)

The Lansinoh bags were the primary bags I used and they met my needs. I will definitely use these bags again with future babies, BUT will always defrost them inside another zip lock bag. Without these milk storage bags I would not have been able to store upwards of 800 ounces of breastmilk for my little T. (800 ounces may sound like a lot, but if your little one is drinking 20 ounces of breastmilk a day those 800 ounces will only last 40 days!) In the end, I did meet my goal of providing T exclusively with breastmilk for his first year of life. Wahoo, what a great sense of accomplishment and what a wonderful give for my little guy!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The infamous boppy

OK, ok... I know it's on the top registry item list at Babies R Us and pretty much everyone has them.... But I just have to sing the praises of the Boppy nursing pillow. I am utterly lost without mine. I know plenty of women for centuries have nursed without the assistance of a Boppy pillow, but I just can't imagine they were as comfortable as I am when I am nursing! When I first began nursing my son at the hospital, I was swallowed up by a dozen (worthless) pillows propping us up on my hospital bed in an effort to make those first nursing sessions as comfortable as possible. Why didn't I bring that darn Boppy to the hospital?? Lord knows I packed EVERYTHING else imagineable (my husband will tell you stories about the bottles of SmartWater that I made him lug in to the hospital because I thought I wouldn't like the hospital water... he then lugged the bottles out when we were discharged. Ooops!) I digress. Upon my arrival to the comforts of my abode, I busted out that Boppy for my first nursing session at home and I felt the tension release from my back, shoulders, and arms for the first time in, well, two days. ;)

I love how the Boppy positions my son, E, for nursing so I can be hands-free, if needed. I work full-time from home and with E propped on the Boppy nursing, I can easily work on my laptop with both hands! It also has worked through the months (he is 12.5 months now), at many baby sizes (in my experience: from 6ish lbs at birth to now almost 18lbs), and through many stages (from the limp newborn to the wriggly toddler). It explicitly states to NOT do this on the tag, but it also cuddled little E while he slept propped up in it next to me on the floor. The Boppy can also be used as a tummy time pillow. Although it is a lot bigger than the tummy-time specific mats/pillows, it works just as well and if baby really hates tummy time (as E did), they might enjoy it a little more on the bigger boppy because they'll be assisted a little more and cuddled all the while. That's E pictured above using the Boppy for some tummy time at two months old.

E and I are not the only ones to use the Boppy, though. My husband and mom used it a lot in the early days when holding E because it kind of is like an arm rest. It allows you to hold baby for hours without wearing out those biceps! And we've all been known to use it as a regular old pillow - even our cat, Lola, has curled up inside it.

But of course, the workhorse of the Boppy is for nursing in this household. After less than a week of nursing, I decided I wanted an extra- to keep in the car for on-the-go nursing while I was still figuring things out. (I do nurse out of the house without my boppy now... I just don't like it! I figure dragging a Boppy into a restaurant or stuffing it in the stroller basket is a BIT ridiculous.) When traveling for any length of time, if we're going by car, the Boppy is coming with, but when we travel via air, I sadly have to leave it at home. I really, really, really think Boppy should come out with an inflatable version to travel with. I would pick that up in a heartbeat! Nowadays, the extra Boppy has been moved into the house, so I have one upstairs in my bedroom and another in our family room.

Boppy has lots of options to customize your pillow with fun patterned and textured covers and even an organic cover. I have 4 covers for my Boppies; my favorite two are the Organic Sweet Pea (super soft and attractive) and the Soft Boa Blue Green (Like a velour fabric- really soft and cozy). I think the only thing that could make Boppy better is if they offered an organic Bare Naked pillow.

To put it simply, I think the Boppy RULES. It is my favorite nursing accessory... and I feel lost without it! My Boppies have logged many, many hours of usage and I look forward to using it for many more hours!

Posh Pads Giveaway!

This just in....we are so super excited to announce that Posh Pads is offering a giveaway to one lucky Gaga Greenies reader! Our giveaway is the new, not even out on the market yet, "Go Green Baby" design from Michael Miller. Only our giveaway winners and Posh Pads repeat clients will be getting these during World Breastfeeding Week. They won't be available to the public until the end of Aug!

7 opportunities to enter this giveaway:

To enter this giveaway, please visit
Posh Pads and explore the website... In a comment, tell us your favorite posh pads pattern.

For extra entries, you can do the following: (BE SURE TO LEAVE A SEPARATE COMMENT FOR EACH EXTRA ENTRY!!)

1 extra entry: follow us on twitter @gagagreenies (link to the right). leave a comment with your twitter username.

1 extra entry: tweet about the giveaway- be sure to leave a comment with a permalink to the tweet.

1 extra entry: follow our blog (see the right sidebar) then leave a comment letting us know you're a follower.

1 extra entry: become a fan on our facebook page (link to the right) then leave a comment letting us know you became a fan.

1 extra entry: become a fan of Posh Pads on facebook

1 extra entry: follow Posh Pads on twitter http://twitter.com/PoshPads and leave a comment with your twitter username

This contest will run through August 9th at midnight MST. Winner will be chosen at random and announced on Monday, August 10th. Please include your email address in your comment for notification or check back on August 10th to see if you were the lucky winner! Good Luck!

Reusable Nursing Pads

I honestly had no idea what to expect once my milk came in. I had heard horror stories about women finding themselves in public with huge wet circles on their chest. However, I never truly believed these stories. That all changed one morning when T was a few days old and I awoke with gigantic rock hard boobs and in a pool of wetness! When my milk came in boy did it come in! I had what is referred to as over supply and my body didn't correct itself for many months. So yes, I did end up leaking quite a bit.

On the top of my list of necessary breastfeeding items is investing in some quality reusable nursing pads. I tried disposable nursing pads and hated them. I thought they: were horribly uncomfortable, smelled to high heaven when they were 'full' and sitting in the trash can, never stayed in place, and I always felt guilty throwing a set into the trash. I invested in a few different types of reusable pads.

On the top of my don't waste your money list are the
Gerber reusable pads. In my experience they were small, uncomfortable, and didn't absorb anything! I guess these could be okay if you don't really leak and just want the reassurance of coverage if needed. I needed pads that were super absorbent, which the Gerber pads were not. I did find success with the Medela reusable nursing pads. I found that almost all the nursing pads I tried, both reusable and disposable, are not 100% discrete. I felt that the Medela reusable pads became more discrete while I was wearing them. It seemed like they needed to mold to my body. Other brands that I tried never seemed to take my shape. The Medela reusable pads didn't seem to get very good reviews and the biggest complaint was leaking. I never had a issue with leaking when I wore these pads. Recently, when I was browsing the aisles at a local baby superstore I found that they now carry organic reusable nursing pads in the store. SWEET!

Nursing pads are not meant to be worn all day, just as disposables they will need to be changed. In many ways nursing pads are similar to diapers. Nursing pad are designed to wick away the moisture just like diapers. However, many disposable pads are made with poly-acralite, the same chemical found in disposable diapers. The beauty of reusable pads is that they also wick away moisture but with natural fibers. Both types of pads need to be changed just as you change a diaper on your child. If you are a cloth diapering mama who likes the natural aspect of cloth and don't want the chemicals in disposable diapers on your babies heiney why put those same properties on your breasts? If you are a disposable diapering mama why not make your breastfeeding experience a little greener? (Plus, do you really want those chemicals laying against your little one's primary food source)?

A nursing pad that I stumbled upon today when browsing the internet is the super stylish and organic bamboo posh pads (pictured above). I am now in LOVE with these reusable pads and wish I could justify stocking up. I guess I'll have to wait until my next pregnancy. These pads are organic, fashionable, economical, and eco friendly. The absorbent material is made from organic bamboo and the stylish outer fabric is made from organic cotton. Bamboo is a fiber that is naturally antibacterial and is one of the most sustainable resources around. Bamboo is also hypoallergenic, deodorizing, does not retain odors, and is biodegradable. I don't think it's possible to get any more eco friendly with your nursing pads than with these posh pads!
"Our POSH Pads are extremely absorbent, but not bulky. They mold to your breasts, unlike contoured pads that may or may not fit you. Our standard size is 4.5 to 5 inches in diameter, but we welcome custom fits as well. Beautiful and so soft, POSH Pads shout comfort! Your doing the best for your baby, now you can do the best for your breasts".
These pads are slightly more expensive at around $45 for a pack of 6 sets or $8.95 for 1 set. With that said, I still think they are worth it. What new mom doesn't deserve to pamper herself with a little style in her breastfeeding accessories? When giving your baby the wonderful gift of breastfeeding why not treat yourself to a little gift too? In honor of World Breastfeeding Week the owners (Robyn and Jessica) of posh pads will be donating a percentage of their sales to www.wellstart.org.

Reusable nursing pads can be just as convenient as disposable pads. The only difference, you throw them in the wash. Reusable pads won't add to your laundry load as they are relatively small. Reusable pads are environmentally friendly as well as budget friendly. Keep in mind that each breastfeeding experience is different. Some people leak very little if at all and may not need nursing pads. Others, like myself, are geysers once our milk comes in!

Tip for leaking when nursing at home: When I first started breastfeeding I hated to watch myself leak from one boob when T was nursing on the opposite side. I was watching my, 'liquid gold' get collected in a nursing pad that would get tossed in the wash. This all changed with a tip from my good friend, A. She suggested that when I nurse T on one boob I hold a pump bottle with the breastshield attached under the other boob. The shield would act as a funnel and would collect what I leaked. I was amazed! At times I would be able to collect upwards of 4 ounces off one side! I am so grateful that she gave me that tip and I was able to save some valuable breastmilk. THANKS A!

Note from Jackie: I just wanted to share my 'leaking' experience since all moms are different. I actually only leaked once or twice once my milk came in, so I never had a need for nursing pads. That said, I was prepared for fountains of milk with a box of unopened disposable pads at home... I just kept the receipt and ended up returning them when I discovered I wouldn't need them. I think it is a good idea to have some ready to go so you're not running to the store trying to find them (or sending your husband to find them- good luck!)- just keep the receipt and make sure you can return them in case you don't need them.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Our #1 Must-Have for Successful Breastfeeding...

is education! Despite how natural breastfeeding is, for some, it does NOT come naturally!

To get things off on the right foot, when pregnant, we recommend taking a breastfeeding class WITH your partner. Most hospitals offer breastfeeding classes inexpensively and these are great as an overview on breastfeeding. At my hospital, it was taught by the two lactation consultants that work right in the new life center, so I knew I would be seeing them again after giving birth. It was great to meet them before the craziness of having baby in my arms. I think it is important to have your partner join you at these classes so they have a good knowledge base about nursing and can be even more of a support when baby arrives.

We also recommend reading... read, read, read! The La Leche League's website is a wealth of information, as is kellymom.com, which Daniella mentioned yesterday. Medela, probably the most well-known maker of breastpumps and nursing supplies also has a ton of information on their site. And of course all of the pregnancy and baby websites have lots of breastfeeding information on them, but I tend to trust the advice and information in the 3 aforementioned sites a bit more. As for books, we will review this book later on this week, but definitely recommend The Breastfeeding Book by Martha Sears and Dr. Sears. Another good book is The Nursing Mother's Companion, although I must admit, I've only read parts of this book.

All of the reading you can get your hands on and classes you take, though, is never going to fully prepare you for what is going to happen once you deliver that baby and go to nurse him or her for the very first time. Sure, I suppose it comes quite naturally for some, but for me, it was a learning process on both E's and my parts. This is where hands-on (literally) assistance is going to come into play. The lactation consultants at the hospital are indispensible. You need to see them as soon as possible after birth! Yes, most of the nurses are trained to assist you with breastfeeding, but the certified lactation consultants are amazing. In my own experience, despite all of the efforts of my nurse in the hospital, I just wasn't getting what she was saying. The lactation consultant came in, and after her showing me what needed to happen, it was like a big "A-ha!" moment. I would highly recommend you insist upon seeing a lactation consultant as soon as possible (this may be the next morning if you give birth overnight) and tell your nurse you want to see one right away. Also request the LC be present every time you nurse to make sure things are going correctly.

Lactation consultants have seen it all and can help you get started out right, so you won't have to endure the pain of a bad latch (do note, though, for some people even the best latch can be a bit painful in the beginning). They will assure you your newborn baby will not suffocate with his nose pressed into your breast! They will get you set up so both you and baby are in a comfortable position... using rolled up towels, pillows, whatever they can get their hands on to make it work! They will show your husband what a good latch looks like and show him what he needs to do to assist you in getting that perfect latch every time. They are emotional support and your very own breastfeeding cheerleaders!

I am not sure how it works at all hospitals, but at mine, even after we went home, I could call the lactation consultants for help or set up an appointment to go in to see them for no charge. No time limits on that privilege either- I could call them today, 13 months later, if I needed help again. And if I was just simply worried about E gaining weight, I could go in and use their very precise scales to calm my new-mom fears. So, if you couldn't tell by my raving review of lactation consultants, they are my NUMBER ONE must-have for breastfeeding! Use them!

Added by Daniella: I agree with Jackie 100% that a breastfeeding education and support is the number one breastfeeding necessity. I cannot tell you how many times I sought out the local lactation consultants for support. While still in the hospital after delivering T I asked to see one nearly every time T needed to nurse. If a lactation consultant wasn't available I asked for a nurse to assist me. I needed the extra reassurance that I was doing everything correctly. I am a relatively modest person but I needed to let my modesty go in order to properly work with a consultant. They would often physically show me a proper latch by, handling the goods, so to speak. Get comfortable with the consultants, they are your friends! The lactation consultants from the hospital where I delivered T called me everyday at home for the first week after T was born. They just called to check in and see how things were going. I needed that! T lost quite a bit of weight in the beginning and had trouble putting it back on. We had to take him to the pediatrician for daily weight checks. The lactation consultant was a great support during that stressful time. Once T and I found our groove together I no longer needed the daily calls from the consultant. However, like Jackie said they were available anytime I needed them. I have used them many times when my stress was sky high about my supply or about T's milk intake. They were always able to ease my fears and concerns. On the La Leche League site there is a search option that allows you to find a local la leche league consultant. There is even an option to email them (but only do so when your question doesn't need an immediate answer as it may take a day or two for them to respond). My number one tip in all this, don't be afraid to ask for help. Breastfeeding should be an enjoyable experience for mom and baby.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Happy World Breastfeeding Week!

The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Awareness has announced that world breastfeeding week is August 1 - 7, 2009. The benefits of breastfeeding for baby and mom are endless. I won't write a whole book on all the benefits but I will name a few. For the child breastfeeding can protect against gastrointestinal trouble, respiratory problems and ear infections. There is also evidence that it can protect the infant from developing allergies, may boost intelligence, may protect against obesity, and may lower the risk of SIDS. Breastfeeding also help mom to shed some of that baby weight, it lowers stress levels, can protect against some types of cancer, and can protect against osteoporosis. The benefits I have listed are not even scratching the surface of what breastfeeding can offer to both baby and mom. A couple of my favorite resources regarding breastfeeding issues are: La Leche League and kellymom.com .

I am so fortunate to have been able to provide the nourishment of breast milk for T through his first year of life. That's not to say that is was easy! There were many times when I had to contact local lactation consultants for support or to answer questions. After I returned to work it was truly a job in itself to make sure that I maintained my milk supply. My husband and I even bought a deep freezer so I could stock pile frozen sheets of milk in case I wasn't able to maintain through pumping. If I remember correctly at the height of my storage I had upwards of 800 ounces! My pump and I became trusted friends and it was difficult for me to pack it away and let myself dry up when the time came to transition T to cow's milk. If I could have continued to provide T with the nutrients of breast milk for a few more months I gladly would have. However, I had to stop due to personal reasons. I did meet my goal of 1 year and I am so happy that I could provide that gift to my son.

In celebration of world breastfeeding week we will review or discuss a new item each day that is designed to make breastfeeding a little easier or a little more comfortable. Stay tuned!

A cloth diaper convert

With the birth of my first son last July, I was overwhelmed, as most new parents are... the LAST thing I thought I could handle was the added laundry or bother of cloth diapers. Well, after 9 months of throwing disposable diapers in the landfill, the guilt added up and I decided to give cloth a shot. After a bit of research, I discovered cloth diapers were not what I was expecting... I was picturing the white pre-folds and nasty plastic covers, but today's cloth diapers work similar to disposables with velcro or snap closures and are absolutely adorable!! I consulted with my fellow Greenie, Daniella, to get her input on what she liked and didn't like about her cloth diapers and found a local cloth diaper company, Denver Diaper Company, which now actually has a retail location in the Highlands neighborhood and a new name, The Giggling Green Bean. Owner, Amy, was also a wealth of information and allowed me to come over to her house to check out her inventory and pick her brain about cloth diapers. I decided to try two different diapers: the organic BumGenius all-in-one, one-size diaper and the GroBaby system. I started out with 3 BumGenius and 1 Grobaby shell set plus 2 extra snap-in soakers to see if Cloth diapering was really for me. Amy educated me on how to prep the diapers, launder, and actually use them on my little bug. I was off and super excited to give them a shot! If you are in the Denver area, I highly recommend The Giggling Green Bean- their prices are reasonable, they have cloth diaper education classes, and Amy is super helpful AND honest about what you need/don't need and finding a system that works for you and your lifestyle.

After returning home, I began the somewhat long process of prepping the diapers. Because the diapers I chose are organic, it means that no bleaching of the fabric occured during the manufaturing process... This means that the cotton still has the natural oils on the fiber and this needs to be stripped so those cotton fibers can then, in turn, soak up all that pee. To prep the diapers, it is recommended to do 3-5 washing and drying cycles to remove the natural oils (but can take up to 10 cycles for the diapers to reach their maximum soaking capabilities). I did the minimum of 3 cycles because I was so anxious to actually use the diapers! The GroBaby diapers seemed to work just fine with onle 3 cycles, but the BumGenius diapers leaked the first couple times I used them and I assume that it because there were oils still left on the cotton fiber. So, after my experience, I would do the 5 cycles in the future to avoid and leakage and so your diapers will have close to the optimum soaking power the very first time you use them.

Using both diaper systems, I have found that they are both easy to use and work well containing all the pee and poo E dishes out. The only times I have had leaks were in the beginning when the diapers weren't properly prepped and occasionally after that if I forget to change E before a long nap. Overnight, the GroBaby system comes with boosters that you can pop in on top of the regular snap-in liner and I have successfully had Ethan wear the cloth overnight with no leaks. I haven't tried the BumGenius diapers overnight yet, simply, because I've had good luck with the GroBaby diapers overnight. And why fix what's broken!

The BumGenius Organic All-in-One, One Sized Diaper:
What I love about the BumGenius diapers: Super easy to use- requires no snapping or stuffing of an insert- pull them out of the dryer and they are ready to go; the sizing snaps on the front match the color of the diaper, so they blend in; amd they come in 9 adorable colors!

What I'm not crazy about: the hook and loop closure (that's velcro) edges are not the softest, the laundry tabs don't seem to work well (laundry tabs are where you velcro the velcro to itself so it doesn't get caught on everything in the wash), and they take longer to dry because they are all-in-one and don't come apart (you win some, you lose some). And, the price is $24.95 per diaper.

The GroBaby Cloth Diaper System:

What I love about GroBaby: The soft loop fabric and hook closures (velcro) are what it says- SUPER soft and never catches on anything, the 4 colors GroBaby offers are fun and unique, the diapers dry quickly because they come apart - I actually don't even put the outer shells in the dryer anymore because they dry so quickly air-drying. Economically, these are a little cheaper than the BumGenius- because you can reuse the outer shell several times, provided it doesn't get poopy, you only need a few outer shells and then can just buy extra inners at a lower cost. A shell set (1 outer shell + 1 soaker pad + 1 booster for heavy wetters or overnight) costs $24.95 and then a 2 pack of soaker pads is only $16.95. I have a 2 pack of inner soakers for each shell I have. So it is basically like getting 3 diapers for $41.90.

What I'm not crazy about GroBaby: The snaps on the front for sizing don't match the fabric color. I know, it's a total cosmetic thing, but I figure if BumGenius can have it match, why can't GroBaby. I just like those snaps to blend in nicely. The inner mesh gets caught on the hook and loop closures and looks kind a of worn after a number of washes, but no one sees that part, so it's not a huge deal. The hook and loop tab edges have started to curl slightly- it doesn't effect the usage, but they just don't look brand new anymore. I guess most of my gripes about these are cosmetic... take it as you will, they ARE diapers and get worn under clothes (most of the time). And lastly, snapping the liners in IS an extra step, but one I have found my husband gladly partakes in!

So, did I scare you off with the cost of a single cloth diaper above? Considering I was dropping over $80 at Babies R Us every few weeks for many months, a small investment of $300 in cloth diapers and accessories is going to go a long way PLUS, can be used for future babies. I purchased 6 BumGenius diapers, 3 Grobaby Shell sets and 3 soaker pad sets which lasts me about 3 days before I have to do laundry. And trust me, you don't want to wait longer than 3 days because it can get smelly. I also bought a waterproof diaper pail liner ($15) and a plastic garbage can with lid at Target for $7.50 to use as my diaper pail for the cloth dipes.

So, yes, the initial investment may be a bit more than picking up a package of Pampers at the store, but you are going to be using these puppies for a long time and can use them for multiple babies too! Cloth diapers also have an excellent resale value (grossed out? think about diaper services- remember cloth diapers can be sanitized!).

My thoughts having 4 months of cloth diapering experience under my belt: I really love both systems we're using and would gladly purchase more of either brand. I still use disposable diapers when we are out for a long time - I just can't bring myself to tote around dirty diapers. I think if I purchase more cloth, I will opt for the snap versions of the above (instead of using a hook and loop closure they are snap closures) because once your newborns and infants turn into toddlers, they discover it is pretty easy to get diapers off that use velcro closures - just ask Daniella- she found her little T naked in his crib with his GroBaby tossed across his room. My E is just about getting to that age and I'm thinking some snaps will be a good investment for his second year.

This is a pretty broad overview of my cloth diapering experience, so please let us know if you have any questions ... we are happy to answer any questions, offer our advice, and our opinions!

Oh and one last cloth diaper tip- if you end up with any stains on your diapers, have them dry out in the sun-- I did this a couple weeks ago and the stains magically disappeared! I love natural stain removal!