Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Cleaning Home for Baby

With twins I have only tiny moments here and there to clean (or do anything, right now I am doing the one handed typing while holding one and bouncing the other with my foot in a bouncy chair!). When I can clean I make sure that I am not doing more harm then good. Traditional cleaning products contain allergy triggers, anti-bacterial agents that cause super bugs or irritating fragrances. 
Here is how I have simplified green cleaning!
Basic Cleaning
For a green switch to cleaning all you need is baking soda, vinegar, lemons and essential oils. I buy baking soda and vinegar in ridiculously large packages from Costco. I have a glass bowl and scrub brush designated just for the purpose of cleaning. Into the bowl goes the baking soda, next pour some vinegar and watch the fun volcanic eruption of foam (be warned that this foam will be about twice the height of baking soda). Don’t worry about the smell of the vinegar, it will disappear after a few minutes and will not leave your bathroom smelling of a tossed salad. To create a better smell you can add lemon or essential oils to the baking soda. I like tea tree oil because of it’s antiseptic qualities, eucalyptus has a nice fresh smell and lavender smells pretty and calming. That mixture will work for kitchen, bathroom, floors and even laundry (see more on that below). A side note, make sure you buy biodegradable sponges so we do not add to landfills in our green cleaning process! There are natural sponges that work just as well as their evil counterparts. Old rags work wonderfully instead of paper towels.
Laundry and Cloth Diapers

Okay, confession time. I use my washer and dryer for cloth diapers. With twins I just have to go with electricity. Big time kudos to the mommas of twins who have the time and energy to line dry but this gal sure does not! So if you are a momma of multiple children like myself here is how I do laundry in the most eco-friendly way as possible. I like the Biokleen product, you only need a tablespoon measurement for a full load and for diapers I always add about a cup of baking soda and run the cycle on hot. To get that yummy out of the dryer smell I use Nellie's dryer balls with lavender essential oils. For whites add some vinegar into the bleach deposit in your washer, but don’t do that for colors because it does act like bleach and will fade your clothes. Ta Da! Clean clothes that are cost effective, earth friendly and clean!

I hate carpet! It traps allergens, tracks the outside inside and gives dust mites a place to hide. Other then a warm floor in the morning when I get out of bed I have no positives to this invention. Sadly, our house has carpet in the living room and all the rooms upstairs so I had to learn to call a truce. Baking soda and vinegar will also work for carpet stains such as coffee, red wine, oil and grease. Just scrub the mixture into the carpet and rinse with water, after it dries vacuum a few times over the spot going in different directions. To get rid of carpet smells dust baking soda on the carpet, leave for a few seconds and vacuum. If your carpet is a darker color make sure you wash out the baking soda and vinegar or it may fade your colors. You can use this same combination in your carpet cleaning machines instead of the chemical filled cleaners at the store. I have a whole post on how to clean your carpets with a carpet cleaner!
After the girls came home I graduated to a dish washer. It has been such a help when it comes to cleaning all those bottles! We use the Seventh Generation soup but I add a little vinegar to it because we have really hard water here. I make sure to only run full loads to cut down on our water use. For spot-free clean dishes from the sink I like Mrs. Myers products. For heavy grease you can use...YEP, baking soda and vinegar! Make sure to skip the lemons or anything with citrus for dishes, it can break down the metal on your silverware. I fill one side of my sink with about two inches of warm water, 1/2 cup of baking soda and a splash of vinegar. The nice part about using vinegar is it makes all of your glass spot free and shiny.
For more information on cleaning green for a happy baby home check out my favorites, no new mom should be with out these books!
Green Babies, Sage Moms by Linda Fassa
Ecoholic by Adria Vasil
Healthy Child Healthy World by Christopher Gavigan

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Donate Milk = Donate Life

Our wonderful milk sharing story. 

A mother's nightmare, two amazing babies are screaming in pain everyday. No matter what I tried the colic reigned supreme in our household. We did the gripe water, probiotics, ruteri and formula changes...and all for nothing. Finally our last doctor's appointment confirmed what I have been thinking for a while, the girls have a formula intolerance. Who knows what is causing it but if you have ever looked at the ingredients to baby formula you will see several common allergy triggers like sunflower oil, soy, and coconut. 

Since coming home from the hospital I tried to lactate but nothing would work. Last week my doctor said that switching to breast milk is a medical necessity since the girls are not absorbing enough nutrients. So if they cannot have my milk then I had to give them milk from someone else. He wrote us a perspiration for the local milk bank explaining the medical need and urgency in his notes and sent me home with two very upset little girls.

Then the journey began. I called the bank and even with a prescription the milk costs $3 an ounce. I paniced and quickly did the math, $3 an ounce times 30 ounces a day times two babies = $180 A DAY! So that's $5,400 a month plus the cost of overnight shipping. Needless to say this was not an option, I do not know of any parents who could afford that cost! To add to the frustration the milk bank is not covered by insurance.

I took this before I organized it :)
The momma bear in me became a fierce protector of my children and began to take over the Internet. I discovered a whole subculture called Milksharing. Wonderful mommas with an oversupply post that they can help a baby in need with a donation or mommas like myself post that they have a need. This began one of the most amazing experiences of my life outside of marriage and the arrival of my babies. Mother after mother came forward offering to help my girls, they told their friends which led to more mothers and with in a week I had a full freezer of milk and two happy babies. 

I am beginning to cry as I write this and recall what I change I saw in the girls this week. They went from screaming, scrunching up their legs and constant constipation to happy smiley girls who now sleep soundly and only cry when they see that the other twin is getting more attention! It was a complete turn around in my household and it saved my sanity. I am so incredibly thankful to everyone who helped us. It was more then just giving us milk, it was giving us life.

It is my hope that sending this blog post out into the vast space of the Internet will inspire more mommas to donate their oversupply and bring hope to other families like ours who are struggling with feeding. 

Human Milk for Human Babies -
Eats on Feets -

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My Favorite Baby Must-Haves!

These are the items that I cannot live with out that make life with twins possible! 
This is only a small list, I will add more later.

Baby Carriers
Daddy and Grace in her Ergo
We have two, and not just because we have two babies. I have the organic versions of the Moby wrap and Ergo. Baby carriers have got a bad rap recently in the news. If worn properly they are not a danger so just make sure to follow simple guidelines like not allowing your baby’s chin to rest on their chest and make sure that their face is not against your chest but to the side. Carriers range from wraps to packs like the Ergo to slings. It is really up to you and your back, pick something that feels comfortable. I love the Moby but the first time I tried to put my fussy baby in it for a walk I ended up throwing it across the room yelling “Who makes these things?”. It took a patient and loving friend of mine to show me how to wrap it on MY BODY! If you decide to go for a Moby make sure you find a friend who has one and have her show you how to wear it, youtube videos and written instructions are not enough!
For the simple fool-proof carrier I love the Ergo and so does Daddy! If you are looking for a carrier that Dad will not mind wearing buy an Ergo. Every man I have talked to says it is their favorite and it keeps getting voted as a "Daddy Favorite". It is great for mommas too, it distributes the weight of the baby to my hips making my back nice and happy. I also love the front zipper pocket for my cell and keys so I can run into the grocery store as fast as possible with two little ones. It also has a fabric portion that comes up and snaps on your shoulders to shield baby from the sun. It can be worn on your front, side and back all of which are comfortable. I cannot say enough good things about this carrier, every parent should have one!
Diaper Bags
There is more to being out on the town then just car seats and strollers. Diaper bags and baby carriers are also items to buy. Many diaper bags are waterproof which is a great idea in theory but make sure that you read the label to find out what they are using to waterproof the material. The manufacturer must print BPA or PVC free on the label, if you do not see that do not buy the item. I prefer bags you can throw in the washing machine over ones that are waterproof. Diaper bags that are chemical free cost more, but there are a few brands that are really great. Ergo makes both a back pack and a front pack that attaches to their carrier, these are chemical free. I am in love with my Ergo backpack! It has just the right amount of pockets and it can be worn as a backpack or it can attach to the Ergo carrier creating one rockin’ baby carrier!
Baby Legs - Leg Warmers
Photo from
Remember those awesome leg warmers we all wore in the 80’s and early 90’s? Well they are out of the ballet studio and back in a very cool way. Baby Legs makes these amazing and adorable baby leg warmers which are helpful in more ways then fashion. These are great when you have baby in the carrier because they do not bunch up and leave part of baby’s leg exposed. (The perfect mate for the Ergo!) They are also helpful when your outfit for the day is destroyed, you can pull out a pair of these and baby still looks cute. I like to use them in the winter or on rainy days as a type of layering. Baby legs are great for quick diaper changes and look adorable under dresses. They come in all types of patterns and colors. Why choose Baby Legs over a different brand? They do not get those annoying fabric balls, they stay up on baby’s leg and they offer many organic options.
Book Resources
Green Babies, Sage Moms by Linda Fassa
Ecoholic by Adria Vasil
Healthy Child Healthy World by Christopher Gavigan

Web Resources