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Written by Mama Monday

Blog posts written by mamas on cloth diapering, green living, natural parenting.

 Now that Earth Day is over, you’d think we’d be all done with the whole “find ways to improve our planet” thing, right? But, nope!

I’m trying to make a concerted effort to MAKE EVERY DAY EARTH DAY. After all, it’s our home 365 days of the year; why just look for ways to help it on ONE day, or one week, or one month?

The good thing is that many of us already make everyday Earth Day. Whether you cloth diaper for an economic reason, environmental cause, cuteness factor, or some other awesome reason, you’re still doing a huge part to help cut back on unnecessary waste. It’s true!

Even if the only environmental choice you make is to cloth diaper, your impact is massive.

MAKE EVERY DAY EARTH DAY
So, since everyday IS Earth Day, I thought it’d be fun to share a round-up of some ways to get your kiddos into the spirit of environmentalism.
 hungry caterpillar necklace

Hungry Caterpillar Toilet Paper Roll Craft from Kids Activities Blog

Of course I had to start with this one because a) our family is NUTS for Eric Carle and b) I’ve been collecting all of our empty TP tubes for a craft just like this one. Perfect! Extra points for reading the book while wearing the “necklace”!

little-girl-making-nature-collage

Nature Craft Collage from Kids Activities Blog

Who doesn’t love a fun collage? Plus, this one gives you an excuse (as if we really need one) to go on a nature walk to collect your “art supplies”.

sensory bin

Garden Sensory Tub by No Time for Flashcards

Sensory tubs are great for fine motor skills, concentration, and just good ol’ fashion fun! I love that this post includes some books (two of my favorites – seriously, The Gardener is historical and uplifting and just generally all around engaging) to go along with the tub’s theme.

garbage sort

Sort the Recycling/Garbage Game by No Time for Flashcards

Again, this post is made all the more awesome with suggested reading, but the idea is great on its own. Cut out images from old magazines and have your child sort them into the different “bins” to get them thinking about what items are recyclable, what goes straight into the trash, and maybe even what could be reused.

books

Read a Green Bookor Two!

I actually read several of these every year with my younger library students. What’s better than reading to teach the importance of conservation and a love of the planet? (Let me just add my new favorite to this list: The Tree Lady. There are tons more I could add, but my students have loved it!)

butterfly garden

Plant a Butterfly Garden by Kids Garden

What better way to celebrate the Earth than to dig your hands down into the soil and grow some plants? Whether it’s flowers, veggies, herbs, (or even a tree!), the experience is just as important as what you grow.

 crayons

Melted Crayons(!) by Skip to My Lou/Make It and Love It

Reuse those broken, non-pointy crayons (do your kids get picky like my son does? I can kind of understand how frustrating it is when you’re learning to write and color) by making new, fun crayons in cool shapes! We saw these types of “crayons” at the Eric Carle Museum awhile back (they really do help you color Carle-like pictures!) and we’ve been dying to do it ever since.

Or, just pick your own “Act of Green” to take on together as a family!

Aside from cloth diapering, what are some ways that your family makes it Earth Day every day? 

great-cloth-diaper-change

April is a great month, isn’t it?

Spring is here (for most of the country). It’s “Earth Month”, a whole month dedicated to thinking about our environmental impact. It’s a month to celebrate the #MakeClothMainstream challenge. There’s even a day to take part in the Great Cloth Diaper Change.

I mean, seriously! It’s a month MADE for eco-conscious cloth diapering families!

In case you haven’t heard of the Great Cloth Diaper Change (GCDC) yet, it’s a good thing I’ve caught you when I have. The GCDC is an activity dedicated to spreading the good word about cloth diapering.
This year, the GCDC is being held April 23rd at 11am local time and can be found in many locations throughout the US and beyond. (And don’t worry! If you can’t make it right at 11 o’clock, many are actual day-long events.)

Depending on where you live, GCDC activities vary. Some involve making (or breaking) world records. Others are tied in with other eco-parenting resources. Others provide a chance for outreach to parents who might need troubleshooting questions answered or even just have fears about starting.

Since the GCDC has spread to many countries and continents, there are lots of opportunities to get involved! Find your location and plan a visit to join up with other cloth-minded families. And, if you don’t see a location close enough, consider hosting a future event!

I’m excited to see that my closest event is tied into a “Healthy Baby Expo”. What a great way to advocate cloth diapering, to associate it with such important topics as car seat safety, breastfeeding awareness, baby massage, and more! Plus, as with many GCDC events, it’s touted as a family-friendly activity so that the whole family is warmly welcomed.

Have any of you ever been a part of a Great Cloth Diaper Change activity? What was your favorite part of the event? What would you tell a newbie who’s never gone before?

SAVE-THE-EARTH

In celebration of Earth Day (and, subsequently, Earth Month), we should all take a moment to do a fist pump for, well, ourselves.

You know how environmental naysayers kind of poo-poo (no pun intended) people when they suggest tasks to lessen your footprint? That no matter what you do, it’s not enough? Well, cloth diaper users are killing it in the eco-friendly department.  

Depending on your source, between 18 and 24.7 billion diapers end up in the trash…annually. 
Possibly moreSeriously. 

According to Treehugger.com, an average baby goes through 5,000 – 8,000 diapers during the time before potty-training. “The United States alone produces 18 billion dirty diapers annually, thanks to the eighty percent of parents who use disposables.” This adds up to 82,000 tons of plastic and 1.3 million tons of wood pulp. Picture a forest of 250,000 trees, destroyed.Considering that a diaper “lives” on a child’s bum for only a few hours before being tossed into a landfill, left to sit for over 200-500 years…well, maybe. No one really knows since disposables were invented over 40 years ago. There’s a good chance that they may not biodegrade at all.

Diapers are actually the third largest consumer items found in landfills, representing 30% of all non-biodegradable waste.

Or, if you’d like a visual, we love this example from Modern Natural Baby.

modern-natural-baby-visual

But, guess what. If you’re already cloth diapering, you’re single-handedly subtracting 2,000 pounds of garbage to that total for two years. If you use cloth for more than one child, multiply the numbers. It truly, exponentially adds up – in a good way.

There are a ton of other ways to help in the fight to save our planet and its inhabitants from waste, but using cloth diapers is a hugely effective choice. You should be proud for choosing this path, whether you cloth diaper for environmental reasons or not.

And, if you’re on the fence still, there’s no better time than April to join the #makeclothmainstream challenge and kick those sposies to the curb. Not literally. Remember? It may be there forever.

Happy April, guys! Do you know what that means? It’s Earth Month. And when it’s Earth Month, that means it’s time for the #MakeClothMainstream Challenge!

It may sound obvious, but the general idea of the challenge is to broaden people’s awareness of the awesomeness of cloth diapers. The main event is to bring on some cloth newbies (both high profile and general public) to give fluff a try for three weeks (and, hopefully, beyond). The ambassadors who are selected for the challenge post to social media, YouTube, and blogs to let folks know how their journey goes. And, the fact that our beloved Thirsties is one of many excited sponsors behind all the #makeclothmainstream efforts warms our hearts, doesn’t it?

The 2016#MakeClothMainstreamChallenge


While the kick-off happened last Friday (here are all the participants that were introduced), there’s still plenty of ways to get involved. The Facebook group, The Cloth Diaper Experiment, is ground zero for all things #makeclothmainstream and beyond – all year long. So, whether you’re a newbie or an old pro, feel free to join up and share your questions and/or knowledge!

You can also make sure to start implementing the hashtag in any posts using your favorite social media outlet. If there’s fluff on the bum, hashtag it! You may be surprised at how much passive awareness you can raise this way, without beating people over the head with it.

Speaking of beating people over the head (hee hee), another way to spread the word is simply to, well, spread the word! Share all things cloth on your Facebook page. Talk about your experience with cloth diapers online. You may notice that, slowly but surely, people may show a curiosity in cloth and may even ask your advice. I don’t consider myself an expert in any means, but friends know they can talk to me and ask about my favorite brands, styles, and methods without getting pressured. It seems that one of the biggest ways folks learn about cloth is through friends and family who’ve given it a try.

One last way to get involved? Just use cloth diapers! The more people – strangers out and about, your family, your friends – who see what the “modern” cloth diaper alternative looks like and how NORMAL it really is, the more mainstream they’ll become. If you use them, they will come.

So, raise your hand if you joined in on the kick-off festivities! Can you think of another way to help #makeclothmainstream?

daycare

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I’ve headed back to work after an extended maternity leave. There have been tears, and will be more, but we’re so, so lucky that my husband’s mother is taking care of our little girl, just like she has for our son. For many families going back to work after maternity/paternity leave means using cloth diapers at daycare.

I thought it’d be fun to talk about cloth diapering and your sitter (whether it’s a relative, family friend, or daycare). I’ve already talked about the fact that CDing didn’t work with our son, but I’m dedicated to it this time around. One of the reasons it failed? We didn’t want to bother our MIL with one more worry. Not only had she not cloth diapered her sons back in the day (which, for some reason, fascinates me), but our son had bad tummy issues, so was a difficult baby to care for.

I’m hoping to broach the topic after she gets the hang of juggling both kids (and, some days, a third baby!). So, today, I thought it’d be fun to check out some tips on getting your sitter on board with fluff!

Broach the topic with kindness. Start by simply asking whether or not your sitter supports cloth diapering and/or whether they’d be willing to try. If they seem hesitant, use empathy. “You’re so busy with all these children and you do such a wonderful job, I know it seems like cloth will make your job harder. That’s the last thing I want to do.”

Then, state your case. Use your own personal experience to ensure how easy cloth diapering is and your reasons for doing it. Some do it for the cost savings (which, hopefully, any daycare provider would understand), others do it for eco-friendly reasons (again, knowing how just one child’s diapers pile up after a day should be an understandable concept to a sitter), still others even do it for medical causes (no one can argue with this, and if they do, move on). Every state has different laws and standards regarding the use of cloth diapers at childcare facilities, but only mention this after you’ve exhausted all polite, open methods.

Make it easy for them. We all know that everyone prefers different cloth diaper styles. No matter what style you prefer, you become comfortable with it by developing a routine. So, of course, we know that cloth diapering is easy after a bit of practice! But, many non-believers still hold tight to the stigma of difficult, time intensive diapering.

So, don’t fight it. If you’re used to using flats or prefolds with a cover, MAYBE your sitter will want to give it a try after you show her how it’s done. But, maybe it would be wise to show her some all-in-ones to introduce arguably the easiest version of cloth diapering. I know many who know the old-fashioned way of doing things are often shocked at how simple AIOs (especially ones with aplix) can be.

And while I appreciate it when my mother-in-law tosses my son’s jelly stained shirt or muddy pair of pants in the wash, I will be requesting – firmly but cheerfully – that she not wash a single diaper. Far easier for her and far easier for us not to have to teach her our some-would-say complicated wash routine.

Tout the similarities to disposables. Outline what diaper changing time would look like and compare it to the changing of disposables. If you give your sitter the AIO option, the only real difference would be that the diaper should be put into a wet bag for you to take care of at the end of the day. If you prefer disposable wipes, these can be tossed wherever they dispose of normal diapers.

Should the daycare center provide disposables for children, you can always mention the cost savings on their side of things. You’ve already made the diaper investment for them!

Try it out. There are always nerves trying out a new sitter and entrusting anyone with the care of your child. Fighting the battle for cloth can add to this anxiousness. Try to be patient and suggest a trial period – for the sake of your child as well as reusable diapers.

If the sitter is impatient with you, inflexible, or is overall insulting about any attempts to cloth diaper, this will also give you insight into the relationship you will have regarding other possible issues. If they give it an honest go but still have issues, it’s up to you as to whether you want to try a different facility. Good daycare is hard to come by, of course, but professionalism and kindness go a long way.

There are TONS of resources that have already covered some of these topics, so here are the links to some of my favorite write-ups:

http://clothdiaperguru.blogspot.com/p/cloth-and-daycare_19.html

http://www.fluffloveuniversity.com/special-circumstances/daycare-centers-and-cloth-diapers/
http://realdiapers.org/images/print/Daycare-tip-sheet.pdf
http://www.cottonbabies.com/blog/2012/04/real-mom-talk-cloth-diapers-at-daycare.html


What are your experiences with daycare? Are you lucky enough to have a cloth-friendly sitter, or have you tried to persuade a daycare to give it a try? Feel free to comment with your own experiences and advice!