Soap for Goodness Sake shampoo bar review

It's kind of sad that this is the best picture I could find with my hair down

It’s kind of sad that this is the best picture I could find with my hair down

I didn’t get paid to write this or anything, but I wanted to share a new product I’ve been using for several months now and loving! I got the tea tree oil Soap for Goodness Sake shampoo bar because it had a 0 ranking on the EWG’s skin deep list which means no bad chemicals. I ended up loving it for many reasons!

  1. You can use it as shampoo and as a soap bar so it eliminates needing separate shampoo, soap, and even conditioner!
  2. It makes my hair less frizzy (I have really curly hair and believe it or not is used to dry way frizzier than in the picture above which is how it looks now with no product)
  3. I find I no longer need conditioner, so that eliminates a step in the hair washing process
  4. It works as well for dandruff as chemically other shampoos
  5. It’s a solid so it’s easy to take on a trip and won’t spill in your bag. It also isn’t problematic for taking in a caryyon bag since it’s not a liquid
  6. It’s on amazon which is convenient

A few things that aren’t the best about it: it seems to take more effort to wash completely out of my hair, and it does sting your eyes if it gets in them which is not uncommon for shampoo, but is still a con. It also takes a bit longer to lather into my hair rather than squirting a liquid shampoo into it.

Overall I’m thrilled with it and will definitely buy it again. I was looking for a natural shampoo option but didn’t really want to try the whole vinegar wash thing since that seemed like a hassle, so I like that this is natural and also I can just buy it and don’t have to put much work into it. It also lasts for a long time.

Review of Pedoodles shoes and age-by-age shoe guide

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I recently bought Jack some pedoodle shoes because they are pretty eco friendly. They use recycled leather and rubber which is nice and are supposed to have flexible soles. They also have velcro which is really easy to use and are pretty wide which is good for baby feet.

I think that pedoodles are great for people who want a more structured shoe, and would be better for slightly older toddlers, maybe at least 2-3 years old. I think at 18 months Jack still needs shoes that are more flexible. The leather upper part is not very flexible, so I think shoes like the Soft Star ones with very soft leather are ideal for where Jack is now. He was also able to pull off the velcro tabs but I imagine that’s the case with most velcro shoes. From my shoe experience so far (we’ve tried a lot of brands!), this is what I think worked best for us and what I’d do with a future child:

0-12 months: no shoes until baby starts walking. We just used socks with the skid-proof bottoms.

12 months-15 months (starting to stand/walk until they are really confident walkers): very soft shoes with leather all around (no rubber which while it can be described as “flexible” is never as flexible as leather or cloth). For the very early walking months I love BabyPaws which is formaldehyde-free leather and has velcro to have an adjustable fit. Leather shoes that are mocassin style with elastic closure like Robeez or the more nontoxic version, Bobux are adorable but didn’t fit Jack’s feet and aren’t adjustable. We kept Jack in all leather shoes for about 4 months. The shoes got holes after about 2 months, and also aren’t waterproof, but they are amazing in the learning to walk stage.

15 months-24 months (confident walker to runner):  Soft star classic shoes (ideally with velcro closure). They have a rubber sole which is flexible (but not as much as leather) and have a very soft leather top. They last a lot longer than the all leather shoes and don’t get wet when walking through puddles. We used these sometimes around 12 months if it was wet out but Jack was clearly more comfortable in the soft shoes until he became a proficient walker. The soft star company is my all time favorite for shoes- they have formaldehyde-free leather and are hand made in the US.

24 months plus: Stick with soft star, or try other shoes with “flexible” rubber soles and a more structured leather upper like the Pedoodles. The pedoodles are eco friendly and use recycled materials but they don’t use formaldehyde-free leather. FYI neither does Livie and Luca whom I also emailed.

BabyPaws soft soled shoe review

Jack wearing his baby paws

Jack wearing his baby paws

When Jack started walking, I researched a lot of brands to find non-toxic soft soled shoes for babies. I previously reviewed SoftStar shoes which I liked for their leather shoes with rubber soles that work well in wet weather. However, for completely soft everyday shoes my favorite brand is Baby Paws. I didn’t get anything for writing this review, but I wanted to share information in case anyone else is looking.

Pros:

  • The shoes are made of formaldehyde-free nontoxic leather
  • They are also chromium-free and pass tests for  acetaldehyde and glutaraldehyde
  • They are hand made in Australia
  • Most of them have velcro which works well because you can customize the ankle opening size (Jack’s ankles were too chubby for moccasin style shoes!)
  • They are completely soft leather all around and are the closest things to socks I’ve tried
  • They are easy to put on (our soft stars with laces are a little more time consuming)

Cons:

  • Because they are so soft they wear out faster- ours got holes in about 2 months
  • The lighter colored shoes look dirty easily
  • They are a little pricey, but there are also often sales
  • The sizes only go up to 24 months (soft star goes up to adult)

Overall we have loved them and are on our 2nd pair already! Jack even brings me his shoes to put on when I say we are going for a walk.

Review of Soft Star nontoxic children’s shoes

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Note: I didn’t get paid for doing this review, it’s just based on my own experiences

I spent a ton of time looking up companies that make kids shoes that are nontoxic and this one which makes shoes in Oregon is one of the best. I’ve ordered Jack two pairs of these adorable shoes from Soft Star shoes which are nontoxic leather without formaldehyde. I love how eco friendly the company is. Not only is their leather safely processed, but when I emailed them for more information about it they said:

Our leather is a by-product of the meat industry but we take every effort to use all of the leather (scraps for craft projects, schools, etc). We have a philosophy to  “walk lightly” on the earth and we do everything in our shop to do that.

I debated getting vegan shoes, but they are basically made from petroleum which is not eco friendly or safe for children.

Here are some pros and cons:

Pros:

  • They look like old fashioned adorable moccasins
  • The laces make them adjustable (more than shoes with elastic which didn’t fit Jack well)
  • They are pretty weather safe for rainy days
  • The company has many options such as sandals, shoes with elastic or velcro, and boots
  • You can choose from a large array of colors
  • They are hand made in the USA
  • The company makes shoes for babies through adults

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Cons:

  • The laces take longer to tie up than shoes with velcro or elastic
  • They are a little pricey (this version is $30, but others are $40+)
  • For Jack, the shoes were too easy to pull off, so I punched some extra holes and fixed the problem, but I’m sure that depends on the baby (Jack has pretty chubby ankles so things slide off his feet easily)
  • The soles are flexible but not as flexible as 100% leather shoes, so I think these are best for children, not 1st shoes for babies. The company makes other all leather moccasins that have elastic closure that would be better for babies because they are super flexible, although maybe less weather resistant.
  • softer soled moccasins from soft star

Review of babyhawk mei tai

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My friend has a babyhawk mei tai she let me borrow, so I was excited to try it out with Jack (13 months old and weighing 23 pounds). I am always looking for carriers that have good neck support because he likes leaning his head backwards which hurts my back, but he hates having a hood over his head. 

I wanted to compare it to the carriers I already have, and the headrest was about 2 inches shorter than the bamberoo, but an inch taller than the tula. The width is also a little smaller than my toddler carriers, and the waist belt is not padded and narrower.

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babyhawk vs. toddler bamberoo

 

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babyhawk vs. toddler tula

Pros of the babyhawk mei tai:

  • It can be made of organic cotton
  • It’s easier to do a high back carry than other structured carriers
  • It can be cheaper than other carriers, especially other toddler ones
  • It folds up really small
  • It can be reversible so you have a manly print for your husband and a cute print for the wife :)
  • Pretty nice sized headrest that didn’t fold down easily
  • You can criss cross the straps behind you during a front carry which gives extra support
  • You can do a hip carry with it

 

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Cons of the mei tai:

  • The waist band is not padded so I found it to be MUCH less comfortable for wearing my heavy boy longer than a few minutes
  • The long straps you use to tie it on would hit the floor if you were putting it on outside and get dirty
  • Harder to tighten after you have the baby inside than a buckle carrier where you just pull the strap

Overall I decided it just wasn’t comfortable enough with my heavy boy to get one, and it made me appreciate my other carriers a lot more. I bet it would work better for little babies though.

Bumgenius 4.0 pocket diaper review

Jack at 22 pounds wearing a bumgenius 4.0 diaper

Jack at 22 pounds wearing a bumgenius 4.0 diaper

Before a month or so ago, I didn’t understand why people liked pocket diapers. You have to wash the whole thing (the cover and insert) each time, instead of with covers and prefolds which we mostly use where you only sometimes have to wash the cover if it gets dirty. With wool, you really only have to wash it rarely when it gets poop on it.

However, Jack is really sensitive to being wet (hopefully means he’ll be out of diapers sooner than later!) so using cotton prefolds meant changing his diaper A LOT, and him getting upset in the car for example if his diaper got wet. When he was a few months old we started using eco-friendly disposables (the Bambo Nature brand which is even compostable) when we were driving more than a few minutes or other people were watching him who didn’t want to check if a diaper was wet every 5 minutes.

Once I thought about it, I realized it makes more sense for the environment and Jack’s chemical exposure to use pocket diapers instead of disposables. Pocket diapers (or stay-dry all-in-ones like bumgenius Freetimes) are really similar to disposables in that they have a stay-dry layer (it’s polyester based in the 4.0s) so Jack doesn’t really feel wet. I’ve tested it, and it works really well! You can leave them on for longer like a disposable and they almost never feel wet. Obviously it’s not as nice as organic cotton and wool, but better than disposables. I also tried the Bummies stay-dry liners, and they were way smaller than a trifolded prefold, so they didn’t keep everything feeling dry. 

What I like about the Bumgenius 4.0 pocket diapers:

  • They are one-size, so I could use them on a newborn in the future
  • They fit pretty trim-ly and stay on well
  • They have cute colors and some adorable patterns 
  • They are made in the USA
  • You can adjust the absorbency (we use organic prefolds, and put 2 in if we use them overnight)
  • They have good resale value if you change your mind about them
  • They really stay dry!
  • I haven’t had a big issue with leaks 
  • You can wash them in a machine unlike wool which is usually by hand
  • The tab area is stretchy so that it gets a really good fit around the waist

Negatives about them:

  • They are polyester inside and the outside part has PUL which is not as nice as natural fibers
  • Because of the PUL they are less breathable than wool, so we use wool part-time too in order to make sure we avoid diaper rashes
  • They can be expensive, and even if you buy used (try diaperswappers.com) they are not that discounted
  • The velcro ones get pilly, and they dug into Jack’s thigh and made him all red. The snaps are great though

Overall, they have been a great middle-ground between the most natural option (organic wool with organic cotton prefolds) and disposables, and I am kind of addicted to the adorable patterns!

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Comparison of the Orbit infant and toddler car seats

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my Toyota Corolla with a toddler seat on a base in the middle seat, and the infant seat next to it for comparison

 

We recently bought the Orbit toddler car seat for Jack now that he is almost a year old and seemed to want to look outside and be more upright. We used the infant Orbit seat up until now, so I wanted to compare the two seats.

Like I’ve said before, we got the Orbit brand because they are the only brand with NO brominated flame retardants (Britax is working on reducing them which is a good step too). Orbit is also the only Oeko-Tex certified nontoxic car seat.

Thoughts on the infant seat:

  • I liked the cloth-like handle which was more comfortable to carry
  • It seemed pretty heavy
  • In my Toyota Corolla, it took up a lot of room, so I never really pivoted it and removed it because it was wedged in there
  • After about 6 months it got annoying to lift the baby up and over the side into the seat, but that probably also makes it safer
  • It was easy to take off the cloth part and machine wash it

Thoughts on the toddler seat:

  • If you put it on the base, it’s SO easy to install- we had it up and running in 2 minutes
  • The way to adjust the harness length is the same as the infant seat so it’s easy to figure out
  • On the base, it decreases the visibility in my Toyota Corolla by almost 50% vertically in the rear window
  • That also means the baby gets to sit up really high and have a good view out the window
  • It’s HEAVY!
  • it’s a lot easier to put my (now 22 pound) baby in and get him out since you don’t lift him over the side
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view out the rear mirror of my Toyota Corolla with the toddler seat on a base in the middle seat

 

Overall I was really glad that the toddler and infant seats can both fit in my little Corolla, so that if we end up with 2 or 3 kids they could technically all fit. It would be hard with 3 to get the middle kid in their seat I guess, but not as bad if you put the infant seat in the middle and didn’t have to reach over it.

In general, I really like the Orbit seats and it makes me so happy that my baby isn’t breathing toxic fumes in there! He also seems a lot happier now in the toddler seat since he can see more, and sit upright more.

Loveybums diaper cover review

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Jack weighing 20 pounds in a size Medium cover

Loveybums are one of our favorite wool diaper sources! I found them initially when I was pregnant and registered for some of their newborn diaper covers on amazon, and then realized that there was a bigger selection of colors and diapers on their web page. Luckily I was able to register for some diapers there through the amazon registry where you can link to items on outside web pages. They were one of the only places I found colorful organic wool diaper covers. Etsy and disana and other brands have organic options too, but mostly in pull-up styles.

In the picture above, Jack is wearing the green organic wool cover in a Medium with velcro, and he is wearing a large with snaps below.

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Jack weighing 20 pounds in a size Large cover

 

I like that you can choose between snaps or velcro for any color/size. I’ve found that the sizing is really accurate, and the snaps especially can last a lot longer than even the maximum size limit. However, the velcro starts to scratch Jack’s stomach when he gets to the end of the size range.

We have the cornflower blue, the green, and the yellow colors and they are all adorable! I don’t think I would ever get a white one because they would look dirty so easily. They seem very comfortable and breathable, and Jack never gets any diaper rashes. We use these covers during the day now, and the disana pull-ups at night because they leak the least. We only rarely have problems with the loveybums leaking, and that is just when Jack’s penis ends up pointing to the side by accident- the wool itself never leaks.

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The diapers are cut wide between the legs for fewer leaks, but are bulky

Each diaper comes with some sample lanolin, so I haven’t had to buy any lanolin yet. They have instructions as well, and it’s really easy to lanolize them. I have even used them without lanolizing for a few days and didn’t have any problems with leaks. I use wool wash to spot clean them when poop gets on them, and they have never had a problem smelling bad. They do take a while to dry if they are completely soaked, so it’s good to have a few as backups.

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The tag sticks out on the back, but at least it doesn’t bother the baby’s skin

Jack has super sensitive skin but the wool has never bothered him. I love the fact that it is organic so it wouldn’t have any pesticides on it. We use the covers with a trifolded prefold, and have also used snappis in the past. Both methods work well, but we are just too lazy for the snappis :) The covers are made of two layers of wool, so they are really absorbent but not very trim. We can wear them under pants, but Jack does look like he’s got a lot of extra padding. There is also no drooping because there are 3 snaps on either side (except in newborn sizes). Overall, we love these covers and have just ordered some more in the large size now that Jack is getting bigger!