Home made baby

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I love making things at home for cheaper or for free! I enjoy reading Montessori baby blogs like Sew Liberated and getting ideas for interactive baby toys. I really liked this one rolling toy I saw and it seemed to encourage crawling, and I was able to make something like it for free! I just cleaned out a glass lemon juice jar and put some pasta in there and really tightly screwed the cap back on. Jack likes the noise it makes (which is better than the annoying mechanical noise of plastic baby toys) and he likes to try to put it in his mouth or watch it roll.

I also made organic cotton drool pads from cloth I already had for both the Beco carrier and our car seat. Around 4 months Jack started drooling a ton, so we were going through multiple bibs per day! Now it’s decreased but he still drool, and likes to try to eat the straps of things.  I used some velcro I already had, and I just try to keep the scratchy part away from his mouth.

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Since we’re doing elimination communication, I also shortened some onesies into T-shirts which makes it faster to take Jack to the bathroom without unsnapping things. People gave us a lot of onesies as gifts, so it was free to hem them and make them into more usable shirts.

I also made some organic fleece diaper liners. I bought fleece from amazon and then just cut it to fit the size of our prefolds. You don’t even have to sew anything because fleece doesn’t unravel! I think they may have shrunk a little in the dryer, so I should have washed them first or made them extra-large. It was around $20 and I made a bunch of liners, so it was a good deal especially for organic ones. They really do wisk away the moisture, but Jack still wakes up a lot at night. His diaper is always wet when he wakes up so I thought the wetness was waking him, but I guess it’s not that, or he’s sensitive enough to feel it through the fleece.

Favorite eco toys

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Everyone seems to want to give toys as baby gifts, so we have more than I would have expected. Why doesn’t anyone want to buy people useful presents like weeks of a diaper service, haha?  Luckily most people gave us eco-friendly toys since they know that is important to me. When people ask about something to buy, I generally suggest the brands Plan Toys and Haba which are available online or some stores.

Here are some of Jack’s favorite (and not so favorite) toys so far, at 6 months old:

1. Wooden spoons! He LOVES to chew on them now that he is teething. I have the spoon from this set but I’m sure any is fine. I like the shorter ones so it’s less likely that he can push it too far in his mouth. Also doubles as a drumstick against the table!

2. Wooden rattles like this. He likes the circle-shaped things that he can easily grasp and fit in his mouth. I think the hard wood feels good against his gums, because he likes biting on the wood toys more than stuffed animals or most rubber ones.

3. Wooden blocks. We have these from Plan Toys (which is an amazing company that uses great natural materials and nontoxic paint). Jack loves when I build a tower and he knocks it down, and also likes to chew on the blocks. I’m sure as he gets older he will be able to actually build and do even more.

4. He likes the natural rubber teethers too, but generally less then wooden toys. He likes the different textures of this panda which FYI is a lot darker than it looks on the picture. We also chose to get the baby sofie giraffe because it doesn’t have the squeaker inside like the big version, and it’s legs are connected so the baby won’t shove a single leg too far down their mouth.

In terms of toys that have been least useful so far, Jack has not really been interested in stuffed toys as much.  Starting at 4 months he has been trying to chew on anything, so a washcloth (possibly put in the freezer beforehand) seems more interesting to him than an expensive organic stuffed toy.

We also read baby books to Jack, but he doesn’t seem all that interested yet (at 6 months). I also couldn’t find any really non-toxic books, and he always wants to chew on them, so I think he’d rather play with things I let him put in his mouth.

Let me know if you have any other natural toy suggestions!

Plastic-free baby?

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We try to minimize plastic in our house, especially for baby items, but in today’s society it can be really hard!

I won’t go into all the issues with plastic here because it’s easy to find good info online. One study I saw recently said that even BPA-free plastic  leaches endocrine-disrupting chemicals, so we really try to buy mostly wood, stainless steel, and glass items. If you need to buy plastic, silicone is supposed to be the safest as far as I know.

Here are some things we do to try to limit plastic exposure:

  • Use cloth diapers
  • No plastic baby toys
  • No “activity mat” type things
  • Use items we already have as toys (Jack loves wooden spoons, metal spoons, cups, pans, cardboard boxes)
  • Only cook with stainless steel pans or GreenPans (no toxic “nonstick” pans)
  • Use glass bottles or stainless steel ones (Jack likes the Pura steel ones, but they leak more than the Lifefactory glass ones)
  • Use this steel ice cube tray to freeze breast milk
  • Use glass tupperware to store frozen milk (and eventually food for baby). The lids on these Anchor ones are plastic, so eventually I’ll switch them for another brand.
  • Hand express instead of pump milk
  • Use a wooden high chair with no tray or get a silicone placemat (we have this one to contain messes)

Instead of an “activity mat,” you can buy a wood activity gym,  or make your own by tying a ribbon or string across a crib or under a table and hanging some toys. Jack enjoyed our home-made play center in his crib :) I later switched the string for a nicer looking ribbon

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