Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Diaper Bag Detox - by Nicole Reed

When I was pregnant with my first child, I felt intimidated when I saw seasoned moms lugging around large diaper bags that could have easily passed for suitcases. Do I really need that much equipment to go in public with my child? Just the thought of packing all of that mysterious “stuff” was enough to convince me that we would never leave the house once our baby was born.

I found out that babies are, in fact, incredibly portable (that’s why God made them tiny). I also discovered that diaper bags are huge and overflowing because moms either:
A)     Are incredibly over-prepared OR
B)     Never take anything out of their diaper bags and just keep piling new junk on top of the old junk. The bottom of their diaper bags become a graveyard for crumbled crackers, ancient receipts and tiny ponytail holders.

Not that category B specifically describes my diaper bag or anything.

So what does a mom really need in her bag? Items that will help her change, feed, clean and entertain her baby (or babies!)

Most of the moms I knew had disposable everything (wipes, diapers, bags to dispose of disposable diapers, take and toss cups, plastic snack bags, etc.) in their diaper bags because they felt like it would be easier.

I am definitely of the “Whatever works for you family” philosophy, but I personally wasn’t comfortable with creating so much waste every time I left the house.

I have two kids under two, both in cloth, and I can fit everything into a regular diaper bag. If you’re interested in doing a “green makeover” on your diaper bag and need some suggestions, here’s a peek into mine:

-A few cloth diapers for each kid. My personal favorites are TotsBots and BumGenius Elementals because I can quickly snap down the rise to fit either my 2 year old or my 12 week old. If you only have one kid in cloth, AIOs or a diaper cover and a couple of inserts are also great options.
-Cloth wipes and diaper spray to clean spills, wipe noses, face, hands and little bottoms. I also use my Hosie’s diaper spray as a hand sanitizer on the go since its antimicrobial and antibacterial.
-A wet bag for dirty diapers
-Fuzzibunz changing pad – a great alternative to the plastic ones!
-a sippy cup and a planetwise snack bag
-a lightweight blanket, change of clothes for the baby and a book for my toddler.
-a slightly bruised orange and an overdue library book

The last ones are optional, although they never fail to be at the bottom of my bag.

This diaper bag is a no-brainer for parents on the go and just as easy as its disposable counterpart. No need to buy an endless supply of little plastic snack bags and disposable wipes. A diaper bag full of reusable items is overall less overwhelming and less expensive. I just throw these basic items in my bag, my ergo carrier in the backseat of my car (and my children, of course) and I’m ready to go!

Here’s a picture of some of the essentials. They happen to fit nicely in a (manly) backpack for my husband.

*Contact your local eLeMeNO-Pee representative if you are interested in any of these products

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Why I love my Ergo - by Tonia Neal

Babywearing has been around since the beginning of time. Before we had strollers, bouncers, and Pack ‘N’ Plays, we had our arms…and maybe a scrap of hide to tie our babies to our bodies. We carried them.  Fast forward to 2013, and many of us still instinctually hold our babies close while trying to navigate all that parenthood requires of us. Modern studies are showing that our instincts have once again led us down the right path. We now know that carrying our babies’ decreases fussiness, helps to facilitate breastfeeding by aiding in the production of prolactin & oxytocin, reduces the risk of  SIDS, and contributes to proper physical and emotional development.

Like our ancestors before us, modern mamas need their hands free to make the world go ‘round. That’s where contemporary baby carriers come in. There are many types out there: woven and stretchy wraps, ring slings, Asian style carriers, soft structured carriers, and different styles of each. My favorite by far is the ERGObaby carrier. Many families agree! The “ERGO,” as it is known, is one of the best selling baby carriers on the market.
So what makes it the best? Our daily schedule includes at least 3 hours of babywearing. My son takes a nap in the ERGO every morning, rides in it while I’m tending to his sister after school, and checks out the world from his perch in the carrier each evening. That doesn’t include grocery shopping, play dates, volunteer time, or any other time I need to carry him and have my hands free.  From this experience, I’ve found that the ERGO excels in the following areas:
  • Quickness – The ERGO is shockingly easy to get on and off. Two buckles and you’re done. I don’t even have to put him down if he’s already in my arms. If I need to put him on my back, I just slide him around once he’s buckled in.  

  • Construction– This was a big deal to me when searching for a carrier. Knowing how much time I’d be using it, I looked for something with lots of comfortable padding and a wide seat to support baby’s spine and legs. 

  • Overall support – Not only is the padding resilient, the ERGO distributes my baby’s weight evenly across my hips, taking pressure off my back and shoulders. Many carriers like ring slings and woven wraps are good for short amounts of time but if you need to do some serious babywearing, which we now know to be beneficial, the type of support the ERGO offers is essential. It allows me to move around easily and doesn’t throw off my center of gravity.

  • Availability and style – ERGObaby carriers come in a large variety of colors and patterns. There is something for everyone and they are readily available in our retail store, online, or through your local consultant. It’s important to make sure you are purchasing through and authorized dealer like eLeMeNO-Pee, because unfortunately, counterfeits are common and potentially dangerous. 

  •  No learning curve – With a kindergartener, a new baby, working from home, and running a household, I just plain don’t have time to dedicate to learning the ins and outs of a carrier. The ERGO is self-explanatory; just put baby in and buckle. If you do have any questions, your consultant can help you tweak the fit and get it just right. It adjusts to fit a wide variety of body types. My husband is 5’11” and 200 lbs, I’m 5’4” and 135 lbs (yes, I just revealed my postpartum weight in the name of babywearing) and the ERGO fits us both beautifully. 

  • Durability – Made from materials that are sturdy and meant to be worn for long stretches, ERGOs stand the test of time. I use the carrier anywhere from 20-30 hours a week on average and it still fits and supports like the first time I put it on. 

  • Value - The ERGO can carry up to 40lbs. You know what that means? I’m getting my money’s worth. Based on my current usage, that’s over 4000 hours of babywearing! I’d say that’s a good investment. 
With all the information coming out regarding the advantages of keeping our babies close, most families are on the prowl for a modern carrier. Like cloth diapers, there are a lot of styles to choose from. We are all looking for something that’s comfortable and reliable. I’ve found all I need and more in the ERGObaby carrier. Considering making babywearing a part of your daily life? Looking for a carrier that is versatile and easy to use?  I recommended giving the ERGO a shot. Scope out the colors and prints, call up your consultant, try it on, and join the club!