- Plan Toys Lacing Sheep
- Picnica Rabbit Tote
- Western Chief Yellow Rain Boots
- Melissa & Doug Recorder
- Trader Joe’s Gourmet Jelly Beans
- Kikkerland Safari Animal Butt Magnets
- Plan Toys Bunny
- miYim Bunny – we just removed the dress to make it a boy bunny for Wade
- Yes to Carrots Body Butter – travel size at Target
- H&M Boxer Shorts
- Sequencing Puzzle Cards
I’ve written a lot about how babies come with a lot of stuff. My goal has been to acquire products that give me the most bang for my buck, so I can have less and still provide my baby with the healthiest options for his body and his earth. The products I have chosen have been the most beneficial to me so far and let me preface by saying that I certainly didn’t pay full price for anything on this list – I could never afford that. Thanks to deal sites and discount codes, I’ve scored most of it for 50-70% off the list price. Here’s my top 16:
- Calendula Cream – [organic, sustainable, non-toxic, allergen-free, made in the USA] This stuff works miracles! So far we have used it on baby acne, rashes, scrapes, scratches, craddle cap, and bug bites. No need for any other special creams – its all in one!
- Kate Quinn Organics – [organic, fair trade] My little fella is growing a lot faster than I ever expected, so I’ve had to update his wardrobe four times already! Thankfully, I snagged some fantastic deals on Kate Quinn Organics through various deal websites. I absolutely love how soft everything feels and it just gets softer and softer each time I wash it.
- Kerchief Bib – [sustainable, non-toxic, made in the USA] This is actually the one item I haven’t received yet, but I can’t wait to try it out on my slobber-monster. FYI – Layla Grayce is terrible at order fulfillment.
- Knotty Legs – [handmade in the USA] These adorable baby leggings have been helpful many a time already. They’re perfect for keeping little legs warm without getting in the way of diaper changes. Not to mention, they’re super stylish!
- Wee Gallery Art Cards – [eco-friendly] While a 4-month old can barely hold a toy yet, Wade has been learning from these art cards since the day I brought him home. He loves to look at the black and white contrast and its a good eco-friendly option because they are printed with soy ink on 100% recycled card stock with food-grade lamination, so its safe for baby even if he ends up gnawing on a corner or two.
- Moby Wrap – [organic, made responsibly in Thailand] The only negative thing I can say about my moby is that now that my baby is over 20 lbs, its hard to carry him in the front. We’ve tried the hip position, but he doesn’t have enough strength to help hold himself up yet. We’ve shelved the moby for now, but will definitely take it out again soon. Wade LIVED in this thing the first 3 months of his life. I highly recommend it to every new mom.
- Hyland’s Homeopathic Chamomilla – [natural] This is a new addition to our favorites list because Wade just started teething a few weeks ago. He started having trouble sleeping at night from the pain, so I went on a search for a natural and safe solution with no side effects. Its kind of like how I give Ronnie chamomile tea before he goes to bed. Its soothes and it works. I’ve had to use them twice and both times it helped within a few minutes.
- Under the Nile Sleeping Doll – [organic, fair trade, sustainable] We call this little guy Boo, ’cause I think he looks like a ghost. Wade loves to cuddle and gnaw on him. This company is also good for organic clothing and bedding, but we haven’t tried them out yet.
- Natural Wooden Teether by Little Sapling Toys- [sustainable, natural, non-toxic, made in the USA] So far, this is the toy that Wade can get the best grip on and he loves to chew on it. The products at Little Sapling Toys don’t splinter and don’t have chemicals in them for your baby to ingest.
- Sophie the Giraffe – [natural, non-toxic, handmade in France] I think just about the whole world knows about this amazing little toy now. Wade loves to gnaw on her face!
- Dream Blanket by Aden + Anais- [natural] This blanket is a dream! Its made of layers of natural muslin, so its super soft and warm, yet it still breathes. This is our go-to blanket for cuddle time.
- Pura Stainless Steel Bottle – [non-toxic, lifetime warranty, made responsibly in china] I love love love this bottle! Not only is it cute, but its completely non-toxic and there’s not one bit of plastic in it. A great feature is that it works with many different brands of nipples, so since Wade had taken to the Born Free bottles easily, I just use the BF nipples in my Pura bottle. I’m still exclusively breastfeeding, so we only have one bottle to put expressed milk in for when Wade needs it on Sunday mornings while he’s in the nursery.
- Primo Euro Bath – [non-toxic, made in the USA] At first, I loved my Puj tub, but Wade outgrew it sooner than I expected. After doing some searching, I finally decided on this one because its extra large, is molded to help keep baby safe in different positions, doesn’t have any extra pieces, and can hang to dry. Wade seems to enjoy the freedom of taking a bath in this luxurious tub rather than cramped in the Puj.
- Dr. Bronner’s Castile Baby Soap – [organic, fair trade, recycled packaging, no animal testing] Although I could, I don’t use this to wash the baby in the bath. I actually use it in my homemade cloth wipe solution. Put a few squirts of this in a cup full of water then add some grapeseed oil and a couple drops of tea tree oil and you’ve got the perfect solution to wipe the mess of your baby’s bum!
- American Apparel Organics – [organic, sustainable, made in the USA] I love the simple little onsies. A perfect green product for my eco-friendly baby.
- Muslin Swaddles by Aden + Anais – [natural] Made of natural muslin, these soft and breathable blankets are perfect for swaddling, cuddling, and burping your baby. Although they make patterned swaddles, we prefer the simple white ones.
At the beginning of this year, I declared war on consumption in the Bocks household and we’re now six months into our mission. I guess its time to check in. To start off, I’d rather talk about our successes first and address what we need to work on later. I still have half a year to get there, though, so let’s talk about what’s worked so far.
- Buy local produce: Now that the farmer’s markets have opened up for the season, I’ve really enjoyed taking a weekly trip to pick up some fresh produce. I even bring my own produce bags so there’s zero waste involved.
- Eliminate the trash: I’m far from complete on this one, but I have made great strides to get there.
I finally found a natural market here that has bulk bins for rice, pasta, snacks, grains, etc. I bring my own glass jars, get them weighed before filling them, and then pick out what I want. This actually turns out quite a bit cheaper. I get healthier options, and it’s zero-waste! My favorite things are the quinoa pasta, all-natural m&m’s, and the goji berries! This is our pantry – there’s still quite a bit of packaging there, but its much better than how we started out.
Milk cartons were taking up a lot of our trash space, so when I found out that I could get fresh milk and lemonade delivered in glass jars, I jumped on it. The glass jars go back to the dairy to be cleaned and refilled. While this milk isn’t certified organic like our preferred Horizon milk, they use humane organic practices on their family farms. I comfortable with that – and it costs about a buck less per half-gallon – with zero-waste! I also get some cage-free antibiotic and hormone-free eggs delivered as well.
We’ve almost ditched the revolving supply of ziploc bags and plastic bowls. I love using my glass bowls with silicone lids to store leftovers in. 🙂 Fossil-fuel free and nothing to throw away (so I get to say zero-waste again!).
Ronnie’s snacks have been a major source of trash for us around here, but I’ve been working on finding ways to avoid any trash at all. Look! A zero-waste snack pack for school (and no plastic involved either) – filtered water in a stainless steel bottle, sesame sticks, natural m&m’s, goji berries, dried apples, and a cheese wheel.
Let’s talk about diapers. I still LOVE my cloth dipes. I still use chlorine-free disposables for our day-trips away from home, but I try and use the cloth diapers as much as I can. I even worked up the nerve to add cloth wipes to our routine. I’ve had them prepared since before Wade was born, but I neglected to use them for a while. Once I added a mixture of filtered water, Dr. Bronner’s organic baby wash, tea tree oil, and grapeseed oil to my homemade wipes, I was in love. These wipes work so much better than disposables and it also means less trash to throw away. These babies go right in with the dirty diapers. Zero-waste wins again!
- Stop buying ziploc bags: While I haven’t stopped completely, I have really been focusing on using reusable bags for snacks, sandwiches, and such. Rob didn’t like it when I put a reusable bag in his lunch, though, so I’ve had to keep the ziplocs for him – I’ve managed to make the boxes last forever by really using them sparingly.
- Use washable shopping bags: I absolutely adore my flip & tumble bags. They’ve been through the washer dozens of times and they still look brand new. No more throwing away the polypropylene bags! 🙂
- Explore new ways to eliminate cleaning products from my cabinets: workin’ on it. Here’s what my cleaning shelf looks like right now:
I tried making my own laundry detergent and it worked well for a while – until it started to build up in the cloth diapers and made them stink to high heavens. So, I had to switch to Country Save, which is a natural detergent that leaves no build-up. It works great and comes in a cardboard box that I can recycle, so I can’t really complain with that.
Instead of fabric softener dryer sheets, I have discovered these wool dryer balls that cut down on drying time and soften at the same time. I even add a couple drops of essential oil to each ball about once a week to make our clothes smell super fresh!
And, as you can see, I’m still using vinegar, baking soda, and peroxide for most of my cleaning needs. I found this cool air freshener and all-purpose cleaner to use when I want some smelly-good stuff, but that’s far from zero-waste. I suppose at least I can re-use or recycle the bottles, so its not all that bad.
- Buy USA made products: I can count on my hands the number of times I’ve shopped in a Wal-mart this past year. I’ve been that good about it. While I’ve had dozens of opportunities to choose USA made over foreign products, here’s a couple of examples:
When it came time to buy Ronnie a twin-sized bed, we chose this simple wood USA-made frame. Granted, the mattresses are from IKEA, but they were the cheapest “safer” mattress option around.
And when I needed Easter presents for the kiddos this year, I opted for homemade cloth baskets, a wooden bowling set, and a wooden teether from homegrown etsy shops. Notice the absence of Easter “grass”? I figured it was a needless waste of plastic or paper, so I just left it out.
Stay tuned to find out what I still need to work on!
diaper pail (trash can) from Wal-mart / Planet Wise Diaper Pail Liner
Kissaluvs Fitted Cloth Diapers – since buying my set of cloth diapers, everyone has been telling me how they won’t fit the baby at first. Luckily, I had enough reward points with Kelly’s Closet to purchase 4 Kissa’s size 0 diapers to hold us over (at least part-time) until Wade is big enough for the others. We’ll just supplement with chlorine-free diapers. / Cloth wipes – took some hand-me-down receiving blankets and cut them into squares. We’ll just wet them with warm water when we need them.
2 towels and 4 rags handed down from a cousin / 10 BabyKicks organic wash cloths / 6 receiving blankets handed down from Ronnie – the 2 top organic ones were bought from Target on clearance / 4 OsoCozy unbleached prefolds (using them as burp cloths) / 1 extra co-sleeper sheet / Yes to Carrots baby lotion / 3 Aden + Anais cotton muslin swaddle wraps (bought with the 50% off gift card Amazon had back in January) / 1 package of newborn Seventh Generation chlorine-free diapers to get us started
7 sleepers / 5 bibs / 10 pairs of socks / 10 onesies / 5 pants / 3 sensory toys / wee gallery art cards
extras for later: crib mirror, bumbo tray, play mat, doorway jumper, baby carrier, backup formula (from the military hospital), backup diaper bag – all of this was given to me, or else I wouldn’t have any of it.
Carter’s diaper bag – I actually ordered two different handmade custom bags from an etsy shop, but ended up not liking either of them when they arrived. So, I got a refund and bought this one from Burlington Coat Factory – the diaper bag is filled with goodies we’ll need at the hospital, which I will lay out in another post, but for now I’ll just list them: moby wrap, 1 swaddle wrap, 2 prefolds, chlorine-free diapers & wipes, 2 sleepers, 3 onesies, 1 cap, 4 pairs of socks, 2 pairs of mittens, bamboo grooming kit, non-petroleum jelly, lovey (from Grammy) / puj tub (I am in LOVE with this item and can’t wait to use it) – hanging on the back of the bathroom door
12 Bum Genius cloth diapers (and a ton of extra training pants for big brother Ronnie) – under the bathroom sink
6 tops and 2 overalls all handed down from Ronnie / extra clothes 3mo-12mo / and in the bottom of the closet…
A big box full of hand-me-down clothes and shoes!
So, what do we have that you don’t see here?
- crib – handed down from Ronnie
- crib sheets and blankets – all bought or made before Ronnie was even born
- portable play pen – a gift from Rob’s mom when Ronnie was born
- a Graco infant seat – handed down from Ronnie’s infant days
- car mirror – handed down from a cousin
- Graco double stroller – my mom was able to find one discounted at Sears for only $60, so of course I snagged it up!
- Method baby wash – I love the rice milk & mallow scent! – in the tub since its what Ronnie currently uses, too.
That’s it. That’s every single thing we own for baby Wade. Stay tuned to find out what we DON’T own for our baby and why!
From the moment I found out about our little bun in the oven, I started thinking about what I’m going to do differently and what I’ll do exactly the same as my first baby. Since I’m currently on my minimalist kick, I know for sure that I won’t be buying a bunch of junk I don’t need.
Ronnie had a TON of crap. And I mean crap. I had everything from a million bottles to 4 different shopping cart covers to 2 bouncers, a swing, a jumparoo, and a dining room so full of toys that I had to move my table out. Some things worked and some things didn’t. It was a gamble every time I bought something new, and more often than not, it was a waste of money. I did get good deals on this crap due to yard sales, freecycle, and craigslist, however, I still spent more money on baby gear than was necessary.
This time, I’m taking a whole new approach. I don’t expect a baby shower this time around and, really, I’d feel guilty having another one. Family and friends came out of the wood works three years ago to shower us with very generous gifts. It just wouldn’t be right to ask for more. That means we’re going to have to purchase everything on our own this time – why not make it as simple as possible?
Luckily, I was able to keep some of the big-ticket and sentimental items from Ronnie’s baby days.
- A convertible crib. Right now, Ronnie is still using this crib as a toddler bed, but I figure that a big boy bed would be a perfect Christmas gift this year. Then, Ronnie could pass his crib down to his little brother or sister.
- A pack-n-play with bassinet and changing table. While I actually love the idea of this, it was too big to move around from room to room. I had it in our room for the first 6 months of Ronnie’s life so he could sleep next to me. It wasn’t too convenient, though, when I had to sit up and reach over the side to pat his back. What was convenient was the fact that it would break down and we could take it on vacation or outside with us. Its definitely something I’m keeping around and I’m sure we’ll get a ton of use out of it for the new baby.
- Boppy. What baby doesn’t have a boppy these days? I used this from the moment Ronnie was born till he could sit up on his own. Its so convenient for feedings and as a little prop for naps (under supervision!).
- Sleepers, Onsies, and Baby Clothes. If we have another boy, we’re set on clothes. I had some of the most adorable stuff for Ronnie! Some of it will even work for a girl, too.
- Graco Infant Seat and Stroller Set. It was definitely a pain in the butt trying to find a place to store this, but I’m super glad that I’m not going to have to shell out another $180 for this baby essential.
- Sheets, Blankets & Baby Toys. I kept a few of my favorite blankets, like the one we brought Ronnie home from the hospital in and the two that his great-grandma croched for him. I think a few is really enough to keep the new baby swaddled and warm. We still use all the same sheets and comforters on Ronnie’s toddler bed that we used in his crib. I’m sure these will just get passed down as well.
So, that’s a good start, but babies need a little more loot than that. Here’s what I’m thinking:
- Super minimalist Puj Bath Tub ($39.99). I actually went through 3 different baby tubs with Ronnie and hated every one of them. My problem came when bath time was over and it was time for my shower. I had to move and shuffle the tub around the bathroom when I needed the space. Its so not convenient. This little Puj tub is made out of foam and bends into place to support baby in any bathroom sink. When you’re done bathing, it hangs flat on the bathroom door. Super amazing and its got my vote. I can’t wait to try it.
- Organic Moby Wrap ($59.95). From what I’ve read, this is the ultimate in baby-wearing for plus-sized moms. At a 40DDD bust size, the little Hotsling I used with Ronnie was so uncomfortable that I couldn’t take more than 30 minutes of it. I’m hoping to be able to try this one out. The ergonomical design definitely appeals to me since I’ve had a bout with sciatica for the past 6 months. I definitely want to do more of the attachment parenting style with this one. I ventured into the arena with Ronnie, but it was next to impossible because I ran a 24-hour FCC home nursery with 3 other babies at any given time and my husband was deployed. I was able to hold Ronnie all night long, but not much more.
- Arms Reach Mini Convertible Natural Co-Sleeper ($189.99). This goes along with what I was saying earlier regarding the pack-n-play. I kept it right by my bed so Ronnie could sleep next to me, but he often times ended up in the bed with me because I couldn’t reach him while I was laying down. With a co-sleeper, the new baby could be sleeping in the bassinet while I still have access to him/her. I love this idea because this particular one serves as a co-sleeper, bassinet, play pen, and changing table – all in one! We’ll also be able to move it around from room to room as often as we need because of its small size. Even if the baby is napping in the bassinet, I can have him/her close to me. I like that. Its definitely the big ticket item, but I think it will be worth it.
- American Red Cross Health Care Kit ($13.65). While this is something that I actually still have and use from Ronnie’s baby days, I think it would be appropriate to buy the new baby his/her own.
- Huggies Pure & Natural Diapers. I’d love to be the ultra eco-friendly mommy and use cloth diapers, but I’ll be honest and say that I just don’t have the balls for it. I actually bought a set for Ronnie at one point and got scared before I even opened the package. I ended up sending them back for a refund. I use these Huggies Pure & Natural diapers for Ronnie’s nights now, so I expect to use the same for the new baby. Who knows though, baby might decide he/she wants something else and I’ll have to find an alternative.
- Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow 4oz Wide Neck Bottles -BPA Free ($9.99 for a set of two). My plan is to breast feed, but as I found out with my first, the baby doesn’t always stick to your plan. Pumping for the first month just to give him breast milk was exhausting, so I’m hoping this one with latch on quick. With Ronnie, I had more bottles than I could keep up with. The top rack of my dishwasher stayed full with bottles. A friend of mine, who had her baby a few months after me, totally opened my eyes when I found out she only used one bottle – ever. She’d feed the baby, wash the bottle, and use it again. Genius! It sounds so simple, yet most new moms stock up on tons and tons to make sure we “have enough.” When the bottle got grimey from the wear and tear, she’d toss it and buy another one. I guarantee she spent HUNDREDS less on bottles than I did. I plan to take this simplistic approach this time around. It will also protect me against having to change brands. With Ronnie, I was dead-set on using the Platex bottles. Of course, I spent a ton and a few sets of them only to find out that Ronnie had reflux and I needed to use the Dr. Brown’s instead. This time around, I’ll only have to replace two bottles instead of twenty if that happens.
- Bumbo Baby Seat ($41.49), I can not say enough good things about the Bumbo seat! I wish I had kept ours because these do come out pretty pricey, but I needed the space. Plus, I figured if my mom could snag one at the thrift store for $10 once, she could do it again. This Bumbo seat worked wonders for keeping Ronnie in place and helping him to learn how to sit up. I also used it as a feeding chair until he got too big for it and had to move up to a booster seat. I’ll definitely get another one for the new baby.
- Clothes, Bibs, Burp Cloths, and Wash Cloths. These are all pretty standard things, but I plan to keep it to a minimum and stay within a natural color palette. These are the items that you can’t really plan for because I know I’ll walk into baby gap and fall in love with the sleeper on sale and buy it. Its just going to happen that way.
So, I’ve known that I’m pregnant for all of 3 days and I’ve already got it all mapped out. How neurotic am I? I guess I just need something to plan. I’m a HUGE planner; I like to know everything about everything before it happens. With our upcoming move, I can’t plan a lick. Being able to do this is helping to tie up all that nervous energy!