Monday, January 31, 2011

New Feature!

It took me a while to figure out how to do it, but I have added an email subscription to my blog. If you want to get emails of when I update, add your email and you'll be in the know!!

Thanks for reading and visiting my blog over the past year. I hope I have touched on worthwhile topics, and have enriched your life somehow!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Charlie's Soap

“If you want flowers, go pick some.” - Charlie’s Soap

We started using Charlie’s Soap last summer when we started washing all of our new baby clothes. I was talking to a friend who uses cloth diapers and she was telling me how important it is to use a laundry detergent that is free of all additives for cloth diapers. If there is any residue left from the detergent, it makes the diapers less absorbent. There is a list of approved laundry detergents on several cloth diapering websites I was visiting, but she told me about Charlie’s Soap and now we use it exclusively.

Most name brand detergents (ok, all name brand detergents) have additives on top of additives. These are chemicals to make your clothes smell good, look brighter, and remove stains. These chemicals get mixed into the fibers of the clothes and remain there. Have you ever been somewhere there was a black light and noticed splashes and streaks all over everyone’s clothes? Those are optical brighteners. They deposit into clothes to make the colors brighter. Not good for babies’ skin, clothes, cloth diapers, or the environment for that matter. Charlie's Soap is free of all of these additives.

With Charlie’s Soap you do not even need to use fabric softener. The reason fabric softener is necessary to have soft clothes is because of all the chemical additives in regular laundry detergent. These additives would make clothes stiff and crunchy so along comes the fabric softener (or dryer sheets) to deposit even more additives to now make your clothes soft. Charlie’s Soap cleans clothes effectively without depositing residues on them, so it does not produce the crunchy clothes effect.*

Because the chemical additives in regular laundry detergents are not good for babies’ clothing and bedding, most people I know separate their babies’ laundry from their laundry so they can use the “sensitive” or “free” types of laundry detergent. There is no need to do this with Charlie’s Soap. We wash everything with it. That is a major advantage because Mary Abilene only has a few dark colored clothes. I can’t imagine running a load for a couple of onsies; they just get thrown in with our dark clothes.

Plus, Charlie’s Soap is actually cheaper than regular laundry detergent! I get the 80 load laundry powder locally at my herb shop (they also have it at a retailer that sells cloth diapers) for $11. 80 loads for $11 plus I do not have to buy any fabric softener! I’m pretty sure we are saving money there.

Better for the environment
Cheaper – no fabric softener, do not have to separate baby’s clothes, so fewer washes.
Just clean – no fragrances or optical brighteners
Good for cloth diapers

Clothes come out a little rough if you have hard water
Some static in the winter

*Our laundry actually does come out a bit rough. This is because of the limestone in our water. The limestone is depositing on our clothes, not the detergent. I think I’ve gotten used to it, but I didn’t like it for awhile. I can either use more Charlie’s Soap to combat the limestone and wash it away, or Charlie’s Soap says they are coming out with an additive to combat the hard water. Not sure about this since it is not out yet. Even with the slightly rougher clothes, I wouldn’t go back to Tide. I’ve gotten used to the scent of clean instead of fragrances.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mom's Diner - Open All Night!!

I can't have a pregnancy/baby blog without talking about breastfeeding. I've kinda delayed this post since I thought some people might be sensitive to the subject. But I can not resist any longer. I love nursing my baby, and it is truly the most special time for both me and Mary Abilene.

Breastfeeding is the perfect design for mother and baby, and specifically formulated for YOUR baby.  Did you know that if you have a preemie the nutrition in your breastmilk is different than for a full term baby?  The milk content changes as your baby ages.  There is nothing more perfect in the world than your milk for your baby.  It is essentially manna from Heaven. Food provided essentially out of nowhere. Aside from the nutrition, it is the most precious bond I can image between mother and child.  Anyone can feed your baby a bottle, only you can breastfeed your baby. 

I saw an article that said in the late 1950's and early '60's, only 9% of women left the hospital breastfeeding.  That is shocking and sad.  Formula companies were booming and they were making every effort to get women to use their formula rather than breastfeed.  They even thought cow's milk was superior to human milk.  Let's think.  Cow's milk is for baby cows.  Kangaroo's milk is for baby kangaroos.  And human milk is for baby humans.  Even the AAP, nowadays, says that a mother should breastfeed exclusively for six months (that means no solids for six months either.)  And then continue for AT LEAST a year.  (Surprising the AAP recommends this, since no one makes any money off breastfeeding. But enough of the cynicism, I digress.)  It is hard, in this American culture, to find women that breastfeed beyond a year, but almost every other culture breastfeeds well past that year.  Some even continue to nurse until the next baby is born.  Just food for thought.

The formula companies spend lots and lots of money convincing you that you do not need to breastfeed and that formula is a good replacement. Congress wanted to start a Breastfeeding campaign and the formula companies put a hasty stop to that. All they care about is your money. NOT your baby.

Ok, so my  point of this post is to share some hard facts on breastfeeding versus formula feeding.  I got this fact sheet when I took a breastfeeding class before Mary Abilene was born.  The following are highlights from the sheet, because the whole thing won't fit on my blog...

Aside from the cost of formula itself, which is typically $1500-$2000 per year, not breastfeeding is costing a lot in health care. In an article by Hoey and Ware (1997) they stated the total annual cost of not breastfeeding was $1.186 to $1.301 BILLION in health care expenses.

Breastfeeding contains 100,000 living cells in every teaspoon, while formula is dead and has none. Formula also only contains some of the nutritional ingredients and none of the antibodies or immunity.

I didn't know until just recently that almost all formula contains high fructose corn syrup! Sometimes it is even the first ingredient!!

So, the long and short of it is that Breast really is Best. I understand people do have problems breastfeeding. It is important to find a lactation consultant as soon as possible! And stick with it if at all possible. Even if you have to supplement. It is so worth it. I wouldn't give up breastfeeding for anything in the world.