Tuesday, March 29, 2011

You can be green and save green!

I don't necessarily consider myself a very green person, but I do like it when something I already do has added environmental benefits.  I like these things even more when it has an impact on my wallet, no matter how small.

Some of the biggest things that I do have come about because of my son.  The three biggest being, breastfeeding, homemade baby food and cloth diapers.

I think I always knew that I would breastfeed my children.  Not only do I feel that this is what is best for them but it is also FREE!  This was something that I really had to work for in the beginning.  Because my son was early he had a hard time latching and therefore, I had to pump and feed him with a bottle.  He eventually caught on and we no longer need bottles!  I understand that there are sometimes circumstances where breastfeeding is very difficult or even impossible and other mothers make the choice not to breastfeed and I feel that there is nothing wrong with using formula.  I give those momma's props for being able to get up in the middle of the night and to be awake enough to fix a bottle.  I had to do that for the first few weeks when I was pumping and to me that is a lot harder than the alternative!

Homemade baby food was not something I really thought about until I was pregnant with my son.  I have always really liked to cook and baby food is one of the easiest things that you can make.  I liked the idea that I would know what my baby was eating and where it came from.  I also liked that once he was ready to transition to regular food, the food wasn't going to taste any different from what he had been eating from day one, it was just going to be in bigger chunks.  The Today Show had a segment one morning where Norah O'Donnell and her husband Chef Geoff Tracy were promoting their book "Baby Love" which is all about food for babies and toddlers.  It was during this segment that I learned how much money you can save making your own baby food.  Commercial baby food costs around $.20 an ounce where as homemade baby food is typically under $.10 an ounce.  That is half the cost!  Making my own food doesn't really take that much time either.  I can spend less than a hour and have 2 weeks worth of food for my son.  You can do that while you are waiting for your dinner to cook in the oven!

Cloth diapering is NEVER something that I saw myself doing.  I knew of a few people who cloth diapered their children and honestly I didn't get it!  Why would anyone want to wash pee and poop off of anything when it is just as easy to throw it away?  (Writing that now, I can see how bad that sounds.)  It wasn't until I realized how much disposable diapers cost, how much trash they produce and how much stink they make that I started doing some research.  I found that there were a lot of advantages to cloth diapers.  After doing the math I figured out that it would cost roughly $1500 for 2.5 years of diapers, and most kids are not potty trained by 2 and a half.  You can get a good stash of cloth diapers that will last until potty training for under $200!  These calculations are just for the diapers, it does not include all the other diaper related stuff (wipes, creams, disposal fees, detergents, etc.).  Disposable diapers produce a lot of trash.  We probably doubled our weekly trash when we were using disposable diapers.  That is some HEAVY trash too!  Unless you take every single dirty disposable diaper outside, you are going to smell them.  I was surprised how little dirty cloth diapers smell.  Even in an open wet bag, I can only smell them if i stick my nose in the bag.  Washing the diapers is not nearly as bad as I had imagined it would be either.  It only requires a little extra work and I actually find that I would rather do diaper laundry than regular laundry.  The last advantage and one that I was surprised by the most, is how darn cute they are!  There are so many cute diapers out there and unlike disposable diapers, they don't get saggy!  I love my little fluffy bottomed boy!

I have a new found love for being green and I love that it is allowing me to save a bit of green in the process!

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