Tips for Buying a Highchair

10-21-16-high-chair-option-1While some baby products regularly make the “didn’t need that” lists, a high chair proves one of the most enduring baby gadgets found in almost every home where a baby dwells. These days many are shaped and customized for more than just feeding in mind.

A few things to consider:

Do you want a chair that will last just until baby can sit at the table with you, or one that might transition well into the preschool years? Will you need a durable chair that will last multiple children or just to use every once in a while at grandma’s house?

Do you have a preference for wood or plastic? Plastic options tend to be less expensive, but wooden high chairs these days often boast the ability to multi-function over the years from baby seat to booster to full-size chair that can hold an adult’s weight that can pull up to any table, including an office desk.

Safety first!
Though listed third in this list safety is of upmost importance. Make sure there is a crotch post and five-point harness to ensure baby is fully secure. If the chair has wheels or reclining options, make sure they lock securely. Chairs also can meet specific standards of safety, noted by a ASTM sticker label.

Special features.
I’ve mentioned some mulit-functioning features already. We used our basic seat before baby was ready to eat as a way to, for short periods of time, play sitting up once she was stable enough to enjoy the view. If you need a chair to assist with bottle feeding, look for options that can slightly recline. Some, particularly wooden options, offer height adjustments to accommodate larger children.

Where will it be used?
If you need an on-the-go option consider a seat like Chicco’s hook-on seats that clip directly onto the most tables. If you plan to pull baby up to your table, do you have a standard height table or taller? Some high chairs are made to fit onto most dining chairs, like the Fisher Price Space Saver.

How much space?
Like the Chicco and Fisher Price options listed above there are small, space-saving options if you don’t have much room. Some designs are so sleek, like the Stokke Tripp Trapp, they can fit to the table and are versatile enough to be used as a seat in the office or stand as furniture in the corner of the living room. Note some high chairs may appear large and bulky, but easily fold to a small, manageable size that can easily stow away.

Is it easy to use/clean?
Babies and messes go hand in hand, especially for those years they sit in a high chair. You want a smooth surface that is easy to wipe down, and removable parts (like its tray and any cloth material) are particularly useful. Also test the various buckles and latches to ensure they work to your liking. A frustrating buckle will still be there day after day of use, so make sure you like the functionality of the design details.

New or Used.
The perks of a new chair mean you get the cleanest and possibly most innovative product to date. Used options often sell for very low prices on buy/sell/trade pages and in the online classifieds like Craigslist. Before buying used grab the model number and date (usually located on a sticker on the chair) and check online to ensure the chair was not recalled. Wash the material and wipe your chair down well. Good as new!

Lynette is a mom of three children from 6 months to age four. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016
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Have I Outgrown Social Media?

10-20-16-outgrowing-social-media-option-1Scroll. Scroll… scroll.

It started innocently enough five years ago. I researched strollers. Which brand should I buy? Which one is smoothest for jogging? How smoothly does the front wheel pivot? It costs HOW much? Oh wait… a giveaway! I’ll enter the giveaway! Just like these 20 Instagram accounts and I could win! Ok. Cloth diapers. Which brand should I buy? Group? Sure I’ll join your group. Seasons of life start like this, at least for a new soon-to-be-mom and solidly through my second child’s first year.

Here I am with baby number three, at six months old, and I’m tired of scrolling through Instagram photos of single strollers and belly belts. It’s not you, it’s me. I’ve outgrown you. I don’t mean to be brutal. After all, you’ve supported me with encouraging words, kept me company through many sleepless nights of nursing. But unfollow. Unfollow. Unfollow. Don’t get me wrong, there is a core group that will always keep me going. I’m sticking with a group, a couple businesses, and my handful of friends. I just don’t have interest in the fringes anymore.

The moment of truth hit me after weeks, months even, of me mulling over the rut I so desperately wanted to climb out of. The mommy rut, with three kids ages four and under, wanting to lose that baby weight and talk about something other than diapers, nap schedules, and tantrums. I don’t have time for everything. I have to choose. I have to cut the fringes because grabbing onto them I know I’ll just fall back into a rut. I need the strings that are deeply attached. I am ready to reincorporate the “me” from before mommy hood with the mommy that I am now.

Those late night chats with a handful of imaginary friends—the ones I’ve shared with but never met—they got me through many challenging times. Friends we will always be, but it’s time for me to put my computer away at night because I need to sleep. My kids now sleep through the night, you see. Five years ago I was expecting my first brand new baby and I had so many questions. Now I’m seasoned. I’m happy to talk you through your sleepless nights but I no longer need it myself.

I’m always going to be parenting, so it’s not so much that I’m giving up something as I am outgrowing the first stages of being a parent on social media. Goodbye stroller specs, hello homework or sports or preteen questions. Let me be clear there is no judgement at all. I am thankful for the likeminded people, companies, and communities I invested in—and who invested in me. I needed you and hope that I served you well. But I’m done. It’s done. That season of my life is done.

Lynette is a mom of three children from 6 months to age four. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

Monday, October 24, 2016
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Teething Remedies

10-19-16-teething-remedies-option-2Sometimes being a baby is rough stuff. Teething is a common frustration to many babes and parents as they grow an amazing 20 teeth in the first couple of years of life, starting around 4 to 7 months of age usually. Your babe may settle into predictable preferences for getting through those rough patches but if you’re at wit’s end, make sure you’ve covered all your bases.

  • Is it something else? Sometimes it’s hard to tell if baby’s signs of discomfort are from teething, hunger, tiredness, boredom, or any combination of these and a number of other factors. For example, baby may be comfortable enough in spite of teething but really just needs a new diaper.
  • You may be your baby’s best medicine! Maybe baby just needs a little love. When we don’t feel well most of us would appreciate just a little more TLC. A few extra cuddles may be just what your babe needs. They provide love and distraction from mild pain.
  • Use all the tools available to you. Teething rubs can prove helpful but don’t forget to utilize soft, cool teethers and silicone teething jewelry too. A clean wet rag can do the trick too. Your baby may gravitate toward one or just prefer (hopefully clean) fingers, especially yours! Amber necklaces are a go-to for many caregivers trying to cut down on inflammation and irritability.
  • Hit up the kitchen. With your babe’s child and feeding abilities in mind consider if food can help. Freeze a juicy fruit or some breastmilk to offer something to chew on, if old enough. There are also teething foods that cater to being gnawed on (like Happy Baby gentle teething wafers found in many Walgreens and Targets).
  • Medication. Consult with your physician to ensure you offer your child the most appropriate remedy based on their age and individual needs. Tylenol may be offered sparingly for older children. Teething tablets may also provide relief, although some brands were recently the subject of a warning by the FDA, despite the fact that they were taken off the shelf in 2010 and deemed safe enough to sell again. Familiarize yourself with the risks of using some over the counter teething gels. Balm! Baby offers two natural and organic teething rub options, including one catered to getting a good night’s sleep.

Lynette is a mom of three children from 6 months to age four. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

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Geffen Baby Prefolds Review

img_0113Geffen Baby is a Los Angeles-based company that is passionate about their work for babies and the environment. Their products range from cloth diapers to nursing pads. Most of their products–95 percent–are made here in the U.S.A. Their website is super informative and also a great place to shop. (This is dangerous when you’re pregnant and still working on the baby’s cloth diaper stash!) I got the opportunity to try out one of their prefold diapers and tell you what I think. Here’s what I discovered.


This is by far the softest prefold diaper I have ever touched. When it arrived at my house, it was packaged neatly and beautifully. I was sent a extra-large jersey prefold with navy blue trim. The color of trim is different by size. The age suggestion is 18 months to potty trained. My son, Levi, is 25 months old, so this was perfect. The prefold is made of 60 percent hemp and 40 percent organic cotton. I seriously could touch this thing all day! I can imagine it has to feel amazing to my little guy’s bottom. The prefolds cost $10.30 a piece, which is a reasonable price for the quality.


Levi is a squirmy, opinionated 2-year-old, so getting this prefold on was not the easiest process. It’s probably a good thing I didn’t video tape the drama, but we did get it on his little bottom. There was plenty of extra fabric. I folded the prefold down in the back and did a newspaper fold with a snappi. I then used a econobum diaper cover. The fit worked well for Levi and it was absorbent for his diapering needs. I can’t say I would use this prefold all of the time, just because he is getting to be past the cloth diapering stage for us. With baby number 3 arriving in a few weeks, I am working on getting him used to the potty. However, I will definitely keep it and use it for the baby.

Overall Opinion

I am not an expert on cloth diapers, but I would definitely give Geffen Baby prefolds two thumbs up. Compared to other prefolds I have used, this prefold is much more absorbent and better quality. I think they are affordable, and the stitching is done well on them. I am definitely going to look into the newborn quick absorbers for my newest squish. They come in a 3 pack and are only $11.07!

So momma, if you are into cloth diapering and like prefolds, I definitely recommend trying Geffen Baby. I’m just warning you, these things are so soft!

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of two, almost three, in Northeast Arkansas where she shops for baby products online way too much. 

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Laundry and Different Skin Types

There are a lot of plusses to cloth diapering (I know not everybody would agree with me there, but since you’re reading this blog, I think you might feel the same), but one of the best things that I’ve gotten from cloth diapering is how much I’ve learned about laundry. I’m young enough (barely) that Home EC was not a part of the curriculum during my school years, and old enough that my busy working mom wasn’t into home economics herself much, or at least not that she let on. Plus, modern washing machines and detergents kind of made laundry stupid proof, right?

My skin is fairly sensitive, but I can tolerate most detergents, barring the most heavily scented ones. My oldest son, however, was not nearly so lucky. He didn’t have eczema or psoriasis or other more serious skin conditions, but more detergents than not gave him rashes from his clothing (and it was worse with his cloth diapers).

In detergent land, there are two main camps; mainstream detergents, and eco-friendly detergents (plus soaps and soap nuts, not usually recommended for cloth diapers). Both mainstream detergents (like Tide, Dreft, etc) and eco-friendly ones (Ecover, Biokleen, etc) can be scented or “free and clear.” And of course further, come in either powdered or liquid formats (soap nuts obviously don’t fit in either camp).

If you are lucky and have no skin sensitivities in the house, the world is your oyster. Wash with whatever you like (or like many of us, what your budget will allow). But if one or more in your house are sensitive, you will have to be careful (and it may take some trial and error to find the magic bullet).

First, if you have sensitivities in the house, you can decide to wash everybody’s clothing together in the detergent you find works for the sensitive one(s), or you can wash separate, if costs or other factors come into play. When dealing with sensitive skin, I would start with avoiding heavy perfumes. For me, detergents like Gain break me out, but I can tolerate regular Tide and the like OK. My oldest broke out in hives from Tide, but the free and clear version was OK, and he could tolerate some lightly scented natural detergents as well.

Fabric softeners are often a no-no with sensitive skin; they coat fibers so generally shouldn’t be used with diapers, towels or tech fabrics like workout clothes anyway. Some, like Ecover, are compatible with natural fibers and many sensitive skinned people, but there are often no fragrance-free options in the fabric softener world, so they may have to be avoided completely (try vinegar in the rinse cycle, like in a Downy ball), for your clothing if you’re missing fabric softeners, especially if you line dry).

Outside of not breaking you out, your detergent also needs to get the family’s clothing, well, clean. How well different detergents will work for you will depend on many factors, one of which is likely familiar to any cloth diaper vets: water hardness. The harder your water, the more difficulties you may face, from just getting your clothing clean enough (very hard water can require using more detergent and/or a water softening additive like Calgon, which could also affect very sensitive skinned people), to even leaving iron stains on your clothing. Generally, if you have water on the hard side, you will be better served with a powdered detergent as they often have water-softening agents included in the formula.

Another upside to powdered detergents is if you need to order your detergent by mail. Some markets have almost endless options, mainstream to eco to niche, boutique brands. Others … not so much. When you’re shipping liquids, you’re also shipping water, which is heavy (and therefore more costly). Powders can save you a bit of cash sometimes (and a bit of backache too) because of this.

Finally, keep the tricks you learned from your cloth diapers handy when washing clothes for sensitive people handy … Shout may make your daughter’s skin itch, but putting her clothes on the line in the sun (with or without lemon) can remove often just as many (and sometimes more) stains, without adding any more chemicals into the washing machine. Natural fibers can be easier to get fully clean, with both diapers and clothing. And line drying will save you both wear-and-tear and money when/if you’re able.

Meaghan Howard is a mom to three little dudes, a ton of (rapidly aging) pets, and a super sweaty husband. She also loves running and currently lives on a lesser surface of the sun; laundry has become a bit of a part-time job.

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