Posts Tagged ‘DIY’

DIY Nursing Station

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

IMG_0446When you nurse a baby, it can feel like a full-time job. Night feedings, cluster feeding, newborns and the learning curve of breastfeeding can all take a toll on moms. Sometimes, you may feel like you sit in the same position or spot in your home for hours each day. It’s a great idea to have a nursing station in your home.

This nursing station doesn’t have to be fancy, expensive, or incredibly obvious to others. It just needs to be personal, effective, and meaningful to you. Here’s how to do a DIY nursing station.

First of all, you need a location. Where do you nurse most often in your home? For me, it is the love seat in the living room. My daughter and husband are usually curled up on the couch, so the love seat is my territory. Choose a spot that you can go to day or night easily and not have to worry about others moving out of the way.

Next, choose a box or small chest that you can use to store your goodies. I have used a black ottoman with a lid for mine. It isn’t anything too fancy. It came from Target, but I have gotten every dollar out of it. It just appears to be a regular ottoman, but there are several goodies inside.

Here are some things to consider putting into your nursing station:

Bottled water: We all know how important it is to drink plenty of water while nursing. Drinking water keeps you healthy and helps with milk production. Keep a few bottles in your kit or near your seat for when you are thirsty.

Books or Magazines: I enjoy having something to do while I’m nursing. My phone and Facebook don’t always interest me. Sometimes, it’s nice to have People magazine or Parent’s Magazine by me to entertain me. If you love to read, put a favorite book in the kit.

Nipple Butter: I couldn’t live without Earth Mama Angel Baby nipple butter. This stuff got me through the early days and still continues to help me as I’m dealing with the issue of biting when my son nurses.

Phone Charger: You may need this handy just in case. Life doesn’t go on pause while you’re busy with baby, and sometimes it’s a good time to make a call if you need to.

Pillow: Every momma wants to be comfortable while feeding their baby. Keep one in your kit to put behind your neck or back, or keep your nursing pillow here.

Toys for Older Siblings: My daughter was just under 2 when my son was born, so I needed toys to entertain her during those long nursing sessions. I kept puzzles, coloring books, crayons, and books in the kit. That way, she would have something special to look at while I was tending to baby brother. I could also have her snuggle up next to me and listen to me read her a story, as well.

Nursing Cover or Blanket: I kept an Aiden + Anais blanket in my nursing kit for when I had visitors or friends over. It’s always nice to have the option to cover yourself up or make baby feel more comfortable if he’s distracted, chilly, or needs a swaddle.

So, as you can see, your nursing station is unique to you and your needs. We all love our babies and nursing is a wonderful gift we can give them. But, we could all also use some comfort, entertainment, or resources handy while feeding. Nurse away momma, and remember to be prepared and comfortable!

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of two from Northeast Indiana where she lives, writes, and nurses every day. 

DIY Cloth Diaper Repair

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

IMG_1965We like to think a cloth diaper is forever, but after months or years of regular use, diapers will wear. Think if you wore your favorite t-shirt once every day or two… for several years. When a diaper breaks down, don’t fret! Most any cloth diaper repair can be done with scissors, a seam ripper, and a few basic supplies you can find at a craft or fabric store locally or online. You can also look for a local seamstress to do almost all of these repairs for a nominal fee per diaper.

Consider the type of repair and if it matters to you. For example, we have a fitted that has a few worn holes in it. They are essentially cosmetic, as the diaper retains its function. Our large hanging wetbag, after three years of heavy duty use, has TPU that stretched and delaminated. As those spots were at the top of the bag, it did not harm the function and the bag is still going strong.

A small hole, even in the TPU/PUL of a diaper or wet bag, may not cause issue depending on its size and placement. You can sew on a patch, purchasing TPU/PUL fabric at a craft or fabric store for less than a dollar. Likewise, a hole in an insert, pre-fold, or fitted may be fixed with just some stitching or a small patch of absorbent material. Repurposing the material as a cleaning rag in your home or garage may prove the most useful way to utilize an insert at the end of its life.

Elastic is one thing that really does need attention for proper use of the diaper. You can stretch your luck (literally!) by tightening the hip or waist snaps more tightly to compensate for the loose elastic; eventually you may need to replace it. Some brands sell repair kits, or you can find elastic at almost any store with a craft isle. A cotton blend of elastic usually holds up best but most any can work. Google online for a pattern, video tutorial, or just eye ball it yourself if you feel adventurous. The new piece of elastic will be shorter than the one you are removing. A seam ripper and sewing machine are helpful to best care for your diaper but not necessary. Consider looking at your specific diaper brand’s website for information or contacting them to see if they have particular tips or suggestions to best care for your diaper.

Replacing aplix/Velcro also involves very little expertise. Again, your craft store for a seam ripper and materials will suffice. You can remove the old aplix yourself (carefully!), and then use a friend’s sewing machine or ask a seamstress to finish the job. Replacing/Converting to snaps requires some familiarity with a snap presser. Again, borrow to save cost or purchase one for yourself if you are converting a large quantity of snaps.

If you don’t want to repair a diaper but it still has life, consider donating to The Rebecca Foundation, which takes diapers even in need of repairs. You could ask on a buy, sell, and trade page if another family would like your diapers. You can also consider second uses for your diapers. They fit baby dolls or are great for use in pretend play. A delaminated diaper can still make a great swim diaper too, so a diaper can go on living long after it finishes the most functional time of its life.

Lynette Moran shares her life with her husband and two sons, ages 1 and 3 years. She has cloth diapered both since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

Toys for All Five Senses

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

Toys for All Five SensesBaby showers and birthday parties often include a variety of toys to entertain your kiddo for hours, weeks, and even years.

Some of the most timeless toys—rattles, play mats, mirrors, balls, key rings, and hanging toys—are enduring because they thrive on the action and reaction of your babe and the toy; they are dynamic. Many of them engage most of the five senses. Sophia and Fanfan rank among the popular shower gifts these days, and Dandelion makes just about the sweetest gifts I ever want to share with new mamas; HABA creates some of the cutest and most-loved toys in our home. As our sons grow, we’re also investing more and more in Eco-Kids crafty basics.

Toys that encompass the senses, as well as those that invest time and energy in the making, are pivotal to engage your child’s whole experience. Sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch are all senses that help absorb your growing baby in the surrounding world. Every experience for a baby can be eye-opening, finger-feeling fun!

DIY toys can take moments or hours to put together but also offer unique sensory experiences. A bowl of toys or random (child-safe) kitchen items can offer the doldrums of afternoon new delights. Creating (or buying) books with ribbons, feathers, rough spots, and crackling sounds engage a baby at all levels. Include photos of family pets, family members, or common places you visit to engage a child’s memory and sight-recognition as well.

A walk down the aisles of your local home improvement store offers a variety of sensory experiences. Grab (child-safe) light switches, rope, chains, locks, and other items and thoroughly attach them to a sanded piece of plywood for a sensory board that will delight your child for months to come. Use a cardboard box to create a car with a steering wheel, switches inside, a soft cloth for the seat, and then decorate together for an afternoon that encourages multi-sensory imaginative play. As with all of these ideas, be sure what you provide your babe is lead and toxic free! Also consider what is age-appropriate for your kiddo. Consider potential dangers we often forget about, like ingesting magnets, if you DIY.

And don’t forget, food is food but it can, from time to time, be a toy! Whipped cream, smooshing peas, and berries as paint are just a few ideas. Make edible play dough in the kitchen together and allow your child to experience the feel of each ingredient (e.g., flour vs. salt), warm dough, and the excitement of watching a few drops of natural dye change the dough in mere moments.

As your kiddo ages and the imagination takes hold, developmentally appropriate toys are the stepping stones for a child’s understanding of the world, creativity, and even some skills that can translate into deeper, fuller success in those grade-school years.

Lynette Moran shares her life with her husband and two sons, ages 1 and 3 years. She has cloth diapered both since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

Quick and Easy Homemade Hand Sanitizer

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

It’s hot outside and we’re starting to enjoy some outdoor fun! That means that little hands are getting all sorts of dirt on them and then probably making their way straight into their little mouths.

Many conventional hand sanitizers contain some pretty scary ingredients that you don’t want anywhere near your child’s mouth. Luckily, making your own hand sanitizer is simple, and all you need are a few easy to find ingredients.

Aloe Vera makes a great base for a hand sanitizer. It gives you the gel-like feel of conventional products and has both antibacterial and antifungal properties. Witch Hazel is an optional ingredient, which works as an antiseptic thanks to its alcohol content. Its alcohol concentration isn’t as strong as the alcohol concentration found in store-bought sanitizers, and it can even be left out all together if you want.

Essential oils give this concoction most of its antibacterial benefits, so you’ll want to stick with powerful ones. Tea tree oil is known for killing bacteria and fungus, and as an antimicrobial, it should always make up the largest part of your essential oil. You can add more essential oils to either add more germ-fighting ingredients (lavender, clove and rosemary are good choices) or just to add a nice smell (citrus, cinnamon and peppermint oils add a fresh scent). A touch of vitamin E oil helps preserve shelf life so you can keep it for a few months.

Here is a simple recipe you can pour into your own squirt bottle.

 Natural Hand Sanitizer Gel

8 ounces pure aloe vera gel
30 drops tea tree oil
5-10 drops of your favorite essential oil
¼ teaspoon vitamin E oil
1 tablespoon witch hazel (optional)

If you prefer a water-based spray, try this:

Natural Hand Sanitizer Spray

4 ounces distilled water
4 drops grapefruit seed extract
4 drops tea tree oil

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor focused on nutrition and green living strategies. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception, through pregnancy, lactation and beyond to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mother and baby.