Things I Love Thursday: Convenient Organic Baby Food – EcoMom GIVEAWAY!

Giveaway Closed: Winner is ALICIA.

This post is included in Things I Love Thursday at The Diaper Diaries.  Head that way to see more lovely things!

I have a confession to make.  I am a baby food snob.  Jude has been on solids for  about 7 weeks now, and I have been making all of his food.  Every other weekend, I get out the cutting board, peeler, bowls, and blender and puree organic fruits and vegetables before pouring them in to ice trays to freeze them for later use.  The process has been easier than expected, and it becomes somewhat addictive.  Before you know it, I’d become a little territorial with his food as I only gave him what I’d prepared.

When EcoMom gave me the opportunity to sample and review their new line of Plum Organics, however, I was intrigued and even broke my homemade-only baby food streak.  Truth be told, there is definitely some value in convenience, and with EcoMom, you get the best of both worlds because you are giving your baby 100% pure organic fruits and vegetables, but you also have the convenience of a little BPA-free, screw-top pouch.  For me, this was a novel idea as I’ve been thawing and stirring to get my own baby food ready for Jude to eat.  So for Things I Love Thursday, I love convenience.  And even better?  Convenient organic baby food that you know is good for your baby.

I found that Jude LOVED the flavors of EcoMom’s Plum Organics blends.  The spinach, peas, and pears combo disappeared faster than I could give it to him, and he got so impatient waiting for that spoon to reach his mouth. The purees are definitely pretty thin which is great for younger babies.  They are thinner than what Jude is used to since my blender tends to make a slightly thicker consistency, but I mixed the thin peach pureee with a little rice cereal to make a great breakfast for him, and he couldn’t get enough.  I’ve always thought sweet potatoes were his favorite, but after his excitement with the peaches, I’ve changed my mind.

EcoMom has all sorts of great blends and flavors of babyfood, and each of them comes in a convenient pouch.  You can rescrew the top back on the pouch if you only need part of it, and the rest can be refrigerated and consumed within 24 hours.  So convenient!  EcoMom also has a line of healthy snacks for those of you with older toddlers, and their healthy options extend far beyond purees.  They sent me some Strawberry Mish Mash that I passed along to my 2 year old niece, and it got rave reviews as well.

I was definitely impressed with the guilt-free packaging, convenience, and purity of the Plum Organics line, and I can tell you for sure that Jude loved it!  EcoMom is offering one of my readers a giveaway of $20 worth of Plum and/or Revolution Foods, and if you win, they’ll ship it right to you!

So listen up baby mamas and mamas-to-be, and do any of the following to have a chance at winning.  Leave me a comment telling me you’ve done any of these, and I will randomly choose a comment number as a winner.  Be sure you leave your email address in the comment, and leave separate comments for each of these actions to increase your chances of winning.

  1. Subscribe to  Mama The Reader via RSS or email.  If you already do this, let me know by leaving a comment.
  2. Follow EcoMom on Twitter
  3. Become a fan of EcoMom on Facebook
  4. Head on over to EcoMom, and take a look around at their products.  It’s not just baby food!  They’ve got cloth diapers, teethers, creative toys, and stuff for you.  Best of all, it’s all safe and natural.  Tell me your favorite or one you’d love to try and why you like it.
  5. Sign up for the EcoMom newsletter

And even if you don’t win my EcoMom giveaway, you can get a 15% discount between now and May 31 when you use the code they are sharing with my readers.  That code is SBBL301, and as you can see, there’s a lot of great stuff over at EcoMom, so take advantage of it!  For those of you who repeatedly buy EcoMom goods, the EcoPass program can also help you save on products and shipping.  Good luck, and a giveaway winner will be chosen on Friday, May 14.

Disclosure:  I received a Plum Organics baby food sampler from EcoMom in order to complete this review.

Cloth Diapering 101

I’ve been asked a lot of questions about cloth diapering lately (mainly why, in God’s name, would you ever?), so I decided to write a little bit and explain a few things.

First there’s the why question.  The original thing that made me consider cloth was the cost.  We were fortunate enough to receive a lot of diapers from friends and family when I was pregnant, so we were stocked with disposables for the first 2-3 months.  Then as we neared month 4, we started having to buy them ourselves, and I realized that at least $40 a month would need to be budgeted for diapers.  The price goes up, by the way, as the diaper sizes do, so we’re looking at a good $1,500 or more before Jude is potty-trained.  Multiply that by an eventual baby #2 and it’s money that could certainly be put to better use.  Cloth diapers are a bigger expense up front, but $300 could really get you from birth to potty training, and most reviews I read state that the same diapers can be used for another baby, so you’re really looking at $150!

Once I started doing research, however, I realized that cost was really only the beginning.

Did you know that disposable diapers are the third largest contributor to landfills and that the average baby goes through approximately 4,000 diapers? Furthermore, we have no idea how long they take to decompose, but it’s estimated to be around 500 years.  Over 300 pounds of wood, and 20 pounds of chlorine are used to create the diapers for ONE baby for only ONE year.  Critics of cloth will say that it takes equal amounts of waste to launder and care for cloth diapers, but that’s not a logical argument.  Water is a sustainable resource, and many of us hang them on  clotheslines or drying racks to dry them.

Did you know that the EPA lists Dioxin as the most toxic of all cancer-causing chemicals, and there are traces of it in every disposable diaper?  There are numerous other chemicals in them as well, and a quick internet search can give you details on the environmental and health risks to using disposables.

Once I read all of this, I was leaning more toward going cloth all the time and not just sometimes as I first intended.  I was still unsure about the laundry element though.  I mean anyone with a new baby knows how much laundry you deal with.  I find myself staring at large piles every weekend feeling so overwhelmed, and I couldn’t imagine how I had time for more.  The thing I hate so much about laundry, though, is the sorting and the folding.  You have none of that with diapers.  You just dump them all in, run one cold wash, and then run a long hot wash and you’re good to go.  I dump them in the washer every other night when I get home from school and let the washing machine do the work for me.

If cloth diapers were as they used to be, I wouldn’t last a week, but the modern options for cloth diapering make the process so easy and so so cute!

Bumgenius pocket diapers are one of my current favorites.  They are adjustable, so Jude can use the same diaper from now till he’s potty-trained.  They are super absorbent and we’ve NEVER ONCE had a leak.  I can’t say that for disposables.

I also love Thirsties fitted diapers.  These require a waterproof cover over them, but they are so soft and so absorbent.  Jude can sleep comfortably and feel dry all night.

Lastly I love love love this diaper, but I’ve only got one.  It’s kinda pricey, but it’s one size so it’ll last for a while.At some point, I’ll probably get another for Jude as well.

Unfortunately, Atlanta doesn’t have a cloth diaper specialty store, so I do my shopping online.  Kelly’s Closet is my favorite to order from, but there are a million options offering so many different types of diapers for any mom’s preference.  There’s so much more I can say.  ( I LOVE cloth!) but that might be enough to get you started and answer any basic questions.  I’m still learning, but I love Jude’s little fluffy butt, and I love the feeling that I am making the best choice for Jude and the world we live in.

Homemade Baby Food

I’ve heard from so many people that making your own baby food is easy, so I was not hesitant at all to give it a try when Jude was ready for solid foods.  Last weekend, we started with pears and acorn squash, and this weekend I’ve added sweet potatoes and more pears since he loves them so much.  My sister told me about a great website that gives you recipes, and it couldn’t be easier.  I think a lot of moms are unsure about making your own baby food because it sounds time-consuming.  It really isn’t at all!  Working full-time, I find that weekends are a mad dash to finish tasks before Monday morning, and I still found the time to do it.  Your stove or oven and your blender do most the work, and you can make a freeze a large batch all at once, so it’s not like you have to do this numerous times throughout the week.

For pears, you just peel and slice them and place them in a pot on the stove.  Cook them on low heat for about 20-30 minutes or until they are fork tender.

Then you simply let them cool and then dump them in to the blender to puree.  After they are smooth, I pour them into ice-cube trays and let them set up in the freezer.  Once they are solid, pop them out in to a snack-size ziplock bag, and they can stay in your freezer until ready for use.  Each ice-cube is one ounce, so that gives you an idea of how much your baby is consuming as well.

For the acorn squash, I cut it in half down the middle, scooped out the seeds, and placed the halves, open sides down, in a Pyrex baking dish with about an inch of water in it.  Roast for one hour, scoop out the “meat” and place in the blender.  Sweet potatoes are similar.  Bake in the oven as you normally would, scoop out the potato, and blend until it’s smooth.  Squash and sweet potato both freeze well.  I added a little water to them in the blender in order to get the best consistency for Jude.

There are so many reasons to make your own food for your baby.  You know what’s in it and whose hands have touched it.  It’s also more cost efficient.  I spent about $7 on organic sweet potatoes, and it made this much food.

56 ounces of organic baby food!

The leading brand of organic baby food runs about 25 cents an ounce, so it’s a huge savings.  Most significantly, you get the satisfaction of making your baby happy.  For a lot of us, there is no better feeling than making something and watching someone happily devour it.  You can’t get that same feeling from purchasing a jar on a store shelf.  Here’s Jude enjoying some sweet potatoes soon after I made them.  He’s serious about his food!