Why Every College Woman Should Consider Menstrual Cups

Note: This blog post was written by my 19 year old daughter Olivia, who will be a sophomore this fall in college.

As all women can attest to, periods are simply an annoyance. Buy feminine hygiene products, check your pad/tampon status regularly, don’t wear white pants, the list goes on. Throughout my menstruating days I have used a variety of products: panty liners, pads, tampons and even toilet paper in a pinch.

When I was younger my mom tried to encourage me to use reusable products like period underwear and reusable pads, but I was personally bothered about having wetness between my legs. Recently, I have been using reusable menstrual cups. Don’t get me wrong, during the first few times I found them terribly annoying and not worth the trouble, but after getting to know the product and how to use it properly, I’ve fallen in love. (if that’s even possible with a period product)

Being in college, I normally don’t have extra money to spend. This meant relying on my
mother to send me care packages every month or so with the tampons I needed. This worked out fine for a while, until there was one month where I ran out. I was forced to use the menstrual cup that I had only used a handful of times, and I was not too happy about it. But, after a cycle of using it, I questioned why I had ever done anything different. Where ever I was, I never needed to ask anyone for an extra tampon. I simply rinsed my cup and reused it. I spent no extra money that week and was thankful because I could buy a comforting Chipotle bowl with the extra cash. Anywhere, anytime, I could easily clean it and continue on with my studies. As an environmentalist, I became increasingly aware during this time as to how many tampons and panty liners I had been throwing out during that special time of the month, but with this product it was none. If I forgot I was wearing it (which i could do because it’s completely unnoticeable) I didn’t feel worried or bad because I knew that it was ok to use for around 12 hours.

There are no harsh bleaches or other chemicals entering my body which isn’t something you normally consider, but think about it- cotton isn’t naturally perfectly white… those chemicals (used to bleach cotton) diffuse into our bloodstream and carry throughout our body. When I tell my friends they all look at me in disgust, but when I tell them how convenient it all is they rethink I know I’ve converted at least one of them. There is no reason that I can think of not to use reusable products honestly.

Call me crazy, but being able to go on vacation with only one cup, not spending any extra money when aunt flow comes around, and not worrying about how my waste affects the landfills leads to a stress free period, and really, in college, is there really any more that I can ask for?

Fewer bathroom trips, less discomfort, less money, less waste, no embarrassment, better health, and less stress made the learning process all worth it.

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Green Team Giveaway- Enter to Win an Eco-Friendly Wipes Sampler Pack

Enter to win this weeks giveaway for a chance to win an Wipes Sampler Pack!

Includes:

1-WaterWipes 60ct, 1-JoonyaWipes 80ct, 1-ImseVimse Organic Cotton Wipes, 1-La Petite Creme French Diapering Lotion Travel Size

Open to the USA and Canada only. By entering this giveaway you are signing up to receive our newsletters. Winner has 7 days to claim their prize after being notified. Winner will be contacted by email within 48 hours of the giveaway ending.

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The Benefits of Eco-Friendly Wipes

If you have ever had kids, you know how messy times can get with little ones-it’s quite impressive how quickly they manage to do it! Wipes are a part of everyday life from helping with diaper changes, to just cleaning faces after meals. However, many wipes are filled with synthetic materials and chemicals, some of which can be harmful to the delicate skin of a baby or children. Traditional wipes also take a long time to biodegrade, leaving their mark on the environment. The best wipes are those that are both environmentally and baby-friendly.

Fortunately, there are many options for concerned parents, here are some of the three best ones that I have come across:

  1. WaterWipes

If you want the most natural wipe possible, these are your best bet. They are only made with two ingredients-two! One of those is simply water, the other is grapefruit seed extract. Citrus fruits have natural antibacterial and cleaning properties, so the extract is the only thing needed for an effective baby wipe. If your baby is extra-sensitive, these wipes are perfect for you.

  1. Imse Vimse Natural Washable Wipes

Tired of throwing away baby wipes? These wipes are made from 100% cotton flannel and are super environmentally friendly. Simply wetting them with water or a gentle cleanser is perfect for all sorts of messes. Not to mention that the initial price of these wipes is great, and they pay for themselves as they can last a long time with proper care. These wipes are better for at home use than on the road as the luxury of washing isn’t available in the car, but they are excellent at cleaning without having to hurt the environment. These wipes pair wonderfully with La Petite Creme– a cleanser, a protective balm, and diaper rash soother all-in-one that is safe to use while cloth diapering!

  1. Joonya Eco Wipes

These wipes offer an all-round take on natural wipes. The wipes are made from 100% viscose, plant-based biodegradable fibers so that they are completely biodegradable and also strong. They contain all-natural ingredients like essential oils and plant extracts-mainly aloe vera, chamomile, and jojoba oil. These wipes are probably the strongest wipes on the market and don’t tear like some traditional wipes.

With the current trend of parents wanting the most healthy things for baby and environment, products like baby wipes have seen many new changes and types. These are some of the best that I have come across in my mothering travels, I plan on using them with my next (and definitely last!) child coming soon. All of them are great, try them to find out what your favorite is!

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Green Team Giveaway- Enter to Win a Skeeter Skidaddler Bug Repellent Prize Pack

Enter to win this weeks giveaway for:

A Skeeter Skidaddler 100% Natural Bug Repellent Prize Pack

Includes:

1-Microfiber Towelette

1-Spray Bottle

6-Wet Wipes

Open to the USA and Canada only. By entering this giveaway you are signing up to receive our newsletters. Winner has 7 days to claim their prize after being notified. Winner will be contacted by email within 48 hours of the giveaway ending.

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3 Reasons to Stay Away From Traditional Bug Repellents

The heat is finally here to stay, and with it comes an invasion of all sorts of insects that make enjoying the weather annoying and difficult. Biting black flies, whining mosquitoes, and bloodsucking ticks are just some of the various bugs that will keep many inside this summer. Bug sprays are a necessity if you don’t want to be eaten alive the second you open the front door. Unfortunately, insect repellents have a lingering, unpleasant smell, and many contain potentially toxic chemicals.

Here are three reasons why you should replace your traditional insect repellents with natural and healthy alternatives:

Smell

How many people have told you to close your eyes and mouth while you get sprayed with bug spray? If you were ever unlucky enough to breathe in or have your eyes open, you know the terrible taste and smell that follows. The chemical smell in bug spray can make you wonder what is really in there-the stench doesn’t go away either, hanging around you for hours. Many essential-oil based sprays smell pleasant, but are notoriously ineffective or short lasting. Most don’t even contain oils that truly help repel insects!

DEET

DEET has been used for over fifty years as an insect repellent! It is extremely effective, hence its presence in dozens and dozens of commercial bug sprays. Otherwise known as N, N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide, DEET works by discouraging insects from landing on surfaces sprayed with it. However, DEET is a known toxin, being able to be absorbed by the body through contact with skin. While many proponents of DEET show that it is only toxic at higher concentrations, it is always better to try and avoid possible toxins whenever possible.

Environment

While DEET is not likely to bioaccumulate (build up in the environment) the sheer scale of its use can lead to concentrations of it found in water. Small concentrations of DEET are slightly toxic to fish and plankton, negatively impacting the environment. At higher concentrations, DEET is highly toxic, killing many insects and fish, severely damaging the ecosystem.

Unfortunately, many natural substitutes to traditional bug spray simply do not work or
last long. Those who wish to be naturally protected from insects have to reapply frequently, using a product that is inferior to DEET-based sprays in nearly every aspect. However, there are some sprays that are both effective AND natural. A great example is Skeeter Skidaddler, which offers wipes and sprays that are 100% plant based. They use oils such as cedar, clove, lemongrass, and eucalyptus, and that’s it….and they are all natural and GMO free, not to mention the fact that the smell is actually tolerable and pleasant. Instead of swatting and spraying chemicals at bugs in these hot months, use a solution that is from nature itself!

 

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Green Team Giveaway- Enter to Win Imse Vimse Stay-Dry Nursing Pads & Earth Mama Nipple Butter

Enter this weeks giveaway for a chance to win:

1- Imse Vimse Stay Dry Nursing Pads – 3 pairs

1- Earth Mama Natural Nipple Butter 2oz

Open to the USA and Canada only. By entering this giveaway you are signing up to receive our newsletters. Winner has 7 days to claim their prize after being notified. Winner will be contacted by email within 48 hours of the giveaway ending.

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Breastfeeding and Cloth Diapering

Cloth diapering is a personal choice that a parent needs to make. Just like breastfeeding vs formula, co-sleeping vs not co-sleeping, etc. etc. As a cloth diaper advocate and a Mom that is obsessed with cloth diapers I have to continually realize that the rest of the world just might not choose to cloth diaper.

Just like political views and religious beliefs; styles of parenting and choices that parents make need to be respected. It may be hard to do; especially when you are so passionate about something that has to deal with our babies.

This post will be focusing on breastfeeding and cloth diapering and my experiences. Again, whatever choices you decide for you and your baby are your choices and are to be respected and remember you are a GOOD Mom or Dad no matter what you decide!

I have 3 children and one on the way that is making her debut in a few weeks. I have breastfed all my children. My first born took the most adjustment (as with anything you do for the first time.) I had all the intentions to cloth diaper my first born (born in 1997) and had what most think of when you mention cloth diapers- the traditional cloth rectangles that you swish around in the toilet. The ‘modern’ cloth diaper industry had not been born at that time and there was very little educational material (written or otherwise). After 5 changes in cloth I quickly converted to disposables.

My 2nd child was born in 2000 and I breastfed and used disposable diapers until he was a year old. At that time I had started an online baby clothing business that quickly switched to selling cloth diapers and I switched to cloth diapering as well. What an amazing difference in just 3 years. Not only were the cloth diapering options improved but the education and written material was widely available.

My 3rd child was born in 2008 and I breastfed and used cloth diapers from birth. Having access to almost every style and brand available was a luxury and I quickly learned what cloth diapering systems worked best for me and my baby. When initially choosing cloth diapers (whether you choose to breastfeed or formula feed) it is much like trying on a pair of jeans to get the perfect fit. My best suggestion is to start with a sampling of styles/brands before you commit to 24-36 of one style of brand. With most companies offering quick shipping it shouldn’t take long to get your cloth diaper stash in its entirety but it is wise to wait until baby arrives and you try a few options before making a big purchase.

So more about breastfeeding and cloth diapering– I am just going to be candid here. POOP is dreaded by most. Runny poop, sticky poop, semi-solid poop, peanut-butter chunk-style poop (i know GROSS), colored poop- it WILL happen and ‘It is what it is’. The one thing I can guarantee you is that if you exclusively breastfeed (and after the first few bowel movements of meconium past- the bowel movements of thick, tar-like poop) the bowel movements will be like a mustard colored water. They are completely water-soluble- no need to use flushable liners or a diaper sprayer during this time- are virtually odorless (sometime even sweet smelling- weird, huh?) I am not sure if I grossed you out by my initial description of poops or have relieved you letting you know that breastfed poop is the easiest to deal with? (Hopefully the latter.)

To wrap up here are my initial suggestions if you plan to breastfeed and use cloth diapers:

Sample- Sample at least 5-6 styles/brands on your baby first before making a large purchase. For example:

2- All-in-One Diapers (one-piece systems -easy to use like disposables)

2-Pocket-Style Diapers (2-piece system with a pocket cover and insert)

1-Diaper Cover and Prefold Diaper

Cloth breast pads and Nipple Cream- Usually 8-10 pairs of breast pads to start. (Yes, these can be washed with the cloth diapers. If that makes you uncomfortable hand-washing and line-drying is just fine.) Purchase a jar of lanolin free, non-toxic nipple cream to help with sore or cracked nipples.

The wash cycle- Wash on hot and set machine to an extra rinse if that is available. Line-dry or set cycle on medium/high.

Troubleshooting- If you have fit issues, washing problems, etc. contact the manufacturer of the brands of cloth diapers you are using or reach out to reputable cloth diaper retailer.

Be patient- Be patient with yourself. Especially if you are a first time Mom..everything is new. There is no test to pass. Get rest. If you use a few disposables…it is OK. Ask for help.

Bottom line- do what is best for you and your baby in the moment. ALWAYS remember…YOU are a GOOD MOM!

 

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Green Team Giveaway- Enter to Win Skeeter Skidaddler Bug Repellent and Episencial Sunscreen

Enter this weeks giveaway for a chance to win:

1-Skeeter Skidaddler 100% Natural Bug Repellent Microfiber Towelette

1-Babytime! by Episencial Sunny Sunscreen SPF35

Open to the USA and Canada only. By entering this giveaway you are signing up to receive our newsletters. Winner has 7 days to claim their prize after being notified. Winner will be contacted by email within 48 hours of the giveaway ending.

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What is EWG’s Skin Deep?

What is in the products we use everyday? What about the environment around us? Cleaners, soaps, soil, pesticides, the air we breathe-what dangers and benefits are unseen? Well, that is exactly what the Environmental Working Group, or EWG do. They do what few organizations do: educate the public about some of the most common elements we encounter in day to day life. Non-partisan and non-profit, the EWG actually care about the health of the public. Founded in 1992, the EWG is more important as ever, especially as the state of the environment becomes more and more of a pressing issue.

If you have ever purchased health-conscious, environmentally friendly products, you may have seen the little green ‘e’ on the bottle or package. This means that the product is verified ‘green’ by the EWG. It isn’t easy to be certified to be able to put the mark on a product. Companies have to list all of the ingredients, including details of how their product was made. The EWG mark is relatively new, started in 2015, so products that are EWG verified are beginning to become more commonplace. Look closer at the environmentally friendly products you buy, the EWG label is one of the best they can have.

Unfortunately, not all the products you buy can be 100% natural and safe. However, EWG created something called Skin Deep-which, contrary to its name, goes beyond the surface of products and the ingredients in them to show you what’s really dangerous and what isn’t. Skin Deep is a database for almost 70,000 cosmetic products. 70,000! Considering most people know hardly any chemicals or ingredients found in the average product, that number is truly amazing. The most common ingredients and products have detailed and easy to understand descriptions and are graded on a 1-10 scale of how hazardous they are. Simply putting an ingredient into the search bar shows everything you need to know about it. EWG and the Skin Deep database are true proofs that green leaves are far better than those with faces on them.

Sign up today to get a downloadable PDF version of EWG’s Quick Tips for Choosing Safer Personal Care Products – delivered right to your inbox!

 

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Green Team Giveaway- Enter to Win Earth Mama Angel Baby Sleep Little One Gift Set

Enter to win this weeks giveaway for:

1- Earth mama Angel Baby Sleep Little One-A Naturally Calm Gift Set

Open to the USA and Canada only. By entering this giveaway you are signing up to receive our newsletters. Winner has 7 days to claim their prize after being notified. Winner will be contacted by email within 48 hours of the giveaway ending.

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