Welcome blog #sponsor Cottonbabies: not JUST for babies!

Find out how 6 diapers can change your world! {free shipping on all US orders} Cottonbabies.com

Welcome a new blog sponsor, Cottonbabies! I actually cloth diapered both my children (consecutively and simultaneously) in BumGenius diapers, which is how I learned about Cottonbabies. You can find my posts on cloth diapering here. If you’ve been with me a while, you’ll know that I also wrote for the Cottonbabies blog for several years — definitely check it out, it’s a great resource for parents.

It might be tempting to think of Cottonbabies as a store only for mothers with babies, but it’s actually a great resource for parents of children of all ages. I want to list a few of my favorite products for children who are past the baby stage, like mine are.

We use Earth Mama Angel Baby body products a lot around here, actually. The nipple butter is ALL we use on chapped lips (I haven’t breastfed for over 3 years). It has the staying powder of Vaseline but none of the petroleum byproducts. And it stings less than most chapsticks, although my second favorite EMAB product is their lip balm. It doesn’t sting the kids at all. My son says he likes it because “it isn’t spicy”.

Eco-friendly period products. If you don’t have a tilted cervix like me and can use menstrual cups, Cottonbabies carries DivaCup. For the less adventurous, they also carry Lunapads cloth pads and organic tampons.

Piggy Paint. Little Lady is dreadfully obsessed with nail polish right now. It would be terribly toxic, if Cottonbabies didn’t carry Piggy Paint! Unlike some other eco-friendly non-toxic brands, Piggy Paint really stays put for a long time on little fingers.

All kinds of eco-friendly, educational toys. They have a whole section of Pretend Play – my kids use the tea set made from recycled plastic literally every day in their play kitchen. You can even get an eco-friendly telescope or microscope for your Big Kid from Cottonbabies!

And probably the thing you’ll be most excited about if you shop at Cottonbabies online store: FREE SHIPPING!

The Cottonbabies banner ad will be on the left column for the next 3 months, any time you need it. Visit Cottonbabies today and let me know what you think!

Book review: Hannah, Delivered by Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew

NOTE: I was given an advance copy of the book Hannah, Delivered (affiliate link) in exchange for my honest opinion. Review and opinions below are my own.

"There's three things to learn about labor. It's work. It hurts a lot. And you can do it." - Hannah, Delivered by Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew

When I got an email from a publisher with the subject line “Midwife Fiction”, you know that I was in! I am a bit of a natural birth junkie. I just love to hear how women learn to trust their bodies and how they discover their strength through childbirth. I actually visited my midwife just last week for my annual checkup and fell in love again with the entire practice. The old Victorian house, the cloth robe and cover, the corner of the exam room filled with toys for the kids, the comfy chairs I sat in while we chatted, with the sunlight streaming in the huge windows…So far removed from what I’ve heard about OB/GYN offices. I just love sharing the stories of my first natural birth and my second natural birth.

The mind-body connection espoused by midwifery is not so far removed from what we practice in yoga. The book that I was given a chance to read definitely delivered (if you will excuse the pun) on that reality. The book is called Hannah, Delivered by Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew (affiliate link) and it is about a young woman on her journey to become a midwife. She has built a safe, secure life for herself working in an administrative position at a hospital and one evening is called to assist in a birth. She accidentally ends up catching the baby and BAM! catches the midwifery bug. She will have to leave everything she knows: her job, her relationship, her state, and her security to train as a midwife, only to return to practice in a town where midwifery is only barely legal. Is that how this really happens? BAM!, just like that? To a woman who has never been a mother herself? I am not sure. I didn’t know much about birth, myself, until I read the book Birth: The Surprising History of How We Are Born by Tina Cassidy (affiliate link) almost 10 years ago. Shortly after, I also read Taking Charge Of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler (affiliate link). To say those two books shook up my idea of what my body was capable of and how our society has treated women would be an understatement. Some of these same injustices, mistrust, and misinformation are touched on in Hannah, Delivered. It is plausible that activism is a response to correct a wrong. But more importantly, Hannah’s journey to midwifery is a journey that has a goal of creating what is right: assisting women in the positive aspects of birth and allowing them to be free. The book is about how Hannah delivers herself from her old ideas of what she “should” be or isn’t, and allows herself to be born into what she is meant to be. She struggles with her place in the world as well as her own spirituality and the spirituality of her parents. It’s definitely not a Christian book, as the main character remains agnostic throughout the book. But I did not feel uncomfortable with it as a Christian, either. The Christ-followers in the book were presented in a positive and loving way.

The characters in the book were believable and I found myself caring what happened to them. There was enough of a twist for me to wonder what was going to happen, but enough of a reassurance that I didn’t feel the need to skip to the end to keep from getting anxious (not that I ever do that…) . I also found the end satisfying, unlike some of our recent Book Club books. I would happily recommend this book to anyone who enjoys good fiction, whether or not you are a natural birth junkie.

Hannah, Delivered by Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew

So if you’re getting ready to build your summer book list, add Hannah, Delivered — and let me know what you think!

No SUV needed: two carseats in a sedan or compact car

So you’ve got kids. Maybe one, maybe two…Are you already resigning yourself to a gas-guzzling SUV or minivan? Maybe you started car shopping as soon as you got pregnant for the first time. It’s a pretty common trend here in Dallas. And certainly, once you hit that three-child-or-more threshold, you’re probably going to be driving a larger vehicle. But I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to give up your gas efficiency or eco-friendly driving habits just because you have one or two little buddies along for the ride!

We have driven a compact car — a Honda Fit — since shortly after our son was born in 2009. Before that, we primarily drove a Honda Civic, which we still have. Our children are currently 3 and 4 years old, so we have a convertible car seat and a convertible booster combo. Both are Britax — the Boulevard Convertible and the Pinnacle 90 Booster Combo (affiliate links), so they aren’t the smallest on the market. I’ve heard that one of the Japanese brands is actually the smallest, but I love the safety of the Britax brand.

I mention the average-to-large size of our two car seats because people often say that you cannot fit two car seats in a sedan or compact car. I am here to tell you that is just not an accurate statement. The kids are perfectly comfortable even in the grueling often-8-hour drive to San Antonio from Dallas. There is plenty of room for their toys and for an iPad hanging between the driver and passenger seat.

Two car seats in a Honda Fit, traveling to San Antonio in 2012
This picture was taken from the top of the iPad
resting between the driver and passenger seat

Just last week, we had to put the Honda Fit into the shop for repair work, and both car seats were moved back into our 2000 Honda Civic. Here they are in the back seat of the 4 door sedan, with room for all their toys in the middle.

Two Car Seats in a Honda Civic

And all that about not having enough trunk space in a small car? The trunk of our Civic is much smaller than the Fit (the Fit is a hatchback), and yet I was able to get all 11 of my yoga mats for kinds yoga inside their wheeled container, plus all the groceries from a trip to the grocery store into the Civic’s trunk with plenty of space to spare, as seen here.

Trunk of a 2000 Honda Civic

Obviously, we only have two kids right now. And it’s true that we cannot carry any passengers. We’ve had a few very ambitious family members (and once, myself) attempt to squeeze between the car seats in the back of the Fit, but it’s a terrible idea. My hips are very narrow and even I was unable to sit completely straight and was uncomfortable after 5 minutes.

It’s inevitable that as our children grow older and we wish to take passengers/friends with us in carpool situations, we will most likely have to purchase a larger vehicle. In a way, this post might even be a requiem for the dream of having the extremely fuel-efficient cars that we have had for the past few years.

I guess what I want to say is: please know that you CAN hang onto that smaller car a little bit longer. Save your money for when the kids are old enough to carpool or that third child. Hang on to that fuel efficient car as long as you can!
No SUV required - two car seats in a sedan or compact car | Conscientious Confusion

NOTE: There are 2 affiliate links in this post to Amazon, but I was not paid by Britax, Honda, or anybody else to write this post. Opinions are my own.

Teaching children to use glass containers safely

NOTE: I am part of the Glass Is Life campaign and have received the Le Parfait glass jars from the campaign, seen in the video and picture. I did not receive any compensation other than that for this post, tips and tricks are my own ideas!

Teaching Children To Use Glass Containers Safely | ConscientiousConfusion.com

Before I actually had to keep two very high spirited human beings alive and happy 24/7, I used to be very high-and-mighty about what kinds of materials I would allow my not-yet-born children to interact with and eat from. Plastic leaches all kinds of undesirable chemicals, that was out. Paper creates a great deal of waste, is quite expensive, and is not durable at all. Aluminum or stainless steel is very nice for cups and plates but is terrible for storage since you can’t see what’s inside. What does that leave? Glass, of course!

Glass is so pretty. If you aren’t convinced, just check out the Glass Is Life Instagram account. Glass is also so sustainable — it never wears out! A glass jar can be used over and over for different purposes, for hundreds of years with no leaching. And if it breaks, you can recycle it.

Ah, yes…breakage. That’s what I hadn’t thought of back in the day before children. Back when glass baby bottles seemed like a great idea. So it turned out that I did resort to plastic a little more than I’d like, for quite a while.

There was a time when we couldn’t use any glass, because my children are strong and forceful when they fling things. Probably from newborn to about 3 years old. But suddenly, both my children are 3 and older! And I am finding that I can explain to them how to use glass safely.

Admittedly, it takes a little trial and error.

Letting them fail (and break)

One of the lessons about glass that had the biggest impact on my son was when we were at Central Market and he was walking down the aisle of glass artisan juice bottles. Well, he was kind of skipping, actually. Running his hand past all the bottles as he went…you can see where that goes. He knocked one off and it went crashing to the ground in a huge mess of juice and glass. An employee had to come clean it up. He got quite the talking-to from me.

But it made a big impression. All I have to do now when he is reaching for or holding something glass is say, “We need to be careful because that is made of what?” and he’ll say, “Glass”. “And what happens to glass when we drop it like the juice at the store?” he’ll answer, “It breaks”.

Controlled access

Unfortunately, my just-3-year-old hasn’t had the juice jar experience, so she’s a little more unpredictable around glass. Recently, we went to IKEA and they both fixated on a ceramic tea set. We told them that we would buy it for them if they could learn to be gentle with it. The tea set cost somewhere around $10-$15. It’s been a great learning tool about breakage! My daughter has broken several of the cups on the tile floor in their play area, but it has been safe because the ceramic breaks very cleanly without shards. Still, the toy is gone when that happens. By allowing her to break inexpensive things that shatter relatively harmlessly, we are teaching her about why we handle glass more carefully than plastic.

Ongoing learning

Neither of them have fully learned how to handle glass, so I make sure they aren’t alone with valuable glass items or glass that would shatter into a million little pieces. But I do let them handle glass and we talk about it each time. Here’s a little video of them helping me unpack some Le Parfait glass jars (which I hope to use soon in a DIY post).

Have you transitioned young children to using glass? Any tips/ideas?

How to do a nasal saline rinse for toddlers and kids

It’s starting to be allergy and drippy-nose season already! At the very least, it’s the time of year when young children who haven’t been exposed to a lot of germs return to school and start carrying home some fun ones. In addition to boosting immunity with Thieves oil for infants and toddlers, one of my go-to treatments for prevention and also treatment of upper respiratory illness for kids is nasal saline rinsing. Obviously, a nasal saline rinse for toddlers and kids does not look the same as it does for adults. For adults, I always recommend the neti pot first of all. It’s much less harsh and does a more thorough job of rinsing contaminants out. However, if you’ve ever tried to hold a child’s head sideways and pour salt water into their nose (I haven’t, but I have a friend who actually tried this!), OUT OF WHICH THEY BREATHE, you might recognize it is a fool’s errand. More water is going to get on you and the child than into anybody’s nose. And it’s going to traumatize both you and the child.

Here is where I recommend the nasal saline spray for kids.

The key word is SPRAY

Do not buy the ridiculous bottles labeled “drops OR spray” with a nozzle that looks like this:

Saline DROPS are not what you want, you want saline SPRAY for kids
NO, NO, NO!
Saline DROPS are NOT what you want,
you need saline SPRAY for kids

There is no way you are going to get that dropper top to defy gravity and send water up a child’s nose! I don’t know what someone was smoking to call that a “spray”. The only way to make that kind of dropper spray significant amounts is to invert the head. Now you’re right back to having to hold your child’s head sideways and put liquid up their nose.

Just, NO.

Here is the kind of nozzle you need:

The easiest nozzle for kids to do their own nasal saline spray - post includes video demo with a 2 & 3 year old

Below is a video of my kids demonstrating how they do nasal saline spray on themselves.

If you weren’t able to see the embedded video, you can see it on YouTube here.

The key is to start young and make it fun. I started my kids at birth with nasal saline spray. Until they were about a year old, I followed the spray with suction using the nose frida (affiliate link). Because the nose frida mimics the feeling of blowing out through the nose (not suction like those bulb suctions you get at the hospital), both my kids knew how to blow their own nose before they were 2 years old. I let them start holding the saline nose spray for themselves at about 18 months old. I also let them spray it into the air as you will see in the video because that makes it fun!

I hope this answers some of the questions I get about how I get my kids to use nasal saline spray. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments!