Child-Friendly Cleaning Advice and Tips for Eco-Friendly Parents

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Cleaning the house is one of those things that just makes you want to pull your hair out!

I know first hand as a mother who works full time and always has about a million and one things to do in the short time that I actually spend at home of an evening!

One thing that has really helped me is getting Olivia involved, even with only tidying up her toys, it allows me to do a daily run around with the hoover and just get a bit done!

Chrissy has put together some more tips to help busy parents with their cleaning schedules, and, not only that, but also tips on how to make your cleaning eco-friendly! I know I for one am particularly terrible at needing cleaning products that probably are quite harmful (honestly, if it smells like lemon, it’s probably in my kitchen somewhere!), so I am especially glad to read these tips for a clean and safe home!

While they might make your home smell like a fresh meadow, cleaning products have actually been shown to be as bad for your lungs as smoking 20 cigarettes a day. Not only are these types of products incredibly dangerous for the health of your family, but they can also be harmful to the environment as they contain dangerous chemicals that spray out into the local air. While this all might sound a little overwhelming, there are actually really easy and cheap ways to give your home a deep clean that won’t cause harm to your family or the rest of your household. 

Keep it Simple

As a parent, especially to a newborn baby or even a toddler, you might fall prey to the age-old desire of wanting to sterilise your entire home to keep them safe. While this is a normal feeling, you’ll actually want to remember one thing: keep it simple. Just as nutritionists recommend eating food with the most simple ingredients possible, experts recommend the same for cleaning products. The same study that revealed just how dangerous cleaning products are also noted that microfibre cloths and water are usually sufficient enough to do the trick. 

DIY All-Natural Cleaning Products

If you need a little more help than mere hot water is providing you with, try lemons. Lemon juice, water, and a little vinegar mixed together are actually enough to lift grease, dissolve any dirt and grime on appliances and even disinfect the surfaces of your home. Vinegar can also help clean certain floors, leather sofas, and even wine glasses. To create an all-purpose cleaner that’s safe on the environment but also smells great and won’t affect your allergies, you’ll want to combine equal parts water and vinegar and add about 20 drops of your favourite essential oil. Shake, spray and enjoy the aroma while also enjoying keeping your air fresh and clean.

    

Pinterest has some amazing DIY cleaning products that are all natural and homemade (and, of course, much better for the environment)! Some of our favourites are these…

Make Cleaning Fun

You’ll be able to reduce the amount of time and products spent cleaning your home if you can clean periodically throughout the week. Waiting until enough dirt, dust, and grime have built up so that it becomes noticeable will require you to use more product to get it off your floors, walls, and appliances. To avoid this, try to make cleaning fun. Set aside about ten to fifteen minutes a day to turn up the music inside your house, take off your shoes, and let the kids run crazy. The catch here is that they can run around, dance and sing at the top of their lungs during this time period, but only if they’re cleaning. If you have especially competitive children, this works great as a game, too. Challenge them to see who can clean the most every day and watch how they take to cleaning as if it’s actually something fun.

A Clean Home Makes a Happy Mum

By making a few simple changes and ensuring you’re always practicing child-safe cleaning, you’ll find that your home is cleaner and your family is healthier. This will result in a very happy mum that can rest assured knowing she’s taking care of her home and family in the best way possible.

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5 top tips to reduce your household plastic wastage

Many of us have been made more aware of our plastic usage since Blue Planet II was aired, and due to the ‘blue planet effect’ many people have begun to attempt to reduce their plastic wastage. I’m a big believer in looking after the environment and trying to live a sustainable lifestyle, so here are some top tips on reducing the waste and use of plastic in your home.

1. Try plastic free cleaning

White vinegar diluted with 3 parts water makes for a great surface cleaner. You can buy it in bulk to avoid buying cleaner in unnecessarily small cleaning bottles, plus buying in bulk means there’s always some around and you’re unlikely to be caught out with nothing to clean up with. Plus, if you’re not keen on the vinegar smell, here’s a tip – pop some vinegar in a big glass jar, and fill with citrus peels. The longer you leave it in the fridge, the stronger the citrus smell. Big efficiency, small cost.

2. Switch up your bathroom supplies

Ditching toiletries which won’t biodegrade will reduce your plastic waste massively. This includes disposable razors and toothbrushes (3.6 billion plastic toothbrushes are used each year, and 80% of these end up in the ocean). Instead, try a bamboo toothbrush which will biodegrade in 2 years. You can also make a big impact by switching to naked toiletries – use bar soap instead of soap from a plastic dispenser, shampoo bars  and try soap instead of shower gel to minimise your use of plastic bottles. Avoiding face washes with microbeads will also help reduce your impact on the environment. A tube of facewash can contain 330,000 microbeads, most of which will end up in the ocean (and eventually you, if you eat fish).

3. Say no to plastic straws and other single use ‘fast food’ items

This is the obvious one. More than half a million plastic straws are used every day globally, and they take around 500 years to decompose. Further, while single use coffee cups are technically recyclable, they use plastic polyethylene to make them able to hold liquid, and are contaminated with drink. This makes them harder to recycle, and in the UK alone there are only 3 recycling plants able to do this. How can you help? If you like drinking with a straw, you can buy loads of great reusable ones online. They don’t take up much room in your bag, and you’ll always be prepared. Likewise, pick up a reusable coffee cup – most coffee shops will fill it for you with no questions asked, and some will even give you a discount for using your own cup.

4. Make a few swaps in the kitchen

Let’s face it, we’ve all been frustrated with the whole ‘I’ve stuck the cling film together and now I can’t use it’ scenario. If you purchase beeswax wraps, you’ll never have this issue again, plus you’ll be doing the environment a favour. The wraps come as a pre-cut square, and mould to the surface you’re putting it on by using the heat of your hands. When you’re done with it, simply remove it, wash it and leave to dry. You could also try swapping your tea bags for loose leaf tea. Unfortunately, tea bags are made using plastic particles, which means that while the tea inside will biodegrade, the bag itself will be left in landfill for years. While we’re at it, you could also try giving chewing gum a miss – like tea bags, it includes plastic and will never biodegrade.


5. Try reusable nappies and sanitary products

The products we use to keep ourselves clean have a huge impact on both the environment, and our bank accounts. The best solution for both is to buy reusable nappies and sanitary products. Did you know that disposable nappies will take over 200 years to break down? And given that the average household uses 5,000 nappies per baby, that’s a lot of waste. Likewise, the average woman uses 11,000 disposable menstrual products in her life. Ouch. Using reusable products like nappies and menstrual products is not as daunting as it might first seem, and is a lot friendlier to you and the environment – they don’t use harsh chemicals, and are less likely to end up in the ocean.  There are so many different types of reusable nappies available which are just as easy as using disposables, and reusable sanitary products don’t have to be scary either. See Maria’s post for more info.

Whether you try all these tips, just one, or something totally different, any changes you make are for the better!

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How my menstrual cup changed my life

Deciding to use cloth nappies

My Menstrual Cup Changed My Life

I got my first period when I was 12 and was perpetually embarrassed by periods for the next ten years. Ten whole years of negative feeling towards my body just doing its thing, like they do. The idea of a menstrual cup came up when I was around the same age, maybe 13 or so. 

The brand that was mentioned was a Mooncup – and I kid you not, until I was 22 years old I thought they were exclusively for menstruating astronauts because you can’t change used tampons or pads in space. I also thought they were a medical device that was left in there for the duration of the period because… well… Space.
Needless to say, I was VERY wrong. Now I wish I had spent more than 3 seconds thinking this over as a teenager and actually done some research. 
After deciding to use cloth nappies, a fairly natural progression from there is the use of cloth sanitary pads and other reusable menstrual products. I had seen other cloth nappy users mention “CSP” and “RUMPs” and one night, pinned under my barely-sleeping infant, I delved into the internet. 
I discovered Precious Stars Pads on YouTube and saw this young woman – much younger than me    with such a level head on her shoulders. There she was, 15, 16, 17 years old merrily talking about her periods on the internet for everyone to see. After a bit of a binge watch I mostly felt silly for ever being embarrassed about my periods. I felt inspired to make my own cloth pads and I knew when my periods came back from their post-baby hiatus I would be investing in a menstrual cup. 
Then the day came. First period back after having a baby. It was a flood, as if the gates of hell had opened or something equally horrific. I was bleeding through a ‘super’ tampon and a pad in an hour several times a day for several days before it calmed down. I ran out of clean trousers and ended up housebound for the rest of the week. My periods were always on the heavy side but this was next level.

That was the final straw. 

I ordered a Fleur Cup multi pack (1x small and 1x large) and the next month I took on the world. I used the small at first because I was a little intimidated but it was a little uncomfortable. The large, on the other hand, is very possibly perfect for me*. It holds around 2.5x the amount of fluid as a ‘super’ tampon so even on the heaviest days I was getting a good couple of hours between changes.
What a gained from using the cup was mostly my freedom, I wasn’t housebound on my heavier days and I was able to sleep comfortably at night without an itchy plastic pad bothering me (and not even catching the blood like it’s supposed to). I am not producing as much plastic waste and, financially, I have already started saving money. The cups were £16 for the pair and I have been using one for almost 2 years, in which time I would have spent £75 or more on disposable sanitary products.

But it’s more than that :

  • It has given me a confidence in talking about my body. I have literally sat in the pub and spoken to a group of men about my periods and shown them the cloth pads that were in my bag without even a single second of shame. 
  • It has alerted me to the cost of periods and the extent of period poverty, I hadn’t even realised some of the things that women and young girls go through when they are menstruating.
  • It has stopped me from dreading my periods. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I look forward to bleeding heavily for a week at a time but I don’t fear it anymore. I don’t cry when it comes anymore. I just pop my cup in and go about my business. 
People have called me dramatic for saying it changed my life but when you think that (usually) a quarter of your life from around 13 to 45 years old is spent menstruating it doesn’t seem all that dramatic after all. 

Picture series demonstrating the half diamond menstrual cup fold
Half Diamond Fold for inserting a cup

*I am often asked for recommendations for cups but that is a very personal thing, we are all very different shapes and sizes and some of us are more active or have a
stronger pelvic floor – these things all make a difference so I would recommend using the Put A Cup In It quiz to find out what cup is likely to suit you


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What ingredients to avoid in Baby Formulas

Every parent wants to give the very best available to their child, and this usually starts with the big decision of which formula you should feed your baby. We all know that breast milk is the absolute best for newborns until 6 months old, but sometimes, due to many different reasons we cannot feed our baby fully on breast milk and need to add or substitute with Baby Formula.

In fact, most of the Mummykind mummies have experienced problems with breastfeeding, and we had to use formula despite our intentions to breastfeed!

Today Mummykind has a special contribution from Ylva Williams, co-owner of the Organic Baby Food Shop and mother of two, will share her experience.

Over to you, Ylva!

“When the first of our two daughters were born, due to low breast milk supply, we started to look infant formula to add to her diet! We had already read a lot on this topic and were honestly worried, to say the least, about the ingredients and production of formulas in the USA. During our investigations, we kept finding articles based on research that infant formula produced in Europe was of much better quality than the US-based infant formula, which includes ingredients that seemed almost poisonous to children. We strongly believe in only feeding our babies organic foods, so we were very surprised to see that even the so-called “organic” baby formulas produced and sold in the US contained very harmful ingredients such as: Sucrose (pure sugar), Genetically modified Soy, Synthetic Nutrients (which can contain very harmful chemicals) Dioxin (can cause cancer), GMO (can cause cancer and organ failure), and Melamine (can cause kidney failure in babies).”

 

“It seemed almost impossible to get an even organic formula that would not include at least one of the above-mentioned ingredients, which are practically poison for babies, within the USA. At this point we were desperate. Thankfully, we had a close family friend who lives in Germany come to the rescue. He was feeding his children Lebenswert and urged us to try it. When we researched Lebenswert, by a company called Holle, not only did their formula not include any of the ingredients we were not willing to feed our babies but also stood for Demeter Standards and environmental sustainability. Demeter standards exceed anything we know about organic farming. We were thrilled! We wanted to feed Lebenswert to our babies, but ran into another problem: It was not sold in the US. After a long online search, we ran into a few suppliers online, but who only sold formulas close to the expiration date, highly overpriced and provided poor service. However, this formula was so great and healthy that we had no other option. This was when we decided to go to Germany ourselves and meet with the Lebenswert manufacturer (Holle) in person to build up a great solution to share with families across the USA!”

 

Today, the Organic Baby Food Shop imports directly from Germany to our offices in Austin, Texas , Los Angeles, California, New Jersey / New York and personally check each shipment before it departs Germany, as well as when it arrives in Texas, California, and New Jersey, to ensure the best quality and freshness for your baby.

While nowadays it seems to be nearly impossible to completely avoid exposure to chemicals and toxins, we are what we eat! Limiting dangerous ingredients especially in the most important stage of your baby’s life is essential to ensure healthy growth and a happy healthy future life, as well as giving you peace of mind as a parent!

Thank you for reading and be sure to check out the Organic Baby Food Shop products!

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