Friday, March 16, 2012

Oh, you're one of those NATURAL parents..

1. existing in or formed by nature (opposed to artificial).

We should be proud that our generation is actively working towards normalizing "the green movement", where people all over are striving in every way possible to break free from the wasteful, synthetic, toxic lifestyles that have been so common to us growing up, and making a conscious effort to live life naturally and with as little negative impact as possible.

This enlightenment has opened doors for those of us with kids to "attachment parenting" and "natural parenting", otherwise known as the age-old ways of bringing up children that have been around long before the days of formula commercials, big box baby superstores with 1500 different options for devices that hold your baby for you, cry-it-out methods, and chemical-filled paper diapers. Many parents today are making an effort to follow their instincts, rather than following the words in a book or the out-dated advice from in-laws, and to allow a child to grow and thrive in a way that will not conflict with his innermost desires to be nurtured, nourished, organic and natural. This method of parenting has existed in the animal world (including humans) since the beginning of time, it is nothing new.. yet, we are finding ourselves sometimes struggling to rediscover what comes naturally among this industrialized world of artifical convenience and money-making schemes.

Of course, as with any "movement", the natural life movement is being faced with not only resistance, but even fear.

I'll never forget a specific time my husband and I were grocery shopping, which really opened my eyes to how others view the organic lifestyle. Nuni was just a tiny little one, sleeping in the sling with his head against my chest as we browsed through the produce, picking out the best organic fruits. Two middle-aged ladies were chatting next to me as one of them nonchalantly picked up a banana bunch and put them into her cart. Her friend stopped mid-sentence and gasped, informing her friend that she had picked up the Organic bananas!! Stunned, the other lady quickly grabbed up the organic bananas, put them back as if she had almost purchased plague bananas, and replaced them with "regular" bananas, as she said. Now, the price difference was a mere 7 cents (54 cents/lb for 'regular' bananas, 61 cents/lb for organic) and judging by the very nice clothes and designer handbags, I'm guessing that those 7 cents wouldn't exactly break the bank. I was awakened to the other perspective, that maybe others don't see our lifestyle as normal, yet still to this day, I just can't figure out why!
Another example was the time my family and I stayed for a month with my husband's brother and his family when we moved to a new state. For that month, we split rent, bills, and of course, took turns buying groceries. My husband and I would stock up on the usual organic food items that we are used to eating, while they typically bought just about anything that comes in a box or a can. One day my husband's brother pulled him aside to inform him that his wife and him were getting upset because we "always buy that organic food", and they "can't eat organic food." My husband was absolutely dumbfounded and mindblown that there are actually people out there who truly believe that they CAN'T eat organic food!

Perhaps I need to broaden my horizons a bit to try to understand that way of thinking... (any ideas?) but I tend to take the opposition a bit more personally when it comes to my kids.

Lately something that has been just bugging me are some of the reactions I face towards my choice to parent 'naturally'.. as though the methods I choose are some kind of taboo freak-show trend that will pass. We've been labeled as "hippies", "crunchy", "new-age", but I wonder, why not just 'parents'?
At times, when others notice that I happen to breastfeed my toddler (as nature intended), co-sleep/bedshare (no other animals in nature will dare to sleep without their young), babywear, feed my child unaltered foods provided from the earth, choose not to inject toxic chemicals into his bloodstream, allowed his body to remain intact, etc.. I am baffled by the very opinionated resistance of my decisions. As though my 'natural' child will contaminate their children.

Now, I will say this. I have not ALWAYS been a "natural" parent. I can see how people may be led into the more mainstream way of parenting. It's what we see everyday in the media, in public, and in many ways how we were raised ourselves. I was 17 years old when I had my first little love child almost 8 years ago, and despite my efforts to research as much as I could, I greatly depended on the advice and instruction from others. My precious firstborn daughter was vaccinated, supplemented with formula, chewed on cheap plastic toys, was given infant tylenol for teething, took antibiotics every time she had a cough, wore pampers, bathed in Johnsons, was foward-facing much too early, and fed everything Gerber had on the shelves. I thought I was giving her the best of everything at the time. Although I followed my instincts the best I could and breastfed for 15 months, co-slept, and kept her attached at the hip... I look back and realize how very naive I was back then, and how many decisions were made simply because "it's just what you do" or because it was what others said I "should do". I do regret not having looked into a more natural approach to parenting, and giving my daughter what I now percieve to be the best start in life.. To be honest, I had no idea those ways even existed.

But, as the old saying goes, "When you know better, you do better."

As soon as I happened to stumble across the words "attachment parenting", and was eventually introduced to the realm of "natural parenting" (around the time my first child turned a year old) my interest sparked, and I wanted to learn as much as I could about it all. Slowly but surely, my journey began.

I was actually having a conversation with a sweet 'crunchy' mama today about this very topic. We were discussing some of the decisions we had made with our eldest children that we now regret, and just how much our viewpoints have changed.
Isn't it amazing what we learn over the years?? You think life is one way when you're young and that you have it all figured out... But looking back I realize just how uninformed I was! 

I have so much respect for all the parents out there who strive to keep their children as natural as possible.
People say "oh, you're one of those NATURAL parents" if 'natural' is a passing TREND or something.. Like, Emo or Posh. I absolutely cannot fathom that assumption. To be natural is the opposite of a trend, it's a way of life that entails keeping yourself and loved ones the way that God/Nature/etc intended you to be. To be anything but artificial.

Boheme Mom

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Goodmama Giveaway Winner!!

A winner for the Goodmama Skully One Giveaway was chosen via, and lucky mama Krystyl Olson was the winner!! Congratulations Krystyl!! Please message me on facebook with your email address and we will work out the details! Thanks!!

Boheme Mom

Monday, March 12, 2012

You Put a Sea Sponge Where???

It's inevitable. That monthly visitor, Aunt Flo. Also known as the Crimson Tide, Big Red, the Leaky Basement, Moon Time, On the Rag, Aunt Ruby, Riding the Cotton Cowboy, your Period, your Cycle...oh yes, and Menstruation.
Those 18 months of ragtime-free life while being pregnant and breastfeeding was euphoric, but since it came back, I had to start seeking out waste-free alternatives to feminine hygiene (like a good little hippie).
I stocked up on Happy Heiny's mama cloth, FuzziBunz cloth pads and Mommy's Touch mama pads, and cloth pantiliners from a wonderful mama on Etsy! Those are awesome and I love them (I'll go into details about those experiences on another post) but cloth menstrual pads weren't such a practical idea when it came to Traveling without frequent washer and dryer access, as I have been lately. The month before our planned trip, I ordered a set of Jade and Pearl Natural Sea Sponge Tampons.

Oh boy, you should see the reactions I've gotten when I casually mention to my acquaintances that I have a Sea Sponge chillin' up there. Most reactions are those of interest, wonder and fascination, even amazement at the idea! I have, however, definitely witnessed my share of completely freaked out awkwardness. As though it's the strangest possible thing a person could ever insert into their sacred place. Now, tampons constructed with cotton (that was grown with pesticides), wood rayon, chlorine bleach, dioxin, dyes, fragrances, and super-absorbent chemicals, all in which contribute to Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), Ovarian Cancer, and Endometriosis, as well as general infections ....."totally okay", right???

Now, before you start cracking jokes about what else I've got stored up there (Starfish perhaps? Anemones? Seaweed?) hear me out....

How They Work

Sea Sponge tampons, functionally, are not that different than 'regular' tampons. Sea Sponge tampons come in different sizes ("Teeny", "Medium", "Large") to accomodate the variance in flow and fit. The sponges are all sustainably harvested, naturally and thoroughly sanitized, and trimmed to fit well. It's best to "size up" because if the sponge is too big, you can always trim it down to make it more comfortable, but a sponge too small will not be quite as functional. All you do before insertion, is wet the sponge to make it soft, squeeze out the water, insert with a clean finger, and let it do what it was designed to do. Unlike 'regular' tampons (which personally bother me the entire time they are in use) I absolutely can not feel the sponge because it is so soft and shape conforming.  When it's time to take it out, simply insert your finger, bear down your pelvic muscles, and you will feel the sponge descending down. Just hook your finger around it, and pull it right out. Unlike 'regular' tampons, there is no friction, no abrasions, and no leftover fibers lingering around. Take your sponge to the sink, rinse it out (I usually add a drop of Tea Tree Dr Bronners natural soap to get it really clean, and then rinse it out thoroughly) and re-insert. There is no waste: no extra garbage to sit in the landfill for the next 500 years, no icky hygiene products sitting in the trashcan just waiting for the dog to drag them out, and you never have to worry about running out of tampons and having to run to the store! 

On the Go
Sea Sponge tampons usually come in a set of 2 or more, and come with a cotton carrying case so that when you are out and about and find yourself in a public restroom, you will have a place to store the used sponge before rinsing it out.

Cleaning after Use

There are many safe, natural ways to clean your sea sponge tampons after your cycle. You can soak them for 10 minutes in a cup of warm water mixed with one of the following items: 1 tsp Sea Salt, 1/8 cup Hydrogen Peroxide, 1 tsp Colloidal Silver, 1 Tbsp Baking Soda, 1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar, or 2 drops Tea Tree oil. Set it out (preferably in natural sun light) and let it air dry, and then store them in the cotton bag until the next cycle.


It has been said that the average woman spends about $100-$200 a Year on feminine hygiene products!  
Now get this.... I only spent $13 on a 2-pack of Sea Sponges. Sea Sponges may last up to a year before needing to be replaced!  That means, on average I am saving $87-$187 a year!! To me, if there's an option that can eliminate waste and be reused over and over again, there is no sense in throwing money away (literally!).

Other Advantages

Another amazing thing about Sea Sponge tampons is that, if you choose, you do NOT have to abstain from intercourse during your cycle. Sea Sponge tampons are safe to use during sex. Although I choose not to (I'm so achey and sensitive during that time, sex is the last thing on my mind) we are, however, planning to buy a set specifically for using in conjunction with spermicide as a barrier to prevent pregnancy! (Remember "the sponge" contraception? Basically the same thing except natural!) 
Just like 'regular' tampons, you can wear Sea Sponge tampons while swimming, as the sponge naturally protects your vagina and prevents any outside water from coming in.

My past three cycles while using The Sponge have been great! And while I miss my Mama Cloth, I will definitely be integrating the Sea Sponge tampons into each cycle! They are comfortable, clean, renewable, natural, waste-free, and keep me very clean and fresh during a time that can make any woman feel the opposite!
For more information about Sea Sponge Tampons, visit Jade and Pearl.
Boheme Mom

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Paying it Forward - Goodmama Giveaway

**Edited with more opportunities to win!**

Two things that I really really love: Consignment Shopping, and Goodmama Cloth Diapers!
I've been using Goodmamas for a year now, and absolutely LOVE them! They are the majority of my large cloth diaper stash, and I can never get enough of them! They're not only luxurious, adorable, ridiculously absorbent diapers, but they're also collector's items! Suzanne Atwood, the owner of Goodmama Diapers, usually releases her diaper prints and types one stocking at a time. This creates a very limited number of certain types and prints of Goodmamas, so if you have your heart set on a certain print, it can be like a scanvenger hunt to track it down and purchase it. I've been an active member of buying, selling and trading Goodmama diapers since I found out about GMs a year ago, and it is very exciting!

That is why, a few days ago, when I spotted a Goodmama Skully One in amazing condition at a local consignment shop, I leapt at the opportunity to buy it (and for half the price that one would pay for a GM in such condition!).  The employee at the consignment shop informed me that the GM was new, but judging from the slightly fluffy, amazingly soft bamboo fleece on the underside of the cotton velour soaker, it appears as though it's been washed maybe once (as resell shops tend to do). This Goodmama wasn't exactly "my style", but I figured it would make a pretty good trade, since people often seek out the all-in-one version of Goodmama known as "One's". The only fault with the diaper was that the tag appeared as though it had intentionally been slashed.

It wasn't until I mentioned the diaper on the Goodmama fan page that I was informed that a Goodmama diaper with a cut/slashed tag means that it was one of the brand new GMs that the lovely owner, Suzanne Atwood, donated for free to the Cloth Diaper Foundation before they were shut down shortly thereafter. I felt upset that a diaper that was meant to be given away for free was out there being sold, and I no longer felt right offering the diaper up for trade or sell, even though I had paid for it myself, and even though I had gotten a lot of interest in the diaper.  I decided that I was going to give it away for free, as it was meant to be.
(By the way, the above picture of the Goodmama Skully One was taken by me, this is the exact diaper that I will be giving away!)
So here I am, giving away this awesome Goodmama diaper on my blog. Admittedly, a Goodmama collection is a costly endeavor. Brand new Goodmama's can run anywhere from $35-$55+. Highly sought-after GMs can get into the $100's. Now thats one fancy booty! But in my experience and opinion, Goodmama's are well worth their retail price due to their excellent quality, adorableness, and absorbency! (95% of the time, my son wears his Goodmama fitteds without a cover, and the Ones have never been a problem!) I think that every cloth-diapering parent should be able to have the chance to try a Goodmama, so it is my hopes that even those who are not yet "Goodmama Llamas" will also enter this giveaway!
I would like to NOTE that my blog is NOT sponsored in any way, I do not run ads, and I am in NO WAY benefitting monetarily from this giveaway or the attention that it may bring to my blog. My only hope is to give away a Goodmama diaper that was meant to be given for free, and I also admit to hoping that the word of my blog may be spread and shared. My blog is still a baby. I do not have many fans or followers, and I've only recently resurrected it, after many requests from my friends to start blogging again. Many of my friends come to me with questions about cloth diapering and natural parenting, and I participate actively on forums and groups on these subjects. I have much knowledge and experience to share with others, and my only hope through my blog is to get the word out about Natural parenting. I have 3 children, all in which I have extended breastfed, 2 of which I have cloth diapered (and am still cloth diapering my youngest), and all in which I have attachment parented (as in, co-sleeping/bedsharing, babywearing, never CIO, etc) and which I have raised naturally, organically and am continuing to grow to be as pure and simple as possible. We are a growing family, as my husband and I plan to TTC within the next few months, and intend to have a homebirth with our next child.

Now, back to the issue at hand.
Here are some of the ways to enter the GOODMAMA SKULLY ONE Giveaway!:

(each action puts your name into the drawing a seperate time, so the more you do, the greater your chances will be! I will pick a winner via

- "Like" the Boheme Mom Rhapsody Facebook Page, and comment on the post where I linked to this article, telling me 'Why You Love Goodmamas', or 'Why You Would Love To Try One!' (1 entry)

- TAG the Boheme Mom Rhapsody Facebook Page, spreading the word about the Giveaway. (3 entries)

-SHARE this Giveaway on facebook or your blog, and for every friend who lets me know YOU sent them, you get an EXTRA entry! =)

- Follow the Boheme Mom Rhapsody Blog and comment on this article that you are Now a Follower! (1 entry)

- Comment on This Blogpost, telling my 'Why You Love Goodmama Diapers', or 'Why You Would Love To Try One!' (1 entry)

Please do not comment on my Blog multiple times for the same action (I will notice, LOL!) But feel free to let me know each time you tag or share! That gives you an endless number of opportunities to enter!!
The Winner will be chosen *one week from today* on TUESDAY, MARCH 13, 2012! That leaves you 7 days to get in your entries and help spread the word!!!
I am so excited about this Giveaway! Thanks in advance to all of the new followers and Giveaway participants!! Welcome to Boheme Mom Rhapsody!!!

Boheme Mom

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Flat out Truth about Flats

First Reaction: "You mean to tell me that it's possible to still cloth diaper if you have no access to a washing machine?!?!"
Someone, spread the word! It is possible, and much easier than it seems!

To be honest, I dreaded it.
Folding, Covering, Rinsing, Washing, Hanging to dry. It all seemed like too much.
These days most cloth diapers consist of nothing more than snap and go! Throw it in a pail when dirty. The easy life. Before my recent traveling endeavors with my family, I never had any desire to try flats. I never understood why anyone would.

I now understand.

As I stated previously, my family has been traveling the past few weeks with my hubby for his job. We knew we would be without dependable washer and dryer access (only public laundromats, which I do not trust for my precious diaper stash), so we resorted to disposable/compostable/flushable diaper inserts w covers. Honestly it was undesirable. To put it mellodramatically, I felt as though I was failing my baby! Afterall, I wouldnt want to wear paper underwear, why should my sweet precious baby have to? I wanted that tiny little bottom back in natural cloth fibers!
I immediately set out on a mission to find the dreaded FLATS. I ended up getting a GREAT deal on a stash of 24 unbleached organic toddler sized flats prepped, but in new condition from a local mama. SCORE, just what I needed! I folded them nicely and put them away...waiting for that last pack of disposable inserts to be flushed away.
The other night was our first time back in cloth in weeks! What a relief to put those nice soft fluffy fibers back on him. The most remarkable thing about using Flats was how INCREDIBLY surprisingly EASY the entire process is!!
Not to mention, this method of cloth diapering is BY FAR the most Affordable way that one could possibly cloth diaper! Not much cash? No washer and dryer? Seriously, Flats are the way to go!

Let me break it down, just how simple it can be to Travel and keep your baby in cloth!
(*Keep in mind, this could also apply to those who live in Apartments and don't have regular access to dependable/affordable washing machines*)

First off, What is a Flat??: A flat cloth diaper is the old-school version of cloth diapers that your grandparents and great-grandparents etc etc probably used. They're a very thin, very large (for a diaper) square of birdseye/gauze cotton fabric that can be folded into a countless number of ways to fit just about any baby, any size, any age, any day. In a pinch, Flats also can be used (and often are used) as burp rags, baby blankets, changing pads, super soft and absorbent baby towels, and a variety of other baby necessities. Despite how incredibly thin they are, when folded the right way, they become one of the most absorbent diapers you'll ever use. Because of how thin they are, they are very thoroughly cleaned, and dry remarkably quick! Here is a picture that I borrowed from Green Mountain Diapers of a set of Flats (toddler size, infant size, and one folded) that look just like the ones I'm using:

Folding: Its really as simple as this: Fold it in half, fold that half in half, and then fold that half into thirds...lay it in a cover and use it as an insert! Super duper simple! For night, I prefer full coverage, so I do the "angel fold" with a Snappi. Also really simple, but looks complicated when I try to explain in writing, so I might dedicate a seperate post for that. But if you're dying to know, it's nothing Google can't handle ;-) Bottom line, the folding isnt a problem at all! It's actually kind of fun.. I feel all oldschool and connected with the generations of dedicated mothers who folded flats before me.

Covering: Amazingly, the flats have worked perfectly with every single cover I've used with them. No complaints on that end. So far I've used the flats with gDiaper covers, a Perfect Bum cover (new addition!), a ProRap cover (bought that one today at a resale shop, yay!), a Bummis Super Whisper Wrap, a Flip cover, a Thirsties cover, a DiaperRap cover, a Best Bottoms shell, and GroVia shells, and not once have I experienced a problem with sizing, fitting, bulkiness or anything. Another major plus about flats is that they are SO perfect to custom size to your needs!

Handling Poop: Yes, I have a well-known secret that has made this 100% easier for me: flushable liners. I don't generally use them every time, because (AP high horse alert) I happen to be pretty aware of my son's poop schedule..and I do prefer to have the soft cotton against his skin. But let me tell you, those things are a GODSEND when it comes to being in a situation where you must wash your diapers by hand. I'm proud to say that so far, not once since using flats have my hands come in contact with poop! I just line his folded flats with a nice flushable liner before placing it in the cover.. and when he poops, I lift the thing out (liner and poop and all), and flush it away along with the flushable wipes I've been using for poopy diapers! So far, so good.

Washing By Hand: WAY easier than I ever could have imagined. I've started out washing them one-by-one, right after the diaper change, and its been working so well, I'm thinking my wetbags aren't going to be getting much use around here. Here's how I wash the diapers by hand:
-Rinse the wet diaper in the sink with cold water. I really am not even touching it at this point, its just sitting in the sink, with cold water running over it.
-When I'm convinced the "cooties" are gone, I unfold the flat in the water and start squeezing the diaper, and spreading it out, squeezing, and spreading...and repeat.
-Then I squeeze the excess water out of the diaper, as I'm turning the water on hot.
-Plug the sink, and as the sink fills up with hot water, I begin adding a pinch or two of cloth diaper-safe detergent.
-Add the diaper to the sink and start swishing and squeezing and spreading away! Just pretend that your hands are little washing machines, and enjoy the nice warm water on your hands (and of course, knowing that you're such a dedicated mommy, cleaning diapers old-school!)
-When my mommy clock goes off and I'm convinced the diapers are thoroughly clean, I drain the water from the sink and squeeze the water out of the diaper
-Run cold water into the sink again and start rinsing the diaper in the cold water, the same as the first cold water rinse, to wash away any detergent left on the diaper.
-Ring the diaper out as dry as possible

Hanging to Dry: Very simple. Use whats around you. Hang on the back of a chair (or if possible, on a clothesline, a shower curtain rod, a towel get the point..) So far, it's only taken about an hour or two to dry completely, so by the time I'm ready to hang up the next diaper, the previous one is ready to be folded and put away! My secret: I put it right next to the fan and a/c so it gets a little air action to help speed up the drying process.

And there you have it! A quick, simple, solution to cloth diapering "against the odds" of traveling or apartment life/no W&D!

When I first purchased these flats, I had it in my mind that I would exclusively use these for traveling. But after having such a positive experience, I now want to incorporate my flats into my diaper stash at home! There's something so rewarding about not only "making" your babies' diaper with one of the many fun folds, but also cleaning and drying it yourself, in a way that conserves water, energy and time, plus keeps baby chemical-free! I love reaching for that clean cotton diaper and putting it on my baby thinking, "I did this!"

Boheme Mom

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Upcoming Review and Giveaway!

The other day I stumbled across a very adorable line of hybrid cloth diapers at Babies R Us. They were called Perfect Bum cloth diapers by Cocalo. I asked the company if I could do a review of their product and they were more than happy to give me permission! My little guy is currently wearing his Perfect Bum cloth diaper right now. After a few more days of trying it out with disposable and cloth inserts, I'm going to give a detailed review and then host a GIVEAWAY! So be on the lookout for that!
Have you seen the new Perfect Bum diapers in stores?

Boheme Mom