100% Natural Laundry Detergent

100% natural laundry detergent - EarthyCrunchyMama.CoHere it is!! My coveted laundry detergent recipe. I have used this recipe for 3 years now and was previously selling it to friends and family. With baby here, I no longer have time to sell it, so I decided to share the recipe with you. When I first started making my own detergent, I used a recipe that called for Fels Naptha soap, after a little research, I found that even though many recipes were claiming to be natural, Fels Naptha contains many chemicals. I’ll let you do additional research on your own, and if you do choose to use Fels Naptha, you can just substitute it in for the kirk’s in my recipe.

Borax, also known as sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate, is a naturally occurring mineral composed of sodium, boron, oxygen, and water. It is a white powder consisting of soft, colorless crystals that dissolve quickly in water. Borax is classified by the EPA as a pesticide and is toxic to ants, cockroaches, termites, and other insects. In its chemicalWATCH Factsheet, the organization Beyond Pesticides says this about boric acid and its related compounds:

Boric acid is a low-toxicity, non-volatile mineral with insecticidal, fungicidal, and herbicidal properties. It has long been embraced as a safer alternative to highly volatile, synthetic chemical pesticides.

Obviously Borax can pose some safety issues, you can find more information about them here. I feel comfortable using a minimal amount for my family’s laundry.

Laundry Detergent

.5 Cup Borax

.5 Cup Baking Soda

1 Cup Shredded Kirk’s or other Castile Soap

I use about 2-3 tablespoons per load depending on what the load consists of. You’ll have to play around with the amounts depending on load type and washer type. I do have an HE washer. As far as I can tell, it is not cloth diaper safe according to bumGenius’s FAQ page due to the baking soda. I do, however, use it on baby’s clothes and he’s done great!

What about YOU? What’s your favorite money-saving laundry trick?

Why I Chose Homemade Formula – And Why You Should Too

Homemade Baby Formula - by EarthyCrunchyMama

Before we dive into this, please know that I think all mothers should exclusively breastfeed. This was my goal and dream since the moment we found out about baby. I have struggled since day one with breastfeeding and if you missed the beginning of my journey, you can find it here. I also want you to understand that this is my personal journey, I do not judge other mamas who have chosen different paths, just encourage you to research before accepting that what’s popular is the best/only option.

Formula is such a touchy subject and not one I ever planned on having to research for myself. However, going back to work and being apart from baby for hours a day has presented it’s challenges with pumping and breastfeeding. I find pumping is so uncomfortable and obviously completely unnatural. Unfortunately, at this point in my mama journey, pumping is a necessity if I want to continue to breastfeed.

I was pumping at work for about a month when I realized I wasn’t getting any more milk out at the end of that month than I did at the beginning, and obviously baby is still growing. The flip side to that is baby had been nursing between 4-6 times a night to compensate for lack of milk through the day. While I want him to exclusively have breast milk and am willing to breastfeed all night, even the 6 times a night wasn’t enough for his growing body. Supplementation has become a necessity. I’ve have been blessed with several mama friends who have so generously given me their extra stash of milk, but baby has plowed through that very quickly and we’re now having to look at other options.

Powered formula – while being the most popular type among mamas – was never an option for us. After my extensive research, I came to the conclusion that there is no good commercial infant formula available. Commercial infant formulas are highly fabricated concoctions composed of milk or soy powders produced by high-temperature processes that overdenature proteins and add many carcinogens. If you haven’t researched the dangers of this type of formula, I encourage you to do you own extensive research before choosing this for your baby. Some parents mistakenly believe that genetically modified soy is the main problem and that buying organic soy formula is protective for their infant. Nothing could be further from the truth.  While organic soy formula does indeed provide a better quality source of soy, organic soy still has the same problems as GM soy – trypsin inhibitors, high levels of phytic acid, and large amounts of hormone disrupting plant estrogens that can devastate baby’s development and hormonal system. Parents wishing to provide the highest quality formula for their baby should breastfeeding not be an option should consider a homemade formula from grassfed raw milk.  Most babies allergic to commercial dairy formula surprisingly have no problem with a homemade raw milk formula and in the rare case where a dairy allergy presents with the homemade milk based formula, a hypoallergenic formula based on homemade broth and pureed meat can be utilized.

After my extensive research, I came to the conclusion that there is no good commercial infant formula available. I became determined to find a healthier alternative for my baby.

With awesome support from our sweet friend Corrie, we decided to go with a variation of the Weston A Price recipe. We found this recipe had a nice balance of essential milk fats, oil fats, and omegas. There is more to the recipe than we’re using, because I’m mixing the bottles half breastmilk/ half formula and baby is almost 5 months old, I wasn’t as concerned about the few dry ingredients listed. If you are solely feeding baby with this recipe, I would recommend the entire full version of the Weston Price recipe.  You can find the full variation of the recipe here.

homemade baby formula - earthycrunchymama.coSo far we’ve been using the formula for a week and have been loving it! As I mentioned above, we are mixing each bottle half with breastmilk so baby is still getting breastmilk in every feeding. He has loved the formula and we haven’t had any adverse effects from it. He’s been sleeping through the night most nights since starting the formula which has been awesome for mama!

 

 

My Breastfeeding Journey

Breastfeeding – the most natural, beautiful thing a mother can do with her baby and I was ready – ready to experience this beautiful cherished gift together with my baby. I was ready to love it and embrace it as so many of my mommy friends insisted I would. I was even mentally prepared for the first two week soreness that everyone warned me about, but also gave me hope would pass quickly. However, I would find out that such a journey wasn’t mine to walk. No amount of reading or classes could have prepared me for those first several weeks (or months) of breastfeeding.

The first two weeks came and went with minimal soreness, and I often thought to myself ‘I got this!’. I pressed on and was filled with hope that each day would get better. At about three weeks in, my hope was waning and my nipples were getting more and more tender, cracked, and consistently bleeding with each passing day. My sweet mom would tell me to stay strong and keep going, that soon we would get this. And I did, I stayed strong and determined through each toe curling breastfeeding sessions praying it would be over quickly.

At about four weeks, I wasn’t sleeping at night because I knew as soon as I woke up another painful breastfeeding session would start. I hated feeding my baby. I cringed at every hungry cry he made. He thrashed at my breast as he ate, ripping my nipples in the process. They cracked and bled, and, at one point, entire chunks were gone, seriously, gone. I was slathering on nipple creams, coconut oil, and salt water rinses, the whole time believing they would never be the same again.

I knew I needed help and saw several different lactation consultations and OB nurses. Each of whom assured me baby’s latch was perfect. I cried after each one, knowing something wasn’t right. At about six weeks, right as I was ready to give up and throw in the towel, I would hear my sweet Mom’s voice tell me to hang in there, that I could do this, and that soon, baby and I will figure this whole thing out and love it.

Around eight weeks, my mom encouraged me to see another lactation consultant. Through the tears I told her I would try again. I would see person number six who would tell me I was doing everything right and baby’s latch was strong. I knew exactly how the consultation would go and could almost play it out in my mind. However, this time I was wrong. This sweet, tiny, gentle, compassionate lady told me baby had a tie problem. Baby’s upper lip was so tightly tied that he couldn’t open up enough to encourage proper nipple placement. His hard gums were chomping down directly on my nipple. I immediately felt relief upon hearing those words. The diagnosis was so freeing. There was a reason- a reason for all of this discomfort and heartache.

five days into our journey

five days into our journey

I do wish I had realized that just because breastfeeding is natural, doesn’t mean it automatically comes without struggle. It’s such a simple thought really, but somehow I didn’t grasp it those first days when I was short on sleep and high on anxiety. I thought I was doing something wrong, because I didn’t have that beautiful experience early on that I’d heard about. But I’m so thankful we stuck it out, we are 16 weeks along in our journey and have no plans of stopping any time soon.

Photo taken by Jen Conway – http://jenconwayphotography.com/

Super Moist Banana Bread

This is my fav of favs banana bread recipe! It’s very easy and super moist and yummy. Add walnuts or fruit to mix it up!

Ingredients

.5 cup organic butter, melted

1 cup raw sugar

2 organic eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.5 cups organic whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed

1 teaspoon baking soda

.5 teaspoon sea salt

.5 cup organic sour cream

2 medium organic bananas

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9×5 inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, stir together the melted butter and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla, mix well. Combine the flour, flax seed, baking soda and salt. Stir into the butter mixture until smooth. Finally, fold in the sour cream and bananas. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool loaf in pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve warm with melted butter.

recipe adapted from All Recipes