Itty Bitty Greenie

eco-fabulous finds for kids

Archive for the ‘Toxin-free feeding products’ Category

Good Onya

H2 Onya stainless steel bottlesDid you know :

- bottled water generates 600 times more CO2 than tap water? For Australia that’s 60,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year.
- Australians spend more than half a billion dollars a year on bottled water.
- 70% of plastic bottles end up in landfill, and they take up to 1,000 years to degrade.

There are many more staggering statistics on the subject, but suffice it to say, bottled water is something we seem to spend a lot of money on, and usually without thinking about the environmental impacts of that choice. In Australia we are lucky enough to have quality, accessible drinking water, and with so many great reusable water bottles on the market, there really is no excuse to be wasting away with plastic.

Add to this the fact that most plastic bottles contain hormone-disrupting chemicals such as BPA and phthalates, and you should have even more motivation to make the switch.

Onya is an Australian company that has created some stylish and reusable stainless steel water bottles in sizes suitable for anyone, no matter what their age. H2 Onya bottles are especially great for children, because their ergonomic design means they don’t easily slip out of little hands, and they have interchangeable lids, so they can start off using a teat and drink milk from these, and then progress to a sippy lid and eventually one of the sportier lids. Made from food-grade stainless steel, these are built to last a long time – even if they are knocked around a bit (as they most likely will be when used by kids).

Even if you’ve already bought those popular Avent bottles, the teats and sippy attachments are compatible with the Onya lids too. Click here to check out our 350ml range for younger children. We have also tried out the Onya Reusable Sandwich Wraps and find they are a brilliant solution for keeping sandwiches and lunch nicely packed and ready to go!

And, for more interesting facts on bottled water and it’s affect on our environment, visit the cool australia.org

Holding out for a school lunch hero?

goodbyn hero

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that parents (in general) don’t enjoy packing school lunches day after day. I’m no exception. Keeping things interesting, organized and fresh can be challenging for us time-poor caregivers, which is why I appreciate products that make things that little bit easier.

I’ve long been a fan of the Goodbyn lunchboxes – mostly because they offer an attractive and toxin-free solution to packing a healthy, waste-free lunch. My son has been using a Goodbyn Bynto for three years and I can honestly say we both love it because it’s sturdy, easy to use (and clean), and it can store a surprising amount of food without being too bulky to carry in his schoolbag.

goodbyn lunchboxRecently Goodbyn introduced it’s newest lunchbox – the Hero. What’s different? There is one large bento-style container with three handy compartments for keeping food separated. In addition, the set comes with two extra smaller containers that are leak-proof and perfect for packing things like yogurt and dips. These also fit inside the larger container to keep the whole set neat and tidy. Easy, versatile and very practical.

Now, if all you need is a little inspiration for what to put in your trusty Hero lunchbox, the Goodbyn website has some handy hints and recipe inspiration. Yay!

It’s also worth noting that Goodbyn lunchboxes are completely recyclable. All of the pieces are made of #5 polypropylene and #2 high-density polyethylene, and can be placed in your municipality’s recycling container. That is, if you ever want to part with it – and I can’t see that happening in our house…

View our complete range of Goodbyn lunchboxes and other eco-friendly products for helping you pack a waste-free lunch at Itty Bitty Greenie.

School lunch adventures

My little guy is starting kinder this year, which means I’m about to embark on an adventure that involves packing school lunches and snacks a few times a week. I’m not sure if any parent really enjoys this, but I know that given a few tricks and tools, the process can be easier than we might think. As with most things, I look for eco-friendly and toxin-free options for both the food we prepare and the containers in which we store it.

Goodbyn lunchboxA while ago we tried the Goodbyn Bynto lunchbox, and it has been brilliant for packing food while on road trips, visits to the zoo and all pit stops in between. I love the separate compartments and easy-open lid. Not to mention its drink bottle and the fact it’s made from toxin-free, recyclable plastic that’s also dishwasher safe. Yippee!

Until recently, a Goodbyn would have been my top recommendation for an eco-friendly lunch option for kids. But just as I was going to re-stock for Itty Bitty Greenie this year, I found out Goodbyn has discontinued their line of large lunchboxes, and the smaller bynto ones are now sold without the drink bottles and stickers. I’m not sure why Goodbyn made the switch, but I was disappointed, and so starting looking for alternatives.

That’s when I discovered the Keep Leaf range. Designed by a mum (from my hometown of Toronto, no less), Keep Leaf insulated lunch bags (pictured above) are made from 100% organic cotton canvas, and not only are they beautiful and ethically made, they’re the perfect size to hold a variety of lunch items and snacks. There are also matching reusable food wrappers perfect for packing up sandwiches, etc. I’d have to say these are my new favourite eco lunch bags.

Also handy are the stainless steel food containers by Kids Konserve, including the nesting trio and thermos, great for packing hot soup on a chilly day. They make it easy to buy your kids’ favourite snacks in bulk so you can dispense them on a daily basis, rather than giving in to the less eco-friendly option of individually wrapped items. When you think about the waste this could save in one year alone, it really adds up.

To accompany the lunchbox, they’ll need a drink bottle – and if your kids are like mine, you’ll need a sturdy option, as these get tossed around like nobody’s business. I love the Australian brand Onya’s stainless steel drink bottles, which are strong and ergonomically designed for little hands. We’ve had ours for almost 3 years now, and my son has graduated from a sippy lid to a flip-n-flow spout lid that’s easy to use. The Safe Sippy2 bottles are also great as they convert from a sippy bottle to a straw bottle when your child is ready. Always a better option to have one product that adapts, than having to buy new bottles every year or so.

Of course the variety of eco lunch options has expanded greatly in recent years and this is just a selection of a few of my favourites. For a more extensive list, visit our back-to-school sale on Itty Bitty Greenie, where right now you can save 20% to 40% on our entire range.

A fresh start: there’s nothing like homemade for baby’s first foods

By Janelle Fowler

Are you planning to start your baby on solid foods?  It can be very difficult to decide what food is suitable for such a young baby. I worried that my child wouldn’t be able to digest the food properly or might be allergic to something I chose. It worried me so much that I decided to do some research before making a change.

The best book of guidance I found was a book called “Breast, Bottle, Bowl” by Anne Hillis and Penelope Stone.  It gave me some great hints and tips on how to progress through stages, what foods to feed and when. One of the best suggestions was to make your own baby food.

As a mum who is conscious of what I feed my child, I preferred not to give her jarred or pre-packaged food at every meal. The thought of processed food or food containing ingredients I didn’t know really concerned me. Instead I took the active role of making my own baby food.

I knew that steaming some veggies would be easy and beneficial to bubs. I gathered a few other new mums and we had a ‘puree party’ to steam 5 different foods for our kids to try for the next few weeks. Like most new mums, we were tired and didn’t want to have to think about meals for the bubs as well as for the adults while still managing the rest of our lives. Having pre-steamed veggies ready to warm up and serve was a major time saver.

One of the best gifts I was given was individual food freezing trays. At our ‘puree party’ we each brought our trays and spooned in the sweet potato, apples, potato, pear and carrot to take home and put in our freezers. The next day we were able to take out a cube or two out, pop it in the microwave (or put in a bowl inside a bowl of bowling water for non microwave users) slip a bib onto our babies and we were ready to serve our new solid food eaters!

As the kids grew older, the puree parties stopped but I kept on using the containers and making my own baby food. I have moved on from puree and instead steam some different veggies and put them in the freezer container cut into finger food size for later use. I can also use the containers for rice, pasta and even cooked mince (with sauce if you want!) which can save on even more cooking on the nights when my child is not able to eat what we are eating.

Healthy eating starts from habits learned when young and that nothing is better than the love and care a mum can produce in a meal.  I enjoy knowing that I am feeding my daughter healthy, pure, homemade food and that I have been able to give her best start to life.

Janell Fowler is a SAHM to her 2 year old daughter Addison while running her company BabyButton.com.au. BabyButton specializes in Breastfeeding Covers for mums, bibs, gift packs and more.

Making life a little less toxic

Dr. Tabitha McIntoshBy Tabitha McIntosh (Naturopathic Doctor – Awaken your Health)

Have you ever thought about the hundreds of chemicals we are exposed to each day – in products we use to clean our homes, the personal care products we use on our bodies, in the pesticides we spray in our homes, offices, gardens, and playgrounds and in our food, water and air?

Numerous industrial chemicals have been detected in human blood, urine, hair, breast milk, and even umbilical cord blood.

It’s an even scarier thought that the majority of chemicals that are in use have not been adequately tested for their impacts on human health or their particular impacts on children and developing babies – yet – it is now widely recognized that babies and young children are at greatest risk from these chemical exposures. Some can have life-long impacts on an infant’s health, immune function, and ability to learn.

As a mother, I want to do everything I can to keep my family safe from harmful chemicals, and no doubt you feel the same way. Parents can do a lot to protect their children from chemical hazards simply by changing their own personal behaviours and consumption patterns.

So if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, are breastfeeding or have young children, it is advisable to pay particular attention to reducing chemical exposures as much as possible. Here’s a ‘starter-list’ of some practical measures you can take to protect yourself and your children from common chemicals: making yours and your family’s life just a little less toxic.

  • — Store your food in glass containers whenever possible, as it is the most inert container you can use. Don’t microwave in plastic or with plastic wrap: use glass or ceramic instead. It is especially important to look for BPA-free bottles for your infants (these will have a golden tint); and BPA-free water bottles for your children and yourself. Ask your health care provider for some options of suppliers.
  • — Buy and eat organic produce and free-range, organic foods where possible, to reduce your exposure to pesticides, GMOs and fertilizers. This especially applies to animal produce (meat, chicken, eggs) and full-cream dairy products, as these may contain higher levels of some pollutants. If you don’t have access to Organic produce, consider eating fewer meat and high-fat dairy products. In addition, ask your Naturopath or Health care provider about the EWG’s ‘Clean Fifteen’ Vegetable and Fruits List.
  • — Avoid the use of insecticides / pesticides in the home or garden, or on your family pets. Examples of common things to avoid: Mortein, Baygone, garden sprays, flea treatments, mosquito repellants that contain DEET etc. There are safe, effective and natural alternatives out there.
  • — Throw out your Teflon pots and pans and instead use safer cooking materials like ceramic, stainless steel, and glass.
  • — Avoid processed foods, and become a food label detective. Avoid artificial food additives of all kinds, including MSG and artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners are found in most chewing gums, diet foods and drinks, and some children’s medications.
  • — Run your tap water through a home-filter, or drink spring water. Filters can reduce levels of common tap water pollutants.
  • — Avoid artificial fragrances: in air fresheners, fabric softeners, perfumes, cheap candles, and other synthetic fragrances. Use fresh flowers, essential oils and natural alternatives instead.
  • — Reduce the number of cosmetics and other personal care products you use, which can contain harmful chemicals and can be sold with no safety testing. Aim to switch to Natural brands of personal care items: including shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants and cosmetics. Skin care products are notorious for containing a slew of dangerous chemicals. See the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database or ONE Groups’ Chemical Directory for more info.
  • — Avoid Nail polishes and Nail polish removers; aerosols like hairspray, conventional hair dyes and bleaches while pregnant and breastfeeding.
  • — Carefully consider what you put on your baby’s skin: be cautious of Ingredients such as preservatives, parabens, foaming agents (SLS), fragrances and petroleum-based ointments. Speak to your Health Care provider about some alternative brands and products.
  • — Carefully consider the toys you choose for your children, as children like to ‘mouth’ things. Avoid toys that have been painted overseas, plastics, adhesives, lip-glosses, nail polishes, etc.
  • When renovating your home, look for “green”, toxin-free alternatives in lieu of regular paints, varnishes and floor coverings. Use low VOC paints, varnishes and sealants (available from your hardware) and avoid formaldehyde resins. Ideally, aim to finish the renos, polish the floor boards, and paint the baby room well before you conceive.
  • — Eat low-mercury fish and avoid seafood that may be high in other environmental contaminants such as PCB levels. Locally caught fish, prawns and crustaceans from inlets, lakes, rivers, and harbours may be contaminated with PCB’s, so always check with your local fishing authority before eating.
  • — Reduce the number of household cleaners you use; and only use natural cleaning products in your home. Most health food stores will have these available or you can search online for them. For more information, visit the Safer Solutions website for keeping your home healthy and green.

 
* Tabitha McIntosh is a Naturopathic Doctor at Awaken Your Health Clinic in Woolhara, NSW. She will be giving a lecture with Dr. Sarah Lantz (author of Chemical Free Kids: Raising Healthy Children in a Toxic World) on how to reduce chemical exposures at Bondi Beach Public School in August this year. Click here for more information.

A cool change…

It’s interesting to be on the other side of the table sometimes, and being an exhibitor at the Baby & Toddler Show in Melbourne last weekend, I was reminded of what it was like three years ago when I was the one with the baby bump, going to every baby expo in town to check out the latest and greatest of goods and services that I might need or want for my impending motherhood.

As overwhelming as these events can be, with stand after stand promising bold things and having a different sales pitch to draw the crowds, where else can you get so much information in one place and have the opportunity to sample and ask, touch and feel?

It seemed back then that I just couldn’t find what I was looking for – innovative eco friendly and organic products, and toxin free feeding accessories – but what struck me this year was that even among the predictable brands, there was an abundance of environmentally friendly options for parents, from reusable nappies, to organic baby food, glass baby bottles and of course yours truly, offering the latest and greatest of green products sourced from Australia and abroad.

There is a definite change in the air, and Australian parents more than ever are are showing their preference for products that are not only practical and beautiful, but environmentally responsible as well. Even among those parents-to-be who had little knowledge about issues such as BPA and toys made from sustainable wood, there was a genuine interest to see what “all the fuss was about.”

For those who stopped by the Itty Bitty Greenie stand to say hi, ask questions, give our products a try and sign up for our mailing list, I’d like to say a huge thank you. The fact that you’re even interested is a sign of encouragement for me, as it has been my goal all along to make “green” choices part of the mainstream, and not the alternative lifestyle choice they formerly seemed to be.

And also, congratulations to Rachel Bentley, the winner of our gift box raffle containing more than $150 worth of eco friendly baby products!

Weaning, made easy

Wean MeisterFor new parents, anything that can make life easier and more convenient becomes more than a necessity – you can’t live without it. And when your child is starting solid foods it’s a messy business, so having the right equipment can make all the difference.

I wish the Wean Meister Freezer Pods were around when I was cooking, mashing and freezing my son’s first foods. I was using individual plastic containers back then, which were BPA free, but who knows what other toxins might have been leaching into his food. And when it came to feeding time, I had to run the container under warm water to loosen the block of food, which was time consuming, wasteful and frustrating indeed.

Australian mum Sarah Marriott obviously experienced similar baby-feeding frustration, and seeing a gap in the market, created the Wean Meister.

What makes these trays unique (and so much better) is they are made from a high-grade silicone, which is flexible, so it won’t snap under pressure, and the food or breast milk you freeze in them will pop out with one easy push. The trays are also extremely durable and come with a lid to prevent freezer burn or contamination, while also making them sturdy and stackable.

With nine perfect baby-sized portions (75mls each), certification that these are completely free of BPA or phthalates, and endless ways to reuse them long after your baby is past the weaning stage, these freezer pods are an absolute must-have. Oh, and did I mention they’re also dishwasher and oven safe? Yes, you can bake mini muffins with them too – how’s that for a kiddie treat idea?

Check out this video demonstration of how they work, and be sure to also visit the “recycling” section of the Wean Meister website for lots of great ideas of how to reuse them – the possibilities are endless!

The Wean Meister Freezer Pods come in three colours (Blue, Turquoise and Pink) and are available now at Itty Bitty Greenie for $24.95

Gifts for the Itty Bitty Baby

Gift guide for Itty Bitty Babies

Baby’s first Christmas is such a special time, and we all know new parents are often in need of not just cute clothes but baby essentials like skin care, baby bottles, swaddle blankets and pacifiers too. Why not give them something that’s not only useful, but all-natural, organic and safe too?

Here’s our eco-fabulous gift guide for those Itty Bitty Babies in your life.

1) Ringley all-natural maple wood and organic cotton teething ring (RRP $19.95)

2) Aden + Anais organic muslin wraps in four styles: Bloom, Safari, Sky and Snuggle Bug. Each one comes with a matching organic muslin bag (RRP $39.95)

3) Natursutten all-natural rubber pacifiers are BPA free, Phthalate free and PVC free (RRP $9.95)

4) Green to Grow baby bottles (and nipples) are toxin free and eco-friendly (RRP $19.95-22.95)

5) Little Wings Organic cotton dress with fairy pattern, designed in Australia (RRP $54.95)

6) Little Wings Organic Cotton bloomers with frill, designed in Australia (RRP $24.95)

7) Organic cotton and lace baby dress, made from 100% organic Egyptian Cotton (RRP $44.95)

8)  Plan Toys Baby Car, made from eco-friendly and chemical-free wood (RRP $22.95) 

9) Dandelion Organic Cotton baby toys: Crinkle Bear ; Squeaker Duck and Rattling Frog (RRP $16.95 each)

10) Little Innoscents certified organic bath products and skin care (RRP $10.99- $19.99)

Gifts for the Itty Bitty Eco Warrior

Eco friendly gifts for kids

You’re never too young to start earth-friendly living, and for those who like to create a dialogue with their children about the importance of loving mother earth, we have some great gift ideas for you that are sure to inspire conversation and good greenie fun.

1) I Can Save the Earth storybook, made from 100% recycled paper and printed with soy inks (RRP $11.50)

2) Green Toys Recycling Truck, made from recycled plastic (RRP$ 54.95)

3) “Environmentally Trendy” Organic T-shirt from Well Spotted brand (RRP $34.95)

4) Goodbyn eco-friendly lunch box (RRP $44.00)

5) Taslie head-to-toe organic moisturizing lotion, made with biodegradable packaging (RRP $16.95)

6) Reusable bowl & spoon set made from corn, BPA and phthalate free and eco-friendly (RRP $14.95)

7) Kids Konserve Nesting Trio of Stainless Steel food containers (RRP $29.95)

8)  Eco-Charging Station playset, made from sustainable rubber wood (RRP $ $39.95)

Gifts for the Itty Bitty Rockstar

Welcome to December and the start of the silly season! I know how challenging it can be to find that perfect Christmas gift for those little people in our lives who have big personalities – especially when there’s so much to choose from.

So over the next few weeks, I’ll share some of my favourite eco-fabulous finds from Itty Bitty Greenie that are sure to suit all the littlies in your life – from the Itty Bitty Rockstar to the Itty Bitty Eco Warrior and the Itty Bittiest Newborns too.

First up, let’s shine a spotlight on some gift ideas for those about to rock…

1) Organic Cotton “Rock Guitars” T-shirt (RRP $34.95)

2) The Beatles “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” Organic Cotton T-shirt with Swarovski “diamonds” (RRP $34.95)

3) Eco Stars Recycled Crayons (RRP $19.95)

4) Plan Toys Xylophone (RRP $34.95) 

5) The Beatles “Pop” Organic Cotton T-shirt (RRP $34.95)

6) Groovy Interlocking Plate & Bowl Set in Orange from Boon Inc. (RRP $24.95)

7) Wooden Baby Maraca in Red & White (RRP $9.95)

8) Modware Toddler Utensils in Blue – BPA-free, Phthalate free and PVC-free (RRP $12.95)

9) SnackTAXI Groovy Guitars Reusable Food Wraps. Snack Sack (RRP $10.50) and Sandwich Sack (RRP $12.50)