Wednesday, April 25, 2012

That's Bananas!

Maybe it is too early to say for sure but I may have a secret weapon in the getting baby to sleep arsenal.  I am convinced that bananas have been helping Orion to fall asleep and stay asleep at night.  For the past week and a half, he has slept through the night.  There was one night when he woke up around 10 pm, but that was also the day we ran out of bananas.  Bananas are an excellent source of potassium and magnesium, but also L-tryptophan which is converted into melatonin and serotonin.  These last two are really great for sleep and “people consider bananas one of the most important sleep foods”.

I try to have dinner between 6 and 7.  While we eat, the baby eats.  I will usually give him little pieces of whatever we are eating or spoon feed him some yogurt.  We have all been enjoying beef stew the past few days.  He likes to suck on the meaty bits, it is so friggin’ cute.  I make sure he has a good amount to eat because I know he will be dropping a few bits for the dogs to enjoy.  He is so nice to share his dinner with his furry friends.

Once Orion is done eating his dinner, I bring out dessert.  His eyes get all big and excited when he sees the banana.  He did not even like bananas until recently but now he loves them!  I will peel the banana and let him take bites.  He tries to take huge bites and put the whole thing in his mouth.  Sometimes he will grab the banana with both hands in the hopes of getting more into his mouth.

At this point, our dogs are freaking out and crying because they too want some banana.  Orion will usually drop some for them or give up a small chunk for me to split between the dogs.  Orion will eat about ¾ of the banana on his own.  Then we clean him up and put him in his jammies.  He will have a bit of play time before bed in the hopes of getting rid of all his excess energy.  I think the banana gives him a little energy boost because he can get a little silly.  He crawls around, chases the dogs, bangs on the ottoman, and plays. 

Once it is bedtime, I will take him into the bedroom with the lights off and no distractions.  I will nurse him up and make sure his belly is full.  Last night, he totally spit up on me for the first time in ages.  I guess he was stuffed and just needed to go to bed.  I was exhausted from our big day out so I took him to his bedroom and laid him down in his crib.  I turned on his soothing seahorse, which he never showed much interest in until that very moment.

I left the room and told my husband I was going to bed.  So what if it was barely after 8 pm, I was beat!  I let husband know I would be turning off the baby monitor (which is kept on the lowest volume level) and to turn it back on once he comes to bed.  Orion was still awake and I hoped he would just fall asleep.  I lay in bed with a bit of worry in my belly that Orion would not be able to fall asleep and both my men would experience some torture.

That was not the case!  For the first time ever, my husband successfully put the baby to bed.  He had to rock Orion for about 20 minutes but then he was asleep and stayed asleep through the night.  There was no fussing, no tears.  Orion woke up at bit after 6 this morning and Patrick (my husband) got him up and took him into the living room.  I tried to sleep more but was awake, so I got out of bed and walked into the living room.   Once Orion saw me, he got excited and crawled over with such quickness.  He climbed up on my legs and was reaching up for me which meant he wanted to nurse.  We nursed for a bit and then he was happy to play. 

It has taken close to a year to get where we are.   I feel like a whole new world is opening up.  I am excited because Orion is depending on me less and less which means I may be able to go out and have a bit of fun or even have a little weekend away.  Then there is a part of me that is going to miss our time together.  He nurses less and less these days.  Our relationship is changing and sometimes change is difficult to handle.  I guess I need to get used to it because as soon as a baby is born, he starts to grow up.  I look back on this first year and I am glad we had every moment together even when I was frustrated or tired and just wanted sleep.  I also look forward to what lies ahead, I hope there will be bedtime stories and snuggles.  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The C Word

No, not that 4 letter C word, but one that has equally negative connotations, I am talking about C-sections.  Cesarean sections have gotten a lot of negative coverage and many moms are made to feel like they are not real women if they have C-sections.  I think this has got to stop.  Yes, C-sections may be unnecessarily preformed way too often in America but sometimes, it has to be done.  I think water birth, home birth, and vaginal birth are awesome.  But don’t feel guilty or less than because you couldn’t have the birth of your dreams or stick to your birth plan.

I hate the term birth plan.  As if you could really plan something like the birth of a child.  It should be called a birth suggestion because you really need to be flexible.  What you want, and what the about to be born baby may want could be completely different.  How much do you like to get out of a nice warm bed on a cold winter morning?  I imagine it is kinda like that for about to be born babies.  I know the doc had to pull me out with forceps.  If you have never given birth, how can you plan something that you really do not understand even if you have watched all the videos and taken all the prep classes?  

I had a C-section. I did not want to have a C-section but I do not regret having my C-section.  I did get the most beautiful baby out of the experience.  I was a high risk pregnancy from the start and it took me about 9 months before I could even try to get pregnant (really it took about 5 years).  I have M.S. but I also have all these crazy antibodies which are usually associated with Lupus.  These antibodies can cause the placenta to age rapidly and suddenly.  For this reason, I had ultrasounds every 2 weeks after the first trimester then every week during the end of my third trimester.  My OB also did not want me to carry beyond my due date.  Really, she didn’t even let me carry to my due date because it was on a Sunday and they don’t schedule inductions on the weekend.  All in all, my pregnancy was pretty run of the mill except for that one week of bed rest due to low amniotic fluid.   

I didn’t try anything but walking to bring on labor.  I had heard horror stories about women trying to induce themselves.  I think your body will be ready when it is ready and anything you do to speed things along is only to keep you and your mind occupied.  I am not even convinced that inductions at hospitals work.  I think it is really all about the timing.  Maybe your body was close to being ready for labor and the induction helped move things along and you were able to have a vaginal birth.  Maybe your body wasn’t ready for labor and the induction did not help and you failed to progress and required a C-section.  The latter is what happened to me. 

I went into the hospital for my induction and they began the process of ripening my cervix.  They said I was already having contractions (didn’t feel them) when I first showed up and was 1 cm dilated.  They worked on ripening me up through the night.  I woke up in the dark, maybe 4 or 5 am and I was able to feel the contractions and unable to sleep.  Around 7 am, they started me on Pitocin which I had requested to start with the least amount possible.  The contractions got stronger but my water had yet to break.  So they broke my water.  Eventually, I progressed to 3 cm but that was as far as I was gonna get.  The contractions got stronger and stronger as they increased the Pitocin.  

I remember watching some teen pregnancy show on TV because, hey, I was having a baby too.  Around 1 in the afternoon, I started to freak out.  I had been told that this was going to be a very big baby.  How was I gonna give birth to such a huge baby?  My mom died when I was 25 and there I was 32 and crying like a baby because all I wanted was my mom.  How could I give birth without my mom there to help me?  I had my husband but he was also freaked out and did not enjoy seeing me in pain.  It was at this point that I had the epidural. 

Honestly, I felt so fucking good after that epidural.  I was relaxed and calm which is a very good way to be.  Aside from being more comfortable and feeling nicely intoxicated, nothing else progressed.  It was around 6 pm, when my OB came by to say that I had not passed 3 cm and it was time for a C-section.  The longer we waited, the high my risk for infection.  They would have done the operation sooner, but they had been really busy.  There was like 20some babies born the day I had Orion.  It was close to 7 when they finally got me ready for the operation and Orion was born at 7:13 pm.

On the operating table, I could only stare up at the ceiling.  I remember the white form panels and the grey metal strips between them.  If I looked at those metal strips I could see a slight reflection of what was going on down below.  My husband sat next to my head but really, I can’t remember what he did or said.  He remembers kissing my forehead and stroking my hair.  There were a bunch of people in the operating room.  There was my OB, another OB, 2 anesthesiologist, 2 or 3 nurses just for the baby, and a few more for me.  I could feel pulling and tugging and then there was new life in the room.

When I heard him cry, I cried with relief.  It was the best sound I had ever heard.  He was not too happy about being ripped out of me and showed it by immediately pissing on one of the nurses.  I had a hard time seeing my brand new baby boy because I couldn’t really move my head.  I think that was mostly fear because my body was open and they were working on putting me back together.  Patrick brought Orion over to me but I was just too scared.  I am glad that Patrick was able to hold our baby and that Orion was perfectly healthy.

It took about a half hour or close to forever for them to patch me back up.  I was taken to recovery and then, finally, was able to hold my baby.  He smelled like cupcakes.  He was so perfect and I think he still is.  Once I could wiggle my big toe (totally made me think of Uma in Kill Bill) I was able to go up to our room where we would stay for the next 3 nights.  It took us awhile to get up there because they were slammed with new babies but we did get a room of our own.  

I was worried that I would have a hard time breastfeeding and bonding with my baby.  These fears were totally unfounded.  When Orion was 5 days old, we went to the pediatrician and met with a lactation consultant.  When I expressed my fear regarding bond with my baby she told me about how much she hates hearing that.  She eased my fears by telling me that I would be bonding with my baby every time I held him, feed him, and clothed him.  When I came back a few days later to meet with her again, she gave me an A for my breast feeding skills.  I do feel lucky that Orion and I had such an easy time breastfeeding.  I was visited by 3 different lactation consultants while in the hospital, each had a different method, and then saw the consultant at my pediatrician’s office, who was awesome.  I understood that breastfeeding wasn’t this automatic natural skill that babies and moms know how to work.  

Having a C-section is painful, it felt like my belly was consumed by fire.  About 8 hours after the operation, they came in and got me out of bed to use the bathroom.  It hurt so incredibly much and made me wish I still had the catheter.  Somehow, my husband slept through it on the most uncomfortable hospital chair/bed.  Everyday, a few times a day, I had to get up and walk around, even though it hurt and I wasn’t able to stand up straight.  I was told all this would help with a speedy recovery.  It hurt for a few weeks with the fire dying as time went on.  Then for a while I felt nothing where my incision was but with time, everything felt like normal again.  

When I got home, I went up and down our stairs only once a day.  I went down those stairs backwards and very slowly.  If you have a C-section, you really do need someone at home to help.  You have just had an operation and now have a newborn baby, you really can’t take care of both.  Thankfully, my husband was home with me for the first two weeks and I had some far flung visitors come to lend a hand.  Aside from doctors visits, I did not leave the house until Orion was 10 days old and I was in desperate need of strawberry open face pie.

The upside to having a C-section is that I did not feel all the pressure to get things done that I had heard many women experience after vaginal birth.  I did not make myself a to do list of 10 things then beat myself up for only getting 3 of those things done.  And I do love to make a to do list but I seldom beat myself up about not accomplishing the items on my list.  Those first few weeks with the baby, I focused on taking care of myself, my baby, my husband, and my dogs.  That was enough to keep me occupied for a while.
I had been pregnant for 9 months, about 259 days or 6,216 hours.  I did not want to fuck it up in the last 24 hours.  I was too tired and sacred to argue against the C-section.  I also knew going into the hospital that it was a possibility, especially for me.  I am not a doctor, I had never had a baby, I had never seen a live birth, and I had hardly spent anytime around pregnant women or babies.  I did trust my doctor and I was going to take her advice.  I knew she wasn’t rushing off to make tee time or tea time or just go home for the day.

I don’t understand why women like to brag that they were in labor for 72 hours.  So what, do you want a cookie?   Personally, I know my body and I wouldn’t want to do that because of my health issues.  After something like that, I think I would be useless and bedridden for a week, more than I was after the C-section.  Giving birth is not a competitive sport, it is not something to brag about.  Some women can’t get pregnant, do you want to rub it in their faces.  In this heyday of social media, it is way too easy to hurt other people’s feelings by posting ultrasound photos, making your kid’s picture your profile picture, or using Facebook to announce a pregnancy.  I know I have been guilty of doing some of these things or asking how someone’s baby was born.  Now, I am trying to be more sensitive and remind myself that it really doesn’t matter how a baby was born.  Sometimes we do want to share our birth experience but I was not the kind of person who wanted to video tape it and show it off.   

If you are scheduling a C-section ahead of time to better fit your life, then I think you are in for a rude awakening.  Nothing is more inconvenient than a newborn baby.  The first 6 weeks (or more) with your baby is on baby’s schedule of doing whatever baby wants whenever baby wants.  I think it is important for a new mom to be ready, willing, and able to devote themselves entirely to their baby in those early days.  Yes, I do think mommy needs some alone time but you brought this baby into the world and it is time for you to take care of your creation.  

Orion has been in our lives for almost a year and I wonder what we ever did before him.  Every single day, my husband and I comment on how firggin' cute he is and how much he makes us laugh.  It is amazing to see him use his hands, crawl, feed himself and figure things out (he knows if he presses a certain button on the remote the TV will turn on and he will turn his gaze towards the TV and celebrate once he manages to turn it on).  

So, don’t make me feel bad for having a C-section.  What I had was a wonderful, healthy, happy baby.  How my baby came into the world really does not affect you.  What really matters is what happens when you bring that baby home.  How you take care of the new life which you created will have a much bigger impact on the world.  What happens in the hospital is kinda like Vegas, the memories blur.  I know Orion will not have any memory of his first hospital experience.  And let me just say that my night nurse, Danielle (who was about 4 months pregnant), was awesome!  I miss her because she really was a kind and caring person.

Once Orion turns 2, I hope to try for another baby.  I hope to find someone who is confident in me to help me to have a VBAC, vaginal birth after cesarean.  I had always wanted to have a water birth but that was not an option with my previous doctor.  It is not because I want another chance to do it right but because now I know what to ask, what to expect, and how to be better prepared.  If having a water birth or a VBAC is not a healthy option for me, that is ok.  I will, hopefully, get pregnant again and have another happy, healthy baby by C-section.    

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Make Earth Day Everyday!

Happy Earth Day! I was looking forward to checking out a local Earth Day festival but if its gonna rain all day I may have to think of something else to do. So what can we do to celebrate the earth everyday?

1. Recycle – I know some people do not believe in Recycling but I just can’t understand that in this day and age. It also does not take a lot of effort to recycle. You can also encourage local business to recycle.

2. Bring your own water bottle- Everyone could benefit from drinking more water so wherever you go, bring your own water bottle. You could even leave an empty one in your car. There are so many great bottles on the market, some even have a built in filter so you can enjoy good clean water anywhere. The amount of waste created from plastic water, soda, and juice bottles is staggering, about 2,500,000 every hour!

3. Use cloth diapers- You already know that I am a cloth diaper advocate but you can also use cloth wipes, momma cloth, family cloth, and the Diva cup to cut down on household waste.

4. Use cloth napkins- I grew up in a house that used cloth napkins so I have been a bit of a snob on this one. I remember going to a restaurant my senior year of high school and I was the only one in our large group to get a paper napkin. I asked for cloth because I don’t like the feel of paper napkins or the waste they produce. If you do go to a restaurant that uses paper napkins, do not grab a fat stack of them because you are not going to use them all and they will only be wasted. Grab one or two per person, if you need more I doubt they are going to run out.

5. Use rags instead of paper towels- You can turn old clothes, towels, or cloth diaper inserts into rags to use for cleaning, wiping up spills, or for any number of things. Then just wash and reuse. You will save paper, money, and repurpose something that would have been thrown away.

6. Be a thrifty shopper- Growing up, we got a lot of our clothes from thrift shops. There are a great place to find clothes but also toys, furniture, and housewares. You can also check out websites like Craigslist or Freecycle. You will save money and reduce waste, especially plastic which so many toys are made from these days.

7. Donate- If there is something in your house which you want to get rid of but don’t feel like posting for sale online or having a yard sale, donate it. This will help to recycle your item but also provide money or jobs for a good cause. Some charities will even come to your house to pick up items.

8. Shop Local- Shopping locally will cut down on the amount of gas you use and put money into your neighborhood. I love shopping at independently owned businesses which can be hard to find in the suburban sprawl of today.

9. Buy organic- When you buy organic you are sending the message that you do not want your food to be grown with pesticides and herbicides.

10. Use reusable shopping bags- When asked paper or plastic, say neither. I always keep a small reusable bag in my purse and a bunch in the car. If I forget to bring my bags in the store, I will bag them myself when I get out to my car. I also use reusable bags as gift bags. There are so many super cute bags on the market for the same price as a gift bag or wrapping paper.

11. Drive less- Can you walk or bike to your destination? Maybe you are in a mega strip mall and want to visit a few different stores, don’t drive to each one. Park in the middle and walk, you will save gas and get a nice workout. I saw a guy drive his car to his neighbor’s house which was literally around the corner, their yards were adjoining!

12. DO NOT LITTER!!!!- We have all been told a million times in a million ways not to litter, yet I see people do it all the time. I see people toss stuff out their car window as if the world is their trash can. This makes me so angry. When you see someone littering, call them out on it in a polite way. “Excuse me, I think you dropped something”

13. Take a hike- Go for a walk with the whole family and talk about the importance of the earth. I can remember spending a lot of time in the woods and camping growing up. We loved to be in nature and it was also a great way to save money on family activities. Admission to National Parks is free this week!

14. Ditch the Ziploc bags- Pack a sandwich in a reusable, food safe bag, use them for snacks, and storage.

15. Cut back on chemicals- Try to avoid chemicals, additives, preservatives, and food coloring. Read the label on everything you buy. Here is a website where you can enter health and beauty products to see how safe they are and a website with a list of things to avoid in processed food. Try to cook as much as possible and eat whole foods or foods with less than 10 ingredients.

There are so many things we can do to help save the world. Try to do something every day to make the world a better place. Be an advocate and an informed shopper. Let's not forgot about the oceans! We should have Ocean Day because the ocean is in such a sorry state. I know my list was getting too long and I could have kept going but please only buy sustainable fish!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Going Green, Period!


Abby's lane not only turned me on to diapers but they introduced me to the Diva Cup. One great thing about being pregnant is that you don't get your period. About 9 months after Orion was born I started to wonder when I would be getting my period. Almost as soon as I asked this question, my period came. After 18 months without a period, I had forgotten how much it can suck. I was still breastfeeding and felt really exhausted but thankfully it only lasted for 4 days.

I had become interested in alternatives to tampons while I was in college. I had used a sea sponge for a few cycles and cannot remember why I stopped using it. I wouldn't say that I hated tampons but I do see them as wasteful and expensive. I also hated removing a dry tampon and am a bit freaked out that they can cause micro-abrasions. I just knew that I would rather use a tampon than a maxi pad. I had never heard of a menstrual cup such as the Diva Cup.

I had been waiting until I got my period before buying the Diva Cup. That first period it didn't get much use. You need to wash the Diva Cup with plain old hand soap and we had none in the house. When my husband went shopping, this was the one thing he forgot. When I had contacted Stephanie at Abby's Lane, she told me she has been using the same cup for 7 years! She washes it with hand soap during her cycle and between cycles uses an antibacterial soap. During my cycle, I remove and wash the cup in the morning, once in the afternoon, and then before bed.

The first time I inserted the Diva Cup, I instantly felt like I had to pee. Now, I do pee a lot and always have, even before being pregnant because I drink crazy amount of water (my favorite beverage). It felt like it was pressing on my bladder. I asked a friend who I know had been using and loving the Diva Cup. Her advice was to insert it higher and to be sure it was rotated 360°. Now I will insert it as high as I comfortably can, turn it 360° a few times just to be sure, and then have myself a little pee and I am all set.

The first time I attempted to remove the Diva Cup, I did have a bit of difficulty. It was mostly me freaking out that I couldn't get it out but once I calmed down, it came out. So my first bit of advice is to remain calm, take a deep breath, and push. Also, have a bit of toilet paper in hand when you are removing the cup because it can get a bit messy. And you might want to give yourself a bit of a wipe before you stand up to head for the sink to wash out the cup. If you have issues with the sight of blood, this might not work for you. Even after flushing to toilet, I am sometimes left with some red in the bowl but I don't mind and I do not double flush. Maybe I would if I was having guests over but whatever, I am not grossed out by anything my body does.

I have used the Diva Cup for 4 cycles and I love it! There is a bit of a learning curve when it comes to the insertion. When you are first getting used to the cup you may want to fortify your panties with a liner. Before, when I would get my period and use tampons, I left like everything in my body was trying to escape through my vagina. Since using the cup, I have not had this feeling! Sometimes I don't feel like having anything in my vagina but I hardly notice the cup. On the last day of my last period, I forget it was even in.

Now that I am using the cup, I don't have to worry about forgetting to bring tampons when I leave the house when menstruating. I have enough I need to carry when going out these days, it is nice to have one less thing to worry about. This $32 investment has already paid for it self! I am saving money, saving resources, and polluting less. I recommend giving this silicone cup a try for 3 cycles and see if you don't become a Diva.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Caption This!

Can you come up with a great caption for this picture:

"Momma, I'm gonna buy you something real nice!"

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Which Cloth Diapers work for us

I purchased many different kinds of cloth diapers in order to see which ones worked well for my family. I recently went through my receipts and calculated that I have spent about $550 this past year on cloth diapers. Some of the things I bought I wish I hadn’t and some things I wish I had bought more of. There are so many different kinds of cloth diapers on the market, it can be really overwhelming to decide which to use.

Luckily, I live near Abby’s Lane and was able to take their Cloth 101 class. The owner, Stephanie, is supper nice and really helpful. I brought Orion to the class and she commented a few times on his cuteness and how she wanted to eat him up. Then he had 2 very loud poops during class which shocked me and made me gasp a little. Stephanie said it was a good segue to our next topic of poop. Stephanie has always answered my emails with lighting speed despite her 5 children, one of which isn’t even a year old yet.

If you are going to do cloth diapers you really need to have a working washing machine in your house. We have a front loading energy efficient washing machine and it does a great job. When we started cloth diapers we had a really old, ordinary washing machine which also did a decent job. Some people prefer the older models because you can add more water to the load which is something you can't do with the newer, water saving models. I have never been left with nasty inside either of my machines after washing diapers.

I started out using Rockin Green Classic Rock unscented washing detergent but have since switched to Tide powder. When I run out of Rockin Green, I either have to order it online or drive for an hour. It is also more expensive but it is more environmentally friendly than Tide Original powder. I really did not like the smell of the Tide at first but now I don’t even notice it. When washing, I recommend doing a pre-wash but an extra rinse really is a must. I wash my diapers daily and this has become a step in our baby's bedtime ritual.

I also recommend a diaper sprayer. It hooks up to your toilet and uses clean water from the tank (not the bowl which is for pooping). It is great at spraying away those sticky poops and we have not had any staining. I like to spray my diapers into a big paint bucket which we keep inside the tub. I will spray the diapers in the bucket (the higher sides help containing splashes from dirty diaper water) then I empty the bucket and rinse it out and then soak the diaper in the bucket with the lid on. You do want to be careful as a bucket with just a few inches of water is a drowning risk.

Here are some of the different cloth diaper options and my experience with them
Flat/pre-fold diapers with covers. We tried this option early on and I found I could never get the fit right. The diaper cover will help to catch leaks but you do need to change them more often. We used some of the Gerber cloth diapers you find at Babies R Us, some of these we used as burp cloths and some as diapers. I sprayed a bit of blue dye on the ones which would be used for burp cloths so I could tell them apart from butt diapers. These are not nearly as absorbent as the more expensive Indian prefolds. Both work and this is the cheapest option. One thing you really need if you are going this route is a Snappi. Forget the diaper pin, this little guy is genius!

When it comes to covers we tried Gen-Y, Thirsties, and Blueberry. I love that the Blueberry and Thirsties diaper covers have an extra leg gusset to catch leaks. Both worked really well but I prefer the Blueberry because it is roomier. I found the Gen-Y cover would get damp around the edges but they are super cute and we all know I am a sucker for cute. We also use the Flip system which is a cover and you can buy reusable or disposable inserts. This is more like an All-in-Two system as the cover wont really fit well over most fitted diapers. It can be used with pre-folds or flats and I really like the Flip system.

Pocket Diapers are really quite easy to use and we have had lots of luck with this type of diaper. We have tried Charlie Banana (small size), Happy Heinys (one size), DryBees (large size), RumpARooz (one size), and Fuzzi Bunz (one size). The RumpARooz have a short rise so my boy outgrew this diaper pretty quickly, around 6 months. I do think this diaper would last longer for a girl. Now that Orion is close to a year old and 22 lbs, the Fuzzi Bunz also seems to be too small. Personally, I found the Fuzzi Bunz annoying to adjust but sometimes I lack finger dexterity and patience. I love the Happy Heinys and have found they fit my boy well and have the least leakage. I like the DryBees and this is my go to morning or nighttime diaper when Orion has his highest output because this diaper always seems to stay dry. I was really happy with the Charlie Banana pocket but my favorite retailer does not sell them. When using a pocket diaper, I like to have a microfiber insert paired with a hemp insert on the bottom. The microfiber is quick catch and the hemp is super absorbent.

I have also tried a few All-in-Ones/All-in-Twos, Softbums, GroVia, and Thirsties. I like the Softbums but they are not the most absorbent so I tend to use this one in the afternoon. I did buy a bamboo pod to boost absorbency which is very effective. The GroVia is super trim and will fit well under clothes but it does leave red marks around Orion’s legs, the fit isn’t the best, and it is not the most absorbent. It isn’t my favorite diaper but I keep one in my diaper bag in case of emergency. I have also used their shell with flats and prefolds but have not bought the snap in inserts. I found that this shell did not fit over my fitted diapers which is why I do not consider it to be a diaper cover. But I couldn't resist the airplane print and just saw their bicycle and robot prints which are really cute. The Thirsties are our newest addition and we are still trying to get the fit down and its absorbency capacity. I think this is a diaper that might be better for girls because how the insert is sewn in. It also has to air dry which takes about 2 days inside. I like this style of diaper because it is less work but I don’t think they work as well as other diaper styles.

It took me a long time to understand what a fitted was and now I understand it to be a diaper that is 100% absorbent and requires a cover. Why they are called fitteds I do not know as I had thought fitted referred to size. I have used Kissaluvs and I really like this diaper and use it for nighttime diapering as well as daytime. I think a lot of people prefer fitteds for nighttime use.

Wool covers have worked really well for us at nighttime. Until that one time when I didn't wash the cover right and I had no luck with that cover for months and months. I have been using disposables at night but hope to get back to cloth diapers with wool covers soon. I am just waiting for the weather to warm up so I don't have to worry about having Orion in footie pajamas. I have only used the Disana cover but am curious to try to make a cover out of an old wool sweater.

If I were to go back and buy only one diaper system, it would be Flip. I love their inserts! You can fold down the insert to adjust their size and they have an amazing stay dry top. These are trim and absorbent but not as absorbent as my microfiber/hemp insert combination. I like to use these in the afternoon when Orion’s output isn’t as great. I know Orion’s pees way more in the morning until noon and now in the afternoon he goes a few hours without peeing at all. But really, I do not want just one system, I like having a variety to chose from depending on my babies needs at the moment.

Not all diapers are created equally. Whenever anything is really cheap, you have to ask why is it so cheap? Cheap material, unethical production practices, slave labor, child labor? The garment industry is pretty notorious for using sweat shops. Some companies are guilty of green washing and cashing in on environmentally friendly trends. Some companies have transparency in their practices and others do not. I know when I shop at Abby’s Lane that they can vouch for the items they sell. They sell items that are made with fair labor practices to the best of their knowledge. They also have a Made in the USA section

What works for us may not work for you because babies are like snowflakes, each one is different. It may take some time to figure out what works for your family. I know I overwhelmed my husband with too many diaper systems and not knowing how to work each one. I personally do prefer Happy Heinys when it comes to a pocket diaper and really love the Flip system. I also like Velcro/Aplix to snaps because they are quicker and easier. I do wonder if Orion will be able to undue the Velcro eventually.

I only started using cloth diapers 8 months ago and am still learning each and every day. I hope to offer some more in depth diaper reviews in the future. I often think my diaper stash is complete but then I see something that I really want to try out. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask! And no, no one paid me or gave me anything to write this post. I did it for the love of the cloth. I will be taking a break from this subject but with Earth Day coming up and the Great Diaper Change, I wanted to take some time to focus on cloth diapers.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Cloth Diaper Glossary

There are so many different terms when it comes to cloth diapering that it can be overwhelming, like learning a new language. Here I will explain some of these terms and the accessories that go with cloth diapering.

Pocket Diaper- This is a style of diaper that has a waterproof outside shell, then a pocket into which you stuff inserts, then a stay dry layer which will be against baby’s skin. Example- Happy Heinys

Inserts- are added to pocket diapers for absorbency but they can be added to any diaper system. Inserts are most often made from microfiber, hemp, or bamboo. Microfiber should not be placed against baby’s skin especially when new as it can adhere to wet flesh.

Prefolds- These are the diapers your grandmamma used. They are a flat chunk of cotton that has 2 seams down the side to make them easier to fold around baby’s legs. They require a closure and a cover.

Flats- These are like prefolds but without the seams. Both can be added into other diapering systems to increase absorption which is a great way to cut down on cost.

Cover- This is a waterproof cover for use with prefolds, flats, and fitteds. They do not have to be changed with each diaper change or washed as frequently. If they do get a bit wet, you can air dry them and reuse them the same day. Wash when smelly or poopy. Example- Gen-Y

Snappi- This is a wonderful closure for flats and prefolds. It is like the little metal things used to close an Ace bandage. Snappi has 3 sides, left, right, and down. The down bit is great because it helps to get a better fit. Forget the diaper pins if you want to go with prefolds, the Snappi is quicker and easier and will never poke the baby.

Fitteds- This is a diaper that only needs a cover. It is usually made of natural material and is completely absorbent. Example- Mother-ease

Aplix- This is a strong Velcro closure and sometimes is referred to as hook and loop. This can make for a really great fit on baby. Be sure to close you Aplix/Velcro prior to washing or it will catch on everything and cause damage.

Snaps- This is a closure made from snaps and can work really well but may not give you the kind of fit you can get from Aplix. The issue can be when baby is in-between snap sizes but I personally have never had this issue.

All-in-Ones- This is a diaper that is very much like a disposable, it is ready to go. The insert is sewn into the diaper so there is nothing to stuff. They are trim but have less absorbency so they need to be changed more often. Example- Thirsties

All-in-Twos- This is a diaper system similar to using prefolds and covers. The outer shell does not need to be changed with each diaper change; you just add a new insert. Many in this style have special inserts that snap in place. Sometimes this diaper system is called hybrid. Example- GroVia

Wool covers- These covers are made form 100% wool, are very breathable and cool and are anti-fungal as well as anti-bacterial. They only need to be washed when poopy, stinky, or every two weeks. What turns people off from these diaper covers are the hand washing/lanolizing and the idea that their baby will be hot or that these covers are scratchy. The care for these covers really is easy once you know how to do it. They do need to be air dried so have a backup waiting in the wings. These are great for night time and can even replace pants in a pinch. Example- Disana

Wet Bag- This is a waterproof bag into which you put your dirty diapers then empty its contents into your laundry machine and wash and dry with the rest of your diapers. Most diaper pails will not work with these types of bags as the pail often requires its own special bag. But don’t fret, you can get a large sized pail liner and line a 13 gallon trash pail.

Wet/Dry Bag- You can get one bag that has both a wet bag and a dry pocket. These are great to use when you are out and about, clean diapers in the dry side and dirty diapers in the wet side. These are also great to fill up with ready to use cloth diapers and hand off to your child care provider.

Diaper sprayer- This wonderful device hooks up to your toilet and uses clean water from your tank. It is high powered and works great for spraying out poopy messes. I have also used this to spray a mess down my toilet.

Liner- You can use a liner with any diaper system; just lay on top of diaper and place baby on top. They can be made from hemp, silk, fleece, or a flushable skin safe material. These are great to aid in the cleanup of a poopy diaper especially if they are flushable. They are a must when using any diaper cream as the cream can affect the absorbency of the diaper. You can also easily make your own fleece liners with no sewing needed.

Cloth wipes- These are basically baby wash cloths and can be made from cotton, flannel, or terry. You can also easily make your own. You can use dry, with a spray bottle of water to aid in clean up, or make your own special solution. If you are using any diaper cream you should put your liner and wipes in a separate bag until they are washed but everything can be washed together.

Visit the Cloth 101 section on Abby's Lane to learn more and be sure to check out the section about how to care for your wool diapers. And no, no one paid me to write this post or gave me free stuff, I am not that fancy. I just really love Abby's lane!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Why I decided to use Cloth Diapers

While pregnant, we decided that we would use cloth diapers. Our decision was mostly based on cost; cloth diapers are way cheaper than disposables. You pay up front with the cloth diapers instead of as you go with disposables. Dropping $300 at once can hurt, but it is way less than you would spend on disposables in the long run. Let’s say you have 10 diaper changes a day for 2 years, which is 7,300 diapers. If you spend $45 on a box of 210 diapers, that is about $1,575 spent on diapers in the first 2 years. If you have 5,000 diaper changes, 6.8 diaper changes a day for two years that cost is $1,041.43. If you use 2 disposable diapers a day for 2 years, which is 1,460 diapers for a cost of $312.86.

We received one cloth diaper as a shower gift and about 300 disposables. My Aunt made us this kick ass diaper cake and we were gonna use it up. Those first few weeks you are constantly changing diapers. You change a poopy diaper and a minute later you are changing a poopy diaper cause baby wasn’t done yet. The diaper cake was made from pampers which have turned out to be our favorite of the disposables. We tried all sorts of hippie diapers, chlorine free, made from corn, unbleached. I didn’t even know why I should use chlorine free diapers (dioxions?). But we tried them all and they all leaked.

What no one tells you about diapers is that at some point all diapers will leak. It doesn’t matter who put the diaper on, it will fail. We have been lucky that we have only had 2 poopy leaky diapers. My husband got one which got on everything he was wearing including his socks, shoes, and underwear. My mother-in-law got the other one. Newborn infants lack the leg chunk that helps diapers not leak. The good news is that baby pee is pretty harmless. Yes, I did run to Whole Foods one day knowingly aware that there was baby pee down the front of me.

Many people think you have to do one or the other but we use both in our house. When Orion was 6 weeks old, we went to Abby’s Lane to invest in a cloth diaper stash and diaper sprayer. The very next day my father died and Orion and I spent the next few weeks out of town. We continued to use disposables because sometimes you just need to make things as easy as possible. Once we were back at home and had the diaper sprayer hooked up, we were ready to start our cloth diaper adventure. We still used disposables at night and we often still do. We have used cloth diapers at night with a wool cover with some success but it can be hard to get his pajamas to fit over the big diaper butt.

One issue with cloth diapers is getting clothing to fit over them. If you go up a size and your baby is learning to walk, they can end up tripping over their pants or footie pajamas or they may walk right out of them. I look forward to summer when I can have Orion running around in just a diaper, t-shirt, and baby legs to protect his knees from carpet burn. Then at night he can wear a shirt and sleep sack with a cloth diaper and wool cover. I have found that the Little Peanut happy pant by Peek is great for cloth diaper butt. I want these pants in every color and every size! (But of course I can't find them and got the one pair on clearance at Nordstrom Rack)

Then there is the waste factor of disposables. Can you imagine a pile of 7,300 dirty diapers!? There has been some debate regarding whether it is better for the environment to use cloth over disposables. Water is a renewable resource, for now at least but landfill space is not. We have one of those newfangled front loading energy efficient washing machines. I was worried that this machine would not be able to get my diapers clean because of what I had been reading on cloth diaper blogs. We cannot add extra water to our machine but we don’t need to, our diapers always come out fresh and clean. We have had no issues with staining or detergent build up. Most studies on cloth vs. disposables have not taken these new energy/water efficient washing machines into account.

Bottom line is that disposable diapers take up a lot of space in landfills. It really doesn’t matter what kind of disposable diaper you are throwing into the trash because nothing is going to biodegrade inside a landfill. I took a little seminar on composting and it is very important to turn, mix, and aerate compost in order for it to break down. That is defiantly not happening at the landfill and if your diapers are inside a plastic diaper pail bag it will never happen.

What we are doing seems to be working for us. Orion has had the smallest touch of diaper rash once way up on his coin slot. It did take me awhile to go out and about in public with cloth diapers but now that I have gotten used to it I find it as easy as disposable. Yes, I do laundry everyday but it is now apart of our bedtime routine. Next, I will go into detail about what cloth diapers we like. And if you want to read more about the diaper debate check: