Monday, April 30, 2012

My baby is getting so big!

He's still my baby.  

But he is getting so big!  

Today little man wanted to spend the whole day walking around with his push toys.  Normally he just walks around on the carpet, but today he went for it (he didn't have socks on, gasp in horror now, lol) and was all over our kitchen tile walking with his push toys.  He goes so fast, I am breathing just as fast as he is running around!  Did I also mention he's teething again?  Yep, 4 more teeth, about to make their debut too.  He also has been adding to his list of words every day (like saying dada, mama, uh-oh, boom, vroom, bubble, hi, bye, up, and even doing some signing).  I swear, just a minute ago, he was swaddled up like a little burrito tucked into our bassinet.  

Because time moves so, so fast, I want to stop for a minute and celebrate the little baby who has now turned into a little man.  So, dear child of mine, a letter to you:

From the moment we found out that I was pregnant, there was nothing but excitement.  I had wished for you for so long, I almost couldn't believe we had actually been lucky enough to have you.  In everything I did prior to giving birth to you, I thought of you.  From the little things to the big life changes, I wanted everything I did to be to prepare for your arrival.  I modified my diet, my routines, our home.

When you did arrive, it was a moment of pure joy.  I may have described this before, but that moment, when they placed you on my chest, and your little eyes looked up into mine, that is the single most amazing thing that ever happened to me.  Your beautiful face, I could not have wished for anything more perfect, and I sobbed as I held you, overwhelmed with love.  You not only had my heart from the beginning, but you captured my soul as well.  I am not a spiritual person, by any means, but that moment was the closest I've ever had to a heaven.  

In the beginning, you needed me, you needed your dad.  We did our very best to learn what you needed and how to best give it to you.  We didn't always do everything perfectly, but we tried so hard to make you happy. Your little self was most happy curled up or cuddled into one of us, and I spent hours staring into your sleeping face, memorizing every tiny detail, not wanting to miss one single instance of who you were.

As you got a little older, you began to smile, to play, to love back in more concrete terms.  You reached for me, you smiled at me, you giggled that belly laugh that lights up my life.  You began to teach me even more what you needed, because now, in some ways, you could tell me.  You have always been so very inquisitive in play and in your little life.  You look at different objects, but it isn't enough to just play with them.  You want to know how they work.  You want to turn caps and press buttons, you realized very quickly by watching your daddy just how to turn his phone on, or where to point the remote so that it faces the television, even though we barely watched any tv as we got rid of the service so I could stay home more with you.

Nowadays, you walk your little self over to me, reach out your arms, and say "Up!" with a big smile, and of course I oblige because there is nothing better, even if I pick you up 600 times per day, I will never tire of your little arms reaching for mine.  You have started to really act like me, in some ways good, and in some ways, um, well, not as good :)  You love a lot of the food that I love already, and will eat pieces of pear or bites of quinoa any day of the week, just like I do.  You often just need reassurance that I'm there, with a hand or a foot touching me in some way, or quick looks every so often to make sure where I am in relation to you, things that I know I did with my own mother because of the strong connection I have with her, and how I need her.  You also like to have control of a situation.  You know exactly what you want, and you let your needs be known, just like I do, even when I shouldn't.  

If someday you stumble upon this post, the one thing I'd want you to know is just how much love I have for you.  It is never-ending.  You have made my life so much better in every little single thing you do, and I am so proud to call you my son.  Thank you for making me a better mother, wife, daughter, friend.  You are everything.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Paper Free Kitchen Update

I have previously mentioned a few times around here that we have transitioned over into a paper free kitchen at this point, so I thought I would update on how that is going.  We took all of our paper napkins and replaced them with cloth.  I bought a bunch more washcloths (as seen below from Target for $3.50) and we have been using those for wiping the table down, cleaning up messes, and even for hot dishes, actually.  

White Cotton Washcloths 8-ct.
So far, it has been going really, really well.  I have very rarely felt like I needed to have paper towels or paper napkins since we started this.  I am still on the lookout for a more absorbent cloth napkin, as I think that most I found in the stores and even the napkins I ended up purchasing are more fancy, and don't absorb liquid or wipe up little man's messes as well as I would like them to, but if that is the case, sometimes I just end up using one of the washcloths above.

I also initially thought I wouldn't like using the washcloths over and over because it would harbor germs.  Well, I solved that problem by getting two or three packs of the washcloths above, still only costing me a little over $10.  That way, I can use a washcloth just once for really big messes, and immediately throw it into the washer and still have plenty more fresh to use.  With the amount of laundry we do per week with all of our clothes and the cloth diapers, a few extra washcloths doesn't seem to increase the load.

I will say, DH does keep one roll of paper towels around, but I've been buying either 7th generation recycled or our store's knockoff recycled paper, and we take a looooong time to go through a roll.  I use the actual paper towels very infrequently, but for things that I don't want to use my washcloths for, like if there is a creepy crawly in my kitchen that needs to be dealt with.  (Ahem, I know it is not ecofriendly to kill bugs.  I'm only human!)

But as I said, it has been a pretty simple and easy transition for us.  

What are some simple things you can do at your home to create less waste?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The life of a single parent

You may have noticed some silence on the blog this week.  Well, that is because little man and I have been by our lonesome, as DH was on a work trip, plus a little family visit.  Since he was gone, obviously, I was 100% of the care for our child, 100% of the care for our pets, 100% of the care for our home.

And let me tell you, single mamas (or dads!), you have my utmost respect now.

My days went fairly normal and as planned.  On days that I was off, little man and I cuddled, cleaned, played, ran errands, etc.  On days that I worked, I obviously, well, worked all day.  It was the nighttime that was the hardest, and it was for all of the things I didn't think would be hard.  I honestly thought that I would miss the help, mostly.  I thought that having an extra pair of hands to baby wrangle or pick up the dishes from dinner or throw a load of diapers in the wash at the end of the day, that those things would impact me the most.

But that was WAY, way off.  I mostly just missed my husband.  

I missed how when he comes in the door after a long day at work, little man's face lights up.  I missed hearing them giggle and play together while I make dinner.  I missed how little man gets a huge smile and says, "Hi, Dada!" when DH comes in to help at the end of his bath.  But even more, I missed him after little man went to sleep each night.  Not having him to talk to (I know there are phone calls, but neither one of us are wonderful on the phone) at the end of my day, not knowing he is home or asleep when I go to sleep, those were the hardest things.  Just the comfort of knowing that he is there, if I need him, even if we do retreat to our separate areas at night sometimes like an old, married couple.  

At the end of each day this week, I was exhausted.  But there was a limit on that.  I knew that, on a certain day, DH would come home, and we would be back to life as normal.  But a lot of parents out there don't have that.  They don't have that other person to come home to and share their day, share their child, or share their burdens with in complete comfort.  And, it really just made me sad to think about feeling the way I did today all the time.

So, after a long week, I just wanted to say a few simple things.  DH, I am so completely and utterly in love with you, and so thankful that I have you.  I know I tend to be a little dependent at times, a little obsessive sometimes, a little naggy (wait, did I just admit that???) at times, and you not only put up with my faults, but you celebrate them.  Like when you decided to clean out our shoe closet by the back door just because you knew it would make me so happy.  Or how you re-did the brick work on the front planter because it had sunk in, and you knew I was going crazy looking at it.  You compensate for my downfalls, and you lift me up when I need a hand.  You are my ear to listen to and my hand to hold when I'm falling asleep at night, and when you're not there, I feel empty.

I love you.

Monday, April 23, 2012

As long as I'm nursing, my baby you'll be


It's a controversial thing in some circles.  It can be an elephant in a room.  It can be painful, frustrating, exhausting.  It can be alienating.

It can also be beautiful, it can be perfect, it can be sweet, it can be innocent, it can be everything your child (and you!) need.

I'm still doing it.

I feel that, in the beginning of every article or blog about breastfeeding, or sometimes even every comment, there is a disclaimer to start, so let's begin there.  I have nursed my child for almost 15 months now.  But, I have mama friends who have nursed longer, have tandem nursed, have nursed shorter, have tried it and hated it, have tried it, stopped sooner than they wanted, and regretted it, and some who have not tried it at all and are completely happy with that decision.  This post isn't about putting down any of those women.  Because, as women, we'd do better to lift each other up than constantly pull each other down.

Which brings me to my next point.  Most people who know that I still nurse my child have either been very quiet about it, or have been outspoken as to why I shouldn't still be doing it.  There are really only a few women who have voiced their opinions kindly of it, and not just kindly, but have given me support and encouragement to continue, with no judgement: a few very good friends, my amazing doula/now-midwife, and several ladies I've spoken with from la leche league.  Having these few people in my life be supportive, even though I don't even personally know the LLL ladies, has been astronomically beneficial to me.  

To be honest, I wasn't planning on nursing until I got pregnant.  It wasn't until I researched the benefits that I wanted to try.  I used to be one of those people, who didn't know, and made no bones about voicing my (rather uneducated) opinions.  At one point, I had a college professor lecture to our class while nursing her baby in a sling.  Back then, I was horrified, and I'm pretty sure I was rude about it.  Now, I am embarrassed at my reaction and envious of her comfort level with nursing in public.  It wasn't until I really started reading up on nursing that I finally got it.  This was something our bodies were made to do.  Sure, it is a choice, almost everything in this life is a choice, but as women, there is no denying that this is what our bodies were made to do.

This also isn't to say that nursing my child was easy.  At first, it wasn't.  Those initial few weeks/months were really hard.  In addition to trying to figure out how to be a parent, I held sole responsibility for nourishing our child.  The emotional toll of being unsure you're doing it right can be staggering.  (Again, I'm thanking whichever god I believe in this week for having our doula to bounce questions off of in the beginning!)  And while DH was really supportive and in the beginning woke every time with the baby and I, to change the diaper and then bring him back to me, when he went back to work, it was all me, only me, all night long, every night.  I also had many, many, many clogged ducts (due to pumping for work and an oversupply) and eventually had mastitis as well.

There were several times, and DH can agree, that I said to him, "If ______ happens one more time, I'm done with this, we're switching to formula!"  But I never did.  Not because going through some of the things I did weren't fun, not because I was losing patience, not because I desperately wanted to save the money I knew formula would take away from our family.  

I didn't quit because I told myself it wasn't about me, 
it was about him.

He needed me, I was supposed to be his provider, his comfort, his solace.  So, I set myself really small goals.  Some days, it was a week.  I'd say, just get to the weekend.  Some days, it was a month, some days it was just trying to get to the end of the day.  And, I always did.  And it got easier.

When we hit a few months in, it got really easy, and I was so thankful for it.  He started sleeping better and I actually enjoyed being the one to go to him in the night at times.  Those quiet moments in which we sat and rocked and he nursed in the middle of the night are some of my favorite memories of my child being so small and precious. I can honestly say I really think it helped us to form the connection that we have.

As he got older, we didn't stop nursing.  There was no reason.  He still enjoyed it, I still enjoyed it, it worked for us, so we didn't stop.  It was still easy, it was still comfort for him, it was still free.  

And then we got to one year.  I feel like that may have been the turning point where if people hadn't been side-eyeing me before, they started then.  We honestly did cut back on nursing quite a bit, down from 3-4 sessions per day to at one point only once per day.  And it was hard, for both of us.  I missed that time where my active, mobile toddler would come cuddle in my arms, just like he would as a baby.  He missed the comfort and began to show it, not only by exhibiting some of the typical toddler tendencies of always needing a hand or foot or elbow touching me while we sat to read or play, but also by crawling up to me throughout the day and tugging at my shirt and opening his mouth like a little bird, and sometimes crying when I wouldn't comply.  That seriously was breaking my heart.

So, we started to nurse more again.  And, while I'm sure some of you are wanting to click out of this page right about  now, it works for us.  I'm not going to link you the World Health Organization's recommendations about how long you should nurse your baby or why the United States is sadly so far behind many other countries in providing this perfect nutrition to our children, if you wanted to read that, you  can quickly google it.  But it works for us.  It is still healthy for him.  It is still necessary for us.  

I will say one thing though.  Stop the hate.  There is so much love between a mother and her child, and this is just one of the many ways that I choose to show mine to my child.  It isn't gross.  It doesn't have an expiration date or a deadline of when it is no longer okay.  You all likely drink breastmilk every day, only it comes from a cow, but is made in the exact way to how human mothers express their milk!  The act of feeding our own children is a selfless, beautiful thing.  And it shouldn't ever be hated upon or discriminated against.  Not in our own homes, not in public, not with an older child.  To any person who disagrees, I'd tell you then, come on over to my house, and try putting my child back to sleep if he wakes in the night.  It takes me about 5-10 minutes to nurse him back to sleep.  You'll be up with him for about three hours if you choose any other avenue.
Good luck with that.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Temporary Tattoos for Children

Just a quick FYI, one of my favorite blogs, The Kavanaugh Report is hosting a giveaway this week.  Nicole @ The Kavanaugh Report is my go-to guy for tot school activities (basically just learning activities for toddlers, if you're not familiar), and I check her blog often.  

This week, The Kavanaugh Report is having a giveaway of temporary tattoos for children that have the child's name and the parent's phone number on it, as well any special medical information in case that child gets lost.  Head on over there to check out such a cool idea!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Having a baby in the United States, probably not a good choice?

I came across this article today from a friend about an Australian company and their incentive for women employees who return from maternity leave and come back to their jobs.  In summary, the company offers not only 14 PAID weeks off after the baby is born, but they also offer double, yep you heard that right, DOUBLE pay for 6 weeks when the woman returns to work as a means to retain their employees.  As mentioned in the article, this is on top of the already Australian government policy that offers women either 18 full weeks of pay at minimum wage or the amount of a $5,400 'baby bonus' per child, whichever is greater.  

Holy goodness.  

The article also mentioned that the United States is "one of just four countries in the world without a national law requiring paid time off for new parents."  Seriously?

On further digging, I found a chart of parental (typically maternity) leave listed by country, and what is covered of your salary.  That link is here.  I highly recommend that you check out the link, because what I found was astonishing, but altogether somewhat not surprising at the same time.

Our country does not value mothers.  It does not value fathers.  It does not value parenthood.  For so long our country has been dependent on the 'melting pot' idea where the means of growing our country was through new citizens, in addition to the highly capitalist society that values work, work, and more work with no focus on the family or actually what is good for the workers.  (Insurance in general is another indicator of the second part, but that is a WHOLE other issue, don't get me started there!)

I was so, so, so lucky with little man in that I took time off for 12 weeks to be with my son.  Many women and families do not even have that option, which truly saddens me.  Not only was that the time I spent learning who my child was and learning how to care for him, but it was spend bonding, cuddling, loving him.  It was spent establishing good sleep patterns for him, establishing my milk supply to feed him, establishing our relationship in a calm environment where I wasn't so extremely stressed out because he was up every hour all night long and I knew I had to tough it out at work the next day for 10 hours.  

But, it certainly was not easy on our finances.  I paid into short term disability for at least a year or two before I was pregnant, and then during my pregnancy.  Since I had a vaginal delivery, my wages were covered at 60% for 6 weeks, or so I thought (8 weeks for a c-section).  But, wait, they have a two week 'waiting period.'  So, you are only paid for 4 weeks of pay, at 60%, but only after you pay for short term disability, which, by the way, you also have to have set up BEFORE you find out you are pregnant.  

That leaves you to your vacation time.  If you have vacation time, you can use it when you're on maternity leave.  But that only applies if you accrue vacation/sick/paid time off, which a lot of people do not.  So, if you do have vacation time, and you use all of it to help cover your bills while you are on maternity leave such as feeding your family, having a place to live, keeping your home heated or cooled or supplied with running water, that leaves you with NO vacation time left when you return to work, which happens to also be the perfect storm... no vacation time + a newborn entering the wild world of daycare disease = an unhappy mama who either has to send a sick child or take further days off, not only putting herself in financial risk, but also likely angering her workplace.

It is a terrible, terrible situation.    

I have long desired to move somewhere more mother/baby/family friendly because of these facts, but I never will.  I won't because all of my family is here, all of my friends are here, my jobs are here.  I like where I live.  It is just so unfortunate that to have a child, you have to suffer.  And really, that is not putting it lightly.  

Compared to all the other countries that provide AT LEAST 12 weeks paid up to 60% automatically without having to do anything but pay your taxes (which, by the way, if you look at the wikipedia link above, is OVER one hundred and thirty other countries), we are suffering here as mothers, fathers, and children here in the United States.  

I don't know what the answer to this is, because I think to enact something like this, we need either a heck of a lot more women (and women who actually HAVE and CARE about family) in our government, or a huge shift in thinking by the men in our country, which is highly unlikely to happen.  

But please, if you feel so inclined, share this post.  I was, as I mentioned before, astonished to find out just how much other countries offer and how little the United States does.  People need to know about how our country treats family in relation to a direct comparison of how other countries value and uphold families.  This applies to all women who are or will become mothers and all men who are and will become fathers, so almost everyone!  

I guess the token response here is put in a letter to your government officials in regards to this problem, but there has to be another way to be heard.  I'd love to hear ideas in the comments, as this cannot be something  I am facing or saddened by alone.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Great Cloth Diaper Change

Just a quick post, but stemming from my cloth diaper posts last week, I wanted to add one more.

This Saturday is the 2012 Great Cloth Diaper Change.  If you cloth diaper your child, find a location near you and try to help them beat a world record by changing the most cloth diapers around the world at one time!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Giveaway Winner!

The winner of the bumGenius Freetime All-in-one One Size Diaper is

Nica Conde Nuttall

I will be emailing you shortly!

Congratulations!  Thank you everyone for participating!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Cloth Wipes

(Have you entered the giveaway yet?  Hurry it ends soon!)

In the very beginning of when we cloth diapered, we used disposable seventh generation wipes.  We would take off the dirty diaper, wipe little man with a disposable wipe, set the disposable wipe in the cloth diaper, put him into the clean cloth diaper, and velcro him in.  After that, we'd walk to the trash, throw out the wipe, and then put the diaper into the wet bag.  

Seems like a lot of steps to change a diaper, right?  

I don't know why it took me so long to figure it out, but with the help of a few other cloth diapering mamas, I was introduced to the wonderful world of cloth wipes.  No extra trips to the trash can out of my way, these just went straight into the laundry with the diapers.  So.much.easier!  And so much cheaper!  

Let's break down the cost first, because I like to see how much I'm saving.  (Or, as my husband says, 'Show me the money that you've saved please!'.... um well, I already spent it on groceries?)

To be very specific, I average about two wipes per diaper change based on how many ungodly times my child poops during the day.  I've never seen so much poop in my life as I have this first year of his, it is seriously crazy how one baby can make that much poo!  But I digress.  Aaaaanyway, we use about two wipes per diaper change, then you have to consider how many diapers you're changing per day.  Initially, it was about 12 diapers per day, now more like 6 or less.  So, let's again take an average, and we'll count it at 9 changes per day.

2 wipes per change x 9 changes per day= 18 wipes per day.

A crate of seventh generation wipes (5 refill packs total) averages out to about $.04 per wipe.  At 18 wipes per day, that equals to $.72 per day.  Per month, that costs a little over $22.  If you multiply that by the average of 2 and a half years your child is in diapers, you get a running total of:  (drumroll please!)


Did I just add that right?

Yep, double checked and that is the right number.  So, over the course of diapering little man, if we had continued to use seventh generation wipes, we would have spent almost $700 dollars.  On items that we throw away, numerous times, each day.  I checked to see about less expensive wipes, and the cheapest ones I could find still would cost a parent over $500 during the time they diapered their child.  Yikes.

For a lot of people, even $500 is huge.  It could be a month's rent, a month (or two, if you stretch it) of groceries, and for me personally, an extra $500-$700 means that I get to stay home (a lot) more days with my child when I would have otherwise had to work.  

Now onto the logistics.  How much do wipes cost?  Is there anything else you would need?

Some people buy expensive cloth wipes, which brings down your savings from above.  You can buy organic cloth wipes for around $2.50 per wipe.  Which is, obviously going to be fairly costly if you need an average of 25 wipes to get you through at least two days of laundry ($62.50 total).  You can buy cheap baby washcloths and use them as wipes (like I did, from Meijer), which ended up costing me around $15 total for all the wipes we use.  Or, you can go the really cheap route and do the free version of cutting up old t-shirts and using those pieces of cloth for wipes.  Whatever you do, they all serve the same purpose and work the same way.

As for additional supplies/accessories, you already likely have a wet bag if you cloth diaper, so that takes care of storage after they are used.  Before they are used, you can either store them dry or wet.  You can also add fancy wipe solutions to them, or just use plain water for free.  We personally put the wipes in a tupperware container with water and a little bit of LuSa Organics baby wipe juice, which has essential oils and witch hazel to keep his bum nice and fresh and comfy.  The bottle is somewhat expensive at $14.75 each, but we've been cloth wiping for over a year, and are still only a little more than halfway through the bottle.  A little of that stuff really goes a long way.  We keep our wipes wet and ready because with a wriggling toddler, diaper changes are somewhat like the pit stops we're accustomed to here in Indianapolis, fast!

That brings my total of spending to just under $30 for wipes.  I could see buying another container or two of the wipe juice while he is still in diapers, so maybe my cost would be increased to about $60 maximum in total.  And, for future children, we'd only have to buy wipe juice every so often, because we already have the wipes.

So, financially, it makes sense, and if you're already doing cloth diapers, it isn't any extra work from what you are already doing, why didn't I do it sooner?  I guess it just never occurred to me until at least a few months in to having little man.  Obviously, outside of the financial reasons to cloth wipe, there are a ton of eco-friendly reasons to cloth wipe as well.  The first would be less chemicals on your little one's bum.  Another would be less waste in landfills after using the disposable wipes.  A third reason would be the decreased packaging of the disposable wipes in the landfills, the decreased energy used to produce the wipes, the decreased energy to transport the wipes to where they will be sold, the list could go on and on.  

For us as a family, it was a really simple switch that was already in line with what we were doing currently, and it made so much sense.  If you decide to cloth diaper in the future (which I hope you will, it has been so easy and very cheap!), don't forget about cloth wipes!

Friday, April 13, 2012

How We Cloth Diaper Currently

(Haven't entered to win the bumGenius Freetime Diaper yet?  Go here first!)

As I mentioned previously in this post, we use Kawaii brand cloth diapers currently.  As I love these diapers so much because of their low cost and ease of use, I thought I'd share a little more as to why.  For some reason when I was taking these pictures, the light in my kitchen seemed to make parts of these diapers look blue-ish, but rest assured that is just my user error in taking good pictures, even after consistent use, these diapers come out of the dryer feeling soft and looking fresh and white for me.  The diaper you see below is one of our overnight heavy wetter KaWaii Baby pocket diapers in the size that little man uses right now.

If you were to have a smaller baby, this diaper is a one size, so you can compress the size down greatly by snapping the front snaps together to decrease the size.

This is the inside of the diaper, with the pocket filled with two inserts.

To break it down even further, this is what the pocket actually looks like.

And these are the inserts that you stuff into the pocket, made out of microfiber.

This is the diaper partially stuffed.

After use, I do drop any solid bits straight into the toilet and flush that down.  Then the diapers go into a wet bag to wait to be washed.  To wash, all you do is pull out the inserts, and then you throw the whole diaper into the wash.  My favorite site with cloth diaper friendly detergents is here.  I use the 'heavy soil' button on our washer with an extra rinse, on the warm cycle.  For REALLY soiled diapers, I will run a soak or a rinse/drain cycle on our washer first, and then the regular wash.  To dry, I throw both the liners and the covers into the dryer, although if you had more time or more diapers, you could always line dry, I'm sure.

That's it.  Easy peesy.  

What is your CD wash routine?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The 'New' Cloth Diaper Wave

(Before you get to reading this post, have you entered the giveaway yet?
If the answer is no, head over first and check it out here!)

Prior to having little man, I was in the likely 90% of the general population who thought that cloth diapers were something our parents or even grandparents only used, including a washcloth with big diaper pins wrapped around a baby.  And wow, was I wrong.

I first read about cloth diapers on the internet (and blindly ordered a few of a cute print), but it was during a visit with our awesome doula Gay (@ Sacred Path Midwifery) that I was actually able to see a few different diapers and look at some options.  While she showed me some of what I had typically thought of (a prefold cloth with a snappi closure, topped with a diaper cover), she also showed me several other styles of diapers that were much more modern, which may be why cloth diapers are really on the upswing recently.

Cloth diapers are becoming more and more popular, with celebrities using cloth on their babes (such as: Dave Matthews, Tori Spelling, Brad Paisley, Matthew McConaughey, Sheryl Crow, as well as P Diddy to name only a few!) as well as tons of normal mamas as well.  I was surprised to find out when I was pregnant with little man that at least 4-5 of the ladies I went to high school with were already using cloth.  It is much more common than I thought it would be.

Since there are a lot of ladies (and gents!) out there who haven't heard of the more modern cloth diapers, I thought I'd go though a few of the types of diapers available.

Prefolds- As I mentioned before, a prefold is a long piece of fabric (can be cotton, flannel, hemp, or other fabrics) fastened with a snappi or diaper pin.  This will require a cover, which can be made out of several fabrics with snaps/hook&loop/aplix (a type of velcro that lasts longer) to go on top.

All-in-ones or All-in-twos- These diapers function very much like a disposable, only you obviously don't throw them away.  These diapers have built in (typically either sewn or snapped in) inner layers that are the absorbent part of the diaper connected to the outer layer that functions as your cover.  It is one piece, easy on, easy off.  In an all-in-two, a separate layer lays inside, again that typically snaps or fastens in, which is somewhat more work because you have to keep them together or snap them in after washing.

Pocket Diapers- These diapers have a built in cover with the same idea as an AIO or AI2 in that it is one piece you put on/take off the baby, but these are made to have a 'pocket' inside where you stuff a layer of material in prior to use or after washing.  We currently use KaWaii Baby pocket diapers.

Fitted Diapers- Fitted's are essentially a step up from Prefolds.  These diapers typically snap around baby and then require a cover to keep them water/leak proof.  An example of a fitted diaper is here.

There are a TON of different brands and types of diapers, but these are the main types used today, especially for the beginner to cloth diapering.  

As with anything you use for your baby, it is REALLY important that you try to find the diaper that fits your child and works the best for you.  We initially bought a whole stash of AI2's that have really high ratings and a high price tag, only to find that their fit was not the best on little man, and we were having leak problems.  Once we found the right brand for our baby, based on his body size and trying out different diapers that might work better, cloth diapering has been smooth sailing.

Now, you didn't think I was going to make a post about cloth diapers, and not talk about cost, right?  

We currently buy disposable diapers for daycare, as our provider will not do cloth at her home, no matter how I tried to twist her arm ;)  We currently purchase Seventh Generation disposables, which trend on the higher end of costs, but I'll compare a cheaper store brand diaper to both full-time cloth and 7th generation.

In the beginning, we changed about an average of 12 diapers per day and now at 15 months, we change little man about 6 times per day.  So, I'll take an average of 9 diapers per day for a total of 2 and a half years, the average amount of time a baby is in diapers.

The initial cost of our KaWaii brand diapers was $9.95 per diaper, plus one overnight diaper at 10.95 per day (we purchased all of these from Jack Be Natural, so that is where I'm getting my pricing from, it can vary higher and lower from this).  To have a two-day stash, we need 18 day time diapers and 2 overnight diapers, which brings our total to $201.  These diapers will last two and a half years, so for our diaper stash, washing every two days, we spent $201 total.

Seventh Generation Diapers cost (I'll use a size 3, a size in the middle to even out the number of diapers per pack) $10.99 per pack of 35 diapers.  If we use an average of 9 diapers per day, for two and a half years, we'd need 8,212 and a half diapers.  If we used Seventh Generation disposables, this would cost us a total of $2,578 and 72 cents for two years.

Our local store brand charges $25 and 99 cents for a value pack of 180 size three diapers.  So, for those same 8,212 and a half diapers, it would cost us a total of $1,185 and 79 cents if we used our local store brand for two and a half years.

Let's compare.  For a two and a half year supply of diapers:
KaWaii cloth diapers= $201
Seventh Generation disposables= $2,578 and 72 cents
Store brand disposables= $1,185 and 79 cents

Your next question probably is, but what about the electricity and water that you use to wash the diapers?  Well, I thought about that too.  I figured out that with the high efficiency washer and dryer we have, if I washed diapers even three times per week, with our cost of electricity and water locally, we'd spend about $150 over a year's time.  So, even if you add $450 onto my $201 total, I'm still at least $500 less than the store brand and almost $2,000 less than the Seventh Generation disposables.

And, of course, I've mentioned nothing about how horrible it is for the environment to use disposable diapers.  Even if you only have one child, you are still going to average dumping possibly over EIGHT THOUSAND diapers into a landfill over the course of your child's early life.  Now if that isn't a personal environmental impact, I don't know what is.

The best part about your cloth diapers, however, is that you can sell them when you are finished using them. I know many of you are now gasping in horror that someone would want to buy a used diaper, but I will tell you what, they sell.  I've seen several listings recently on used diaper swapper boards selling KaWaii diapers for $6-7 each.  So, if I decide to sell our diapers after little man is finished using them, out of the $201 I spent on them, I could make $120 of that back.  Leaving my total to be $531 total for diapers and washing over two and a half years.

Honestly, other than breastfeeding, cloth diapering has been the number one cost reduction in having a baby.   It has worked REALLY well for our family, despite DH's initial concerns about me being nuts.  I would highly recommend trying it out for yourself!

If you are a mama/parent who already cloth diapers, what is your favorite diaper/brand?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Review & Giveaway: BumGenius Freetime AIO OS Diaper

Before I get into the basics of cloth diapering, what we do currently, and the accessories we use, I want to start off this week with a diaper review and open up the giveaway at the end of this post.  The giveaway should be open through the end of the weekend, so get your entries in!  Now onto the review!

I first learned about Jack Be Natural, a family run business specializing in natural baby/family/and home care products from a friend who ordered all of her cloth diapers there.  After one order with the site, I was smitten.  Fast, free shipping, along with a 'Jack's Napsack' reusable bag if requested free on every order and excellent customer service.  They also offer a rewards program in which a portion of the total you spend is returned to you in 'Jack's Cash' and redeemable on a future order.  So when they sent me a bumGenius Freetime all-in-one one size diaper, I was really excited to review it for them and happy to test it out on little man.

We have only ever used AI2's (with a brand that ended up not fitting DS well and we had leak problems) and our current stash of pocket diapers (which I'll go into further in another post this week).  I had never tried an all-in-one (AIO) and was excited at the prospect of not having to spend the time stuffing this diaper.  We received the 'Moonbeam' color as you can see below.

I prefer the aplix/hook and loop/velcro style of diaper closures, only because I have a very wiggly little man who doesn't want to sit still sometimes during diaper changes.  They also offer the snap style closure if you like that better, or if your child has figured out how to undo the velcro and leave their diaper behind somewhere :)

The diaper opens up fully to hold two long pieces of fabric or layers of absorbency.  One side is sueded fabric that is soft enough to sit against your little one's bottom.  One the other side (the underside of the inserts) is microfiber for absorbency.

Here's what the diaper looks like with the two layers of fabric pulled out.  For CD newbies, the layers provide better absorbency for your child's messes, but the ability to fold out makes sure that all the layers in the diaper get completely clean and completely dry prior to using it again on your child.

Here is one more view, with the aplix attached to the laundry tabs in the back of the diaper.  This is so you don't end up with a diaper train (one diaper velcro'ed to the next, to the next, and so on, until all your diapers are connected in one big train when you take them out of the wash/dryer).

Here is a picture of my happy little man (who also doesn't like to sit still for any pictures) wearing the BG Freetime while playing with one of his hand-me-down toys.  (Sidenote, if you don't have this truck, I'd highly recommend it, he LOVES pushing the horn and back up buttons over and over.  Although as I mentioned it is a hand me down, so I don't know what retailer it came from)

What I liked about this diaper:
I really, really liked not having to stuff it before use or pull out the inserts after use like I do with my pocket diapers now.  When DS had soiled this diaper, it was rinsed and then thrown straight into the wetbag to go into the wash, no need to pull out the inserts.  I also loved how trim it was.  Normally we have to go up at least 1-2 sizes in bottoms because of using our Kawaii pocket diapers double stuffed.  The BG Freetime seemed to provide just as good absorbency over the same period of time, but was a much slimmer diaper.  The diaper went on and off very easily, and washed very easily.  There was no searching for the insert in the wash when I went to use it again, just flip the inserts into the diaper and go.  

What I disliked about this diaper:
It was somewhat more difficult to remove the solid matter from the diaper, only because of more layers and not just one smooth surface like my pockets, if that makes any sense.

Overall?  I love the diaper.  It would be a great daily use diaper, and really easy for a caregiver to use when we are not with DS.  The only thing that is holding me back from adding a ton of these to my stash is the price.  Comparatively, to other AIO's like Kissaluvs, Thirsties, and GroVias, the bumGenius freetime is right in line, costing around $20 per diaper.  However, I am used to buying my KaWaii pocket diapers for less than $10 each, so I could get two diapers for the price of just one BG Freetime.  But, in the future, I wouldn't mind slowly adding a few of these to our stash because of how easy they were to use/wash.  And little man seems happy enough to wear them!

So here's the fun part for you, the Giveaway!!!!  Jack Be Natural was so awesome to not only give me a diaper to review, but they want to give you a bumGenius Freetime AIO OS diaper as well!  There are two mandatory entries, after which you will have additional entries available.

If you are unsure how to enter, or have never entered a Rafflecopter giveaway before, go ahead and comment on this post and I will help you out!

Cloth Diapering Week!

Hey all!  It is cloth diapering week over here @ the naptown organizer.  I absolutely LOVE cloth diapering, with how easy and cheap it is, as well as how environmentally friendly it is.  And, because I love it so much, I thought I'd share :)  

This week is going to be full of posts related only to cloth diapers, including what we currently have in our CD stash, our wash routines, cloth wipes, a diaper review of the BumGenius Freetime All-in-one One Size Diaper (courtesy of the awesome team over at Jack Be Natural) and....

A diaper giveaway of a BG Freetime AIO OS Diaper!
(also courtesy of Jack Be Natural)

So, stay tuned this week and keep checking in for your chance to win!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Cystic Fibrosis and my favorite niece, Livi

Tonight's post is going to be a bit more personal than kitchen cabinets and make up samples, but I have some information that is really important to share.  My niece, Livian, was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis shortly after she was born.  She currently undergoes treatment for this disease every day of her life, and has had to live a life somewhat different from other children because of it.  Each year, my sister in law Lauren and her husband Chris, along with family and friends, participate in the Cystic Fibrosis Great Strides Walk, and this year, they've asked us if we would join at our local walk.  

We will be walking for the Love for Livi walk on May 19th as part of the greater team for Livi.  Please feel free if you are in our area, to join us in our walk, or seek out a walk in your area to join.  I'd like to also add a personal note from Lauren about the walk and Livi's progress this year here:

This has been a great year! Livi is growing and thriving and we are very thankful for that. She has worked very hard to stay healthy - She is does her treatments, and takes all her meds with very little complaint. She has even learned a new "trick" - how to swallow a pill!! The hardest part of this year has been that she is getting old enough to realize that she is different. Though on the outside she looks just like other kids, she is starting to notice that she has to take pills with her food to help her digest when other kids don't, and that her little brother doesn't have to do a nebulizer or be shaken by a vest to help clear his lungs a few times a day. She doesn't let these differences keep her down but it breaks our hearts that it is part of her reality.

Cystic Fibrosis (CF) has come such a long way in just the past 20 years - the average life expectancy has doubled - it is now close to 40 years old! Thanks to the CF Foundation and all the generous donors who support our cause, it has been a special year bringing real hope to families like ours. The FDA approved Kalydeco - the first drug that actually treats the underlying problem in CF. All of the other current treatments are aimed at relieving symptoms and slowing the disease process. A small group of people with CF have been given more than an extension on a ticking clock - they have been given a cure! Unfortunately this first drug does not help 96% of the CF population including Livian, but there are drugs not too far behind this one that are just as promising to offer a cure for ALL people struggling with this disease. WE REALLY ARE CLOSE! For the first time ever we are not raising money find the science, we are raising money to buy the science that has already been proven to work! This is where you and anyone else can make a real difference.

Livian is a very special little girl and her family and friends love her very much. She enjoys school, playing with her brother and friends and singing and dancing. 40 years may be better than 20, but it is not good enough. Help us give her the opportunity to enjoy college and a career, marriage and children, and everything else she can dream up. And in the meantime as she realizes more about her disease, help us give her honesty and a future. When she puts it all together and asks the dreaded question "Will I die from Cystic Fibrosis?" help us be able to say NO and mean it. This is a rare case where money truly can buy happiness.

We are closer than ever before. The map has been created and the road has been traveled with Kaydeco. Give Livian and everyone else the vehicle to reach happiness.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

My Summer Resolutions

Oh the dreaded New Year's Resolutions.  Most people make them, then go about their business forgetting them for the rest of the year.  Some people do stick with it, but the majority do not.  For whatever reason, we all get so inspired on that one specific day that we make a lot of big promises to ourselves about how we'll act/think/do things the next year.  

And, to be perfectly honest, I'm sure I've made some on January 1st of this year.

And promptly forgotten them.

I do remember one of my resolutions, which was to move towards a paper free kitchen.  That goal, I have actually accomplished.  Instead of using paper towels for everything, we use cloth napkins at the table, cloth wipes for little man's messy face and hands before/after meals, washcloths for our counters and cleaning dishes, and I'm totally excited to try the cloth paper towels I posted about here.  But all the rest of the resolutions, I have completely forgotten.

Because I don't need any specific day to get inspired, I thought I'd start today with some summer resolutions.  Some of these are pretty simple, but things I need to do nonetheless.

1. Find a safe and eco-friendly alternative to bug spray and try it out this summer.  I am allergic to mosquito bites and swell up when having been bit, but I hate all the chemicals in bug sprays and don't want to use them on my child.

2. Shut off the lights more often.  We have a terrible (I know, I know) habit of leaving our bedroom lights or fan on while we are at work.  It takes just a few simple seconds to turn around and make sure it is off.

3. Get a few plants to keep inside.  I have a tendency to kill any and every plant I've ever owned, so suggestions on this one would be really helpful.  Plants are supposed to have excellent natural air cleaning properties, and we don't have any in our house currently.

4. On that same note, open the windows more often.  We need the fresh air sometimes.  It has been hard already this spring because it seems like the weather went from 30 degrees to 80 degrees every day overnight, but on cooler days, I need to make a point to get the windows open for a while to bring in some fresh air.  I don't know why I don't do this more often, I guess I just don't always think of it until it is too late.

I think that might be it for now, only because I've found in the past that if I give myself too many goals, I get overwhelmed and don't accomplish any.  Any help in accomplishing these goals with suggestions or advice is warmly welcomed.  Also, does anyone else have goals they'd like to share for this summer?  

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