Sunday, March 27, 2011

Cloth Diapering

a couple years ago i learned that cloth diapering nowadays is not like i remember when my kid brother (who now is expecting his 2nd child) was in them and i would occasionnaly change him 20 years ago.

image credit

I decided I would cloth diaper my babies, for 3 reasons, to lower our impact on the earth that my babies would be residing in for the better part of a century, reduce the amount of chemicals touching their tushies and I would rather save money for braces or college or a beach house. cost comparison article

I decided to blog about cloth diapering because i dont tend to blog about being green or being frugal, even though i try to be both.

I was very overwhelmed when i began researching cloth diapering i read a bunch of cloth diapering 101 type blog posts and articles like this one . There are bunches of well written articles to help new cloth mamas like this one, so Im not going to try to write a how-to on cloth diapering, im just going to chronicle my adventures.

Although I got a decent idea about what is available and what i wanted, I still had a hard time committing to one kind. My mother-in-law offered to pay for cloth diapering service for a couple months, i decided to look at what kinds of diapers they use so that if i decide to contine cloth diapering, doing my own laundry, id already know what i was doing and would have the supplies needed. Turns out the diaper service provides prefolds and sells covers

(an alternative to oldschool rubber pants) and snappis(alternative to safety pins)
image credit

through their website so thats where i started making decisions.

I googled cloth diaper cover reviews and found this site.

I contacted the diaper service to start delivery and they informed me they dont service outside city limits where we live. I was ok with this because from the beginning I thought that paying for the service might counter the cost saving aspect of cloth diapering but my mother in law had insisted, and diaper service was just about the same price as the chlorine free disposable diapers that I wanted if i had to go with 'sposies. My mother-in-law offered to pay for the starter diapers that we needed instead of the service, this is the best gift ever, like offering to buy diapers for the next year. We had bought a couple packages of prefolds on sale, buy one get one half off from toys r us with a 10% off everything coupon. I was going to order from the diaper service company, but I found Little For Now because I needed a diaper pail liner also. They offered a $10 off $50 purchase coupon for signing up for their newsletter so I looked at the diaper covers, they were comprable priced to the diaper service but they had some decent packages. We ordered 2 packages, a starter package and a big package we also bought a pail liner and a huge box of detergent.

Im really excited to get the diapers in the mail and start cloth diapering. I primed the prefolds we got at toys r us. and set up space for the cloth diapers on the changing table shelves.

{since starting this post, we have received the diapers and been using them for about a week.}

The cloth diapers are just as easy to use as disposables, just tiny extra steps of lining the diaper up inside the cover and checking to make sure its not poking out along the leg holes or the back and its all done. I dont use the Snappi, its not nessesary with the covers, I got one, with the starter package, and can use it if i feel the need, like in the summer if i want her to go without her cover outside or something.

Washing the extra few loads of laundry isnt a big deal, its just part of being Ellie's mom. I read lots of information on washing diapers, most people wash them seperate from other laundry, for obvious reasons, I wash the diapers often and we have a decent sized washer, so I wanted a way to conserve water other than waiting a week to wash. So I do an express wash (without soap or spin) of just the diapers then add the rest of her clothes and do a regular wash with extra rinse. I have noticed that the poopy leg gussets of the Thirsties arent getting cleaned in the regular wash with the small amount of Country Save detergent, so last time, I pulled the stained cover out after the express wash, rubbed a bit of Oxyclean on the spot, threw it back in with the regular clothes and the stain came out just fine. I dont have to handle the poopy diaper by waiting until after the express wash to address the spot.

Prefolds go in the dryer (on sunny days, I will hang dry the diapers) covers are air dried.

I found a good deal on a bunch of OS (one sized) pocket diapers.

Mikey finds them easier to use because i pre-stuff the pockets. I have noticed that Ellie doesnt ask for her diaper to be changed when wearing the pocket diaper because of the stay dry liner that seperates the soaked diaper from her bum. This will be nice for longer timeframes between changes. I will still default to use the prefolds with the covers most of the time, because the entire pocket diapers need to be washed after each use, while i can re-use the Thirsties covers and just change the prefold each time, until she poops (which usually gets on the cover).

A new benefit of cloth diapering has came up since starting.
Ellie asks for her diaper to be changed. She rarely did that before, with 'sposies. I like this because I believe it will help with trust building, just like her fussing when she is hungry tells me to feed her, feeding her lets her know Im taking care of her needs. Her Daddy can give her something she needs and asks for now. Also, I like that Im reminded when she needs a diaper change.

If you have any questions about cloth diapering, let me know, im not an expert, but ive done tons of research.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Best Valentine's Day Ever

I miss blogging. But without thinking about it, I took a maternity leave from it to adjust to motherhood. It occurred to me that life, home, hobbies, etc dont pause whenever convenient. Our lives have been nonstop since, well always. I will be getting back into the swing of things. There are a couple awesome challenges going on currently that I wanna jump in on. Although I haven't been blogging, I've been reading blogs thanks to google reader on my phone.

At the end of January, my father-in-law Mike went into the emergency room with shortness of breath and back pain. A week later he ended up getting triple bypass surgery. We asked Ellie to wait to be born until after her grandpa was home recovering, at least. He was released to a skilled nursing/rehab place Saturday night, the 12th. The place was a wreck and he refused to even stay the night. (they had him checked in under his brothers name, didn't have his meds, still hadn't made his bed 4 hours after he arrived and the nursing staff wad fighting with management.) So even though he still had a hard recovery road ahead of him and our baby was due anytime, he came home. My mother in law Connie was able to take a bunch of time off work and my husband works from home and I'm not working so we knew we could handle him.

As requested, Ellie waited until her grandpa was home, we didn't need family in 2 hospitals in 2 towns. We spent Sunday the 13th of february with Mike down at the house (we live on the same property) Mikey had gone up to work in the shop when at 11:20 pm I decided to go home. I stood up and my water broke!
Connie called Mikey as I waddled to the bathroom to get a towel. He came down to walk me up to the loft. We finished packing and drove to the hospital.

I had always known I would strive for a natural birth. The documentary The Business of Being Born only solidified my views on birth. We read bunches of books and planned out how I thought I wanted things to go. We kept an open mind about everything since "life is what happens when your busy making other plans" we learned different laboring positions, relaxation techniques, and breathing excersises at childbirth class.
We packed all kinds of distractions and massage tools.

I hadn't had any contractions until we had gotten in the car and they were 3 minutes apart. They were consistent as we got checked in and settled into our labor and delivery room.

I had planned to stay up and moving around to help ease pain/ distract myself and help things moving thanks to gravity. On our way in it occurred to me that it was late, I was going to go up to bed before my water broke. I was concerned that I would get tired out so I decided to start off resting between contractions before they got too bad. Things became a blur soon after we were settled. Magically I was able to actually sleep, unmedicated between many of the contractions. I spent a lot of time in the jacuzzi it was the most helpful. I also enjoyed kneeling on the couch/bed under the window, looking out at Mill Creek in the night time. We didn't use any of the distractions or massage aides we'd brought.

My midwife arrived and we decided to not bother checking my cervix until we thought I was much closer, based on pain and pressure changes.

At one point I felt strong urges to push and it felt like the contractions jumped up a few notches. The midwife checked me and I was 8cm. I'm not sure how much time passed, less than 45 minutes I think, I stayed in bed so the nurse could monitor Ellie's heartrate. She got concerned and put me on oxygen. The midwife checked me and said I was ready to start pushing, less than 7 hours from my water breaking. I couldn't believe it had been 7 hours it didn't feel like it had been that long. I was thrilled though. I was worried about a long drawn out exhausting 19 hour labor. I started pushing. About 5 or 6 contractions later I had my daughter on my chest!

I had read about delaying cord clamping and the midwife showed Mikey how to feel for blood pumping through the cord and when it had finished, she clamped it and he cut the cord. There is no medical reason for the cord to be clamped immediately it just became part of standard procedure for most OBs as they rush through the after birth stuff. Studies found that delaying clamping the cord can prevent anemia for up to 6 months.

We had thought it would be neat for Mikey to catch Ellie but she was so quick, and our midwife had to do a quick somersault with Ellie to get her cord untwisted.

We cried. She was all wiped off and started breastfeeding right away. We snuggled and rested and gazed and loved eachother for a couple hours before we were moved up to the mother/baby room. We got settled and nursed a bit more and napped.

We were so proud to have gone all natural and I'm sure our birth wad so perfect because we allowed my body to do all the work, uninterrupted.

She and I got pretty good at breastfeeding, had a little. Problem with latch on one side but we stuck it out. 5 days later we met with a lactation nurse at our pediatrician office to get some tips and have her weight checked. She wasn't concerned with our progress so far and eased some concerns we had. A few days later we had another appointment and the lactation nurse decided we didn't need her, we were old pros by that point.

At her 2 week check up, she had gained a pound and 1 3/4 inches.

Miss Ellie is 5 weeks yesterday. I still get lost in her face at times.

We have had some rough nights with her colic but were learning and adjusting. We tried mylicon drops, they didn't help at all. I'm currently avoiding dairy to see if that is bothering her.
We are going to start cloth diapering soon. I ordered some diapers today finally. I'll be blogging about that I'm sure.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

6 credit cards down, 4 to go!

i know i havent posted in a while... i had a baby! more on that later
i have only turned on my computer 2 times in the last 18 days... to pay bills. Im proud to say ive just paid off the 6th credit card this year! I will be losing my unemployment income so my husband and i set out to lower our monthly minimum bills for when that happened. I listed out all of my credit cards and found out their interest rates and promotional periods and made a plan using the rest of my unemployment income and part of hubby's salary to get the cards paid off using a modified snowball plan. We had a couple promotional balances on our Home Depot card from constructing the loft. That was the first to be paid, even though it wasnt the he lowest balance because we wanted to avoid interest that was set to hit soon. Then we focused on the lowest balance cards next with the exception of another card with promotional period ending in july. each month i poured as much of our budget as possible to the debt and now i am down to 4 big cards, Best Buy is set to be paid before it's promo period is up next year.

the idea behind the snowball is that as a debt is paid off the money in the budget that was being used to pay that minimum can be allocated to the next debt.

in january, I looked at my expected income for the next few months and outlined how much $ would be paid to each debt each week. I kept in mind misc $ for whatever wasnt in the budget.

anyway... baby needs me be back later!

today, 3/23/11 I paid off yet another card. I was excited to see that the final balace was smaller than i had calculated so i was able to swing it with this paycheck!
I only get 1 more unemployment check next week, so my debt snowball pay off is going to slow down but now that we have cut back how many minimums we have overall, we have freed up some money to really make headway on the final cards.