January 20, 2015

What Cloth Diapering Looks Like for Us

We've decided to use cloth diapers on Cai. I saw "we," but it was mostly something I felt strongly about, and because my reasons made sense, Steve agreed.

My main reasons were as follows:

1. The long term savings.
I haven't done the math, but others have, and I'll link to some posts about it at the end, but cloth diapering saves tons of money. It is an investment in the beginning (although there are ways to buy them without breaking the bank), but long term it's much cheaper, especially if you have multiple children because the same diapers can be used for more than one baby.

2. Fewer chemicals on my baby's tushy.
This was my biggest reason. Standard disposable diapers are filled with chemicals. Have you ever broken open a standard disposable when it's wet and looked at what's inside? Basically the pee gets absorbed by gel beads. We used Huggies and Pampers in the beginning because they were given to us, and there were a few times when the gel would come out of the diaper and I would struggle with wiping the beads off of him.

I'm no cloth diapering expert, and I hope I don't sound like I'm pretending to be one, so let me make some disclaimers.

1. We did not start cloth diapering as soon as we got home from the hospital.
As I already mentioned, we were gifted some disposable diapers (though not as many as some of our friends when their babies were born...I think because we registered for chemical free diapers and cloth diapers, people were afraid to get us anything, so most just didn't), so we used them. We also tried out some small packages of Seventh Generation, Honest Company, and Baby Ganics diapers (which don't have the gel fillers). Also, with the frequency of diaper changes in the beginning and the fact that I didn't want to be doing extra laundry while recovering for major surgery, I decided it was okay to wait a few weeks.

2. We don't exclusively cloth diaper.
We still use disposables. The main reason for this is that sometimes it's just easier. When we go up to my parents, I don't always even bring the diaper bag. I left a pack of Honest Company diapers and wipes at my mom's house, and because I breastfeed, there's very little else we need to bring with us. Usually, I put Cai in the Moby wrap, and we trek up to my parents house with just the pacifier, so it's way easier to use disposables then. Steve is also still a little intimidated by cloth, and both of us find it easier to use disposable overnight.

g diapers
Long before Cai was born, my sister-in-law gave me a slightly used set of G Diapers in both newborn and small sizes. She also gave me some of the disposable inserts. I have since then bought several washable inserts.
G Diapers are a three piece hybrid diaper. They are "hybrid" because of the disposable insert option which can be flushed (if ripped open first) or composted (urine only). We used the disposable inserts in the beginning because we didn't have enough washable ones and because we were using a barrier cream on his diaper rash which can ruin the absorbency of cloth diapers.
G Diapers velcro in the back which is different than most diapers. They are also three pieces (except the newborn which are two pieces); a cloth shell called a G pant, a plastic liner that snaps in, and the disposable or fleece insert. In the beginning I really liked this set up because I could replace and wash just the inner one or two pieces. This was great because we didn't have that many and because it made for less laundry. This option isn't that exciting now because he's rarely dry enough for me to replace just the inside; he wiggles so much that the inserts don't protect all that well.
I did buy six slightly used G diapers on ebay in the next size up.

Kanga Care
'Lil Joeys
These diapers are made exclusively for newborns and they are an all-in-one (AIO) which means there is only one piece, o stuffing or folding. They function the most like disposable. We bought a two pack of these from Babies-R-Us to try out, and we really liked them. Unfortunately, Cai grew so fast, and we bought them so late, that we didn't use them for very long. However, we know that we really like them, so we will buy more for baby number two (Lord willing). If we had more of those, I would definitely cloth diaper much earlier. I like these and the g diaper newborns because they are tiny and made for a newborn. Most cloth diapers are "one size" and can be adjusted with snaps as baby grows. This is convenient and money-saving, but I don't think it's fair or practical to put those HUGE diapers on little bums.
We also bought two Rumparooz which are a one size pocket diaper. A pocket diaper is one that you stuff with an insert (or more than one insert if you want more coverage) before use, then use as normal diaper. I stuff all of my diapers as I fold them, so they are ready to go when we use them. The Rumparooz have a cool insert system called the 6r soaker. It's basically two absorbent inserts with snaps on them. You can use them in a variety of ways; the newborn insert by itself when baby is little, snapped together for overnights, or folded in different ways to provide more coverage in the front for boys. They are a one size diaper, so in  the beginning they are quite bulky. I think I will like them more as Cai gets bigger. They are super absorbent and don't leak, but I feel like he can't lay normally because of the bulk. Both of the Kanga Care diapers come in awesome colors and patterns.

Fuzzibunz Perfect Size
These are another pocket diaper. Fuzzibunz makes one size diapers also, but we've chosen to get the "Perfect Size" which come in a few different sizes but are still adjustable with snaps within those sizes. We bought two in size small, which we are using now, and twelve lightly used in size medium from ebay. I think these are my favorite because they work well, but are slim and not bulky.

Cai is wearing Fuzzibunz
Companion Products
Seventh Generation Baby
I like the use of plant based ingredients in this detergent. The baby version is made specifically for cloth diapers and is safe for HE washing machines.
Coconut Oil
We've found that unrefined virgin coconut oil works best on Cai's persistent diaper rash (due to something I'm eating, but I have yet to figure out what). It is safe to use on cloth diapers. We buy ours at Wegmans.
Earth Mama Angel Baby Diaper Balm
I bought this at Wegmans. It's all natural and mostly organic and safe for cloth diapers. It smells good too. It's nice to use on the go because it takes up less space than a tupperware container of coconut oil.
MotherLove Diaper Rash and Thrush
I really like this one. My sister-in-law gave me some samples from the store where she works (Luvaboos in Rochester, NY), and it worked great. It's also all natural. I like that it can help with yeast rashes or even on your nipples if you and baby get thrush.
Wet bag
If you cloth diaper you need a wet bag. We have a big one (again from Luvaboos) that I keep hanging on the door knob. I throw everything in there and wash the contents and the bag every day or every other day. I also have a small wet bag for the diaper bag if we are using cloth diapers on the go.
Cloth Wipes and Wipe Spray
I was resistant to the idea of cloth wipes at first, but they make so much sense. It's so much easier to throw everything in one place instead of having to throw diapers in the wet bag and wipes in the garbage. Plus, it gives me control over what I'm putting on Cai's bum instead of the chemicals in most wipes. I fold my wipes and put them in an old Huggies wipes container so that they pop up just like store bought wipes. I keep a spray bottle on the changing table and just spray his bum or the wipe. My wipes are just cut up king size flannel pillow cases that I wasn't using. The spray I use is basically castille soap (I use Dr. Bronners), witch hazel, and some melted coconut oil. It all works really well. I find I need fewer cloth wipes than I would disposable wipes. We do use disposables on the go though.

I was nervous about washing my cloth diapers because I kept hearing about this thing called "stripping," and it sounded intense. From what I've read, however, stripping is only necessary if the diapers start to smell, cause ammonia burns, or lose their absorbency, and if you wash them correctly (and only use cloth diaper safe ointments) you shouldn't have those things happen.
So after some research and some advice from my sister-in-law who runs a diaper service, this is my routine:
-Dump the contents of wet bag and the bag itself into the washer.
-Run diapers through a cold rinse ("Rins/spin" on my washer, lasts 20 min.).
-Wash on hot for the longest cycle possible with half the recommended amount of detergent (I use my machine's "sanitize" cycle which is 2 hrs. and 2 min. long. I also use Seventh Generation Baby detergent).
-Run another cold rinse.
-Dry on low heat or hang to dry (weather hasn't permitted this yet.

I do this every night or every other night depending on how many diapers we went through. I also wrote it all down  and taped it to the cabinet in my laundry room so that Steve would know what to do if I were away for some reason.

*Note: These are washing instructions for an exclusively breastfed baby. The method changes if you are formula feeding or if baby is eating solids*

On making cloth wipes and one example of solution
Washing instructions from GroVia diapers
Cloth Diapering 101
Cloth diaper styles explained
8 Tips if You're New to Cloth Diapering
Homemade wipe solution recipes
More recipes

January 18, 2015

Cai Alexander: Two Months Old

Cai is two months old today, and it has been a wonderful two months. Seriously, we have the best baby ever. He is so easy going and happy. We are well aware that this may change, but as of right now, even his fussy times aren't super bad.

Cai is a very happy baby, especially first thing in the morning. I love laying him on the changing table and watching him stretch and then smile. He's still a very active baby. When I change his diaper, I lay a little baby washcloth on him to avoid being "anointed," but it's very difficult to keep that washcloth in place because he is SO wiggly sometimes!

He's also very strong. He holds his head up when held upright; I know I sound like a typical mom, but he looks much older than he really is just because he holds himself upright so well.

His two month well-baby check went well. He gained two pounds and eight ounces and grew two inches making him 11 lbs. 12 oz. and 23.5 inches long. It's amazing to me how proud I am knowing that he has grown because of the nourishment my body is providing for him. His baby acne has cleared up as well as his cradle cap. He still has that stubborn diaper rash from something I'm eating, but I'm still not sure what, and it's very mild compared to what it was awhile ago. We've found that putting organic unrefined coconut oil on it helps the most.

Christmas Day. This outfit is almost snug

Cai is wearing 0-3 month clothing right now, although some of his little sleepers are getting a little snug already. This is absolutely crazy to me because the same outfits were comically large on him when he wore them on Christmas Eve.

Our little man is becoming quite "chatty." He coos and even squeals sometimes. I LOVE it. We have conversations all the time. The talking tends to come along with smiles and kicks, so it's great to watch! He's especially chatty and smiley during diaper changes.

Our little Houdini manages to break
out of his swaddle often
Cai continues to be a FABULOUS sleeper. Most night he gets up only once, if at all, usually between 4:30 and 6:30. I change him, feed him, and put him back to bed. In the beginning, I was so afraid that I was teaching him to only fall asleep by being nursed, but he wakes up on his own after I feed him and is usually quite alert when I leave the room, but he falls right back to sleep on his own. Some nights he sleeps through the night. Thursday night he slept from 9:00 to 7:00 then went back to sleep until 10:00. It was great! He also naps really well. I almost always lay him down awake and swaddled. Sometimes he'll lay quietly just looking around for a little while, but then he usually sleeps for 2-3 hours. He naps shortly after waking up in the morning until around 11:00 then usually goes down for another long nap around 1:00. After his second nap, he dozes off and on until bedtime. His most awake and alert time is between those two long naps. Right now, he naps in the cradle between the kitchen and the living room and sleeps in his crib in his room. So far he is a pretty sound sleeper. Last night I woke up because I could hear Cai making noises on the monitor (he is a VERY noisy sleeper). I heard him grunt loudly, then Steve, who was asleep next to me, made the same grunting noise. It's so funny to notice ways that they are alike.

I try to read to Cai often. We read a Bible story from The Jesus Storybook almost every night. We also read other books sometimes during the day. Sometimes he'll sit still for them and others not so much.

Cai enjoys listening to music with his daddy. One night last week, I had to drop something off at my parents house, so I drove up quickly and left Cai with Steve. When I walked in Steve "shushed" me because he had put Cai to sleep on his chest by listening to Thousand Foot Crutch and Smashing Pumpkins. Another evening Steve put on Pandora and the two of them danced to Coheed and Cambria. It's neat to see the two of them interacting that way, especially because I know it's frustrating for Steve when Cai tends to be fussier in the evening after he gets home from work.

Meeting his cousins!

This little onesie is packed away with all of his other newborn clothes :(

January 07, 2015

Ideas for the New Year

Ah! My mind is buzzing and flitting from idea to idea right now. My fingers are itching to crochet. I barely did any crocheting during my pregnancy. I don't know why because while trying to become pregnant, I made all sorts of things. It was therapy for me. Whenever someone announced a pregnancy, I coped by making them something. Every time I thought I was pregnant I would make things for our future baby (which is why Cai has two baby blankets and I have more stored away). But during my pregnancy, I didn't make much.

But suddenly, I have so many ideas I don't know where to start. Last night I messaged me best friend, who is expecting baby #3, her first girl, and told her to find some ideas on Pinterest for things she wanted me to make for baby girl. I had made things for her first two, including a baby blanket for each of them, so I want to make some things for baby girl too. She sent me a bunch of ideas last night which started me on a Pinterest search, and I found tons of ideas.

Which leads me to a plan I mentioned her on my blog months ago. I'd link to the post I mentioned it in, but I don't even remember when I said it. I want to open my Etsy store again. Actually, I want to open a new Etsy store. I had planned to open it in June, but then I got pregnant and it never happened. This time though, I don't want to do any custom orders; I want to build up some product, list it all, and add new things as I make them. No pressure, No deadlines, Just creating. I know it sounds crazy with a new baby, but if I set aside some time during naps or after bedtime, I can get significant amounts done at a time. I also have some stock already that I have set aside to give as gifts, but I can list those too. And I have the perfect name for it, which I'm not going to share now, but I will if I can get this going again.

Mainly this post is just to blurt out all of my ideas and tentative plans, but I'd also like to know what kinds of crocheted things you would buy. Not just baby things either. Tell me your thoughts and ideas! In the next few weeks I' m going to try to set a date for myself to get this all officially started and maybe even plan a giveaway and a grand opening! Ah! I'm so excited.

January 06, 2015

Just Some Baby Eye Candy...

Yesterday, Cai kept me entertained while I organized my closet and cleaned our bedroom. I felt like yesterday was the first time he smiled because he was happy to see ME, not because he was amused by the noises I was making or the way I touched his cheeks.

He gets cuter every day especially because his baby acne is clearing up and the hair he lost is growing back. I love looking at him so much it's almost painful!

December 30, 2014

Cai's Room: Sources

So a lifetime ago, back when I was 37 weeks pregnant, I promised to make a post about Cai's room with a source list. I have no idea if anybody cares where I got things or how I made things, but it's fun to pretend I'm a real blogger who has more than eleven followers and that people care about things like that. :)

I kept putting off sharing this post because there are a few odds and ends that weren't done, like the lamp on the dresser (it's been painted royal blue and given a new shade since then), and I intended to take more pictures. But, I've realized that if I keep waiting until I do that, it will never happen. Right now though, my little man is in bed (actually, so is my big man), and I have time to make this post while I sit on the couch with Finny. My pictures are clearly not the best, but you get the general idea.

Source list:
Crib: Baby Mod- Modena 3-in-1 Fixed Side Crib, Walmart (gift from Steve's parents)
Dresser: Originally my mom's dresser as a child, then mine and my sisters', then painted green for my brother.
Book shelf: Better Homes and Garden Three Cube Organizer, Walmart
Glider Rocker: Delta Haven Glider and Ottoman Set, Target
Crib Sheet: Sweet Jojo Designs Layla Fitted Crib Sheet, Target
Rug: Homemade with scrap yarn
Crib Blanket: Homemade
Blanket on Rocker: Homemade with scrap yarn
Mobile: Homemade
Star Lantern: Purchased from a small store on Main Street in Bethlehem
Changing Pad Cover: ButtercupForest on Etsy
Wall Art above Crib: Homemade, frames from from Walmart
Alphabet: Purchased from Hobby Lobby and Michaels, some wood, some cardboard, some composite, all painted by me.
Monster Paintings: Homemade
Name on Door: Hand painted gift from a dear friend
Wall Art: Far left hand made by a dear friend, the rest were homemade (I've added a fourth since then)
Paint: I can't even give the paint color for this because my sister and I lightened a paint we already had.
Stuffed Animal in Crib: Hoho from Little Bit Funky

December 19, 2014

Cai Alexander: One Month Old

I cannot believe our baby is a month old already! He had is one month appointment two days ago, and we found out that he gained 2 lbs. and grew an inch and a half since leaving the hospital! I was so excited and proud! There's a unique sense of satisfaction knowing that the food that I'm producing for him caused that weight gain! At the same time, it's bittersweet how fast he's growing. I'm excited about each  new stage, but I'm very aware that he will never be at this stage again. When I said something like that to Steve, he said, "But we'll have more babies." This is true, Lord willing (a year ago I was afraid we'd never have any children and now we're talking about more!), but Cai will never be a newborn again. 

Not his first bath, but the first (and only) on in the flower bath.
Cai seems to have better than average neck strength and control. Our first week home from the hospital he was already holding his head up for extended periods of time. He even rolled over once in those first few days; I'm sure that was just a fluke though because he definitely hasn't done it again.
This outfit barely fits him now!
Just like before he was born, he is a very active baby. He is constantly stretching. One of my favorite times of day is his first morning diaper change. When I lay him on the table he stretches for the first few minutes, and I just watch. He's usually very happy in the morning, and especially enjoys staring at the letters on his wall above the changing table. When he's not kicking up a storm or punching through his swaddle, he's laying completely still staring at things. Sometimes he doesn't even blink. He's also very vocal and spends a good chunk of time grunting and even does some cooing.

His first real smile was at three weeks and six days, and he smiled up a storm! Today we spent about forty five minutes laying on the floor together smiling and cooing and looking around (he did the cooing not me). 

Cai isn't sleeping through the night yet by any means, but he did have a few nights where he slept a full seven hours. For awhile he was only waking up once or twice a night, but then he went through a growth spurt. Most nights we try to lay him down between seven and eight. Our bedtime routine includes a bath every other night, lavender lotion, a feeding, and most nights a Bible story and praying together. He's often already asleep during the Bible story, but I read to him anyway. Twice Steve has given him his bed time feeding with a bottle of breast milk. The first time was tough, but the second one went well. We tried both Medela and Avent nipples, and he seemed to have an easier time with the Avent. Lately, after we put him to bed, he wakes up frequently between eight and midnight and cluster feeds, so I often don't bother going to bed until then. He then usually wakes up once between 2;30 and 3:30 and again between 4;30 and 5;30 then sleeps until 8:30. Last night he went to bed late because he and I spent some time with my family because Steve worked late. He had a rough hour or so where he was super gassy (I think because I ate some broccoli for the first time), but when we got home he relaxed in his bathtub and even kept falling asleep in there. He then spent the next hour or so eating off and on until Steve put him to bed. I don't know if it was the late hour or if he wore himself out crying, but he only woke up once last night. Yay for sleep!
Cai basically has two set nap times throughout the day. I swaddle him and put him in his cradle (a beautiful cradle my dad made when I was born) shortly after his morning feeding and then again around one or two. He spends most of that in between time awake. Trying to establish this routine has given me so much more freedom because I'm not just hoping he'll fall asleep.

We bought Cai a special outfit for Christmas Eve (a little pair of black pants, a gray checked shirt, and a red sweater vest), and Daddy wanted to buy him a little newsies style cap to go with it, but it was WAY too big. Instead, Steve decided that I needed to make him one, so I did. The picture above wasn't quite finished, but isn't he stinking cute!

Cai seems to have a dairy intolerance, so I have to be very careful about what I eat. This has been super difficult for me, as I love dairy, especially cheese. If I do eat too much dairy though, he gets a severe rash, almost to the extent of open sores on his tushy.

Cai is a bit of hot mess right now with baby acne and cradle cap. He has lost a lot of his hair from the top of his head too.

Cai has his Daddy's hairline, nose, longs arms, and big hands. I think he has my chin. Steve and I have the same color eyes, so he looks like both of us there.

I know most people aren't super interested in all of this, but I want to remember everything. Plus, with subsequent babies, I want to be able to look back and see how they compare or remember what we did and what worked or didn't work.

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