Baby stuff

survival guide: the first six months

I consider myself somewhat of a minimalist when it comes to baby gear.   We don’t have the space for a gazillion plastic things around the house and frankly I don’t want them.   I mean, people have been having babies for thousands of years and been fine without bumbo’s, boppies and baby Einstein.

However,  that being said.  I acknowledge that there are some items out there that sure make having a baby easier. 

Now that Abby’s seven months (and crawling!), I decided to take a look back and document what worked (and what didn’t) during the first few months.   If anything else it will be good reference for me if and when we do another newborn round.   Besides, I’ve noticed a distinct change in what a newborn needs vs. what an infant needs, and I’m finding myself packing up some of my old standby’s and relying on new distractions and soothing techniques.  

The items I’m reviewing today will be more for the newborn/early infant stage…and I’ll be back with another round for the post 6-month necessities.   Sound good?

First things first:  you’re going to need some sort of cage. 

Er….wait.  That sounds bad…let me rephrase. 

You’re going to need some sort of contraption that essentially “holds” them so you don’t have to all of the time.  I know, I know, I’m terrible for not wanting to hold my baby 24/7.   So maybe I won’t have amazing mom arms, but I’ll be showered, the laundry will be done (maybe) and I’ll most likely get to eat because of this little bouncy chair.  We’ve put Abby in it since Day 1 and she still sits in it in the mornings when I’m getting breakfast ready.  Granted she has very little patience for it anymore, but I’m milking it for every last minute I can use it. 

Fisher Price Bouncer

Around three months was the ideal age for the bouncer.  She had just found her feet and would sit in it for-ev-er just looking at her toes. 

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Now that you have your cage established, work on finding a way to make the baby think you’re holding them….even though you’re still not.

Say hello to your next best friend, the Sleepy Wrap carrier.  This thing was a life saver in the first few months.  After you get over the intimidation of putting the dang thing on (it’s just one long piece of fabric, seriously like 50 yards long), you will never go anywhere without it.  And trust me, it only took 2 or 3 times to get the process down.  It’s not nearly as intimidating as it looks!

The sleepy wrap is great for walks (Abby h.a.t.e.d her carseat when she was little, so the carseat adapter for our stroller was really a waste), shopping (you know, in your spare time) and just getting sh*t done around the house.  You just snuggle them right in and they pretty much fall asleep (am I sensing irony here?).

The funny thing is, when I had Abby in the sleepy wrap and she moved, it felt just like it did when she was in my belly.  It was kiiiiiiinda trippy.  Or maybe I had it on too tight.

Anyhoo….this is another item we’ve used since Day 1 with Abby and still do.  There are several additional positions you can wear it aside from the newborn picture shown below….outward facing, inward facing, on your hip, etc. 

It’s amazing how you take using both hands for granted until you’re carting around a kid.

Sleepy Wrap Classic Wrap Baby Carrier

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Next up, an item that I knew I would love even before Abby arrived…the Aden and Anais bamboo swaddlers.  I got these as a gift (thanks Liz!) and absolutely love them.  They are lightweight, soft and stretchy and are perfect for swaddling or just a cute blanket. 

In all honesty, I only swaddled Abby a handful of times in these….and yet they remain a favorite you say?  Well yes.  It’s so nice to have a lightweight blanket to use on hot days.  I use these ALL of the time in the stroller to protect her from the sun, in the carseat, or as a nursing cover.   These are one of my most favorite things.

You may have seen the Aden and Anais muslin swaddlers, and these are similar except much softer and cuter.  In my opinion.

Aden and Anais Bamboo Swaddle Blankets

aden + anais Swaddle Blanket, 3 Pack

You may be wondering what I DID use to swaddle Abs with, since the aforementioned swaddle blankets didn’t make the cut. 

These my friend, are da bomb:  Summer Infant Swaddle Me.  They have velcro to keep that swaddle nice ‘n tight.  I mean, just look at these little nuggets…they ain’t goin’ nowhere.  And when you’re talking about swaddling, that’s exactly the effect you’re looking for.

I bought the fleece ones since Abby was using them in the middle of winter, but the cotton ones look nice too and come in cuter designs.

Summer Infant SwaddleMe

Summer Infant 2 Pack Cotton Knit Swaddleme

I’m pretty sure all babies get cradle cap…I mean, wouldn’t your skin be a bit dry if you spent 9 months in a swimming pool and then decided to get out?

This shampoo worked wonders on Abbys cradle cap and smells sooooooo good.  Again, it was a gift (thanks Cassi!) and one I was a titch skeptical about at first.  But oh my.  How sweet it is.  I would totally splurge on this next time around – even though it is a bit more expensive than what I would normally buy.  Especially since I’m just now running out of the one an only bottle I had – seven months later.  So the little splurge is totally worth it.

Mustela Foam Shampoo for Newborns

I debated about including this next one (the Beco carrier).  I wouldn’t say it’s one of my favorite things…but I sure do use it a lot.  And I figured that since it’s one of the things that I find myself continually grabbing for and packing for trips…I had better include it.   

While similar in concept to the sleepy wrap, this carrier can be put on fairly quickly and is a bit more of a traditional carrier.  I looked at all (and I mean all) of the carriers before deciding on the Beco.  What won me over on this one was the fact that the baby can sit forwards, backwards OR on your back…all with the same carrier.  None of the others (the Ergo, bjorn, etc.) can do all three.

I imagine we will use this carrier for several more months, if not even longer.

As an added bonus, the Beco comes in some reallllly cool designs.  I went ahead and got the black one because I thought “oh, the Hubs will be more apt to wear it if it isn’t all trendy and cute.”  Whatever.  He’s worn it once.  So next time I’ll get the cute one like I wanted in the first place.

Beco Baby Carrier  Gemini

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I’m sure you’re wondering where all of the survival stuff for mom is, right?  Well I’m getting to it.  And ladies you are in for a reeeeeaaaal treat, because first up is a lovely nursing bra!

Bravado Designs Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra

So glamorous.

So necessary.   I tried nursing with a sports bra and trust me,  you don’t want to do it.  It’s almost more annoying that the permanent mono-boob you’ll be sporting. 

Invest in a couple of good nursing bras because you’ll literally be wearing them morning, noon and night.   These Bravado Designs bras are suuuuuper comfortable.  There’s no underwire (which I was slightly nervous about, but read that they’re bad for milk production anyways) and they are actually fairly supportive.   This is important because we all know about nursing mothers and there ta ta’s.   Plus they come in some cute colors.  So you can kind of feel cute in it.   Kind of. 

But bra’s aren’t all I’m recommending for you mom…there’s also this:

Medela Freestyle Breastpump

Medela Freestyle Breast Pump

Again, so glamorous.   (p.s. you may as well forget about anything glamorous for at least the first 6 months to a year after your baby).   Sorry if I’m the one to break that to ya.

All I have to say about this, is that P-U-M-P spells F-R-E-E-D-O-M in my book.  You want it and you’ll need it.  

Buy a pump.  A good one.  This one is sweet because it’s small, portable and runs on batteries.   I can pump anywhere…in the car, at the mall, on the moon.  This is important.  You want other people to be able to feed your baby so you don’t have to be there every 3-4 hours. 

Now. 

Along with good things come bad things.   Here are a few of the duds I’ve come across in this journey.   Maybe you’ve had luck with some of these, and if you have….bravo.   I did not. 

First up, our carseat. 

Gah, I know.  Something as GD important as our carseat makes the crap list.   It’s not that it’s actual crap, per se.   It’s just that I don’t like it.  

Chico Keyfit 30

Chicco Keyfit 30 Infant Car Seat and Base

I don’t like how heavy it is (what is it made of?  cement?!).  I don’t like the sunshade (I wish it would tilt forward to shade the sun from the front.  I’m not always walking with her back to the sun for petes sake).   I don’t like that it’s expensive and it seems cheaply made.  And you’re on crack if you think I’m keeping her in there until she’s 30 lbs.

Oh, AND….it’s name is annoying.  Did you know you’re supposed to pronounce it “KEY-KO.”  Lame.  So if you pronounce it like it looks, “CHI-CO” you sound like an idiot.  Thanks.  Not only am I lugging around a 30 lb child in a 20 lb carseat, I also sound like an idiot talking about it.

On the other hand, installation is a cinch and it is rated one of the safest carseats out there.  So at least there’s that.

Next up on the dud list – our sound machine.  God I hate this thing.

First Years Sound Machine

The First Years Sounds For Silence Nursery Sound Machine

First of all, the “six special white noise” options are all pretty much crap.  Unless you think high-pitched screeching sounds are soothing.   Or freaking seagulls chirping during the “ocean” sound.  Really??  Water is soothing.  Seagulls are not. 

AND there are six “Mozart” melodies available, which are basically keyboard-eske melodies that will make moms want to poke their eyes out. 

I don’t recommend it. 

What you need is a sound machine that has good noises, that you can plug in, and that doesn’t have a timer.  You want that sucker to go all night long (that’s what she said).  hee hee.   Sorry. 

If you have a sound machine that you like (and fits the above noted criteria), please let me know.  We are currently getting by with the “heartbeat” sound because it’s the only halfway decent one on there.

Lastly (and I’ll probably get some flack for this one) the baby swing.

Fisher Price Cradle ‘n Swing

Fisher-Price Cradle 'N Swing

It’s not that I didn’t like it, or like the idea of it….it’s just that Abby never liked it.   She would scream bloody murder in it most of the time.   But I kept trying…Lordy I kept trying.  I probably got her to nap it in three times. 

And then I have friends who swear by this thing….it literally saved their lives

I guess I’m just saying….it wasn’t our gig.   And I kept thinking “oh yeah…I’ve got this swing in my back pocket man.  Whenever I think all hope is lost I’ll just pull my ‘ol swing card and peace will be restored.”   Except it never quite worked like that for us.    It usually made a bad situation worse.   So the swingo was a no-go for us.

So there you have it.   Our list of must-haves for those first terrifying precious months.    I acknowledge that every baby is different; and what worked for me may not work for you.   Here are my biggest pieces of advice: 

  • Don’t go crazy buying stuff the minute you see your two pink lines.  Hold off on buying every baby contraption out there…because you never know what’s going to work for you. 
  • It’s ok to buy stuff AFTER the baby arrives.  You’ll have a better idea of what might work for your munchkin.
  • Borrow what you can.  Many moms are ecstatic to have someone get more use out of their expensive baby items.   And bonus:  if it doesn’t work for you, you didn’t spend any money on it.     
  • Buy used.  I’ve seen soooooo many lightly-used baby items (in great shape) for sale at second-hand stores for kids.  I know this is a tough hurdle  to jump sometimes (you want everything that touches your baby to be sparkly new), but you can save a ton of money if you’re willing to get past it.

In the end?  I strongly believe that less is more when it comes to baby gadgets and the best comfort you can give your baby is her momma.  

Gotta work on those mom arms anyway, right?

flair…of the flower variety

I made a little something for my little sweetie:

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A cute little flower pin to spruce up a wedding outfit.  There’s nothing cuter to me than a baby in a white onesie with a tutu (and thank goodness little girls can get away with that being “dressy!”)…but it needed something more…it needed some flair. 

Then I remembered that Emily (over at Jones Design Company) did a flower-week last year where she gave a new flower tutorial every day of the week.  This was just the perfect excuse to get my craft on and choose one to make.

All of the flowers she does are lovely, but I chose the curled-edge flower

Emily has so many wonderful, beautiful tutorials that I want to try, from painted wallpaper (that I simply must do someday) to a coffee filter poof  (which I have the supplies for but just can’t seem to find the time).  You can check them all out here.  She also sells simple, creative art prints, name prints, printable paper and notecards in her shop.  I’ve purchased a few and they are fantastic.   I think you’d like her too so take a looksee!

But back to the flair.  I’ll let you check out Emily’s page for the tutorial, but really all you need is a small amount of polyester satin, a candle, a few beads for the center, a needle and thread and some sort of fastener.   They are super quick, easy and fun to make!

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I whipped one up in about 15 minutes, then did a quick check to make sure it would look ok with the planned outfit. 

I debated on doing a matching flower (in pink) or a contrasting one (obviously in navy).   I’m glad I went with the navy, but what do you think?

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So much easier to take a picture without a squirming, wiggling, rolling baby.

I even had time to whip up a little bit bigger flower for mom to wear so we could match.   (I can totally see my sister-in-law gagging right now, but I think it’s cute!)  hahaha.

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And of course, the obligatory show-off photo from the wedding:  I clipped my flower to the fabric I tied around my waist (does it look familiar?  Chevron.  So versatile!)

The wedding was at an old ski area.  Hubs grew up skiing there before it was shut down…he said this ski lift used to be red.   I kinda like the pink…go figure.

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That’s Abby’s ‘lil tex hat sitting next to me.  How cute is that?

Then I got home and felt guilty that I didn’t take any better pictures for the blog so I quickly snapped a few before I put Abby to bed….which was waaaaay past her bedtime, hence the bad lighting and (her) puffy eyes.  Oh, and the humidifier in the background.  Whoops.

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Poor baby. 

Poor, cute baby.

What say you?  Do you need a little somethin-somethin to make your outfit pop?  Or just want and excuse to match your cute little baby?   Hop on over to Emily’s blog and find the flower of your liking!

i never did like cats.

That tends to happen when one jumps on your FACE while you’re sleeping.   Yep.  Happened.  During a middle school sleepover and I’ve been tarnished for life.  (Yes Shannon, it was Jasmine).

Ever since then I just don’t trust the things. 

This is exactly how it happened.  Me, peacefully sleeping in my best Audrey Hepburn outfit when an unsuspecting cat attacked.  Whoa, is that my eyeball popping out?  Eek. 

But I’ve recently discovered a new type of cat that trumps all face-jumping cats:  the cat nap.

By the way…yes, I’m just going to start a post and completely ignore the fact that I’ve neglected ya’ll for way too long.  That is, if there is anyone left out there….

Anyhoo.  Back to the crap cat naps.   As terrifying as a cat-to-the-face was, I fear that this type of cat will be the death of me. 

I am mentally, physically and utterly exhausted.   Let me summarize my days for you so you’ll understand why. 

Wake up. 

Feed baby.  30 min.

Play. 30 min.

Change Diaper.  5 min.

Play.  45 min. 

Bounce/sing/rock baby.  Oh…I don’t know.  AN HOUR?

Baby Sleeps.  20-30 min.

Meanwhile:  GetDressedBrushTeethRedoPonytailEatBreakfastDoLaundry….baby awake?  No?  Sweet!

CleanKitchenPickupToysFeedDog.  Go get baby.

Repeat. 

**Disclaimer!  All times may vary with the exception of the one labeled “Baby Sleeps.” 

Honestly, I should win an award for how much stuff I can get done in thirty minutes.  I may be wearing yesterdays mascara, but I can make a smoothie, unload the dishwasher and pick up the kitchen in about 3 minutes flat.  All at the same time.   How’s that for multi-tasking?   Because it turns out surfing the web and being on a conference call at the same time is for amateurs.

So yeah. 

That’s where I’ve been.  In a delirious zombie-like state of dealing with cat naps. 

I should mention however, that Abby seems to be doing fine with this new species of cat. She’s mostly content during the day unless she just gets over-tired. Which can happen when you’re only sleeping 20 minutes at a time. Go figure.

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Go to sleep?  Mother puhlease.  I’m going to bounce in this bouncer until I can’t hold my head up anymore.  And then I’ll bounce some more.  It’s how I roll, yo.

I just can’t help but think both of our lives would be better if there was a more regular nap schedule. 

Gah.  A schedule.  Now there’s another evil word.  And a topic for another day and another post that I probably won’t get to write. 

Anyhoo.  I’m just here to say hello from cat nap land.  It’s exhausting here.  And apparently making mommy a little cray-cray (that’s “crazy” for my non-teen readers).  But at least no animals jump on your face. 

The good news is, I’m working on it.  I’m trying to help her fall asleep on her own so that (1) I’m not rocking/bouncing/singing/swaying her for an hour and (b) she can put herself back to sleep when she wakes up.  

This isn’t an easy thing to teach and there are several controversial ways to do it.  I’m not really into the crying it out method, so we’re trying some alternatives for now.   And hopefully once we’ve got that down, the naps will gradually increase in time and momma will return to watching her stories and eating bon bons. 

So if when I figure out the magic formula for making babies sleep, I’ll be sure to share it.   Until then, just say no to cat naps.

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All baby animals are cute.  Do not be fooled by this darling little kitten.  He would jump on your face and pop your eyeball out if you would just fall asleep.

a year in pictures

Eventually.   At least that’s the plan. 

Being a sentimental sap, I knew I wanted to document Abby’s first year somehow.   I thought about different ways to do this, from taking her picture next to the same stuffed animal each month to see how she grows, to putting her in the nursery chair for the same effect, or just picking one of my favorites (from the many random pictures I take) each month.

In the end, I couldn’t get Clara’s photo project out of my head.  Clara is the cute little daughter of John and Sherry over at Young House Love…and of course those two creative geniuses had an idea that stole my heart. 

Each month they take a picture of Clara in a white onesie with a different fabric background.  They then edit the picture on their computer to put her age (in weeks) on the onesie.  It’s a really sweet tradition to start for their daughter, but also for them to look back and see how she grows and changes from week to week.  On Clara’s one year birthday, Sherry made a quilt for her using scraps from the fabric from each photo shoot.  How cute is that?

So, once again I find myself copying YHL on an idea.  Even though I don’t read their blog anymore, I am still inspired by their creativity!  

Instead of using fabric as my backgrounds though, I’ve been using blankets.  We got so many darling blankets for Abby that I thought it would be fun to use them for now.  When I run out of backdrops blankets, I’ll probably start using fabric and try to come up with something unique to do with them for Abby. 

So, each Friday morning Abby gets a bath, and then each Friday afternoon Abby and I have a photo shoot in her nursery.   It’s something I look forward to all week…and maybe someday she will too!

I’ve since learned that you can purchase weekly (or monthly) stickers for the onesies on Etsy (so you don’t have to edit the picture on your computer).  I’m kind of a geek and don’t mind doing it, but once she starts rolling around and not just laying flat on her back, it’s going to be hard for me to get the angles right.  Oh well.  Lesson learned.  Maybe #2 will have the fancy stickers.

Oh, and one last note.  I try to choose a picture that reflects what Abby was up to that week…if she was particularly fussy (uh hem, week 5), the picture will reflect that.  Or recently she started grabbing her feet, so I picked one of those for her weekly shot.  Hopefully this will help me remember her milestones a little better?   I shoot around 75-100 pics during each session and then pic my favorite and edit it while she snoozes or after she goes to bed.  

We’re 15 weeks in to our little project (how did that happen?!) and it’s already so much fun to look back on my little pumpkin.  Sometimes it’s hard to believe she’s changed so much in so few months…which is why it’s so important for me to document it!

Enjoy!

<confession:  I forgot to take her week 1 pic…so luckily I had snapped this one in a white onesie on my phone.  I’m still kicking myself for not doing an official photo, but what can you do.  I was a little out of it that first week.>

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Shooting that many pictures means we often have some funny ones, which turn out to be some of my favs. Here are a few outtakes from our sessions!

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Did your parents do something similar for you growing up?  Or have you found a creative unique way to capture your little one’s growing?

cloth diaper update

It’s been almost three weeks since I started using cloth diapers so I thought I’d pop in with a quick update on how things are going!

I have to say that the switch was waaaaay less scary than I thought it would be.  In fact, it’s actually been quite simple and I couldn’t be happier about it.  

Remember I chose the BumGenius Freetime All-in-One’s.  All in one just means that the liners are sewn directly into the diaper cover (if they’re not sewn in, you have to stuff them into each diaper before use). 

Why don’t I just show you what I mean.   Here’s one of the diapers

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The “flaps” on each side of the diaper are sewn on, so when I want to use it all I do is fold them in.  Like so:

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I love the all-in-ones and glad I don’t have to stuff diapers after washing them. 

Anyhoo, here’s the scoop.

I’m still using disposables at night, so when we put on Abby’s PJ’s, we put on a disposable.  She sleeps until around 4:00 or 5:00 when I nurse her and change her into another disposable.   I could probably change her into a cloth diaper at this point, and should probably start doing so.  But worse case scenario I’m using two disposables at night (which means two disposables total per day…yay)! 

When she wakes back up around 8:00 or 9:00, we get her dressed for the day and put on a cloth diaper.   The biggest change for me has been getting used to proactively changing her instead of reactively changing her.  For example, I try to change her every 2-3 hours instead of waiting for her diaper to be full enough to change (disposables can last an amazingly long time!).  The exception of course is if she poops when I’ll change it right away obviously.    The reason I try to proactively change her is because cloth diapers don’t hold as much as a disposable, and if you let it go too long they can leak.  And let me tell you, that happened once and it’s a royal pain to change an outfit due to a leaky diaper.  I try to avoid it!

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Changing her is just the same as it would be with a disposable.  I remove the dirty diaper, clean her up, and put on a new one.  But instead of tossing the diaper in the trash, I simply toss it in my wet bag which is kept right next to my laundry hamper. 

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Lesson learned:  Thanks to some comments on my last post, I learned that you don’t need to rinse the poo off when it’s just breastfeeding poo.  So I’m not even rinsing anything at this point.  Just put the whole poopy diaper in the wet bag and forget about it.   Revolutionary!

Then, at the end of the day (after I’ve put on her PJ’s and disposable), I grab the wet bag off the hamper and empty it out into the washer.  The wet bag goes directly in the wash with the diapers too.  I do a cold cycle (with no soap) and then a hot cycle (with Charlie’s Soap) and an extra rinse.  

Sometimes I throw the diapers in the dryer right away, but often I let them sit in the washer overnight after the spin cycle  because they’ll dry a bunch on their own this way and save dryer time.  If I do that, I just throw them in the dryer first thing in the morning so they’re ready for the day.   

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If I notice that any of the diapers have poop stains on them (and it does happen) I pull them out of the washer and let them dry outside.  This is called “sunning” and is frickin amazing.  Seriously.  Just letting them dry in the sun removes any sort of stain.  It makes me want to break out “HALLELUJHA” every time.

As for changing diapers on-the-go around town, I just keep two extra cloth diapers in my diaper bag and a smaller wet bag.   This takes up a lot of space so you need a gigantic diaper bag.  But I’m ok with that.   I also keep two disposable diapers in there just in case we need them.  You can never be too safe when it comes to poo.

What I like about cloth diapers:

  • It’s easy.  Like really really easy.  I wouldn’t do it if it weren’t.
  • I feel better about using them and reducing my waste
  • I know they’re better for the environment and my bebe’s bum too
  • There have been no blow outs since we switched.  There were several when we used disposables.  One that even required cutting an outfit off…but that’s a different story.

What I don’t like about cloth diapers:

  • The poo (even though I’m not having to deal with it too much yet), is still a little gross at times.   I just figure that I’m a mom now and poo will be miniscule on the scale of gross things I need to deal with. 
  • Having to do laundry in order to use them.  I can stretch my diaper supply out 1.5 days.  I’m not sick of doing laundry yet, but I wonder how I’ll feel 6 months down the line.    A lot of you recommended doubling my diaper supply so the laundry burden wasn’t quite so much.  I may consider this!
  • Not being able to wad up the wipes in the diaper.  I need a separate contraption to put the wipes in now. 

What would I/will I change about using cloth diapers?

  • I’m not sold on Charlie’s Soap.  I feel like it doesn’t do as well with the smell as I want it to.  Not that the diapers smell bad, it’s just that sometimes I think it could be better.  One of my friends recommended Rock in Green detergent and I think I’ll try that next time.
  • Several people have mentioned cloth wipes to me.  I’m not there yet, but am seriously considering it.  In fact, I’m started to get as annoyed about buying wipes as I was about buying diapers.  It seems like they’re always on my list. 
  • Eventually I’d like to start using cloth at night.  I’ve read about hemp inserts that you can use that are super absorbent and helpful for longer stretches.  I’m intrigued.  But not intrigued enough to try it yet. 

Also, we’re still using disposables when we travel.  For example, we went to Spokane for Bloomsday a few weekends ago and I brought disposables.  I just don’t have enough diapers to make it through 3 days without doing laundry.  Staying in a hotel is not conducive to doing laundry.  Plus, hauling around 15 cloth diapers takes up a lot of room!   We also used disposables when we went camping the other weekend (yes!  we went camping and it was great!).   

Now, if we were going somewhere (like to my parents house) where there was a washing machine available, I would totally do cloth.   I guess as long as they were ok with me washing poopy diapers there.  haha.

Overall?  Cloth has my seal of approval.  They are easy, functional and cute to boot.   If you’re thinking about switching, you should definitely give it some serious thought.  I think it’s been worth the investment so far, and these diapers are supposed to last until she’s potty-trained. 

Now, one last thing.  I’m not trying to make anyone feel bad for using disposables!  cough*ROB*cough.  Seriously.  Every parent chooses what is right for them and I would never judge them for that.  I really wanted to try cloth and it seems to work for me.  That doesn’t mean it works for everyone.  This is just my story and my experience.

I’m happy to answer any questions and am always open for suggestions and advice!  I’ll be back with an update in about 6 months and let you know how it’s going.  By then she’ll be on solid foods and it may change the game a little bit.

What do you think?  Are you intrigued about using cloth?  Anyone thinking about switching?   Do you think the laundry will drive me insane six months from now?

the opposite of progress

Since about two months, Abby has been (what I consider) sleeping through the night.   We start the process of putting her to bed around 8:00 depending on when she’s showing signs of being hungry.   At which point, mom or dad give her a bottle.  I’m nursing her full-time, but we introduced a bottle around 2-weeks so she would (hopefully) be comfortable with either.  And at the time, we were planning on putting her in daycare, so it was essential that she take a bottle.   Bottles also spell f-r-e-e-d-o-m for mom (it’s best if you say the word ‘freedom’ like Mel Gibson in Braveheart). 

Anyhoo, so we do a bottle and then get her all swaddled-up (she is still digging the swaddle at 3.5 months) and rock/walk/bounce/sing her to sleep (we’ve tried letting her put herself to sleep.  That doesn’t work yet!)  On a good night, she’s asleep and in bed by 9:00.   Other nights, it’s closer to 10:00, and worse case scenario even later. 

She’s still in a bassinet by our bed and will sleep until 4:00 or 5:00 a.m. at which point I feed her and she goes back to sleep until 8:00 or 9:00. 

It’s been great because I can have some one-on-one time with The Hubs in the evenings (well, at least an hour) before I head to bed.  Or sometimes I spend it trying to clean up and get ready for the next day of chaos.  I would love to spend this time blogging…but I’m not quite there yet.  

But back to the reason for this post. 

A girl can get used to sleeping 6-7 hours at night  (a girl being ME).    So when the baby decides to start waking up one or even two times a night…a girl can get kinda cranky.  Again, a girl being me. 

For the past two nights we’ve done our same routine…bottle, swaddle, bed…but Abby has woken up at 1:00 and 3:00 wanting to eat.  Then she’s only sleeping until around 7:00 a.m.   It’s kind of killing me. 

The Hubs said he read somewhere that women produce some magical hormones that help them cope with the sleepless nights after their babies are born.  And I totally believe it because I was getting basically 4 hours of sleep each night for several weeks and never felt “rundown.”  But now?   Now I’m exhausted after getting up only twice during the night!   Where the hell is that hormone now?!  And can I get some more please? 

Maybe it’s just a growth spurt. 

Perhaps she is sick of sleeping next to mom.   

Maybe she just doesn’t want her arms strapped down anymore.

Who the heck knows!?

That’s the completely aggravating part.  I have no idea what’s going on in that little brain of hers and probably never will.    But I need a game plan.

As sad as it makes me, I think it’s time to move her up to her crib. 

Honestly, I never thought she’d stay in her bassinet for more than about a month.  But somehow that turned into 3.5 months.  Whoops.  It’s just so easy having her right there.  Plus, I kinda love having her next to me so I can just peek over and see my little burrito sleeping soundly.   When I move her up to the nursery I’ll need to start using a baby monitor and making the trek all the way upstairs when she needs me. 

Ok, so maybe I’m just being lazy.  

So that’s the first thing I’ll try. 

Next, I’m thinking maybe I’ll start swaddling her with her arms out.  She’s recently discovered her hands and loves to stare at them and suck on her fists.  So maybe having them accessible will help, without having to give up the snuggly fit of the swaddle cold turkey. 

And that’s my plan.   It ain’t much, but I’ve got to start somewhere.  Momma needs some zzzzzz’s, or a whole lotta coffee.  Stat. 

Anyone else out there experience something similar?   People keep telling me that “oh, well if she’s already sleeping through the night it will just get better.”   Well, it’s not getting better.  Like I said, this is the opposite of progress. 

Welcoming suggestions and caffeine. 

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making the switch to cloth diapers

When I was pregnant I decided that I wanted to use cloth diapers with Abby.   I remember loathing the side-eyes I would get from everyone when I told them this.    More often than not, their response was not positive, rather something along these lines:

  • Really?  CLOTH diapers?  Hope you like poop.
  • Why would you do that?
  • Um yeah, good luck with that. 

And my favorite:

  • Humph.  We’ll see how long that lasts. 

For some reason, I wasn’t intimidated at all about using cloth diapers.    To me it just made sense…I mean, in my mind the benefits completely outweigh the drawbacks (yes, that’d be the poop). 

The most notable benefit is obviously the cost savings.  On average, parents can expect to spend $2500 – $3000 diapering just one child.  With cloth, you obviously have a larger upfront cost when you purchase the diapers (for me, the cost was around $250 for 12 diapers), but that’s all the diapers you’ll ever buy!  And many people use the same diapers for second and third kids.  So yeah, I’d say there are some cost savings involved.    How could that not be a little intriguing?

Then of course there are other benefits too, like reducing waste (disposable diapers can sit in a landfill for 500 years), decreasing risk of diaper rash and facilitating quicker potty training.   And doesn’t it just seem like a nicer material to be next to your bebe’s bum?

The drawbacks of course are more laundry, less convenient when out-and-about, and of course needing to deal with the poopy diaper instead of just rolling it up and tossing it out. 

So, for these reasons I decided to give cloth a try. 

I went with the bumGenius Freetime – they’re an all in one (AIO) diaper which means you don’t need to stuff inserts or anything.   Oh yeah, and they’re cuuuuute!

Now here’s the catch:  I just started using these yesterday (Sunday).  Ha. 

I had done a bunch of research when looking for the perfect cloth diaper (mostly via other bloggers who use them), and several had recommended to wait and switch around 3 months.   Well, Abby is 12 weeks as of last Friday, so I decided it was time to do it.   I was also getting really tired of spending $20 on diapers every time I went to Target. 

And since we’re being honest…as excited as I was to start using them, I’ll tell you that I was pretty nervous to make the switch.  So many questions were going through my mind…like

  • How often do I need to change it?  I know they aren’t as absorbent as disposables, plus there is no yellow-that-turns-blue-strip to alert me of a wet one!
  • What do I do if we have a gigantic messy poop while I’m out running errands?
  • Do I dare try these overnight??!
  • How do I wash them correctly?
  • Are they going to leak all over the place and create more of a mess than anything?
  • What am I supposed to do with the wipes now that I can’t roll them up in the diaper into a nice little “throw away” package?
  • And let’s get real…how do you really deal with the poop?

It’s obvious I’m no expert on this yet, but I’m pretty darn excited to figure it out.   And since I just started this adventure, I thought I’d track my progress and keep you updated as I learn the “do’s” and “don’ts” of cloth diapering. 

Thrilling, no?

So far, Day 1 went great.  I stocked the changing dresser:

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And changed her every 2 hours – just to be safe and avoid any unnecessary leaking. 

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I’m guessing that with time, I’ll learn how often I really do need to change her.    Hopefully we can go a little bit longer than two hour stretches.  But for now, I’m playing it safe.

As for poop?   It wasn’t as bad as I thought.  We had one big one in the afternoon and I just rinsed off what I could in the tub, threw the diaper in my wet bag, and forgot about it.

I went through about 9-10 diapers yesterday which I simply threw in the wash after Abby went to bed.  I’ll do one cold wash, then a hot wash, and then throw them in the dryer so they’re ready for Monday.  (I’m using Charlie’s Soap).

And the wipes?  Well it’s easy enough to just gather them up and toss them in the trash…but I need some sort of receptacle next to the changing table to put them in.  Right now the closest garbage is in the bathroom next door, and I’m not really comfortable walking away from the changing table with Abby on it. 

Oh, and I’m still using disposables at night because there’s no way I’m messing with the chi of a baby that’s sleeping 7-8 hours straight at night.  No way Jose. 

So, looking back, I think the biggest adjustment has been remembering to change her proactively instead of reactively.   

My only complaint so far is that they are much bigger profile than a disposable, so she definitely has a bit of a “bubble butt” that she didn’t before.  And some of her outfits might not fit because of it.   But really, I find the bubble butt kinda cute, so it may not be the worst thing. 

So there you have it.  Day numero uno complete…and a success!

I’ll give it some time and return with an update for you.  

And to all of you naysayers who wonder “how long it will last?”   Well, I have a feeling it will last for awhile!

Anyone else using cloth diapers?   What advice would you give a newbie just starting out??