Friday, July 27, 2012

6 Accessories to Make Cloth Diapering Easier

As you prepare to begin your cloth diapering journey and busily pick out your favorite diaper styles and prints, there is another factor to consider: cloth diaper accessories. There are many products out there designed specifically to make cloth diapering parents' lives easier. Here are six accessories I've found particularly helpful while using cloth diapers with my baby.

Disposable Liners

When solid food becomes part of your baby's diet, you can no longer just toss the dirty diapers into the pail without a little attention. Disposable liners are made of thin fabric that lets the liquid leak through but keeps the solid waste off the diaper. When you change the diaper, you flush the liner and any waste down the toilet, leaving your diapers (mostly) unsoiled. We send disposable liners to our babysitter's so that she has the lowest "ick factor" when it comes to changing dirty diapers.

Diaper Sprayer

Diaper sprayers tap into your toilet's water supply so that you can spray excess waste off the cloth diapers and into the sewage system where it belongs. Our diaper sprayer has been a great way to take care of dirty diapers without having to line our diapers. The force of the water is particularly effective at cleaning the diapers, and it's easy to use once you master the art of keeping the water in the toilet.

Wet Bags

Wet bags make traveling with cloth diapers simple. These are waterproof, zippered bags in which you can store your dirty diapers while you're out and about. We have a small wet bag that holds about two diapers for when we're just running errands, and we have one medium- and one large-size wet bag that we take along for day or overnight trips. We also send the larger wet bags to the babysitter's house each day.

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Reasons Behind Pocket Cloth Diaper Leaks

One of the most frustrating aspects of using pocket cloth diapers can be troubleshooting leaks. Although you might be tempted to throw in the towel if you get a lot of leaks at first, rest assured that it takes everyone a little while to learn all the ins and outs of cloth diapering. Once you've learned to avoid the following six reasons for leaks, you'll find that pocket cloth diapers are just as effective - if not more effective - than disposable diapers at keeping your baby's clothes dry.

Saturated
A common reason pocket cloth diapers leak is that they're just plain full. You can put the diaper on correctly, but if it becomes saturated, the liquid has nowhere to go but out. To avoid this problem, change your baby more frequently or reconsider what you're using as inserts. You might need to use two standard inserts or consider upgrading to hemp or bamboo. Although more expensive, these alternatives are thin and can hold much more liquid than standard fleece or microfiber.

Exposed cloth

Sometimes when you put on a pocket cloth diaper, part of the cloth remains exposed. When your baby wets, the moisture might wick out of the diaper through that exposed cloth. Check whether the diaper is rolled down in the back, crooked at the hip snaps, or flipped out at the leg gussets. If you're using a disposable liner, part of that could also be exposed. Also be sure to train dads, grandparents, and babysitters to keep an eye out for exposed cloth when helping with diaper changes.

Incorrect sizing

If your pocket cloth diaper doesn't fit your baby correctly, you might be getting leaks out of gaping leg holes or around the waist. It might take a little trial and error to find the right size, but doing so will keep your baby comfortable and eliminate leaks from incorrect sizing. Make sure you also fasten the diaper tightly enough around the waist each time you put a diaper on your baby.

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Friday, July 20, 2012

4 Books to Read Before Your Baby is Born

Lots of expectant moms bury their noses in pregnancy and childbirth books before their babies are born. I read up a little on those topics, but I figured that one way or another, my baby would make her way into the world. I was more concerned about what I was going to do once she got here! Being a first-time parent, I looked for every opportunity to prepare myself to take care of my newborn. Here are the four books I found particular helpful.

The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp

Harvey Karp's explanation of his "Five S's" - swaddle, shush, side position, sucking, and swinging - helped me to calm my baby if she was crying or get her to sleep if she was having trouble. The principle behind his system is that babies are used to being in the womb, and especially when they are in their first three months of life, they sometimes need us to recreate the ambiance of the womb to calm them down and help them sleep. Even now that she's eight months old, I still use lessons I learned from his book to calm her down if she's particularly upset, and I've even been able to use his "cuddle cure" to soothe someone else's baby to sleep!

Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg

The Baby Whisperer's "EASY Routine" helped me create some semblance of a schedule with my baby when she was as young as two months old. EASY stands for: Eat, Activity, Sleep, and Your Time. The idea is not to do things by the clock, but on a three- or four-hour rotation. I learned to feed and change my baby as soon as she woke up, give her some good playtime, and then put her back down once she started showing her sleepy cues. The routine helped make both my baby and me more content because we knew what was coming next, and it helped make clear what she likely needed at any point in time. Our current routine is still based on EASY.

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Found Toys: Turning Household Objects into Fun for Kids

Would you believe that the most fought-over toy amongst the babies at a party I just went to was a half-full water bottle? To kids, found objects around the house make the world's greatest toys - and they're magical for the parents, too, because the parents' bank accounts don't have to suffer in order to entertain their kids. Here are some ideas for objects you might have around the house that can easily be turned into fun toys for your kids.

Things with buttons

Our 8-month-old daughter loves to press the buttons on things - especially electronics. We took the batteries out of an old remote control for her to play with, and I'm sure giving her an old calculator or cell phone to monkey around with would be just as much fun. Of course, acting like she isn't allowed to have it makes it that much more appealing!

Cardboard and Paper

Old tissue boxes, cereal boxes, or whatever other boxes you have lying around make fun objects for babies to explore. Stuff a small toy inside for the baby to work on fishing out. Older kids can use boxes to build forts and castles and play hide-and-seek. If you're brave, paper works, too. One mom says of her twin boys, "They love flipping the pages and crumpling the paper. Of course if they get a piece off they try to eat it but that doesn't happen often." I wish I could say the same for my daughter. When she got done with a magazine I gave her, it looked like the dog had eaten my homework.

Kitchen Supplies

There are pictures of me when I was a kid going through my mom's kitchen cupboards and having the time of my life! Think of all the fun things you already have in your kitchen. Pots, pans, Tupperware, and coffee containers make great drums. Some of our daughter's favorite toys are measuring spoons and cups, which she loves to chew on, wave about, and bang on things. One aunt even suggests fruits and vegetables as a toy. She says, "We loved playing with fruits and vegetables. No joke, the butternut squash was the younger one's favorite for a while!"

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Make Cloth Diapering Easy for Your Babysitter

My full-time babysitter uses cloth diapers with our baby every day. When we first asked her whether she'd be willing to do it, she was a little hesitant and apprehensive, but now she often comments about how easy they are to use and is even considering using them if she has another baby! Because they need to be cared for rather than thrown away, though, using cloth diapers with a babysitter often require a higher level of preparation and communication than would disposable diapers. Here are some tips for making cloth diapering easy for your babysitter.

Provide enough

No matter what diapering system you use, be sure to provide one or two more diapers and/or covers than you'd need on an ordinary day. On a typical day, my baby gets changed every two hours, and that's not accounting for extra dirty diapers. Each morning, I pack my diaper bag with five pocket diapers, which is one more than she'd usually need. As an extra precaution, I keep two extra diapers at the babysitter's house. She's had to use one of them from time to time, and it keeps her from having to break out the backup disposables.

Accessorize

The most important accessory to provide is a wet bag that's large enough to accommodate your daily diaper load. You might consider throwing in a smaller wet bag for days when your babysitter is going to be out and about. If you have special cloth-diaper-safe rash cream, be sure to keep an ample supply available for the babysitter. If you use Snappis, make sure she has a backup supply. The point is to be sure she has everything she could possibly need, and then some, to make the cloth diapering experience as easy as possible.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

You'll Have to Excuse Me... I'm a New Mom

Becoming a mom has changed the very essence of my being. It's the biggest and most amazing thing I've ever done, but at the same time, I can't help but feel like I often have to apologize for myself. Other people don't always exactly get the new mom thing, and so, I'm offering an apology for these five recurring behaviors.

Speaking openly about poop
 
"Did she poop?" has become a daily question to my infant daughter's babysitter. My mom group friends and I discuss shades, textures, and frequency of poop as if we're sharing what we're cooking for dinner tonight. I went to friends for suggestions about how to deal with "solid food poop" in cloth diapers. Poop is no longer taboo; it is a way of life.

Wearing my hair in a ponytail
 
There are a lot of reasons you'll rarely see my hair down anymore. I don't have a lot of time to spend on myself in the morning, so it's easy to just throw my hair back. My baby thinks my hair is a pull-toy, so I'd rather keep it out of her reach. After I had the baby, my hair started falling out like a cat sheds, so I was hoping a ponytail would minimize the damage. And frankly, I have bigger fish to fry than the hair critics.

Sharing all things baby… with everyone
 
I can't help it. It seems unfair to withhold any picture I take of my daughter. Every milestone, her insane growth rate, her amazing smile, each new outfit she wears - I just feel compelled to chronicle it all on Facebook. You may not be interested in the fact that she babbled "dada" today or that she's outgrowing her last clothes size, but my pride and excitement just kind of bubbles over without a filter from time to time.

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Friday, July 13, 2012

6 Tips for Buying Baby Clothes

If you have a baby shower or birthday party to go to, you may be considering picking out some new baby clothes as your gift. Succeeding at this task is not as easy as going to the store and picking up the first cute thing you come across, however. Before you set out for the nearest kids' boutique, think about these six tips for buying baby clothes.

Think ahead.

It was so nice as my baby grew to realize I had been given a variety of sizes of clothes to cover my baby's needs through her first year of life. In many cases, the clothes fit at the right times, but it broke my heart to have to pack away never-used outfits that were too small for my much-taller-than-average baby when they became in-season. I think it's a great idea to buy clothes a baby can use later on, but consider choosing outfits that could span a variety of seasons just in case the baby grows faster or slower than average.

Find out the baby's current size.

If you're picking something out for an older baby, don't be shy about finding out from the mom what size the baby's in now. My baby is barely 8 months old but already wearing 12-month clothes, so if people bought her the 9-month clothes they'd assume would fit her at this age, we wouldn't get any use out of them. On the other hand, I recently bought an outfit for a baby who was just getting into 6-month clothes when she was almost 7 months old. I chose a 12-month outfit meant for her first birthday, and it fit at the right time!

You can never have enough bodysuits!

During the winter, I put a bodysuit under each of my baby's outfits. Now that it's summer, I put my baby down to sleep in nothing but her diaper and a bodysuit. Heck, sometimes she goes the whole day in nothing but a bodysuit. The moral of the story: a baby can never have enough bodysuits! Even if a new mom seems to be given nothing but clothes at her shower, she will get use out of the bodysuits you give her.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Huge Cloth Diaper Giveaway! July 12–24


The long awaited Fluffy Wishes Giveaway and Twitter Party has finally arrived! We have tons of great prizes to give away, and all for a great cause. Many sponsors and bloggers have teamed up with Fluffy Wishes Cloth Diaper Closet and My Cloth Diaper Stash to help host this giveaway! 

Fluffy Wishes Diaper Closet is a cloth diaper lending service serving Southwest Michigan and newly expanding to Indiana! Fluffy Wishes provides cloth diapers to low income families who can not afford to diaper their children, or have to make the choice between diapers and the basic necessities in life. Fluffy Wishes runs completely on volunteers and donations. There is no cost to families who are approved for the program. 

Here is a list of sponsors who made it all happen:-)
GRAND PRIZE (Ribbons n Stitches):
1 Bumkins Pocket Diaper
1 Bumkins Cover
2 FuzziBunz Elite's
2 Kawaii Heavy Wetter's
1 Thirsties AIO
1 Thirsties Fitted
2 Best Bottom Shells
2 Microfiber Inserts (1 Medium, 1 Large)
1 Changing Diapers Book
FuzziBunz Hanging Diaper Pail
Cutey Baby Wet bag
Rockin' Green Sample
Jar of Mother's Love

RUNNER-UP PRIZE (Hop Scotch):
1 Original Ergo Baby Carrier (Black/Camel)
SECOND RUNNER UP PRIZE (Jack Be Natural):
4 Bububibi Bamboo Pocket Diapers
1 Go Green Champ 2.0


OTHER PRIZES INCLUDE:
Glow Bug Cloth Diapers - Cloth Diaper
Buttercup Baby - Incredibum Bamboo Cloth Diaper in Raven
Pure and Simple Baby - Dandelion Organic Diaper Bag
Boba - Mystery Twitter Party Only Prize
Rockin' Green - Bag of Laundry Detergent 
The Balm - $30 Gift Card 
Rumpkinz - Mystery Twitter Party Only Prize
Super Lotion - Pure Joy Pack, (5) Happy Packs, Super Happy Pack, Lip Balm
Lollido - Green Pocket Diaper
Diva Cup - Size 1 Pack w/wash & Size 2 Pack w/wash
SoftBums - Omni Solo Cloth Diaper Pack
Fluffy Wishes - Mystery Twitter Party Only Prize (HINT: Econobum) 
Green Baby Goods - $20 Gift Card
Greenie Beanie Bottoms - $20 Gift Card
Ecobloomers - $10 Gift Card
FuzziBunz - 2 Elite Diapers (2 Winners)
Bummis - Cloth Diaper Starter Pack
Jack's Choice - $15 Gift Card
Kissed by the Moon - Hanging Planetwise Wet Bag
Scents from the Moon - $15 Gift Certificate
Kalasz Krafts - $15 Gift Certificate (handmade baby items)
Happy Bums! - Itti Bitti Tutu in Ivory



Some Notes About this Giveaway:
  • Enter on the Rafflecopter form below. There are no mandatory entries, but the more entries you have, the greater your chances of winning. Remember that there are tons of prizes to be given away, so that increases your chances even more!
  • In order to be eligible for the Mystery Twitter ONLY Party Prizes, you still must enter on the Rafflecopter form below, but you must also tweet at least once during the twitter party on July 24th (9-10pm)
  • All prizes will be announced at the Twitter Party. All winners will be contacted by the e-mail provided on the Rafflecopter form.
  • Open to US and Canada
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Parenting Behaviors Your Adult Children Will Appreciate

As young married adults raising our first-born daughter, it has been interesting and at times challenging to negotiate the changing relationship we have with our own parents. As we try to make our place in the world, we are torn between needing the wisdom of our parents who have been there while wanting the freedom to make our own choices, shape our own household, and perhaps even do things differently than they did. Fortunately, our parents make it easy on us in these five ways.


We appreciate when our parents have an open mind.
 
Some doctors' recommendations and trendy parenting strategies are different than they were when our parents were raising us. If I want to try out a new sleep training system or method of introducing solid food, I appreciate when our parents have an open mind and don't immediately try to defend "the way we did it." When we need our parents' advice about the way they did things, we ask for it.

We appreciate when our parents have respect for our way of doing things.
 
Along with having an open mind, my husband and I love when our parents respect the routines, choices, and boundaries we've set up for our daughter. When they don't complain about using our cloth diapers or sticking to an early bedtime, they reinforce their respect for our authority when it comes to parenting our child.


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Friday, July 6, 2012

Bless the Single Parents

When I'm awakened at 2am,
cursing my snoring husband,
dead to the world and
in need of rest,
I think of those
who always have to be the one
to rise out of bed...

And I bless the single parents.

When I have something I  
need to get done
And my little one won't let me
Put her down for a second
And my husband is too busy
To lend a hand,
I think of those who need
Three hands all the time...

And I bless the single parents.

When I'm at my wit's end
Floating outside myself with
stress and anxiety and self-pity and woe
And my husband finds 
the right words to say
and the right ways to help
I think of those whose
words and help must always
come from within
or from the Lord...

And I bless the single parents.

I think of those whose single heart
Provides all the encouragement
All the support
All the care and fun
and Love
Those little lives could ever need

And I bless the parents whose single hearts
are twice the size of mine.

Diaper Bag Tips and Tricks for New Moms

It was a bit of a challenge to figure out how to have successful outings with my newborn baby. With so many things to juggle, a whole host of unknowns awaiting me, and no experience anticipating the needs of anyone but grownups, I had my hands full.

Fortunately, diaper bag packing is a skill that I acquired with practice, and I've accumulated a list of tips and tricks to pass on to other new moms just learning the ins and outs of diaper bags.

Different sizes

A full-sized diaper bag is great to have for day trips and daycare, but it's also very inconvenient to tote around for quick trips out of the house. When we're running an errand or going to church, for example, we grab our smaller diaper bag, and it makes the whole juggling act of taking a baby out of the house a lot more manageable.

Keep it stocked

There is nothing more frustrating than trying to get quickly out the door but having to worry about what I've forgotten to pack in the diaper bag. Instead, after every trip, I find it helpful to restock the bag. I clean out whatever is dirty and replenish what I've used so that I can just grab it on the way out the door.

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