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The Best Body Type for Wearing Rompers

Rompers are all the rage these days, but I really think it takes a specific body type to pull them off.

It helps if your head is proportionately large to the rest of your body. This trend also looks best if your stomach is round and soft and pokes out and your legs and arms boast super soft jelly rolls. 

And if you really want to rock the romper trend, I think you must, must, must freely give your dog hugs and occasionally find an errant piece of banana stuck in your hair.

(extra points if the romper snaps at the bottom for easy bathroom access)

Baby Registry Must Haves

A friend of mine recently asked for my advice on what she should put on her baby registry. She’s living in a small space and is on a budget (who isn’t) so she was really interested in the things I found to be most essential. I spent a few days mulling over what I really and truly found necessary during the early days with Nora. I asked myself - would life have been a million times harder without this item - and if the answer was YES, on the list it went. 

I figured I’d post what I cam up with here in case any of you out there are working on your registry. If it’s not on the list, I didn’t really use it or need it (looking at you wipe warmer and hooded baby towels).

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Swaddle me wraps - the ones with velcro. Probably get 3-4, more or less depending on how often you want to do laundry. Nora lived in these the first few weeks she was born.

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Diaper Pail. I like the arm and hammer one. It uses special bags so register for extras, but I’ve never had an odor problem.

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Aiden and Anais muslin blankets. I still use these daily for everything from a blanket to something to clean up spit up and wipe Nora’s nose with. They are super versatile.

Whatever you plan to have the baby sleep in (pack and play, bassinet, your bed), get a few extra sets of sheets for it. Actually, you may want to make sure you have extra sheets for your bed no matter what. Breast feeding boobies can be unpredictable those first couple weeks.

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Speaking of, get boobie pads. I liked the disposable ones from tommee tippee. I’d sleep with them in so I wouldn’t wake up in a pool of my own milk.

imageNursing brasThese from target were awesome for night. They are comfortable enough to sleep in and made it easy to whip a boob out for feedings.

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A baby monitor. There are tons on the market. Ours is from motorola has a video screen which I really, really like. If I hear Nora crying at night, I can look on the screen to see if she crying because she’s wide awake or if she’s just making noises while she sleeps. From there, I can decide if I actually need to get out of bed or not.

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Car seat/stroller. Duh. THey won’t let you leave the hospital without a car seat. We went with the travel system and the car seat just snaps right into the stroller. The one in the picture and the link is the exact one we have and it is very light and easy to maneuver.

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baby carrierI would (still do) wear mine around the house with Nora in it so I could have two free hands).

iPad/Kindle/Other tablet. If you don’t already have one and this one is obviously not totally essential, but it was for my personal sanity. You will be up so much during the night with a baby attached to you that I found myself reading, checking blogs, and googling baby forums and on the ipad all the time. Plus I lived and died by the Baby Connect app to track feedings.

diapers/wipes (duh)

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baby bather. You need either something to put in your sink or tub that the baby can easily rest in while you bathe him.

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humidifer. The humidifier is a must during the winter to keep their nasal passages moist and prevent illness. You may not need it right away, but I’d go ahead and put it on your registry. We had to run out and buy one in the middle of June when Nora came down with a nasty summer cold.

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sound machine. This one and the humidifier may not seem absolutely essential, but I love them. I run the sound machine every night and it helps to drown out things like a dog that might occasionally bark or loud noises coming from the tv. 

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Nose Frida. It’s the best thing for sucking out snot when they have a cold. It looks gross, but it’s not that bad

Baby finger nail clippers. You will not believe how fast their fingernails grow and how sharp they are!

Good to have:
  • baby bottles. If you are planning on breastfeeding at all, you probably won’t really need bottles until the baby is about 6 weeks so you can establish a good milk supply. Also, get a variety of nipples - slow, medium and fast. I like the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature bottles. The bottles come with slow nipples and then I just got a few extra packs of the other sizes for when she got older and faster at sucking. Nora took to them no problem, but every baby is different.
  • baby bottle warmer. For warming up said bottles
  • pack and play. Nora slept in hers at night and during the day I (Jason) would move it to the living room. Whether or not you have your baby sleep in his, it was nice to have a place to put her when I needed to get up and do stuff during the day like eat or go to the bathroom. It’s also handy to take on trips when you’re not sure if there will be a baby bed.
  • a swing. 
  • bumbo seat
  • A breast pump and accessories that go with it. Eventually, you’ll want to go to dinner or let your partner have a turn at the 2 am feeding. The only way to do that is with milk you pumped or formula.
Things you’ll eventually want a little down the road:
  • bibs
  • baby spoons and bowls
  • a high chair

I hope this helps you!

How to Know if You are Ready for Kids

My sister shared a link on facebook to an article providing a listing of tests you can take and that if/when you pass each one you know you are ready for kids. It had me seriously LOLing so I wanted to share it here. The article was on a British site, so I’ve taken the liberty to “americanize” it for this repost. The original is found here.

Test 1: Preparation

Women: To prepare for pregnancy

1. Put on some yoga pants and stick a large bag of rice down the front.

2. Leave it there.

3. After 9 months remove 5% of the rice. 

Men: To prepare for children

1. Go to a local Target, tip the contents of your wallet onto the counter and tell the cashier to help himself

2. Go to the supermarket. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office.

3. Go home. Pick up the newspaper and read it for the last time.


Test 2: Knowledge

Find a couple who are already parents and berate them about their methods of discipline, lack of patience, appallingly low tolerance levels and how they have allowed their children to run wild. 

Suggest ways in which they might improve their child’s sleeping habits, toilet training, table manners and overall behaviour.

Enjoy it. It will be the last time in your life that you will have all the answers.


Test 3: Nights

To discover how the nights will feel:

1. Walk around the living room from 5pm to 10pm carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8-10 pounds, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly.

2.  At 10pm, put the bag down, set the alarm for midnight and go to sleep.

3. Get up at 11pm and walk the bag around the living room until 1am.

4. Set the alarm for 3am.

5. As you can’t get back to sleep, get up at 2am and make a cup of coffee.

6. Go to bed at 2:45am.

7. Get up again at 3am when the alarm goes off.

8. Sing songs in the dark until 4am.

9. Put the alarm on for 5am. Get up when it goes off.

10. Make breakfast.

Keep this up for 5 years. LOOK CHEERFUL.


Test 4: Dressing Small Children

1. Buy a live octopus and an open netted bag.

2. Attempt to put the octopus into bag so that no arms hangout.

Time Allowed: 5 minutes.

Test 5: Cars

1. Forget the BMW. Buy a practical 5-door wagon.

2. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there.

3. Get a coin. Insert it into the CD player.

4. Take a box of cheerios; mash them into the back seat.

5. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.

Test 6: Going for a walk

a. Wait.

b. Go out the front door.

c. Come back in again.

d. Go out.

e. Come back in again.

f. Go out again.

g. Walk down the front path.

h. Walk back up it.

i. Walk down it again.

j. Walk very slowly down the road for five minutes.

k. Stop, inspect minutely and ask at least 6 questions about every piece of used chewing gum, dirty tissue and dead insect along the way.

l. Retrace your steps.

m. Scream that you have had as much as you can stand until the neighbors come out and stare at you.

n. Give up and go back into the house.

You are now just about ready to try taking a small child for a walk.


Test 7: Conversations with children

Repeat everything you say at least 5 times.


Test 8: Grocery Shopping

1. Go to the local supermarket. Take with you the nearest thing you can find to a pre-school child - a fully grown goat is excellent. If you intend to have more than one child, take more than one goat.

2. Buy your weekly groceries without letting the goat(s) out of your sight.

3. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys.

Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children.


Test 9: Feeding a 1 year-old

1. Hollow out a melon

2. Make a small hole in the side

3. Suspend the melon from the ceiling and swing it side to side

4. Now get a bowl of soggy cornflakes and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon while pretending to be an airplane.

5. Continue until half the cornflakes are gone.

6. Tip the rest into your lap, making sure that a lot of it falls on the floor.


Test 10:TV

1. Learn the names of every character from the Wiggles, Barney, Teletubbies and Disney.

2. Watch nothing else on television for at least 5 years.


Test 11:  Mess

Can you stand the mess children make? To find out:

1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains

2. Hide a fish behind the stereo and leave it there all summer.

3. Stick your fingers in the flowerbeds and then rub them on clean walls. Cover the stains with crayon. How does that look?

4. Empty every drawer/cupboard/storage box in your house onto the floor and proceed with step 5.

5. Drag randomly items from one room to another room and leave them there.

Test 12: Long Trips with Toddlers

1. Make a recording of someone shouting ‘Mommy’ repeatedly. Important Notes: No more than a 4 second delay between each Mommy. Include occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet.

2. Play this tape in your car, everywhere you go for the next 4 years.

You are now ready to take a long trip with a toddler.


Test 13: Conversations

1. Start talking to an adult of your choice.

2. Have someone else continually tug on your shirt hem or shirt sleeve while playing the Mommy tape listed above.

You are now ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room.


Test 14: Getting ready for work

1. Pick a day on which you have an important meeting.

2. Put on your finest work attire.

3. Take a cup of cream and put 1 cup of lemon juice in it

4. Stir

5. Dump half of it on your nice silk shirt

6. Saturate a towel with the other half of the mixture

7. Attempt to clean your shirt with the same saturated towel

8. Do not change (you have no time).

9. Go directly to work

You are now ready to have children. ENJOY!!

Baby Girl Clothes

You might remember that Jason and I opted not to find out the sex of our baby (umm… best. surprise. ever), and when I would daydream about my future child, I always thought if I had a girl, I’d dress her in hip baby clothes, like a smaller version of stuff I would want to wear.  Nothing too frou frou, just cool-girly style, ya know?

But now I have a girl and I seriously can’t help myself when it comes to ruffles, bows, lace, ric rac and cute appliques. Though I do draw the line at black lace mixed with hot pink leopard print. It also helps that Nora’s daycare teacher is really in to super girly clothes on baby girls which makes me want to dress her as girly as possible whenever she’s at daycare.

My go-to brand for the best baby clothes ever is Mud Pie. My mom discovered this brand through Amazon but you can read more about them on their website. Everything they make is uber girly perfection. They also do boys clothes which are pretty cute, too. 

Here are some of my favorites for baby girls:

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Nora has this for an upcoming beach trip. And yes, that is gold lame with a lace applique making up the collar and straps.

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This pink and green outfit is summertime perfection.

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The applique on this one is actually 3D, the “water” shooting out of the elephant’s nose is made of little pieces of curled ribbon, and his ear is a separate flap of fabric. The little bird on top also is made of his own little fuzzy fabric.

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I’ve been eyeing this one for Christmas. I mean… those tights… and that ric rac around the collar (!!!!).

I need help.

The fabrics are really high quality and so far, everything has held up really well. The only thing to be aware of is the sizing is a little wonky. Most things are 0-6 months, 6-12 months, etc. Obviously a 1 month old baby is not going to fit in the same clothes as a 6 month old baby, so I would say the 0-6 month sizes actually should be 3-6 months. I can’t speak to the larger sizes because, well, we aren’t there yet.

The Scary Part of Being a Parent

Before I had a baby of my own I read a quote somewhere on the internet about how having a kid was like having your heart walk around outside your body. I brushed it off as another cheesy cliche, but I have come to know that it is straight up truth.

Most of the time, things are fine and dandy, but when something scary happens to your baby it is like your whole world is imploding. Nora had a nasty incident this weekend with spit up that just wouldn’t stop coming out of her mouth and her nose, and then she starting choking on it. There was even a 911 call (luckily, we wound up not needing them). Watching her little body struggle to breathe while Jason and I acted fast in the moment (bulb syringe to suck out the ick from her nose, tilt the baby down and firm pats on the back…. are we doing this right?!?!?! OMG), was the scariest thing I have ever seen/experienced and something I never ever ever ever hope to ever ever happen again.

And gosh… when I think about having another kid, it’s like woah! Can I really even worry about another person as much as I do this one. Like, is that physically possible for my brain to manage?  I don’t know. I hope that in a couple, a few, five, ten years when it would be theoretically time for baby #2, I will have some more perspective. I mean, I have one heart… how on earth am I supposed to have two of them walking around outside my body?

happy fathers day

(Nora at 5 weeks old and already over the moon for her daddy.)

Jason, 

Happy Father’s Day! Three short months ago, you became a dad and I have loved watching you blossom in the role. You are devoted, compassionate, the calm to my storm and a fabulous example to your daughter of what a good man should be.You love your girls more than anything and it shows.

And we love you.

all my heart,

Julie

Getting my baby to sleep through the night at 11 weeks old. It’s possible!

Warning: This is the longest post ever so feel free to skip if you are not interested in learning about Nora’s sleeping patterns. Also, I wrote half of this post with one hand while bouncing a baby in the other and because it’s so long I don’t really have time to go through and edit so please excuse any typos. If you have any questions or something doesn’t quite make sense, feel free to ask!

I’ve got to be honest. I’m really nervous writing this post. Nora has been sleeping through the night (10-11 hours) since Monday but I feel like as soon as I put into words what we’ve been doing and share it with the world, I’m going to jinx myself. But I’ve (understandably) gotten so many requests to share what has been working for us, that hopefully this might also work for another sleep deprived mom.

Sleep is essential. Until Monday, June 3, the last time I had slept straight through the night was March 18. For some families with kids, it’s a long time to go, for other, it’s a blink of an eye compared to their sleep struggles. I realize this and am just grateful, we’ve had any success at all getting Nora to sleep more at night.

So, what have we been doing? When Nora was 2 months old (about 9 weeks), I posted half-jokingly on facebook that this must surely be the age she starts sleeping through the night, right? I got lots of “LOLs” and “good luck with that” type responses, but one of my college friends messaged me and told me about the book Twelve Hours of Sleep by Twelve Weeks Old. He said it had worked like a charm for him and his wife and several of their friends. 

I was desperate. A lot of baby sleep books I had previously read said not to start any sleep training until the baby was 4 or 5 months old. But, I was set to return to work in a few weeks and I just knew there was absolutely NO way I could productively function at my 8-5 job if I was still getting up three times a night (12 am, 3 am and 6 am… after getting to bed at about 10 pm the night before. ugh.). I could barely function at home in my pajamas where all I did was sit and watch tv all day! I ordered the book from Amazon, with overnight shipping. It quickly arrived and I read through the main chapters while Nora napped one day.

The premise of the book is this: Encourage your baby’s natural tendencies to sleep longer at night by focusing on having your child eat every 4 hours during the daytime - 7 am to 7 pm or 8 am to 8 pm… or whatever 12 hour “shift” works best for your family’s schedule. And get them to take 3 hours worth of naps during the daytime. The book focuses on 4 steps and you are not to move on to the next step until you finish the previous step.

We got through 2 steps before Nora went to daycare.

Step 1: Shift the feedings to every 4 hours. With Nora eating every 2 hours (she had turned into a “snacker”), this was a welcome change. But, it was just that - a change. It took me about a week to get her to the point where she was eating every 4 hours during our 12 hour “shift”. I had to slowly stretch out her feedings in 15-20 min increments and she had to learn to eat more at each feeding. The book really walks you through this and gives you tips to help stretch out the feedings in small increments until you get to that 4 hour time frame between feedings. We finished step 1 so it was on to….

Step 2: Wean your baby of night feedings. The idea is that you aren’t feeding your baby any less in a 24 hour period, you’re just helping them learn to transition what they eat at night to eat during the day. Once I had completed step 1, Nora dropped her second night feeding by herself. So, I had two feedings to contend with. The book states that it is important not to wean the baby of both feedings at the same time, so we focused on the second first, per the book’s instruction. Since I was breastfeeding Nora at night, I just slowly decreased the amount of time she was on my breast during the second feeding. If she fed for 15 minutes one night, the next night I let her feed for 12, then 9 and so on. This was hard because honestly I was so tired and there were nights that I’d fall asleep while I fed her so I honestly didn’t know how long she had nursed. Oh well. Life, ya know. Eventually she dropped the second feeding altogether. And by dropping the second feeding, what I mean is it just got later and later (3 am… then 3:30… then 4… etc.) until eventually she would wake up about an hour before she was supposed to and I would use the techniques in the book to get her stretch out her feeding until I could feed her at her normal time. Over the course of a few days, she basically combined the second feeding with her regular morning feeding.

I went back to work when she was 10 and a half weeks old, I didn’t really have time to focus on the rest of the steps in the book by the time I had gotten her down to one night feeding. But actually, I was pretty happy with just the one night feeding and felt it was manageable to get up with her once during the night and still be able work throughout the day and apply some brain power to my job.

Then, something magical happened. She went to daycare. Steps 3 and 4 in the book focus on adjusting the baby’s nap schedule so their naps are more consistent and regimented during the day and they sleep more at night. Like I said, I got through two steps before going back to work and without being around Nora all day long, I didn’t really have the time to work with her on naps. But at daycare, they don’t hold her all day long while she sleeps which I had gotten in the habit of doing since I knew our 24/7 time together was coming to an end. She also naps in her crib at day care. Every day, nap time/quiet time is from noon to 2. She usually sleeps during this time and also takes a couple of shorter 30 to 45 minute naps during  the day. The 2 to 3 hour nap stretches I used to let her do a few times a day are a thing of the past! And she makes up that sleep at night, like she should.

Since Monday, she goes to sleep at about 7:30 pm and she wakes up at 6:30 am. Sometimes, she’ll awake at 5 or 5:30, but she usually puts herself back to sleep after a couple minutes of whimpering. My rule is that if she doesn’t stop on her own after 3 minutes, I go in there and help her soothe. I completely credit the book as well as daycare for her improved sleeping habits. But, if you child is not in daycare, you’d probably have the same results if you completed all 4 steps in the book.

A few things to note about this book and the techniques we applied or didn’t apply:

  1. The book is very focused on making sure your baby gets enough ounces during the daytime feedings so that you know s/he is eating enough. If you are exclusively breastfeeding, it will be hard to apply the principles in the book because unless you pump and feed, you don’t know exactly how much your baby is eating. Since Nora was starting daycare in a few weeks, I was already planning on feeding her from a bottle during the daytime so she could get used to having most of her meals come from a bottle and so I would know how much she was eating so I could prepare enough food for her in bottles for the daycare providers. Prior to that, she was getting maybe one bottle a day. So, yes, pumping is a big part of this process and SUCH a pain, but I kept my eye on the prize as I went through those weeks: A full night of sleep!
  2. The author calls weeks 8-12 baby boot camp. And she calls it that for a reason. It is hard. Stretching out Nora’s feedings was no walk in the park because she would get upset and it’s always hard when your baby cries. But, I knew that she would be eating soon even if she didn’t and I knew that she was okay even if she didn’t. Applying some techniques in the book to help her go just a little longer (15-20 min) between each feeding really helped. Again, I kept my eye on the prize: A full night of sleep!
  3. If you are colseeping, this is probably not the book for you. The author stresses the importance of having the baby sleep in their own bed in their own room. For us, this was a nonissue because Nora has slept in her own room from day 1. Since she was in the hospital for a week and had her own bed there, we wanted the transition home to be as smooth as possible for her. For us, this meant, she would still sleep in her own bed at home.
  4. The book gives the widely touted baby advice to put your baby in the bed while they are still awake. I do not do this. I rock her to sleep every night and then I sit with her for 15-20 more minutes while she is asleep before putting her in her crib. She is only a little baby I can rock for a little while and since going back to work, this is some of the closest time we get during the week since we start her bedtime routing at 6:45. The only catch is that if she wakes up after she goes to bed, we don’t go back in to continue to rock her to sleep. Luckily, she more or less stays asleep once she’s out.
  5. If, like me, you read all 182 reviews on the amazon website for this book, you might have some concerns about the people that gave the book 1 star. I did too, but after reading the book in pretty much it’s entirety, I realized that these people were taking the author out of context or had not read some sections. Like, if your baby is screaming bloody murder at 3 am and they are not supposed to eat again until 4:30, don’t let them scream if you don’t want to… go ahead and go in there and do what you feel is best for your child.
  6. For Nora’s first 2 days at daycare, I was having them feed her every 4 hours like at home. I think this became a little difficult for them because she’d get hungry after about 3.5 hours and with other babies to tend to, they couldn’t necessarily console her for 30 minutes before it was time to eat. So, they asked if I could bring enough bottles so they could feed her every 3 hours. I complied but I was so nervous it would mess with her night time sleep since step 1 is having her eat every 4 hours. I’m happy to report that it hasn’t affected her sleeping at night in the least. The book’s rationale for eating every 4 hours is not only to concentrate your baby’s feedings but also to allow yourself some time to get other things done so you’re not just feeding a baby all day. Since I wasn’t the one doing the feeding during the day anyway, I was okay with their request.

Overall, I feel like I’m a better mother because I’m well rested and most importantly, I feel like I can better anticipate Nora’s needs. For many weeks, I was feeding “on demand” but really, I didn’t know if Nora was hungry or tired or just wanted to play. Having a regular schedule helps me know that if she just had a full feeding at 7 am and it’s 9 and she’s getting fussy, she’s probably NOT hungry. She probably is tired or wants to play or look at herself in the mirror or just be bounced on my lap. When she’s awake during the day, she’s also happier and more content and I absolutely 100% believe it’s because she is on a more structured schedule. If you think about it, we all have our daily routines and something feels amiss if we miss a step in it. Babies are the same way. They want routine and structure. I think it helps them make better sense of this new world they are in.

This post is already way too long, so I’m going to wrap it up now. Applying the techniques in this book requires a lot of discipline and being regimented and consistent  It is hard work, especially when you’re running on three hours of broken sleep. But damn, it’s worth it to get a good night’s sleep. For the first time since March, I’m finally starting to feel like myself again. Sleep is not a luxury. It is essential. For me and for Nora. And reminding myself of that and sticking to a plan has paid off a hundred million times over.

 

Today…

We visited the daycare that Nora starts next week. It’s not my first time there, but it was hers. I knew I had a good feeling about the place when we first visited, but today we really got to spend some one on one time with the two ladies that will be tending to her needs. And let me just tell you, I couldn’t be happier with them. As soon as we walked in the room, the older lady (and the one in charge) of the babies scooped Nora up and just oohed and aahed over her (could be that she will be the only girl in the baby room). And for the 45 minutes we were there, Nora just cuddled right up to her. They answered all my weird questions and didn’t even give me a strange look when I asked if it would be okay to come over on my lunch break to just sit with her on occasion.

Leaving your child in the care of someone else during the day is not easy, and I’m sure I will be a mess on Monday morning, but I am so glad we found a place that I believe will not only care for her, but love her, too.

Hi Julie! Congratulations on your beautiful baby girl! I'm due on August 29 and have thoroughly enjoyed reading your pregnancy and baby adventures. I was wondering if you would be willing to write a post about your experience with cloth diapers thus far and what your process is. My husband and I are also planning on using cloth diapers. Any information on the topic is much appreciated, especially coming from a family similar to ours (ie, young, first baby, fun) Thanks!

Asked by
Anonymous

Hi! Congratulations on your soon-to-be-arriving bundle of joy! I can definitely tell you about my process and adventures in cloth diapering. I read a lot on the internet and various blogs about cloth diapering, and it would take me forever to go back and try to remember where I learned what I did, so I’m just going to share the bits and pieces I retained and actually apply.

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(Cloth diapered baby. So cute!)

I’m three weeks in to cloth diapering and I have to say, I love it! We used disposables for Nora’s first six weeks until I felt like she could better fit into the cloth diapers. I didn’t really want to spend extra on newborn sized cloth diapers since she’d only wear them a short amount of time. Besides, we got TONS of newborn disposable diapers as baby shower gifts so I wanted to use those up before it was too late.

I actually stocked up on all of my cloth diapers before Nora ever arrived. I used all the giftcards we received to buy my supply of cloth diapers. I have 20 which lasts me about a day and a half, so I only have to do laundry every other day. And it’s a small load at that. And as Nora gets older, she’ll need fewer diaper changes which means my supply will last even longer before needing to be washed.

When deciding what type of cloth diapers to use, I went with the bumgenius 4.0 and just a few of the bumgenius all-in-ones. What does that mean? Well, there are all sorts of cloth diapers on the market, but the general idea is that you have some sort of waterproof/leakproof shell and then some type of absorbent inner portion. That absorbent inner portion can be a disposable insert, which initially appealed to me but then I ruled out because one of my goals for cloth diapering was to reduce the amount of waste we produced. The bumgenius 4.0 actually have a reusable, very absorbent cloth insert that you stick into the pocket. These are called pocket diapers. The bumgenius all-in-ones have the inserts already sewn in. These are bulkier on Nora but also much more absorbent because there are two inserts sewn in there. I like to use that at night so that I don’t have to change her diaper each time I get up with her (unless it’s poopy). I decided to go with bumgenius because in all my readings, it seemed like bumgenius had the most consistently positive reviews. Both of the bumgenius styles I’ve mentioned use a lot of snaps so that you can totally customize the fit of the diaper as the baby gets older and bigger. I went with the diapers that snap instead of velcro because I have read that the velcro can stick to other diapers in the wash and also that the velcro can wear out over time.

Okay, so back to our process. Like I mentioned, we switched Nora to cloth diapers at 6 weeks. Before using cloth diapers, you have to “prep” the inserts which basically means you need to wash them 5-6 times with HOT water until any trace of factory residue is completely removed and they reach their maximum absorbency. I didn’t know about prepping the inserts and just had washed the diapers once before using them. She leaked through her diapers every time I put one on and I had no idea why. Turns out, I needed to wash the inserts even more. So, make sure you do that.

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(Stuffed cloth diapers stuffed into a drawer. This was a rare occasion where I actually put the inserts into the diapers before putting them away.) 

In my perfect world, I’d wash and then stuff the inserts into the diapers, but as it is, I usually just stick the inserts and the shells in a drawer and then stuff the insert in right before I change Nora’s diaper. The dirty diapers go into what’s called a wet bag. I bought the one from FuzziBunz after seeing the creator on Shark Tank. It unzips at the bottom so that you can just drop all the diapers into the wash without touching them and then drop the wet bag in too. I have two wet bags so that when one is in the wash, another one is available for us to use.

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(Our fuzzibunz wet bags. One is full of dirty diapers ready to be washed and one is empty and ready to be used while the other gets washed.)

I also have a smaller wet bag that I keep in my diaper bag in case I have to change her while I’m out. When I wash the diapers, I first run them on a cold rinse cycle, followed by a hot wash (with a small amount of detergent that has no additives), and then another cold rinse. Even though the load of laundry is what I would consider small, I always wash it on the medium size setting. Why? Because I don’t take the soiled inserts out before washing them. If I use a slightly larger water setting than needed, I find that the water is enough to agitate the inserts out of the diaper on that first cold rinse cycle. Anyway, then I dry the inserts without a dryer sheet and they are ready to go. Technically, you are not supposed to put the shells in the dryer, but I do about half the time because I don’t always have time to wait for them to line dry. However, do this knowing that it voids the bumgenius diaper warranty.

Honestly, when we made the switch from disposables to cloth, I was 95% certain I was not going to like cloth diapering and that I had wasted all those giftcards on something I’d never use. I was already brainstorming ways to sell them on ebay (since I’d already washed the diapers once and couldn’t return them). But, I am so glad I stuck with it. Here’s why I like cloth diapering:

1. The cost savings. It cost about $450 to get set up with cloth diapering. This included the diapers themselves, the wet bags, and a diaper sprayer which attaches to our toilet and is used to spray out poo diapers. But note that if you are exclusively breastfeeding, your baby’s poo is completely water soluble and there is no need to spray it before washing unless you just want to. The cost of diapers for 2.5 years of life can run $2,000+.

2. They are cute! I love the variety of colors you can get with cloth diapers and I can match them to Nora’s outfits. I also love how cute she looks when she is just sitting around in her cloth diaper as opposed to a disposable.

3. I’ve heard stories that kids that are cloth diapered are potty-trained earlier than kids that are not cloth diapered. I think the premise is that cloth diapers don’t pull moisture away from bums as well as disposables so as the child gets older, having a dirty diaper causes them more discomfort thereby motivating them to want to use the potty.

4. Less waste! When we used disposables, we were taking out the trash AT LEAST once a day and I always felt so guilty knowing it takes forever for a disposable diaper to decompose in a landfill. It’s a small thing, but I feel like a more productive member of society knowing that I’m doing a little bit to reduce the waste in landfills.

5. If I’m running low on diapers, I know I just need to run them through the wash and they’ll soon be ready. Especially in the early days, it beats not have to load up the baby, the diaper bag AND get myself ready for a Target run.

A few words of caution about cloth diapering:

1. You can’t use regular diaper cream. Now, you will also experience less diaper rash (Nora has never had diaper rash), but if you DO need to use something, it has to be specially made for cloth diapers. Most of the mass market stuff is not compatible with cloth and if you use it, it will reduce absorbency of the diapers.

2. You WILL do extra laundry. Our water bill is about $15-$20 more per month than it was before Nora was born. But honestly, even without cloth diapering, it would still probably be more because there is just more laundry to do with a baby around.

3. Cloth diapers are bulkier that disposable diapers. Even though Nora is only 2 months old and is in the 39th percentile for her weight, I already have her in 3 month size clothes to accomodate the extra bulk from the cloth diaper.

4. I’m not sure what child care options you are considering if you are planning on going back to work, but be aware that not all daycares will cloth diaper in your absence, so if you are looking into daycares, I’d make sure to ask them if they support cloth diapering and what extra steps you may need to take to support this. 

Overall, that’s the gist of our cloth diapering experience. I also do keep a small supply of disposable diapers on hand in case of emergency and also when my parents keep  her and may have to change her diaper. It’s just easier for them to work with disposables than cloth when Nora is at their house. I also plan to use disposables for a few summer trips we have coming up. I don’t really want to have to mess with the laundry and organization of cloth diapering when we’re not staying in our own home. If you have a more specific question, just give me a shout and I’ll do my best to answer!

My Post Partum Essentials

Nora turned one month old the past Saturday. ONE MONTH!!!! I have to live each day and sleepless night hour by hour or I think I might go crazy, so it’s nuts to think that a whole month has already passed. Granted, it’s been the longest month of my life, but time marches on. We go in for her one month check up later today, andI can definitely tell that homegirl is much bigger than she was when we brought her home from the NICU. Exciting!

Anywho, there have been a few items I’ve reached for again and again to help me survive this past month. And trust me, the first month is all about survival - baby’s and yours.

My Brest Friend

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Dumb/kind of funny name, awesome product. I started using this on day 3 three of Nora’s stint in the NICU. It’s when they took her off her IV and let me start breastfeeding her. It was essential for saving my back on those long days at the hospital and I continue to use it at home. I like the support it offer during the day, but it really shines during the night time feedings when all I want to do is pass out in the glider. My brest friend saves the day night by supporting the baby and my elbows.

Baby Connect App

It’s $5, which is $5 more than I normally pay for apps, but it is SO helpful tracking her feedings and diapers (and a million other things, but I just use it for those two), so I don’t look like a doofus who doesn’t know anything about her baby at the pediatrician’s office. Also, this app is crucial in letting me know which boob was the last one used. I can’t keep track.

Online Grocery Shopping

I use the service at Harris Teeter, but Lowes Foods also has one. It has been a total game changer. I just add all the items on my grocery list to my virtual cart, select my pick up time, they call me when it’s ready and I drive over to the grocery store. They have a special lane for online orders and bring all my groceries out to the car and have a portable credit card machine so I don’t actually have to ever get out of the car. I was little worried that my produce items would not be the ones I would have necessarily selected but I am pleased to report that my bananas have been satisfactory and they haven’t given me a single rock hard avocado. Extra bonus: My orders are saved so I can see what I bought last week and any week before, which makes reordering a breeze!

Motorola Wireless Baby Monitor

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This monitor is the jam. It’s wireless with a video monitor and sound, so I can tote it around the house during the day and know what Nora is doing at any moment. It also has a feature so I can talk to her through the monitor which is especially handy if say I’m on the toilet and she starts crying so I can sing her a little song and let her know I’m coming ASAP. She naps in her pack and play and it’s nice to have a little freedom to get ish done (when I’m not napping myself) with two free hands while being able to keep an eye on her without actually having to be right by her side at all times. It’s also great at night because Nora sleeps in her own room, so if i hear her start moving around, I can check on the video monitor to see if she’s legit awake and hungry and just doing her newborn squirms and cooing.

Target Nursing Sleep Bras

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Speaking of sleep. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! When I take my more appropriately named evening naps, these Target nursing sleep bras have been so great. I wear these and some boy shorts and am comfy, the girls are contained, and it’s pretty easy to get myself arranged to feed Nora with minimal effort.

New Mama Bottom Spray

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It was just last week that I stopped wearing maxi pads every singe day. Did I mention my daughter is a month old? Anyway without getting TMI, I received this as a baby shower gift and I much preferred it to the spray stuff they give you at the hospital.

Swaddle Me Wraps

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I have about six of these and I would say that’s a good number to have. Nora gets swaddled up all night which helps her sleep a little better. I mean, she still wants to eat every three hours, but I think swaddling her nice and securely helps her stay asleep the full three hours (most of the time). You can swaddle with regular blankets but  newborns are like mini Houdinis and the velcro closures on these swaddle me wraps are nonnegotiable to make sure the little bugger stays put. Oh, and six might sound like a lot but when you factor in spit up that will get on it and diaper blowouts, you want to have plenty of backup!

Aden and Anais muslin blankets

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These are just all around great blankets. You can use them as receiving blankets, swaddle wraps (I swaddle Nora in these during the day using a loose swaddle that she will inevitably break free from. I like to think that the different swaddling helps  her distinguish between night and day a little better), baby blankets, burp cloths, or anything else you might need a piece of fabric for your newborn. These will be your go to blankets. And I’ve washed mine a bunch and am pleased to say the prints on them are just as vibrant as they were the day we got them.

The other essentials (Netflix, the internet…) and some are things that you can’t buy - drinking TONS of water, COFFEE, a fantastic support netwrok (I would not have survived the week of Nora in the NICU had it not been for my family, friends and neighbors that brought over lots of food, warm meals, and warm words), and making a little time for yourself, even if it means just getting to brush your teeth while the baby cries for a teensy bit.

What was essential for you to survive the first month+ with a new baby?