Monday, April 30, 2012

cloth diaper plans

Months before we were even trying to get pregnant, Nate and I had talked about cloth diapering. I had read so much about it from other bloggers (if you're curious, I found this post, this post, this post helpful) and I was intrigued. I explained the basics to him, and he agreed that it made sense to go that route.

Fast forward a few months, and with baby #1 on the way, we are committed to cloth diapering. A few readers have asked me about it, so I thought I'd let ya'll know what we're planning.

(our stash of newborn sized dipes)

First of all, here's a quick summary of the reasons we want to cloth diaper:

1. Cost. It's much cheaper in the long run, especially if you stick with it and use the diapers again for a future baby (or babies).

2. No weird chemicals against babies skin. I'm very picky with the products I use on my skin and I am certain that I'll be even more careful about what touches baby's skin. No Johnson and Johnson in this house!

3. A disposable diaper takes hundreds of years to decompose. I don't consider myself a green, hippie kind of gal by any means...but this factoid just grosses me out. It means that my disposable diapers will still taking up landfill space when my grandbabies are having babies.

4. Less diaper rash (see number 2). I worked in a nursery in college and have helped diaper five nieces and nephews - diaper rash always looks so painful, so I'm all for preventing it.

5. Cloth diapers are adorable. :)

(5 of our newborn sized diapers)

I really didn't need to convince my husband as he was pretty open minded from the get-go, but if you do need to do some convincing with your man, I'd suggest reading him the above list, showing him this, having him talk to someone who has (successfully) cloth diapered and/or having him read some of the blog posts I listed above. Since we made the decision to cloth diaper, Nate has actually talked to two coworkers who've cloth diapered (and had positive experiences) - this just reinforced our decision, but it was helpful all the same. 

I am not an expert, but I know there are many different types of cloth diapers out there and the ones we are going to use are called all-in-ones. This means we aren't dealing with any folding, pinning, covering, stuffing, lining, etc. - the diapers are literally one piece, you wash the whole thing, and you use them much the same way you use a disposable. This seemed like the most common sense option for us.

After extensive online research, we've decided to use BumGenius brand diapers exclusively. The reviews I read are almost always positive and those who use multiple brands often list the BG diapers as their favorites. There are several different options within the BumGenius brand, and based on reviews, we decided to go with two different styles: BumGenius Newborn and BumGenius Elemental.

(newborn. via BumGenius's website.)

(newborn. via BumGenius's website.)

To date, I've purchased 24 newborn BumGenius all in ones. From what I heard, the "regular size" BG diapers are often just a bit too big on itty bitty babies, so we'll use these first, until he outgrows them (at around 12 pounds). Many people skip this step and use disposables in the beginning, but my theory is that if we never get used to disposables, cloth will just be our "normal" from the get go. Makes sense, right? The newborn sized diapers are adorably tiny and they fasten with velcro to help ensure a good fit.

(elemental. via BumGenius's website.)

(elemental. via BumGenius's website.)

After he outgrows the newborn sized diapers, we'll switch to BumGenius Elemental all in ones. I currently own 4 and have registered for an additional 20. These diapers will (hopefully) fit until he's potty trained - the snaps on the front enable the diaper to expand in both length and width. It's pretty nifty. We decided to purchase these with snap closures on the sides. I've read that the velcro can break down over the first year or so, and that snaps also help prevent older babies from taking their diapers off at inopportune moments. :)

For both the newborn diapers and the elementals we're buying gender neutral colors so they can be used with future kiddos. I've been building up my stash slowly over the last few months, so I've been able to watch for sales, both locally and online.

(our cloth wipe set up)

We're also planning to use the BumGenius cloth wipes. To me, this seems like an obvious counterpart to the diapers. There are a few different ways to use cloth wipes, but we're planning to do the "dry method" where you keep a spray bottle full of water (or a gentle wipe solution) and spray the wipe right before using. Then you just throw the wipes in the wash with the diapers! 

The two other pieces of the puzzle are our diaper sprayer and wet bags.

(our wet bag set up)

Wet bags are waterproof and (supposedly) smell proof cloth bags that you can use to store dirty diapers until you wash them. I've purchased one large wet bag that hangs on the side of our dresser/changing table and one smaller one for our diaper bag.

(diaper sprayer. via BumGenius's website.)

A diaper sprayer is a handy little tool that hooks to your toilet. When babies are exclusively breastfed, you don't need to worry about spraying as everything is water-soluble, but once you transition to solid's a whole different ball game. My mom cloth diapered with my brother and sister, and she said the absolute worst part was the transition to solid foods. Back then there really wasn't a good way to get the poop into the toilet so she thought the diaper sprayer was genius. We purchased a BumGenius diaper sprayer, although there are a few others on the market.

I'm planning to "follow the rules" as well as I can with all of our diapers. I'm planning to stock 24 diapers in each size as recommended by BumGenius. We'll wash them at least every other day. From what I've read, one of the most important things to do is use a detergent that won't build up in the diapers and affect absorbency over time. I'm planning to use the BumGenius detergent and to do the recommended cold wash + hot wash + extra rinse routine. Some people seem to see that as a lot of work and skip the second wash or use normal detergents - for me, it's a matter of pushing a couple different buttons on the washer and protecting my investment. I'm also going to wash my Elementals the recommended 5-7 times before using them (this makes them more absorbent). I feel like I need to insert a disclaimer here - I am not being paid by BumGenius or anything, I've just read good things about their brand and figure it's easy to stick with one company for simplicity. But if someone from BumGenius does want to send me some free stuff - by all means, let me know! :) 

Most people have been largely supportive of our plans to cloth diaper, but I think there are a few who think we're nuts and are probably thinking just wait. Admittedly, I'm taking a bit of a risk by spending all this money up front, but like I said - I feel that by making this our "normal" we'll have a greater chance of sticking with it. Also, if things don't work out for some reason or another, used BumGenius diapers sell like hotcakes on eBay.

While it's true that I'm a first time mom who probably has no idea, Nate and I are both pretty committed to this decision. We'll be prepared and ready to dive in feet first when our little man gets here.

So now I'm curious... do you cloth diaper? have you read positive/negative things about it? any tips? any questions?


Sunday, April 29, 2012

No Bake Energy Bites (aka: the best recipe ive found in awhile)

A few weeks back a friend brought some of these into work. She found the recipe on Pinterest and when she listed the simple ingredients I was pretty much shocked at how delicious they were.

I've since made the recipe several times, my modifications are below. It's a perfect snack for a pregnant gal who's always hungry. The best part is you can change it up depending on what's in your pantry - I've been adding chia seeds in place of some of the flax. I've also substituted regular peanut butter for a dark chocolate peanut butter spread that I was having trouble using up. I think Nutella would be delicious too! Just remember to add enough honey and peanut butter so that everything sticks together. :)

Recipe: No Bake Energy Bites
Originally from here. (Also click on over here to see a pretty picture, all of my photos made these look like meatballs!)

1 cup dry old fashioned oats
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup ground flax and/or chia seeds
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine all ingredients - use your hands, it gets messy. Chill at least 30 minutes. Scoop into balls of desired size - using a melon baller makes this a little easier. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.


Monday, April 16, 2012

weeks 25 and 26

First - what am I going to do when Picnik closes? Has anyone used the photo editing features on Google+? Any other recommendations? I'm sad that Picnik is leaving.

And now a warning ... this post is going to be a tad bit...graphic. But it's my pregnancy journal and I want to remember the good, the bad and the ugly. 

For's my albino belly. Still no stretch marks or a linea nigra.

And now for the graphic part - I have a leaky boob. I know this is commonplace in the last few weeks, but at 26 weeks!? Any other mamas experience this? And um..only one side? What's wrong with the other one!?

It's not excessive or anything, but I've been wearing nursing pads just in case. I'm going to look at the positive side of things and assume that this means I will produce milk easily and won't have trouble with my milk supply. Surely leaky boobs have some later payoff, right?

As for other "symptoms"...

My skin is awful. Again. I have lots of persistently dry, flaky patches on my face and at the same time I'm breaking out. It's a never ending cycle.

Also, my hair is starting to do weird things. All these tiny, fringe like hairs have started popping up. So where I used to have bangs, I now have bangs plus this weird short fringe. I'm sure this means great things are in store during the humidity this summer (heavy sarcasm).

I'm still peeing like every 10 minutes, but that's old news at this point. I also think that the baby is trying to break my rib. The rib pain is downright painful - at this point it's focused on one spot on my right side. The only relief at this point is to lay down and completely straighten my torso. I am going to ask my midwife what part of him is jammed up there, and if there's anything I can do, but my google searches tell me that this will stick around until the baby drops right before delivery. 

Other developments: my belly button is noticeably shallower, my nail beds are still really dry, and I had my first couple bouts of real heartburn. Still no swelling in feet or fingers!

At 26 weeks, baby has over an 80% survival rate. As of Wednesday, I'm 27 weeks (with my new due date)  and the survival rates are even higher. I obviously don't want to even think about giving birth right now, but those are reassuring numbers all the same.

We are feeling pretty prepared around here - granted, there are lots of little things to do, but we have a lot of the big stuff done. We have the crib, mattress, car seat, stroller, breast pump, cosleepers, newborn size cloth diapers...we have it all ready to go. My mom also came to visit last weekend, and she came with lots of baby gear she'd found for us. About half of it was clearance finds for when he's a little bigger, and the other half was rummage sale finds. My mom is an excellent rummage saler, and she found us a Bumbo seat, crib sheets, and lots of clothes. I am hoping to post some nursery pictures soon, but baby's closet is full. I washed everything and hung it up by size - so his closet goes from newborn through toddler sizes.

While my mom was visiting, we also hit a few rummage sales together. It truly is amazing how inexpensive things are compared to stores - I found tons of tiny onesies for 10 cents a piece, bags of little baby socks for a dollar - and the stuff has barely been used. After we went rummaging, I kind of got "the bug" and I hit up a few more rummage sales by myself this past weekend. One of the houses had particularly nice stuff - she had adorable little boy outfits from Gap, Old Navy, etc with the store tags still attached. She said her baby outgrew them before she even got the chance to wash things! On a whim, I asked her if she had any maternity stuff...and she brought me out a big bag of tanks and tees to look through. So I scored some new maternity tops this weekend too.

I have to say, I'm pretty proud of how many items we've managed to buy second hand, purchase used or refurbished. I'd estimate that at least 90 percent of the baby clothes I have right now are second hand. Our dresser and bookshelf are both items that we had already and just refurbished. We bought our glider on Craigslist. I made burp rags from old towels. Our crib came from a friend. Both cosleepers were purchased used.

It's kind of awesome both because it's saved so much money and because we aren't wasting things. I'll admit that I'm not always the most "green" person, but I think we're doing pretty well.

The items that we have purchased new are the car seat (don't buy used car seats - not safe!), stroller, breast pump and crib mattress.

Anyways, we're feeling pretty prepared. I also ordered some breastfeeding supplies this week from Amazon (I got a hands free bra, little gel cooling packs, and a few other goodies) because, well - apparently one boob is already prepared and ready to go, so I better catch up. I've put a lot of research into our registry items, so I'm hoping that almost everything else we do need we'll get yet at the shower.

Tomorrow I have my first actual appointment with our new midwife. I'm pretty excited, and if anything interesting happens, I may do a separate post tomorrow.

But for now, I'm off to bed.


Wednesday, April 04, 2012

24 weeks

I'm not going to lie, moving my due date back 8 days has me all kinds of messed up. I felt like I was 24 weeks for an eternity. I also felt like my belly tripled in size during the 15 days I called myself 24 weeks.

A little disclaimer - these days, depending on where baby is located in my belly, and also how much I've had to eat in the last few hours, my bump varies pretty drastically in size. Before this photo I ate two giant bowls of ziti and baby was front and center so...take that into consideration.

-I am hoping to keep this post pretty short because I've had a long, long work week. I'm exhausted.

-First and foremost - I bought new bras and OHMYGOSH why didn't I do this sooner? It's like I've freed myself from wearing a torture device every day. My new bras are from Target, and they are made my Basics by Bravado and the style is called "Stella". I can't seem to find them online, but they're wireless, ugly, only $25 a piece, breathable, stretchy (they come in medium, large, etc vs cup/band sizes) and they're nursing bras so I killed two birds with one stone. My only complaint (aside from the ugliness...) is that they are a little thin, so if it's cold in the room...well, we all know what happens. Oh well. It's totally worth it for the comfort factor alone.

-I'm still wearing normal shirts, but I think I'll be starting to fill out the maternity shirts I own soon. My regular shirts are starting to get a little short in front.

-Let's talk rib pain. Ow. This is my biggest gripe so far with this pregnancy (and I know it isn't much compared to all of the mamas who spend months puking), but it hurts. It definitely seems to get worse when I'm sitting and after I've eaten. This makes me sad because I like sitting and I like eating and I'm pretty sure I'll need to do both for the next couple months. Laying on my side relieves it pretty well, but when I'm standing I can still feel it. It feels like the side cramps you get while running, but it's a duller pain and you have it on both sides, in multiple spots. I'm pretty sure it's happening just because all of my internal organs are being shoved upwards and my rib cage literally needs to get bigger to accommodate everything.

-I am sleeping better. Officially. Nightmares are a rare occurrence - let's keep it that way. I'm still just sleeping on my side with one pillow between my knees.

-Baby is kick, kick, kick, kicking like crazy. My in-laws have all got to feel him moving, and my mom is visiting this weekend so I'm sure she'll get to feel him too. He's a little wild one. My favorite part is the nightly kicks. Typically as I'm falling asleep, I'm thinking about the little guy -day dreams, random ideas, etc. Nate often asks about him when he tucks me in (yes, he does that :) too. So I love that every night as I'm laying down trying to fall asleep the little guy kicks me multiple times. It's like he's saying "MOM, I'm fine. Stop worrying. Go to sleep."

-I also thoroughly enjoy when I'm in the middle of a really boring meeting and Baby suddenly starts kicking me hard enough that my belly moves. I was at one meeting where my name tag was hanging down over my belly, and he kicked hard enough that my name tag kept bouncing. Watching my belly move > listening to boring speakers.

-Baby weighs over a pound. Most of the development that occurs in the next few weeks is either weight gain or working on those lungs. He's also about a foot long. If he was born now, he would have a good chance of surviving (over 50% at 24 weeks) and the percentage goes up quite a bit each week (but please stay in there for another 13 weeks at least, okay?).

-My belly button is getting more shallow. Still no stretch marks or linea nigra.

-I have gained a solid 24 pounds according to my (broken) home scale. The last time I was weighed somewhere else (over three weeks ago at my last hospital appointment), I was at 20 pounds, so this seems about right. I feel like a I've had a few weeks where my weight really jumped up suddenly, but I think I've been coasting a little bit the last few weeks. The number still goes up and down depending on when I weigh myself (the weights above are at night, after eating) and sometimes my scale just completely spazzes out, so I am trying not to stress too much. I still feel like my actual weight gain is somewhere between 20-25 pounds.

-There are only three weeks left in my second trimester. This is crazy.

-I can barely keep my eyes open, so I'm off to bed.


Monday, April 02, 2012

this weekend...

This weekend I...

...recovered our glider.

Before: It was beige canvas and had a couple light stains (we got the chair on craigslist). The chair didn't look bad on it's own, but next to our very white crib it looked rather dingy. 

*don't mind the cats...they were spazzing out in this photo. You also get a sneak peek at the bookshelf...

After: All the slipcovers for the chair are removable and washable. The fabric is a chevron like print by Dwell studio and it's treated with a stain protectant. I also added pockets to both sides of the chair by attaching them to the arm cover cushions. All the cushions either velcro, snap or tie to the chair.

I used this tutorial to get started, but I ended up winging it for the most part. I had to completely redo the top cushion once, I stabbed myself hard enough to draw blood with pins several times, and I had my poor husband running to get me supplies twice - but I am really, really impressed with the finished project.

...sewed 14 burp clothes from old towels.

This was a surprisingly simple tutorial. I cut up two old bath towels for the backs, and I zipped through these relatively quickly. 

...started a baby blanket.

The dog print will be the front - it's super soft and adorable. The green waffle blanket is actually Nate's old baby blanket and it will be the back of the blanket. With the grey print, I'm going to cut out and sew the letters of baby's name and stitch it to the middle of the blanket to keep the two layers together. I'm also adding a grey trim. Sort of like this tutorial but with the letters in the middle of the blanket, and two layers instead of one.

I have high hopes for this project, but I've never sewn knit...and I'm kind of worried about it. I'm also going to attempt to make a beanie out of the extra dog print fabric.

Considering I haven't sewn anything substantial in years, I'm going to call this nesting, at it's best.

And I kind of hope all this motivation sticks around!