Monday, August 29, 2011

Cloth Diapering: One Month In

I knew I wanted to do cloth diapering when I found out that I was pregnant.  I did a lot of research, but let's face it: there was way too much information out there than I had time for.  It's kind of overwhelming!

In case you haven't noticed, cloth diapering is a lot different than it was when my mom used them on me.  The thought of plastic pants makes me cringe.  It didn't take long for me to realize that I didn't have to worry about rubber chafing my kid...

bumGenius pocket diaper w/ newborn insert
You may remember a previous entry where I was learning about Flip diapers.  Well, the Flip diapers are cool, but I ended up purchasing 6 bumGenius pocket diapers.  Since I was still thinking they worked like the Flip diaper (wash the insert each change, wash the cover as needed) I ordered 6 covers and 36 inserts.  Boy was I surprised when they arrived, I had prewashed them all, and THEN realized that you wash the whole thing, cover and insert every time.  Yah, so, no returns at this point.  I had essentially 1 day's worth of diapers (not including night) and a whole bunch of useless inserts that I couldn't return.

Tip:  Make sure you know how the diaper works before purchasing...

Alva cover in denim - so cute!
Anyway, I used those 6 and washed them pretty much every day.  They really worked for us.  Yes, a little bulky, but really really adorable (and since I like doing laundry, they were all around fun to use!).  It occurred to me that there had to be some way to put those extra inserts to work -- even if I have to make my own covers.

I really thought about making my own covers, but as the days passed, I realized there is just no way that I'd have time for that.  Let's be real.  I was comfortable using the bumGenius diapers, and I thought used would probably be fine.  Besides, cloth that has already gone through prewash is much more exciting to get in the mail (you have to prewash and dry them 6-8 times before using the 1st time).  I took a shot in the dark and ordered some used covers without inserts on eBay.  In the lot are 3 different brands: Alva, Babyland, and Rainbow BB.  I have only received the Alva ones so far, so that's all I can talk about (although I've heard good things about Babyland and better things about Rainbow BB).

Alva cover in black
In comparison to my bumGenius covers, the Alva covers are softer and not quite so stiff so they seem more comfortable.  The snaps are easier to do (in my opinion) and the sizing is great.  I read that the leg openings are too big and that they would probably only fit a fat-legged baby well, but I don't think it's true, Dec has chicken legs!  The leg opening is not super snug but I've had no problems with leaks after using them every day for a week. 

All in all, I'd totally buy them again, but I'll wait and see how I like the Rainbow BB and Bablyand ones to make a decision on that.  Stay tuned for more on cloth diapering - it's kind of an adventure (c:

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Saying Goodbye for a While

This week I hugged Whitney and her family goodbye for a little while.  Whitney and I were friends in high school and were college roommates all 3 years (even though everyone said we'd get tired of each other).  We were in each others' weddings (us: June 2009, them: January 2010), and we were watching a movie at her house the night she told me that she might be pregnant.  Even though it was (what we thought of as) bad timing for both of us, we joked about going through that next stage in life together, too.  Little did either of us know or expect that about a month after that night I would be texting her with the news that it was happening.

Now we have our boys, Declan and Micah, 5 weeks apart.  It would be too perfect for them to grow together and have each other to play with, though.  Whitney and her husband have moved to another city in another state for at least a year, and who knows after that?  At least our parents still live 10 minutes apart and we can meet up when we're visiting them for the holidays.  I'll miss you, Roomie, and I hope that Micah and Declan can play together in the future!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Things, Moments, and Emotions

A day or two after we got home from the hospital.
My Declan is 10 weeks and 1 day old today.  When I think about the past 10 weeks, what stands out to me are the moments.  I've had my heart warmed so many times from day one, whether it was him looking at me with so much interest in the very beginning, cooing contently while he nursed, or giving me his huge, full, open-mouth, toothless smile with a squeal of delight like he is doing most recently. 

Lots of people ask how it's going.  Honestly, I feel in general like I am adapting to it slower than most new moms do.  I didn't think I would struggle with failure so much.  I knew going into it that it would be hard, but my philosophy was that babies are tough, and my instincts will kick in.  On the other hand, I've had moments of extreme pride and victory, like the fact that he has slept for 6-7 hour stretches since we got home from the hospital (up until recently!... fail).  So I told myself that we really had it easy because that infamous new baby sleep was fairly kind to us. 

I've struggled with breastfeeding, too.  I want it so bad for him because it's best, but in the hospital he had low blood sugar so his pediatrician had me supplement with formula.  I was heartbroken over this tiny thing, I felt like it was a slippery slope and I would end up with a low milk supply and not be able to give him the best like I had imagined.  We ended up fighting that and winning and he has been exclusively breastfed for 2 months now.  However, just the other day after a couple of weeks of being stressed and overtired, I realized that supply was low again.  He seemed dissatisfied after most feedings and his previously wonderful night sleep had gone from 6-8 hours stretches down to 3-4 (hence the stress and fatigue on my part).  Last night we gave him a little formula before he went to bed to make sure he was full, and wouldn't you know the poor guy slept for 9 hours straight, and went on to have three 1-hour naps and one 2.5 hour nap today (completely new).  So in the name of everyone sleeping well, I might try "topping him off" with a couple of ounces of formula before bed for the next couple of nights.

Swaddle Me blanket... straightjacket
Along with utilizing good old biology, there are a few items that really make parenting easier.  At the moment we have fallen back in love with a device that is essentially a straight jacket (I say "back in love" because we used it when he was a newborn and loved it then, too - he barely fits into it anymore - his shoulders stick out the top, but it still works!) - it's a funny-shaped blanket called a "Swaddle Me."  It's great for those of us who suck at swaddling (as both Ryan and I admit we do).  Strapping his arms to his sides is apparently the one little trigger that makes a crying, furious, overtired baby switch to a calm child who will easily and quietly put himself to sleep (it happened 3 times today).  From now on this item will be my gift at all baby showers - it is amazing.

Dec modeling his bumGenius (c:
I'm also embracing the cloth diapering.  I now have 13 cloth diapers (7 more coming in the mail).  The first 6 I purchased new (bumGenius).  I got comfortable with those and decided that used ones would probably be perfectly acceptable and save me some cash, so I went to the almighty eBay.  Other than being economical, fairly easy, and environmental, they're FUN!  They come in any color you could want and lots of different prints (camo!).  So we still use disposables at night and on outings, but for every day we just go cloth.  We end up only using about 2 disposables a day on normal at-home days.  Cha-ching!  Cloth wipes, too - we have a wipe warmer that keeps the flannel wipes warm and moist.  The biggest thing I love about those is how smooth they are - it's odd but they really are a pleasure to use over disposable wipes.  Whodathunk!?

Oh, another product that I love is the Lansinoh manual breast pump.  We thought about it a long time - electric pump?  Splurge and get the best one?  Settle?  Will it even work for me?  We ended up spending $30 on this device and it's been great.  One of the main things I love about it is the portability and simplicity of it.  I have taken it on road trips (a time when you usually need a bottle over nursing anyway) and it's so easy to pump in the car.  Of course it's also not loud like an electric pump.  Win/win.

I feel like I could write a book on all of the knowledge I have accrued in these 10 weeks, and I am eager to share it with other new moms and swap advice.  But every time I think I have it figured out (pride booster), I am humbled.  Miserably knocked down!  I am surprised at my own inability to forgive myself for getting it wrong when I know that just about any mistake is so tiny in the grand scheme of things.  I didn't know it would be so hard to not be hard on myself.  So I'm working on that.  When Declan gets up from his naps and he smiles and coos at me, it lifts me back up to confidence.  My baby's happy and he loves me. That's enough to get me through til next time (c: