How I Came to Hate Pocket Diapers

Posted 02-28-2014 at 11:12 AM by Banana Cat

When my first child was born, I couldn’t wait to use pockets.

I’m not sure why. Perhaps because the patterns and colors were cute. Perhaps because they were so modern-looking compared to the prefolds and covers we were using for the newborn stage. Perhaps because I was already sick of snappi’ing after the first week and couldn’t wait to just be able to slap on a diaper at changing time. The minute she hit 10lbs I tried them on her. A few were still gaping at the legs, but by the time she was 12lbs she fit fairly well into them. They were cute. They were colorful. I loved them! In fact, my modest stash of 12 pockets, thanks to sales, co-op groups and for sale or trade forums, blew up to over 70 pocket diapers over the course of a few months. They functioned the same as all-in-ones except you had to stuff them, which hardly took any time; why spend the extra money on all-in-ones, I scoffed.

pockets

Soon, this was only a third of my pocket stash. So I went a little nuts…

 

I had a bunch of bamboo inserts, because I liked how trim they were on my daughter. But after a month or so we started having stink issues. We never solved them and I think part of the reason was because we were using an on-site laundromat at the time, and the washing machine options were basically “on” or “off.” I couldn’t really tailor a specific laundry routine to have extra rinses or anything, so my inserts continued to smell awful. Not wanting to give up pockets quite yet, I tried a variety of different inserts. I tried stuffing them with flats and prefolds, but flats had less absorbency and prefolds were too bulky. For months I tried a variety of different options, but never quite found something I liked.

Diaper Swapers

Cholestasis, the Second Time

Posted 02-26-2014 at 09:47 AM by whitneywalters

worried pregnant woman

What is Cholestasis?

Cholestasis, also known as ICP is a rare condition that usually occurs in late pregnancy. For reasons unknown, bile secretion is interrupted and starts backing up into your blood stream. This triggers severe itching, especially on the hands and feet. The itching often gets worse at night and very little helps.

Symptoms include -
Severe itching (this is often the only sign)
Dark colored urine (even when drinking large amounts of fluids)
Pale colored stools
Jaundice

While ICP does not usually have any long term side effects to the mother, it can harm a baby. It has been linked to increased risk of still birth after 37 weeks so early delivery is usually recommended. That is why it is a condition that needs to be taken very seriously. If you have any signs of Cholestasis, you need to get a blood draw. A doctor will need to check your liver function and your bile acid levels.

I had Cholestasis with my fourth child. When I was just over 36 weeks pregnant, I started to notice I was itching all over. I brushed it off because at the time I was house sitting for my parents. They have a small farm and I figured it was just from being out there. A couple days after I got home the itching got really bad, I stayed up all night itching. I made my legs bleed, my hands were raw, and I knew something was wrong. In the middle of the night I got online and started doing some research, desperately looking for relief, that is when I found information on Cholestasis. I did not fret much since it was such a rare condition and I had none of the risk factors. I called my doctor right away in the morning, he also was not very concerned but went ahead and ran a blood test. A couple hours later the liver function test came back and it was pretty bad. Since I was 37 weeks at this point, the best option was to induce right away. I went in that night and Amelia was born early the next morning. Her birth was not like we planned at all. I ended up with a hemorrhage that was most likely caused by Cholestasis. My doctor had never dealt with it before and did not know that is was recommended to give the mother a vitaman K shot. Cholestasis affects your ability to properly absord vitaman K (and other vitamins).

After Amelia was born, we were unsure if we wanted anymore children. I had a very high chance of getting Cholestasis again. We decided to wait and make a final decision when Amelia was closer to four. That did not end up happening. I got a surprise BFP shortly before she turned two.

My Hate/Hate Relationship With Flats

Posted 02-25-2014 at 09:04 AM by Banana Cat

I wanted to love flats, really.

I started my cloth diapering experience with prefolds and covers, with pockets for overnight and outings about three months in. My daughter grew faster than I expected and I got tired of having to buy the next size up in prefolds, so I bought a bunch of flour sack towels to use as flats. I figured that if it didn’t work out, we needed more kitchen towels anyway.

I did all my research. I looked up several folds, prepped the towels a couple of times, and began using them. They were great! They were absorbent! I never needed to buy another size of diapers again.

 

flats

Flats: I loved them!

 

Then my daughter grew and began peeing buckets. They weren’t absorbent enough anymore. So I doubled up the flats. They were great! They were absorbent again! Except now I was using two flats at each changing instead of one, so my stash effectively got cut in half. They were stupid now!

We had a bunch of pockets with bamboo inserts and this was about the time I was ready to start a bonfire in the middle of my apartment and burn all my bamboo diapers due to stink issues I could not solve. Then I remembered some people stuffed their pockets with flats or prefolds, so I folded up a single flat all narrow and stuffed it into the pocket. It worked. They were absorbent enough for daytime. I loved flats again! They were great! I tried folding up two flats and stuffing a nighttime diaper with them for the extra absorbency and it looked like I had slapped a bustle onto my daughter’s butt. Also none of her pajamas fit over her giant diaper. They were stupid again!

The Day My Toddler Weaned

Posted 02-24-2014 at 08:03 AM by Banana Cat

mother and toddler

Let me confess straight off: Breastfeeding is “meh” for me.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m quite a fan of nursing for as long you can, because it’s cheap, there are nutritional benefits, insert other positive scientifically-based statements about breastfeeding here. I believe all that, I really do.

BUT so many people and websites go on and on about how wonderful it feels to nurse, how they feel relaxed and happy, how they look down into their child’s eyes and feel a loving, unbreakable bond as the baby literally sucks nutrients from their body, and I’m like, “You feel what now?”

It’s not that I hate nursing but am too poor to buy formula, or whatever other people might assume. It’s just that for me, nursing is…a thing that I do. A natural bodily function, like breathing or walking or whatnot. It does not feel special, or wonderful, or even out of the ordinary. My baby is hungry, so I put him or her to my breast and then read or putz around online while he or she nurses. That’s all there is to it.

When my daughter was fifteen months old, I discovered I was pregnant again. Pregnancy has never been kind to me and the first trimester is the worst. I got terrible migraines and swallowing pills whole made me barf, so I often sent my husband on nighttime runs to the store to pick up boxes and boxes of kid’s chewable Tylenol for me. On weekends I would sleep for 13 hours straight and wake up still exhausted. When I did throw up my face would be covered in bright red broken blood vessels that even makeup couldn’t cover up. And this time, the symptoms of the first trimester lasted long into the second trimester, too.

You might imagine how difficult it was for me to nurse during this time. I hated it. I may have been fairly apathetic about nursing before but the last thing I wanted to do while feeling utterly horrible was nurse another child. Luckily, my daughter has always been an excellent eater and was eating nearly everything we gave her, so I wasn’t overly concerned about her nutrition. And since she was more mobile and interested in the world around, she would nurse a few minutes and then run off to explore, instead of embarking on the marathon nursing sessions she loved when she was younger. It was easier, but not very fun.

Why My Second Child Will Wear Cloth Diapers

Posted 02-21-2014 at 11:55 AM by Matrivine

next baby

I bought cloth diapers for my first child. That was as far as it went. We were moving. We had been given disposable diapers as a gift at a baby shower. We got used to them. Disposable diapers were convenient for us. We lived in an apartment complex where there were no laundry machines or facilities for a little while. Disposable diapers were a better choice. Right? Wrong!

They Burst

Perhaps it was a bad batch. Perhaps my son just had an extra full bladder that night. All I know is that when I opened his diaper at his next changing, all the stuffing that was supposed to be inside the diaper lining was outside of it. The seams at the legs had unsealed. I had a Chicken Little response. What if he had taken the diaper off himself? He had done that before. What if he had put some of this in his mouth? After I calmed down I figured I had over reacted. What was in this diaper anyway?

Chemicals

A cloth diaper holds cotton or another filler inside it. Usually it’s a natural plant based filler.  A disposable diaper can contain chemicals that trap wetness. Potty training diapers have a chemical that delays wetness absorption in order to train a child to use the toilet. There are even more chemicals in diapers that change color when wet. I had been putting these chemicals on my little one along with his nice new diaper. I wasn’t even sure what these chemicals were or what effect they may have on my son. It’s not that didn’t care. It’s just I had never thought about what made a diaper work as a diaper before.

Price

The cost of diapers for us monthly was about $50. In a twelve month period that was $600. This was money that could be saved up for my son’s education, or used for his medical care, or saved in case of emergency. The least expensive cloth diapers (the plain white ones where I would have to use safety pins) were 12 dollars for 10. If I chose to go with the fancier pocket diapers it was thirty dollars for 6. They would last longer, could be adjusted to fit my child as he grew and would save us money.

My Secret: I Hate Nursing

Posted 02-20-2014 at 09:25 AM by Banana Cat

bored breastfeeding

Okay, so it isn’t much of a secret when I throw it up on a blog for hundreds of people to read. But seriously.

In an attempt to reverse the trend of only formula feeding American infants, a lot of pro-breastfeeding literature has been released in the last few decades. That’s not a bad thing, of course. We know that breastmilk has components formula can’t even come close to imitating, it passes on antibodies, it may reduce the risk of SIDS, childhood obesity, asthma, diabetes, allergies, and probably makes your kids close to immortal at that rate. There has been plenty of literature that talks up the benefits for mothers, too. It might help with postpartum weight loss (your mileage may vary), it may reduce the risk of breast cancer later in life, and the one thing I always always ALWAYS see is that since breastfeeding releases oxytocin, it promotes bonding and the mother will feel wonderful close feelings of love and nurture towards her beloved precious child.

But honestly I just don’t feel much when I nurse. It’s been that way with both my children. The baby starts to fuss. I start to nurse. Baby happily gulps away. I look down and think, “Aw, how cute” for a whopping three seconds and then I’m bored. Don’t get me wrong. I love my kids. It’s just that, well, what do I do for the next fifteen minutes while nursing? If I close my eyes my body will go, “OH IT IS TIME TO CATCH UP ON SLEEP” and I will pass out (this has happened during 3am feedings and I wake up slumped over, terrified that I have smushed my baby but all has been well so far). So, on goes the TV to watch reruns of Downton Abbey (Matthew Crawley looks like my husband, seriously) or out comes the tablet to browse more crap on amazon.com that I really don’t need but oops I happened to press “add to cart” anyway.

Admitting that I find nursing kind of boring is a catalyst for the apocalypse, according to some people. I have been told by relatives that I’m abnormal. An anomaly. That I “should” be overwhelmed by feelings of love and preciousness every time I nurse. Let me just say that at 5am, when I hear my baby start fussing for the fourth time after only falling asleep at 12am, the first thoughts that cross my mind as I drag myself out of bed to nurse are NOT “Oh, my precious little lovebug is hungry again. Let me smile down lovingly at this tiny miracle as I nourish him with my body.” No, it’s more along the lines of words I can’t publish publicly on this blog.

Ways to Celebrate Every Baby

Posted 02-18-2014 at 01:30 PM by whitneywalters

baby shower

I know that not everyone agrees on what is right for number of baby showers. Some think it is not appropriate to have them after the first and others think every baby deserves a shower. I am a firm believer that every baby deserves a celebration of one kind or another. I am perfectly okay with going to or hosting  a shower for someone having their first, fifth, or tenth baby.

There are so many different things you can do when it comes to throwing a shower or party for a mom to be. Of course the first time mom usually gets the biggest baby shower, but that does not mean a second, third or so one can not have a great party as well. I have heard a lot of people say you throw a shower for the first and the rest get a sprinkle.

My sister just had her second child a couple months ago. My mom and I threw her first shower and when we found out she was expecting again we started planning another party. Since she already had everything she needed big item wise, we decided to throw her a clothing shower. Her first was a boy and her second was a girl so the main thing they really needed was clothing. We kept the guest list small and all decorations were items she could use. We strung baby clothes on a clothes line and the center piece on the gift table was a headband holder I made for her. Even though the party was small, we all still had a good time and my sister got a lot of cute clothing for my niece.

I am days away from having my fifth child. I have had a shower for all but one of my children. I had the normal baby shower with my first, a small get together with a few friends and family with my second, we started attending a new church with my third (they throw a shower for the first baby you have while attending the church ). I was supposed to have a small shower with my fourth. The place my husband had been working wanted to throw a small shower but he ended up getting laid off before the shower was supposed to take place. I was pretty disappointed that we never got the shower. For me it was not about the presents, it was more about having people take the time to celebrate our new baby with us. With my fifth, my mom put together a small shower for us. We had given away or sold almost all our baby stuff before finding out we were expecting and she just wanted to help find a way to bless us with clothes for the baby.

Other party ideas I have heard of for a second (or whatever number after the first ) include-

  • Diaper parties (Guests either bring diapers or a gift card to buy diapers. Since diapers are a large expense this is a great way to bless a mom to be.)
  • Essential parties (Guests bring essential items for baby, like diapers, shampoo, wipes and the like. )
  • Stock the freezer (Guests each bring a meal that can be frozen and used after baby is born.)

 In your experiene, what has been your favorite baby shower party plan?

The Many Uses of Prefolds

Posted 02-17-2014 at 09:20 AM by Banana Cat

There is a reason that prefolds remain immensely popular in the diapering world, even with the advent of the all-in-one and pockets. “But it is just a piece of cotton folded into a diaper shape,” you may think, “what is the big deal about prefolds?” Let’s take a look.

  • As diapers: Prefolds and flats have kind of a cult following of fanatics who swear you’ll never need to use another diaper after trying them. I see the draw. Prefolds are the second cheapest diapering option—the cheapest being flats—which is a huge plus for anyone on a tight budget, or just for anyone not willing to spend $25 on an all-in-one. Cotton rarely holds stink, so they wash up beautifully with no special detergents. Because you choose your own fastener, you needn’t fiddle with snaps or deal with velcro that sticks to everything on your changing table except the actual diaper—or, you can forgo fasteners all together and just fold the prefold into thirds and slap it into a cover. On the visual side, you aren’t stuck with colors and prints of diapers you don’t like—you can buy whatever covers you’d like, and there are dozens upon dozens of choices out there. Prefold diapers are so popular that people constantly have them converted into fitteds or all-in-ones so they can have their favorite style diaper with all the prefold goodiness.

 

Prefold2

The ever-popular prefold diaper.

  • As cleaning cloths: The qualities that make prefolds good diapers also happens to make them good cleaning cloths. They are soft but tough, wash well and don’t stain quite as easily as other fabrics. If you were to come over to my apartment and open my kitchen drawers–which would actually be really invasive and creepy, but staying hypothetical here–you would find several old prefolds among the rest of the towels. Because they are so absorbent they are good at soaking up that half-gallon of milk that got dropped on the floor, or the leftover soup that fell out of the overly stuffed refrigerator. They aren’t the pretty towels that bring a bit of cheer to your kitchen décor, but when a cleanup job needs to be done, they are absolute workhorse towels.

 

Prefold3

See, I didn’t lie. There’s a prefold sitting right there in my drawer :)

Frugality and the Dreaded B Word

Posted 02-14-2014 at 11:36 AM by Hope4More

Budget.  *shudder*  We love to hate them…

YOU TOO can stop the cycle and budget your finances.  You don’t have to pay off cards… you can do it just to help you get less stressed when bill time comes.  Message me if you choose YNAB, or join us in the family>thrifty>dave Ramsey forum.  We are there every day… SEE YOU THERE!

We recently tried to purchase a home.

We got pretty far into the process.  We got right to the part where they say “sign here” on the purchase agreement.  And that was when my husband and I looked at each other and realized that to get this house, we would be doing the following:

  • Giving our whole emergency fund in a down payment, which still wasn’t 3.5%
  • Add monthly payments to the builder to get to 3.5% over the course of the next few months, effectively cutting us off from refunding the emergency fund.
  • We would literally more than DOUBLE our mortgage payment.

And so we walked away.  We cried.  We drank.  We put our 3 year old to bed, and then cried and drank some more.

And then we wondered: WHAT THE HECK ARE WE DOING? WHY AREN’T WE SAVING?????

So yesterday Mommy started the Mommy Budget.  We are using the You Need a Budget software (you can google it), but are using it to follow the Dave Ramsey budgeting plan (you can read about that, too).  The two philosophies work just as well as the other.  YNAB focuses first on wealth building, while Dave focuses first on debt relief.

Handwashing: Getting All Little House on the Prairie With Your Diapers

Posted 02-13-2014 at 09:44 AM by Banana Cat

I’ve blogged before about cloth diapering in an apartment. The article gives advice assuming you have access to a washer and dryer, whether that be the laundromat down the street or a shared laundry room. But what if you have neither, no washing machine in your unit, and you are so hardcore about cloth diapering you insist on using them anyway?

Never fear. You can fully handwash and air-dry your diapers in your bathroom and get some killer biceps as a side effect.

IMG_2235

No drying rack? No problem. Get creative with hangers and hooks!

Again, this is something I have personally done, in order to save some weekly quarters. I think I handwashed 2 out of 3 loads of diaper laundry a week for a few months before I got pregnant again and was way too tired to continue (pregnancy and I will never get along very well). It’s far more time consuming than using a machine—but not as much as you think—and once you master handwashing, you can bring cloth diapers anywhere. Wash them in a hotel room sink. Wash them while camping. I don’t blame anyone for switching to disposables while traveling as it is much easier and one last thing to worry about (do I have space in my suitcase for enough diapers? What if the washing machine is broken in the place we are going?); however, if you are as extraordinarily stubborn as I am you may wish to cloth diaper even when circumstances are not ideal.

The easiest diapers to handwash are birdseye flats. They are cotton, so they don’t hold onto stink, and they are thin, so they dry extremely fast. If you need a flat to dry extremely quickly and have access to an iron but no dryer, you can iron a flat dry in short time. That being said, I have successfully handwashed flats, prefolds, cloth wipes, pocket shells, pocket inserts, and a couple of AIOs, although AIOs are the hardest and I don’t recommend it (but you can if you have to).

Items you’ll need to handwash using the method below are: