Thursday, February 21, 2013

King Squishy's Cute Booty

     I don't think you can argue with the fact that a cute cloth covered baby booty is way more adorable than a disposable covered tush. I mean they make diaper covers to cover up disposable diaper butts. And I totally agree. I love letting King Squishy run around without pants (sometimes without a diaper too, but that would void our discussion about his cute cloth diapered butt). Since I live in Arizona, he can do this almost year round. While he loves being pant-less, I love seeing the cute colors of his diapers on that tiny tushy.
     So, what is King Squishy's butt decorated with? Most of the time we use Oh Katy's. While I was pregnant, I did a ton of research, as is my way, and concluded that Oh Katy's were right for our baby. I liked the idea of a pocket diaper the best. It seemed to be the best of all worlds. It had the flexibility of adding as many or as few inserts as needed. It was an OS (one size), so hopefully would last us as long as possible, maybe for the entire diapering experience of the King.
     There are a variety of pocket diapers so why an Oh Katy? Well, I read a lot of reviews from other Mama's and this diaper was said to be quite versatile-good for chunky or thinner babies. A lot of reviews said that unlike other OS's, it actually would fit a newborn and not be too large. It also is unique in that the pocket opens to the front instead of the rear. The advantage to this being, if you accidentally touch some excrement, it's the pee and not the poo.
     So, after using this diaper for over a year, what do I still think of it. I love the front pocket, instead of rear. While it is made to fit from birth to potty training, I do think the diaper was too large when Squishy was a wee baby. He was born at 7 lbs., 2 oz, and weighed as little as 6 lbs., 13 oz. While it didn't leak because of that, he got some red marks on his legs that looked uncomfortable. So, next baby I think I will plan on using some newborn fitted diapers before moving into the Oh Katy's. I also wish the diaper came in different patterns instead of just a variety of colors. So, his booty could be even cuter.
    This isn't the only diapering system we utilize however. After King Squishy was a few months old, I got a great deal on some prefolds and covers. While I always thought I wouldn't like this old school diapering system, I loved the ease of washing this one thin piece of fabric and being able to often reuse the covers. This became my diaper of choice until Squishy started wiggling during diaper changes. Then we switched back to using the Oh Katy's most frequently.
     Around this time we also found the wool love for night time. We had a lot of trouble figuring out how to prevent night leaking. We would think we had finally put enough inserts into a night time diaper, only to have a leaky night. When we discovered using a wool diaper cover with a prefold and two extra inserts, we finally found our leak proof night time diapering system.
     Both of these transitions gave us a huge respect for Thirsties diapers. We used the medium size Thirsties diaper covers and also used the Thirsties inserts. The medium size Thirsties diaper covers fit terrifically, have a double gusset to catch poop at the legs, and fit for a very wide range of sizes. He started using them around 4 months and they still fit great with space to spare now. The Thirsties inserts were also super absorbent, which we loved. However, their great absorption made them difficult to dry, so we switched to the Thirsties size 2 prefolds. Same fabric, when folded, same thickness and quick and easy to dry.
     So, that's the basics to our diapering system. Questions? Please ask. I just did a brief overview but there is a lot of thought and practice behind decorating my little one's cute tushy.
Want more info on Oh Katy's and Thirsties'? Here's their websites:


Saturday, February 16, 2013

This isn't your Mama's Cloth Diapering!

     When you think of cloth diapering, do you think of small blankets with giant safety pins and funky looking plastic underwear? That is what cloth diapering most likely looked like for your mom and even more likely for your grandma. But today's cloth diapering doesn't have to look like that. Although it can, if you appreciate the simplicity of this type of diapering. So, what are cloth diapers like today?
     There are a variety of types of diapers, so I am going to try to briefly explain the main types.

Type: All in One or All in Two
Commonly referred to as: AIO or AI2.
What is it like: AIO: It incorporates everything you need to diaper your child in one diaper. The layers of absorbency are built into the diaper, and the water proof layer is built in as well.
Advantages: As easy to use as a disposable. Just wash and use.
Disadvantages: Because of its built in thickness it may take longer to wash and dry. It is also not as easy to customize absorbency by adding more inserts.

What is it like: AI2: Can have a variety of options but basically means that there are two pieces that create all the necessary diaper elements. Often there is an insert that snaps into the diaper.
Advantages: It is just about as easy to use as a disposable. Dries quicker than an AIO being that it is in thinner pieces.
Disadvantages: Can still take a little more time to wash and dry. Once again, not as easy to customize absorbency.

Type: Pocket Diaper
Commonly referred to as: Pocket(s)
What is it like: This diaper is made of one main piece and inserts. The main piece is made of a waterproof outer, usually PUL (we will discuss that more later) and then has a piece of fabric that is inside and touches the child's skin. This piece of fabric has an opening, referred to as the pocket. The pocket is either in the front or back. Then you use inserts inside this pocket to customize absorbency. There are a variety of types of inserts and are used for varying purposes.
Advantages: Easily customized as you can add as many or as few inserts as you want. Once the diapers are stuffed, it is as easy to use as a disposable.
Disadvantages: Sometimes can be a bulkier diaper because of all the inserts. Depending on inserts make up, can take awhile to wash and dry. Takes awhile to stuff diapers to prepare to use.

Type: Fitted Diaper
Commonly referred to as: Fitted
What is it like: This diaper is just the piece of fabric but it is in the shape of a diaper. It can have snaps or velcro on it to fasten it on the child. It usually has elastic at the legs and back to keep all that poop in. It does not have a water proof layer on it, so that must be added.
Advantages: The fitted nature with the elastic of this diaper is quite effective at keeping poop in. When the diaper is pooped or peed on, you can usually just wash the fitted diaper and be able to reuse the cover used with the diaper.
Disadvantages: It is not as quick and easy to put on as an AIO, AI2 or pocket. It is a two step process.

Type: Flat or Prefold
Commonly referred to as: Flat or Prefold
What is it like: This is like the old school cloth diapering your mama did. It is essentially a small "blanket"that is folded in different ways to fit on the child's bum. These can be made out of a variety of fabrics and sizes and options. And based on those options, you can fold them in lots of different crazy ways. You can youtube some great videos on ways to fold.
Advantages: Super easy to wash. While this may seem old school, it is really basic and is pretty much the cheapest diapering option. They come in different sizes, and you can often fold these diapers to make them useable for a variety of ages.
Disadvantages: More likely to end up with a poop out, or at least a poop into the cover. If this happens, then you have to wash the cover and the prefold/fitted, thus eliminating part of the simplicity of this diaper option. Also, it can be difficult to get on a squirmy toddler.
Side note: No longer must you use pins with a prefold or flat diaper! There are these wonderful rubber things called snappis that work well with a prefold. More on this in diapering accessories.

Type: Cover
Commonly referred to as: Cover
What is it like: This is the piece of the diaper you must have to use with either a fitted, flat or prefold, if you want water-proofness, that is. You can use a diaper without water proof protection, especially around the house. This is usually made of polyurethane or PUL or TPU, thermoplastic urethane. PUL is made with chemical adhesion and TPU is made with heat adhesion. There are debates on which one is better, but it seems that they are pretty close in comparison and thus should not weigh heavily on your diapering choice. These diapers are usually created in the same shape as a disposable diaper and hold onto the baby by velcro or snaps.
Advantages: Unless pooped on, usually can be reused over a variety of diaper changes.
Disadvantages: It is not as simple to use to as the one step AIO, AI2 or Pocket.

Type: Fleece or Wool Cover
Commonly referred to as fleece or woolies
What is it like: These work the same as the TPU or PUL covers but are a more natural option. Both fleece and wool have natural waterproof properties to them allowing them to be put on over a fitted or prefold/flat and keep the child dry. A sufficient amount of inserts or diaper absorption layers must be used in order to effectively keep the diaper dry on the outside. Fleece usually must be washed after every use, but wool has some great properties that allow it to be reused. Wool is naturally anti-bacterial, fungal and microbial. This means that when a wool cover gets wet all you must do is let it dry out and then you can reuse it. It won't even smell! Woohoo! You do however have to put lanolin on the diaper cover before using it to make it effectively waterproof.
Advantages: Wool, Anti-everything and reusable! Both are natural options. More breathable than using PUL or TPU.
Disadvantages: Can leak if there are not enough absorbent layers underneath. Also can have compression leaking, when too much compression is put on a certain area and that spot leaks. Sort of like pushing on a sponge.

Type: One Size
Commonly referred to as: OS
What is it like: This is something that can appear on any diaper that is shaped to fit, so AIO, AI2, fitted, pocket and even covers. This just means that the diaper is made to adjust in width and height to fit your child as they grow. Theoretically, most one size diapers should fit birth to potty training, although some people debate the truth of this for all diapers. For this reason, some companies have created two steps of one size diapers (Thirsties is an example of this). This idea is usually actualized with snaps that are on the front of the diaper, shortening and lengthening the rise of the diaper or with adjustable elastic inside the leg holes of the diaper.
Advantages: Increases length of use of your diaper, making it possible to only buy one set of diapers for your child's entire diapering career
Disadvantages: May be too big for a newborn or too small for a toddler. Thus may not really, truly be a one size.

So, now you know all the types of cloth diapers! Wow! Seems complicated, but also exciting. Definitely not your mama's cloth diapers! And as my mama thinks, maybe too complicated. But I think it's great to have so many options. So, what type of cloth diaper did I choose for King Squishy, you ask. A one size pocket. But I have also used fitteds, prefolds, flats and covers, both PUL, fleece and wool. Tomorrow I will go into more detail as to what brands I have preferred and my daily approach to cloth diapers for the King.

What type of diaper appeals to you the most?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

How to Clean the Poo

     Now that we know why King Squishy is sporting a cute, little, colorful, fabric covered tushy, let's talk about how to get over the gross factor. I will admit, poop is gross. And the idea of having to wash that poop off of a diaper does sound pretty nasty. But let's be honest, if you make the decision, or find yourself a parent, poop is part of your reality. You will have to face it head on regardless of diapering choice. If you use disposables, you still have to wipe your little one's butt. Sorry to break the news! But even disposables won't save you.
     Now, with cloth diapers you may have to be close and personal with your child's excrement for a little while longer in time than with disposables, but it isn't that much longer and once you're there, you're there, so you might as well stick with it. First, cloth diapering lends itself quite well to the breastfeeding mom and baby combo. Breastmilk poop is water dissolvable. What does that mean? It means all you have to do with your child's diapers before they start eating solid food is throw them in your diaper receptacle of choice and then wash it once you have a full washer load of diapers.
    Washing diapers is not that much more difficult than washing any other clothing item. It takes some extra rinsing and sometimes a different type of soap, but otherwise it's pretty simple. But what about when inevitably your child starts eating solid food. First, if you use the baby led weaning approach (we will discuss this in another blog post), your baby won't consume that much food at first, and so you won't have to change your diaper cleaning process immediately. Eventually however the poop consistency, and unfortunately smell will change. So, when this takes place there are a couple of options.
     You can go old school. It's called the dip and flush. You dip your diaper in the toilet, swich and flush it and this should effectively get most of the poop off the diaper. Or you can get this handy, dandy tool called a diaper sprayer (some of which are also advertised as bidet's). This device is like a sink sprayer that you use to spray the poop off the diapers. Thirdly, you can get flushable diaper liners. They aren't that expensive and all you have to do is pull the liner off the diaper and flush it and the poop away.

This is the diaper sprayer we the fine print. It can also be used as a bidet....oooo! fancy! Try explaining that to your visitors. Ha!

Mini-Shower Cloth Diaper Sprayer
     Seems pretty easy, huh? And all three options prevents you from having to touch poop. Woohoo! After the solid fed poop clean up happens, you just continue with your wash routine as normal. And if you use formula, you just start off cleaning the diapers as if they are solid fed poop. Easy enough, huh? And it doesn't even sound that gross. OK, maybe a little, but no more gross than having to clean up poop in general. And since you can't avoid baby poop, might as well reap all the benefits of cloth diapers.
     Later, when we talk cloth diapering accessories, we will talk about what you do out and about with cloth diaper poop. So, stay tuned, there's more poop talk coming.
Cloth diapering mamas and papas, what is your favorite method of solid fed poop clean up? Have you tried them all? Cloth diapering considering mamas and papas? What's still holding you back?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Cloth Diapers-Ewwww!!!

     "Cloth Diapers?! That can't be sanitary, not to mention, it's gross!" When I was pregnant with King Squishy, there were a few things I didn't even need to consider. I was just going to do them. Cloth diapering was one of those. It was the practical thing to do and my mother did it, so certainly I could. But many of my friends weren't so sure it was a good idea, nor confident that I would be able to continue on the nasty cloth diapering path for very long.
     Well, you nay sayers, 15 months later and I am still cloth diapering, haven't used a disposable since King Squishy was 3 months old. But I'm not hear to gloat, or at least not much. Instead, I am here to give you an intro on cloth diapering. Today's post will be a brief overview of why I cloth diaper. Tomorrow, we will discuss why it's not as gross as you think, and throughout the next few posts, we will review basics of cloth diapers today, why I chose the cloth diapers I did, and any other cloth diapering topics that are brought up through comments and questions.
     So, why do I cloth diaper? And perhaps, why should you? Money was the first reason that drew me to cloth diapering. Depending on what sales and coupons a person utilizes, they can easily spend over $1000 in the first year of their child's life on disposable diapers. And that's only the first year. Yes, you can invest that amount into a cloth diaper collection, but if you take a practical approach to your cloth diaper stash, you can manage to spend $400 to get all the cloth diapers your child will need for diapering until potty training. And there are ways to do that cheaper!
     After being convinced that cloth diapering was for my family just based on the cost efficiency, I also discovered a number of reasons that just confirmed our decision. Have you seen this picture before?

It's been floating around facebook lately and depicts the number of disposable diapers a child will use on average in their lifetime. A diaper that does not degrade quickly. Can you imagine how many landfills all those disposable diapers fill? So, while diapering saves me money, it also saves the earth. And while this doesn't always seems like a great reason to have to wash poop of cloth, start to think about what kind of world we are creating for the very children we are diapering. The earth is a finite amount of space and we are the only ones who can take care of it and protect it, both for the sake of our childrens' future and for the respect of this beautiful planet we have been entrusted with.
     And lastly, and perhaps most importantly, there is some pretty disgusting chemicals in diapers, some of which are known carcinogens as well as harmful to reproductive organs. And unfortunately even the "natural" disposable diapers contain the same chemicals. And we are not just talking about bleach. A simple google search will start you on a path of this discovery, but I would be glad to provide more details on this subject if it is of comment and let me know!

Did you consider cloth diapering or did the idea seem to overwhelming to try? For you cloth diapering mamas, what was the most important reason you chose to cloth diaper? Share any other questions or concerns you have with cloth diapering, and I will make sure to address those issues in this cloth diapering series.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Birth Story Part 8-Plus a Special Bonus at the End

Then Tricia, her assistant, Mary and David helped me get out of the tub and lay on the bed. Moving at that point in time was truly painful. All the numbness that God had graced my bottom side with was now gone and wow! I laid back in bed and held King Squishy for a little while and then David took him so I could concentrate on delivering the placenta. I was having trouble delivering the placenta. I really no longer had any feelings of needing to push and so they brought King Squishy back to nurse to try to stir some contractions to help the placenta come out.
They gently pulled on the cord some. It hurt to do so and I asked them not to do it. Eventually they gave me a homeopath to help encourage delivery. Tricia told me to hold the homeopathic liquid under my tongue in my mouth for ten minutes and then swallow but I thought she said to leave it in as long as I could- guess I was a little tired. When I finally  swallowed it, I delivered the placenta soon after. They still pulled on the umbilical cord to help it come out. It had taken a little over an hour to deliver and my midwives Tricia and Mary were a little worried that we might have to go to the hospital. I luckily was unaware of this concern- I didn’t even realize how much time had passed.
When the placenta finally came out, it definitely hurt but it was just one quick instance of pain as it slipped out. I was just so sore that any movement hurt at that time. It was about half the size of King Squishy and they said it was a smaller placenta than normal. The size of my placenta was actually said as a compliment as it indicated good nutrition and an ability to work efficiently. After delivering the placenta, a feeling of relief flooded me- I was so glad to really have it all over.
We had planned to wait until placental delivery to cut the cord but since it took so long we cut it once the cord stopped pulsing. The cord felt so thick and slimy.
It is still crazy to me that I have a baby-actually, a toddler now! It is definitely more real now though, and I AM IN LOVE! It is amazing how in love you can be with your baby, especially when it seems so surreal that you have him. I don’t want to let him out of my sight and I want to hold him all the time. I don’t know how anyone could not co-sleep with their baby- I couldn’t let him be that far away from me for so long Nursing didn’t take as naturally as I thought it would but that’s a story for another post.
Check below for a special share. One of my favorite part's of reading birth stories before having King Squishy was seeing the first picture of mom meeting baby, so while it is a little risque, I wanted to share my special moment with you.

Warning: Below is a picture of right after Josiah was born. It has been edited for propriety's sake but I don't want to shock anyone.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Birth Story-Part 7-Meeting King Squishy!

This situation was a time where too much reading isn’t always a good thing. I had read so many birth stories that the pushing phase was a nice relief from the rest of labor because the woman got to work with the contractions at that point. So, when I first started pushing I was very hopeful. “I thought this was supposed to feel better!” I exclaimed to all present. Tricia replied, “I never said it would feel good.” As I got into the pushing more, it did not feel as bad as at first. I guess I got into it. While in each contraction I felt like I could not even take a break from pushing. At this point in time my water still had not broken so Tricia checked me in between contractions (while I was still in the tub). While she was checking me I felt a pop-I immediately thought she had broken my water but she later indicated she was unsure whether her hand helped break my water or if it was just coincidence.
During this whole time David tried to be encouraging saying that it would only take a couple more pushes.  I knew however that the average pushing time for a first time mom was two hours so while I appreciated his cheerleading, I knew it wasn’t true. While those statements were only sad attempts, David truly was encouraging when he reminded me we were almost to my favorite part of every birth story, where Mommy meets her baby. That helped keep me going-not that I had a choice
However at this point, I was told he was starting to crown.  Tricia told me I needed to gently push him out and take smaller pushes. “I can’t do that!” I yelled. When a contraction came it was so hard to take a break. Quickly, I figured out that if I took a breath quickly in the middle of a contraction it helped me slow the pushing down.
During this time, David was getting in the birth tub as he was going to deliver King Squishy. Tricia was instructing David to support my perineum with each push. So, when David started feeling King Squishy’s head during contractions, he told us each time. During one contraction he felt his head and said-”he’s got hair!”, which I replied with, “he has hair!” Oh! the little things are the most amazing when it comes to a baby.
When he finally crowned I definitely felt the ring of fire everyone describes. I had been scared of this but it was not as bad as I thought it would be. Soon after Tricia told me that King Squishy had turned and I couldn’t believe his head was already out. I did not realize I had made it that far and it was so encouraging to hear this! I had to keep focusing on pushing now though so I didn’t think of it again. I think I only had to push twice more and he was out. I barely remember those pushes.
Then he was out and I leaned back on David behind me and held King Squishy to my chest. I still remember feeling disbelief that I had had a baby at this point in time. I was in such shock. I just had to laugh. It was truly a joyful laugh. I was so excited I had my baby, and so relieved that it was over. It was truly incredible to have him. David wept too when we first heard King Squishy cry out to us- it was wonderful.

What was/is your favorite part of labor?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Birth Story-Part 6

Contractions were pretty intense now and so David would press my hips or one hip and my back during each contraction. Each one would come like two waves, first a longer more intense contraction, followed by a more mild one. As I felt each one rise and ebb, I was comforted each time I made it through the stronger one, knowing that even the lighter contraction was a relief in comparison. And then I would get a full break to sleep a little more.
The contractions were so strong I really wanted to reenter the birthing tub. Strategically, I made the move between contractions. Then, while I rode out each contraction again in the tub, David would lean over the pool to push on my hips and back during contractions. I was in a hands and knees position with my hands and head leaning against the side of the pool. At this point in time all I could do was just ride the contractions and concentrate on them. They were tough and I was definitely thinking I wanted relief and I appreciated the time in between them greatly.
A little before 2 am, I started to feel a little urge to push during contractions and so I had David call Tricia up. Since David had not had much of a dinner, after she came up he got so hungry that he went downstairs to get a little food. Tricia took over pushing on my hips and back. David came back up soon (although I later found out he was gone almost a half hour-I thought it was only five minutes) and then I was ready to push. Pushing is a feeling that I cannot completely express. It is definitely comparable to feeling the need to poop but it’s so much more.   It is like you are horribly constipated and are pushing with all your might to get it out without regard to injuring yourself. Yet in this situation, you know you won’t hurt yourself so you just give it everything you have. The intensity of each push is like when you see a cartoon character get shocked and their hands and feet flail out uncontrollably and they shake like an earthquake just went through their body . You just have to do it with your entire body, concentrated into that one area and that one task.

What did pushing feel like to you?