Year in review

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Happy New Years!  On that note, I have not been on here in a LONG time.  

So what’s new with me?

My daughter is almost 9 months old (4 more days!).  She can crawl, stand up, let go while standing, hold her own bottle, point at stuff, and talk.  Her first word was “mama” quickly followed by hey, hi, dada, baba (bottle), and here.  Yes, here.  You see, every time I hand her something, I say, “Here, hold this.”  

 

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We babywear.  I still cloth diaper.  She eats Gerber (for shame!) and formula (oh noes!) and is just fine. :)

 

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And some more here she is photos:

 

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Oh yeah–we got chickens last year!

 

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She had her first haircut.  Couldn’t stand the baby mullet.

 

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This was taken before the aforementioned haircut.

 

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Daddy wears her too!

 

 

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I got a tattoo with her name on it

 

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And the most impressive thing?  She fell asleep in her car seat.  Once.  In November.  It was a miracle.

Folding a Prefold Using the Angel Wings technique

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I used  a cloth wipe over her for privacy.

First, lay the baby on the open prefold:

Then fold one side, then the other:

Then bring up between legs.

Roll down to size below belly button if needed (younger babies will need):

Then bring the sides over and snappi close by putting the snappi on the left, stretching to the right, then pulling down.

 

 

You want the thighs to look like this or you’ll have poop leaks:

 

 

 

Then put a cover on and you’re good to go!

 

 

 

Here’s some cute pictures of her in cloth!

 

 

Prepping Cloth Diapers

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The first thing I did was make my own diaper pail liner. I have an Arm & Hammer diaper pail, and I love how it locks away odors. It uses bags like this to hold the disposable diapers:

 

So I bought some fabric, and had my best friend Jacque (since she owns a sewing machine) sew it up like this:

 

It looks like this inside the pail:

 

 

 

Now that I have somewhere to put the dirty diapers, it’s time to prep my prefolds. First, I took a picture of them brand new. Notice that they come from the jug to the edge of the counter, they are flat and smooth, and that they are below the label on the water.

 

First I boiled them in a large stockpot for 45 minutes. This just helps fluff them faster, but isn’t necessary if the prefold is bleached. If it is unbleached, it is necessary. Boiling saves wash times.

 

When that was done, I washed and dried them twice. They should get even fluffier, but look at the difference! Notice that there is much more counter space, and you can no longer read the label. Plus, they look quilted now.

 

 

I’m using cloth wipes too:

I only received part of my shipment. The rest of the prefolds and covers will be here tomorrow, but this is what I have so far!

 

And the final result, using a snappi to close the diaper. (I’ll put instructions in the next one!)

 

Time for Changes

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I’ve made another decision as my darling daughter grows.  I’m going even more toward the crunchy side of life than I thought I would. I’m going to be switching away from disposables and into cloth diapers.

I wanted to do cloth diapers when I was pregnant, but the crazy amount of information available and the start up costs, depending on the route you take put me off.  I began researching them again, and decided to do it.

Here’s a cute picture of my first cover!

Okay, so let me give you a brief breakdown of cloth diapers.  This is the part that made me so confused and leery of cloth diapering.

There’s three basic types. There are a ton of styles within each type, and a couple of other types but I’m not going to get in depth with that.

All in ones: Abbreviated AIOs. These are the closest to disposables you can get. Everything is sewn into one diaper, and you don’t need anything else. These are the most convenient to use, but they are the priciest. I’ve seen these run about 20 bucks a pop for the good ones. They also take forever to dry.

Pockets: These are thick covers with a pocket inside. You stuff the pocket with a specially made insert. You remove the insert to wash. They are sort of convenient, less expensive, about 15 a pop for the good ones, and dry fairly quickly.

Prefolds: These are what most people think of as burp cloths. They are a big piece of fabric with three sections. the middle section is much thicker than the outside. You fold it in a special way, wrap it around your baby, and then pin it. You then have to cover it with a waterproof cover. When you do diaper changes, you can use the same cover and just change the prefold part. These are the absolute least expensive route to go, but the least convenient.

I decided on the prefolds route. I cannot justify the cost of other diapers. I’m still not sure if I’m going to have more than one child, so to me, I might as well use disposables if I’m spending $900 to start up a “stash” of cloth diapers. This is what I bought:

A boxed set package of Kawaii diapers. It comes with 24 prefolds and 6 covers. Pictures when they arrive! ($50)

The fun diaper cover shown above. It’s a Blueberry diaper cover in hook and loop (velcro) Butterflies. ($10)

A diaper sprayer. by Fuzzibunz. This won’t need to be used until Kaylen adds solids into her diet as breastmilk poop can just be washed. ($35)

A pack of imagine smart prefolds by Nicki’s diapers, a dozen in the pack ($21).

Two wetbags from superstash.net. These are where you store the dirty diapers when you’re out and about. ($10)

50 cloth wipes–hey, if I’m going to be washing cloth diapers, I may as well wash cloth wipes. ($25)

Ingredients for my own wipes solution and laundry detergent. ($26)

And finally, storage containers to put my CDs in and my wipes ($8)

Grand total: $185. Considering that I will never have to buy another diaper or wipe again, this is amazing.

I also got my husband to FINALLY install the clothesline I bought two years ago.

When my diapers arrive, I’ll do a post about how to prep brand new diapers, and a post on how to put them on a baby.  In the meantime, I’m going to include the laundry detergent and wipes solution recipes.

Laundry detergent: 1 part borax, 1 part washing soda, 1 part oxyclean. I just bought a 3lb package of each of these, and dumped them all together into a plastic lidded storage box.  Mix really well.  For cloth diapers, you only use 2 tbsp of this solution. By the way, this cost $12 and gave me 9lbs of detergent. When you do the math, there are 144 loads of laundry in this solution. 36 diapers gives me 3 days of laundry, so 432 days. One year 2 months and one week. That’s how long $12 will last.

Wipes solution: 2 cups of distilled water, 5 drops of tea tree oil, 1 tsp of baby shampoo (I use Aveeno’s lavender scent), 2 tbsp of baby oil or olive oil (I use baby oil), and 2 drops of lavender oil (I skipped this because it already has a lavender scent from the baby wash). Mix well. You then have two options. You can take the wipes and put them in an airtight container (like a glad food storage container) and pour enough solution over them to get them all wet. The other option you have is to put some of the solution into a spray bottle and use dry wipes. You then spray the baby’s bum or the wipe to use.  The wet wipes solution is the most convenient, but it molds easily. This is why it’s incredibly important to use distilled water and tea tree oil. You can use vinegar too, but this can be harsh on the baby’s bum.  I plan to do a mix. I’m going to keep a small amount of wet wipes at home, and I have small spray bottles in each of our diaper bags to have on the go.  Just store the leftover solution in the fridge to use as needed.

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A deeper look at my parenting style

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I joined a mommy group today.  I found them through the website meetup.com. It’s a very large and active group, so hopefully I can find some friends in there! And hopefully some of them don’t think my style of parenting is crazy.

It surprises me how much flack people give you for babywearing.  Every time I go out in my (rather gorgeous) baby wrap, I get people from both sides–people love it and want to know how to put it on, and people think my baby isn’t going to be independent or capable of functioning without me.

Insert random photo of my daughter and I practicing back carries!

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First of all, she’s only 8 weeks old–so how is wearing her going to prevent independence? But I do plan on wearing her until I can’t hold her weight any longer. Obviously not every where, or on every occasion, but it sure beats a stroller any day in my opinion.  Besides, how often do you go places and see a toddler on someone’s hip? I’d rather tie her on there and have my hands free, personally!

I think that most of the negative feedback comes from a lack of understanding.  I certainly thought attachment parenting meant people are hippies who never have their own beds.  But it’s not an extreme parenting style at all! Sure, there are people who go to extremes over it, but that’s true with everything.

My daughter sleeps right next to me, but not in my bed for SIDS risk purposes.

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I can still reach her at night and pull her into bed with me to feed her, and put her right back when she’s done.  Once she’s able to sit up on her own, I will transition her to a crib instead of to my bed.

So let me lay to rest a few rumors and myths.

Co-sleeping:
Co-sleeping is an umbrella term that means sleeping in the same room as the parents.  Bedsharing is the most extreme end of this rule, but just because I co-sleep, that does not mean that I bedshare.

Your child will not be independent:
On the contrary–people raised by attachment parents are very independent.  Attachment parenting is not helicopter parenting. It does not mean to hold your children back and force dependence. Attachment parenting is all about building a frame and letting your child have freedoms within that frame.  It’s about letting your children know with all of their hearts that you will be there for them when they need you, that you will support them in their decisions, that you will respect them as human beings, and that you will treat them as equals to you.  It’s providing comfort, love, and physical touch so that your child grows up capable of understanding and feeling love, comfortable giving love, and able to venture out in the world with trust.

Attachment parenting is for hippies:

While it is true that people who are “hippies” tend to be attracted to attachment parenting–after all, it’s a natural progression of their lifestyle, you do not have to be a hippie to practice AP. I do not cloth diaper, though many do. I will vaccinate, and on the CDC recommended schedule. Several moms don’t or choose to vaccinate on a slower schedule.  I’m not particularly green, I don’t garden or compost (though I want to learn how to container garden herbs and a few veggies). But that’s not what attachment parenting prescribes.

Those kids never touch the floor:

Again, not true.  It’s about creating safe boundaries, not about keeping your child under lock and key.  I don’t “strap Kaylen to my chest” to prevent her from being her own person.  I do it to provide her a sense of security, a chance to remain upright without pressure on her head, an ability to be close to me at my level so she can remain more alert and see more things, and a chance to be my own person while tending to her needs.  This does not mean she stays there. My daughter is already showing streaks of independence (must be the Aries in her) by not being able to fall asleep in my arms or on me.  When she gets super cranky with sleep, she goes into a swing or bouncer and she’s out like a light.

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Attachment parenting is about the mom:

No. It’s about what’s best for the child. It’s about both parents loving each other and the child and being a whole family.  It’s about keeping everyone equal, and not raising one person to be the best. It’s selfless and giving, and requires both parents (if they are both present in the child’s life) to be on board with it.

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On a final note, I’ve had people ask about my wrap. It’s a woven, cotton gauze wrap called a Bali Breeze. You can find them here.

Crunchy or Creamy?

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No, I’m not talking about peanut butter.  I’m talking about parenting styles.  I had never heard these terms before I gave birth to my baby girl.  With the recent Time magazine cover, “Are You Mom Enough (linked here for those of you out of the loop) I have become familiar with the term crunchy.  I’m actually not sure if creamy is a parenting style, but I’ll call it one since it’s the opposite of crunchy.

For those of you who don’t know, crunchy is a term used to define people who practice a style of parenting known as attachment parenting.  It was popularized by Dr Sears with his book titled The Baby Book.

The basic tenets of attachment parenting include breastfeeding, co-sleeping, skin to skin contact, and many other things.  Please visit the Attachment Parenting International website if you want more info.

So after all this research, and natural proceedings with my daughter, I’ve begun to realize–I’m surprisingly crunchy!  I never would have guessed.  I expected to do formula because it’d be so much easier than dealing with pumping while going back to school for my senior year.  My husband asked me to please try breastfeeding before deciding, so I figured I’d give it a fair shake.  I tried, Kaylen did great, and I fell in love with it. I’m definitely going to keep doing it. The only thing is, I’m not going to do child led weaning–I still don’t know if I really believe that’s possible, and I really want my breasts back to myself. I plan on feeding til she’s about 14 months. This is longer than the 10 month minimum recommendation, but not as long as more extreme APs do.

I bought a Moby wrap (still not sure where I found out about them) and FELL IN LOVE with babywearing.  It is so much easier than a stroller! I know a lot of women think it’s easier to leave them in the car seat and attach that to a travel system and go–and that part is.  But once you’re in the store, do you know how much easier it is to be wearing your baby? You can get lost reading the back of products without worrying about whether someone can run off with your baby. You don’t take up obnoxious amounts of space with your crazy big stroller.  And the baby sleeps so much better and is much easier to quiet down while you’re babywearing than when strapped into a stroller. (And she’s actually too low in that picture for regular babywearing in a wrap–because she’s breastfeeding! You can’t even tell, can you?) If you want to know more about babywearing, carriers, wraps, and proper babywearing safety please visit this website!

I also co-sleep.  I don’t bedshare–I have a rock n play pulled up next to my bed that she sleeps in.  I was originally only going to do this for the first few weeks until I was used to breastfeeding, but after researching SIDS rates and info, I decided to wait until she’s 6 months old before I move her to the crib.  And my cat loves when she sleeps this way!

So in short: I don’t consider myself an extreme attachment parent. Kaylen is knocked out sound asleep in her swing right now.  Do I feel guilty about lying her down? Sometimes.  But you know what? Another tenet of attachment parenting is balance.  And for some people, you need to put the baby down to achieve that balance. So yes, I’m crunchy–and I’m okay with that!