Monday, July 13, 2015

Cloth Diapering: Simplified

When I decided to cloth diaper I was intimidated. There are SO many different kinds out there. Prefolds, fitteds, wool, PUL, liners, covers, pockets, AIO, AI2- I mean seriously… Even when I googled these words to try to understand the secret society I was entering into I didn't get it. Like at all. As a whole I would say I'm a lot crunchier than I expected to be as a mom but I still consider myself pretty mainstream. I won't let her have anything but breast milk until she is 6 months old and will nurse her until she is 1 because that's what the WHO recommends, she won't be watching TV other than when she glances at it in a waiting room until she is 2 (here is a great TED talk on why), I wear my baby and have 2 different carriers for different purposes, am a member of baby wearing, vaccine, diapering, and breastfeeding Facebook groups, and I cloth diaper. But I also use a pacifier, realized I only ate chips for dinner yesterday so I'm not fooling myself that I'm making the highest quality of organic breast milk in the world, will let Lila look at my smart phone and use it around her, use disposables overnight, and I use simple cloth diapers. 

If you happen to be intimidated by the secret society and lingo of cloth diapering extremists this may be the post for you. Nobody is paying me to write it, so the brands I mention are simply the brands I use and love. Here we go…

I read this great post on my favorite, now retired, blog about their choice to cloth diaper. It was a great jumping off point for me and pointed me toward the popular brand BumGenius. I ended up settling on BumGenius Freetime diapers for a few reasons:
-They are an AIO (all-in-one) so I figured they would be the closest to disposables in ease of use. I had to sell anyone that would babysit Lila on using them, as well as Chris so I knew they had to be easy. So I knew an all in one was going to be the bulk of my stash. 
- They are easy to find. These are at Buy Buy Baby, Target, on Amazon, etc. so I knew I would be able to register for them. Side note- I discovered many people have a fear of them, and have no idea what a cloth diaper even is anymore. They also want to get a "fun" gift. Therefore, I got a total of 6 (3 from my mom) as gifts. So I guess ease of shopping depends on how bought into the system your family and friends are.
-Price/Quality. I could use a Bed Bath and Beyond coupon on these at Buy Buy Baby, or buy them slightly cheaper in some bundles on Amazon. I also read great reviews. I read that velcro wears out faster, which is why I chose snaps. They're not quite as fast to do when you have a squirmy baby but by the time she was squirmy we had these all figured out! I have heard that the elastic eventually wears out and can be replaced. I can sew and even if you can't there are tutorials on how to replace it by hand. 
-One sized. This one was big. I didn't know what size baby I was incubating and I knew I wanted the biggest bang for my buck. Here is the size chart:
As your baby grows you simply let out a row of snaps and the diaper grows. 5 months in and we are still on the first rise.

So I was sold. Here is one of my diapers just to show you specifics:
It's cute right? 

When you open it up it looks like it has wings. These are like this to make it super easy to wash and come clean. All of the pieces stay attached so there isn't any assembly required after you wash it. 
You simply lay them in there in a way that works for your baby. Here's how we operate:
 The lines make it easy to fold. If I had a heavy wetting boy for instance I would fold it like this to absorb more up front.
So after about 4 months of use (we didn't cloth diaper until she was closer to 9 lbs) I can say I LOVE these. They're super simple and everyone else has had an easy time using them. I have had 1 leak ever. Ask someone who has diapered for 5 months with disposables about leaks and they'll tell different story! 

I wasn't sure how many I would need. We started out with 15 and that worked really well. I stubbled upon a seconds sale on their website about a month ago and added 3 more to my collection. I also have tried a few other kinds to bulk up my collection. I want more than 1 kid and at this age I foresee having 2 in diapers. So I tried Flip diapers. They're made by the same manufacturer and look the same from the outside. 
I got 2. I then got 5 bamboo/microfiber inserts for inside of the covers. Bamboo can go right up against a baby's skin, where microfiber can't. It removes so much moisture that it'll wick too much moisture away from the baby's skin. I love these inserts because they're dark too which makes laundry easy. And they're trim so they work with tights and skinny jeans! I have two mictrofiber inserts that I can put under this if need be too. 
These have leaked twice on me which is still really minimal to me. They're nice because you can use the cover over and over again throughout a day and just "flip" the insert into the diaper pail. 
I also got 1 Econobum Cover (made by the same manufacturer but much cheaper in look and feel) and flat old fashioned diapers for inside (Sorry, no picture). I think they're too bulky until she sizes up to use them. I use the cover over her night disposable to keep any leaks at bay. 

So that's the diaper run down. In total I have 18 AIOs and 26 total diapers with inserts, covers, and AIOs (oh and 1 swim diaper). I still plan on using disposables with a newborn because they end up being changed so often, unless I run into a good deal. But, I should have enough to do two kids at once. Currently I do laundry every other day and that works out to 9-11 diapers, some wipes, and a wet bag. 

Now the accessories:
You aren't supposed to use diaper creams or anything with cloth diapers. Lila has never once had a diaper rash, but part of this is because of the diaper stick- I swear. This Grovia stick is safe for cloth diapers and great for diaper rashes or preventing them. Before we go a long stretch between changes (like overnight) I use a little and we are good to go!

I also use cloth wipes. I have some Cotton Babies wipes that are ok but my favorites are below. They're made from cut up receiving blankets from a garage sale. I love how soft they are. Pediatricians will tell you that using baby wipes aren't necessary most of the time, and plain water is best. I believe that. So when I need a wipe I grab it from the holder and give it a spray. Then I wrap the wipe up in the diaper and wash it all at once. Occasionally we will use a regular baby wipe or hand and face wipe. Those just go in the diaper pail too. After I've washed everything in the bag I just throw out the washed baby wipe. It works easier for me this way and I don't have to touch anything messy!

About laundry:
I have an old fashioned top loader that seems to do the job just fine. Originally I was using Sun & Earth Free & Clear after finding a great Subscribe and Save deal on Amazon. That was ok, but Tide Original Powder is awesome and her diapers actually smell heavenly. I take her wet bag out of her diaper pail, shake it into the washing machine and begin. Because Lila isn't on solid food yet I don't bother rinsing before putting in the pail or a first rinse cycle. I simply run a large cycle on cold, followed by one on hot and an extra rinse to be sure it's soap free at the end. Then I sun them if at all possible:
The sun bleaches these so nicely! I have 0 stains on these puppies so far. In a pinch I've thrown them in the dryer a couple of times but that wears out the PUL (waterproof fabric). I have a clothes line up in my basement utility room otherwise. So, that's my wash routine.

Now to storage:
This is Lila's diaper drawer today. I did laundry yesterday morning, so this is how many diapers I have left one day in. Here's what you're looking at from left to right:
-Old fashioned diapers, microfiber inserts, bamboo inserts, Honest Co. overnight diapers.
-AIO Diapers and grey and blue Flip covers
-Wet bags, hand and face wipes, and real baby wipes.
 Cloth wipes:

 See this is an example of me being crunchy but not. I use Johnson's lotions and washes. I know they have carcinogens in them according to articles I've read. But Lila's not drinking it and we aren't coating her whole body in it. She loves having her feet rubbed and I do it every night before bed. And it just plain smells good! I also have a toy to give her when she is flipping and spinning while I try to change her, grooming stuff, a water spray bottle, and the diaper stick. 
So that's how I cloth diaper! It's been much easier than I expected and saved us a ton of money. They also are a great accessory to outfits! I'll wrap up this post with proof of their (and my baby's) cuteness!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Baby Clothes Organized

You have seen some pictures of Lila so far. You probably haven't seen her in the same thing twice! She has SO many clothes! She does wear them twice and three times, but she has a lot of choices! This is the result of smart thrift shopping, garage sales, and generous gifts. As a result I have a lot of excess stuff for her. I seriously hope we have another baby girl someday so that I can see some of this stuff again! I thought I'd share my tips to be organized:
Everything you need should fit in a 27"x16" space. The height depends on how much stuff you have:
I love The Container Store's "Our Box" collection. They're clear, they're strong, they stack great, and they're really inexpensive. You've seen these in my coat closet (the shoe boxes), Lila's closet (the accessory box for her shoe boxes), and in my basement storage room for Christmas decorations. Many people like to store in solid colored containers so they can't see the chaos. I like the accountability that comes with clear! We don't have a garage or a shed and only have an unfinished storage room in the basement, so I have to be organized since this room has many purposes.  

Here's how I did it:
- The bottom two boxes are things I won't need unless I have another baby. You want things you won't need at the bottom so that you don't have to take the pile apart. The left box is newborn non-clothes. I have extra disposable diapers, some boy Aden and Anais receiving blankets from a garage sale (just in case!), the newborn inserts from her swing and carseat, etc. The box on the right is all of my newborn/0-3 clothes. 
-Next in the pile are things I won't need for a long time: 12-18 month and 18-24 month clothes. 
-Next in the pile is a big box of non age-appropriate toys. I have books she will be able to destroy with paper pages in there and lots of garage sale finds (pretend food for when I buy her a kitchen set and ABC magnets for now).
-At the top of the pile is an empty box for when she starts outgrowing her 6-9 month clothes. The missing box lives on her closet floor and as she outgrows 3-6 month clothes I simply throw them in the laundry with her clothes that fit. Once I fold them with my other clean clothes I put those clothes in her outgrown box. Once I've gotten all of her 3-6 month clothes packed up the pile will rotate. I'll put the 3-6 month box where the 12-18 month box is and move that to the top of the pile where her 6-9 month box will be since that will now be on her closet floor. 

Here are the details:
-I used these reusable dry erase silicone labels. If I find I don't have a lot of a certain size I can erase and re-label. I did that with her newborn clothes when I realized I could fit them in with her 0-3's easily (they erase so well that I was finding I had to rewrite it multiple times. I ended up labeling with wet-erase). 
-The big box is the jumbo box.
-The other boxes are deep sweater boxes.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Baby's Room 4 Months In

I have a 4 month old. Holy cow. It sure goes faster once they're born! 

Lila's little collage has grown to include a print I got from my former employer the day I resigned (It says "The Best is Yet to Come"), and two "Lila" prints made by her grandparents. Chris's parents made the one in stones on the right in Puerto Rico and my parents made the one in sand in Massachusetts. Lila's birth announcement is also framed. 
We got this storage cube from The Container Store. I use it as a nursing foot stool since I feed Lila in the rocker during the night now that she's moved into her room full time. I store swaddles and things inside. 
I moved the camera from across the room to the corner of the crib so I can even see her breathe during the night. 
The quilt my mom made for her is on the floor during most of the day for reading and tummy time:

The stuffed animals have left Lila's crib so she is absolutely as safe as possible. She was also gifted a little rocking chair that sits in the corner:

So there is a quickie update on how her room has evolved as she has grown! 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Letting Go

My mom told me the other day that every day after you have a baby you're preparing to let them go. They get more and more independent by the day. Three months in and I can completely see that!
I'm soaking up all of the cuddles and eye contact since she is getting increasingly mobile:
She has mastered tummy time and seems like she wants to roll or crawl! 
We have all of the paraphenaila everywhere to get her upright: 
She is getting tall and won't be able to be in the moses basket for much longer:
So we've started transitioning her across the hall. She naps here daily now and has started doing part of the night there too.
I just had to move her straps to the top slot in her car seat:
 And she sits up in her stroller without her car seat now:

My word this is awesome, fun, rewarding, and heartbreaking. I still can't believe I have a baby and she is going and growing up on me! 


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Ikea Hack: Pretty High Chair Insert

Before Lila was born I insisted we buy her Antilop High Chair from Ikea. It had been briefly discontinued so when I saw that it was back I jumped on it! You can't beat a high chair for $19.99. I decided the insert wasn't necessary. Well now that I have an almost mobile baby that is dying to sit up, etc. the insert seemed like the perfect thing to pick up to give Lila a different view of the kitchen.
The problem was that red and blue stripes didn't really go with my kitchen. So I decided to get it and use it as a template to go over the inflatable pillow that was also included
So here is what I was working with:

So I laid out my fabric folded in half and traced the big part first:
I used fabric chalk that rubs off. Then I started chopping:
I cut the fabric about a half inch larger than the cover as a seam allowance:
After cutting out all of my pieces and grabbed my pins:        
I also lined up my velcro. This seemed easier for me than a zipper, like Ikea's. 
I also pulled out my bias tape. It's hard to see, but there are two little white loops hanging from the cushion. These are to thread the seatbelt through. I used bias tape for my loops:

After everything was pinned I went to town:

Here it is once I flipped it right side out:
Here it is in action with the insert inflated:

I think she likes it!

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