Monthly Archives: April 2010

Hindsight is 20/20

Remember a few posts back when I mentioned someone dropped off a bunch of fitted diapers for me?  Well, they started some thought processes and I just wanted to offer a bit of friendly advice to new mothers.

This is something that’s said OVER and OVER and OVER again….  Try a bunch of different diapers before making your decision.

I sort of jumped the gun and ordered 3 dozen prefolds.  Yes I was obsessed with making wool covers and I wanted to use them.  Wool is still my favorite part of diapering, but there are other things to use under them besides prefolds.    I also ended up buying 4 pockets, 3 of them broke so they were replaced.  This week I finally got around to taking them to the tailor’s and now I have 7 functioning pocket diapers.

Now my diaper stash is a bit ridiculous, especially now that I’m washing diapers daily.  If I had known I would be washing them frequently then I wouldn’t have bought so many to begin with.  When we lived in our old house I was doing laundry every other day and 3 dozen was still ridiculous.  But all the diapering websites said that you should have 3 dozen.  Only now do I realize they say that because they’re trying to make money.

From nearly 6 months experience, here’s what I would have done differently.

First of all, you only need 24 diapers total.  That’s it.  Even if you’re washing every other day, there is no reason to have more that 2 dozen.  My advice would be to mix and match.  I would have bought:

1 dozen prefolds each in infant and standard.  I say a dozen because prefolds are still my favorite.  They come really clean and are (in my opinion) user friendly.  The ones I bought are so soft too.  It’s like putting an old comfy T-shirt on my baby’s bum.

Snappies or pins.  I bought 6 Snappies, that was a ridiculous amount.  They last 6 months each, so I have enough to last through potty training.  You only need to be using one at a time as well.

6 fitteds the reason I didn’t buy them was because they are sized so I was being economical.  But they are wonderful and worth every penny.

1 PUL diaper cover, and 4 wool covers this is specific to my preferences.  If you’re just going with PUL covers then 2 or 3 is all you’ll ever need.  You can’t have too many wool covers, especially if you’re making your own.  It seems like I always have at least one drying from being washed after a blowout. 

Doublers.  You need these for nighttime and heavy wetters.  The fitteds I have aren’t absorbent enough so I have to add something to it.  I like to use SmartiPants inserts.  I’ve also used the wipes and wash cloths when he was tiny.  You can use your infant sized prefolds as doublers when baby outgrows them.  It’s just adding extra absorbency, so you can get quite creative with this.  Also, it’s not needed with every baby.  Mine is a heavy eater and wetter so he needs extra.  Soon you’ll know how many you need and if you need them at all.

6 one sized pockets or all-in-ones.  These are perfect for on the go, but they don’t come as clean.  They’re also really fun to play with.  I would have bought 6 different brands to see what ones I liked.  I went with one brand, and they ended up being crap.

2 dozen wipes I sewed my own, but you could use baby wash cloths, reuse an old towel by cutting it into squares and seaming the edges, even use old receiving blankets and seam the edges, there are a million things you could do.  After all, you’re wiping bums!  They’re going to get covered in poop!

Wipes Solution Dispenser This can be anything really, I actually have been using the cleansing bottle they gave me in the hospital (similar to a  dish soap bottle).  You could use a soap dispenser, a spray bottle, a glass jar, ect. ect. 

a wet bag for diapering on the go

a dry pail for storing dirty diapers between washings.  I use a waste bin with a step lid.

A diaper sprayer easy to make your own if you don’t want to pay $50 for one

Keep in mind that things change as the baby grows and you’ll need to adapt your cloth diapering system as needed.

And finally, check out Diaper Swappers.  I know they’re used so if it bothers you, get them new.  The thought of used diapers really freaked me out when I was pregnant, but since I received a few used I don’t even care at all.  This website is just fantastic, you can try out all different types for cheap.  Actually now that I’ve found myself with a ridonkulous amount of diapers, maybe I’ll swap a few.

A note about fitteds: I attempted to make my own before baby arrived.  I didn’t know what I was making, for some reason I didn’t know they needed a waterproof cover.  I was onto something, but I made them too bulky and I didn’t install the elastic correctly.  I will be attempting again, now that I’m older and wiser.

I wish I would have known all this beforehand, but then only places that had good cloth diapering advice were sites that were selling them.  This is the whole reason I started this blog, to share information to other mothers looking for it.  It is my hope that I help someone, somewhere.

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Some new goals

I’ve only managed to lose another pound in two weeks.  It’s totally my fault though.  I missed an entire week of the gym because I was sick.  I’m better now and I was so happy to dance in Zumba this morning.  I also have strayed very far from my diet.  My husband and I tag teamed a chocolate ganache cake for a party we hosted.  Luckily it was mostly eaten by our guests, but I have eaten too many of the leftovers. That’s just one thing, but for the past 2 weeks I haven’t really cared about what I’ve been eating.

So anyway, my parents are coming to visit in a little over 3 weeks.  I originally wanted to do an 8 week thing, but now I have more motivation for my weight loss.  My new goal is to lose 6 pounds by the time they come.  Is it realistic?  Yes, but not probable.  I think now that I have a reason I can really work harder and have a strong motivation.  I’m actually going to cut calories now.   I need to track my food and keep a close eye on what goes in my mouth.  Honestly eating a strict vegetarian diet and going to the gym has been enough to lose a pound a week, so now if I pay close attention to my food I could maybe lose 2 pounds a week.

I’m not doing this so I can impress my parents.  I just think that with a deadline I can work harder.  It’s nice to have an end in sight anyway.

Well, wish me luck!

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Committed to Cloth- an Earth Day Post

Happy Earth Day everyone!  Today is a special day to me because Earth Day appeals to my crunchy side.  While I’m not an eco-nut or anything, I try to live my life in harmony with the Earth.  After all, she is the mother of us all and we need to take care of her.  It’s no secret we use cloth diapers instead of disposable, but there are other things in our household that we have replaced as well.  Paper towels, napkins, tissues, shopping bags, cling wrap, paper lunch sacks, the list goes on.  We drive fuel efficient cars, buy fair-trade and organic when possible, and walk as much as we can.  While we could always  improve, I feel we do our part.  Oh yeah, and eating a vegan diet is by far the most eco-friendly act you can do!  I always tend to forget that, I don’t know why…

Well, in honor of this special day I thought I would share a recent struggle I’ve been having. 

Moving has always been so thrilling to me.  I’m not very social so saying goodbye was never the hard part.  After all, my best friend was moving with me!  This has been one of my favorite parts of being a military wife.  The recent move was not the same.  Our baby was barely 3 months old and I had already established my nest at our home.  Having that nest uprooted was upsetting to say the least.  Not only that, but we didn’t know where we would be living.  I was absolutely terrified of this move.

When we got here, my fears had come true.  There had been a huge influx of people and there was no housing on base and an available apartment was rare.  We searched and searched, and we couldn’t find many places that allowed pets.  We found a place that was very happy to accommodate our pugs, but there was no washer/ dryer hookups.

So I was faced with a hard decision.  Do I keep my washer and dryer or my pugs?  Anyone who knows me knows how much I love my little puggies, so it was really a no-brainer.  We would keep the washer and dryer.  Ha!  Just Kidding!!!  We kept the pugs!

The previous month I had been without the washer and dryer and had been washing diapers by hand, so I was familiar with one way of making it work.  But I didn’t want to hand wash diapers for a year!  The washing part was easy, but wringing them by hand was killing my hands and the diapers.  Of course I could take them to a laundromat, but Charlie’s Soap cleans out washing machines and the gunk inside of a commercial washer accumulates on my diapers.  Charlie’s Soap is my favorite, and I don’t like spending $10 a week or more on laundry.

I searched the web for a clothes wringer.  I was thinking of something like one of those hand crank things from long ago.  I found some, but I also came across a great website.  It’s call the Laundry Alternative, and their main focus is to provide an alternative for the apartment dweller and people who don’t have the room or access to a conventional washer and dryer.

I was absolutely amazed!  I ordered the Wonder Wash and the spin dryer (though let’s be honest, I just bought the Wonder Wash to try, but I was truly amazed and excited about this spin dryer).

I was enjoying my new toys and I stayed on top of doing laundry for a good 2 weeks.  But then the novelty wore off and suddenly I found myself in a rut.  Being at home with a small baby makes it hard to do anything but take care of the baby.  It’s so hard to find a minute to myself, let alone to do laundry and dishes by hand.  It only took a day or two and the laundry, dishes, and housework had piled up to where it became a huge burden.

I began doing our laundry at the laundromat and washing the diapers in the tub.  I was so behind that I didn’t have time to rinse the poopy diapers.  Normally you don’t have to rinse breastmilk poo off diapers as a conventional washer has no problem removing it.  But hand washing is another story, and I was letting them sit for days and was dealing with crusty poo and giant stains.

My husband is absolutely amazing.  He works 14 hour days while we’re living here and so on the weekdays all this stuff is my responsibility.  On the weekends we would spend the day doing laundry, dishes and housework together.  I felt terrible because our time together is so valuable and I didn’t want to spend it doing this.

One night after a hard day of playing catch up, I broke down.  I  missed my washing machine!  I would have given anything to have one! I was feeling very sorry for myself. 

The next morning I was sick of my “wo is me” attitude.  I decided to take action and do something about it.  So I did as I always do in this situation and I write everything down.  I wrote down the problems I was facing and possible solutions for these problems. 

The solution was simple.  I needed to make washing diapers the highest priority of my day.  If I could just do that, then my day would be complete and I could feel a huge sense of accomplishment. 

So that morning I washed a days worth of diapers in the Wonder Wash, spun dry them and hung them to dry on the porch and was done by 7:30.  I couldn’t believe I had fixed my huge problem so easily!  This is how everyday’s been now for about 2 weeks!  I just do diapers in the morning, another load in the afternoon and by doing 2 loads a day laundry never piles up.

So here’s a trick I’ve learned.  Rinse the poo off as soon as the diaper is changed.  If I do this then it takes me 15 minutes start to finish for a load of diapers.  That’s it!  A conventional washer and dryer takes hours to finish one load.

The spin dryer is my favorite part.  I put the diapers in without even squeezing a drop of water from them and after 3 minutes they come out almost dry.  I just put them outside in direct sunlight for about 2 hours and they are dry.  With regular clothes it only takes an hour and they don’t have to be in direct sunlight.  I would recommend buying a spin dryer with a conventional washing machine and dryer because it will cut your drying time in half.  This is good for your power bill and the environment!  You would not believe how much water comes out of the clothes!

Well, now my issues have been resolved and I feel great.  I know something else will come up soon as that’s how life is.  But for now I’m completely happy with our laundry situation.  Do I still want for a conventional washer?  Oh yes!  You would not believe how much I miss it, but this is a temporary situation and I’ll have one soon enough.  However, I’ve decided how pointless a dryer is and I don’t believe I’ll ever buy one of those energy suckers again!

Now I just want to point out the benefits of the Wonder Wash.  It is hand powered and you don’t have to use electricity.  It uses a fraction of the water and soap.  There is no agitators so it is very gentle on your clothes.  You can even wash wool in it without it felting!  I think it gets the laundry cleaner than a conventional washer too.  The spin dryer is just amazing!  It uses a tiny amount of power and it hasn’t made a bit of difference on our power bill.  So there are many things about this that appeal to my environmental side.  But like other environmentally friendly things, it’s just a bit more work.

Soon I’ll post a video about how I use it.  But for today, I wanted to share my story and say that I could have easily switched to disposables, but I am committed to a cloth lifestyle.  Also I just want to say that today (and everyday) all cloth diapering mamas can smile to themselves because you are making a huge difference, to the environment, your babies and to yourself.  I hope today you feel satisfied knowing that you have committed yourselves to a cloth lifestyle too.

 Here’s a pic of my new washer and dryer.

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New Soakers For the Boy

Yesterday I finished making the boy his new soakers (all 3 patterns are free on Ravelry).  They’re just finishing up drying after lanolizing.  I must say I am very happy with them.  For the first time (with soakers) I used higher quality yarn bought at my LYS, not Patons.  Patons was fine, but it felted and pilled terribly.  Here are the FO’s.

This first one is the Curly Purly Soaker pattern made out of Cascade 220 Quattro.  It reminds me of a watermelon rind!  I think it’s so cute and since I didn’t use merino wool with the pattern this time it should hold it’s shape better.

This one is the Adaptation Soaker.  It’s adapted from the Ottobre soaker pattern for worsted weight yarn.  I used Cascade Ecological wool.  I didn’t realize it was Bulky weight until I was well into the project so I just continued anyway.  It’s really thick and squishy!  I love this pattern because the garter stitch is really stretchy, it fits for a long time and it easily goes over our nighttime diaper.  We use a Smarti Pants insert as a doubler and we have no leaks.  I really love this pattern.

And finally this is the Wool Diaper Cover by Cynthia Combs.  It was a really fast knit, I did it in just one evening.  I made it with Malabrigo, it was my first time working with it.  It is the BEST. YARN. EVER!!  It was orgasmic to knit with it!

This weekend I was drying the diapers on the porch and I was out walking the dogs.  When I came back my husband was so excited and said someone had dropped off a bunch of diapers.  When I went inside and looked at the bag that was left, it was full of lots of cloth diapering supplies!  She had given us a dozen fitted diapers, some wipe solution cubes, a wool soaker (too small for my thunder thighed boy) and some really soft flat diapers.  I was sad that she didn’t stick around for me to chat with her, as I love to talk cloth diapers every chance I get!  Anyway, she saw the diapers on the porch and her child had been potty trained for some time now and she needed to dejunk.  I sort of feel guilty because I have PLENTY of diapers, but at the same time I’m super excited to try fitteds.  They will be perfect for when we have family come to visit and they can change his diaper easily.

Fitteds are like prefolds and they go under a wool or waterproof cover.

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Some knitting to do

I don’t have much to update about my diet program.  Last week was very busy, and this weekend I got sick.  Today I missed my workout, but I need to rest and get better.  If I wasn’t breastfeeding I wouldn’t force myself to rest, but now what’s most important is to get well and not do anything negative to my milk supply.  That includes staying away from cold medication, that can cut your milk supply in half or even dry it up altogether.  So today I’m catching up on some knitting and crocheting projects.

Last Monday was Dylan’s 5 month well-baby check up.  He’s doing so well.  He was 18 lb. 12 oz. and 26 1/2 inches long.  He’s a huge baby.  I know I’m not depriving him of anything by eating a vegan diet!  I feel so proud when people comment on his chunky thighs, and ask if he’s breastfed.  Of course I say he is and then I usually get a reply of “That’s so great!  Breastfed babies are always so chunky!”  I don’t know how true that is, but based on my baby it is.

Dylan outgrew his soakers a few weeks ago so I’m trying to catch up and knit him some that will fit.  It’s taken me longer than anticipated, I hope to finish the last one today.  I’ve still been using the old small ones and we’ve had lots of blowouts.  Usually in my lap, all over the Ergo, in the bed, you get the gist. 

Now if you’ll excuse me I’ve got some knitting to do!

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Week 5 and a crazy weekend.

I have just completed week 5 of my 8 week weight loss/ cleanse diet.  Why 8 weeks?  I don’t know, I just figured that was an amount of time I could commit to.  At the end of the 8 weeks I plan to evaluate my progress and then change if I need to.  I only have 3 weeks left and I really don’t plan to change anything.  Everything is going great!

Well, guess what?  As of Friday I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight.  After having a baby I look different, larger bust, saggy stretch marked belly, and bigger hips, but I weigh the same!  I’ll have to post pictures of me pre-pregnancy and me now.  I just need someone to take the pics for me.  Anyway, so I celebrated this weekend!

We decided to go out to lunch one day and I was excited that I wouldn’t have to cook or clean up any messes.  So I narrowed it down to 2 places, the new German place and the newly remodeled Chinese place.  The German place was closed on Sundays and the Chinese place was again closed for remodeling.  I was very disappointed because I love trying new places to eat.  And I am excited to try the German place because they have a few vegetarian options.  How cool is that?

So we decided to try out “Beef O’ Brady’s” because it was the only restaurant listed on the tourist map in our town.  I can always find something to eat anywhere, so we thought we’d take a look at the menu.

Before I go into the story more, I just want to say something.  I am vegetarian, my husband is not.  When I see a Thanksgiving turkey I don’t see a beautifully roasted feast, but a cooked carcass on the table.  This is how I’ve always been, even though I’ve only been vegetarian for 1 yr 8 months.  But I’ve finally accepted my sensitive side and I’m very very satisfied with my choice of lifestyle.  That said, I feel bad and I don’t want to restrict my meat eating husband from eating what he wants.  I cook him meat and I will go out to eat with him anyway.  My husband is so supportive of me and he is so great with all this.  But still, I never want him to feel restricted by my choices.

So we go into “Beef O’ Brady’s” after I strongly insisted we should.  We look at the menu and there is not one meatless option but the side salad and fries.  I don’t like eating side salad and fries as a meal, but whatever.  Anyway, the waitress comes over and rushes us through our order.  My husband asked about the vegetarian options, and she says there aren’t any and gives me a goofy look.  I’m used to this look by now and I feel like I put up with a lot of crap for my meatless lifestyle.  After we order, she walks into the kitchen and tells her waitress friends I’m a vegetarian.  Her friend says, “Why would a vegetarian come to Beef O’ Brady’s?”  and several waitress roar in laughter, making fun of me. 

I feel my face get hot and tears start welling up in my eyes.  My husband didn’t hear and asked what the matter was.  I told him, his face got red too and we just got up and left. 

I can get a veggie burger at Buffalo Wid Wings and Burger King.  I can go into a seafood place and get a meal.  Chili’s even has a bean burger! I have never been to a place that has absolutely nothing.  Had I been with a group of other veg’s  No, we wouldn’t have gone in there.  If someone doesn’t drink coffee but goes into a coffee shop with their coffee drinking friend, they can order something that isn’t coffee.  Generally places have other things on their menus that isn’t in their title.

Well, today I’m over it but still a bit angry and embarrassed.  If I can muster up the courage, that manager will get a [meek and timid] earful.

So we went to our favorite Mexican restaurant, “La Rumba”.  They have a vegetarian menu and I had a lot to choose from.  I’ve been missing ice cream so I ordered a virgin Mango Colada.  Oh, it was so good.  It didn’t have alcohol in it because I don’t care to drink, especially since I’m breastfeeding.  They say it’s okay, but I still don’t feel comfortable and would prefer to avoid it altogether. 

My baby is getting very curious about food.  He’s not quite ready for solids yet, but I let him have tastes of things.  I let him lick my banana or pear, and stuff like that.  He doesn’t actually get any food yet, but I don’t think there’s any harm in tasting.  Anyway, I was letting him lick my straw from my virgin mango colada, and people around were giving me the strangest looks.  I didn’t put it together until after we left, but they didn’t know it was virgin!  They thought I was giving my 5 month old alcohol!  We got a good laugh about it after we realized what the looks were for. 

That was my crazy weekend.  All this happened within an afternoon. 

I’ve been so happy with my diet. I haven’t been counting or reducing calories and I eat as much as I want, but still avoiding animal products.  I’ve lost 5 pounds, a pound a week.  Everyone said I would never get my body back, but I now weigh the same and I feel great.  My belly skin is shrinking at a surprising rate.  And I feel fantastic.  I’m so very happy with all this.

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Online Negativity

I’ve been spending too much time online.  I know when this happens because things start getting negative in forums.  I always have good intentions but inevitably I end up putting my foot in my mouth. 

For example, every now and then through pregnancy I would hang out on the trimester boards on the WebMD community.  Occasionally I would exchange in positive conversations.  Well in my second trimester someone was venting that people were giving them a hard time about smoking during pregnancy.  One person linked a whole bunch of articles saying why they shouldn’t smoke while pregnant.   Everyone on the board freaked out on the girl that offered the links.  I thought it was an unfair reaction so I stuck up for this girl.  I also told the original poster that she shouldn’t state on a medical message board that she smokes while pregnant.  I got a super negative response and I took a good long break from that message board and the internet in general.  It was good to get offline and get back to my own life though.

Toward the end of pregnancy everyone in my same trimester was posting about scheduled C-sections and inductions, ways to self-induce, dilation, effacement and what have you.  One girl was all upset because she really didn’t want to be induced but her Dr. was recommending it, but not forcing her.  I offered advice saying that she shouldn’t be forced to do anything she was uncomfortable with.  Then I continued saying too many women get induced when it’s unnecessary and it leads to too many C-sections.  Well, just about everyone on the board flipped out on me.  I though what I said was innocent enough, but they had been offended.  I have never been back to the board, especially since I had to be induced myself.  It was not voluntary, but medically necessary.  Anyway, I felt I had really put my foot in my mouth.

So this week I started chiming in on a post in the Vegetarian Cooking group on Ravelry.  Rachel Ray had done a 30 Minute Meals that was vegetarian and the main course was pasta.  So a bunch of members said it was a cop-out to do pasta as a main dish, and vegetarians eat too much pasta and that’s why so many of them are overweight.  Enter me, all dumb.  I said “Are a lot of vegetarians overweight?  I’ve actually been able to finally control my weight after switching.  I don’t do dairy though.”  I upset a lot of people by this comment.  This really wasn’t my intention, and I felt it the question was innocent enough.

Well, I guess it was hurtful because as a vegetarian I was placing stereotypes on other vegetarians.  I didn’t mean to.  But I assumed other vegetarians had had similar experiences to mine, and thus other vegetarians were also quite health conscious.  Wow, I really feel stupid now.  But in my defense I don’t know any other vegetarians personally, just others that I blog with.  These other blogs are about health conscious vegan recipes.  Many other blogs I read talk about their struggle to gain weight, not their struggle with losing weight.

Even so, I was clearly in the wrong and I feel so bad about it.  I shouldn’t assume because “it makes an ass of u and me” but just me in this case.

Back to my original point, this signals to me that I’ve been spending too much time online and in forums.  I shouldn’t be so open with strangers.  Well, now I’ve made a goal to limit my online endeavours.  I am going to only allow myself 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening.  No more plopping down on the couch, picking up the laptop and making people feel bad.

My time will be better spent doing what I love… knitting for my sweet baby boy.

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