Monday, September 29, 2014

A Year in Cloth Diapers

Can you believe William is a year old? Can you believe he's been in cloth diapers for a year? I can't! I wanted to share about my experience with using cloth diapers for a year, because as you know, I researched, questioned, and calculated all aspects before committing to this. You can check out this post for my two-month update on the topic.

We did go with prefold diapers for daytime use from the beginning. We tried them at night but that was very short lived. Even with William's refusal to sleep longer than 3 hours they weren't absorbent enough. We resorted to disposables at night time because I really didn't know what else to do and had very little energy to investigate.

We use several brands of covers: thirsties, kissaluvs, bumpkins, and rumparooz. Some with velcro and some with snaps. I don't think I have a preference to the brand or the type of closure although velcro is quicker/easier. I will say I loved the double leg gussets on the kissaluvs and rumparooz covers, they just seemed tighter than the thirsties.

The prefolds come in two or three sizes. We started with the newborn size and read that at 15 lbs we should move up to the premium size that would last up to 30 lbs. Well, our lean, long baby still fits in the smaller size and just now, after 12 months, are we having to move to the larger ones.

Concerning our laundry routine, it hasn't changed much since we started. We wash three times a week with our portable washing machine. We keep all the wet diapers in a diaper pail with cloth liner that gets washed with the diapers. The dirty diapers soak over night after being scraped into the toilet (this gets messier than I would have thought). We use the dryer in our building to dry them as sun/air drying leaves them pretty stiff.

We've only tried one brand of washing detergent for diapers and haven't even thought to use anything else. "Rock'n Green" is amazing. It's a little expensive but is completely diaper safe and earth and baby friendly. They have several scents, and the diapers smell great after washing. We've never had to strip the diapers and have only had to re-wash three diapers. We have had a few diapers get stained, and I will most likely bleach them before packing them away for future children.

I have to say that daytime cloth diapering seemed to be "easy" for the first six months. It really worked for us. But, when William started rolling over, it became a lot more difficult. Usually he would just scream, kick and cry and we'd try to go as quick as we could. But around 9 months, he got stronger and would actually crawl away. (We never used a changing table, we just lay him on the floor.) So a quick diaper change, became a 10 minute chase-and-grab event with screams and cries from both of us. This is when I realized that no one tells you that a two-part diaper system like the prefold and cover duo we have just doesn't work. Not only do you have to tackle your baby and hold him down to fold the diaper around him, you then have to do it all over again for the cover! Sometimes, I had to put a disposable on him because  I just couldn't win the fight. Only a few times was I too late to cover him up!

We still use the prefolds and covers. We're stubborn that way. Just be warned: the older they get the harder this system is and you might question why you didn't spend the money up front getting the all in ones! Because those can be put on while baby stands up!

When William turned 9 months old and we attempted sleep training for the second time, we decided it was time to look into a night-time cloth diaper. It was also the time we needed to go up a size with our covers. I placed an order with and was given a free all-in-one diaper. It was a brand I hadn't heard of "Imagine." It was super soft and had a thick insert that looked like it would be perfect for night time. We gave it a try . . . and it worked! It took us a while to order another one, but now we have two Imagine diapers and two flip inserts that we use for night time. We haven't had to use a disposable diaper for bedtime in weeks! (Imagine diapers are super reasonable, $12; they arrive super soft and lovely, but after a couple of months, they are less soft and don't seem as strong. But they still work! We've never had a leak!)

It is really amazing how quickly our cloth diapering became a routine. It doesn't feel like a lot of extra work at all, which was an original concern. We've had a few moments of frustration, but for the most part, we love them.

Do you cloth diaper? Did you have phases that were more difficult? What system did you go with?

Saturday, September 27, 2014

1st Birthday Party

Last year, exactly one week before William was born, our good friends had a baby boy, Rowen. We've tried to do regular play-dates and babysitting swaps and we finally have a regular routine where they see each other twice a week. It seemed fitting to have a joint birthday party as we have the same community of friends in the city.

Today was the day! And it was perfect: the sun was shining and it wasn't too windy. Just right. William had his regular nap and was well rested for his big day in the park. Chris headed to the park early to help set up and decorate. I stayed behind to get William ready and pick up [some of] the food.

We had 15-20 people meet us at the park for a light lunch, drinks, and dessert. We set out blankets and chairs for friends to bask in the sun and we had a large fenced off area with a ball pit for the kids --which was amazing and turned out to be a hit with all the littles.

William LOVED the ball pit and exploring in the grass. He is so mobile (not yet walking, though) that I felt like either Chris or I were following him around constantly. I don't think either one of us finished a conversation the whole afternoon. (That's life with kids!)

I made the boys matching "ONE" onesies with their names on the back. It was my first time doing anything with Heat and Bond. I enjoyed doing it and may try to find an excuse to do it again!

I had made banana/applesauce sugar-free cakes for the boys with whipped cream. I can't say they really got into it, but at least they touched it! (I have no pictures because I was on cake duty!)

And two hours later, we headed home to give our little man a nap. William did such a great job with everyone -- and looked like he was having fun, too! Happy Birthday sweet boy of mine!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Walk for Life 2014: Join me!

In just 40 days, the Alpha Pregnancy Center will be hosting their annual Walk for Life Event. I've already signed up and said I would lead a team! Will you join me?

If you live in San Francisco, I ask you to strongly consider joining me for this event. It's on October 25th from 9 - 1:30. You can read more details here. You won't be disappointed! This is a great opportunity to learn more about Alpha and experience being a part of the blessing they are to this city. I love this organization and I love this event!

If you are not in the Bay Area, I eagerly ask you to partner with me and sponsor my walk. I've signed up to walk 3-4 miles and lead a team. If time allows, I'd like to do more and help with setting up the event too.

I missed doing the walk last year as my baby boy was just 19 days old and I was still pretty out of it. But this year, I'm ready! And this year, I have a better understanding of how much help families need to raise their children! I have been surrounded by such gracious and generous people in my church, family and community; I have been truly blessed during this first year of raising William. I cannot imagine being a parent without a strong support system. Many of these families don't have that. Many of these families have very limited resources. So limited in fact, that many of them consider death an option.

Alpha Pregnancy Center started offering ultrasounds this year! They have been trying to get the funding and personnel to do this for years and the time finally came! With this new program they are able to offer women a chance to see the life growing inside them -- for free! And seeing life makes death a much harder option. They also offer resources to help these families raise their children for years to come. Alpha offers parenting classes, counseling and tangible goods like cribs, clothes, diapers and so much more. They are the support system for so many families!

Please consider sponsoring my walk or giving to them on a regular basis! They are a bright light in this city that often feels full of darkness.

**You can give online using my crowdrise site or by mailing a check to me -- email me for my address!

Monday, September 8, 2014

More Handmade Gifts for Babies

Another baby-wave has hit our community and four babies were/will be born this late summer/early fall. The thought of William having playmates this time next year is really exciting. For now, I'm tasked with making sure my baby doesn't beat up your (newborn) baby!

There are a few things I've discovered since making baby-related crafts for myself. So, as I work on them for others, I find myself trying to make improvements and changes.

The first gift set was two burp cloths and a matching changing pad. These things we used a ton with William so I felt confident in gifting this set to my new-mother-friend. She had a little boy so, without really knowing a nursery theme, went with the bright, circle fabrics I had left over from this quilt. (I always buy extra of the fabrics I love, that way I can make several things from it.)

The second gift set as a bit more of a story. This new-mother-friend is an artist and has had her prints made into several things like stationary and fabric. So, I found out where she had her fabric made, and had some printed just for her gifts. I didn't let her pick it out, so here's hoping that she liked this particular design! I used some blue fabric I had in my stash as an accent color which I think added a nice touch. I made her a nursing cover and a matching changing pad.

I used my nursing cover often for the first four months. After that, William just hated being under-cover. So, I realize that this may be the gift with the shorter lifespan, but I still enjoyed making it. There is also so much talk going on (on the web) regarding covering up or not, and honestly, I'm fine with either one (my husband might not agree). So, if there were people I was around who might have been put-off, I'll put one on. Not sure how this new-mother-friend feels about it, but at least now she'll have an option. And it's cute, so maybe she'll want to! Or better yet, maybe someone will ask about the fabric and she'll get asked to do a piece for them!

Can't wait to meet these babies!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Baby B: Eleven Months

William is now eleven months old! Just 30 days shy of one whole year! In some respects, I feel like not much has changed since my last update, but that is just not true. William is doing more of everything.

He's eating bigger meals--I have a hard time remembering to add his menu to my grocery list though. It seems like cooking for three is not as easy as cooking for two. Current favorites are meatballs, black beans and rice. I still serve pureed food with each meal but it doesn't get as much attention as the food he can feed/throw himself. Unfortunately, our dining room is carpeted so Chris and I keep busy on our hands and knees after meal time.

He's walking with help--no longer content to travel on hands-and-knees, he must walk everywhere, which means I must go with him and hold his little hands! He has stood by himself a handful of times, but for no longer than a couple of seconds.

He's engaging with his toys--if the car has wheels, he will spin them; if the blocks are stacked, he will push them over; if it can play music, it will. Reading seems to have taken a backseat to the toys this month. We still get to read plenty, but not all day long. His attention span is much shorter now he moves from toy to toy all the time. Peek-a-boo is still a favorite, especially if you're hiding behind a corner--he'll come crawling at full speed toward you with a full smile and giggles. More recently, he has started crawling over to his book/toy shelf to pick out what he wants to play with (verses the toys we pick out each day).

He's talking more--not that we can understand him. But he gaa's and goo's, ba's and dat's all day long. He talks and sings as if he knows what he's saying . . . and he probably does!

A couple of weeks ago, William had a fairly high temperature for a couple of days. I ended up taking him into the doctor but they told us to wait it out and keep on with the ibuprofen. We were quite scared and worried about him but he pulled through the very next day.  But from that appointment, I know that he now weighs 18 lbs. 8 oz. Overall, we have been very blessed with a healthy baby.

William is a joy to spend my days with. We go on daily walks (with the stroller) to the park, library or grocery store and take car trips to my office every other day or so. He loves seeing people (and getting special attention). He continues to nap and sleep well, but is still an early riser.