What I’m reading this week

I wish I could say I was reading more than this, but my Kindle has been dead for over a week. I’m sure it’s been dead far longer than that but I didn’t know it, since there isn’t much time for reading in this baby-centered universe of nursing/diapers/napping that I’m living in. But there’s always time for the internet, thanks to small portable devices from Apple!

Magic formula for baby names – I love names, thinking about names, making lists of names, mocking others for their choices of trendy, yooneek names.

Things no one tells you before you have a baby – I got pretty tired of these lists, sometimes it just seems like people are trying to scare you or gross you out but what can you do? NOT have your baby? This article is pretty spot on however, especially the part about how it takes five hours to watch a movie and you may never eat hot food again.

The Meanest Mother in the World – Love this blog post. I had a baby so I could be someone’s mother, I have enough friends.

You Are a Good Mama – You are.

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Cloth diapering

So I’m going to write a little post about how and why I decided to use cloth diapers, and how it’s been going so far. When I was pregnant I googled and read everything I could on cloth diapers, because there are SO MANY options and choices and it very quickly becomes overwhelming. I made spreadsheets, lists, bookmarked pages, read blogs, forums, anything I could find on the subject. There are just so many different types: pre-folds and covers, all-in-ones, fitted, pockets, hybrids.  There are different sizes, different types for newborns or for overnight. There are complicated multi-step processes for washing. It goes on and on. I knew, and I’d read, that you really just have to try different types or different methods to see what works for you and your baby. But that didn’t sit well with me, because if there’s anything I love, it’s being prepared. So that meant I wanted to have a system in place BEFORE baby got here. Now I’m no expert by any means, and there are literally hundreds of websites and forums out there that will explain all the lingo and everything to do with cloth diapering. But I’m going to explain what I’m doing now and why, so hopefully if you are like me and trying desperately to make sense of this cloth diapering craziness, it might help you a little bit.

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I love the fun bright colors of the cloth diapers!

First, I chose to use pocket diapers. These have a waterproof (but breathable) outer later, a soft fleecey layer on the inside that touches baby’s skin,  and a pocket where you insert an absorbent pad. They either snap or use aplix (velcro) to close. They are similar in appearance and design to all-in-one diapers, where the absorbent inner layer is part of the whole diaper, no pocket to stuff. I chose pocket diapers over all-in-ones because it seems like you can get them cleaner by removing the absorbent material, they dry faster, and you can adjust the absorbency by adding an extra insert or using different materials such as hemp or bamboo. Also, they keep baby’s bum dryer longer because the inner layer of the diaper wicks moisture to the absorbent liner. With all-in-ones, the absorbent material is touching baby’s skin so you have to change baby more frequently. All-in-ones might be a teensy bit more convenient, in that you don’t have to stuff the liners into the pockets after you wash them. Some people just stuff the pocket right before they change baby, but as I mentioned before, I like always being prepared so I stuff them all right after I wash and dry them. It’s not really a big deal, I just do it while I’m watching TV on the couch at night and it takes ten minutes.

I chose one-size pocket diapers, that are supposed to fit babies 8-35 pounds, by adjusting the rise with the snaps on the front. Some brands make different sizes, but I wanted to buy one set and be done with it. This meant that they didn’t fit Miri when she was a newborn. Initially I thought I would buy newborn-sized cloth diapers, or use pre-folds with covers when she was tiny, but the more I thought about life with a newborn, the more I gave up this idea. First of all, you will probably be overwhelmed and exhausted with your new baby and just struggling to keep her (and you) fed and alive, so the last thing you want to be thinking about it is washing diapers on a near-daily basis. However, a friend of mine used cloth pre-folds and covers from the start with her baby and was successful, so it can definitely be done if you’re determined.

first cloth dipey

First time in cloth diaper, she was about four weeks old and nearly nine pounds here. The diaper looked huge, but it fit and worked great.

But wait, the decisions don’t end there…do you want snap closure or hook & loop? Initially I thought hook & loop, no brainer, so quick and easy. However I read that they don’t hold up as well over the years and multiple washings, and curious little hands can learn to undo them much easier than they can undo snaps. I bought mostly snap diapers, and a couple of hook & loop closures because they’re easier for Grandma’s hands. But I still like the snaps the best, plus the hook & loop are a pain if you forget to cover the tabs for the laundry and they stick together and ruin other fabrics.

Next…what brand?! The most popular and most loved seemed to be Fuzzi Bunz and Bumgenius, so I decided to start there. I got a great deal on a set of used Fuzzi Bunz and bought some new Bumgenius to try out. I thought I’d like the Fuzzi Bunz best because they’re a bit trimmer, and you can adjust the elastic in the waist and the legs as baby grows. However, even though you don’t have to do it very often, adjusting the elastic is a pain. I’ve had a few leaks with them but no leaks at all with the Bumgenius. And this is a small thing, but the Bumgenius have four snaps to Fuzzi Bunz’s six snaps, so they seem a bit easier and faster to change. I can only imagine as baby gets bigger and squirmier this will be even more important. Also, I like the colors and the fabrics of the Bumgenius better than the Fuzzi Bunz, of course that’s a purely personal preference. I have a few Lotus Bumz and Little Monster diapers that I got on sale, so far they still seem too big on my 10.5 pound baby, even on the smallest setting. I also got a couple of Just Simply Baby diapers; I really like these, especially for the cost, as the inner fabric is soft sueded material like Bumgenius and they have a double gusset to hold in messes. They’re still a tad big on her but work well as a back-up diaper. I have a couple of Rumparooz from part of a free deal, and I really like them. They actually can be adjusted small enough to fit a newborn, and they have the double gusset feature as well. Not to mention the tartan plaid pattern on one of them is my favorite. Because if it’s not Scottish…but I digress.

Okay, so now that I had the diapers, I had to clean them. Back to the internet to research…here’s what I’m doing right now: Wash in cold cycle with Bac-Out and a little bit of detergent (Country Save or Charlie’s Soap), then wash in hot cycle with detergent, then rinse cycle in warm. About once a month I add a quarter cup of bleach to the hot cycle. Then I dry on low. Technically I think you’re supposed to line dry the Bumgenius covers but that takes so long, and they seem to be standing up to my dryer on the low setting just fine. Line drying is really great for bleaching out any stains by using sunlight, but since I live in Seattle, that’s a very rare occurrence. I wash a load of 12-14 diapers every other day, and so far it’s not too labor-intensive.

Drying diapers in the sun…about a once-a-year occurrence here in Seattle.

So far, my review is that I love the cloth diapers. Miri hasn’t had any diaper rashes, except when we were using the disposables, and has never had a leak or a blow-out with the Bumgenius diapers. I love not having to run to the store in the middle of the night because “I swear I thought I had another pack of diapers left!” And while I’m not very green or crunchy, I admit it is nice knowing that I’m not adding to landfills with mountains of diapers. Plus our weekly trash was nearly overflowing with the addition of the disposable diapers. Dad loves them too, for all of the above reasons plus the cost savings over disposables, and Grandma finds them to be as easy to use as disposables. I’m sure once Miri becomes more mobile and once I go back to work and have less time for laundry my thoughts on the cloth diapers may change, but I’ll update more then!

Letters to Miriam: Two months

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Dear Miri, you turned two months old yesterday, as you enter your ninth week of life. I can’t believe I have only known you for two months, yet I love you more and know you better than anyone else on the planet. We’re both still getting our sea legs on this big adventure: you are entering the world and becoming your own person and at the same time you made me a mom and you made us a little family.

These past few weeks have been amazing with all the changes going on. It’s like the lights got turned on, and you are emerging from your hazy newborn hangover and becoming aware of your world and of other people. You smile at us all the time now, especially in the mornings. No one has ever been so happy to see me first thing in the morning! The first smiles brought tears to my eyes each time, sometimes they still do. Sometimes it seems like you’re just cracking yourself up, working on your comedy routine. Once you came through the stormy six-week growth spurt, your eyes focused and started tracking things. They are so bright and curious! We hung the Freddy the Firefly mobile over your crib, but it quickly was renamed the Slake Moth due to its powerful hypnotic powers. No matter what state you’re in, you are completely mesmerized by it. It doesn’t put you to sleep, but it buys me valuable time to use the bathroom or make a cup of tea!

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You’re sleeping through the night now, nearly eight hours at a stretch, but of course we’re not telling anyone for fear of jinxing it, or hearing the typical response, “Oh, you just wait…”

It’s not all smiles and strawberry shortcake breath…you had your first shots today and you have been vehemently protesting the injustice of it all afternoon. The screaming! The tears! (Oof, your first tears). The red-in-the-face-silence-quivering-lips because you can’t catch your breath crying, that high note screech you hit that triggers my own tears…

But for the most part we’re having a lot of fun, and I’m so excited to see all the changes you’re going to go through, and for all our adventures still to come!

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A Girl with Two Weenies

  by rosebuttons
, a photo by rosebuttons on Flickr.

I’m busy coming up with a couple of longer posts about various baby-related things, such as cloth diapering and drunk friends, but in the meantime here are some links from around the web that I’ve been enjoying lately.

And yes, I do happen to have the baldest baby ever.

Some words of wisdom from Scary Mommy

4th Trimester Bodies Project

Bring on the shots, please.

Louis CK should win Parent of the Year for this piece on why his daughters don’t have cell phones.