Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Cloth Diapering

When I was pregnant, I decided that I wanted to cloth diaper our little one. I did hours of research and talked to other moms that had cloth diapered- and made up my mind! Justin thought I was crazy, but since I was the one who would be doing the diaper laundry, he didn't care.

I was so excited to find out about a local cloth diapering business, Jack Be Natural, that would become my main source of diapers, supplies and advice. John and Stacy are the owners, and they are AMAZING. They offer free (FAST!) shipping and free samples with every order.

Justin and I got the opportunity to attend one of their Cloth Diapering 101 classes, and it was great. Justin realized that cloth diapering was not as difficult as he thought it would be.  I loved being able to see the different types and brands of diapers up close and personal.

Will's first cloth diaper in the hospital! A GMD prefold with a Thirsties cover! 
Diapering Options

There are so many options when it comes to cloth diapering! I will cover what we have used and have experience with. 

Prefolds and Covers

You can go with the basic, most economical choice- prefolds and covers! A prefold is used by pinning or using a snappi to cover baby. Since we no longer have a willing baby to put a diaper on, I used Mr. Bear to show the basics.

Some people still use pins, but I chose to use what is called a "Snappi," because I was afraid that I would hurt Will with pins. I bought two for about $5 and that was all that we ever needed. 
You cover the prefold with a... COVER! It is a waterproof outer-layer to keep the wetness in. 
We chose to use the Thirsties covers HERE. (They are offered in two sizes- one fits from NB to 18 pounds, and the other is 18-40 pounds). We bought 3 dozen prefolds in the first two sizes (two dozen newborn and  a dozen small) and 2 snappis and two covers. This was more than enough to full time cloth diaper for the first two months. If we had continued, there would have been a couple more sizes to purchase.

I heard a lot about GMD (Green Mountain Diapers) when I first began to research. They are known for their high quality prefolds, so that is what we bought. I didn't want to spend a ton of money on newborn diapers, because we expected Will to be a BIG baby (and he was!). He was about two months old before he fit into the regular one-size pocket diapers, but before then we used prefolds and covers.

We have also tried Grovia Prefolds and they are AMAZING! So soft and absorbent- just a little pricier than GMD's prefolds. 
I have heard of other people successfully cloth diapering from birth to potty training for about $100 using prefolds. Such a money saver!  

Inexpensive! You can use the prefolds for other purposes, too- burp rags or while potty training (for your toddler to sit on). They also dry very quickly! 
There is a bit of a learning curve to folding the diapers, but it's pretty easy to catch on. There are lots of YouTube videos to teach the techniques!

Fitted Diapers and Covers

Fitted diapers are another option to use with covers. They are extremely absorbent, and many people choose to use them full time because they are also very trim. Fitted diapers are NOT waterproof and must be used with a cover (same type of cover explained above). They tend to be more costly overall than prefolds, pockets and most all-in-one diapers, so we didn't use them much. They are especially good for overnight diapering- we had two of them for that purpose once Will was older. 
We have used Thirsties Fitteds and Kissaluvs Fitted diapers. Both were great, though I prefer the Thirsties brand- it offers a pocket so that you can stuff it for more absorbency if needed, which is handy as your baby grows into a young toddler. 

Trim, easy to use, very absorbent
The CONS: 
Can be expensive, takes longer to dry than a prefold (because it is so absorbent

One-Size Pocket Diapers

A pocket diaper is a specially made diaper cover that has an opening to accommodate an insert. 
This is where I get on my soapbox about my favorite brand. We used 99% bumGenius 4.0's, and they were amazing. Each one comes with two inserts: a newborn insert, and infant/toddler insert. It is a fully adjustable ONE-SIZE diaper. The company claims that it fits 7-35 pounds- and maybe it does with some small babies- but it fits better around 10 pounds. If they are smaller than that, you are probably going to experience "leaking" or moisture escaping the leg area. Will was 9 pounds 5 ounces at birth and we had this problem for the first couple months if we used them. 

Fast drying, trim fit (not too bulky under clothing)
The CON:
It was sometimes a pain to "stuff" the diapers every time we washed them to get them ready for use. In reality, it only took about 5 minutes for our entire stash of diapers to be stuffed- but, it was an extra step (in this case "ALL IN ONE" diapers would come out ahead)

One-Size All in One

An All in One diaper is just as it sounds- all in ONE piece. The outside appearance of the above diaper is the same as the blue (bumgenius) diaper above, but the inside is different. Instead of stuffing the insert in, they are attached! 
The diaper in the picture above is the bumGenius Freetime diaper. They came out after we already had the majority of our diaper "stash" complete- but, it got such great reviews that I had to get a few. They are AMAZING. I loved them as much as my pocket diapers above, but they were even better because I didn't have to stuff them. If I had the option, I would have gotten ALL Freetime diapers at the beginning. 

Easiest to use- most like using a disposable diaper. Very trim.
Slightly more expensive than pockets, they take the longest to dry. 

Velcro or Snaps?

If you look at the photos above, I have mostly snaps and just a few velcro.  Everyone has their own preference- it is up to you to decide what features are most important!

I chose snaps because they last longer than the velcro. Velcro usually wears out after the first year or so- and the tabs have to be replaced. It isn't difficult at all to replace the tabs on the bumGenius (or most) diapers, but does take time and a little extra money. 
And although the Velcro (aka Aplix) needs to be replaced eventually, is easier to use in the beginning. We bought a few diapers in Velcro/Aplix for Will's grandparents to use on him while babysitting- very 
easy for them to figure out, as they put them on and take them off just like they would a disposable.

Cloth Accessories: What else do you need?

Something to store wet/dirty diapers in:

We used the Planet Wise wetbags. I wanted something simple, easy to travel with and one that wouldn't use a lot of room. Some people prefer a diaper pail- a garbage can lined with a large fabric bag. I didn't want to waste space in his room with a large pail, and bought TWO of the above bags instead. They were perfect. I could attach them with the strap to his changing table or door, and when it was time to wash them, I took the entire bag to dump directly into the wash along with the bag itself. By having at least two, there is always a clean one available for use- even when the other is in the wash. 

Cloth Diaper safe diaper rash cream:

Regular diaper rash cream can build up and cause issues with the diaper's absorbency. You need to find a CD safe cream so that you don't have issues. Many use plain coconut oil as their cream. We bought a sample pack of CJ's Butter (DELICIOUS scents), and still have plenty left over. You can use it for any 
skin ailment your little one has. My favorite scent is the "Warm Vanilla Cake!" Yum.

Something to wash your diapers with: 

Regular washing detergent can cause build-up in your diapers (and affect the absorbency). I have heard some others have success with using ALL Free and Clear detergent. I used Crunchy Clean detergent, which also comes in delicious scents. It seems like it is pricey, but one bag lasted us an entire year (used only on cloth diaper laundry), so it was very cost effective. Some other popular brands are EcoSprouts, Rockin' Green and Tiny Bubbles. 

Looking back... 
Now that we are on the "other side" of diapering with our firstborn, I can say that cloth diapering was so worth it. Not only did it save us thousands of dollars compared to disposables, it was more environmentally friendly and I truly believe it was a big part of Will potty training at 19 months. 

All of our cloth diapers packed up waiting for another baby to use them! 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Potty Training a Toddler in Three Days... OR... How My 19 Month Old Potty Trained Himself! part 2

The Potty Training Begins....

If you  missed part one, click HERE

For a while  I have been offering Will a sticker when he goes to the bathroom in the toilet. He has a homemade sticker "chart" that he will run to and put his sticker on as soon as he is gets one. It sounds ridiculous that a toddler would even care about a sticker chart, but he goes wild over it. 
I have also been giving him ONE mini chocolate chip when he goes. So his reward for each and every time that he goes #1 or #2 is a sticker and a tiny chocolate chip (which he enthusiastically calls a 'bit'). The "experts" disagree about whether we should be offering rewards at all for potty training (some say yes, some say no, they should only be rewarded by their personal satisfaction), but it has certainly given him some external motivation.

When he has to go, he will usually scream "Mommy! Pee-pee! Sticker! Bit!" 

A few tips that I have read on different blogs and forums
1- Choose three days where you do not need to leave the house... at all (though I didn't follow this rule exactly, we did not HAVE to go out at those times, and would not have if he was having difficulty staying dry)
2- Choose a part of the house to hang out in with your little one. Preferably, it should be hardwood or tile (easy cleanup!) and keep lots of activities to keep them busy close-by. Put their potty in the middle of that room for easy access.
3- There are plenty of potty-training books aimed at toddlers at your local library- check a few out, watch youtube videos (there are potty-training cartoons), etc. to get your toddler used to the idea of potty training.
4- If they start to pee on the floor, say "uh-oh! We pee-pee in the potty!" (or some variation of that) and put them directly on the toilet. If they get even one drop in, you should give them the reward. Any success is considered a full success in this training period. 

Monday July 22, 2013

The necessary supplies, all lined up at the beginning of day #1

In the morning, I started by removing his overnight diaper and leaving him clothes-free from the waist down. I told him that he doesn't need diapers during the day anymore, and that he should use his potty. I also pointed out where his little potty would be during the day. I asked some specific questions so I could be sure he heard and understood what I told him ("Where is the potty? What do you do in the potty?" and since he was able to answer, I moved on)

I had read MULTIPLE places to push juice on your potty training kid. Will has never had juice, and I thought he would love it. Juice has a high sugar content and that property will help them have to pee a TON. This is great in reinforcing the need to use the toilet... in theory. He hated the juice I originally bought (just a basic 100% apple juice), so I had J go back out and buy even junkier juice (V-8 splash,  used to be my favorite as a kid!)  hoping that it would work. Nope, he hated it. He ended up downing tons of milk over the three days, and he was happy. Whatever works, I guess. Push juice, milk or water- have a cup around at all times and offer it to them often. Popsicles work too! 

On this day, I asked him a LOT if he had to go. He would answer with a "yes" or a "no" pretty accurately and ended up going about once an hour on average. He went several times completely unprompted by us as well.

He had one accident in the morning, and one in the afternoon. He had 12 successful potty trips that day. 

Tuesday July 23, 2013

Will's first diaper-free trip to the store! 

I started him off naked from the waist down again today, planning to introduce underwear that afternoon if he did well. He had no accidents in the morning, and then I split out for a mommy-break to the movies! J made him lunch and put him down for a nap. I ended up getting home before
he woke up, and we put underwear on him then. I let him pick out the pair that he wanted, and told him that he was "wearing big boy underwear, just like daddy!" That seemed to make him very happy. We decided to run to the store to get a few school supplies for J since Will had done so well. I was more than a little nervous and packed an extra pair of underwear and shorts. 

The underwear that he chose had "tow mater" from the CARS movies on them. He had just watched a short cartoon about him, and was really excited that he was on his underwear. I kept reminding him to keep tow mater dry, and that seemed to do the trick. 
I offered the toilet when we first arrived to our destination, and while he said he had to go, he actually didn't. We ended up being away from home over an hour, and he stayed completely dry! He also had no accidents in the afternoon. 

If he didn't go every hour or so, I'd tell him to let me know when he needed to use the bathroom, which seemed to work pretty well. He went 11 times with no accidents all day. 

Wednesday July 24, 2013

Today was our first day that J had to work, so I was a bit nervous. I continued the underwear thing today, and he wore shorts quite a bit as well (when he went outside with J for a while and later on when we ran errands together).

My goal for today was to prompt him as little as possible and hope that he told me on his own when he had to go. It worked out relatively well, but being the control-freak that I am, I still asked a few times if I thought it had been too long since he last went.

He had no accidents in the morning, and we ran errands after his nap. We went to the bank, lunch,  Party City and Dollar Tree and he stayed dry! I told him several times to keep his underwear dry, and he did. I started to get very anxious on our way home because he yelled "PEE-PEE!" from the backseat. I told him to wait just a minute and we'd be home quickly- he did, and we were. 

My parents came over to see him tonight, and he was having so much fun that he began to have a little accident. He let a very small amount of urine out and then stopped himself- it was hilarious to see the momentary look of panic on his face. I ran him to the bathroom so he could finish and he got his reward.

So, today he had one (partial) accident and 15 successes.

One week later...

So it has been a week since we first started potty training! It does seem like more time has passed, because Will is a potty champ! He has had a couple partial accidents since the first potty training day where he started to go while running to the potty (this seems to happen when he is playing and doesn't want to stop- normal toddler/preschooler behavior! I don't expect that to stop anytime soon).
We have had numerous outings in the last week, and he has stayed dry with no accidents throughout all of them.

When we do go out, I bring a small zippered wet-bag (sold for cloth diapering purposes, but perfect for this too!). If you don't have one, a ziplock bag should do. I include an extra pair of shorts and underwear in the wet-bag it stays in my purse all the time, just in case. I also have started carrying POST-IT notes- apparently, you stick one over the auto-flush toilets and it will stop the flush from scaring the heck out of your newly potty trained kid.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Potty Training a Toddler in Three Days... OR... How My 19 Month Old Potty Trained Himself! part 1

WARNING: If you are not the parent of a young child, you will probably not appreciate this post. There will be plenty of "potty talk!"

To anyone who may have to potty train in the future, this is for you. I will start out by saying that I am NOT an expert, this is only what we did. There are plenty of options out there for buying books about potty training in 3 days, but that isn't what we did (not to say I didn't consider it! I wanted to try it on our own first).

I will start at the beginning, because I think it has played a vital role in Will's potty training. We started out cloth diapering  at birth. It was mainly for monetary reasons (when I heard the savings were in the THOUSANDS, I was sold!), but I had also heard that cloth diapering can often produce young potty trainers- the cloth diapers do not wick away moisture like disposables do. As they get older, they can associate the sensation of needing to urinate with the result of a wet diaper.

Around 9 months, when Will started to really get some solid foods down, I started to recognize his #2 cues. Moms of toddlers, you know what I am talking about... red faced and grunting, it's pretty obvious. There are lots of cloth diaper options for dealing with poop, but I hated my sprayer and didn't want to deal with that. I bought a potty seat ( for our toilet (it is soft versus hard plastic, so he didn't mind sitting on it- sort of like a BUMBO in material. Target also sells them), and starting putting him on there regularly when he had to go #2. I would also put him on it before a bath sometimes, and many times he would urinate, too.

Fast forward to about 13 months, and he would run to our bathroom door (that we always kept closed) and start knocking. He started to recognize his clues on his own for #2 and would let me know when he needed to go.

Around this time, I bought a couple of "little" potty seats so that he could sit and go without me needing to hover over him, and make sure that he didn't fall off of the regular toilet. IKEA has some amazing seats (for cheap!) so I bought a couple of those.

THIS one is under $5 and

THIS is my favorite at just under $10.

At 15 months, he also started letting us know when he needed to "pee-pee." He would be fully diapered, and he would verbally let us know that he needed to use the toilet. I would remove his diaper, and he would often go. I started researching early potty training around this time, and all of the cues that they recommended were there. He was verbal, he was very interested and aware of what was going on with his body. I wanted to start the process around then, but around the same time decided to babysit an older child over the Summer. That sort of ended my potty training plans, because what 10 year old boy wants to see a naked toddler running around?!

Will also started getting increasingly irritated when we would be out and about, and he "couldn't" use the potty. J and I would remind him that he had a diaper on and tell him to just GO in the diaper. He was not happy. I realized that we were encouraging exactly what we didn't want to- we were telling him to ignore the feeling of needing to go to the bathroom, and his desire to stay dry. I was afraid this would backfire on me later on, and decided to do the three day method while we were on a babysitting break... which brings me to today!

We just completed day three, and I kept some records throughout those days to write about our experience... which will be my next post!

Potty Training a Toddler in Three Days... OR... How My 19 Month Old Potty Trained Himself! Part 2

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

OBX 2013

We had the wonderful fortune of a last-minute Outerbanks trip with Justin's family. 
We tried to arrange going before, but with J's work and school schedule, it didn't seem like it would work out! The day before they were leaving, we decided we really wanted to try to go and thankfully, J's SGT gave him the green light. 

I am so thankful the Department is so good with employee/family requests. We left after Will's bedtime when J got home from work and drove overnight- we arrived around 0330 and slept for a few hours before starting our day! Parents, overnight travel is where it's at- baby was sleeping (when he'd normally be screaming!) and we had a nice six hours to chat.

We spent our days chatting with family, flying kites, playing in the sand and exploring the area.

We spent a few hours at the Roanoke Island Aquarium! Will loved it.

Visiting the Wright Brother's Memorial in Kill Devil Hills

Flying kites and playing in the sand in front of the beach house. 

J took Will for an early morning walk on the beach while I got to sleep a little more! 

It was a very relaxing trip and we made so many memories as a family.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

My little baby is now 15 months old!

My sweet boy is 15 months old! Where does the time go? It seems like just yesterday that he was still in my belly! 

Yesterday, he had his 15 month checkup! We got to see his best buddy, Dr.Lye, who is apparently no longer his best buddy. He is now at the age where anything he doesn't initiate is a fight- so the stethoscope, ear and mouth checks, etc. were all tantrum inducers! 

Luckily, I have a bit of experience in restraining unruly children at the doc and have no problem doing the same to my little guy.

We escaped an hour and a half later with two shots, and a sticker (Thanks, Julia!).

His official stats were:

Height: 31" (50%)
Weight: 21+15.5 (15%)
Head: 49cm (95%)

My tiny baby! He is SO skinny (but doesn't look it with his big belly always hanging out!), and is following how I grew- BIG baby, tiny toddler. He just recently doubled his birth weight, which usually happens around 6 months. The good news is that I haven't had to buy him bigger clothes in quite a while! He still fits into the outfits he wore last summer. 

His favorite "new" words at 15 months are truck, babies and flowers. This kid never stops moving, talking or eating. He keeps me on my toes all day long and I am so, so lucky to stay at home with him. I have worked with babies/kids for a long time, but never realized how much they pick up just by observing. It is pretty amazing! 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Will's "book bag"

Will was given a membership to the Christ Our Shepherd library in Matthews from his "Mimi" for his birthday. We recently got to visit- it was a very cool place! We also frequent story time at our local library. It's great to check out lots of board books to bring home with us- it helps me to figure out which ones continue to fascinate him, and the ones I definitely shouldn't buy on our own.

I decided to get Will his own bag to carry books- because what toddler doesn't love carrying around all of their stuff in a bag?! I was planning on buying him an L.L. Bean tote bag for his birthday, but with a price tag of $30, I just couldn't pull the trigger. 

Hobby lobby has these awesome canvas tote bags- I got his for about $2.00, a couple containers of fabric paint and a robot stencil. $5.00 total and about ten minutes of "crafting" later...

Will loves his new "book bag!"

Monday, January 21, 2013

I'm baaaaaack!

After a crazy week without a computer (can you believe it?!), I am back. A couple of Benjamins on a new logic board (on a 5 year old computer!) later, I am relieved... because J threatened to make the Windows switch if it were any more expensive, and that is not something I'm ready for! I am known to kill Windows machines within a year. No bueno.

Anyway, there is a ton to catch up on and I don't even know where to start! We've had a couple of very fun and productive weeks. Right as my computer crashed, J and I had just gotten back from a mini-vacation to Banner Elk, NC. It was much needed and such a great trip. The first day was dreary and rainy, but we had already planned to go to the movies while we were there (something that we have done maybe twice since Will was born!) so it worked out.

We also went to an AMAZING restaurant while we were there- it is the 1861 Farmhouse and Winery.  As serious foodies, it is often hard to find great places to eat in small towns. Whenever we plan a vacation, it is around FOOD. We were seriously impressed- except, I wasn't too thrilled about the drive that it took to get there. It is in Valle Crucis and we were driving from Banner Elk- if you've ever been, you know it is about 10 miles of ridiculously curvy roads, and it was DARK and foggy. I never felt so close to dying- I would go again, but only in the daylight! It is in a great location if you are ever in the area, right across from the (original) Mast General Store.

The Winery/Bed and Breakfast that we stayed was Banner Elk Winery- last time we went was with J's mom and dad on his 21st birthday. It was lovely as usual! The place is amazing, the rooms are beautiful, the food is top notch. 
A picture of the Inn from the Winery- stolen from my MILs pics from our last trip! 
On our way out of town on the last day of our trip, we planned a small hiking trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway- it is around mile marker 272. It was to see Cascade Falls, and some super old cabins in the area. It was a really cool hike, and beautiful waterfall.