Monday, February 27, 2012

Hesitant to use prefold cloth diapers, What's holding YOU back?

I don’t know why I’ve always been so resistant to using prefold cloth diapers. When my husband and I decided to use cloth diapers with our first child my image of prefold diapers was one that would have looked like a scene from Little House on the Prairie. Ma and Pa sitting around a dimly lit house holding a new babe wrapped in swaddling clothes with a cloth folded against his skin and held together by huge pins. No thank you. I decided that I much preferred the modern cloth diaper. The kind with fancy pockets, snaps, hook and loop closures and cool inserts. No old fashioned cloth diapering for me thank you very much. It’s the 21st century, get with the times!

No one likes to admit when they’re wrong but in an effort to show some humility I will admit that I was wrong. There is nothing old fashioned about flats or prefolds. I was incorrect in assuming that they would lack the ability to hold my child’s secretions just because they were the tried and true form of diapers for centuries. I’ve recently started trying a few different folds for photo tutorials on my daughter who’s eight months old. I’m completely new at doing anything with a prefold so it takes me longer to put one on than the prefold experienced mama. Once it’s on, I don’t want to undo all that work that I’ve just done so I’ve used a cover and kept it on until the next diaper change. I love the trimness of the prefold and was pleasantly surprised that it was absorbent.

It makes sense though that in an age where most of us are moving towards a holistic and natural approach to our living that the tried and true prefold would be a good choice for the modern day cloth diaper user.

What do you think? Do you use prefolds? Flats? If you don’t, what’s holding you back?

Elizabeth (aka Bert) Anderson married her college sweetheart in 2005, and started her journey into motherhood in 2008 with the birth of her son.  She started blogging in 2009 as a way to keep track of her thoughts on being a first time mom, especially her struggle with postpartum depression, and as a way of reaching out to other moms who are struggling with the same things.  This June, Bert had another first in her motherhood travels - a little girl!  Even though she's newly a mother of two, Bert maintains that no matter how many children you have you will always be a "first time mom" because there's a first time for everything!  Visit her blog, at FTM. Bert is a contributor for She Thinks Media.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The decision to breastfeed, a natural but not always so easy choice.

When I first became a mom the decision to breastfeed was an easy choice. My mom had breastfed both my sister and me as infants and it was kind of like the decision that I had made about college. My parents went to college so naturally I would go to college. I grew up thinking that breastfeeding was just what every mom did. As new parents, trying to be as prepared as we could be, we took a breastfeeding class that our hospital
gave. From the class it looked easy enough and I thought that my unborn son would just magically latch on and stay there with no problems.

If any of you have gone down the breastfeeding road before you might be chuckling to yourself right now. Needless to say, I was definitely in for a big surprise when my son, Buggie, was born. From the get go he could not figure out how what he was doing on there. While we were in the hospital I required help from the nurses at every feeding. They did the syringe with sugared water again my nipple while I desperately tried to help him figure out what to do. It was beyond frustrating and I felt like a complete failure. My right nipple would not come out from his sucking at all and because of that he just couldn’t latch on that side at all. I dreaded the end of every two hours because I knew that it meant I’d have to feed him. I held onto hope that maybe after a day it would get easier. It didn’t.

The days dragged on. Each feeding was the same; a battle trying to figure out what I was doing wrong that this wasn’t working. I wanted to give up. I had to give up; this wasn’t working and the natural thing was to give up. My husband wouldn’t let me. In our marriage I’m the peaks and valleys person and he’s the steady as a rock person. I needed someone like him in my life to make me realize that it had only been a few days.
If anything, he said, we’d go to a lactation consultant before throwing in the towel.

During all of this a home health nurse had come to visit our house to see how things were going. The night before her visit was our worst night ever. Buggie had discovered that he was hungry and my milk had yet to come in. It was the first time my husband and I looked at each other during the two hour screaming jag with expressions that said, “Why on earth did we do this?” I showed the nurse my nipple problem, which I thought was the root of this horrible evil happening between me and my breastfeeding struggles. She told me to try a nipple shield so that Buggie would have something hard to suck on.

I went out and bought a nipple shield and then Googled it after I had used it for a few days. The stories I found were so discouraging. I felt like an even bigger failure because I needed to use this. Why would my body not work the way it was supposed to? It was made to feed my child so why wouldn’t it work!? I read things about the nipple shield like it decreased your milk supply and your baby would be worse off by using it. No wonder I felt so terrible. I really thought that I was doing a terrible thing to my son by having to use it. He wouldn’t latch on without it though.

So we made the appointment after three weeks to see a lactation consultant. She was wonderful; caring, compassionate, sympathetic, and non-judgmental. I sat in the room nursing my son with the nipple shield on sobbing over what a horrible mother I thought I was. She looked me in the eyes and told me that it wasn’t my fault at all. She said my son was a disorganized eater – he couldn’t figure out the rhythm of sucking, swallowing and breathing. She also informed me that the nipple shield was not a bad thing. It was helping me to be able to feed my son. The most important thing was that he was still getting my milk. She also informed me that many of the studies that had been done on nipple shields were outdated.

I left her office feeling encouraged and like I could do this breastfeeding thing. She gave me a plan to continue using the nipple shield on both sides and showed me how to make sure that he was productively sucking. When I felt comfortable I could remove it and try letting him nurse on his own without it. I tried it after a few weeks from seeing her and his latch was all off kilter. From then on I used the shield until one day, while out and about, he became hungry. I wasn’t planning on him being hungry and I didn’t have my shield. So there I was fearful that he wouldn’t be able to eat and so not ready to experience that melt down that would inevitably happen. Boy was I wrong. At 12 weeks, Buggie and I were able to breastfeed just the two of us without any training wheels. I nursed him up until his first birthday and it was such a blessing in my life.

I hope if you’ve been struggling with breastfeeding that you’ll find some hope in my story. Stick with it even if it’s hard. And seek help if you are struggling. Lactation consultants are gifts to nursing mothers everywhere. They’re angels for the work they do and the love they extent doing it.

Elizabeth (aka Bert) Anderson married her college sweetheart in 2005, and started her journey into motherhood in 2008 with the birth of her son.  She started blogging in 2009 as a way to keep track of her thoughts on being a first time mom, especially her struggle with postpartum depression, and as a way of reaching out to other moms who are struggling with the same things.  This June, Bert had another first in her motherhood travels - a little girl!  Even though she's newly a mother of two, Bert maintains that no matter how many children you have you will always be a "first time mom" because there's a first time for everything!  Visit her blog, at FTM. Bert is a contributor for She Thinks Media.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

How to fold prefold cloth diapers - The Diva Fold

The Diva Fold

When at first glance this fold looks a little tricky but when you actually do it it’s not difficult at all. Plus it would be a great way to get a little tummy time in for your baby!
Place prefold on the floor and lay baby down on his tummy.
Pull prefold in between baby’s legs and up over his bum.
Tuck the corners in the back of the prefold underneath baby’s tummy.
Pull the front corner of the prefold snugly towards the bum on each side. Fasten the prefold down with a diaper pin or Snappi.
You can leave the prefold as is which looks like a pair of shorts or you can tuck the legs up under baby so that it looks more like a diaper.

Photo tutorial courtesy of Bert, The First Time Mom

Monday, February 20, 2012

A cloth diapering godsend: Knickernappies Diaper Sprayer

When my daughter was born in 2005, we never even considered using cloth diapers.  They simply weren't on the radar then.  The choice was the "P" brand or the "H" brand, not cloth vs. disposable. And for 7 weeks, I was quite happy with that.  But....there's always a but!

Our daughter developed a diaper rash pretty much instantly.  By the time we left the hospital, her tiny bottom was fiery red.  A visiting pediatrician instructed us to "get something on that".  I faithfully slathered diaper cream all over and figured that would take care of the issue.

But 7 weeks later, her rash was still ever-present and solving it had become my obsession.  One day, Googling yet again for rash tips, I stumbled into a forum dedicated to diapering.  The ladies there were very nice, and very welcoming, but holy cow!!!  They ALL used cloth diapers.  ?????  I went ahead and asked my question and the nice ladies gave me lots of good advice, but nearly all of them mentioned that using cloth could very well cure the rash.  At 7 weeks, I gave in and bought two adorable cloth diapers.  Just to try, you know.

Fast forward to 6 months and we were die-hard cloth converts.  We'd quickly discovered the cloth love and sure enough, our daughter's rash went completely away.  But now our daughter was 6 months old and starting solid foods for the first time.  I was a little terrified of what the poop would be like.  I bought a diaper sprayer (the same model that would later become the Knickernappies Diaper Sprayer) and installed it myself in less than 10 minutes.  I quickly got the hang of spraying off diapers without coating the bathroom in water and we went merely on our way, continuing to cloth diaper.

Back then, cloth was very much an oddity, even in our progressive city.  I often was asked "what do you do with the poop?" and I always answered "I couldn't live without my diaper sprayer!"  I seriously think we might have given up cloth diapering back then if we'd had to dunk or swish diapers.

We used that diaper sprayer for over 4 years, first with diapers, then with potty chairs, and finally just to clean the bathtub.  When we moved it, I uninstalled it and moved it to the new house.  I was pretty attached!

I actually still have that diaper sprayer and it's time to install it again in the house we moved into just before our son was born.  It's given us several great years and I'm sure it'll give us several more until we're done with diapers and potty chairs.  

Green UP you laundry routine with these easy tips!

Ways to Green Up Your Laundry Routine, and we're not just talking about cloth diapers!

1.Use a natural and eco friendly detergent – The vast majority of commercial laundry detergents contain a substance called Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS). SLS is the inexpensive foaming agent in soaps, shampoos, and detergents. The use of SLS can cause skin irritation and is used as just that in many testing environments. While there isn’t any hard evidence that SLS causes cancer, one thing can be certain and that is that it could lead to several medical problems. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), SLS may cause irritation to eyes, organ toxicity, developmental and reproductive toxicity, possible mutations and cancer. I don’t know about you but the threat of those problems makes me want to switch my detergent ASAP!

2.Get rid of those dryer sheets! – The ingredients in dryer sheets are toxic. No qualms about it – a Google search on dryer sheets will show you some pretty scary stuff. (Be responsible though in your searching, check out the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) report (http://www.exposurescience.org/WNP91). If you want your clothes to feel soft and not stiff, try using a ¼ cup of white distilled vinegar in the rinse cycle. I’ve been doing this for about two weeks now and it does make a difference! No, your clothes will not smell like vinegar.

3.Wash using cold water when you can. – Washing with cold water not only keeps the fabrics of your clothes in excellent condition but it’s better for the environment. You’re only using energy to run your washing machine instead of using energy to heat the water too.

4.Use wool dryer balls. – Wool dryer balls decrease the drying time by moving the clothes around in your machine. The more you have the faster the drying.

5.Or…Just air dry! Sure this will take a little longer but you’ll save money not only by cutting down your electricity bill but you’ll also help the wear and tear on your clothes. Speaking of wear and tear…

6.Other than your unmentionables and socks, wear it more than once! - This doesn’t mean that if you have a huge coffee stain on your boob b/c you were carrying around your baby and trying to drink your coffee, you shouldn’t wash that t-shirt but if it looks perfectly fine why not wear it again? Plus, if you’re like me and you hate doing laundry you’ll lessen your loads by adopting this practice.

Have you greened up your laundry? How have you done it?


Elizabeth (aka Bert) Anderson married her college sweetheart in 2005, and started her journey into motherhood in 2008 with the birth of her son.  She started blogging in 2009 as a way to keep track of her thoughts on being a first time mom, especially her struggle with postpartum depression, and as a way of reaching out to other moms who are struggling with the same things.  This June, Bert had another first in her motherhood travels - a little girl!  Even though she's newly a mother of two, Bert maintains that no matter how many children you have you will always be a "first time mom" because there's a first time for everything!  Visit her blog, at FTM. Bert is a contributor for She Thinks Media.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Cloth Diapering...Without a Diaper Sprayer?

This is my dirty little secret.  I never owned a cloth diaper sprayer, I cloth diapered twins without it. 

I don't have a firm answer why I never got one, I was even a retailer and had them for sale in my store.  I think deep down I thought they were inconvenient and I was in denial.  I thought my cloth diaper wash routine was working just fine and that "if it ain't broke, why fix it?"

In hindsight though I think the diaper sprayer could have solved a lot of the issues I experienced throughout my cloth diapering journey.

Ammonia commonly plagued us.  I was very conscious of the odor and although my sons didn't breakout in ammonia related rashes all the time, they still smelled really strong to me and I know it had to smell strong to them.

Constantly feeling like I had to "battle" odors I turned to the wetpail method of storing my dirty cloth diapers until laundry day.  It wasn't easy or pretty or convenient, and looking back I really wish I'd used a sprayer.

Properly rinsing cloth diapers has everything to do with odors, ammonia buildup and staining.  Rinsing cloth diapers with a sprayer prior to putting them in the pail could have saved me a lot of trouble.

So, tell me...Do you use a Diaper Sprayer?  Why or why not?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Cloth Diapers Stains - Sunning your diapers is free, easy and it works!

Whenever I do a Google search on cloth diaper stains one of the number one suggestions is to “sun” my diapers. I was wondering how and why putting my cloth diapers, or any fabric that has a stain on it, out in the sun works.

You know those pesky UV rays we’re all warned about? Well, those pretty rays have enough power to naturally bleach your diapers. The rays are also strong enough to kill off any bacteria on the surface. Obviously the sun rays are strongest during the summer months and weaker during the winter months. You’ll also want to dry your diapers in the afternoon when the sun is at its peak in strength. If you live in the Midwest like me, you can still hang your diapers in front of a window as a way of sunning them. Sure they won’t get the same results as you would in the summer during peak sun hours but they’ll get a small dose of UV rays.

It only makes sense that the same UV rays that we’re all warned about with skin cancer would have the same stain and bleach fighting power as our man made solutions. So step outside, set up a line and let your diapers breathe a little fresh air!

Elizabeth (aka Bert) Anderson married her college sweetheart in 2005, and started her journey into motherhood in 2008 with the birth of her son.  She started blogging in 2009 as a way to keep track of her thoughts on being a first time mom, especially her struggle with postpartum depression, and as a way of reaching out to other moms who are struggling with the same things.  This June, Bert had another first in her motherhood travels - a little girl!  Even though she's newly a mother of two, Bert maintains that no matter how many children you have you will always be a "first time mom" because there's a first time for everything!  Visit her blog, at FTM. Bert is a contributor for She Thinks Media.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Cloth Diapers - How to convince a Friend to try them!

How to Convince a Friend to Try Cloth Diapers

Most families don't care what kind of diapers their friends use. Parents who love Pampers don't try to convince Huggies-lovers to switch. But for those of us who love cloth, diapers are far more than just a way to catch poop. They are our world of inside knowledge and expertise, our favorite fashion statement, and our contribution toward saving the planet. And when you start to feel like using cloth diapers is more a lifestyle than a way to deal with poop, you may find yourself wanting to share it.

The trouble is, a lot of your mom friends may not be thrilled with your new found delight in cloth diapers. For someone who's used to thinking of diapers as something to use once and then throw away, the idea of enjoying diapers--much less loving them, reusing them, saving them, and reselling them--is a little hard to understand. When you start sharing your excitement about diapers, some of them may even feel a little offended by your enthusiasm. But it is possible to become a cloth diaper evangelist without losing all your friends. With a little luck and patience, you may even convert a few--and then you'll have someone else who enjoys talking about your diaper obsession. Not to mention the fact that you'll have added a few more gold stars on your personal contribution toward saving the planet.

Here's how to introduce a friend to cloth diapers without driving her away.

1. Start when she's pregnant. Once a mom has established her routine with disposable diapers, it's harder for her to switch to cloth. But if your friend is pregnant with her first child, then she's probably still in the process of figuring out what's best for her baby. She'll be much more interested in hearing about your perspective (and drawing on your expertise) now, before she's made a decision about what kind of diaper she wants to use.

2. Show off your stash. Will one glimpse of your baby's fancy limited-edition one-size pocket convince your friend that she just has to use cloth? Of course not. But many parents, when they think of cloth diapers, still think of safety pins and ugly rubber pants. Seeing how convenient and trim today's cloth diapers are--not to mention cute--may help your best friend rethink her resistance to reusable diapers.

3. Talk about it (but not too much). If you are constantly gushing about how awesome your diapers are, your friends will quickly get tired of the topic and tune you out. But that doesn't mean you can't occasionally mention the benefits of cloth--especially if your friend is struggling with some of the downsides of disposables. If she's been cleaning up poop blowouts five times a day, it's okay to tell her that the gussets in your favorite covers mean you've never had to deal with one. As long as it's true.

4. Offer to let her borrow some of your stash. Of course you should never push your diapers on a friend who's not interested! But if your friend seems intrigued but hesitant, trying a few diapers for herself may be just the impetus she needs to make the switch. You don't have to give her all your favorite; just lend her a small sampling so she can experience for herself what she's been missing.

4. Share your expertise. If your friend is considering buying some cloth diapers of her own, then your knowledge will be her most valuable resource. Tell her where you bought your diapers, the types you like best and why, and the details of your wash routine. Translate the cloth diaper forums for her (remember how confusing it was when you first started reading about AIOs, pockets, OSs, and covers?) so she can research for herself.

5. Respect her perspective and decisions. If your friend decides to stick with Pampers, don't give her a hard time. She has every right to make the decisions that are best for her family--just like you do. In the long run, diapering decisions are just a small part of your babies' lives. When your kids are in middle school, you won't remember which of their friends wore cloth diapers--but you and your kids will both love and value the friends that they've known since they were babies.


Lisa C. Baker is a full-time mom and part-time writer in Atlanta, Georgia. She writes about green parenting topics at Organic Baby Atlanta andteaches workshops on cloth diapers and elimination communication. She's been a mom since 2008 and has never bought a disposable diaper; she hopes she'll never need to!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Knickernappies Cloth Diaper Sighting at Abby's Lane Store!

I spy Knickernappies Cloth Diapers at Abby's Lane in Manassas, VA!  Abby's Lane is a Knickernappies retailer who has been in business since 2004.  They have a great storefront for local shoppers and a cloth diaper inventory sure to make any cloth diaper addicted mama drool.

Abby's Lane also has a great online webstore where you can shop for cloth diapers and other baby gear 24-7.  They also feature Free USA Shipping for USA shoppers.  What's that mean?  That means you can buy Knickernappies products and have them shipped for free!

Check out these great photos of our Knickernappies diapers, including the adorable Ooga Booga print, at Abby's Lane!

Abby's also carries our pregnancy test strips, fleece liners, LoopyDo and SuperDo inserts and Breast Pads in addition to our One Size pocket diapers.

Also, please stop by their Facebook Page and tell them hello from Knickernappies!

 
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