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July 30, 2014

Cloth Diapering Essentials

Cloth Diapering Essentials




Other than your diapers, only a few things are truly essential for cloth diapering.
I put both home and diaper bag items on the list.

Wet bags are essential for your diaper bag. 
They hold your dirty diapers.
And wet clothes.
And bathing suits, towels or anything else that you don't want touching anything else.

Diaper pail liners are the wet bag for your bedroom.
Both are easy to clean, just add them to your diaper laundry!
My wet bag and pail liners are from a WAHM who sells on etsy.
(work at home mom)

Wipes are essential.
Some, like me, use disposable wipes.
I use any sensitive wipe brand.
Other cloth diapering parents use cloth wipes that they just wash with their diapers and a homemade cloth wipe solution.

Diaper cream is good to have on hand.
Cloth safe diaper cream is necessary while cloth diapering because most diaper creams are not.
Petrolium, Pariffin, Lanolin, are very heavy and greasy. It is suggested that if a rash cream is necessary and contains these, a liner should be used and washed separately from your diapers. 
Cod Liver Oil or any other fish oil and Calamine should be avoided at all cost.
CJ's Butter Stick is great for in your diaper bag. It lets you do a quick full application without getting your fingers all messy. 
A must when out and about.
California Baby has a cloth safe cream that I like to use at home. It has been amazing at clearing rashes within a day. 
I love it!

Laundry Detergent (without added fabric softeners) is essential for your cloth diapers.

A pacifier is my extra essential for changing a diaper for a wiggly baby.
The WubbaNubba paci has a little beanie animal attached to it that Jaxon loves to grab and play with during changes.

July 29, 2014

Cleaning Cloth Diapers


Doing your own cloth diaper laundry is not for the faint of heart.
I can tell you that I touch pee filled inserts.
I inspect poopy diapers and hand rinse if things are too intense.
I smell diapers out of the drier.

None of this is gross to me.

The main thing you need to know: There are options. Please do what works best for you and your baby’s bum!
If you do things incorrectly you can risk your baby battling rashes or worse, ammonia burn.

There are things to take into account.
Every child is different.
Everyone has different washers, water quality and cleaning agents.
 And each is a huge factor in finding the wash routine that works best for you and your child.
--------------------
Prep
Brand new, never used diapers need to be prepped before use in order to ensure that their absorbent enough to be used.
Synthetic fiber and Bamboo (or bamboo blends) can be prepped like any other load of laundry. 
Wash, dry, use. 
Hemp and cotton just need to be washed twice in hot water, then dry.

With Pre-Loved Diapers, your best bet is to strip them to be sure that you are in control f what goes on your baby's bum. You never know what the diapers have been through or what they were washed with.
A RLR soak will break down any bacteria holding mineral deposits left on the diaper.
A 30 minute cold bleach soak with clean diapers will disinfect.
Non-HE washer: 
Small- 1/3 cup
Medium- 1/2 cup
Large/XL- 3/4 cup
HE TL (or FL WITH a dispenser you trust)
Small- 1/4 cup
Medium- 1/3 cup
Large- 1/2 cup
Bathtub:
1/2 full- 1/2 cup
3/4 full- 3/4cup- 1cup
Smaller container: 
1 Tablespoon per gallon of cold water

After bleaching, rinse with HOT water, and follow with a HOT wash with detergent to completely break the bleach down!


After a diaper is used, depending on how old your baby is, there may be steps to take before washing.
Some parents use a diaper sprayer, which is attached to the toilet, to get solids off the diaper.
Others use the 'Dunk and Swish'
You guessed it.
Dunk it in the toilet, swish it around.
Others, mainly with babies who are not on solids yet, wait for the washer to do all the work.

Next would be the Diaper Pail.
Diaper pails can either be dry or wet.

A wet pail isn't recommended due to the drowning risk in having a bucket full of water left around.

Dry pails are generally a hamper or basket, sometimes with a waterproof PUL liner, where dirty diapers are placed until wash day.
Closed pails have lids, open pails do not.
-----------------------
Detergent
There is a crowd that says that Homemade Detergent goes hand in hand with cloth due to the chemicals you leave out of the equation.
Others say that Cloth Diaper Detergent is the only way to not ruin your diapers.
Others say that Mainstream Detergents (without fabric softener) is the only way to truly get your diapers clean.

I want to point things out about each ‘camp’.


DIY Detergent:
I fell for the DIY hype. I thought that I had found an alternative for the harsh chemicals that are in mainstream detergents. I thought that it would be better for my extremely sensitive skin. What I didn’t know was  the DIY's are mostly mixture of water softeners like Borax, Washing Soda, Baking Soda, boosters, like Oxi and grated/melted soap. 
The biggest argument against DIY: Have you ever heard of soap scum? Yeah, your main cleaning agent, if it is even used, leaves a nasty residue in your shower...
You think it wont leave residue on your clothes and especially your diapers?
Another point, water softeners and boosters are not cleaning agents


Cloth Diaper Specific Detergent:
The “cloth diaper safe” so-called detergents are extremely weak if they include any surfactants at all. The people who started the “cloth diaper safe” detergents are telling you to use just tablespoons of their booster to remove fecal matter from your soiled diapers because their mix is so expensive.
The choice if yours, just make sure that you do your research on the ingredients in your cloth safe detergent.

Mainstream Detergent (without fabric softeners):
Detergent is molecularly designed to rinse clean in water.
 Absolutely any mainstream detergent (without fabric softener) is fine for cloth diapers. Some may work better than others, depending on your water type or washer.  
People can have sensitivities, sure, and may prefer Free & Clear detergents, but the diapers themselves are not affected by anything other than synthetic fabric softener.
So if you want tropical smelling diapers... Go for it!

-------------
Now we are to the nitty-gritty.
What you all have been waiting for...

My Wash Routine
I can only share with you what works for me.

1. Rinse/spin *DIAPERS ONLY* warm with line 2 of detergent.
2. Heavy duty power wash *Add normal load of laundry* hot with full cup of detergent.
3. Dry Normal with a 10 minute timed dry at the end if needed.

If there happens to be any staining,  I set the diapers and inserts out in the sun for 30-60 minutes then do a quick wash.
The sun visually bleaches the stains then rinse again to open the stain particles and remove them with the friction of the washer.




 Properly cleaned diapers will never smell after washing, will not repel liquids, and will not cause rashes or burns on your baby. If you find yourself needing to strip or bleach your diapers due to any of these issues, it is an indicator that they are not properly cleaned and you need to change your wash routine. Properly cleaned diapers will not require stripping or bleaching.


We never will suggest to just bleach and be done. Or just sun them and be done. We always follow it up with something that will open the fibers and use friction to release the particles. Always. 



There you go!
If you have any questions or want more information, feel free to check out the Facebook group that opened my eyes, saved my diapers and wallet!

July 28, 2014

The 411 on Types of Cloth Diapers

I am a cloth diapering momma!!!

And I’m not talking about your momma’s cloth diapers.  As you can see, like everything else, cloth diapering has changed over the past 10-15 years.

There are many different types of cloth diapers, believe it or not! And many times a company will make more than one type of diaper. 

I have linked just a few examples. 
There are many, many, many more.

Flats – This is the single layer of cotton that you think of when you first hear cloth diaper. You generally fasten it with diaper pins or snappi's. A diaper cover in plastic or PUL is worn over top of the diaper to prevent leaks.

Prefolds – Similar to flats, but with an overlap of fabric in the middle. A lot of people now think they are burp cloths, and they can be used as such. A diaper cover must be worn and snappi's or pins can used. Special folding techniques can be used so that the cover holds the prefold in place rather than pins and such.

Fitted – looks like a disposable diaper, but made of absorbent material. It fastens with snaps or Velcro. The fitted is not water proof and must be worn with a diaper cover.
Example: Bumkins, TwinkieTush

Contour- The diapers in-between fitteds and pre-folds. They are sewn in the shape of a diaper, but require closure with a pin or snappi and a cover to prevent leaking.  
Examples: Kissaluvs

Pocket- A washable cover, generally made of PUL, with an attached pocket liner that holds a washable absorbent insert. The pocket allows for one or multiple inserts to be used to adjust the amount of absorbency.
Examples: Sunbaby, Thirsties

Hybrid-  Washable outer cover with the option of using a biodegradable disposable insert or a washable, cloth insert.

All-in-Two (AI2) – A washable diaper, generally made of PUL, with a snap-in, or attached, liner. The liner goes against the baby's bum or tucks behind itself into a type of looped pocket.
Examples: Bummis Ai2

All-in-One (AIO) -  The one-stop-shop. This is the no fuss option where you snap (or velcro) and go!
Examples: TotsBots 


I'm sure I have missed some popular brands or mixed up definitions... It seems that everyone has their own understanding of what each type is. There are even some that I have never heard of, like a sleeve diaper.
What?
Psh, I don't know.

Next up: 
Cloth Diaper Laundry Basics and Controversies!

Sounds exciting, right?

July 25, 2014

Opening Night Essentials

Opening Night Essentials




If you are anything like me, I think quality over quantity when it comes to makeup.
I would much rather have high pigment and less product application, rather than spend money on cheap products that you go through too quickly because you have to use a ton just to get the proper effect.
Mary Kay is my go to for makeup. It's such a great product and so affordable.

Eyelashes are a must.

Baby wipes are awesome for makeup removal.
Gentle.
Quick.
There is nothing worse than having to run into a store after a performance in full crazy stage makeup.
Wipe the face and leave the eyes for a killer dramatic look.

Basic character shoes cover a range of roles. 
Great for dancers.
Easy for anything else.

Nude underthings are great for when you have to change clothes.
Quick changes on stage, back stage...
Anywhere really.
You're covered just in case.
If you are modest, there is nothing worse than being caught mid change by a cast member or techie.

And a cute tote to carry it all!

July 23, 2014

Sayanora, Pre-Med!

Jake has been adapting to fatherhood exceptionally well.
He is silly and nurturing to our little boy. The bond that they have is adorable and growing daily.

Jake has been through a lot these past 3 months.
Jake is an official graduate from 2 institutions and is currently finishing his last semester of pre-med classes. Physics and Organic chemistry lectures have been playing in the background of everything recently.

Moving was stressful for him due to me not being able to lift much with my c-section incision. We had a limited amount of time for heavy lifting because Jake had sinus surgery scheduled.
(Waiting for his name to be called.)
(Jaxon napped while Jake was in surgery.) 
That was a ton of fun, taking his blood disorder into account.  The surgery went well, but recovery took an hour longer than usual. 
His recovery, while bloody, was fairly short.

(After getting home.)

(1 week post-op. Check out that swelling!)
We are now in full-on MCAT mode. Jake is taking his test this Friday.
That's only 2 days away!!!
It’s a pretty intense time and giving us a taste of what our future will look like, once Jake gets into med school.

While not ideal, I think that once we come to that phase in our lives that we will be able to handle it just fine.

It’s hard to believe that we are so close to the end of this phase in our lives. Soon, hopefully, the MCAT will be behind us and school applications will be our sole focus for a while.

I’m excited and nervous, all at once.

July 22, 2014

My Maternity Leave in a Nutshell

Things around here have been a little sparse, I know.

I’m a mom.
It’s one of those things that is so weird to say, yet the most natural thing in the world.

I have been taking the past three months and enjoyed a nice, (US) long maternity leave. Once Jaxon was here I knew that I wanted to take full advantage of the three months and practically disappear from the world while I got to know my little boy.

I admire the women who are able to focus enough to blog on top of everything else, I just wasn’t one of them. I think it has something to do with my inability to get a blog post calendar going.

So much has happened since Jaxon arrived.

Jake and I moved in with MIL and SFIL.
The summer musical, Funny Girl, came and went.
Jaxon’s first a lot of things.
I’m back at work.

OK, so that really isn’t all that much once it’s listed.
With a newborn, that’s  lot… I promise you.

Moving was an experience.
MIL and SFIL have been in love with the house for the past year that it has been on the market. They finally worked out something with the owner, who happened to be a real estate agent.
It’s a gorgeous house with 6 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, a bonus room, a 6 car garage and a pool.
Yeah, I know.

When Jake went to do an impromptu walk through of the house the idea of us moving in was brought up.
Jake and are so thankful for the opportunity.
Our neighborhood, while nice, was right by a shopping center where someone was stabbed.
It was also brought up that it did not make any sense to pay rent to a stranger when we could use a couple of the rooms at the new house, pay less rent than we would be able to find anywhere in town, and put the remainder of what we use to pay toward a down payment for a house.

As we quickly approached the moving weekend for my in-laws, after communicating with our landlord, we were basically forced out of our apartment.
Meaning we were moving the same weekend as our in-laws.
It was a hectic weekend full of all kinds of drama, craziness and boxes.

Finally, Monday morning everyone’s things were in.
Jake and I had our entire lives in one garage and our in-laws were in the other.

Over the next week we all moved boxes from the garage to rooms all over the house.
We all learned a lot about each other in the process.
One thing is for sure, we never have to buy cleaning supplies or paper towels ever again.

I don’t know why adding the summer musical on top of all of that was such a good idea.
But Funny Girl was such a big part of my childhood, I could not pass up being in the show and getting the opportunity to be the understudy for Fannie Brice.
(The Zigfield girls!) 
(Jaxon backstage after intermission) 
(Jaxon, after going on stage for the first time, opening night!)
My life consisted of unpacking boxes, repacking poorly packed boxes, laundry and the musical.
It was a pretty crazy maternity leave.

I was also given the opportunity to apply for a part-time position in my office at work.

I’m excited that I’m now only working part-time.
So that’s my update.

I’m alive.
Lonely at work while my little man is hanging out with his aunt and cousins for a half day.
Settling into living with my in-laws (which has been truly awesome so far).
Adjusting to driving on a new side of town.

Pretty exciting, I guess.

July 21, 2014

Announcing Quinn Elena!!

It's been the year of babies in my family. 
My big sister had her little girl.
Miss Quinn Elena!

Born July 2nd, 2014 at 6:24 pm, 8lbs 14 oz, 20 inches

She is so adorable and looking more and more like her big sister, Paisley, every day.


Congrats Big Sis, B-Rad and Paisley!

July 18, 2014

Jaxon's Birth

You know how women say that mother's forget their labor and birth experiences.
I thought they were lying.
They totally weren't.

I can tell you that it was a hurry up and wait situation.
(Jake, as we got settled in our labor room.)
The cliff-notes version is that we went in at 8:30 pm on the 16th for my induction.
About 12 hours in I was so tired battling back labor and my contractions were getting me about 1 cm per hour, so I got an epidural so I would have enough energy for the end.
It was an awesome decision for me.
Jake and my mom were appreciative as well.

After the anesthesiologist did his work I slept.
And slept.
And slept.
Pressing that little button every once in a while.

Jake did his homework and napped.
Mom chatted with former co-workers.

Once I was to 9 cm my nurse started getting in gear.
I knew they were going to suggest a c-section about an hour before they did.
My rolling contractions were not conducive for pushing.
I wasn't dilating past 9 cm for over an hour.
Jaxon wouldn't get into a good position.
All of those factors weren't enough for my nurses to think re-positioning Jaxon would help, even though his vitals were good.

I was at peace with the decision.

The OR was a kinda fun environment.
I was well rested and had prayed for peace and understanding.
The OR staff was silly and fresh since it was 11:00pm, just after shift change.
We all tried to guess what Jaxon would weigh.
I was shaking a lot from a mixture of my epidural medication and adrenaline and they gave me a heated blanket across my arms and chest. 
It was heavenly.
Jake tried to watch the whole surgery and I made him sit by me and stroke my cheek.
Jaxon was born at 11:28 pm.
we heard his cry and Jake was whisked quickly to the back corner of my OR room with Jaxon so he could do Kangaroo Care.

I over my right shoulder I hear, 'I see some eyes! Hi Buddy!'
Then an awe filled, 'He has my eyes!' that brought true tears to my eyes.
It was in that moment that I knew that my husband was going to be a great father and mentor fro our little boy.

Jake brought Jaxon over to me while they were sewing me up and placed his little puffy cheek on mine.
I just laid there trying to pour all of my love and care into the little cheek touching my own.
I tried to talk to him and quiet his cries of distress from being pulled from his dark cozy home.
Every other sound and movement dissipated.
I closed my eyes and soaked in the love surrounding the three of us.
I was on autopilot, responding to anything asked of me, just thinking about the little boy that was so close to me, but still so far.

I honestly don't know how long it as between the doctor pulling him out and being put into our hospital room.
I know that I requested that only 2 people come back at a time to visit while I was in the small recovery room, trying to nurse for the first time.
After such a long ordeal I knew that my family was anxious and worried about the situation.
The love and relief was tangible and a little funny to experience.

Once we were taken to our hospital room, Jake passed out and I watched the nurse give Jaxon his first bath.
I tried to wake Jake up multiple times.
I had no idea how tiring everything was for him.
He didn't truly recover until after we were home.
I was in a state of bliss and didn't really feel like sleeping.
But man, was I hungry!

The hospital stay was great.
(Jake holding Jaxon the next morning.)
Our staff was amazing.
My recovery was steady and quick.
We went home on Easter day.
(First family picture before we left the hospital.) 
(Our first evening at home!)


July 17, 2014

Jaxon is 3 Months!

That's right.
My little man is 3 months old.

These past three months have been amazing, fulfilling, awesome, exhilarating, and hard.



Month 1 was so blissful, I can't even tell you anything other than I took that month to really fall in love with my little boy.
He was so easy.
Sleeping really well.
Eating like a champ.
Predictable.
He loved diaper changes and string at the baby in the mirror.
He smiled and laughed at 2 weeks while we were feeding.
He outgrew newborn clothing at 3 weeks.
He hated tummy time, but then I didn't give him much.
We battled one rash for about a week.

My family was such a great support for me while I healed from my C-section.
I had pretty constant visitors for the first three weeks. 
My mom was a life line during that time. She always came and hung out with me during her days off.

During month 1 I was also packing to move.
Yes we are insane.




Month 2 was a lot of unpacking boxes and finding the new rhythm of our lives.
Jaxon was starting to play with little toys. 
He outgrew 0-3 month clothes at 10 weeks.
He got into the pool for the first time over father's day weekend and absolutely loved it!
He was easy to have with me, so he came to all of my musical rehearsals and voice lessons.
We dealt with a lot of upset tummies in month 2.
(I think it was a latch problem that resolved itself.)
He is such a happy baby that it is really hard to think of times or experiences with him that were not as fun.
Maybe some crying during rehearsals when I couldn't get him latched fast enough for his liking because I had to fight with a feeding cover.

Hello month 3!

I can't wait to see what you throw at us!
Starting daycare with SIL.
Milestones.
More growing.
I love how his personality is already showing and I can't wait to see it develop more!


July 9, 2014

Allergies Suck

Back in March I was having some major skin issues. 
It was when we were having our maternity pictures dome and I had to scrap some of the picture ideas due to things being too embarrassing.

I was doing laundry the night before pictures and I realized that the only change that I had made that would effect everything was missing the smell of laundry when it came to my laundry.
because of that I had purchased regular dryer sheets, rather than our usual hypoallergenic free and gentle ones.
It never even came to mind that a skin issue could happen.

Needless to say, those dryer sheets were tossed that night.
Now that Jaxon is here and I am back to seeing my regular family doctor, I'm going on the skin allergy hunt to find out what exactly is causing this to happen. 

Jake will be doing one too, to find out the cause of his eczema issues, since we heard that it may be a food allergy.

This also means that we are extra careful with Jaxon and his skin.
It's one of our main reasons for doing cloth diapering.. So that I can be in control of exactly what touches his cute little tuckas.

Has anyone been through the allergy process?
I'm a little nervous about it.

July 6, 2014

Hello, World!

I am here. 
I am alive.
I am returning to blogging.

This service announcement has been brought to you by insomnia and midnight breast feeding sessions.