Saturday, July 14, 2012

Adventures in Newborn Cloth Diapering!

Today was Kitty's one month birthday and all of my newborn size diaper covers were on the line drying when she had a nice poop. I had a few of the next size up ready to go for that far off day when she would fit into them and figured a too big diaper was better than no diaper. Much to my surprise and dismay, the diaper was not too big. My little bean is growing so quickly *sigh*. As we now exit the newborn diaper size I thought I would share our experience of the first month of cloth diapering.
Most if not all of my friends who cloth diaper didn't start out on them. They started out with disposables either because they thought cloth would be too challenging for the first couple of months or they realized after the first couple of months how awesome cloth diapering might be. Kitty has never been in a disposable diaper and I don't ever intend her to be. I can't even compare disposables to cloth because I can't really remember the last time I changed a diaper before her. I can say this, cloth diapering is easy peasy.
When picking cloth diapers I went about it in a rather silly way, I picked the little g pants pretty much for the sole reason that Kitty's last name starts with G and these diapers had a g on the butt. Little g pants for baby G. I also registered for some Gro Via diapers and added a few others to our collection from other cloth diapering friends. As I haven't yet used these though, I will only be sharing my newborn diaper experience for now.
We purchased the gBaby bundle from Babies R Us, this can also be purchased at the g diapers website  . It includes 12 tiny g pants and 6 small little g pants, 80 small biodegradable inserts and a swishstick (I will get to the swishstick later). I also received several of the cloth inserts as baby shower gifts. I washed everything in warm water for three cycles in a row to get the desired absorbency; they get softer and more absorbent with each wash.
For the first two weeks we used the tiny g pants with the biodegradable inserts. At first when I was putting a couple together to take to the birth center I was certain I had purchased the wrong size insert, so I double checked the pack that had come with my started kit, they were the right size. Once you stretch the diaper to its full length the insert fits, I just had to take into account that the diaper was all scrunched up to fit the baby. We choose to use the biodegradable inserts for the first couple weeks for two reasons. My midwife suggested waiting on cloth until Kitty was done passing the meconium. Thank goodness we listened because I think we would have ruined several inserts with that black sticky mess. I was a little taken aback by how much there was, I was expecting tiny poops, not completely full diapers of dark goo. After a couple days we were passed that stage, but I still hesitated to use the cloth inserts, I guess I was intimidated by them. So we stuck with the biodegradables for a bit.
The biodegradable inserts can be disposed of in three ways. You can remove the outer cover and flush the inside, here is where the swishstick comes in, once they are in the toilet bowl you can break them up with this little plastic stick and they will flush easily. If they are pee only diapers you can compost them, or you can simply throw them away and as they are biodegradable this is guilt free! I encourage you to visit the website and watch a time lapse video of a g diaper and a regular disposable in what would be a landfill , it is a great example of why we should consider a more earth friendly alternative to the everyday disposable! After I had gone through two packages of the biodegradables I decided I needed to face my fears because those inserts are not cheap and I really wanted to save them for the times that I needed them.
As I had mentioned before, I had received some of the cloth inserts as baby shower gifts, I had also been given twelve newborn sized prefolds. Prefolds are your basic cloth diapers, the kind you are probably most familiar with. They look like a rectangle of fabric, with thicker layered fabric in the middle. They are often fastened with pins and then used with a diaper cover. I will go into more depth on types of cloth diapers at a later date once I have more experience with them. Prefolds right now, are my absolute favorites and I discovered an even easier way to use them, no pins necessary. I simply folded the sides face down and inserted the prefold into the tiny g pants. I was amazed by how well this worked. I didn't have a single leak when I used this method unless she managed to pee twice before I got her changed (at night if we both fell asleep during or right after a feeding). While the g diaper cloth inserts worked ok, they couldn't compare to the prefolds which held up great against the biggest poops. The cloth inserts left gaps on the sides and if she pooped it leaked in the cover, The tiny g pants hold everything very well however and I still haven't had a leak or blowout.
I truly believe that if everyone knew how easy cloth diapering can be, almost everyone would do it. I have one load of laundry each day and now that it’s nice out I hang my diapers on the line where they can be naturally bleached by the sun. There is something pleasant about hanging your diapers on the line, collecting them and folding them in your baby’s room; it becomes a rather sweet ritual. Many people seem horrified by the poop, but honestly it doesn’t even faze me anymore. Breast milk poop is barely poop in my opinion and it doesn’t have much of a smell either. I just pop the cloth diaper into my washer, turn the cover inside out and fasten the Velcro so that the tabs don’t catch on my bamboo reusable wipes (topic for another time). I do a quick wash on warm and the diapers come out practically like new.
So if you’re considering cloth diapering, I say absolutely go for it! You add about 5 minutes to your day, but save money and resources. You can also feel good about cutting back on a huge negative impact on our environment. Another plus I hadn’t considered is that very few cloth diapered babies ever have diaper rash issues, that alone is a reason to consider cloth diapering, your babies comfort! Give it a try, it will soon become a part of your everyday routine that you enjoy and you will feel good about the positive impact on the environment, your wallet and your baby! Happy cloth diapering!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Thunder Thighs

I always had nice legs, even when I was heavier, my legs still looked great. I relied on my legs as my winning body part. My tummy has never been flat, my arms are chubby and my boobs are a mere b cup, but my legs were nicely toned and always smooth. Until I got pregnant.

Suddenly I had great boobs, but something started happening from my hips down, I got huge. I honestly think half of my weight gain was in my belly and the other half was in my poor legs. One afternoon about seven months in, I made mistake of wearing a skirt on my daily walk. It was warm out and I hadn't thought of the consequences. I wasn't used to my thights making out as I walked and by the time I reached my house they were chaffed,  large raised angry red streaks that burned like crazy. Lucky me, I had experienced this on a particularly chubby summer when I was dragged around Boston by my mother who was looking for Paul Revere or something, so I knew what to do. I applied some baby butt paste to the raw skin and and it was healed by morning. My self esteem however, was still pretty chaffed.

It got worse once I bought a full length mirror. My once smooth brown shapely legs were now pasty lumpy limbs that looked like they had been squeezed into too small sausage casings. They weren't even white, they were a sickly oatmeal color speckled with purple. My knees disappeared into my plump thighs and I had a large vericose vein to the left of the right kneecap. Spider veins showed in whispy little patches on my shins and calves. My legs, were ugly.

I feel like I need to point out that I had an extremely easy pregnancy, I should be grateful that I just had ugly legs instead of unbearable morning sickness or gestational diabetes. Now that the weight is slowly coming off, my legs have begun to shrink. They still look pretty gross though. I recently went through all my non maternity clothes and gazed
longingly at all my mini skirts. I fear they are doomed to stay in the bottom drawer for the next couple years until I decide to give them away to someone younger with nice tan toned legs. Maybe I'm too old for them anyway.

On top of now being unattractive, my legs hurt. They ached from being swollen and supporting my growing belly. If you happen to be in the same boat, here are a couple of things that gave me relief.

Long relaxing soaks in the tub with a cup of epsom salt added to the water, the salt is supposed to reduce swelling and baths are supposed to help draw out retained water in your body. I also added about two tablespoons of almond oil to the bathwater as well, it moisturized my skin and just made bathtime feel a little more luxurious. You can get an eight ounce bottle for about three dollars at most natural food stores.

Pedicures are amazing, although my feet and ankles never became swollen it was still heavenly to have them massaged and pampered. Most places also give calf massages and that alone was worth the money. I have never been one to pay someone to paint my toenails, but this was my one indulgance during my pregnancy. Now that Kitty is here, I fantasize about pedicures, it's going to be awhile before I get another one I'm sure.

Something I wish I had discovered while pregnant is Burts Bees Mama Bee Leg & Foot Creme. I used some recently and it is extremely relieving on my still swollen limbs. It has peppermint oil and rosemary leaf extract and is delightfully tingly and cool about five minutes after it is applied. The only downside is that it smells how I imagine a hospital in the 1920's must have smelled. I can't explain it better than that, go buy a tube, you'll get what I'm saying. It might also be irritating to you if you are sensitive to peppermint oil. I was surprised by how intense it was, my eyes stung a bit for just a minute, then I was totally paranoid about getting any on Kitty...but still worth it just for how refreshing it is.

As the weather has become warmer and warmer I am still suffering from the chubby chaffing, I have been told I will get used to it. My reply to that was, "I better not get used to it." So here's hoping my legs someday return to their former loveliness, preferably by Septemeber because I have two weddings to attend and the dresses I purchased for the occasions are on the shorter side. That is, if I even fit into the dresses by then, but that is another blog entirely.