Monday, September 15

How We Do Cloth Diapers


I have a number of family and friends who are pregnant right now, and many of them want to know about our experience cloth diapering. So I'm sure some of you out there may be interested as well, or know someone you can share this information with. We knew we wanted to use cloth diapers, and I had been researching the options even before I was pregnant, so I had an idea of what was out there, but it was so overwhelming! In the haze of pregnancy, I spent an evening on the verge of tears on the phone with my mom stressing about diapers. I confessed to her I was more concerned about how we were going to cover baby's butt than the whole process of getting him out. HA! Yes, pregnancy hormones are a real thing and they are nothing to be messed with. The fog cleared and I went with my original plan. I'll get right down to business and if you want more detail, read on.

24 Size Newborn Cloth-eez Prefolds
12 Size Small Cloth-eez Prefolds
14 BumGenius 4.0 Snap Diapers
Cloth wipes I made with flannel

~I washed the Prefolds & Covers with Purex Free & Clear. Warm pre-wash, Hot wash with detergent, extra rinse. Hung the covers and wet bags to dry, everything else in the dryer on Perm Press.
~I wash the BumGenius diapers with Nellie's All Natural Laundry Soda. Cold pre-wash, Hot wash with detergent, extra rinse. Hang the diapers to dry and wet bags to dry, everything else in the dryer on Perm Press.
~If there are a number of extra nasty diapers, I will add a little detergent to the pre-wash cycle.
~If a diaper is still poop colored after washing, an afternoon in the sun removes the stain.
~I do diaper laundry about every other day. When I get down to two clean diapers, I wash. Sometimes the timing is weird and we supplement one of the prefolds or a spare disposable.

~The Duo Wraps dry within a couple hours, quicker if they are in the sun or a breezy spot. In a pinch I've thrown them in the dryer for just a couple minutes.
~The BumGenius diapers dry in an afternoon outside or overnight inside. We have a cool drying rack my dad found that fits them all and works great.
~The wet bags take longer to dry indoors - a day or two, but they are always ready by the time we need one.

If that's all the info you wanted, carry on. If you would like to know more, here you go….

We used disposables for the first two weeks. The real concern was getting through the nasty meconium stage. If you absolutely want to use cloth from the start, I'd recommend a disposable liner so that the tar poop doesn't ruin your diapers.

**SIDE NOTE** Our midwife gave us the most spectacular advice: Rub coconut oil on baby's bum during diaper changes and the meconium will slide right off. It's true! No need to use multiple wipes to scrape that stuff off, oil up that bum and get on with your day. **

1 month

Around two weeks old we started the cloth diapers. We used Cloth-eez Prefolds from Green Mountain Diaper in the Newborn size. Liam was back up to birth weight of 7 lbs, 11 oz at that time and the newborn size fit until he was about 11 lbs + at 2 months. At that point we were also using the Small size in the mix for nights and naps when he needed more absorbency. We used Thirsties Duo Wrap covers in Size One with all the prefolds.

**SIDE NOTE** If you go the disposable path, do yourself a favor and get a couple of the Duo Wraps. It's like a rite of passage in parenthood to clean up a blow-out but it's not necessary! We don't have problems with the cloth diapers but I don't trust the disposables we use while traveling. So we put a Duo Wrap over the disposable and voila! - no blow-outs. And trust me, there have been a bunch of diapers that would have completely ruined Liam's outfit and spoiled the day of whoever was holding him at the time. Totally worth the $12 investment to grab a couple of them, plus they look cute. **

2 month

When Liam hit 2 months old and was over 11 lbs, we switched him to BumGenius 4.0 snap diapers. He probably could have started those sooner, but the prefolds were still doing their job and I needed to buy different detergent for the BumGeniuses so I was waiting. We love these diapers! I would happily do prefolds for the rest of his diapering life, but the biggest improvement with the BumGenius is the moisture wicking liner fabric - the inserts can be soaked through but Liam's buns stay nice and dry. The snap adjustments make it easy to get a good fit and they are as easy to change as disposables. The adjustments also mean Liam can wear these diapers until he is ready for the big boy potty. Awesome!

We use the normal insert during the day and add the additional newborn insert for bedtime sleeping. I haven't had issues with absorbency, but the beauty of our diaper system is that if Liam ever needs something extra inside the diaper, his old prefolds work just like another insert.

4 month

Today I decided to adjust the rise on the height of the diapers. Liam is 4 months old and over 15 lbs with chubby thighs. BumGenius recommends changing to the middle rise around 16 lbs but it can vary depending on the size and shape of every baby, so Liam seems to be falling right in line with that. You can see in that picture above how it is pulling a little in the middle - time to extend!

Before he was born, I put my serger to good use and made 50 cloth wipes from leftover flannel. I just cut squares about 8X8 and serged the edges. I made some double sided, but the single ply has worked just fine. If you are cloth diapering, it only makes sense to use cloth wipes - you just throw them right in with the rest of the laundry and never run out. You can purchase cloth wipes or use wash cloths, but making them was really simple and free for me.

We keep a squirt bottle with water next to his change pad to wet the wipes. When he was younger we would spray right on the wipe, but now Liam gets a kick out of spraying his bum. I tried an aloe, tea tree, soap mixture, but something in that seemed to irritate his bottom so we have just been using water. Most experts recommend water for the first few months anyway to keep the sensitive skin happy.

We use two wet bags in rotation .. one gets washed with the diapers and hung to dry while the other one starts the cycle of filling up with diapers over again. They contain the stink and keep things dry. We had intentions of hanging them up but couldn't find a good spot or system, so they just sit between the dresser and trashcan on the ground and that has worked well for four months so I assume we'll just keep it that way.

Did I miss anything? Do you have any questions? Do you now know more about cloth diapers than you ever wanted to? Great! Not a super interesting post, but hopefully helpful!

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Friday, September 5

A New Season


My poor, abandoned blog.. last updated in the beginning of spring, over five months ago, and now here we are approaching fall. It's not only a new season on the calendar, but a new season in our life as well.


Our little Liam was born on May 8, 2014. He started as the sweetest, cutest, most perfect newborn you've ever seen (oh, perhaps I am a little biased) and now he is a sweet, spunky, perfect almost-four-month-old. I can't believe how the time flies!

   

The first few months were filled with lots of family, traveling adventures, and a bit of slowing down to get to know our new little man. In his short life, Liam has already traveled to four states and through even more.

    

He's been on eight airplanes, one on which the captain invited him to sit in the cockpit. He went to sleep away camp, attended a wedding, and even spent a week camping and lounging on the beach.

    

Things have calmed down since then and we are all getting back into the groove of life at home before our next adventure. I'm trying to get back into old habits like sewing and quilting and, as evidenced here, blogging.

    

In what felt like overnight, Liam turned into a napping champion (jinxing myself here, I realize) and I suddenly have a chunk of hours in a day to get things done. So let's see what happens, I'm not promising anything, but I hope to keep up best I can. 
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Saturday, March 29

Preparing

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of baby preparations. Immediately after he returned from a three week tour of Australia, Curt & I took a long weekend to visit our families in Michigan and had the pleasure of attending two baby showers hosted by my family. It was so nice to see many of our loved ones and see the excitement and love they already have for our baby. We are so blessed to have tight knit families who support us, even if it is from a distance most of the time. 


Last weekend my parents arrived and after a few splendid hours of sunshine, we headed off to our frIends' house for a fabulous party to celebrate their new books. It was a lot of fun and Jessica always throws the best get-togethers. 



The next day I had a surprise party of my own with my work friends to celebrate the baby & my birthday. They snuck into the house and decorated the whole place with the cutest poms, streamers, and balloons. Fatemeh made that gorgeous cake complete with sparkler candles. A couple long distance friends made the trek to our house and I couldn't have asked for a sweeter gathering. 

The rest of the week was spent finally getting the nursery ready for Baby. My dad painted the room, transforming it from boring tan to a calming greige. Curt refinished an old dresser, a project that has been in the works for a few months but was stalled by cold weather and multiple tours. My mom painted a thrifted baby glider and helped me make and upholster new cushions. 


Among the smaller details, this birch tie-back I've had in my head and my dad was able to construct. There are still a few things to finish - hanging shelves and art, creating a mobile out of more birch branches, putting the crib together (it should arrive this week), maybe replacing a table lamp, and adding the little finishing touches. We still have about seven weeks until Baby is due to arrive, but it feels so good to have most of the nursery ready and I know those weeks will fly by. 

I got up early this morning to see my parents off, throw in a load of laundry, and crawl back into bed. Curt snuck out at some point to get his sister and her friend from the airport while I slept in for the first time in a few weeks. I usually hear him get up and ready but I was so tired I slept through it all and woke up to find the last few bites of this amazing chai French toast waiting for me on my bedside. I realize once Baby comes that my days of sleeping in will be long gone, so I am trying to soak in as many as possible when I have the chance. 

I'm also taking the day to sit back and relax for the first time in a while and do nothing all day. The drizzly weather and constant stream of hot tea is enhancing the laziness as we work our way through our DVR. All the while trying to make a dent in my latest library book. What are you doing this weekend? 

Monday, March 10

Sensing Spring







Spring is coming! Can you feel it? Here in Nashville we are looking forward to temperatures in the 70's. I know it's only a fleeting warmth and they are talking about a chance of snow later this week, but for a few days I can pretend we are well on our way to warmer weather.

Cold weather makes me want to knit - there's something about bundling up on the couch with that warm wooly project in my lap. But thoughts of spring make me think of bright colors. I got the bug in my head to dye some brightly colored yarn and I couldn't let it go. So I stocked up on Kool-Aid and got to work. I dyed two skeins of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes and one superwash wool blend sock yarn from Joann's. I love the way they turned out - all those speckled colors like the first signs of spring poking out from the ground.

I don't know what I'm going to knit with these yet, but they will probably turn into something for the baby. I tried to keep the colors relatively neutral, but who doesn't love a baby boy or girl in bright colors? I can't wait to see how these knit up and I will definitely be attempting this speckling technique again. Until I find the proper projects I will just continue looking at the yarns and dreaming of warmer weather and all the pretty colors it brings.

Friday, February 21

This Week



This week was very long. Monday was the epitome of Mondays - I wasn't feeling great and work was crazy and I knew Tuesday was right around the corner. Because Tuesday we had to wake up at 4am, which greeted us with a dense fog covering the neighborhood. Apparently we live in a valley because as soon as we hit the highway, visibility was clear. The early morning gave me a chance to catch up on a bunch of things at work and then I visited the mothership to pick up some fabric and plans for a new quilt project. 

Wednesday brought another day of work as well as a box full of yarn. The grocery store didn't have what I needed for dinner (what a pain!) so they gave me a $10 gift card for the inconvenience (how nice!) By the time I got home, I was exhausted from the last few days and all I could muster after a late dinner was some easy knitting and Olympic watching. I cast-on a lightweight sweater for the baby with my new yarn and I love the way it looks so far.

Thursday brought 70 degree weather and a new outlook on the week. I had a baby appointment in the morning and everything checked out. Listening to the heartbeat never gets old and I love to know that all our levels and stats are where they should be. We found a foot and the baby rump, but the overall position was a bit of a mystery to the midwife. That little bony butt made an appearance Wednesday night while I was trying to relax on the couch - rumbling back and forth across the top of my belly. My mom was concerned to hear her grandbaby is already twerking! 

After my appointment I set to work drafting a pattern for the new project I mentioned above. It wasn't as straight forward as we had hoped, but after a lot of math and a bit of a redesign, I made it work. I use my middle school geometry and algebra a lot when quilting, so thanks to those teachers. I'm sorry I don't remember your names.

After enjoying open windows all day, the evening brought in severe weather complete with tornado sirens and uninterrupted weather coverage. I retreated to our only "safe place" - the downstairs half bath. Which is not the most comfortable place to spend half an hour. Knitting on the toilet is also not the easiest, but I managed to get a few rows in while the storm passed.

Which brings us to Friday. I'll work on the quilt for a bit, teach my piano lesson, run some errands, and see what the rest of the day holds. The storm brought a cold front through, but this weekend looks to be a bit warmer and I hope I can open up the windows again and enjoy the fresh air while I work.

Sunday, February 16

Newborn Knits


After years of knitting socks, I have acquired quite a stash of tiny leftover balls of yarn. I've used them for different projects, but I have a new favorite: The newborn hat! 


Oh yeah, and tiny socks. 


The beauty of baby knits is how fast they knit, how little yarn they use, and how sweet they look. I have knit a few already and have more on the way. 


This little rainbow duty is made from many different sock yarns. I just knit a few color repeats of each and then tied on the next one. 

The pattern I am using is called the Easy Peasy Newborn Sock Hat and here is a link to my project on Ravelry

Saturday, February 8

All of Them





In an attempt to get control of, and use up, my yarn stash, I took all those odd bits of leftover cotton yarn and wound them into new assorted balls. Some people in the knitting community call it a magic cake, I think it's more of a magic onion because each layer brings a new surprise color. Some of the balls were completely random - I just reached over and blindly grabbed the next color. Others, like some above, were selected with a bit more thought, combining like colors or themes - ie, all muted colors, or all bright colors together. 

I knitted and crocheted a few dishcloths from these surprise balls and I love the fun, scrappy feel they bring to my kitchen. Some are hideous and some are pretty, but they all wash dishes just the same and they all used up a small part of my overflowing stash. I can knit a whole dishcloth out of a little less than one of these balls, so I just tie those leftovers on to the next ball and start all over again. I plan to keep going until I completely run out of cotton yarn and then comes the real fun - restocking! 

As I knit each new color section, I remember the original recipient of many of the original dishcloths - specific colors for specific people - moms, aunts, grandmas, cousins, friends... It's nice to think a little part of their kitchen is also in my home. These scrappy versions are very much like a scrappy quilt made with all the cherished leftovers and memories, which also happen to be some of my favorite quilts. 

I plan to spend my weekend knitting some more scrappy dishcloths while watching the Olympics. We caught a bit of the snowboarding qualifiers last night and it was so exciting to see the patriotism and competitive spirit in the athletes! I hope you have a great weekend and Go Team USA! 

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