Saturday, September 26, 2009

Ivey's diapers

Cloth diapering a newborn... Not everything has worked the way we thought it would. Our plan was to go the cheap route until Ivey was big enough to wear the Bumgenius and Bumkins diapers we already had from Suzi's diaper days. We went here and got two Bummis Super Brites and a Prorap, along with a bunch of Indian prefolds and a two-pack of Snappis.


1) Ivey kicked her little legs and screamed so much during changes that it was unpleasant to get a prefold situated with a Snappi and then put the cover on. Not to mention nearly impossible, especially in the dark at 3 am.

2) The prefolds were big and bulky. We had to fold them up in the back so they'd fit in the cover. The first time we got one on her, it looked so funny. I started to nurse her and as I held her on her side, her little legs stuck straight out, unable to touch due to the incredible bulk between them. It obviously wasn't comfortable, and before the cord stump fell off it was the worst!

3) It was a pain to get the cloth diaper all stuffed inside the cover. If you have any cloth hanging out of the cover you can have leaks.

4) Ivey pees. It's shocking sometimes to hold one of her wet diapers and feel how heavy it is! Suzi never peed so much! Unlike disposables with a gel core, cloth diapers have a limit of how much pee they can hold. When this limit is exceeded, even the best cloth diaper will leak. And our cloth diapers were not the best. We were changing them way more often than we wanted to, especially at night.

5) We sometimes placed pocket diaper inserts into the cover, and this worked, but we only had a few inserts that were small enough. When we ran out we were left with those too-bulky prefolds again.

6) I suspect we simply should have bought more. In those first few days, Ivey required so many changes during a time when we were least able to focus on laundry. I think it's a good idea to either buy one pack of disposables to tide you over between loads of laundry, have a friend or two over to help with chores, or buy enough newborn-appropriate cloth to last a day or so longer than you'd normally need.

This is how we succumbed to temptation so many times and put disposables on Ivey. The prefolds were clearly not for us, and I wished I'd invested in some fitted diapers like these or at least these. We just hadn't been prepared to spend so much. After a couple of weeks, I was sick of paying $10 for diapers again and again. I was even more sick of seeing dozens of disposable diapers being piled into our trash! What a waste!

1) I asked myself, what is the difference between my two-dollar prefold and the fitted I need? (A bunch of extra fabric.) I searched for ideas and found I decided to make a variation of the quick and easy fitted and the prefold to fitted. My mom helped me, and we started by using a newborn disposable to figure out where to trim the prefold. We cut it in on the sides and also took a couple of inches off the top. Instead of serging the edges, we used binding; I once made a quilt for Suzi and we had some left over. We put elastic inside the binding on the curves for the legs. In the end, we had one plain fitted diaper and one with tabs. We didn't bother with velcro because we had a Snappi. The altered diapers worked much, much better. The prefolds only cost us about $2 each, and even if we'd had to buy supplies they probably wouldn't have cost more than $10.

2) Now that Ivey has gotten a little bigger we have more options. When I was still pregnant I bought some gorgeous, soft bamboo diapers from Ellen, a mom I know from babywearing group. Her business is called Bleu River Bootie. They come in vivid colors and adjust to fit with snaps. My favorite thing about them is the sheer amount of pee they can hold. Ivey is a super soaker, and these haven't leaked on us yet--even without the extra soaker that snaps in when you need it. They are our favorite for nighttime and for daytime outings--anytime when we really, really don't want to deal with a leak.

Since these diapers from Bleu River Bootie (we call them our "Ellen diapers") are not waterproof, we have to use a cover with them. We started with Green Earth covers, Proraps and Bummis Super Brites. I really wanted to love those pretty Bummis covers, but I was a little underwhelmed. The Green Earth covers, which came with the diapers from Ellen, were my favorite and the Proraps came in second--and both were much cheaper. We only had newborn-sized covers, so we recently had to order something bigger.

3) I did some shopping around and finally chose Thirsties Duo Wraps. These only come in two sizes to fit from newborn to toddler, and they snap to adjust. They also come in pretty colors, and they work! A problem we'd had previously was that the covers would leave marks on Ivey's thighs, but these covers are softer and stretchier and we haven't had an issue with it. We ordered two covers in size one, and they worked so well that I've already ordered our size twos. You don't need many because, assuming a blowout hasn't occurred, covers can be used several times before needing to be washed; you just need a fresh fitted diaper or insert.

4) The other main thing we are using is Bumgenius one-sizes. An extraordinarily generous friend gave us a big bag of practically brand new diapers (most of which will be wonderful for when Ivey's a little bigger), and there were two of these in there. The elastic is shot in most of the older ones we had already, but the new ones are great. I am going to try to fix the elastic in the old ones, because they are in okay condition otherwise. These are wonderful but expensive, so unless there's an unbelievable sale, we won't be getting any more.

5) My favorite way to diaper right now for daytime (I think we got the idea from Julie at her cloth diapering Blessingway) is to use a Bumgenius one-size insert inside one of our Thirsties Duo Wraps. This is a lot easier to put on the baby than a prefold or a fitted that snaps. It still allows us to use the cover again most of the time, too. This is a cheap way to diaper! You can buy inserts brand new for about $3.50. If you're diapering a newborn, you could use one or two newborn inserts, which cost only $6 for a three-pack. This is probably what I'll stock up on whenever we have baby #3! (It'd also be nice to try inserts that are cut in ever so slightly between the legs, like these Kissaluvs Super-Soakers, but also short enough for a newborn without needing to be folded. Anyone know of some that fit that description?)

6) About our wipes... We don't have fancy ones like some people, as the store-bought kind are too expensive to tempt me and I haven't had time to make any. But I did learn how to layer our cut up scrap wipes in the container so they pop out conveniently like the store-bought disposable ones. We've been putting our wipes in a water/teeny bit of natural bar soap/couple drops of tea tree oil/squirt of olive oil solution. There's nothing wrong with plain old water, though, and that is what we use sometimes. I do want to make some pretty wipes for when we go out. I have a feeling it would be a simple and satisfying project.

So we've finally found our cloth diapering groove. I had big plans for using elimination communication, but we haven't gotten started with it yet. If you have, please tell me what your first step was and how it worked for you! Also, please share if you have any other ideas to make cloth diapering cheaper or easier (or preferably both).

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Six weeks ago

I don't think I've mentioned yet today how much I loooove her blue eyes.

This time six weeks ago, it had been seven hours since Ivey was born, and I was sitting in my bed at home, too excited to sleep. Between pushes I had told Carey and Jordan that once it was all over, I wanted to take a nap first thing, but after I had Ivey in my arms, I didn't want to sleep. I held my baby and held my baby, and then got on Facebook to brag about it a little. She didn't leave my sight, and even over the past six weeks she barely has. I feel completely recovered, and I feel better than I did six weeks after Suzi was born.

I can't believe that six weeks after Suzi's birth I was headed back to work already. It was just wrong. I should've been with my baby. I was a little worried that I'd go nuts staying at home all the time, but it's getting better and better. Recovering at home with two little ones was tough, but now that I'm back to normal I actually love being home to clean and take care of the girls all day! I'm where I'm supposed to be.

I took some pictures holding Ivey in the same place I took my belly shots before.

Also got a picture of the girls together.

Then I changed Ivey into a pretty pink dress and thought I'd take some more, but...

not so much.

We went for a walk today and Suzi picked some flowers. This is Suzi all the time, running around with a handful of flowers, sticks, rocks, or whatever else she can find to play with.

It's been a good six weeks.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

All tangled up

Today my friend Megan called and asked if Suzi, Ivey and I wanted to meet her and her son Aiden at the library for storytime. The library is not far at all from our house, and we got there right on time, which was a miracle. Ivey enjoyed hearing the songs and stories while riding in our Storchenwiege wrap, pictured below. I stood in the back and did the Mommy Dance while she looked out the window. Suzi and Aiden listened to the songs and stories and then colored a picture. Then we checked out some books to read.

Pictures taken with a webcam, which is why they are grainy.

I have been trying to figure out a weekly schedule, and I think the library storytime might be the first thing I put on it. It's every Tuesday and Thursday, but you only go to one or the other. Tuesdays are better for us, because by Thursday we're usually scrambling to clean house or get something prepared for the weekend. I am going to use the Yahoo calendar for now to save me from making one myself, and add in the things that happen every week.

And the Storchenwiege wrap... I just love it. When I bought it a few months ago (it was on sale and too good to pass up) I was intimidated by its non-stretchiness, but I knew Julie would help me figure it out, and with a little practice it's now as easy to use as my Moby Wraps. It reminds me of fall leaves. And evidently, it reminds Ivey of how sleepy she is :-) The other day Suzi saw me carrying Ivey in the wrap and, with a concerned look, asked Ivey, "you all tangled up?"

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Yay for synchronized napping

Suzi sleeping through the end of The Little Mermaid

Ivey napping in the recliner (I don't leave her unattended)

Just as The Little Mermaid was ending, I looked up from rocking my little girl to sleep to find that my big girl had nodded off as well. What luck! We had a rough morning... Crying, crying, and more crying (I couldn't seem to please Ivey), plus a sinkful of nasty dishes. Now the dishes are done, the girls are bathed, and they are dressed in orange and ready for the game tonight! We are watching it over at my parents' house with some friends.

I am now taking a break and having a little local honey on crackers to try and fix the allergies we have all been enjoying lately. Suzi has had it bad. She hates the feeling of her nose dripping, but equally hates wiping it a million times because it gets sore. She loves her frog humidifier though. Last night she insisted the mist coming out was "fireworks," and then she cranked it up to high until large clouds were billowing down for her to play in. I can't complain because I'm pretty sure I used to do the same thing.

I need to mention, for my own future reference, that caring for a newborn is tough. I think I forgot how hard it was with Suzi, as those sleep-deprived memories faded and were replaced with happier ones when she began to spend more time smiling, laughing, and playing. Ivey cries a lot, though. And her cry isn't a soft girly one like Suzi's was. Ivey's cry is like a siren. We also do not have the benefit of letting her suck to comfort herself. Last time, we gave Suzi a paci and it messed up our breastfeeding relationship with nipple confusion. This time I intended to let Ivey comfort nurse, but my milk supply is a lot heavier and she gets quite aggravated when she just wants to suck and instead keeps getting milk. Then she spits up all over herself and us. I wasn't expecting this; Suzi used to comfort nurse for an hour or more with no problem. It was pretty much all I needed to calm her down. Ivey is a bit harder to please, but usually one of the S's will do it; most often shushing, and if that doesn't work I try swaddling and side-lying coupled with jiggling. She likes the wrap or sling, but wants me (or Jordan) to keep moving when she's in it.

It's a challenge, but then the clouds part and everybody's happy for a minute and I think, this was definitely a great idea.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Driving the invisible car

This is my favorite baby outfit right now. It has an adorable ruffle across the butt, and Ivey looks sooo cute and cuddly in it. It was a consignment sale find. The girls' fall wardrobes are all washed and organized in their closet. We got most of their clothes at the consignment sale and then picked up a few more things at Goodwill's 50% off day on Sunday.

Poor Suzi is suffering from allergies. Hoarse voice, watery eyes, runny nose... She will be getting her way lots today. Right now she is watching "the puppies" (101 Dalmatians).

Soon I need to post about how we are coming with cloth diapering. And tightwaddery. Also need to take more pictures.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Best way to get started in the morning

Ivey enjoying a nap in the Moby; this was taken a few days ago

I'm getting the hang of this stay-at-home mom of two thing. This morning I dragged myself out of bed about 30 minutes early. I got a shower and then went downstairs to eat breakfast and drink coffee. I am so much more fun to be around when I'm not hungry and after coffee I am upbeat, even. Knowing that Suzi would be waking up before too long, I got a head start on her breakfast. I put some cheese on a piece of bread and stuck it in the toaster oven and got her some fresh water in her cup. When she woke up, all I had to do was push the button on the toaster and peel her a boiled egg. It only took a minute. Jordan got up a little early too, and he had time to pack himself a sandwich for lunch before leaving for work right on time. Suzi slept late, which gave me even more extra time, so I did laundry. Now she is playing with Play-Doh. This is definitely the best way to begin in the morning!

Pictures of the girls...

Oh no, where is Suzi?!?

There she is! (Don't you just feel sorry for the poor little deprived girl? We should buy her a few more toys, right?)

Ivey and Nana (Jordan's mom) dressed up for gameday

Monday, September 7, 2009

What I want to do right now

This is a list of my short-term goals--things I'd like to accomplish within a few months. They are what I'd like to do with my stay-at-home momhood, which is so new and exciting to me. Later I will do a post about my long-term (life) goals.

1) Learn to cook. Jordan is the cook in this family. For some reason, I never learned how to do much in the kitchen. I'd like to start by getting a few healthy, simple recipes that I can follow without screwing up. I need things I can throw together in a hurry so I won't be tempted to buy convenience food. I'd like to figure out how much of these things to fix so we'll have a couple of rounds of leftovers or a little extra to freeze. Once I have this under control, I can branch out and have more fun with cooking. I hear it's gratifying to cook and see how nice it turns out when you're done, but to tell the truth, this hasn't happened to me a whole lot!
2) Get a schedule going. I'd like to designate one day a week to do certain things. Perhaps one day I could let Suzi have Grandma and Grandpa Day and I could go grocery shopping. (taking her and Ivey to the store alone for a lengthy shopping trip would surely end in an embarrassing tantrum.) Then I could have cooking day, cleaning day, and laundry day. I'd also like to have Suzi day--one day when I can just relax and do something with Suzi that we'll both enjoy. Which leads me to #3...
3) Spend more time with Suzi. I spend all day with her most of the time, but I am not focused on her the whole day. Now that I have Ivey, I need to put more effort into making time for Suzi. To start, I'd like to clear one day a week to do things with her. It wouldn't mean not getting anything else done. Suzi enjoys helping me bake (if I let her stir). Instead of putting on a video and trying to get things done while she watches, I could let her help me. It would take longer, but it would be fun and she would learn. Suzi also needs to get out of the house more. I want to take her to the park and on walks somewhere other than in the neighborhood. I want to schedule playdates. What do you do with your two-year-olds? I need some ideas!
4) Have more patience. I have an infant and a two-year-old and not enough sleep. Patience has never been my strong suit. I need to work on this. Slow to anger... Slow to anger... Slow to anger...
5) Stay on top of things. I am a binge cleaner. I wait around until the house is a total disaster, no one has any clean clothes left to wear, and if the doorbell rang I'd break out in a cold sweat. Then, either when I can't stand it anymore or company is coming, I clean until I nearly collapse. By the time I finish I'm too burned out to keep things maintained, so the cycle repeats. I hate this. I want to do FlyLady's 27 Fling Boogie. I want to do the dishes every day and clean the fridge out regularly so we don't have science projects in there.
6) Find new ways to save. We have pared down our spending and are pleased with ourselves, but we can always improve. I want to learn how to make the most of coupon shopping. I want to figure out even more things we can cut out of our monthly budget--preferably things we won't really miss. We are doing okay already, but Jordan and I both enjoy finding ways to save money and it will help us with our goals of paying off our van early and building up our savings. Another read-through of the Tightwad Gazette books will help, and I'm always reading frugality-focused blogs and articles.
7) Learn to make more things. I enjoy sewing, but in the past I haven't found much time to do it. I want to learn to make gifts, and also clothes and things for the girls. This will help with saving money, too. What I need is to pick a few projects, get the directions and items I need, and find time to do it. Trial and error will help me get where I want to be. I learn by doing--and, frequently, by doing it wrong and finding a better way.

I will let you know how I'm doing on these.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Mopey Dopey

Last night I sat on the couch and wallowed in my post-baby bad mood. It was a combination of...

1) Even my "fat pants" are too tight. I just had a baby so this is about what one might expect. Still, who wants to try on any pants and find out they're too tight? Not me! I am so ready to start getting into shape.

2) The house is not organized, despite my best efforts to prepare ahead of time while I was pregnant. The house was so neat and clean and I felt on top of things, and then there was the birth. Now we've got a bunch of birth stuff lying around that we haven't had time to put away. Ivey keeps spitting up and pooping and peeing all over her clothes, our clothes, our bedsheets... It's a lot of extra laundry, but it is getting better. We are learning the finer points of cloth diapering a newborn, and Ivey and I are both figuring out when to say when during feedings (which helps with the spitting up).

3) I don't feel like I've been the greatest mom to Suzi. She's two. She needs to run around and be noisy and messy. In this heat, though, it isn't easy to spend a lot of time outside. I'm not ready to go on long walks yet, either. This leaves us indoors most of our days, and I frequently find myself fussing at her to not wake the baby up (by drumming loudly on tables with various toys and household objects, singing and yelling, etc). Besides, I have less patience when I haven't gotten much sleep the night before. She's been spending a lot of time over at Grandma and Grandpa's, and that's nice, but I want her to have fun at our house, too. I need to figure out some activities she'd enjoy that I can facilitate while wearing Ivey in the wrap, and then make time to do them. (Any ideas???)

4) I read this post, which I loved. It's about a class that encourages people to put their wildest dreams into writing. What you'd like to do with your life, even though it may seem impossible. The idea is that if you don't recognize your dreams, you certainly won't ever achieve them. I started thinking about all the things I've wanted to do with my life. Right now, I am doing what I want to do. I'm staying at home with my two girls. By the time I die, though, I'd love to be able to say I did everything I could do, or was meant to do. It's not that raising children is not a big deal or isn't enough for me, but what if while I was doing that I could have helped people, and missed my chance? I got excited about doing a blog on this topic and listing my dreams, which I still plan to do. Then I kept thinking (bad idea) and worked my way down to the old what's the point of life if you have goals and never achieve them, and finally circled back around to the children are just going to grow up and leave us, blah blah blah. Stupid, right? I mean really. Jordan gave me a hug and pointed out that just raising our kids is a major life accomplishment, as they will grow up and you never know what important things they might do. And then he reminded me I am only 25 and still have a few years to get other stuff done. Heh. That's true.

Even though I had a bad night yesterday, it was fleeting. This time has been better than last time by a mile. This time I look down at my chubby little baby while I'm nursing her and feel joy instead of paranoia. I may be tired, but I know I'm capable. I have everything I need to be a good mom to both my girls, and now all I lack is practice--which I will get.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

This is going to take practice

Ivey and Carey, our midwife who caught her. This was taken 12 days after her birth.

Today was my first try at taking both the girls somewhere by myself. We went to our babywearing meeting. Everything seemed to be going well at first. I got Ivey out of her car seat and then walked around to get Suzi out on the other side. Then I grabbed my purse, the baby bag, and our Moby Wrap so I could get help with it at the meeting. I had Suzi carry her doll. Then, oops, I didn't have any wipes except for the ones in the big container in the van so I had to carry a couple of loose wet wipes in my hand to avoid taking the box in. And the Moby Wrap kept wanting to drag the ground when I walked, but on the plus side Suzi was being so sweet and wasn't trying to run into traffic or anything. She obediently held my hand in the parking lot and waited patiently as I opened the door of the library. Then we walked up the hall and I opened the door to the meeting room just a crack, said hi to everybody, and tried to open the door wide enough for Suzi to go past me.

Except... clunk! I thought Suzi was right behind me, but for some reason she'd wandered over behind the door when I wasn't looking, and when I pushed the door back I knocked her in the head. Crap. So on our first outing together I nearly knocked my daughter down with a door and made her cry. I clumsily coaxed her through the doorway so I could look at her head and ask if she was okay and apologize about ten times. She forgave me and, after a few minutes of sitting in my lap next to her baby sister, went to play with the other kids (and their toys). I'm going to have to buy her a Magna Doodle.

I should have taken some pictures today, but I didn't. My hands were full most of the time and a good opportunity just didn't present itself, so I thought I'd share the above picture of Ivey and Carey. It was nice to see everyone at the meeting though. Julie and Carey helped me figure out how to go from a regular newborn carry to breastfeeding in the Moby. Yay! The Moby may have just become my new favorite carrier, even over the Maya Wrap Ring Sling. We'll see.

Now both girls are asleep--the little one in my lap and the big one on the couch, all worn out from playing this morning. I am drinking coffee in the middle of the day and blogging in peace.
I love babywearing meetings.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Real men wear lavender

The other day when Ivey was crying and could no longer console herself by breastfeeding, Jordan picked up our Moby Wrap and asked me to help him "get this thing on." This particular wrap is lavender, but he didn't let that deter him. Now he's more practiced than I am at using the wrap, and he frequently carries Ivey in it to give me a break (she wants to be held a lot). Sometimes he even does housework at the same time.

We went to our local consignment sale recently and realized when we got out of the van that both our girls were asleep--yay! We put Suzi in the umbrella stroller and switched it to the recline position, and then Jordan carried Ivey in the Moby Wrap (we have another one that's black and green, which he prefers). I got to shop until I was tired without so much as a peep out of the girls. We got so many great deals! My Jordy is awesome and I love to see him bonding with our babies.

So, guys, don't write off wraps just because you think it's a girl thing. Wear your baby in that wrap! It may feel embarrassing to you, but it's sexy to your wife.