Friday, April 30, 2010

And Now Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

The past couple of days I have digressed into my Scientist Mode. Whenever there is a question I need to answer, I look for Research.

Today we are back to normal ... photos of me and the Wee One!

Every year at this time (Derby Week) her daycare has a Derby Parade for the children in their care. Last Thursday I signed the first permission slip for a "field trip" for their Derby Parade and brought in a t-shirt to be tie-dyed.

When I arrived, the caregivers were getting the little ones settled in the buggy.

When she saw me, she wanted nothing to do with riding. Mommy, carry me!

So I did. First self-portrait:

Her other friends in their tie-dyed shirts in the buggy.

Grandpa came!

Getting lined up:

Second self-portrait:

Each room of children did something different to prepare for the parade. The preschoolers made Derby hats. One group made silks like the jockeys wear. Unfortunately it turned off rather chilly, so they had to wear jackets to cover up their outfits.

The big kids got to bring bikes, big wheels, or even a 4-wheeler to ride in the parade:

Some of the little ladies wore beautiful hats:

(I'm telling ya, I gotta find a great Derby hat for my girl):

The parade went down one side of the street on the sidewalk, crossed the street, came back up the other side on the sidewalk, crossed again, and then we entered a large office building adjacent to the daycare center. They knew we were coming, and as the children paraded in, 6 floors of workers clapped and cheered and enjoyed our spectacle.

Final self-portrait:

By then the whole room of toddlers were ready for naps. I snagged the rocker and nursed my girl until she was almost asleep, then got her the rest of the way asleep in her crib before I slipped back to the daily grind.

My baby's first field trip was great fun for Mommie!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sleep Studies

Yesterday I did a post citing some primary research on the effect of tv on infants. In doing the research for that post, I came across some articles on the effect of tv and infant sleep.

Sleep is an issue for us. I have been mentally preparing myself for "when I'm off" because that means the start of sleep training.

I have been instilling very bad habits in her, in order to cope and be functional for work. That excuse goes out the window in about two weeks, and I no longer have any reason to continue the actions that keep her (and I) from sleeping well.

In preparation for our "sleep training", I have been reading. I have three books coming that I ordered from Amazon, all guaranteed to have my baby sleeping through the night in no time.

I happened to notice, when my research on tv and my research on sleep converged, that the author of one study is also the author of one of the books I ordered, a book that came highly raved and recommended by a good friend.

So today, with just a few minutes between classes, I look further into the studies published by her.

The first one I look at is a recent publication (last year) on the benefits of a bedtime routine on the sleep duration and night wakings of infants and toddlers. The abstract sounds great.

RESULTS: The bedtime routine resulted in significant reductions in problematic sleep behaviors for infants and toddlers. Significant improvements were seen in latency to sleep onset and in number/duration of night wakings, P < 0.001. Sleep continuity increased and there was a significant decrease in the number of mothers who rated their child's sleep as problematic.


CONCLUSION: These results suggest that instituting a consistent nightly bedtime routine, in and of itself, is beneficial in improving multiple aspects of infant and toddler sleep, especially wakefulness after sleep onset and sleep continuity, as well as maternal mood.

The article is one of the few that are free, so I pull up the full article and look for this magic bedtime procedure that works so well in the study.

The procedure:

the mothers were instructed to institute a nightly 3-step bedtime routine for a 2-week period that included a bath (using a provided wash product), a massage (using a provided massage product), and quiet activities (e.g., cuddling, singing lullaby), with lights out within 30 minutes of the end of the bath. All mothers were provided with the same products in unmarked containers. Mothers continued to put their child to bed as they normally did, whether they put their child to bed awake or stayed with their child until asleep (e.g., rocked to sleep).

Hmmm ... unmarked containers? No consistency in the *how* of putting them to sleep? Only that they all use the same product? In unmarked containers.

Scroll down to find ...
This study was supported by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc. Dr. Mindell has consulted for and participated in speaking engagements for Johnson & Johnson. The other authors are employees of Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc.

Disclosure is a good thing. You know those purple bottles of J&J Nighttime Bath stuff that says "clinically proven" to help your child sleep? This study is the clinical proof.

But I have been giving Wee One a bath with this magic stuff since she was about 9 weeks old. Every night she gets a bath with the stuff. Most nights she gets a massage with the other stuff. Then she gets put to sleep the random way we do it, which is nursing. So this study didn't help me much.

Another study that isn't free on the web (and probably wasn't sponsored by J&J either) studied "behavioral interventions" and found:
The findings indicate that behavioral therapies produce reliable and durable changes. Across all studies, 94% report that behavioral interventions were efficacious, with over 80% of children treated demonstrating clinically significant improvement that was maintained for 3 to 6 months.

The study
provides strong support for unmodified extinction and preventive parent education. In addition, support is provided for graduated extinction, bedtime fading/positive routines, and scheduled awakenings.

Hmmm. I wish I knew what all that stuff meant that works so good to make your baby sleep. Wish I had access to the full-length journal. Guess I'm field tripping to the university library this weekend.

All in my quest for a full night's sleep.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

On Television and Infants

When I was very newly pregnant, I surfed the website for the American Academy of Pediatrics. While there, I learned that their policy is that infants under the age of two should not be exposed to television. I liked the idea of no tv for my little one. I thought about instituting such a rule to everyone who may come in contact with her. The No TV Rule.

Then I thought about Real Life.

I did decide to try to minimize the amount of TV she would be exposed to, but I was realistic about eliminating it altogether. Especially since we moved in with my parents for a period of time, and they are very used to having the tv on, even if noone is in the room to watch it. My dad turns on the tv and then starts reading the newspaper. It very much is the background noise at their house.

But something has stuck with me about TV and my little one. I sometimes wish I had instituted The Rule, wish that it had somehow been easier to eliminate TV from her life. We watch very little TV when she and I are home alone. I don't ever try to do reading or playtime with the TV on in the background. My DVR is full of the shows that I never watch anymore since I tend to go to sleep when she does now. So it's not like she gets THAT much.

But maybe its still TOO much?

I toured a daycare center Monday that has scheduled TV time written into their schedule for their one-year-old room. I was shocked. Pediatricians across the country recommend no tv, and yet you have it scheduled for the little ones in your care?

Oh, but they were watching Baby Einstein. I don't think that helps. There is a huge controversy among parents that led Disney to refunding money and recalling the videos. Apparently some of these parents were under the false impression their child would receive some benefit from being parked in front of a video. Yes, I want my child exposed to classical music. I don't have to have the video on when that happens.

I started doing some research, and it makes me feel even worse. Here is a summary.

A study was released last month in Pediatrics, that found that television watching in infancy does not help develop language or visual motor skills. (Link is to abstract in PubMed). This is the study that has been in the news recently, as it is the most recent to be published. A similar study found that children watching baby videos actually have fewer words and poorer language development. (Link is to abstract at Center on Media and Child Health.) The authors of the most recent study have another article that examines the effect of background tv, and finds that attention to toy play is shorter even when the children don't seem to pay much attention to the background tv.

A good article from a developmental psychologist, written in response to the Baby Einstein controversy, about ways to interact with your baby that DOES help them learn language is here. The findings of all of this research is that interaction with adults that have developed language skills is the way to teach language to a child.

The issue dear to my heart, sleep. Findings show that increased exposure to tv can disrupt sleep patterns. (Here is the link in PubMed). You have to be careful with the associative studies though. They just show an association, not a cause-and-effect relationship. This one is kindof dumb. It just says that family tv viewing time may affect nap time and bed time. That makes sense - parents are watching a show and waiting until its over to put the kinds to bed. If you are aware of this, you can still watch tons of tv, just put your kid to bed at the right time. While having an inconsistent bedrime is a problem, I'm more concerned about our night waking, which would be a separate issue. This is a study that does show an association with time spent viewing tv and time spent asleep.

And to help with minimizing tv time? This study shows that rules regarding time limits are more effective than rules regarding "shows" at actually limiting the amount of time spent watching tv.

We don't really watch all that much tv at our house anyway. All of this just confirms that I think it's ... outrageous ... that a daycare has scheduled tv time, and helps me to make that decision.

Now I'm heading back to PubMed to see if there is anything else about sleep. We start sleep training in two weeks!


If you are interested in more of what the AAP has to say about children and media, they have a blog written by their Council on Communications and Media. It includes an area with additional links. You could spend some time there!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I need to find a Derby hat for a one-year-old

(It's still hard for me to get my head around the fact that she's a one-year-old. I keep wanting to call her an infant.)

We live in the land of the Kentucky Derby. It's this weekend. There's alot of hoopla that goes on around here. I have to cancel Thursday afternoon classes because a parade goes right by campus and students wouldn't be able to get there - or leave.

We are not going to The Derby. We are, however, going to Churchill Downs for Mother's Day. And around here, at Churchill Downs in the Spring, a lady wears a hat.

I personally love this one:

But I'm looking for something for my daughter.

And I can't seem to find any kind of dressy hat for a toddler.

I can find all kinds of cotton bucket sunhats. We have some of those. I'm talking fancy woven hats with flowers and ribbons.

It almost doesn't even matter what color. We have two white dresses, a navy dress, a red dress, a peach dress, a pink dress. If someone sees something interesting, let me know a link.

Think the sunhat was hard to keep on at the zoo? Imagine a frilly tea hat with ribbons and flowers ... But it's Mother's Day, and that's all I want. My girl in a Derby Hat.

Monday, April 26, 2010

We Celebrated Earth Day at The Zoo

Self portrait in the parking lot.

Self portrait inside the entrance. She's keeping her hat on!

Self portrait by the map - I forgot to smile and the hat is over her face. Great job!

Self portrait - we included Nan this time! The Three Jo's!!!

First we saw the lemurs. King Julian lives!

Us by the Rhinos.

A Warthog.

A young giraffe.

The ostrich.

Some kind of bird with a cool-looking head.

The peacock! The one thing I can remember from going to the zoo when I was little was the peacock.

The local energy company had a Lightening Bug walking around that we could have our photo taken with. The zoo photographer also took our photo and we signed a release, so we might be famous. Or not.

All in all, a full day at the zoo.

Isn't she sweet?

She gets it from her Nan!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

We have to work on the modeling skills

Its no secret that we love Babylegs. And other people love them too. Everyone at daycare stops me to tell me that they love her "little leggings". The ladies at the studio where my mom works think they're adorable.

I have found myself picking outfits that match the ones we have so she can wear them. One reason is that they protect her little knees, which sometimes have bruises from crawling. The other reason is they are just too adorable.

I have only paid full price for one pair so far. If you want to get your hands on some inexpensive Babylegs, I recommend you do the following:
1. Become their fan on Facebook. Every Friday they have a sale just for Facebook fans - I've seen it on Twitter too, but not every Friday. The code is always FANtastic, but to get to the collection that is on sale, you have to follow the link. And its a nice reminder when it pops up as their status periodically on Fridays. We are in desperate need of socks around here, and last Friday they had socks BOGO free with the code. Yay!
2. Join the forum at Most days they have a free giveaway thread. Not too long after I joined I won a pair, so it's for real. I just don't have time to post everyday.
3. Pay attention to They run periodic sales on Babylegs. On Earth Day they were selling a package of 5 pairs of clearance colors at a significant discount.
4. Of course there is a SALE section on the Babylegs website. They have free shipping, which is awesome.

To be honest, you can't get much better deals than the ones Babylegs themselves offer. If you look on FSOT, most mamas are selling the same pairs that the website has for $7, but they have them listed for the original price of $12. Amazon and other sites haven't marked down the sale items yet, so the same is true.

Why invest in Babylegs versus other brands? I haven't tried Huggalugs, so I can't speak for those. I did cheap out and buy the ones at Target. That was actually my introduction to "babylegs". I'm glad I have them, because they are pairs that I can use. However, the quality isn't nearly as good, and they are much shorter than the real Babylegs.

In addition to the length issue, my Circo/Target baby legwarmers are much thinner fabric, and have already gotten pilly and kindof faded. It's a cheap way to add to your stash, and the shorter size might be better on a newborn, but they don't work well on older babies.

And finally, I wanted to end this rave with photos of Wee One in a cute summer outfit with her Babylegs.

I tried to get a cute photo of her face.

I tried to get a cute photo of her sitting still.

Caitlin, look at Mommie!

No, don't crawl on Mommie:

Finally this was the best I could do.

Hope you're all having a great weekend.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Diaper Nirvana

I want this one ...

And this one ...

And this one ...

And, oh heck, we might as well want this one ...

When I first started cloth diapering, I used prefolds and covers. Thirsties covers were my favorite from the start, but laundry tabs aren't perfect and after quite a bit of washing, the velcro isn't as gleaming new as it once was. Many conversations were had on DS about how if Thirsties came with snaps it would be the perfect cover. Many mamas paid to have their covers converted to snaps. I couldn't wait for the day that Thirsties would listen and come out with a snap cover.

First came the covers in snaps.

Then came the covers in prints.

But by then, we were using mostly pockets. First, we started daycare and that's the cloth diaper they prefer to use. Then, we had a rash issue with new prefolds and I just became leery of using them.

Now, the Thirsties Duo Diapers, our favorite pocket diaper, is also coming out in prints (see above).

If they would just make THOSE in snaps, we will be in diaper heaven.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Daycare Decisions

When I was pregnant, the biggest question I got asked by women with whom I worked was "what daycare have you picked?". Apparently finding quality daycare for infants in that area was a challenge. The timing of my pregnancy coincided with my academic schedule somewhat - I was originally due the end of April, and would be off until faculty were expected to return the first Monday in August. I was told that I should have daycare lined up well before she was born, since I would probably end up on a waiting list for whatever center I chose.

I asked some fellow faculty what daycare their little ones attended. I got lots of good information. But I never really got around to the point of visiting any centers. Somehow the task of choosing a good daycare seemed very daunting to me. I put it off thinking I could visit some centers during my maternity leave.

I ended up spending my maternity leave on bedrest in the hospital, and Wee One came 3 weeks early, so that plan went out the window. I spent the time after she was born with my parents (100 miles away from my apartment) letting them help take care of her (us). Finally in June my father broached the subject, asking what I planned to do when it was time for me to go back to work.

My solution? I quit my job and moved in with my parents. There were lots of reasons for that decision, but the benefit was that I didn't have to think about the daycare thing anymore.

I found a full-time faculty job and started in August on the same day I'd originally planned to come back from maternity leave, just at a different college. My mom watched the Wee One and she and I lived in their guest room.

Mid-semester, my dad broached the topic again. Apparently my mom watching her full-time wasn't a viable option, and the expectation was that I would find another solution starting the next semester. Meaning - I had to face the daycare decision all over again.

I had two main candidates. The first was a childcare center in the town where I live. My mother had visited there a couple of times to pick up a friend's children, and she really liked the place. It was religiously affiliated, which is a concern for me being liberal and all, but I was ok with it. The only issue was that they weren't answering their phone. First it said the phone was out of service. Then another time I tried to call, it just rang and rang.

Meanwhile, I perused the website of the other option. Pretty colors and glossy photos of children, a nice explanation of their infant programming. Programming? Their philosophy is to create a learning environment for all the children, even the infants. The infants are exposed to storytellers and reading, sensory play, and other educational experiences. I was hooked. I loved the idea that my daughter would be intellectually stimulated even in an infant room.

I loved the place instantly. The infant rooms were clean, the children all seemed happy. The assistant director took me through the rooms for all the different groups. It hit me how completely unprepared I was for this step - I know nothing about daycare. But I thought I asked all the questions I needed to, and I thought that I had all the information.

Finally I asked for the price. A little sticker shock, but I had expected this place to by pricey. With their "infant programming" and all. I went ahead and signed on the dotted line to put Wee One on a waiting list and we were set.

I was still trying to get my head around the idea of daycare, so I went to visit on one other occasion. This time I took the Wee One to see what she thought. An incredibly lovely woman named Jennifer who worked in the second infant room spent about two hours talking to me and assuaging some of my anxieties. She said it was fine that Wee One didn't take a bottle, they would try to give her a sippy cup. If she cried and wouldn't stop they would call me. I was welcome to come nurse at lunch or anytime I wanted to. Jennifer was wonderful. I was hoping Wee One would be in her room.

Then it all started getting ... and I don't even know how to say it ... wierd? Uncomfortable? Not quite what I was expecting?

A week before time to start, and I go to drop off some things (cloth diapers, change of clothes, etc.) When I had originally toured, there were two infant rooms, and two toddler rooms. Now they are turning one of the Toddler rooms into a "Creeper" room for infants in the 8-10 month range. Wee One is going to be in this "Creeper" room. It is less than half the size of the infant room I was hoping she'd be in. It is staffed by a single caregiver who wasn't there that day, and I hadn't yet met. It would have five children (in the state of Kentucky infants can have a one-to-five ratio) in the care of a woman who previously had staffed one of the Toddler rooms.

Hmm. Well, she is bigger than most of the other infants there. She was sitting up and crawling, not laying on Boppy pillows like the babies in the infant room. It made sense that they would have this room to "transition" some of the older infants before actually sending them to the Toddler room. I convinced myself to be okay with the idea of the Creeper Room.

I went back again and met the caregiver. She seemed nice and sweet, even if she did mention it had been years since she worked with infants and it was obvious that she was much more used to working with Toddlers. When asked how she thought she would handle five children she didn't have much to say to convince me that it was a good idea. She seemed to think they would just "play it by ear" and "see how it goes".

I convinced myself to be okay with it, because I loved the place.

The first week went okay. I got feedback on the care sheets the caregiver carefully filled out each day. The caregiver loved the cloth diapers and got the hang of things very quickly. Wee One cried every morning at drop off, wasn't sleeping or eating or taking milk, and was really clingy at home, but most of that was normal transition stuff. The first week I wasn't back into classes yet, so I minimized my schedule - drop off sometime after 8 and I picked her up by 1 or 2 every day. She was part-time, going Monday through Wednesday. We both survived the first week.

The second week, my classes began. My classes start at 8 every day, so I needed to drop her off as early as possible, which is 7:00. The first morning we bound in bright and early, and I realize the drop-off routine is different. Her caregiver is not there, and noone is in her room. Instead, she is supposed to be dropped off in the room next door, the Toddler Room. To a strange person whose name I don't know.

I had no idea to ask about such things. They say they open at 7, that you can drop off as early as 7. I guess I just assumed what happened at 8 happened at 7. No, wrong assumption.

So I'm handing her off to not only a stranger, but a different stranger than the one she spends the day with. And at this point there's not a damn thing I can do about it, because my class schedule is set. And I am Running Late.

I did adjust her schedule to be Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, since her caregiver's day off is Tuesday. That was another thing I forgot to ask about, and found out the first week. So she had someone totally different in the room every Tuesday. Her caregiver is now in early on Wednesday and Thursday, so it has become an issue only on Monday mornings.

So I've convinced myself to still love the place.

They started doing some of the "programming". Each week there is a theme, and they have books and activites around the theme. Most weeks the caregiver writes lesson plans for the week and I get a pdf in email with planned activities, some of which they actually do. There are fingerpainted hearts and red and blue fish (for Dr. Seuss week) hanging on the wall, and I have her first handprint in finger paint on my fridge from Valentine's Day. Another caregiver was added to the room after she came back from maternity leave, and she gets Wee One to eat really well when she feeds her, so she won a place in my heart. They go outside twice a day on nice days, so she is being introduced to outside activity, which is important to me.

Paying for it was a struggle for a while. During Open Enrollment for my benefits last year, I decided to put some money into a Dependent Care account. I couldn't afford to put much in from each paycheck, so it wouldn't be nearly enough to cover a year's worth of daycare. But it was somsething. I thought the account would work like my FSA - all of the money you plan to deposit for the year is available immediately from my FSA at the start of the year. I thought I could spend all of what I was putting into Dependent Care on the cost for Spring semester, then maybe teach a summer class online and save that money to pay for the cost for Fall Semester. I thought I'd pay for half of January and then apply immediately for reimbursement, and maybe I would get it in time to pay for the rest of January. Then I'd be in this great cycle where I'd pay the next two weeks with the reimbursed amount from the previous two weeks .... Only ... only the amount you have paid in is available to you for reimbursement. So I paid $367.50, and got $50 back because that's all that was deducted from that paycheck. Two weeks later I paid $367.50 and got $50 back.

Money was TIGHT for the first couple of months, until I got my taxes. That's not their fault at all, except for the steep price tag that caused the stress on my budget to begin with.

So after a rocky start with the scheduling, and the money, I feel like we're on an even keel. She's stopped crying when I drop her off, even to the woman she only sees for an hour on Monday morning. She's started napping really great, and they've been feeding her the center's prepared lunch since she's started on table food. And they've only thrown away one cloth diaper :)

Two weeks ago, on a Monday night, Wee One and I come home from work and go to Nan's. Mom asks me if its possible for me to take Wee One to daycare the next day, even though it isn't a normal daycare day, because she has something she wants to do and she doesn't want to take Wee One. The daycare does have "drop in" care for registered families. Wee One went one other Friday when I had a faculty meeting, so I didn't think it would be a problem. It was right at 6 pm when we were having this discussion, so I just called and left a message at the Center asking them to call me if it would be a problem. On the way the next morning, I got a call that said that I couldn't bring her, that they didn't have room. It was Spring Break for the local school system, so a number of caregivers were off that week. And apparently the director and/or assistant director didn't feel like filling in. That was the day Wee One went to college, and it didn't work out all that well.

There's pros and cons to the whole thing. I love that she's close to where I work. She's 4 blocks away from campus. It was wonderful when I was nursing her every day at lunchtime. Now, the benefit is that the majority of my commute I spend with her, singing songs from music class and talking about the new arena they are building. If she went to the church daycare in our town, the majority of my commute would be after I drop her off. Much less fun. Last Friday I needed drop-in care and they said "sure, that will be fine", so apparently it was only an issue the week that they were low on staff.

I will say, they have worked with her extensively, to get her adjusted, to get her to eat, to get her to sleep. Thursday morning when I walked in and she saw her caregiver, she held her arms out and went right to her, and I was dismissed. Both of the caregivers in her room have commented on how far she's come in a couple of months and how well she is doing.

So that brings us to where I am right now. I'm "off" this summer, except that I'm not. I'm teaching two online classes to try to make money to pay for expensive daycare and other Wee One (and Mommie) expenses. I've told them that I plan to take her out of daycare in the summer, which several of their parents do who are teachers. So her last day will be sometime toward the end of May. I haven't yet asked if they will prorate that month's cost if she isn't there the full month. If they say yes, May 20th will be her last day. If they say no, then by god she's staying through the end of May. More days that I can sleep!

In order to keep a spot for her for fall, I need to go ahead and pay the registration fee to get her back on the waiting list for fall. Do I go ahead and pay it and put her on a waiting list thinking that I might not be sending her back there?

Or I might, because I do kindof really love it. Deep down. Past the part where I'm confused and concerned.

Then I start thinking about summer work. I'm going to have to try to work on my online classes while keeping her tiny hands from pulling any more keys off the laptop keyboard than she already has. What if I take her two days a week? That will keep her "used to" daycare. That will give me one day a week to do school stuff and one day a week to clean the house. But I was looking forward to the whole summer together with her, doesn't the two-day-a-week idea go against that? And I was looking forward to not having to pay for regular daycare during the summer. Even two days a week is still pretty pricey. Maybe just do periodic drop-in care to get a day to work on stuff - and hope its a day they say "sure" and not "no"?

I spoke with them Thursday morning and they are willing to let me do drop-in care once a week. We can pick a consistent day, and if there is an issue, we can plan on another day if needed. It will be $35 a day, which is definitely do-able in my budget with the income from the online classes. I like the idea that she will still be in daycare one day a week, so she will continue to be used to the experience. I like the idea that I'll have one day a week to do work stuff and won't feel stressed out (like I can sometimes get!).

But they will still consider her to be "disenrolled" for the summer, so I still have to pay the registration fee to put her on the waiting list for a spot for the fall. Which I currently feel inclined to do, but ...

The only other option I would really consider is the church daycare that my mom is a fan of. If I had any time in my day I could drop by and visit. Maybe I should try to do that tomorrow (between the faculty meeting and giving two makeup exams and cleaning my house for my mom's Pampered Chef party.)

I need to decide this weekend. I guess I'll pray about it. Like God cares what daycare Wee One goes to.

An update: I wrote most of this post Wednesday evening, edited it Thursday and scheduled it to post the following morning. Meanwhile, my mom went to an event Wednesday evening and spoke with the assistant director of the church daycare, who is very interested in talking with me. Its either a sign from god or something to complicate my decision.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cloth Diapering 101 - Nighttime Diapering

In honor of a milestone in our diapering career, the Wee One is outgrowing some nighttime diapers, I was reminded to do a post on nighttime diapering.

Here are my two suggestions:
Use bamboo somehow, it's really absorbent.
Use fleece as a stay-dry layer, it will keep them comfortable.

Another idea:
Whatever system works for you for daytime, just increase your absorbency for nighttime.

Our nighttime system is a Fuzzi Bunz pocket with a Cotton Babies one-size microfiber insert and a bamboo/hemp insert that originally came in a Mandi's Menagerie bamboo fitted. I have sometimes added a bamboo/zorb insert from a WAHM on nights that she has nursed alot just to be sure, but the microfiber/bamboo/hemp combo has been bulletproof. I have never had a nighttime leak. Never. Ever.

Except once when I used a sposie. Go figure.

(This was one of the first nights in the nighttime system. A little big on her at first!)

Different fabrics have different properties when it comes to absorbency. Microfiber absorbs very quickly. When the rush of pee comes, its good to have some microfiber around to catch it. Bamboo and hemp absorb quite alot of liquid for their weight, but it takes some time to do that. Having a microfiber layer helps to quickly absorb the fluid and distribute it evenly. Having a bamboo or hemp layer helps to "store" the fluid and prevent leaks.

This is also the premise for the Thirsties Duo Diaper's insert. It is a thin microfiber layer snapped to a thin hemp layer. I have not tried the Duo Diaper for nighttime, but I imagine it would work well for littler babes, and with some additional stuffing would probably work well for bigger babes too. Now that we are outgrowing our nighttime diapers, I might try an extra layer in a Duo and see how it works.  Updated:  our new nighttime system is a Duo Diaper with an additional thin insert made of bamboo and zorb.  See here for links to some similar inserts.

Lots of mamas also use fitteds for nighttime. There are always mamas on DS touting Goodmamas for nighttime. In a pinch once, I used a Bububebe bamboo fitted with all three insert layers snapped in under a Thirsties cover. It didn't leak, but my Wee One was about 6 months old at the time. Give it a try.

If you're not using a pocket, you might consider using a liner of fleece for the stay-dry effect. If you're using prefolds with doublers, or fitteds, the fleece will help keep the moisture off the skin, which will help with comfort.

About sleeping through the night and cloth diapers - there have been various threads on DS where mamas discuss whether or not using cloth diapers causes their child to wake more at night. My child doesn't sleep through the night, so I can't totally speak as an expert on the subject. Here's what I can say - the few times that she actually slept for 6 or 7 or 8 or 9 or 10 hours at a time, she was in a cloth diaper. I read one of the threads about sposies helping them sleep better and in a moment of exhaustion hoped it was true. I went and bought a whole box of Pampers, and she woke more that night than she ever had.

The key is comfort. Make sure the diaper you use is absorbent enough. Make sure the wetness doesn't stay against the skin. Then you can be sure their night waking isn't about the diaper. (Ours is about nursing and cuddling. I can't wait until we spend more time doing that during the day!)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Happiness Is ...

My new friend Betsy at Funky Mama Bird sent me this award:

Here are the rules of the award:
1. copy and paste the award on your blog.
2. list who gave the award to you and use a link to her/his blog (or hyperlink).
3. list 10 things that make you happy.
4. pass the award on to other bloggers and visit their blog to let them know about the award.

(Yay! There are people who read my blog! That's awesome.)

Happiness Is ...

My Wee One when she first wakes up in the morning. Its like she's channeling God. Hr face is aglow and her smile is radiant and she sings and talks and the world is new again. Oh, and if you happen to ask "where's your cheeks?" watch out - your heart will fall out of your chest. I'm trying to catch it on film as proof.

A freshly laundered load of diapers. It always makes you feel like, no matter what, you have managed to accomplish something that day. Even if it is a load of diapers.

Flowers. Of any kind. In a vase or on a bush. I just like flowers.

The "light bulb" moment. When you're explaining a complicated concept and understanding dawns in the eyes of the other. It makes it all worthwhile.

A mandarin martini. I haven't made one yet this year, but that's when I used to know that summer had arrived - the annual martini party at the pool. I'll share the recipe when I do - it's pretty good.

My doggie. Darby Jo. I miss her terribly. She was with me for 12 years and the sight of her at the end of the day would make a whole day's worth of cares melt away. She gave that mantle to the Wee One when she left. RIP DJ.

My house. I'm a homeowner for the first time. I painstakingly picked colors and furniture, but it worked, because when the sun is shining in the window, or when I'm rocking the Wee One to sleep for a nap, I look around and feel joyful at my beautiful space that Wee One and I call Home.

My family. Nan and Grandpa are five doors down the street from us. They have really saved me a time or two (or five or ten). Grandpa wears a path between our houses bringing or picking up some forgotten item, or coming to get the Wee One so she can spend the day with them while I try to figure out which is more important: grading/school prep, cleaning the house, or maybe sleeping for an hour.

Sleep. I haven't had a complete night's sleep in 401 days. I get it when I can, and I survive when I don't. In about two and a half more weeks, I will send Wee One to daycare one last day before summer ... and I will go home and sleep. Then I will try to start teaching her to sleep. Should be fun.

All the people who care about me. I have come back to the place where I grew up and I have reconnected with a number of people who have known me for a long time and still want to hang out with me. I have "met" alot of people on the internet that read all my stuff and still want to "hang out" with me. I have seen the magic of support between mommies and friends online. It makes me very happy to feel so connected, when in my old life I would have maintained a safe distance from such connections.

But of course, my Wee One tops the list. I challenged myself to not just write 10 things about the Wee One that make me happy, and I succeeded. But most of the things that make me happy now relate to her.

Go see Betsy. She has an adorable little boy-child. And is trying to pack for a move. A perfect time for visitors, no?

And now the award is sent to Jamie at Crunchy Cupcakes. I "met" Jamie since we are both cloth diapering mamas. She has good opinions on her reviews, if there is anything you wanted to try. And her kids are cute too.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Its The First Last Beginning of The End

I was going to be super-positive this morning. I posted on Facebook that I am "glad its almost almost the day before the end of the week."

I know this time of the semester gets crazy. And when you're teaching two people's worth of classes, its double crazy. I thought I could keep it all together.

The first chink in the armor occured around 7:10 this morning. Running late, I go out the door with the Wee One, my purse, my pump bag, her diaper bag, and a bottle of breast milk I did manage to remember to grab from the fridge. I plunk my purse and the bottle of milk on the hood of the car, planning to wrangle the diaper bag and the wee one into the backseat, when I hear the sound of plastic hitting concrete. And splitting. I look down to see:

Yes, ladies, that is 5 ounces (FIVE ounces!) of painstakingly pumped breastmilk spreading across the driveway and seeping into the ground. And the remnant of the cap that broke. Apparently Medela caps aren't "shatterproof". Or even shatter resistant. One ounce was saved. One ounce.

I cried, of course. I have quite an emotional bond with my milk. Yes, it borders on unhealthy. NO, I don't care.

The second chink in the armor occurs as I am walking across the parking lot, trying to figure out what I'm doing for my 8 am class since I don't have a powerpoint prepared. I think I have a plan when I realize: I forgot the flanges and connectors for my pump. And I have NO TIME to go home to get them. I can't pump. I'll be fine, I've had days where I didn't have time to pump, and I just nurse her really good when I get home. I think I have one thing of frozen milk left to thaw for daycare tomorrow. I tell myself its ok.

The straw that broke the camel's back came at 7:45, about 15 minutes before my class. I walk into my office and set my purse on my desk, knocking over a coke that I had left from yesterday afternoon. And it goes everywhere. And by everywhere, I really mean ALL OVER ME. So this is what my shirt and pants look like 15 minutes before my class I'm not prepared for:

I cried for 10 minutes. And then I wiped my face and went and taught my class.

And now I'm shutting down everything except for Microsoft so I can make the d--- Powerpoints that I need to, and I can write the d--- exam that I need to, and I can put the d--- scores into Blackboard that I need to, and grade the d--- tests that I need to, and write the d--- study guides that they keep pestering me about, so that I can stop feeling so d--- stressed out.

And I have this to help me relax and focus:

(Which is totally illegal in the building where my office is and I. Don't. Care)


More positivity to come, I promise. Soon. As soon as I have time.

*The title comes from a conversation between my mom and I yesterday. I think she was trying to say that this is the beginning of the end of the semester and I should just hang in there for the next couple of weeks. It came out sounding about as crazy as I feel. We had a good laugh. I told her it sounded like the perfect blog post title.

**Sorry about the crappy cell phone pics.

UPDATE: The milk gods smiled on me on Wednesday. I got a total of 8 ounces, 2 more than usual. Relieved!