Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My Favorite Diaper ...

... doesn't exist.  Well, it probably would if I took this one ...

... and shipped it to some mama I've never met for her to rip off the velcro and add snaps.  (They do it to the Bum Genius ones, why not these?)

My favorite diaper would be a Thirsties Duo Diaper with snap closures.

Because I have this:
I love this diaper - except when she does this

So, how much is she going to hate me that I keep posting picctures of her b.ottom on the internet?

She has even figured out how to reach under shorts and undo the diaper, and then start to push it down through the leg hole.  She is a TOTAL stinker.

But back to the diaper.

Great things about the Duo: 
- They are adjustable for size.  The diapers I bought (size 2) will probably fit her until she potty learns (PL). 
- The Duo insert.  It uses a very thin microfiber piece for quick absorption, and a thin hemp layer to hold the wetnes and protect against leaks, and make it very absorbent.  The two layers snap together, so they won't slide around in the diaper and bunch up.  Even together, it is a very thin, very absorbent insert.
-  The dual-opening pocket.  This diaper is constructed like a sleeve, with a large opening the back and a small opening in the front.  This means that you don't have to unstuff your diaper when you throw it in the wash.  No touching gross diaper inserts, just toss the whole diaper in the wash.
-  Cute colors and adorable prints - although I'm a die hard oldie - I still prefer the old Thirsties Rainbow colors.
-  The signature Thirsties leg gussets have held in quite a number of messes.  The leg elastic can sometimes get stained, but at least you don't have a huge mess to clean up!
What cute prints!

Problems with the Duo
-  They don't come with snap closures.

Thirsties listened to all the mamas on the discussion boards that wanted covers that come with snaps.  I'm hoping they listen to the mamas that need pocket diapers with snaps.

Because THAT would definitely be my favorite diaper.


Welcome to Cloth Tushie Tuesday!  If you have a post that talks about your favorite diaper, feel free to link up below.  Be sure to visit the other links to see what everyone's favorite cloth diaper is.  If you want to know the upcoming topics, please follow @MommieV1 or @funkymamabird on Twitter.  Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Girl And Her Dog - A Story In Five Acts

Can you tell this dog loves to play frisbee?

We need to work on her throw a little bit.

Oh, wait, that's the cat.  Hang on.

There we go.  That was a kiss, Mommie was just a little late on the camera trigger.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Can I Please Swaddle Your Newborn?

When I was pregnant, I used to surf the internet sunup to sundown, g.oogling baby stuff.  Researching cloth diapers, making my registry list, etc.  I don't remember how I came across it exactly, but I found out about Dr. Harvey Karp's book and DVD, The Happiest Baby On The Block.

There is used to be enough information on the website for you to pick up the essential techniques, and the DVD is pretty awesome.  This is the best baby-care information out there.  Every parent should be sent home from the hospital with one.  This is the closest thing to a newborn instruction manual that we get. 

The book goes into alot more of his theory of the Fourth Trimester, that newborns in their first few months are still essentially fetuses.  Given how small and floppy and nurse-and-sleep mine was, I tend to agree.  If you're preggo and have time to lay around and read about babies, I recommend the book too.  But if you've already gotten your newborn home and didn't get the instruction manual with him/her, the DVD is a quick lesson in the techniques to help calm your colicky and fussy baby.

Even when walking around with them in a sling or carrier won't do it.  That's when you know you're in serious trouble.

I was lucky enough to attend a workshop* at a local hospital, the night before I went into my hospital on bedrest.  I saw an except of the DVD at the start of the workshop, but the best benefit to the in-person training was having someone show you and help you practice how to swaddle your newborn.

I was the only one who showed up with a swaddling blanket, despite all the registration information that told you to bring one.  I got to practice on a floppy little fake baby, and it was really helpful, because there was a key mistake that I was making that the facilitator corrected for me.  I went home feeling confident with my blanket and my DVD, knowing that if she ended up with The Colic, that I knew what to do.

Sometimes, all a new mama needs is to feel like she's doing something right.  And sometimes, there is no greater time than when her baby, on schedule, at about 6 weeks of age, starts crying inconsolably from 5 to 9 p.m. every night.  That's when a new mama can really start to doubt herself.

But I pulled out the DVD and watched it, and made my parents watch it.  Then I pulled out the blanket and swaddled her up tight, and it worked like magic.

There is nothing like the feeling of successfully comforting your child.

Professional job - done by the hospital nurse.
It works so well that my dad went to work and started telling anyone who would listen about how great the technique is.

My girl is the master of wriggling out if you wrap her arms too close to her face.  I always had to make sure her arms were at her sides to get a tight tuck and make sure it wouldn't come undone.
I swaddled that baby morning, noon, and night.  Whenever I wanted her to sleep, I swaddled her.  In the evenings when she cried, I swaddled her.  Out of the bath, before the nursing and the music and the shushing, I swaddled her.

I used square swaddling blankets that I bought at Target, (apparently not available online) and they were awesome.  (You need a square blanket to get the best swaddle without extra fabric left over.)

Then she got bigger, and didn't want or need to be swaddled anymore.

DaMomma, as one of her giveaways for her blog anniversary celebration (I just can't bring myself to use the word), was giving away a set of Aden+Anais muslin swaddling blankets.  I had read about these when I first came across the HBOTB information, and they mentioned them at the workshop.  But they seemed pricey to me at the time.  I entered a comment, only wondering slightly what I would do with swaddling blankets since I don't have a newborn.  I was kinda hoping for the tickets to a show she is doing, but instead, I won the blankets.  (At least I don't have to figure out the logistics of getting to Boston!)

So, can I just tell you ....





They are huge, even bigger than the Target ones, so they would be really easy to use for swaddling.  They are a very light weave, so perfect for the summer.

Or the toddler that refuses to allow herself to be covered in a blanket of any kind (except when she is at Nan's house).  She is currently covered by the frog one, since that's the one she picked up to carry around first.

It started me wondering ... what if we could deal with toddler meltdowns by swaddling.  Somehow I think that might make it worse.  Dr. Karp also wrote The Happiest Toddler On The Block.  It doesn't say anything about swaddling as a measure to combat toddler meltdowns.

Somehow, swaddling a baby just seemed to work like magic for me.   It made me truly feel like a mother, like there was one thing I could do really well to help care for my baby.  Now she's bigger, and I don't have that one thing anymore.

So, does anyone have a newborn I can swaddle?  So I can try to feel like a confident mama again?  Maybe I'll just have to settle for trying to comfort my sicky, meltdown-prone toddler.  But I'll tell you, the blanket was even helpful for that at 4:00 this morning!!!

Thanks, Liz!

*This is the link I used to find the workshop close to me.  Unfortunately I can't seem to find any class listings on here - the website is quite different than it was two years ago.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Work In Progress

I was really hoping that tonight I would be posting fabulous and gorgeous photos of my new kitchen.

It's still in-progress, though, and I'm kinda bummed about it, so I'm not ready to celebrate just yet.

Maybe it's because my girl has been sick for a week, and I'm starting to catch it (but trying not to), and I spent all day alternately chasing her down and holding her when she fell or otherwise wasn't feeling well.  I'm just tired and bummed and going to bed early.

The guy that is doing my floor is a family friend - a very good friend of my mother's.  He is one of the very nicest people you could ever meet in this world.  Anything my mother asks of him, he will do.  Including, apparently, overbook himself with work to come do my kitchen floor.  So I'm being squeezed into all the other stuff he has going on, which is why it is taking longer than I had hoped.

On Tuesday he took out the old floor and laid the cement backer board and the tile.  Wednesday evening he came to do the grout (which finally seems to have dried).  So all my appliances have been in my living room since then, and I've been eating at my parent's.

However, the amount of MONEY he is saving me is going to be pretty substantial, so I am incredibly grateful for that.

I also told him I'm make him a steak dinner.  He has to finish my kitchen before I can do that, tho!!!

The BEFORE photo.
I guess this is really a "during" photo - this is the tile pre-grout.  Also apparent - the part of the cabinets we didn't paint :)
Close up of the tile.
Next steps - he has to finish the trim stuff, I need to clean the rest of the grout residue off the tiles, move the appliances back.  He is putting in a 220V outlet so I can replace the stove with an electric one, and then I think it will all be done.

The cleaning I should be doing now.  Instead, I'll put diapers on the extra rinse and go to bed early.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Why I Chose Extended Rearfacing

I hate that I can't see her when I'm driving in the car.

When I was registering for all things baby, I registered for a really big mirror to hang off the back seat so I could "see" her while I was driving.  Since I didn't drive much for the first 6 weeks out of the hospital, that mirror got installed in my mother's car, where it still is to this day.

So I don't have a cute backwards mirror in my car.  So I can't see her. 

Because, you see, even though my Wee One is over a year old, and I think she just managed to hit the 20 pound point last week, I won't turn her car seat around to face forward.  Even though I hate not being able to see her, even though it breaks my arm to have to pass something over the top of her carseat, even though it barely fits that way in the back seat of my car, I won't turn her car seat around to face forward.


Because extended rear facing carseats are safer and save lives.

It's not a rumor, and it's not a bunch of holier-than-thou mommy crap.  There are studies that are published that prove that the longer your child remains in a rear-facing carseat designed for larger children, the more safe your child will be.  From the above linked abstract:  "Data support a new recommendation that children stay rear-facing in size-appropriate car seats until they reach the highest weight and height allowed for rear-facing by the manufacturer of the convertible seat. Premature graduation to the next seat type/size/position increases risk of injury."

Here is a site that quotes other studies - but I didn't verify the publications, so I include with that warning.

I had the idea of extended rearfacing in mind when I bought her new carseat when she turned a year old.  In our carseat, she can remain rearfacing until she is 35 pounds (which, at this rate, might mean middle school.  I jest.  Slightly.)

I hate that I can't see her.  But I love that she is safer.  I love that if I am in a freak accident and something god-forbidden happens, that I know that I did everything I could, I made every decision I could, to keep her as safe as I could.

Then you let go and pray.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Stash

No, not our diaper stash.  It hasn't changed much from the last time I posted photos.

Our BabyLegs stash.

See, BabyLegs has been having sales all summer.  I managed to resist the really awesome 4th of July sale.  But when she was offering 50% off, I couldn't refuse.

I used the excuse that I was "stocking up" for fall and winter.  But when this last order came in, I realized that my little basket where I keep her 'legs ...

Was no longer big enough.

So I got them all out, organized them, took a photo

And then realized that there are still two pairs that don't appear here.

The stack to the far left are ones we had last winter.  Stack #2 is from the Babylegs Cool collection - they are a light mesh fabric.  Stack #3 are four pairs of Supersoft - and they are PLUSH.  Can't WAIT for a nice cool fall day to try these on her.  The next-to-last stack are all new, bought this summer on clearance and during the 50% off sale, but it's been too hot to put them on her.  The last stack are two pairs from the holiday collection.

Once I folded them all, they all fit well into the basket.

Until a pants-less toddler strolled by and started playing.

Can't wait for cooler weather!

Only Second To Your Pump As Essential

I had registered for some Medela nursing pads at Babies R Us when I registered for everything else baby. A good friend and her mom (thank you Kristi and Pam!) bought me a large gift bag full of nursing supplies, including my Boppy pillow, lanolin, nursing pads, etc.

But I was doing cloth diapers, and the mamas on Diaperswappers talked about cloth nursing pads, so I should do those, right? Besides, this organic velour fabric these diapers come in is SO soft, and you can get nursing pads in the same fabric. Awesome.

I liked the idea of cloth nursing pads. Re-usable, so you don't have the expense of buying box after box for work day in and day out. You can toss them in the wash with just about any load.

The ones I used were just layers of absorbent material. Unfortunately, like diapers, you also need a waterproof layer if you are going to keep the wetness from your clothes.

I wanted to try these, but didn't.

Lots of mamas on Hyenacart or Etsy make cloth nursing pads. If you go that route, try to find some that have an outer or inner layer of PUL, or other waterproof material.

If you go the disposable route, you want ones with soft mesh and lots of absorbency, and ones that are contoured.

I never tried the Lily Padz. I like the idea of silicone that attaches to your breast and prevents leaks, rather than pads that absorb. When I'm at work, I stand in front of 40 people and wave my arms around alot (I call it "teaching") so I was always afraid of leaks and stains.

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT use these. They are cheap. And there is a reason.

Even if you go with cloth, keep a box of the disposable ones in your desk drawer, or keep another set of cloth ones in your pump bag.  Never know when you're going to have a stressful day and it will be compounded by the big wet circles on your blue shirt.

So, dear reader, that is my advice and reviews on nursing clothing and breast pads. Anything else I can help you with?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Birth Dreams vs. Birth Story

(Um, of course I have my own bank account, I don't HAVE a spouse.  That would be a short post.  So we'll stick with #1.  Birth Story!!)

I've written before about going into the hospital on bedrest.  About thinking that I had 6 weeks left to prepare for a baby, then being told I'd spend three weeks in the hospital, if I was lucky, and then go home with the baby in my arms, if I was lucky.  About being told that other mothers die of the condition I had.

I had dreams of how the birth would go.  I wasn't planning to go natural, I watched the epidural video by the anesthesiologists (three times, in fact).  I just wanted a vaginal birth, for her to be placed on my belly for skin-to-skin immediately after, for her to nurse as soon as possible.

I would reach 37 weeks on Friday, April 3.  If my blood pressure didn't spike or I didn't have a stroke, that is the day they were shooting for.  I asked to be induced, and they relented, so I was to be induced on Thursday, April 2.  That way if it "didn't work" then I could have "the surgery" on Friday.  Don't want to inconvenience the doc on call, now do we?

I was told by my physician (well, the one that was on rounds that day - I managed to see every doc in my group several times by the time the three weeks was over) that they would place the medication to soften my cervix on Wednesday night.  Sometimes that starts labor, but if it didn't, they would start the pitocin on Thursday morning.  Likely, she wouldn't be born until sometime on Friday.

Wednesday night, I'm all excited.  The night nurse comes on duty, puts me on the monitor for my twice-daily monitoring, and I ask her about the cervix medication.  She informs me that it hasn't been ordered for me.  I push her to ask the doctor (the one doc in the whole practice who is old and mean and crotchety and every woman in town hates) who refused it.

Night one of crying alligator tears and watching my birth dream slip away.

The next morning, they start an IV incorrectly in the back of my hand (foreshadowing).  They give me antibiotics because I was beta strep positive, and start the monitoring.  When they ask "where have they been hearing the heartbeat?" I say "well, since she's sideways, over here."

You know in the movies when they stop the soundtrack with the screeching noise like the record player needle being moved?  Yea, that.

If she's not head down, no induction. 

Here is where I yell. 


Another ultrasound.  She is head up, breech.  The rest of my birth dream disappears as I am wheeled back to my room.  Induction is off.  C-section tomorrow.  We will send a surgical nurse to your room to talk to you.

I cry, and cry, and cry.  Mother comes, and I cry some more.  She tries to cheer me up by teaching me gin rummy, even though she doesn't know how to play, and that makes us laugh.  We are playing by made-up rules when the surgical nurse comes in.

I am mean to her.  I am curt with answers.  This isn't what I want, this isn't the way I wanted to have my baby.  She is supposed to be on my belly, she is supposed to nurse, she is supposed to hear my heart beat for her through my chest and that will tell her everything in the world is okay.

Yes, I want a healthy baby.  And I think these things are part of a healthy birth.  Mother reminds me all is as it should be.  I want to hit her.

Fake smile :)

It is Friday, April 3, 2009.  The day my daughter is to be born.  The nice surgical nurse said they would come around 11:00 to get me, so I wait.  Mother and Father both come to wait with me.  I have not decided on a name.  A family friend suggested that the Disney princesses all have pretty names, so Mother googles "Disney princesses" while we discuss baby names.
Mother seeking an appropriate girl baby name on g.oogle while I attempt to not crawl out of the bed and kill everyone in my path.
They are late.  I am still angry and reluctant, but I want to meet her.  I want to hold her and nurse her and whisper to her how very much I love her, so I wait patiently for 11:00 to come and pass.

In pre-op the nurse with the checklist.  "Is this your second bag of fluid?"  No, just my first.  They hang a second bag of fluid and we wait.  After much time, there is much fluid left.  The IV in my hand is not placed correctly, so unless my hand is in a precise position, the fluid will not flow.  More time, more waiting.

My doctor is with another woman, she has started pushing, he will be late getting to me.  Since I'm a surgery, and not an emergency, and she is pushing (SHE IS GETTING THE BIRTH DREAM AND I LAY HERE AND WAIT WITH A F-ED UP IV).

Finally.  Mother is given a bunny suit and her directions about where to go.  Father brings her camera to her, and she discovers the memory is full.  She curses and tries to frantically erase photos.  They start dictating as they wheel me from the room.  "1:30p, patient is on the move."

The surgery room is cold.  My baby will be pulled from my warm body to this cold room, with the bright lights and the talking people.  I hope she forgives me for this.  I hope she loves me.  I hope she nurses.  I hope it's all okay. 

I don't let myself consider that she won't be alright.  37 weeks is "technically" not premature, unless you consider 38 weeks to be full-term, and then it is.  Her lungs could be great ... or not all the way developed.  She could be fine ... or not.  Maybe they'll simply whisk her 10 feet away and clean her up, or maybe they will take her to the nursery and I will be shattered.

Mother is at my head with the anesthesiologist, and I am strapped on my back with my insides hanging out.   They signal to mother that she can take a photo, the baby is about to be born.

I hear her cry, once.  They hold her up so my mother can see her.  My view is blocked by the curtain, so I don't see her.  I hear one cry.  Then I don't hear her.  Mother is giving me the play-by-play, "okay, now they are cleaning her off, a little oxygen by the nasal canula, but she is breathing..."  I hear nothing, and in my imagination she is blue and struggling and can't make noise.

But really?

Quite pink.

They brought her to me to see before weighing her.  The nurse put her up to my face so I could kiss her.  I didn't want to kiss her, I wanted to SEE her.  How IS SHE DOING?  The nurse pushed her closer.  We kissed, and she spit amniotic fluid into my mouth.

I was worried about us being bonded?  How's that for bonding?

At the Monday ultrasound (the one where they learned she was sideways and DIDN'T PAY ATTENTION OR ATTEMPT TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT SO MY INDUCTION HAD TO BE ABORTED) they had estimated her weight at 6 pounds, 7 ounces. Since I had gained some weight in the intervening days, I was hoping she would be close to 7 pounds.

"5 pounds, 13 ounces" the nurse calls out.  I am shocked.  5 pounds?  5 pounds?  I have a 5 pound baby?

Finally she is wrapped and brought to me.

The Three Jo's for our first picture.

I didn't argue with them about the antibiotic eye goop.  About how it's supposed to help her not get bacterial infection from anything she picks up IN THE BIRTH CANAL and since she didn't go THROUGH THE BIRTH CANAL, and instead was RIPPED FROM MY BODY IN A STERILE SURGICAL SUITE that the eye goop was likely COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY.  Instead, my girl's introduction to the world was being rubbed clean with towels and getting goop in her eyes.  (Sorry, baby.)

The only thing I could think at that point was "I need to nurse, she needs to nurse, get me off this table, I have a baby to nurse, as soon as possible, the clock is ticking, need to nurse, NOW."  I barely remember the gurney ride back to the recovery room, because I was trying to figure out how to maneuver the maze of wires from under my gown and get this 5 pound (!!!!!!!!!!!!!) baby with a really floppy head into nursing position.  Please, god, I need to nurse my baby.

In the recovery room, I asked the nurse to help me breastfeed.  "In a minute", since she was busy taking my vitals.  I totally understand that she has a job to do, that I had just undergone major abdominal surgery, and there are priorities.  But my priority?  Was breastfeeding my baby.


We had asked three times if they would move me to a different room after the surgery and all three times were told "probably not".  Except, I was.  I had been living in this room for almost three weeks.  I would have packed if someone had said yes.  So Mother had to leave me in the recovery room, nursing my baby, to go (in her bunny suit!) and push all my belongings to another room on the other side of the unit.  I was moved some time later; by then my brand-new baby had nursed for almost an hour and was falling asleep.  I was pushed in the hospital bed down the main hallway of the Women's Center, beaming with pride and joy at my new pride and joy.


Irony?  Doc said she was head down when he pulled her out.


It was several weeks before I allowed myself to "get over" my anger at the way the induction had been handled.  For weeks I felt like I had missed out.  I never went into labor, and I think I only ever felt one contraction.  I just laid there while they took her out, and then they did a bunch of stuff to her and then handed her to me.

After time, though, it became okay.  It might not be the birth dream that I had envisioned, or thought that I wanted.  But even though she wasn't on my belly, and even though she didn't nurse within minutes, we have still managed to do great with breastfeeding, we are still bonded (two peas in a pod), and I have a healthy baby.  I wouldn't trade it for the world.

I have wanted to do a birth story post for some time now.  Glad to have this prompt as an excuse.

Nursing Clothes - Advice from One Extended Breastfeeder

I have a request!!!!  I have a reader!!!  And she asked me a question!!!  I feel so special!!!

"...tell me about nursing clothes. I'm sure as an extended breastfeeder you've had days where you realized you wore the wrong thing...what should I be looking for? Do I have to buy specialized "nursing tops" or will anything that zips/buttons up the front (or is loose enough to pull up) do?"

Ah, yes.  Wearing the wrong thing.

I have four long dresses hanging in my closet that I was unable to wear until about a month ago.  The necklines are not appropriate for pulling down, and you cannot hike a calf-length, one-piece dress up in church and nurse your baby.

At least not in my church.

So there will be things that you will not be able to wear for a while, unless it's date night (said reader is married, so she has more of a possibility of having one of those than, say, ME.)    And there are clothes that help make it more comfortable and, yes, easy for you to nurse.  I am a public breastfeeder as we have previously discussed, so that's in my mind as I write. 

Here's my take on the question, which will just be one perspective.  Please feel free to help our loyal reader with thoughts of your own.  First, my experiences, then some advice.

I had heard and read the recommendations not to invest in your nursing bras until your milk actually starts to come in.  Those "wise" folks said that you don't know what your actual size will be until then, so that's a good time to nursing-bra-shop.

Yea, right, with a brand-new nursling hanging off your b00b, with your blood pressure still through the roof, on absolutely no sleep, with a preemie baby that has no clothes that fit her.  Sounds like a GREAT time to shop to me.

So I spent the first several days of my daughter's life basically naked from the waist up, or not wearing a bra and leaking everywhere.  I agree with the premise of the recommendation, but you might want to make an estimation and have at least something.  One bra; or a nursing tank would be good, since it's not as confining, and size-dependent as a bra.  I actually didn't increase much, so I probably would have been fine with buying bras ahead of time.  I think that will vary with each mama.

I went to Wal-Mart and bought two cheap cotton nursing bras (yes, they sell them there) in an approximate size that worked, because I wasn't about to try on bras while my milk was leaking everywhere (which is another flaw in the wait-until-your-milk-comes-in advice.)  My mom ordered me two from a Playtex catalog, which ended up being of almost the exact same construction*, but of better material.  I have been wearing those four bras in rotation for almost 17 months now.  So my next piece of advice would be: if nursing is going well for you, and you think you will end up breastfeeding for any length of time, go ahead and invest in several good bras.  Even, like 5 or 6.  I always felt like a couple more would have been good, but by then we were at 6 months, and I kept thinking I didn't want to spend the money if we wouldn't be nursing much longer.  That was over a year ago.

At some point in the first months I ordered a nursing tank (from Target online), which I ended up wearing almost the entire summer because it was so much easier than bra+shirt.  Also at some point that summer, my mom went to an outlet mall, and came home with a Motherhood nursing tank, a nursing shirt, and a nursing gown/robe that made me feel like a princess.  The Target tank and the Motherhood tank are a little different in their construction - the Motherhood tank has just a slit in the material that is under the fold-down top (similar to this design, but not exactly).  You could stay more covered that way, but that additional layer of material always bunched up and didn't look right.  The Target tank didn't have that extra layer of material.  When you fold down the top, you're open to the world.  Simpler design, and it worked better for me, but has much less coverage and isn't nearly as modest.  Both were light-colored, which I would advise against.  Milk stains and poo stains for one.  But the big reason is that swollen nipples, milk leaks, and bunched-up material are all less likely to be seen if your top is dark colored.  (See this one - you can see the under layer of material - can you imagine if her nips were bulging?  What did they do, airbrush them out?)

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I got this catalog in the mail. I totally wish I'd seen this ... um ... 18 months ago! Is this not pretty as hell for a nursing bra?!?!

So that's what I did, and it worked.  For the advice ...

You don't really need any special nursing clothing (except maybe the bra), unless it helps you to nurse more comfortably.  And only you can decide that, and only once you get going.  So I can give you all the advice in the world, and that's all it is - advice. 

-How modest are you?  Are you going to be uncomfortable with parts of your breasts showing, or your belly hanging out a little?  Are you going to want to be fully covered (then use a nursing cover), or partly covered, or do you not really care?
-Where are you likely to be nursing most of the time?  If you have to nurse at a restaurant while out for lunch, you may want to dress differently than a Saturday afternoon on your couch.

Pulling up the shirt is a very viable option, and that's what I did all winter and when I wasn't wearing one of the two nursing tops that I have.  Still do.  In fact, I usually just pull up a button-up shirt, rather than deal with the buttons.  If you are trying to be modest, it helps to cover the top of your breast, which isn't covered usually in nursing bras or tanks, depending on how they are constructed.  But then your belly is hanging out, unless you wear a tank underneath, and then what have you accomplished by having to wear two shirts?  My little one is big enough now that I use my shirt to cover the top of my breast, and then she covers the rest, and it works.

I do think a good nursing bra (or 6) is important.  I can live without the tanks and the nightgown**, but not the bras.  There have been days that I have gone to work in a "normal" bra, only to have the Wee One "demand" to nurse as soon as I have gotten home.  Those days I have appreciated the ease of having a nursing bra where you can open the cups to nurse.  Now, if I'm not wearing a nursing bra, I wear a front-close bra, but even that isn't as easy to maneuver.  I still wear a nursing bra to work, since (a) it's easier to pump when you just have to flip down the cups, and (b) I have a nursling that likes to nurse first thing when I walk in the door, and is impatient for mommy to change.

So, what's my point?  (Do I have one?***)  Bras, definitely.  Tanks, maybe one or two, see if you like them, more if you do.  No long dresses.  See how it goes.

*The bras I chose were not underwire bras.  The pre-nursing advice said to stay away from underwires, they can put pressure on milk ducts and cause mastitis.  I see very well how that could happen, so I will reiterate the no-underwire advice, especially not early on if you are engorged or have huge milk supply.

** Actually I wore that nightgown last night and it is one of the most comfortable pieces of clothing I own.

** I have enjoyed my trip down memory lane, remembering my wee one her first summer, nursing all the time.  It brought a smile to my face today, so I may have been long-winded.

Tomorrow I'll review some nursing pads for you, both sposie and cloth ones that I used.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

How Does Your Laundry Go?

It's Cloth Tushie Tuesday!  Tell us about your laundry routine, then link up at the bottom.


My laundry routine at this point is simple.  Just follow the directions for the THiRSTIES PreWash and SuperWash and you have it.

Basically because if I do anything else, my daughter gets a rash on her bum that lasts until I do all the diapers in three washes of Thirsties, and then its gone.

I prefer Tide.  There, I said it.  Phosphates and damage-to-the-earth and everything, I prefer to wash diapers in Tide.  I love the smell, I love the clean, I love the bright.

Hate the rash.

I still try, every once in a while, to slip a Tide wash in.  To get them "really clean", you know.  So they smell nice and fresh out of the dryer.  When I did that two weeks ago, we were in diaper cream for five days, and I had to re-wash the entire stash of diapers.

In Thirsties.  It's what gets rid of whatever causes the rash.  So there I am.

When diapers come off, they go in the wet bag.  If they are poopy, they get the dunk-and-swish in the toilet first.  I don't have a diaper sprayer, we just do it the old fashioned way.  If they are just wet, then straight into the bag that hangs on the back of the bathroom door, or the one in the diaper bag.  Every few days I lug the wet bags down to the washer.  Short wash on cold with the PreWash, long wash on hot with the SuperWash, and only occasionally an extra rinse.  The Superwash is gentle and has no suds, so unless I'm worried about rashes, I sometimes skip the extra rinse. 

Everything into the dryer.  It really does help if you add a dry hand towel - speeds up your drying time.

I'm one of those people that stuffs pockets and puts them away.  If I have accomplished nothing else with my day, at least I feel like I have succeeded at one thing.

I'll get over my Tide codependence.  Someday.

(I have a few more posts on laundry here, here, and here.)

Thanks for joining us for Cloth Tushie Tuesday!  If you have a post on diaper laundry, be sure to link it up here.  Follow @MommieV1 or @funkymamabird on Twitter to get the topic for next week!

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Other Side Of The Desk

I've never really been Type-A about school.  I only tried hard enough to do what I needed to.  I did well in high school, because advanced classes counted more in your GPA than regular classes.  I excelled in anything having to do with writing, which countered the misery of anything related to history, government, or numbers.

College was interesting, finally.  Except for the numbers.  I had to take both calculus classes over to get the grade acceptable to graduate.  But the Biology.  That was awesome.

In fact, I just kept taking Biology classes until someone handed me a Ph.D.  Well, not really.  But being really interested in a topic helps in learning it, and I managed to have a way with science.  Being a good test-taker doesn't hurt either.

I've mentioned before that I get tuition remission as a benefit at work.  I wanted to take a few classes for professional development, and that snowballed into enrolling into a master's degree program. 

I registered back in June, but was on the waiting list.  I finally got into the class a couple of weeks ago, and have been checking Blackboard every day to see if the class was available.  I ordered the books online (used, so I saved a ton, but they're in perfect condition.  Yay!)  I read the first chapter of one (too much history).

Then last night, course information appears.  The syllabus?  17 pages long.  The grade?  Based on three papers and participation in the discussion board.


No tests?  Are you sure?  Because I'm really good at tests.  I can study and take tests and ... Really?  No tests?

Two analyses and a response paper.  Each worth a quarter of the final grade.  The rest of the grade requires you to post to the discussion board with something relevant and thoughtful, and then to respond to what everyone else has written that they think is relevant and thoughtful, and your teacher judges and gives you a grade.

In the rational part of my brain, I know I can do this.  I know what is expected and what I need to do to meet those expectations.  However, the other part of my brain seems to be screaming "what if..." and "wtf..." too loud for me to hear the rational part.

But, I'd already read the chapter, so I wrote a draft last night of answers to her discussion board questions, then today I got online and posted it.  I was first, so I'll have to get on later and respond to others and "participate".

So I have no real post for you today because I'm too busy panicking about my answer to significant events in the history of higher education.

Tomorrow come back for Cloth Tushie Tuesday, wherein I talk about diaper laundry.  (If she'd asked about that, I could have written a fabulous discussion board post!)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Decisions, Decisions

Love this one.

Have Babylegs that will match this one.

This one just about takes the cake for me, though.

When she gets bigger, this one.

She loves Elmo, but will she understand this one?

This one is just mean.  Dressing a baby like a hot dog.  Funny if it's someone else's baby, tho.

This one is darling.

All these are from the One Step Ahead catalog.  This isn't a PR post, I just got the catalog in the mail and thought these were adorable.  Now, if they wanted to compensate me, by, say, sending me a free costume, we'd like the poodle skirt one in size 12-24 months.  kthxbye.

If anyone has other ideas for cute Halloween costumes for a toddler, I'm shopping!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Cloth Diapering 101 - Fitted Diapers

Tinkle Traps newborn size
So somewhere in all the CD 101 posts that I have done, I missed doing a post about fitteds.  I talked about fitteds in the overview post, and the post on fabrics, but I didn't give them a dedicated post as I had planned.

Wee One in a KL0 at the upper limit of wearing them - I had just realized I had never taken a photo of her in one!
Fitted diapers are a step up from prefolds.  You don't have to figure anything out with them, since they velcro or snap on.  They often have elastic around the legs to contain the poo.  But they are only made of absorbent material.  There is no waterproof layer to a fitted diaper, so you have to use a cover with them if you are putting clothes over them or want to keep wetness contained.

Country Cuttin's Newborn Size - only she's about 4 months old here.
I first heard about fitted diapers on the Diaperswappers forums, when I began research cloth diapers.  Lots of mamas recommended KL0s (Kissaluv brand fitteds in size 0) for newborns.  They contain runny newborn poo well, without blowouts.  And they are teeny, so they fit newborns well.  Some mamas said to use Proraps and some mamas said to use Thirsties covers, but overwhelmingly they recommended KL0s for newborns.

Then I started reading about mamas raving about Goodmama fitteds.  In fact, they all knew when the Goodmama Hyenacart was stocking, and they would go and pick out their favorite diapers and sit and wait for the stocking time (that's called stalking) to try to get it.  Some would get mad that the diaper would be in their "cart" and someone else would get it if the didn't complete the transaction in time.  One mama was two minutes late getting on, and her diaper was gone, so she was heartbroken.  Some mamas would get other mamas to "stalk" with them ("stalking help") to try to get a diaper they wanted.  Apparently there was some hype over these Goodmama fitteds.

At first I didn't understand the hype.  Sure, the diapers were unbearably cute, but they would be under covers so you would hardly see them.  One mama said it was like wearing sexy underwear to work - noone sees it, but you know it's there and it makes you feel good just to know that.

But then I bought a Goodmama fitted used off FSOT (at $30+ a diaper, I wasn't buying new!).  They are made of bamboo, so are very very soft in the beginning.  They are also very very very absorbent.  Some mamas even use them for overnight because they are so absorbent.

Later, I discovered what I think is an even better version - made by the mama who owns Bububebe on Hyenacart.  Her diapers are very similar to Goodmamas, with some great differences.  Let me show you.

Both are considered to be "one size" fitteds - one size will fit multiple sized babies.  This is accomplished by folding down the rise in the front on the Goodmama, and folding down the rise (and maybe snapping it) on the Bububebe.  As your babe grows, you fold down less of the rise, until you are using the full rise on the diaper for bigger babies.

One difference is that the GM has a two-layer insert that is sewn into the diaper.  The B4 has a three-layer insert that snaps together, so you can adjust the absorbency (and also the bulk of the diaper) as your baby grows.

The B4 has a short insert for use when the rise is snapped all the way down in the smallest size.

It has a medium length insert for use when your baby gets a little bigger.  The smaller insert snaps to the back of this insert, so now you have two layer absorbency.

There is a larger insert, that is longer at one end to cover the extra row of snaps and keep it from irritating your baby.  This gives you three thick layers of absorbency and is what makes this diaper great for nighttime.

I have a bunch of the B4s in several cute prints.  Some are lined with bamboo velour, and some with cotton velour - both are REALLY soft.

Top left is a birthday print diaper that Wee One wore in her First Birthday photos.
Some B4 action shots:

I have several other types of fitteds that I have used and love too.  Bumgenius bamboo fitteds are a particular favorite - although they take for-ev-er to dry in the dryer.  They are now discontinued, so you'd have to grab some used somewhere, but they will make a great addition to your stash.  DryBees makes a bamboo fitted (Gone Natural) that is really great that has a doubler that helps increase absorbency if you need it.

DryBees Size Two on her when I first bought some used.

A bamboo fitted I bought for $5 on Hyenacart from a mama going out of business.

BG bamboo fitted
Fitteds work really well under wool covers, so this winter we will probably go back to doing fitteds and wool on the weekends.

One benefit to fitteds - if you'd like your babe to run around the house one day in a breathable diaper made of all natural materials, that's easy to do with fitteds.  Some mamas leave their little ones cover-less when it's hot, when they have a diaper rash, or when they're just hanging out at home.  You can do that with a prefold if you use pins or a Snappi, but with the snaps or velcro of a fitted, it's easy to do.

Sustainable Babyish - same size diaper on two different settings to show size range - this is the old style

Made by Heather of Bitty Fluff