Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Why We're Using Cloth Diapers

Some people thought I was crazy to consider using cloth diapers. The usual visual is something involving folding and pins and leaks and lots of poop. But trust me, a surprising number of people use cloth diapers these days. And it's not as complicated or messy as it seems.

First, I did my research. I Facebook-messaged a couple of girls I went to high school with who are successfully cloth diapering to ask some initial questions (huge thank you for your help!). I read through websites and blogs to get more information. I dragged Scott to a class at a local baby boutique so we could see and feel all the necessary supplies and possible options. What seemed overwhelming and confusing at first started to sound totally do-able.

I made sure Scott was on board (all I had to do was calculate the cost savings ha!) and we decided to make it easy on ourselves by using BumGenius 4.0 one-size pocket diapers. They look a lot like disposable diapers with a microfiber insert that you stuff inside. With all the snaps, they adjust to fit babies from 8 to 35 pounds. The initial investment can be steep, but it definitely pays off. We registered for what we would need and were blessed to receive many of the items at our showers or through using gift cards.

There are tons of benefits of cloth diapering (good for the environment, less diaper rash for baby, fewer blowouts, super cute colors, etc), but the #1 reason we decided to move forward was the cost savings.

Hope she doesn't kill me when she's older for posting this... but it's too cute!
We used disposables for the first five weeks or so, until we got the hang of things and Evelyn grew a bit (the one-size diapers are a little big for newborns). We're still using disposables at night but might eventually venture into using cloth and double up on the inserts to increase the absorbency.

So far, we're loving our cloth diapers! We use cloth wipes with a little water on them, so we just shake the insert out of the dirty diaper and into the pail, throw the diaper and cloth wipes in, and we're done. We also use a Planet Wise diaper pail liner (we have two to rotate) which can be tossed in the washer along with the dirty diapers (no need to touch anything nasty!). Everything gets a cold rinse (to cut down on staining), a hot wash cycle with cloth diaper-friendly detergent, and another cold rinse (to get all the detergent out). Then the inserts and wipes go in the dryer and the diapers air-dry on the rack. Once everything is dry, we stuff the inserts back into the diapers and they are ready to go. We have 20 diapers and 36 wipes and do laundry every 2-3 days. (I feel like I keep saying "we" but Scott is just as involved with diapering and laundry as I am!)

We also have cloth diaper-friendly diaper cream on hand (regular creams can cause repelling and affect absorbency). Once E starts solid food, we have a diaper sprayer to attach to the toilet in case we need to get rid of some of the mess before throwing it in the pail, or we can use liners which we can peel out and toss or flush, but while she's exclusively breastfed, we don't have to worry about that. When we're out and about, we usually use disposables, but we have used cloth and just bring a wet bag along to stash dirty diapers.

There is so much information on brands and products and different washing processes, but if you cut through all of that, it isn't as complicated as it sounds. I'm just starting out, so things may change and I'm sure I'll learn as I go, but at this point, I'm happy to answer questions if any of you are thinking about using cloth!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Nursery Reveal

Here's the long-overdue nursery reveal!

I took these photos pre-baby, but we've found that the layout works really well now that we're actually using it. We're constantly trying to make the most of our space, tucking things in the drawers, under-crib storage, changing table baskets, and "overflow" corner of the room.

Many of the accessories are from HomeGoods/TJMaxx/Marshall's. The bedding and mobile are from Pottery Barn Kids (we later added white black-out curtains from PBK too). And the rug is from Rugs USA. If you are curious about sources for anything specific, just ask!

The final result is functional and cute... if I say so myself! What do you think?

Family wedding pictures -- we displayed these at our wedding reception in 2010!

Friday, October 4, 2013

14 Must-Have Items for the First Month with a Newborn

When building my registries, I looked to other moms for their recommendations and read through tons of reviews online. But I also knew I couldn't anticipate how the baby would like things or what would work well for our family, our space, and our lifestyle.

Now that it's been a few weeks, these are what I consider to be our "must-haves" for the first month -- the things I would highly recommend. Other people may or may not agree, but in case these items could help make someone else's life easier, I just had to share!

Fisher-Price Rock 'n Play Sleeper
Evelyn sleeps really well in this sleeper (and has since day one!). It's nice that it folds up, moves easily from room to room, and keeps her feeling snug and secure.

Miracle Blanket
This blanket makes it easy to get a tight swaddle and keeps Evelyn calm so she can sleep soundly. And the special arm flaps prevent her from wiggling out of her wrap.

Basic white onesies
We go through these onesies like water. With all the spit-up going on, sometimes it doesn't make sense to put her in a super cute outfit every day!

Cloth diapers as burp cloths
You can't beat cloth diapers for their absorbency. We use these all the time for spit-up, bubbles, drool, etc.

Aden + Anais bibs and swaddle blankets
These bibs catch any dribble as Evelyn nurses or spit-up afterwards. And the lightweight blankets are great for keeping her warm while she naps, shielding the sun out of her eyes, and covering her while we're out and about.

My Brest Friend nursing pillow
The Boppy works, but I really like My Brest Friend for nursing. The flatter surface keeps Evelyn supported and allows me to have a hand (or two!) free.

Bravado nursing bra
This style is comfy and stretchy but supportive, which is great in the early days when you're sore and your size is changing.

Lanolin cream
Breastfeeding is wonderful for babies, but it hurts at first... This helps soothe the pain!

Lansinoh disposable nursing pads
No leaks, keeps my skin dry, not too bulky!

Carter's Keep Me Dry lap pads
We keep one of these on the changing pad to protect the cover from accidents. That way, we just toss the lap pad in the wash, rather than have to change out the whole cover every time.

"The Happiest Baby on the Block" DVD
I read the book too, but for my husband who doesn't like reading, this (short) DVD was wonderful. It covers soothing techniques that really work! We watched it at the end of my pregnancy and it gave us some go-to moves for when Evelyn was fussy or crying.

White noise machine
They say the womb is as loud as a vacuum cleaner so babies often need (loud) white noise to calm down or sleep peacefully. (I also came across some moms online who swear by this YouTube video. While the video is creepy, the sound has snapped Evelyn out of crying episodes and quieted her down quickly!)

Fisher-Price Cradle 'n Swing
Okay, we just bought this last weekend, so we didn't have it the first month. But I wish we had! I resisted getting a swing since it takes up more room than other baby gadgets, but Evelyn loves being jiggled and rocked so we decided to go for the swing... and it was a great move! Plus when she dozes off, I can hop into the shower, eat lunch, or get a few things done.

Crockpot freezer meals
My mom stocked our freezer while she was here the first week after Evelyn was born. These recipes are super simple and only have a handful of ingredients, so I'm actually making a few more now that we've finished the ones my mom made. Pull a meal out of the freezer, thaw in the fridge for 24 hours, then toss in the crockpot for a few hours, and dinner is hot and ready!

Am I missing any other must-have items for those first few weeks?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

What Not to Do

During my days with Evelyn, I often have the TV on for background noise or to watch a show here and there. Lots of reality shows and HGTV!

One of the shows I sometimes watch is "What Not to Wear." While the people on that show are given rules and guidelines about what TO wear, the title of the show speaks to their old wardrobe -- what doesn't work.

This month in our Create.Compose.Communicate newsletters, Sarah and I are taking a similar approach and sharing what not to do when writing. We'll cover the "don'ts" when it comes to blogs, newsletters, presentations, and sales copy, so you can avoid the common missteps and mistakes and make your writing shine.

If you haven't signed up yet, hop over to my writing website and do it now! The first newsletter of the month arrives in inboxes tomorrow (Thursday).

Now that it's October, my maternity leave is wrapping up and I'm taking on work again. Balancing a baby and my own business will be a new challenge, but I'm excited to get back to writing! 


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