Friday, January 28, 2011

The Diaper Situation

I've had quite a few requests for a peek into our diapering routine, so yesterday I used every type of diaper we're currently using and snapped some photos for the curious. My little model was having a pretty good day so he made it easy for me. Here I'll outline the 4 types of dipes we've got going now, and some of the pros and cons of each. I took a pic of each one both off and on the baby, so you can see what they all look like. Cloth diaper jargon will be in bold italics, just like those vocabulary words in your public high school textbooks, so grab a highlighter and trapperkeeper and settle in for a day in the life of DB, Mompyre and the poopcatchers.

Prefolds and Covers:
  These are our "everyday" diapers, we use them most often and always for overnight, they can absorb a little more for DB's longer and longer sleep sessions, ensuring that now that he's only waking once a night, he's not waking in soaked PJ's and blankets. We have about 24 we're using right now, OsoCozy Brand. These are one step above flats, which I have, but have not worked up the motivation to use, and one step below fitteds, which we have but are too big yet, on the easy scale. Flats, fitteds, and prefolds will all still need a diaper cover, since none of them are waterproofed on the outside.You'll still have to fold them a little to put them on baby, but that's kinda cool because it makes them customizable a bit for your child, boy or girl, etc. There are quite a few ways to fold them, we're currently loving the "twist", we just lay DB on the diaper, pull through his legs, give a twist, then wrap the corners around his waist, creating a lot of absorbency in the front for the boy, but girl mommies could make the twist lower to suit.

No more fastening with pins these days, unless you just want to, we use a Snappi, they're cheap, and work kinda like those fasteners you find with ace bandages, stretchy in the middle with little teeth on the end, they go from hip to hip and down to the crotch.

The diaper cover I'm using here is a Thirsties Duo Wrap Snap, it's adjustable to keep you from having to buy one for each size, this one goes from 6-18 lb. We love the brand, we have six of the size one and we'll buy the next size up when we need them. If the cover is a bit wet on the inside, I just wipe it out when I change the dipe. The legs are gusseted to keep poo in the cover if it escapes the prefold, which it does about 30% of the time, but it's never escaped the cover for us so far *knocks on wood*, so I'm pretty happy!

Pros: Inexpensive, really absorbent, customizable
Cons: Takes some practice, a bit complicated, several pieces needed

All-In-Ones (aka AIO's):
   These are the easiest to put on and to sort out of the laundry, that also makes them the most expensive. They have a waterproofed outer layer and then sewn in absorbent layers in the middle with a soft liner.

We have 4, the one photographed is BumGenius brand, and we also have a SposoEasy brand. Both of ours are size specific, but they also come in one-size models where you use a series of snaps to expand the diaper as your child grows.

We mostly use these for the diaper bag, since the changes go faster with these, and nobody wants a long and drawn out public diaper change! With these AIO's and the pockets I get some "wicking" if DB's onesie comes in contact with the soft liner instead of the waterproof outer around the leg gusset area, but that seems to happen less with the BumGenius, could be how they fit? Every baby's different! The BumGenius brand has shown to be super absorbent, in an experimental example, it held easily a half-cup of water.

Pros: Easy, most like a disposable, not intimidating for other care-givers (babysitters, family, etc.)
Cons: Expensive, can be difficult to find the right fit for your baby, takes a long time to dry on laundry day

  On the easy scale these are just one step below AIO's. They are still a waterproof outer with a soft liner, but the absorbent part is an insert that you remove for washing and when dry, stuff back into the pocket between the two. Best of both worlds! They dry faster than the AIO's, and since you can stuff the diaper before the change, they're fast too. We have 6 of these right now, the one in the photograph is a FuzziBunz, we also have a Happy Heiny's and a Monkey Snuggles.
Pros: Easy, dries fast on laundry day, not intimidating for other care-givers (babysitters, family, etc.)
Cons: Expensive, can be difficult to find the right fit for your baby

Hyrbids(aka AI2's):
  These are a blend between disposables ('sposies) and cloth. They are made up of a shell which is waterproof and have the option for a washable or flushable/biodegradable liner. We haven't used the biodegradable liner for ours yet, but we're planning to try them out on a family trip to the mountains this summer. The shells wash and dry easily and quickly so they'll be perfect for hand washing and sun drying. The ones we use are GroBaby (Now branded as GroVia) , and there is another well-known brand of Hybrid called gDiapers, I chose not to try them but some parents really love them, so they're nice to know about, and they've become more mainstream, my Babies-R-Us carries them in store. 

I love the GroBaby's for traveling because they are trim and you usually only have to change the snap-in washable insert, so that means I can fit enough for 6 diaper changes comfortably in the diaper bag and they don't take up too much space in the travel wetbags! These are one size fits all with a series of snaps to make them bigger in the rise and stretchy waist with aplix to fasten. I'm a big fan and can't wait to get a few more sets. Right now we have 3 shells and 6 inserts.

Pros: Trim, easy, shells dry quickly, flushable/biodegradable option
Cons: Expensive, fit may not work for all babies, inserts for GroBaby "smell" wet to some when wet

Now for all the other questions!

   What about wipes? For wipes we use regular terrycloth baby washcloths, color coded in our house so we know which are wipes and which are for bath times. We use a peri bottle to spray a little wipe solution on the cloth before wiping, you can make your own, there are lots of recipes out there, or you can buy some online, I like this kind, made by a work-at-home mom and sold in little dissolving pieces, great price for the amount they make and they smell so good! Punkin' Booty Bits 

   Where do the dirty dipes go to wait for washing? We have two small wetbags by Kushies that go in the diaper bag for on the go changes, and a large hanging wetbag by Planet Wise in the nursery. All the wetbags can go right into the wash with the diapers. They are very good at holding the messy dipes and the smell stays in, even with the bag not zipped shut. So easy!

   What is laundry day like? We wash every 2 days on average. This leaves plenty of diapers in the clean stash on wash day so we're not panicking for clean ones while trying to get the others clean and dry! The laundry ritual is very easy. Breast milk poo is water soluble so no rinsing happens in our house yet, all the diapers and wipes go in a cold short cycle with no soap, then a long hot wash with two rinses and half the recommended soap to cut down on residue, which could make diapers stinky. Covers and small wetbags go on a hanging rack to dry, everything else goes in the dryer with no dryer sheet, usually they get dry with one cycle, sometimes AIO's need to go again.

That's everything I was asked, I think, and everything I can think of! If you've got any other questions, even just curious ones, I'm happy to answer! Hope that's what you were looking for, blog requesters!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

We don't know what we're doing...

...but we do the best we can. The Hero and I planned for a really long time to have a baby. Its not like you don't get several months warning that soon you'll be in possession of a tiny humanoid in need of anything a humanoid needs. You're well aware that you're going to be the one responsible for providing those things. But the day comes, you're handed this adorable squishy bundle of screams and snuggles and you're just supposed to kick into gear and start Parenting.

   Oh they have their ways of teaching you the best way to accomplish this Parenting. There's magazines, books telling you what to expect, what to do, how to schedule, how to train your baby, how to make your child a genius before they're 3 months old, how to make your baby read at 5 weeks, what you're doing wrong and why, on and on, you can spend a ton of money to become a master of Parenting before your embryo has even snuggled in for the 9 month ride.

   I'm not saying you shouldn't prepare yourself a little bit, its kinda a big deal, but I think setting huge and crazy expectations by trying to apply everyone else's experience to your own can cause you to miss your own experience, or at least be rudely surprised when it doesn't become what you were prepared for. I think we've robbed ourselves of the confidence that under all the iGadgets, data plans, cars, homes, malls, degrees and dollars, we're still just mammals. We're still just creatures, we are born, we live, sometimes we procreate, and we die. We have this fantastic thing called Instincts. These Instincts are supposed to help with this Parenting thing, but for some reason we tend to discredit them. We've even invented these people to help us discredit them, we call them Experts. So the Experts say "don't listen to your Instincts, those are for the uncivilized, they make you bad Parents." and we listen. Or we did for a while...

   But somewhere along the way we thought "Shouldn't parenting just be what's right for us? Who knows that better than us? Who's to say that what works for them or them or even them is going to be best for our family? Can't we just do what keeps us happy and healthy and leave it at that? And more importantly can we remember that what works for us may not work for everyone else?" So we started to make our own plan. Sure, we still listened to Experts, but for every Expert there is an equal and opposite Expert, so we just started to consider ourselves experts on our own lives.

Our logic goes something like this: Our lives are pretty functional right now. Soon we'll have to add a baby to our lives, and at that point we will still have to function. Babies need food, a somewhat hygienic waste disposal system, and some sleep. If we figure these things out and manage to keep our child from ingesting terrible chemicals or falling from great heights, we'll consider ourselves a success.

This may not be the best system, but who's to say! Now here's the fun part. We started to compile some info on what we were hoping would work for us once our little Dragon Baby joined us. Slowly, at first, but after we gained some confidence, it became much easier. As our list of Parenting hopes and ideas grew, we found that some other people shared a few of our Instincts. This is how we found what some people call "Attachment Parenting". (hereafter in the blog refered to as AP)

   Ok, so it turns out we're not alone. But even among peers, a one-size fits all Parenting Plan simply will not work happily for all parties. Imagine our relief (especially The Hero's relief, as he said something like "I don't want us just subscribing to some system") when we found that at the heart of this AP thing, finding what works for you and your family as a whole unit is very important. Key elements are strong communication skills among family members, simplicity, balance, and trust.

   So Magical! So Wonderful! We were among the like minded! Right? any good thing, there are those few who just seem to miss the important stuff and cling to the details, right? Enter: The Extremists. I've found that among internet parenting circles these are the "Crunchy" moms. Their forum signature proudly proclaims how their baby was delivered by yaks on a mountaintop, They're breastfeeding their 3rd grader, no one in their family has vaccinations, they only wear natural fiber clothing grown, woven, and sewn by themselves, their whole family of eight sleeps in one bed, and none of their children were EVER diapered, since elimination communication is the only way to go! Now none of this is really a problem in and of itself, its what happens next that just really gets under my skin. So you stumble upon The Extremists online, but you're not quite aware of their MO yet. You see the signature, you may not know what all these abbreviations mean, but you've got a question and some gumption and by golly you're among friends, everyone seeking what will work for them, right?

    Wrong, now The Extremists are the Experts. You're back to square one, only you're a bad mom already for planning to use pacifiers, let your child have a goldfish cracker, or use disposable diapers. Bullies abound in the world, and the internet gives them a convenient hiding place. I guess I hadn't really thought of parents bullying parents before. I thought we were all on the same team. I had exchanged knowing looks among the other pregnant women and parents with infants as we walked through the city. I was in on the secret now, we were all just trying to do what's best and make it work, right? Not these parents, they were out to convince and judge. Among The AP Extremists I was pretty mainstream, I mean, my child would be born in a hospital after all, but on other parenting boards I was branded Crunchy. I found people expected me to judge them for their Parenting choices, overuse some caps lock and let them have it over formula feeding, epidurals, and disposable diapers. I was saddened. I just wanted us all to be on the same team!

   So here it is. This is the safe meeting place. I'll write about what works for us, probably about some things that we thought would work but don't, what we want to try, and what might work for others. If you have specific questions or suggestions for a post, please email me, I promise to write on any suggested topics. I'm an open book, and I don't mind addressing anything, taboo or not. I'm no Expert, and we don't know what we're doing, but we're doing the best we can!