Friday, August 19, 2011

37 weeks...

I am 37 weeks along today. Officially considered to be full-term. Laurel can come whenever she wants....and let's just say that with the heat wave we are in, I am hoping that is sooner rather than later!

Our bags are packed, her clothes and diapers are washed and put away, the car seat is installed, and I think we are officially ready for her arrival...though, I'm sure we won't feel "ready" once she actually decides to make her appearance. Is anyone really ever "ready" to have a baby??

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


It has been a while since I posted anything, and I think it really comes down to a lack of focus. I haven't been able to decide what exactly I should be blogging about these days. The topics that I set out for my blog when I started centered on cloth diapering, being a first time mom, graduate school, and life in general. I purposefully kept it broad so that I could write about pretty much whatever I wanted and whatever was going on at the moment. But lately, I just feel like there hasn't been much to say about any one thing...

Cloth Diapering:
As far as cloth diapering goes, I've already bombarded you all with tons of cloth diapering information...and even though there is definitely more out there to write about, I really want to try to save some of it for after the baby I can give a more "real world" perspective on how cloth diapering is working for us and things that we are discovering along the way. 

First-Time-Mom Experiences: 
Until the baby actually arrives, I don't have much to say in this department. Though, I have been battling a fairly severe case of "mommy brain" lately. 

What is "Mommy Brain"?

Though some other moms might disagree, I imagine the term "mommy brain" to refer to the disorganized scattered thoughts and complete inability to remember to do the basic every day tasks that used to be second nature which generally accompanies pregnancy and those early months as the parent of a newborn. Though I (thankfully) was not afflicted with mommy brain early on in my pregnancy, I am finding that as my due date creeps (or zooms!) ever nearer I often forget to feed the dogs (or sometimes that we even have dogs), that I will walk into a given room in our house a half a dozen times trying to remember why in the world I was headed there in the first place, I can go through an entire day and realize somewhere around dinner that I didn't put on deoderant or brush my teeth yet (yeah, it's this bad and the baby isn't even here yet - yikes), and I have become consumed with an endless list of minute tasks that NEED to be completed before the baby arrives (which I'm sure falls under the heading of "nesting" - though, my compulsive preparations have been very limited to getting the baby's room and things ready, and have not yet spread out into the remainder of the house). 

And, thanks to this compulsive baby preparation, I think we are pretty much "ready" for the baby's arrival. The hospital bags are packed, the car seat is ready to go, the crib sheets (and mattress pads) are washed and ready to go. All of baby girl's clothes in the newborn to 3 month range are washed, folded, and neatly organized in the dresser drawers. The cloth diapers are prepped, folded, and waiting. And all of the remaining baby items are neatly organized in bins on the bookshelf (pacifiers and teethers, first aid and grooming, toys,  shoes, baby carrier, etc.), or neatly folded in a cloth organizer near the changing station/dresser (predominantly blankets, swaddle wraps, burp cloths, and breastfeeding accessories). I'm sure that once the baby arrives, I'll figure out that bits and pieces need to be moved elsewhere to make life easier...but, for now, I've done the best that I can do. 

Graduate School:
To say that I haven't gotten as much academic work done this summer as I expected might be an understatement. See above. Every time I sit down to make progress on reading lists or grant proposals, I am distracted by some minute detail elsewhere. My thought processes are disconnected. What is the motivation for this study? Are the breathable bumpers on the crib tight enough? How can we measure isolation by distance in a fossil population? Did I finish folding the receiving blankets? Is a Mantel's test or a Partial Mantel's test more appropriate to test this hypothesis? Would these pacifiers be more convenient in another location? How do I construct a distance matrix? Do I need to re-arrange my diapers, yet again, by some different property - color? closure type? brand? 

My distraction is only worsened by my terrible sleep patterns. I believe that my nighttime wakefulness has something to do with "mommy brain" or hormones or the (wonderfully adorable) alien life-force that refuses to be active during the daylight hours. Regardless, I am lucky to get 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep. My nights generally look something like this: exhaustion (and the rarely true thought that maybe I am tired enough to sleep through the night tonight), toss and turn for an hour trying to find a comfortable position, finally find one and need get up to pee, try to recreate the "comfortable" position that I was in before having to get up, finally fall asleep, wake up to pain in my back/hip/shoulder/pinky toe, get up to pee, blow my nose, sneeze, blow my nose, sneeze, sneeze, sneeze (seriously, I do the nose-blowing/sneezing thing for 30-45 minutes or more - literally every single night), get up to pee (sneezing is hard on the bladder), toss and turn, finally get out of bed at the bright and early hour of 2:30, 3:00, or 4:00am, curse that I couldn't sleep longer, try to be productive (might as well make the best of being awake, right?), realize that I am WAY to tired to think clearly, lay back down, feel the baby practice her round-house kicks, read or stalk facebook on my phone, pray for sleep to please come back, and occasionally (eventually) - when I am really lucky - fall back to sleep for a couple of hours...

I know, I know. This is just "nature's way" of preparing me for those sleepless nights up with the baby. I don't care. It's a cruel joke is what it is. It's like making a woman who is 9 months pregnant try to pee in a tiny little cup at the doctor's office. It's not fair that when your body most needs it, sleep is elusive. I've got months (well, realistically years) of night waking in my future, so I feel like I should be able to take advantage of these last weeks of being able to sleep whenever I want to (or desperately need to). Apparently, that is not part of the plan. 

Life in General:
Despite my sleeping woes and inability to concentrate, there are some great things going on in my world. My wonderful husband started a full-time job recently - so now we have health insurance benefits AND a weekly paycheck to look forward to. He is absolutely amazing. I know it is a major sacrifice for him to post-pone finishing his dissertation in order to provide for us, and I'm really impressed at his willingness to do it. I hope that once our baby girl arrives, we are able to quickly get onto some kind of schedule (or routine at least) that allows him time in the afternoons/evenings/weekends/whenever to continue making progress toward finishing that dissertation and getting his PhD....because he is sooooo close, and I don't want me or the baby to be a hindrance to his getting done. 

While I'm wishing for things, I also hope we get into a routine that allows me to get back to work on my own dissertation as well. But, I know that my role as mommy is going to be much more important than my role as scientist...especially over the coming it may take me a bit longer to get "back on track." And, I think I'm OK with that. 

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Packing for the Hospital...

Weeks ago (somewhere around week 28), the doctor mentioned that it might be a good idea for us to go ahead and pack our hospital bag and start bringing it with us to all of our appointments. Her rationale: we live two hours away from the hospital and you never know what might happen in any given visit - my blood pressure may be high, the baby may be in distress, or some other situation might arise where she decides to keep me for additional monitoring and/or go ahead and have the baby. This all makes sense. Yet, I still couldn't bring myself to pack the bag. For one thing, it was still way too early to be having this baby - and if you don't pack the bag, she can't come yet, right?

Maybe that reasoning is flawed...but the other side of the coin was that we still didn't have all of the things that you *need* to pack in your hospital bag - nursing bras? nope! going home outfit for baby? nope! car seat? nope! not to mention that you have to pack away clothes for yourself on the return trip home (something that would fit you around your 6-7th month, because alas, you will not be your pre-pregnancy size 2 days after giving birth) - and this one was a real doozie for me as well. I've been pretty much refusing to buy any more maternity clothes than I absolutely *need* - which means that I've been "surviving" with one pair of panel shorts, one pair of panel jeans, a few maternity tops, and a lot of begging, borrowing, and stealing of my poor husband's T-shirts and athletic shorts. (Oh, and a maternity bathing suit from Old Navy that I absolutely HAD to have....that I have worn once...for two hours...only 30 minutes of which was actually in the water. What a waste.) So, when it came to packing the hospital bag, my question was what the heck was I supposed to pack? What could I do without?

Fast forward through several weeks of me staring at an empty bag and asking myself these same questions, and you'll find me at week 34, still staring at an empty bag. But, something is different now...I have a list! In talking to friends who have had babies and scouring the interwebs for pointers, I am now armed with a list of things to pack to take to the hospital. Between baby showers and my own "nesting" instinct, we now have a lot more baby items on hand...and between Old Navy's crappy maternity pants construction (the blue panel starting coming off of my one pair) and my ever increasing belly size, I've also broken down and bought two more pairs of maternity pants (it's nice to have pants to wear every day...and as my husband lovingly reminds me, I'll get use out of these pants even after the baby is here...yikes). So, I may finally have enough stuff to pack (or at least start to pack) the hospital bag.

So, what am I bringing? Here's the breakdown -

In the baby bag:

  • breast pads (I don't have these yet, but they're on the list of things to stuff into my bag as soon as I have them!)
  • lanolin
  • nursing cover up (in case we need to nurse while company is present)
  • going home outfit for baby girl (I actually have an adorable knit dress that my mom bought that I will probably use for pictures, and another cute little onesie outfit that will likely be what she actually wears home)
  • itzbeen timer (and batteries) and a small notebook/pen to keep track of feedings/diaper changes/etc.
  • diapers (my mom swears that even though the hospital will provide these, that I should bring my own so that we aren't "charged" for, I did pack some)
  • diaper cream 
  • petroleum jelly (can help with meconium tar poop clean-up if slathered liberally on baby's bottom BEFORE it happens)
  • travel pack of wipes

In my bag:

  • nursing bra (one of my sleep nursing bras)
  • 2 pairs of (giant) underwear
  • a "nursing" nightgown (a regular nightgown that buttons down to the belly that I found at Wally-world in the elderly women's section)
  • some sweet old lady house-shoes (that sadly, I've had forever...they are so dang comfortable!)
  • extra socks (in case my feet get cold)
  • 2 nursing tanks
  • my crummiest pair of maternity panel jeans (I've read that it's more comfy to have the panel than not, but I didn't want to pack my newer "nice" maternity jeans) + a belly band to cover up the fact that the panel is coming apart
  • a pair of fleecy maternity pants (no panel here, but they look comfy...I figured I'd give myself the option)
  • a pair of flip flops (to wear home with my jeans or fleecy pants and tank top)
  • ibuprofen (in case I need it on the way home) & colace (to start taking ASAP...apparently pooping can be a real issue post-delivery, so stool softeners and fiber are highly recommended)
  • a toiletries bag (with shampoo, conditioner, a razor, deoderant, lotion, spare contacts, a contact case, and travel contact solution)
  • baby record book (so the nurses can do footprints when they do them for the birth record at the hospital)
  • camera and camera battery charger

I also printed myself out a note with things that I would need to grab...but couldn't really pack up into the bag right now. It reads, "For the Hospital:"

  • green suitcase (this is my bag) - add: iphone charger, nook, nook charger, glasses, and glasses case
  • diaper bag (this is the baby's bag) - add: white/purple knit dress (which is still hanging up so it doesn't get wrinkled)
  • car seat (the base is already installed in the car, so we just need to grab the seat out of the crib)
  • boppy (if you are breastfeeding and planning to use a boppy or other pillow, it is recommended that you bring it to the hospital...but, it probably won't fit in your suitcase!)
  • breast pump (in a carry bag...I want to bring this just in case we have difficulty feeding or something and need to pump a bit...also, I figure it'd be nice to have experienced staff around if I needed reassurance as to how this insanely scary contraption works!)
  • pillows!! (yes, the hospital has pillows...but they are thin, and scratchy, and not nearly as comfortable as my pillow from I'm bringing it!!)

Now, this is just the list for me and the husband still needs to pack his bag, and I'm not sure what all he will include, but it will probably look something like this:

  • 2-3 changes of clothes (including long-sleeved T-shirts because it is always cold in hospital rooms, especially in labor and delivery)
  • toiletries
  • snacks (like cliff bars) and sodas (so you don't have to pay an arm and a leg for them at the hospital) and bottles of water
  • nook, nook charger, iphone, iphone charger....maybe his laptop...not sure, but first babies can take a LONG time to make their we should all be prepared to entertain ourselves for a while!!

So, now I am *officially* packed for the hospital (all I'm waiting on are breast pads and I still need to sterilize the breast pump stuff, which I plan to do in the near future). I start my weekly visits on August 8, and will definitely be bringing all of this junk with me when I go to each of those appointments. And on days that I don't have doctor's appointments, I'll leave all of this stuff stacked in the glider rocker - with the list of "things to grab" right on top...because from here on out, the baby really could come any time!! Which is both a scary and exciting prospect!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Finding Comfort (in the Right Bra)!

It’s funny how sometimes you don’t realize how uncomfortable you are until you are truly comfortable again. This has been the story of me and my bras. I know that eventually I will have to buy new ones that are capable of containing my ever-growing bosom once the baby arrives…but, I have been putting this off as long as possible.

First, my boobs haven’t grown very much. I’ve gone from a small B to an ample B (possibly very small C) over the course of my pregnancy. Unfortunately, what has grown is my band size….with the baby encroaching more and more on my internal organs’ real estate, stuff is getting pushed around and re-arranged…and sadly this means that some of the bulk that used to be securely located on my stomach has now migrated north, making my bras somewhat uncomfortable. This has gotten markedly worse over the last couple of weeks.

Also, I have no idea how much I am going to grow once the baby is born and my milk starts to come in, so it seems like a reasonable thing to do to wait and see what size I will be before actually purchasing any new bras.

So, I have continued to wear the all of my “old” bras over the last 8 months…pulling at them, adjusting the straps, and wishing for a bra extender that actually fit the hooks (yes, I tried these but Victoria’s Secret bra hooks are not spaced so that they can use the extenders that are available from Target/Wal-mart…which I’m sure is so that you’ll be forced to buy new – very expensive – bras when you start to outgrow the old ones). I also bought several cheap cotton sports bras (I think they are Hanes) that I had hoped would serve me well on days that I didn’t have to go into public…but alas, these have also become uncomfortable in recent weeks. Despite this, I still wasn’t inspired to buy any new bras. I guess I figured I would continue to be a martyr until the baby was born…

On a whim, I entered a give-away several weeks ago after reading a review of the Lamaze Intimates sleep bra (nursing bra) on a blog I follow (Cloth Diaper Addiction). I completely forgot that I entered the giveaway until I got an email saying that I had won!

What I received: a Lamaze Intimates Sleep Bra from Nursing Bra Express - (I chose black). Retail value: $16-18.

Lamaze Sleep Bra (image borrowed from Nursing Bra Express)

The bra came in the mail Thursday…I opened it, but then set it to the side to “deal with” later. After a crappy nights’ sleep and some (very) early morning sports bra discomfort…I decided that maybe I should try on the new bra – just to see how it feels. I fully intended to just try it one for a minute, then change into one of my normal bras for the day…

Yeah, that didn’t happen. 

This bra is amazing! It is so comfortable and soft that I literally never want to take it off! The criss-cross front design seems like it will be perfect for nursing and the fabric is stretchy, so I have “room to grow” in this bra without having to go up a size. Even so, it fits well now…and no uni-boob! After wearing it all day, I can honestly say, I will be sad to see it go into the laundry in the morning (yes, I am planning to sleep in it too)! I ordered another one (in white) this evening…and I am looking forward to its arrival next week!

So, in summary: the Lamaze sleep bra = amazing!

At this point, I highly recommend this bra! I am looking forward to finding out how it actually works with nursing once our little girl arrives in September!! 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

In a Holding Pattern...

I know I haven't posted in a few weeks, but I just haven't had much going on. I feel like I'm just in a holding pattern...waiting waiting waiting.

We've completed our first two classes with the hospital - the all day childbirth class and a 2 hour breastfeeding basics class. I learned a few things that I didn't know before (like what to do in the event of a prolapsed cord, yikes), but mostly it was just nice to reaffirm that I do, in fact, have a fairly good understanding of how birth and breastfeeding work!

Apparently, as part of the childbirth class, they showed several videos of actual births...I did not know this until AFTER the class was over! I was commenting to my husband about how strange it was that there were no "birth videos" as part of the class...and he quickly corrected me! Somehow I just happened to be out of the room (peeing again) every single time they showed a video!!

Speaking of peeing...(and this may be TMI)...I have been doing that A LOT. Enough to miss four separate birth videos. And enough to drive both me and my husband crazy. I asked the doc about it and it turned out that I had a bit of a UTI. I took a week's worth of antibiotics and seemed to be improving. But, within a couple of days of finishing the macrobid, all of my "symptoms" (frequency, urgency) were back and worse than before. They tested me again. No infection. So, I got a prescription for something to help "relax" the urinary tract and treat the symptoms. No improvement. By the time I showed up for my 32 week appointment (yesterday), I was literally running to the restroom every 10 minutes (or less)! This time, my results came up positive for nitrites but no other "typical" indicators of infection (though nitrites are a by-product of the bacteria that cause infection). But, since my symptoms are "classic UTI" - the doc went ahead and gave me a stronger antibiotic and specific instructions to ignore the dosing guidelines given at the pharmacy and load up on them last night and this morning. If no improvement by today, I'm to call back and they would switch me to an even stronger medication (which is a bit scary, since the one I am taking now is the strongest one you can "safely" take during pregnancy).

The good news is, I think I am getting better. It's been at least an hour since I last had to pee. Thank goodness. Having to stop what you are doing every few minutes to hightail it to the restroom is annoying. Not being able to lay still in bed long enough to fall asleep without having to get up an pee is annoying. Needless to say, I was starting to get a bit "crabby" (which I'm using as the nice word for something else that starts with a "B").

In other news, baby girl is doing great! I was measuring just a bit ahead of 32 weeks and had gained a bit more than I had imagined (let's hope I was just retaining water because of the heat or something), but the heartbeat sounded perfect. I'm headed back in 2 more weeks!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Are these not the cutest prints??

Rumparooz Lux Print

The Itti Bitti Tutto that I received free with purchase from Kelly's Closet :-)
I think I've done a fairly reasonable job of buying mostly gender neutral diapers (so we can re-use them if/when we decide to have a second child), but lately I have not been able to resist buying a few adorable girlie diapers!!

I can't wait to see these cute prints on our baby girl's fluffy bottom! 

Speaking of...

Only 10 more weeks to go! 

Monday I had my 30 week appointment (just a few days early). Baby girl sounded amazing...and momma is doing well. Doc said I had a "perfect 30 week belly" - whatever that means! 

I seriously cannot believe that I only have 10 more weeks to go. It is going to be here so soon! I was just thinking through the next few weekends and I realized that time is absolutely about to start flying by. Here's why:
  • this weekend = July 4 (lake, family, etc.)
  • July 10 = baby shower (for a friend who is due Sept 4)
  • July 16 = baby shower (for me, just close friends)
  • July 24 = baby shower (for me, in-laws side of the family)
  • July 30 = wedding (brother-in-law)
  • Aug 7 = baby shower (for me, my side of the family)
  • Aug 13 = baby shower (for a friend, who is due Oct 9)
Then it's just a few more weeks until baby girl arrives! And technically she can come any time after August 19th, since 36 weeks is considered full-term. Wow. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Quick Update...

Well, I am 29 weeks along today. I am absolutely starting to get huge - I know this because I can no longer reach my feet (which is a problem when it comes to putting on shoes with laces) and my husband has to give me a "boost" to get up off of our couch. Only 11 more weeks to go, right?

The good news is that overall, I actually feel pretty great....and I'm trying to enjoy that while I can because I know it won't last much longer!!

Tomorrow is our first day of "baby school" - a 7 hour childbirth class offered by a local hospital. I am definitely excited - but also a bit nervous...going to baby school makes it all so much more real!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Thirsties Giveaway from Thirsties Baby

Those of you who follow my blog know that I've mentioned Thirsties a couple of times so far. If you follow their blog at, you know they have weekly giveaways. This week is, of course, no exception. There are only a couple of days left to enter this week, so hurry over there! (link:

This week's prize is a Thirsties Duo Wrap and a couple of hemp prefolds (super absorbent!) - I am definitely entered, and you should be too!! 

I promise to talk more about why I am so excited about these Thirsties giveaways in the near future! In the meantime, good luck to you!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Little of This, a Little of That...

I feel badly that it’s been a whole week since I updated my blog with anything, but the past week has been quite busy! Here’s a brief run-down of what I’ve been up to:

As part of my dissertation research, I am hoping to use 3D laser scans to analyze shape variation in the human temporal bone (nerdy, I know). So, for part of last week (Wednesday-Friday), I spent a large portion of my days with a NextEngine scanner figuring out how the machinery and software operate so that I can better plan my research protocol and timeline. There’s a fairly steep learning curve, but by the last day, I seemed to be getting the hang of it.

Broken Hill Cranium (Kabwe)

My 28 week OB appointment was also last week (Thursday). Since I have an Rh- blood type and my husband is Rh+, our baby is at risk for Rh disease or Hemolytic disease of the newborn (caused by Rh incompatibility), from a build-up of antibodies in the mother’s bloodstream which fight against an Rh+ fetus. This only happens if some of the baby’s blood crosses the placenta into my blood stream (usually due to some kind of abdominal injury during pregnancy, but it can also happen during birth), and it is usually not an issue with first babies (though it can cause problems with subsequent pregnancies if not monitored and managed due to the blood transfer during birth). 

If some Rh+ blood from the baby crosses over into my Rh- blood, then my body will build antibodies against it and can try to attack the baby, because it recognizes the Rh+ entity as something foreign that should be destroyed. So yeah, needless to say, it CAN be a big deal. We don’t know yet whether our baby is Rh+ or Rh- (theoretically, she could be either), but just to be safe, I have to get tested several times during the pregnancy (once at the beginning, once at 28 weeks, and again after birth) to see if my body is building antibodies.

So, as part of our 28 week visit, I got to have my blood drawn to test it for antibodies. It was still negative, which is great news. I also got to have my first shot of Rhogam – which is a preventative medication that is given at 28 weeks and usually after birth to keep an Rh- mother’s body from potentially building those antibodies against Rh+ blood. Let me just tell you, that shot burns going in…and it will make your shoulder sore for a few days…but, I suppose it is worth it to make sure our baby girl is born healthy!

We also got to have a second ultrasound of the baby to check her growth since the 20 week mark. She is still a girl (good news, since I don’t want to have to take back all the stuff we’ve already bought) and is growing just perfectly. The sonographer estimates that she was around 2lbs 6oz on the day of the scan. We didn't get a lot of great pictures because baby girl was sleeping...with her arm over her face...and refused to move (despite poking and prodding) for most of the ultrasound, but she finally brought her arm down and we got a view of her pretty face.

nestled in, snug as a bug!

a profile shot

Monday, June 13, 2011

Adventures in Diaper Washing

Since I finally “completed” my cloth diaper stash, I’ve been working on prepping the diapers for the past few days. In order for the diapers and inserts to have maximum absorbency, they have to be washed several times before using them for the first time. 

The vast majority of my inserts of made of microfiber or microchamois, which only need to be washed once or twice to get them ready to wear. Some brands offer inserts made of hemp, which are generally more absorbent that microfiber (though they are heavier and don’t absorb as quickly), and many moms suggest using these overnight – with or without your regular microfiber insert – if you have a heavy wetter. I’ve already bought a couple of hemp inserts for the best bottoms, and plan to get a few for my other diapers as well, but since I won’t need them right away (newborns are not “heavy wetters”), they aren’t super high on my priority list. Hemp requires special preparation and can’t be washed with my regular inserts until after they have been fully “prepped” – so I just set these to the side for now to deal with later. My weekend mission was to conquer prepping the diapers and microfiber/chamois inserts.

The Laundry Routine
Ask a dozen cloth diapering moms (or rather, visit their blogs), and you’ll get a dozen diaper washing routines. Check the manufacturers websites and you’ll also find conflicting information on how to wash and what detergent to use. Frustrating? Absolutely.

It seems that every cloth diaper manufacturer and cloth diapering mommy has a slightly different recommendation on what type of detergent is best, what temperature the water needs to be, should you add any other stuff to the wash, and can your diapers be dried in the dryer without the world coming to an end…and no, none of them overlap. Apparently what works for one mom may not work for another and the success (or failure) of any laundering routine depends on the type of detergent used, the amount, the composition of your water (hard, soft, in-between), your washing machine, your baby’s particular Ph (exactly how acidic IS junior’s pee?)…and way you hold your tongue while pressing the “start” button.

So, I did a little research and found that many mom’s had great success using free and clear detergents for their diaper laundry – such as ALL free and clear or Tide free. But, others found that their diapers continued to leak. Leakage in cloth diapers is usually due to one of three things: a) you didn’t “prep” your diapers before using them; b) you have inadequate absorbency in the diaper – i.e., your kid pees A LOT and you need a hemp insert but you’re using microfiber; or c) you  have build-up –either from using too much soap and/or not rinsing adequately OR, your detergent is leaving additives and residues behind (and yes, even “free” and “clear” detergents can have additives). If you know your problem is not A or B, then your best bet is to “strip” your diapers – there are a variety of ways to do this and it’s fairly simple from what I’ve heard – and start “fresh.” (I’ll try to make a future post on how to strip your diapers).

Using a standard free and clear detergent appealed to me for two reasons: a) it is less expensive than most of the “specialty” cloth diaper detergents on the market, and b) I can buy these detergents at the store without needing to order online and pay/wait for shipping. But, I was worried that we might fall on the “unlucky” side of the coin and end up soaking wet (literally) because our diapers didn’t have proper absorbency once the baby arrives in September. I thought that perhaps finding a relatively inexpensive specialty detergent might be worthwhile if it meant that our diapers would work 100% of the time without having to spend time stripping them and trouble-shooting our laundry routine.

Enter: Rockin’ Green Detergent.

The thing that appealed to me about Rockin’ Green (besides all of the rave reviews) was that it comes in a variety of formulations depending on the type of water you have (no other detergent does this), so I was able to get a soft water formula (to match the water type where we live).

So, my wash routine (which looks like so many others), goes something like this:
  1. Place diaper laundry in the wash. Since I was “prepping” the diapers, I just shoved all the inserts in one load and all the diapers in a second load…when you are actually washing “used” diapers, you’ll want to limit the number of diapers in the machine to 12-15 (diapers and inserts) at one time.
  2. Do a cold water rinse – this helps to reduce staining in “used” diapers and gets everything good and wet so that, particularly in front loading machines, the load is heavier and more water will be used. My front load machine doesn’t allow me to choose my water level, and it doesn’t have just a “rinse” option – rather it has “rinse and spin.” With washing cloth diapers, water is your friend (more is better), so I made sure the spin setting was as low as possible (so the diapers/inserts would remain wetter and therefore weigh more for the next step) – another way to “trick” the machine into using more water in step 3 is to chunk in a large towel with your diapers.
  3. Do a hot water wash with 1 Tbsp of detergent (this is half the recommended amount because I am using a front load machine), followed by a cold water rinse. My machine has a hot/cold option – so I used this, and added on a second rinse for good measure (to make sure all of the detergent is rinsed out). For this wash, I keep the spin at the highest setting so that the diapers/inserts are as dry as possible coming out of the wash. NOTE: do NOT use liquid fabric softener when washing your diapers – it will leave residue on them and affect their absorbency. (Same goes for dryer sheets – they are a “no-no”)
  4. Dry. You can tumble dry on low, or tumble for 10-15 minutes and then air dry, or just line dry your diaper laundry. Diapers and inserts will last longest when line dried – but many moms find that tumbling for a few minutes then line drying the rest of the way is a good balance as far as the amount of time it takes to dry everything.  I had planned on doing this, but when I felt the diapers after the wash was over, they were already mostly dry – so I just put them straight on the drying rack and they were completely dry within a couple of hours!!

Granted. I won't know if this routine actually works until I get a little munchkin to test-drive these diapers. But, it's definitely a solid starting point.

Diapers and inserts drying after round 3 of "prepping"

For the purposes of “prepping” the diapers, I washed them only once, but I washed the inserts twice (without drying in-between). Once they were all dry, I "tested" their absorbency. Initially, I opted for pouring water directly onto the insert - and then I immediately panicked with the water beaded up and poured right off!! I just knew that somehow I had "ruined" by inserts and that I would have to strip them and figure out what I did wrong. No, seriously. I frantically shoved all my inserts back in the wash (not that it would help them if I actually did need to strip them), and while they washed a third time, I did a bit more reading. Actually, I did a lot of asking...twitter and facebook can be amazing resources...and I follow a lot of cloth diaper blogs on both sites, so I sent my concern out into cyber-space. And, the response I got was that my "test" was faulty. Apparently you can do that type of experiment with hemp or cotton inserts, but it won't work with microfiber. Interesting. It was recommended to me that I try a different test that involved filling a bowl with 1/2 cup or so of water and dropping the insert in to see if it soaked up the water and how quickly. So, once my inserts were dry again, I tried it with one fuzzibunz and one of my best bottoms liners...and lo and behold, success! The water disappeared almost instantly! Apparently that is exactly what you want to happen.

So, I set those inserts out to dry and set about "stuffing" the dry microfiber liners into my pocket diapers and stashing them away for some day in the (seemingly distant) future when we have a beautiful baby girl to use them on!

Neatly folded and ready to go :-)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Hello Third Trimester!

So, today marks the 27 week point and my official entry into the third trimester!

27 week belly pic :-)

The good news is: only 13 more weeks until we get to meet our baby girl.

The bad news: those 13 weeks are going to be filled with 100+ degree days!

I was watching the weather this morning and our meteorologist made a point to let us know that we’ve already topped 100 degrees 5 times since May, that it will be 99-100+ degrees every day for the next 7 days, and that usually our first day above 100 doesn’t happen until after July 5th – so we should gear ourselves up for a hot, hot summer. Fun. I guess I won’t be leaving the house for the next 13 weeks! 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

How Many Diapers Do You Need? And How Much Does it Really Cost?

Figuring out how many diapers to buy has been one of the more difficult parts of the process. Basically, it comes down to how often you want to do laundry and how much your baby actually needs changing (the second part of this can be hard to guesstimate)!

If the average newborn needs to be changed 12-18 times a day, and you want to do laundry every 1-1.5 days, then you really only need 18-24 diapers (or the equivalent thereof).But, if you’d like to extend your time between washes to every other day, then you’ll need at least 30-36 diapers.

Older babies don’t need as many diaper changes…so, if you aren’t starting at newborn stage, you shouldn’t need as many diapers.

Because no one really likes doing laundry – myself included – we have been building our stash up to a minimum of 36 diapers, which should be two full days worth of diapers.

Initially, half of those would have been Fuzzibunz (18 diapers) and the other half best bottoms (6 shells and 18 liners). But, since I’ve been utilizing the free diaper codes from Kelly’s Closet (and I’ve branched out and bought a few Happy Heiny’s and Rump-a-Rooz on my own), those numbers have changed a bit.

Our diaper breakdown currently looks like this:

Pocket Diapers (20 total)
8 Fuzzibunz from Kelly’s Closet (8 x $19.95 = $159.60)
2 Fuzzibunz from (2 for $24.99 plus $6.95 shipping = $31.94; retail $39.90)
5 Happy Heinys (5 x $18.95 = $94.75; but, I got 2 of these free, so I only paid $56.85)
5 Rump-a-Rooz (5 x 23.50 = $117.50, but I got 4 of these free, so I only paid $23.50)

Best Bottoms (equivalent of 18 small, 12 medium, and 9 large diapers)
6 Best Bottoms Shells (6 x $16.95 = $101.70)
18 small BB inserts + 2 small overnight inserts (18 x $3.95 + 2 x $6.95 = $85)
12 medium BB inserts + 2 medium overnight inserts (12 x $3.95 + 2 x $6.95 = $61.30)
9 large best bottom insert + 2 large overnight inserts (9 x $3.95 + 2 x $6.95 = $49.45)

So, in all, we will have spent $569.34 ($709.20 retail) on cloth diapers that will last from birth to potty training. (Note: this cost does not include the cost of wipes…we will be doing cloth wipes and I did spend $10.75 for some already. A friend of mine has offered to make the rest of my wipes for me, but even if she didn’t – I could complete my cloth wipes stash for $33 or less buying retail. Cost including retail wipes = $613.09)

Yes, I may have to spend a few dollars here or there if a diaper cover gets ruined or an insert gets lost…but all in all, we are coming out well ahead of what we would have spent in disposables (approx. $2611.80)! We have already saved around $2000 ($2611.80 - $613.09 = $1998.71)…and if we use these cloth diapers for a second child, our savings will more than double!

A Hard Pill to Swallow…
I will admit that it has been difficult to part with the money for all of these diapers and diapering accessories. The fact that almost all of the cost in cloth diapers is totally up-front makes it a hard pill to swallow. In some respects, it would be much easier to buy disposables…if only because you can literally buy them a pack or two at a time and not have to shell out so much money at once. But…whenever I see the savings over the long-run…I feel so much more confident in our decision!!

Why No Blog Post Yesterday??

Well, let's just say I was way too busy.

What was I doing you ask?
  • growing a baby
  • napping
  • watching Twilight (no, I've never seen it before...)
  • eating watermelon and chocolate rice krispies treats...and mozzarella sticks (I am seriously the picture of pregnancy health)

So, I'm sure you see now why I couldn't get around to posting :-)

The good news is, I have another blog post queued up for later today....just waiting on my latest fluffy delivery to arrive this afternoon!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

How Did We Decide Which Cloth Diapers to Use?

Ultimately, the cloth diaper style we chose was a balance between the amount of effort we were willing to put in to preparation (do I really want to deal with flats/prefolds and snappis?) and the amount of money we were willing to put in to cloth diapering (all-in-ones are convenient…but also very pricey). 

I wanted something that was convenient, but reasonably priced, was comfortable for baby to wear, and would contain all messes (I do not want poop and pee leaking out everywhere)!!

Getting started in the search for cloth diapers is absolutely overwhelming. There are SO MANY OPTIONS!

To get started, I read as much as I could on the topic. I found the New To Cloth Diapers section at Jillian's Drawers to be particularly helpful, as well as the Cloth Diaper Channel on youtube. I also read as many reviews on retail websites (like and as possible. 

By doing this, I was able to pick up on what some of the more commonly used brands were, and to make my life simpler, I decided to operate under the assumption that the more popular brands were also somewhat more reliable and more likely to give us a good experience – which may not be true, but it gave us a starting point and we were able to narrow the field from literally hundreds of options to only a few dozen or so. 

We also knew that we wanted to go with a one-sized diaper since it would cut down on the number of diapers we had to buy over the long-run…but what kind should we choose?

I liked the idea of a pocket diaper for a couple of reasons: 
  1. They aren’t as pricey as the all-in-ones and they are almost as convenient
  2. The pocket diapers use an absorbent liner stuffed between a waterproof outer layer and a soft, fleece inner layer – so whenever baby goes pee, the moisture is wicked away from baby’s skin and absorbed into the liner, which (supposedly) keeps baby’s skin a bit drier.

I ordered a pocket diaper sampler pack from Nicki’s Diapers so that I could get my hands on several types to see what I liked best. (You can also customize one at

Many one-size diapers use a snap system on the front to customize the rise and have multiple waist settings that are adjusted using either snaps or Velcro (see photo). 

Rump-a-Rooz diaper on largest rise setting - no snaps fastened
Medium rise setting

A notable exception to this are the Fuzzibunz, which have an adjustable elastic in the leg. The leg elastic helps to customize both the rise and the leg opening size, and the waist is adjusted with snap closures. Tons of cloth diapering moms rave about these diapers (seriously, just “google” it or check out youtube!), and they definitely weren’t the most expensive pocket diaper option (Fuzzibunz usually sell for around $19.95 a diaper) – so they definitely made the list!

[insert photo of fuzzibunz – illustrating adjustable elastic]
Fuzzibunz on largest elastic setting
adjustable elastic in the back...

and the front

Fuzzibunz adjusted to smallest elastic settings

I also liked the idea of the “hybrid” diapers (particularly the Best Bottoms diaper, pictured below), mostly because they seemed like a reasonably convenient and cost effective alternative to pocket diapers. Plus, they have these amazing leg gussets that help hold in all kinds of messes. The Best Bottoms are $16.95 per cover (shell) and $3.95 per liner, and you can change the liners multiple times before you have to change the shell (usually you can get 2-3 liner changes before needing to change shells). If you average and an average of 3 liners per shell on an average day, that’s a cost of $28.80 for three diaper changes (or the equivalent of three diapers) – compared to $59.85 (3 x $19.95) for three diaper changes in Fuzzibunz!

Best Bottom Shell

absorbent liners snap in to front and back of shell

leg opening has gussets to help contain messes!

Despite all of the great things about Best Bottom diapers, I still had (have) a few concerns. I was (am) worried that the liner snaps may fail (pull away and tear the diaper cover). Jason and I googled this repeatedly trying to find instances where people complained about this happening…we weren’t able to find any, so I’m guessing that it hasn’t been an issue so far. 

What I DID learn is that some moms complained that with their young babies (especially those on the slim side), that when the waist setting was correct, the leg openings were too tight (and those amazing gussets were digging in and leaving red marks on baby’s thighs. Yes, I want to contain poop…but, I don’t want my baby to be uncomfortable in the process. 

So, I was torn between the adjustability of the Fuzzibunz diapers and the convenience of the Best Bottoms…and I literally froze with indecision.

What did we Choose?
After a couple of weeks of wavering back and forth and irritating my husband with my incessant cloth diaper talk (and my inability to make a decision), I started asking around to other cloth diapering moms. (I may not know any personally, but the internet is full of them…and most of them are dying to talk to you about their experiences and personal favorites.) 

I learned that it is generally not a good idea to put all of your “diaper stock” into one brand/type of cloth diaper. It seems that different diapers work better for different babies at different ages/stages (who knew?)…and that until you absolutely 100% know what works for you and your little one (which could take months or years of experimentation), you should keep at least a few different brands/styles on hand to ensure that you have diapers that will work and that you love to use!

Alright, so maybe we should just split our stash between Best Bottoms and Fuzzibunz? 

This was the original plan…until a fellow cloth diapering mom pointed me in the direction of the Kelly’s Closet retail site ( Kelly’s Closet periodically offers promotions where if you spend a certain amount, you get a free one-size or one-size pocket diaper (depending on the promotion) with your order. The catch is that you don’t get to pick the diaper, you get whatever Kelly’s Closet gives you…but it’s free! I thought this might be a good way to build our stash more cost effectively, so I went with it.

As I’ve been building our stash of Fuzzibunz and Best Bottoms, I’ve also received several Rump-a-Rooz and Happy Heiny’s (both one-sized pocket diapers). 

I had never seriously considered either of these brands until I received them in the mail, so I turned to the internet again…I checked out the company websites (and descriptions), read reviews from moms who have used them, and scoped out youtube for some video of these diapers “in action” – and yeah, it turns out that tons of moms LOVE these diapers as well!! Now, I am all the more excited about trying them. I’ve even branched out and ordered a few of the Happy Heiny’s and Rump-a-Rooz on my own…and now our stash is officially made up of 4 different brands of diapers (so far)!!

Speaking of Best Bottoms Diapers…
These are made by Nicki’s Diapers ( and are available on her website, as well as through other online retailers. Each week, Nicki’s Diapers hosts an online giveaway – this week the prize is: a Best Bottoms Diaper!! 

So, head on over to their weekly giveaway site and enter to win your own!

Monday, June 6, 2011

What Types of Cloth Diapers are Out There?

Basically, cloth diapers all fall into one of five categories (in order from least expensive to most expensive):
  1. Prefolds – these are the most economical choice. They consist of a large sheet (usually thicker in the middle) that is folded into thirds and placed inside a waterproof cover. (Example: Econobum One Size Diapering System)
  2. Contours – similar to prefolds, but they don’t need to be folded. These also require a waterproof cover. (Example: Kissaluvs contour diaper)
  3. Fitteds – these diapers are shaped like a disposable diaper and are fastened with snaps or Velcro. Usually these require a waterproof cover, but unlike with prefolds and contours, the covers get dirty less often, so you can use them multiple times before laundering. (Example: Thirsties Duo)
  4. Pocket Diapers – made up of a waterproof outer layer and an inner fleece layer with an absorbent insert that is stuffed between the layers. No additional cover is needed. These are as easy to put on as a disposable diaper – the only extra effort is in stuffing the insert (and of course, the laundry). (Example: Fuzzibunz)
  5. All-in-Ones (AIO) – similar to pocket diapers, except no stuffing required! The absorbent part of the diaper is attached permanently to the waterproof outer shell. No additional cover is needed for these as well. (Example: Grovia AIO)
In recent years, some “hybrid” diapers or “all-in-twos” (AI2) have begun to appear on the scene. Based on the ones I have seen, I would describe these as basically consisting of a waterproof outer shell and a replaceable absorbent liner that can be replaced multiple times before the shell needs to be laundered. In my experience, these hybrid diapers are comparable to fitteds or pocket diapers in price.

What are the Size Options?

There is also the question of whether to use a “one-size” diaper or a “sized” diaper. With sized diapers, you generally buy XS (newborn sized), S, M, and L sized diapers depending on how much your baby weighs and what their measurements are like (waist size vs. rise, etc). Sized diapers generally offer a better fit (more tailored to size/age of baby), but require that you buy X number of diapers (usually somewhere between 20 and 40, depending on how often you want to wash) in each size…which can add up fast!! One size diapers adjust to fit babies as small as 8 pounds up to around 35-40 pounds – which should take you from birth (or within a few weeks of birth) to potty training. The fit is less customized (and sometimes not as trim under clothing), but the benefit is that you only have to buy one set of diapers. Period. 

And since I mentioned these diapers today...
Thirsties diapers now hosts a weekly giveaway on Thursday (fittingly called "Thirsties Thursday"). This week the prize is 2 Thirsties Duo Fab Fitted Diapers. Head over to their give-away site - Thirsties Thursday and enter to win!!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Why Cloth Diaper?

When I tell my friends and family that we are planning to cloth diaper when our baby arrives in September, they generally react with one of two responses: “Why in the world would you do that?” or “Wow, good luck with THAT!”

Our decision to go the cloth diaper route was multi-faceted. Many people assume that we chose cloth diapers because they are supposed to be more environmentally friendly. Yes, cloth diapers are better for the environment, at least from a landfill perspective. Some quick facts:

  • The average baby uses somewhere between 8,000 and 9,000 disposable diapers between birth and potty training ( estimates 9,000 based on 12 diapers a day for the first 3 months and then 8 diapers a day until the age of 3; I’ve also seen estimates of 8,000 on other websites).

  • No one knows how long it takes for disposable diapers to decompose. A quick internet search will show you that the most common answer given is that it takes 500 years for one diaper to break down completely. But, since diapers haven’t been around for 500 years (nor have landfills), we obviously can’t know this – it is a projection based on the rate of plastic decomposition under ideal conditions (that is, with adequate ultraviolet exposure from the sun – which pretty much never happens in today’s landfills). (see or for more information)

  • Technically, it is against the “rules” (set forth by the World Health Organization) to dispose of human waste in a landfill – yes that includes disposable diapers (filled with pee and poo)! Though I didn’t see it on the pack of Newborn Huggies I have stashed away under the bed, I keep reading that disposable diapers packages contain requests that users “rinse away” human feces before disposing of the diapers (whether this is on your diaper package may depend on the specific laws in your state) – to prevent human waste from getting into our landfills and potentially seeping into the groundwater (that is, if the plastic bags surrounding the diapers ever decompose enough to allow it). Does any disposable diapering parent actually do this?? Doubtful. But, I actually wish people did. It’s bad enough thinking about all of the chemicals in disposables leeching out into the ground and water supply without adding poop on top of it! (see for more references on this topic)

On the other hand, some people will argue (rather convincingly) that the increased cost of laundering those cloth diapers on a regular basis (water and electricity) cancels out the other environmental benefits. A study funded by Proctor and Gamble (major diaper manufacturing company) comparing the effects of both cloth and disposable diapers on the environment came back inconclusive – that there were no apparent benefits of one over the other from an environmental standpoint (when you factor in increased energy expenditure of cloth diaper maintenance). That finding is a bit surprising. I wish I could find more information on the original study – to find out exactly how it was funded and completed. I wonder if the third party company that carried out the comparison might have felt pressure to find “no fault” with the disposables, given that a major disposable diaper manufacturer was signing their paycheck?

Honestly, I have no idea if cloth diapers are less wasteful than disposables in their production and maintenance. Even though they are “cleaner” (in that there is no chance of poo and chemicals leeching into the water supply), the environmental factor  wasn’t one that we really considered in our decision to cloth diaper. It’s my gut feeling that there is a definite benefit to using cloth. I just can’t imagine that doing a couple of hot water washes a week is all that detrimental to environment (especially since all of our other laundry is washed in cold water) – but what do I know?

In many ways, our decision to cloth diaper was made from a financial perspective. My husband and I are both still in graduate school, living on teaching stipends and financial aid. We manage to pay our bills and we feel confident that we can provide for a little one, but it is definitely not a life of luxury. (Trust me, we will both breathe easier once Jason graduates and finds a “real job.”)

Drop by your local diaper retailer (Sams, Costco, Wal-mart, Target) and check out prices on diapers and wipes…and some quick math will send your head to spinning. For illustration purposes, I’ll just use some numbers that I got from (

  • The average baby uses 9,000 diapers between birth and potty training. Consumer reports estimates that the average cost of a disposable diaper is 26.5 cents. $0.265 x 9000 = $2385. If you add in the cost of disposable wipes (1 wipe per diaper at 3 cents per wipe), that’s an additional $226.80 – for a total cost of $2611.80 (not including diaper genie refills if you go that route).
  • Cloth diapers, on the other hand, are likely to cost you somewhere between $372 and $931 (depending on the options you choose) over the same time. Add in accessories (diaper pail liners, wet bags, diaper sprayer, cloth wipes, etc.), and estimates you’ll spend another $154. Plus the cost of laundering the diapers (approximately 50 cents per load, plus 8 cents for laundry soap, washing every 1.5 days for 3 years) at approximately $423 and you get a total cloth diapering cost (birth to potty training) of somewhere between $949 and $1508. 
  • That’s an estimated savings of at least $ that we could use to buy other things we need! (Not to mention that the savings increase if you use the diapers for multiple babies!) So really, we looked at the decreased waste in landfills as sort of an “added bonus.

Of course, these numbers are just estimates from a website…the actual costs (or savings, depending on whether you are a glass half-full or half-empty kind of person) depend on a wide variety of factors, including the style of cloth diaper you choose and how many you buy (which, also affects how often you have to do laundry).

“But…it’s so much work…”

Yes, it’s true that cloth diapering takes more effort. You have to wash and dry the diapers on a regular basis (usually every day or every other day, depending on how many you have). But, you know what? You have to wash your baby’s laundry relatively often as well. Apparently they poop, and pee, and spit up all over their clothes…a lot…and if you don’t wash often, stains set in and (even worse) your laundry starts to STINK. In my mind, if you’re already doing laundry every other day…what is the difference between one load and two? Really?

One Last Selling Point… 

A final benefit that cloth diapers have over disposables is the CUTENESS FACTOR. 

There are tons of adorable prints and bright colors out there! It wasn’t an original selling point for us, but I’m finding that as we build our stash of cloth diapers, I am getting more and more excited about the colors and patterns that are available. I’ll admit that my stash is mostly solid colored (though there are some gorgeous reds and blues in there), but I do have a cute little cow print (“moo-licious”) and some adorable pink giraffes from Best Bottoms and a glow-in-the-dark skull print from Happy Heiny’s – and more prints on the way! (Seriously, when it comes to prints, it seems like the options are limitless!)

Best Bottoms Pink Giraffe Print Shell

So much cuter than disposables, right??

Huggies Little Snugglers Disposable