Monday, September 27, 2010

Design time

If you've stopped by recently you might have noticed some frequent changes in design (if not, lucky for you)!

I think the "look and feel" of a blog is very important. Too busy and it hurts your eyes. Too boring and it's uninviting. The current design right now is pretty okay with me. We'll see if it lasts.

BY THE WAY - I just discovered that I have readers from Ireland and the Philipines! I was so excited to see this. Thank you for stopping by and feel free to leave a comment and tell me what you think!

Ciao, my amigotes!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Cloth Diapers: Why We Use Them

We're a very frugal family, my husband and I. We love shopping clearance racks, thrift stores, and enjoy hand-me-downs. We ask ourselves from time to time, "What can we do without?" and cut it out of our lives to have some extra cash. I actually get very excited when I save money. So when I made the decision to cloth diaper my child, my first motivation was the cost. I contacted a local diapering service and asked if they sold their "seconds" at a discounted price. Seconds are cloth diapers that have been stained or are just a little worn and can't be used in their business anymore. I was able to purchase 40 diapers at $0.50 a piece!

I also bought a few Snappies. What are "snappies" you may ask? Everyone who cloth diapers should have one! These are awesome, inexpensive alternatives to pins! Its "T" shape fasteners have sharp claws that catch the material in the front of the diaper. They're easily adjustable and keep the diaper securely in place.

This is probably my favorite part of cloth diapering. Just be careful your little one doesn't grab it during a diaper change - the grippers are sharp!

Diaper covers are a bit more expensive. At first I just wanted to use those Gerber plastic/vinyl ones. For about $6.00, you can get a packet of three. What a great deal, I thought. Not! They are not very durable and eventually tear, thin out, and the elastic frays.

Instead, I've used and been very happy with the Thirsties covers. They come in four different sizes and many different colors. They're waterproof and super easy to use. However, they are pricey - though worth it. There have been no leaks or soaks whenever I use them.

I've also been attempting to make my own covers. This is fun but a lot more complicated than I thought! I hope to perfect a pattern and get my own tutorial up for anyone to follow. But for now, I'm still trying to figure it out.

Besides cost (as if that isn't motivation enough!), there is another great reason to use cloth. They're very environmental. Disposable diapers are full of chemicals and go straight into the garbage can after only a couple hours of use. Cloth can be used over and over until they become rags. They can be re-used by all the children in your family and even given away after being used.

"But what about washing them? That's going to cost you AND you have to buy more detergent."

Actually, having my baby in cloth diapers only gives me about two extra loads of laundry a week (sometimes three if she has a very poopy week). I let them soak in the diaper pail in a small amount of water mixed with Borax (just enough to keep a fresh smell). After washing them, they can be hung to dry out in the sun if you want to save on electricity/gas/energy. If you want to be really awesome, you can make your own laundry detergent. That's what I do - it's super easy and doesn't take long at all. I love this recipe and visual guide. I use Fels Naptha soap and Baking Soda for mine. Sometimes I'll do an extra rinse in the washer with vinegar...but you'll know when that's needed. My diapers are so white and smell fresh!

 If anyone would like to share their diapering tips or products, feel free!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Co-Sleeping: Why I Love It

Telling everyone I was expecting Little Olive was absolutely thrilling. But after the exciting "Congratulations" came pouring in, then did the teases. "Enjoy the peace and quiet now" or "Get your sleep while you can". I'm not going to lie: I love my sleep. The longer, the better. The later the time when I have to get up, the happier I'll be. I knew having a baby would change my sleeping habits, but I wanted to minimize this as much as possible. I think God took pity on us...because I say we got pretty lucky.

When my daughter was born, there was no question about where she would sleep. The very night of her birth, she came right into the bed with us. Knowing she was right beside us should she fuss or need anything gave my husband and me such peace of mind. But there is definite controversy and concerns about sharing the bed with your baby. Time and time again, I hear people saying, "It's dangerous to sleep with your baby" or "Crib is safest" or "To prevent SIDS, do not sleep with your child." (For that specific concern, I'd like to share with you a great article about that topic: ).

There are many ways to safely co-sleep with your baby, and it's important for everyone to be aware of these necessary steps. I'm not going into them here because they are listed in the above article. I am, however, going to focus on why I love sharing the bed with my baby.

As I've said before, I nurse on demand - I have from the very beginning and continue to do so as my baby is almost 10 months old. Having her in the bed made that possible 24/7. For the first month of her new life, Little Olive was mostly nocturnal, and the lack of sleep was rough. But once she hit 1 month, she got on a great rhythm and slept "through the night". And especially after mastering the laying down technique for nursing, things were smooth sailing!

The most awesome thing is that because I am right beside her, Little Olive has never had to fully wake up when she needs to nurse. She hardly ever cries to tell me what she needs. I first hear/feel her movement, and then she makes a couple whimpering sounds as she nuzzles up against me. I roll over, pop her on, get my arm comfy, and doze back off. As we became more comfortable with latching on, sometimes I wouldn't have to open my eyes. And most mornings I would wake up and feel as though I hadn't even been disrupted.

Another amazing thing is that our sleep cycles coincide with each other's. Sometimes I will wake up and wonder why. Several seconds go by and Little Olive begins to stir for me. It's really beautiful.

I have this book on my night stand and go through it occasionally to refresh my memory on great tips for mothers, fathers, and their families. It gave me a lot of confidence knowing not only are my ways supported by a great, well-known, and respected doctor, but they are also backed up by scientific evidence, common sense, and many other moms who are following their heart and pursuing a natural, peaceful way to parent - like me.

On the other side of things, there have been a couple issues which arose from co-sleeping. Sometimes she wakes up at ungodly hours and since mommy and daddy are right there, thinks it's time to play! Since beginning to crawl, she has (yes, I'm going to admit it) fallen off the bed. And not only has she has claimed the bed after falling asleep for the night, but has also made it very clear she's in no hurry to have siblings. :P

But it's perfectly okay. Our lives are forever changed since having her. Adjustments and accommodations will be made her entire life. She's a great sleeper, and it's one thing to be thankful for.