Wednesday, August 27, 2014

9 Month Update

This month started out ROUGH and ended up amazing.  For the first 3 weeks of the past month, Stella was teething.  Bad.  She wasn't napping at all and cried off and on all day, every day.  Thankfully she still slept through the night because let me tell ya, that was the only break I got.  I finally took her to the doctor after 2 weeks of it and he said she was fine, just teething.  He told me his son did the same thing for 3 weeks...turns out Stella was much the same!  When the top 2 teeth beside her front top 2 teeth (I'm sure they have names but I'm no dentist) finally poked through at 38 weeks I did one heck of a happy dance!  After 3 miserable weeks for both of us I was ready for some FUN and PRODUCTIVITY!  We still did a few things while she was teething, and that helped keep her mind off the pain (I did give Tylenol when the fussiness was at its' worst).  We went to the park and had a picnic with Jenny and her girls, we tried swimming again (with a little more success than the times before, but still not a pool fan), and we went on a few shopping trips (she hates being transferred from car to cart or stroller, but other than that she loves strangers and being out!!  no attachment problems here!)  We also spent more time watching Ryder, but I'm sad to say we will no longer be babysitting him every other Monday, he will go to his dad's instead.  I will miss those days.  Mark had a few overnight work trips this month, and then meetings and fieldwork slowed down and he was actually able to (gasp!) take a few days off work!  Last major announcement-I left Stella overnight twice this month!  The first time we went to a Cards/Cubs game and she stayed overnight with Grandma & Grandpa Bomleny, and the second time we stayed in a hotel after a wedding reception while Aunt Abby stayed at our house with Zac and watched her.  I actually enjoyed my time away (knowing my babies were in good hands sure helped).  Our baby girl weighed in at 19lbs, 4 oz this month (50th percentile) and measured 27" (also 50th percentile).  We may have an average sized baby, but she's well above average in the cuteness department...I'm only a little biased here ;)  I did switch her clothes out this month to the 12 month clothes.  That makes me sad just typing that.  My baby's growing up!!
Fun at the Park
Loves shopping with mama
Aunt Abby babysitting

Quick game of checkers with Ryder

The Routine:
Stella followed the same eating routine as last month (see that post HERE) with the introduction of avocado (her new favorite food), pears, and puffs (she can't feed them to herself yet, but we're working on it.  in fact, she doesn't put anything to her mouth except cloth toys, which really makes me happy!).  Next month I plan to change up her routine, cut back on formula, and up table foods and textures.  Cloth diapering is going great, read THIS POST to hear all about it!  I did slightly adjust Stella's nap routine (once the 3 weeks of teething/no napping ended).  She still goes to bed around 7 and gets up around 7, but she now naps from 10:30-11:30 and 2:30-3:30 in her crib.  She doesn't fight naps anymore, I put her in bed awake and she just snuggles her puppy and sucks her thumb until she drifts off to sleep.  It's wonderful and sure keeps her in a good mood until bedtime!

Playing dress-up with my princess.
 A few of Stella's favorite things:
  • Milestones:  I will start by saying that Stella is running a few months behind on hitting major milestones.  Her doctor said everything else looks great, so it's nothing to be concerned about.  Babies just develop differently.  But I can't help but worry sometimes.  I work with her as much as I can, but she's a pretty content baby and isn't really motivated to try anything new.  She is finally rolling over often from her tummy to her back, and at 35-36 weeks she started sitting up on her own.  We propped her with pillows for a few days, and then all the sudden she was sitting on her own for long periods of time.  She can also wave hi and bye (36 weeks), jump in her jumparoo (38 weeks) and clap when she's happy (38 weeks).  She can ramble "dadada" and now "bababa", and at 38 weeks her cradle cap finally started falling out when I comb her hair!  Speaking of hair, I cut her mullet off at 37 weeks.  It looks sooo much better, I don't know why I waited so long.
  • Watching TV (Barney, The Wiggles, Baby Genius, and KidSongs...mostly musical shows that drive me crazy!) and dancing to music.  Her favorite is the creepy puppets on the Wiggles...that's how she learned to clap!
  • Giving kisses (aka licking my cheek).
  • Sticking out her tongue (37 weeks).
  • Eating "Popsicles" (ice cubes or frozen bananas or avocado in her mesh teething holder)
  • Watching her "crib TV" when it's not time to get out of bed yet
Good-bye mullet!

Fun new pastime

Mesmerized by the TV

Finally sitting up...so much more to play with now!

Around the house:
  • Stella and I have cabin fever again, can you believe it?  After her 3 week spell of teething and then a week of 105 degree temps we are ready to get out and have some fun!  We have lots planned this weekend for Labor Day and are looking forward to the cooler weather around the corner (although other than last week it's been a beautiful summer).  I am glad to have my happy baby back (until the next teeth come in at least).  She's in a great routine and is so much fun lately.  It's time to actually start teaching her things!  Yay! 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Cloth Diapering & Natural Diaper Care

I just got done hosing down a poopy diaper.  Again.  Most people think I'm crazy for choosing to cloth diaper my daughter, and that's OK.  But I couldn't be happier with my choice, and I'm not afraid to break the mold ;-)  So whether you think I'm crazy, amazing, or somewhere in between...read on to see realistic tips and tricks for cloth diapering your little one!

My start and the ones I use:
 First and foremost, I must link the ultimate cloth diapering website HERE.  There is every single piece of information you can imagine on this site in regards to cloth diapering.  This is where I ordered all my diapers and products from!  She runs the business out of her home right in Illinois, and I was referred to it by my sister's friend.  For more information about why I chose cloth diapers and my ordering look HERE.  This is just the most amazing website.  I spent an entire day going through it and speaking to the owner (and attending her FREE cloth diapering class) before placing my order.  However, no amount of research can provide you the realistic picture of cloth diapering.  It's messy, stinky, and yet one of the most rewarding things I've ever done.  See below for a list of pros and cons before you make your choice.  So...which diapers do I use?  I tried a couple when Stella was a month old (she wore disposables for the first month due to my unplanned C-section) and didn't like them because they leaked.  Looking back as a more experienced user now, it could have just been the fit.  However, at the time I was going through some postpartum depression and lots of adjustments, so I decided to continue using the disposables until she was a little bigger.  So, a few months later I started using Rumparooz Pocket Diapers (I linked to Amazon, but I got all mine from Pinstripes and Polkadots. She does free shipping on orders over $25 if you're not local).  These diapers fit from a newborn to potty training age and they are fabulous!  There are so many different styles, and Pinstripes and Polkadots goes over them all with pros and cons, so check them out if you want to find what's right for you!

Storage:
If you wonder how I store all the diapers and accessories refer to THIS POST (and also get a sneak peak of Stella's nursery!).  I will say this was how it looked before she was born.  Obviously, some minor changes were made to make the diapering process easier.  I keep them out on the changing table and just throw them in the baskets when we have company.  I like my house to be practical yet beautiful.  It's possible people!  The only other real change I made was to put the hanging diaper pail in the small bathroom.  When it's time to wash the diapers (about every 2-3 days) they do tend to get a little smelly it's the pee that stinks, not the poop as most people think).  It's not bad, but since I shut the door to her room when she sleeps, I didn't want to shut the smell in there.  Keeping them in the bathroom keeps the smell from us.  The hanging diaper pail is awesome!  Washable and leak-proof all while taking up no room.  I'm in love.

Keeping them Clean:
Since I just talked about the diapers getting smelly, I better go right into how I keep them clean.  For info on how to wash them, refer HERE.  Based on the diapers I use and the amount I purchased, my routine consists of washing them every 2-3 days.  I use a short cold pre-wash, a regular wash with THIS SPECIAL DETERGENT (no, not even my HOMEMADE LAUNDRY SOAP works on the diapers.  They need specially formulated detergent.), and then a cold rinse followed by one cycle in the dryer or (preferably) a few hours of drying in the sun.  Now, you may be thinking that it's utterly disgusting washing all that poop in your washer.  What if I told you I don't wash the poop?  I have THIS DIAPER SPRAYER that hooks right into our toilet.  I simply spray the poop into the toilet, give the diaper a squeeze, and throw it in the pail.  I even was our towels and underwear with the diapers.  They get super clean and I save on water!  Yes, it's more work than tossing the diaper in the trash.  But once you get the hang of it, it really takes no time at all.  You just have to decide if that's something you can see yourself doing before you make the cloth diaper investment.

After a few months of use, I noticed the diapers didn't appear to be coming clean and they still seemed to stink after I washed them.  I either missed this section of the class or it wasn't covered, but you must strip your diapers every 6-8 weeks!  YIKES was I behind!  I asked a friend what she used and she suggested THIS TREATMENT (you just use like regular detergent).  I purchased it and had to strip my diapers twice (since I was running behind) and I swear they are like brand new and smell like sunshine!  Drying diapers in the sun helps remove stains as well (plus saves you electricity!).

Nothing like a little diaper cleaning on a beautiful day!
Traveling & Swimming:
At first I used disposables when we left the house.  And then I realized I was still buying lots of diapers and not saving as much money as I intended.  So I decided to buck up and start using the cloth ones on the go.  And guess what?  It's not that hard!  The only negative I found is that they take up so much more room in the diaper bag.  I have 2 WET BAGS that I take with when I travel and I simply throw the dirty diapers in them and they go right into the pail when we get home.  I'm really lucky and Stella only poops at home (weird, right?).  I would just spray the poopy diapers when we got home if she did.  I do have some diapers that have disposable liners (kind of like a pad) that you can use and throw away when traveling if you prefer.  I haven't tried them yet but will update when I do. 

For swimming I simply use a diaper cover (there are several brands and styles to choose from).  They work great.  Target even sells re-usable swim diapers now!

All-Natural Diaper Care:
You can't use regular diaper rash creams with cloth diapers.  They must be all-natural so they are easier on the fabric.  I use THIS CREAM when Stella gets a little red, but honestly I haven't noticed any diaper rash to speak of since we've been using cloth.  One of the bonuses!!  I use cloth wipes and warm water (from a Peri water bottle) to clean her up if there's no poop.  For poopy diapers (and in the morning) I use my HOMEMADE NATURAL BABY WIPES.  Love them! 

Exceptions to the Rule:
While I am all for cloth diapering, I am also realistic.  With that being said, there are times cloth just doesn't cut it for me.  I have heard using both disposable and cloth on your baby gives them horrible rashes.  I'm sure that's true for some, in which case you'd have to commit to one or the other, but we do occasionally mix the two with no consequences.  I think it helped to mix the two from the start.  At nighttime Stella sleeps from 6:30pm-7:30am.  I use Parent's Choice overnight diapers every single night.  I know people who successfully use cloth overnight, but I am not willing to put a wool diaper cover over my baby while she sleeps to prevent leaks.  Personal preference.  When we go on vacation, I buy a small package of disposables and we use those.  I'm not washing diapers on vacation.  Finally, Stella uses disposables when other people watch her.  I'm not going to force my ways on other people, I want them to use what they are comfortable with while watching Stella.  It makes me feel better that they are doing what works for them while I do what works for me.  It's all about the compromise!

Pros:
Cloth diapering is cheaper (in the long run), better for the environment and better for your baby.  I like not having to buy diapers (and wipes) every time I go shopping.  I like knowing I'll never run out of diapers.  Cloth diapered babies have less run-ins with diaper rashes and (on average) potty train earlier (because they don't like feeling wet, which disposables prevent).  Cloth diapers are so cute and I just like the all-natural, old fashioned approach.  I'm sure there are more pros out there, but those are just the ones that sold me.

Cons:
Despite the pros, there are some cons to cloth diapering.  First, it is a big investment.  I will say we spent a good chunk of money to start cloth diapering.  But I knew it was for me and that I would eventually get it figured out.  I can use the diapers through potty training and for all of my future babies as well.  Cloth diapering also takes more time.  You have to spray, wash and (for my particular diaper) stuff them when they're clean (put the liner back in them).  It takes a while to figure out how to snap them up, and you spend lots of time up front researching, ordering, and pre-washing them.  If you have a full-time job, this might be time you just don't have.  The last con I've noticed is that you have to change them more often.  I change Stella every 2 hours and still run into the occasional leak (not too bad, but not something you have with disposables).  Again, if you don't have time for this or don't want to ask your daycare provider to do this, you may want to stick with disposables.

Bottom line:
As a parent, your job is to keep your baby healthy and happy.  If using cloth diapers stresses you out, you won't be able to provide the best care for your baby.  Personally, I want to be a stay-at-home mom and take the all-natural approach to baby care whenever possible.  I love knowing I'm providing my baby with safe diapering and saving the environment and money in the process.  Whether you choose cloth or disposable, as long as you're taking care of your baby you're doing it right.  Make your decision and proudly stand by it without cutting others down in the process.  Now, it's time to go change a diaper :-)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

All Natural Homemade Baby Wipes




Using just 3 ingredients, you can make your own homemade, all natural baby wipes in under 5 minutes!  People always think I'm crazy for switching to homemade, well, everything...but honestly it takes less time than buying the items at the store CONSTANTLY!  Just buy a huge batch of ingredients at once and you're set up to make your products for months!!  Cheap, easy, and healthy...if that's crazy then I'm all over it!

I love these wipes!  They are super effective and so safe for my precious daughter.  These are the only ingredients you need:

  • 1 roll of Bounty paper towel, regular size (don't go cheap here, they MUST be durable!)
  • 1 T. all natural baby wash
  • 1 T. coconut oil (I used organic, extra virgin) 

My favorite baby wash.  Fragrance Free and Super Sensitive...perfect for wipes!
STEPS:
  1. Fill a measuring cup with 1 cup of HOT water (so the coconut oil will melt)
  2. Add in your baby wash and coconut oil and let sit until oil is melted (few minutes)
  3. Cut a roll of Bounty in half using an electric knife or miter saw (my husband cut mine for me...it makes a mess so make sure you do it outside or be prepared to sweep up paper towel fuzzies! I had him cut a few rolls at once so I don't have to ask for a while!)
  4. Place one of the half-rolls in a dish and pour mixture all over.  I pour half, then flip the roll and pour the other half on the opposite side to make sure every towel gets saturated.
  5. Let the towels soak for an hour or so before use.  You can pull the cardboard roll out or leave it in, it just depends on the container you choose.  I used a Huggies wipe container because I like the pop-up feature, so I just placed the towels in it and pulled through the top. 
Clean cut from Mark's miter saw :-)

I accidentally bought the super roll here, but once wet you can squish it down into a large Tupperware and it works just the same!

And finished!  No more lugging around boxes of baby wipes!  For travel I throw a handful in a Ziplock baggie and keep it in my diaper bag.  So simple!  Enjoy.