Confessions of an inept cloth diaperer

Right off the bat let me be clear about one thing…I’m not very good at diapering. Any diapering. But I’d had it in my head when I was pregnant with Boo that I wanted to give cloth a go. So I bought a bunch of prefolds, a few fitteds, some doublers and some covers. I also bought some disposables. Because.

When Boo was born, he was tiny. So tiny. With stiff legs (I’ve talked about his legs before). And I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to fold and put on the cloth diapers so that Boo was lying flat….seriously. They were so bulky his middle was the highest point on his body. So I used my disposables and waited a bit for him to grow.

From time to time I’d give his cloth diapers another try until Eureka! they finally fit! I should note, by this time I’d given up on everything but the newspaper fold, placed directly into the cover. No pins, no snappis…just the bare minimum. It got the job done, and I was happy. I was cloth diapering!

Boo Boo in Applecheeks

But I never got too fanatic about it. Sure, I was pleased to be saving money, and especially to keep our garbage to a minimum. But I still use disposables. At night, for instance…Boo proved too heavy a wetter, and I couldn’t match the absorbency and dryness of a disposable. And when we go visiting. As much as I love not creating waste at home, I also love not creating unnecessary laundry when I’m not at home.

And even though I’m not exactly committed to exclusive cloth diapering, I am over one year into it, and I think I’ve learned a few things along the way. So without further ado…

10 THINGS I’VE LEARNED ABOUT CLOTH DIAPERING (SO FAR):

  1. A squirming baby is difficult to diaper no matter what your diaper of choice.
  2. Coloured and patterned diaper covers are so cute. Like, incredibly cute. I don’t care how disposables try to emulate this cuteness factor (hello Honest Company!), they just can’t match the vibrancy or colour saturation of a diaper cover.
  3. A trim cloth diaper is like winning the lottery. A not-so-trim diaper means having to size up when putting my little man into pants (for real…depending on his diaper my Boo Boo fits into 6-12 month pants all the way up to 2T). Oh, and the word “trim” suddenly becomes a regular part of your vocabulary.
  4. The xylophone and Boo

  5. Velcro closures are wonderful. At first. When you have absolutely no idea what you’re doing, velcro is so much easier and faster to fasten. Later, though, you discover the ugly side of velcro. It snags everything in the laundry, and once your little one gets mobile, it can scratch their belly. Snaps are definitely the way to go once you’ve got your feet wet. You’ll also discover that aplix is the same thing as velcro.
  6. Snappis are the devil. Though they sound like a huge advancement over safety pins….actually getting them to hook, stay in place, and hold a prefold diaper on your little one? Never worked for me (of course, I’m an inept diaperer, so they probably work for other people).
  7. Sure, a fitted cloth diaper sounds easier. But unless you’re going for AIOs (all-in-ones), it means you’ve got TWO things to fasten – the diaper and the cover. Which turns out to be double the trouble (for me).
  8. Boo playing in his diaper

  9. Washing cloth diapers isn’t all that bad. Drying them, however, is the biggest ever pain in the ass. I mean, they’re made to be absorbent, right? So they retain a lot of water. So much that I have to run them through the dryer twice if I’m unable to hang them out to dry (which, let’s face it, only happens during the summer).
  10. You will, without a doubt, find yourself sniffing those “pee pee only” diaper covers a little too closely, as you attempt to determine if you can use it one more time before laundering.
  11. Don’t worry about the poo, it’s totally manageable. This is especially true once solids are started and you use a diaper liner. The foul stench of day-old urine, however…is like an assault on your nasal passage every time you open your wet bag. It is not for the faint of heart.
  12. It’s a miracle how blowouts can be completely avoided with a good cloth diaper cover…I think while Boo was exclusively breastfed, he had maybe one blowout while wearing cloth. Maybe. I can’t count how many he had while wearing disposables. Too many (I’ve blocked it out). This alone is reason enough to use cloth.

So there you have it. I’m pretty sure these 10 things are not the only things I’ve learned (surely?), but they’re what I’m sharing with you today. Got any more hard learned lessons on cloth diapering? Please share them in the comments!

Boo Boo in his wagon

In a future post, I’ll share my thoughts and review some of the actual products I’ve used.

In case you’re curious, the diaper covers pictured in the above photos are (in descending order): Applecheeks’ Lake Echo, Bummis’ Simply Lite Elephant Tales, Blueberry Coverall’s Monsters, and Applecheeks’ Steel Me (they’re barely visible in the above picture, but I just thought it was cute!)

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What we’re reading in February

I’ve been trying to make a point of reading more, because it feels like this is a part of my life that is seriously lacking at the moment. I miss reading. Like, actually sitting down and reading a whole book. Let me clarify – of reading a whole book meant for adults, as opposed to one geared towards those just as likely to chew on, as read, it. And let me clarify once more – I’m referring to books whose subject matter is something other than how to rear/feed/train/etc. that child who may, or may not, chew on books.

Which isn’t to say that I’m actually getting a lot read these days…but I am putting aside a little time before bed a few nights a week to read anywhere from a few pages to a few chapters. And it feels good. Real good.

The Tao of Martha

This past month I’ve been reading The Tao of Martha – the latest book in what’s become a pretty sizeable series of memoirs by Jen Lancaster (I believe there’s actually another one coming out in May). Effectively, the books follow her day-to-day life beginning when she lost her job in the dot-com bust, and eventually focusing in on “projects” – like getting fit, growing up, or – in this particular book – attempting to live a year inspired by Martha Stewart. Nothing particularly cataclysmic or amazing happens in any of them…but she’s funny. Sometimes laugh out loud funny. And that’s often just what I need.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

What I am guaranteed to read at least once every day (and usually far more often) is Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I know the story by heart now, and can “read” it to Boo wherever he happens to be in his room flipping through the pages. Depending on his speed I’ll sometimes make an adjustment or two to the story, so that I can keep up…usually it’s an abridged version, but there has been the odd time when I’ve elaborated on a page or two. We have the large format version of the board book, so it’s quite amusing to watch as Boo tries to manipulate it…and how he always always always points at all the junk food the caterpillar ate on Saturday!

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Sleep Training (Part 2)

So previously I’d blogged about getting Boo to nap better. I’m happy to report that it worked! I am now able to leave the room once my little man is asleep…..it’s liberating and amazing and incredibly convenient.

How did we do it?

Exactly as planned: Once my little man was asleep I put him in his crib, but I stayed in the room and sat next to the crib for a few weeks where I could hush and soothe him as needed. Next, I moved across the room. I did that for another few weeks and I did my very best to only verbally (and very minimally) soothe him if required. Note that in both of these scenarios, I didn’t just sit there staring adoringly at my sleeping child. No no…I took advantage of not having him in my arms and fiddled on my iPad or worked on my laptop.

Finally, I left the room altogether where I could do….whatever I wanted! (Provided whatever I wanted to do was in the house.)

Unfortunately, none of this helped his suck-to-sleep association. Though he was napping off of me, he was still totally hooked on my nipple to fall asleep. For naps. At bedtime. When he’d wake up in the middle of the night. It’s all he wanted. In fact he seemed to need it. Desperately.

So we’ve begun to tackle his bedtime/nighttime nipple obsession.

Boo's new lovey

One of my attempts to break (or at least lessen) Boo’s suck-to-sleep association, was the introduction of snuggly blanket, or a lovey…I slept with it for a few days to make it smell more familiar, then began nursing him with it. He couldn’t care less about it for a good long while. Only now – maybe 2 or so months after its introduction – is he starting to take notice of it.

The plan: Create a very predictable bedtime routine that moves nursing to its beginning. Following nursing, change diaper and put on pyjamas. Next up comes all of the hygiene-related activities like brushing teeth, washing face and hands, and anything else that may pop up (e.g. put on moisturizer, drops in ears, whatever). Go say goodnight to Daddy. Return to bedroom and read a story or two. Then once story time is over, sing a bedtime song as I put Boo into his sleepsack, turn on his sound machine and turn out the light. Finish song (I usually sing it twice), kiss Boo goodnight and then rock him to sleep. Put him in crib.

Graco sound machine

Boo’s new Graco Sound Machine runs continuously through the night – not sure if it helps him get to sleep, but it does seem to help keep him asleep by muting other noises in the house or on the street (Montreal middle-of-the-night street cleaning anyone? Ugh).

So far, the plan is working quite well (dare I say very well?). Though the little man stages many escapes through the beginning of the routine (mostly after PJs and before story time), we’ve been sticking to it religiously. Once I start putting on his sleepsack there’s generally a fair amount of complaining, and much more protest after I put out the lights…but I’ve been sticking to my guns and only rocking and shushing him to sleep. No boob.

If he wakes up in the middle of the night, it’s the same story. No boob.

And you know what? It must be working. Even though he still clearly doesn’t like bedtime, he barely wakes up in the middle of the night anymore. Which means my little man who previously woke up an average of 2-3 times per night is now SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT most nights! Or, he’s waking up and soothing himself back to sleep, aware that there’ll be no boob offered if he calls to me.

Which totally rocks.

Moo, Baa, La la la

I’ve been trying to read at least two different books at bedtime. One longer, and one MUCH shorter one. Sandra Boynton’s Moo, Baa, La La La!
fits the bill perfectly – Boo loves making animal sounds, and I can get through it in about 1 minute…so even if he wants me to read it again….it’s ok!

The next step in our plan is to gradually move up when I put him into his crib….it’s going to be tough, as Boo does not appear to have a dozing-off stage. He goes from eyes wide open…..to suddenly eyes closed and then asleep within moments. I’m going to spend the next little while looking for any additional clues for when he’s getting sleepy (which will be tough…because I’ll be honest, I don’t sit there staring at him…I tend to close my own eyes and relax).

In the meantime, I’ll start devising a plan for getting him off my nipple at naptime….stay tuned.

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Friday I’m in Love: Comfort

So the weather outside is frightful….at least it’s been mostly frightful. Either bitter cold (I believe those were the exact words used on The Weather Network the other day – bitter cold), or snowing like crazy. And though I don’t particularly mind the snowing part (it looks very pretty), it can make getting around a real hassle, especially when you drive a Toyota Echo.

Don’t get me wrong…I love Erica. I’ve had her since 2005 and she still does a great job getting me from points A to B in most weather. But I’ve become spoiled driving the hubby’s Outback, so no matter how well my little car manages, she just doesn’t compare to all-wheel-drive (she is far cuter, though).

But I digress.

The crappy weather makes me want to just throw on some comfy clothes, curl up in an armchair (I don’t believe we own an armchair, but whatever), drink gallons of tea (ideally it’d be caffeinated), and read a good book.

Friday I'm in Love – Comfort

denim overalls | newton eyeglasses in aurelia tortoise | double layered top | knitted knot necklace | Yes Please | tea-rex mug

I realize, of course, that I haven’t had the figure to wear overalls since I was about 14….especially that particular $550 pair from Madewell. But the feeling of overalls is what I’m going for here. You know. No waist. And who’s to say my comfy ensemble couldn’t include a comfy knitted (and toddler friendly) necklace? And beautiful glasses? (How else am I supposed to read?) And that awesome awesome top? (Seriously…go take a look at AryaSense…she makes some beautiful – and comfy looking – stuff.)

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Lately No. 10

If we’re friends on FaceBook then you know my little man has his first case of the sniffles. I hate it. But deep deep down I knew it had to happen eventually. We’re lucky it took 16 months for it to happen. We’re also lucky that he’s old enough to be curious, rather than apprehensive, about new things. Before bed on the first night of his cold, I figured I’d give the little guy some relief and snot sucker him. I prepared for the worst and got the husband to pin Boo down. Turns out, I didn’t really have to. He was fascinated by it, and once we were done, tried to stick it back up his nose and put the mouthpiece back into my mouth.

Too cute.

Since then, he’s been a willing snot suckeree, who just stands patiently and juts out his nose ever-so-slightly until I’ve completed the operation.

Before Boo got sick, we’d been busy working on animal sounds – since recording the following, he’s added a kind-of chicken and an almost sheep sound to his repertoire:

Two Fridays ago we visited Parc du Soleil – an indoor playground that’s literally a stone’s throw from home, but which I’d always assumed was a daycare. Nope. It’s covered in foam floor pads and for the very littles has hard foam structures to climb, not-too-high slides, not-too-deep ball rooms and foam and plastic blocks to stack. It was an ok sort of thing to do once in a blue moon, but definitely not somewhere I want to go too often. At least not while Boo is still too little for the “big kids” area:

Parc du Soleil 1

Parc du Soleil 2

Boo climbing at Parc du Soleil

What got the most laughs out of Boo was not the toys or activities – it was another much older boy who kept freaking out every time my little man toppled his foam block towers. I tried to mediate, but the kid was way too hyper, and frankly way annoying when he got into Boo’s face and shouted “Nooooooo”. That, of course, wasn’t the slightest bit annoying to Boo – he thought it was hilarious, which further upset the boy. Without any adult to reign in their overly large and excited son, I decided to remove Boo from the situation altogether.

Boo smiling at Parc du Soleil

Boo climbing through a tunnel at Parc du Soleil

I think what kind of bugged me about this place was that the lighting was so artificial (which explains the terrible terrible pictures). It felt kinda stale inside…and even though I washed his face and hands after our visit, it’s also probably where Boo picked up whatever germs gave him his cold.

In other play-related news, Boo has been getting more and more “precise” with his play. He isn’t just banging things around anymore (well, at least not exclusively, anyway), he’s showing some consideration, sorting, and thinking about what he’s doing. He loves his vintage Little People farm and knows where all of the animals go…he’s also embraced Mama’s idea for the farm to adopt his fireman Grover figure which is the same basic size as the little people. Poor Grover’s role has been to lie in bed, and get flipped out the window.

Boo playing in the living room

He’s also been working on curling and folding his tongue in ways I just can’t fathom doing. I understand these things are genetic and clearly come from his daddy’s side of the family:

Boo playing with his tongue

And he’s just overall being cute:

Boo smiling on the floor

Finally, on a non-Boo-related note, I’ve been experimenting with soup. Found a recipe for Won Ton soup at YummyMummyClub that I thought I’d give a try….it was quite good (I used dumplings, however, as suggested in the recipe if you can’t find Won Tons at your grocery store). Though to be completely honest, I think I preferred my totally experimental sort-of Tom Yum soup I created out of all my leftover ingredients.

Won Ton Soup

Not much else going on. Of course I got Boo’s cold, and so I’ve been trying to take it as easy as humanly possible whilst having a you’d-never-know-he-was-sick toddler running amuck. It’s amazing how resilient those little buggers are!

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