building your stash: what to get

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Previously I talked about cloth diapering on a budget, and also about the different types of cloth diapers out there. If you’re just starting out, you might be overwhelmed at all the options and information. Every mom’s preferences are different, and every kid is different. Talking to other cloth-diapering moms will help you get an idea of what type of diaper to buy. If you don’t know anyone else personally, then I highly recommend finding a forum (like diaperswappers.com) where you can ask questions, troubleshoot any issues, or just hear about new products.

I know this sounds really weird, but I find cloth diapers so much FUN! I mean, I’ll be happy when my diapering days are completely behind me, but in the meantime I might as well get some sort of pleasure with it, right? :-)

Buying all the same brand
When I first started looking into cloth, I quickly became overwhelmed and decided to just buy one brand. My best friend uses and loves a pocket diaper called Baby Kangas, so I decided just to buy those. I started with 13 Baby Kangas, 3 fitted diapers and a cover that another friend handmade* for me, and 2 Bummis Super Whisper Wrap covers.

*A side note about handmade diapers… This isn’t an area I have any knowledge, but if you love to sew then you might want to try it! My friend Susan has made almost all of her diapers, and she’s done an excellent job. She recommends the website http://diaperdivas.proboards.com if you’re wanting to look more into sewing your own. If you’re a knitter, you might be interested in knitting wool soakers for your little one. This again isn’t anything I know about, but here’s a website for more info!

The advantage of this route (buying all the same brand) is it can be less overwhelming, which was my reasoning at the time. If you love the brand you chose, then you don’t have to worry about having to sell off other diapers. The disadvantage is if that particular diaper doesn’t fit your child well. After almost a year of cloth diapering, I still love my Baby Kangas but am also interesting in diversifying my stash. I’ve decided different diapers have different uses and benefits, and I’d love to have more of a sample of each. So I’ll probably be selling off a few Baby Kangas so I can get others.

Buying a “sampler”
Most people say to buy a few diapers of several different kinds to start. If you end up not liking a particular brand/style, then you can sell it. I recommend this too, even though I did the opposite myself. You’ll need to research the types of diapers and decide which fits your needs and lifestyle the best.

If you go back to my last post, you’ll see that I included links to some examples of each type of diaper. These are the brands that seem to be most recommended in my own personal experience and/or with talking to other cloth diapering moms. I tried to give a few options with varying pricepoints for each style; check out Diaper Pin for reviews (you can also read reviews on individual retailers websites).

If you’re tight on cash, your best bet would be to go with prefolds, and get a variety of covers. I’ve noticed that moms who are very practical tend to love prefolds and really not understand why one would spend more money to get anything else. I don’t fall into that category – I’m a pocket diaper fan myself. :-) If you tend towards frugality and practicality, then I’d suggest going this route.

*A note about hook-and-loop (a.k.a. Velcro/Aplix) versus snaps… Some people like the ease of this type of closure and the similarity to disposables (especially useful for people not used to cloth, like babysitters and grandparents). However, h&l wear out over time; collect lint/pet hair/all kinds of junk; and tear up other diapers during the wash/drying cycle. Older babies can learn to remove the h&l and take their diapers off. So, I think most people prefer snaps. You could try to get some of each and see what you think.

Also, when it comes to one-size versus sized diapers… Most one-size do not fit little babies. If you have a newborn, you might want to look into sized options, or do disposables until your baby is big enough (that’s what I did). Fans of sized diapers also prefer the trimmer fit. Fans of one-size diapers like the savings of being able to use the same diapers, and also it makes it easier if you have two in diapers. I have used both and prefer the one-size, but again – if you wanted to try both, then get some of each.

I’m a personal fan of the pocket diaper, but recently I’ve been expanding and using some AI2’s/hybrids. You’ll want between 16-20 diapers. (More diapers = less often you have to do laundry.) Again, check out the links in my last post to get ideas for what brands you might like.

Here’s an example sampler stash:
4 Prefolds
1 Snappi
2 Kissaluvs fitted
1 Thirsties Duo Wrap
1 Bummis Super Whisper Wrap
1 Flip OS Day Pack (2 covers + 6 inserts)
1 GroVia OS Shell + 3 soakers
2 Baby Kangas OS Pocket
2 FuzziBunz OS Pocket
1 bumGenius AIO

This particular stash adds up to about $250* (for new diapers), according to my quick estimation. If you’re leaning towards prefolds, then you might want to get more of them and maybe just a pocket diaper or two for babysitters. Or if you’re leaning towards pockets/AIOs, you could try more of those brands and just get a few prefolds to try. Prefolds can always be repurposed as burp cloths or changing pad covers, if you decide not to use them as diapers.

*Note: I didn’t take into account shipping, nor did I add any of the other accessories – wet bags, pail liners, diaper sprayer, etc.

Where to buy
If you’re lucky, you might be able to find cloth diapers in a local store (stores like Whole Foods often carry them, or there might be a cloth diaper retailer with storefront in your area). Most people get their diapers online, and there are many good sites out there. My favorite is Diaper Junction. They have a “30 Day Test Drive” – for certain brands, you can try the diapers for 30 days and then return them for a full refund if you’re not satisfied. I’ve also bought from Kelly’s Closet and Cotton Babies. I’ve been told that Green Mountain Diapers are the best prefolds. Baby Kangas (my favorite diaper) are harder to find, but you can get them at Sweet Little Blessings.

I’ve found that prices don’t vary all that much between retailers, so they try to get/keep your business with promotions and reward points. If you sign up for e-newsletters, then you will be able to get the promotions – free shipping, or free diaper with purchase, etc. Also, some retailers offer reward points with every purchase that can be put towards a future diaper order.

The best way to find used diapers is to find a local group of cloth diapering moms and have a diaper swap. I found a group by Googling “cloth diaper Atlanta” and I’ve really benefited from their knowledge. I’ve also found diapers on sites like Craigslist and at some consignment sales. And of course, check out diaperswappers.com for buying and selling used diapers online. For a diaper that’s still in good condition, you can expect to pay about 70% of the retail price.

I hope this has been useful information. Don’t worry, this isn’t going to turn into a cloth-diaper blog. :-) But I am always wanting to share what I’ve learned with people I know, and the easiest way to do that is to write a post and spread the linky love.


building your stash: the lingo

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Cloth-diapering moms love to talk about their stash. Seriously, it’s a bit ridiculous how long I could have a conversation about diapers!

So I talked a bit about cloth diapering as inexpensively as possible. You can build a pretty good stash including accessories for $200 or less. For a lot of moms, that’s enough. But, there are many different types of diapers out there, each with their own pros and cons. It can be confusing, so I’ll try to explain some of the lingo associated. I’m also including as examples some brands that I’ve used or have been recommended to me by other cloth diapering moms.

prefoldsPrefolds: I talked about prefolds in my other post. Prefolds need a separate diaper cover and also will probably need a Snappi or diaper pins for fastening. I talked more about diaper covers in that post, so I won’t repeat myself.
Examples of prefolds: Green Mountain Diapers (Indian Prefolds), Chinese Prefolds
Examples of covers: Thirsties Duo Wrap, Bummis Super Whisper Wrap, Blueberry Coveralls

fittedsFitted: These diapers are tailor fitted to be snug around the baby. They attach around the waist with either snaps or hook-and-loop (generic term for Aplix and Velcro closures). Because of this, they have a trimmer fit and less likelihood of leaks than prefolds. They are also easier to use than prefolds. I’m told that fitteds are a good choice for newborns. These diapers will need a separate diaper cover.
Examples: Kissaluvs Fitted, Thirsties Fab Fitted
Examples of covers: See “Prefolds”, above

contoursContour: A cross between a prefold and a fitted diaper. These are in the shape of an hourglass and are more economical than a fitted, but easier to use than a prefold. They do not need diaper pins or snappis, but they will need a separate diaper cover.
Examples: Kissaluvs Contour, ImseVimse Contour
Examples of covers: See “Prefolds”, above

pocketsPocket: These diapers have two layers: a waterproof outer shell (same as a diaper cover) and a stay-dry interior (often microfleece or cotton). The layers are sewn together to form a pocket, in which an absorbent insert is placed (this is called “stuffing” the diaper). These diapers are quick and easy-to-use, but require a bit of prep work after they’re washed. No separate cover is needed.
Examples: Baby Kangas, FuzziBunz, bumGenius, Thirsties Duo

all-in-twosAll-in-two (AI2): These diapers have two parts: an outer shell (same as a diaper cover) and inner absorbent soaker. They are different from a pocket because the soaker either snaps in or lies inside the shell. An advantage is that one shell can be used for multiple diaper changes (just changing the soaker), provided that the shell doesn’t get soiled. Sometimes AI2 and hybrid diapers are combined as the same thing, but there are slight differences. Also, some AI2 can also be pockets – stuffing is only necessary when you desire more absorbency, like for nighttime diapering.
Examples: Econappi, GroVia Shell Set

all-in-onesAll-in-one (AIO): As the name implies, these diapers are the absorbent soaker sewn together with a waterproof outer shell. They are one piece and ready to go – no folding or stuffing necessary. Because they most resemble disposables, they are often a good choice for babysitters. I feel like often, pocket diapers and AIOs are combined into the same category.
Examples: bumGenius AIO

hybridsHybrid: Hybrid diapers are rather new, and are a cross between cloth and disposables. Generally, they are a reusable outer shell and a disposable insert that is environmentally friendly. This is a good option for traveling or for people who are environmentally-conscious but for whatever reason don’t want to or can’t do full cloth. Some of the hybrids also have reusable soakers for when washing isn’t a problem. When used with soakers, the diapers technically fall under AI2 category, which is why these two categories are often combined.
Examples: GroVia, Flip, gDiapers

one-sizeOne-size (OS): One-size diapers have snaps or elastic that allows you to change the size of the diaper so that it will have a tight fit as the child grows. These are becoming very popular, as it’s possible to use the same diaper from birth to potty-training. It saves money in the long run, though it might not be ideal for the extremes (newborns or older potty-trainers) Most one-size diapers start at 7 or 10 lbs. Snapped to their smallest setting can be really bulky on the tiny baby. Any of the above diapers can also be one-size, except perhaps the prefolds.
Examples: Blueberry One-Size, Happy Heinys

Hook-and-loop (h&l): Generic term for Velcro or Aplix – a common way for cloth diapers to fasten around the baby. This makes the diaper more like a disposable, and a lot of people prefer the ease. The alternative is fastening with snaps.

Since this post is getting long enough, I will continue it tomorrow with a post about how to most effectively build your stash. Stay tuned, and I hope all this lingo hasn’t lost you yet!

Diaper images courtesy of zoolikins.com, eastcoastdiapers.com, metrominis.net, oneposhbaby.com, thenaturalbabyco.com, and tendercargo.com


Savannah update

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I still need to write Savannah’s 12 month letter! I just didn’t have time in the midst of everything else going on.

She has started scootching around on her bum, and is getting quite efficient! She is really cute. The downside is that the bottoms of her clothes are getting REALLY dirty! I’m happy that she’s using her hands to help with the scootching – I really want her to learn to crawl if she can, so that she reaches that developmental milestone. According to people I’ve talked to (both in the medical field and not), there are many advantages to babies crawling that affect them later in life too (as far as muscle development). Today Savannah started using her hands and getting kinda on her knees – could this be the beginning?

She still doesn’t pull herself up at all, nor does she put weight on her feet when we try and stand her up. I can hold her by her arms and she’ll kick her legs, but that’s about it. I still haven’t decided if I’m going to take her to physical therapy or not. I’m very encouraged by her current mobility, and am currently inclined to just wait it out and let her develop in her own time.

We have her 12 month checkup next Monday, so I am anxious to talk to our pediatrician about all this. I also am hoping that Savannah has put on a bit more weight – at her 9 month appointment, a different pediatrician at that practice was concerned and told me to feed Savannah more. I finally discovered that Savannah just prefers to feed herself, and I stopped worrying about baby food and concentrated instead on giving her a variety of finger food. She does really well at that! Of course, it makes life much more messier…

I can’t remember if I mentioned this, but I have been working at my old job once a week. I have had issues pumping enough for a bottle, so I have just had the babysitter give Savannah formula before her naptimes. Last week and today, Savannah refused to take the bottle, so I guess we are done with that? She’s still nursing and I don’t plan on weaning her any time soon, but I think she’s at the point where she doesn’t *need* a bottle. It makes me a bit teary-eyed – she’s growing up!

Another way that Savannah is growing up is that she’s really good drinking out of a straw. I finally found a sippy cup that she could figure out – they are so complicated, with the anti-spill feature that is nice but makes it difficult to get the water out! Once I figured out that Savannah mastered the straw, I bought a sippy cup with one and she’s been drinking a lot of water. The other day after we had dinner at Chick-Fil-A, I was standing holding Savannah and my Coke. I wasn’t paying attention and Savannah leaned over and took a big gulp of my Coke! She wrinkled her nose like she always does when she tries something new. It was cute.

She loves to put things into things. She picks up smaller toys and puts them into bags or boxes. The other day she was playing in our den with a toy that included 4 balls. At one point, I was trying to collect all the balls and could only find two. Then I spotted in the trash can the other 2 balls, 2 other small toys, a small flashlight, and a paci. It cracked me up that Savannah “threw” them all away. I guess I need to be vigilant when I empty the trash cans!

She’s so cute. :-)


the day I did what I thought was impossible

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A year ago today, my wonderful daughter came into this world! In honor of her birthday, I am reposting her birth story, which has been rewritten with the help of Lindsey. It’s been a wonderful year, and I have LOVED being a mom to Savannah!

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Savannah’s birth was completely the opposite of anything I might have expected it to be. It is an interesting and exciting story; and it is my hope that one day she will appreciate having these words to read, as I recount that very special day on which she came into this world.

It would be easy to just skip the beginning of this birth story. Little did I know was that the beginning of this story would seem so trivial after the whole event was over.

I began having contractions on Thursday night/early Friday morning. The contractions continued off and on all day on Friday as well. They were mild contractions, so I tried distracting myself by walking or sleeping. The sleeping idea didn’t really work, so I tried to be on my feet. Towards the evening, the contractions were getting worse. Paul and I had planned to go to Target and walk around for awhile, but I quickly realized I was not up for that activity. The pain was in my back and it was starting to get intense!

The contractions were about fifteen to twenty minutes apart all night Friday. I did not get very much sleep. Paul stayed home from work on Saturday after I threatened him that doing so would make me very upset! He was really great the whole time. He came to my side with every contraction, dutifully timing them so that we’d know when to go to the hospital.

At noon on Saturday, they were six to seven minutes apart and I called my midwife again. She said to call back when they were five minutes or less apart, and we’d go to the hospital. She warned me to get rest if I could, because I probably had eight or more hours of labor head of me! (Ha! Famous last words…)

At this point, I don’t remember very much. I was so tired; I actually laid on the couch and slept between the contractions! They were getting more intense. I’d call Paul’s name and grab onto his hand until they passed. He put a lot of pressure on my back which seemed to really help. I kept asking him, “Are they five minutes yet?”

We were getting close. Under six minutes apart is the last I remember him telling me, but we had not hit the magical five-minute mark yet. Finally, I decided warm water would help make me feel better. I asked Paul to help me to the bathroom.

Then, everything became a blur.

I remember feeling the sensation to push, and I thought it was just a bowel movement. This confused me. My water broke at this point, but I didn’t realize at the time what was going on. I went into the bathroom and sat on the toilet (still thinking bowel movement, of course). Everything hurt so bad! I just clutched Paul’s arm with each contraction.
I remember him saying, They’re coming really close together now!

Something inside of myself told me this was not a bowel movement. I couldn’t figure out why my body was telling me to push. I reach down and felt a head between my legs and screamed, “I felt her head!” I went on to inform him that I couldn’t do it.

Paul insisted that I could indeed do it, because at this point, I had to do it! I just remember being very scared. Everything was happening so fast; too fast. It took only one or two more contractions before suddenly the baby—OUR BABY—popped right out and into the toilet!

I jumped up and screamed. At the same moment, Paul grabbed the baby. She gasped for breath and started crying.
My first reactions were of sheer confusion and fear. What had just happened? I knew from my birth class that if a baby is born at home, you need to check and see if she’s breathing (crying) and if she is pink. I could see her skin changing quickly from white to pink, so I didn’t worry. I also knew it was really important not to let the umbilical cord break.
I sat back on the toiled and held her very gingerly as Paul ran and got the phone. He called the midwife, and she told us to come to the hospital right away. He draped me with towels, and we got into the car. I remember looking behind me at all the bloody mess in the bathroom, and Paul assuring me that he would clean it up later. We just needed to GET to the hospital. I sat there, half-dazed, clutching the baby with the cord still attached to me.

So, Savannah was born at 1:30 pm. The whole last part happened so fast, there was no time to do anything but react to the situation. I am so very grateful that we talked in our birth class about what to do if you don’t make it to the hospital in time. Having that knowledge helped calmed me, as scared as I was at the time. And I knew that we didn’t need to call an ambulance since she was crying, and her color was good.

So, one could say that Savannah’s very first car ride was a little ironic; here she was in my arms, instead of a car seat! Neither one of us were buckled up. Not even an hour old, and my daughter is already breaking the law.

We got to the hospital and they were expecting us. They rushed me back to the maternity section in a wheelchair. At this point I was unaware of everything. I was just sitting there, clutching my baby making sure I didn’t break her or the umbilical cord!

We were put in a room and immediately there were people there to help us. They cut the baby’s cord, and my midwife delivered the placenta about fifty minutes after Savannah came out. So, I guess we went the extra mile to make sure she got all the nutrients?

I had torn a little bit in the process, so the midwife stitched me up. THAT part was the worst of the whole ordeal; worse than pushing the baby out! We stayed in the room for an hour. They checked Savannah over and over and said she was healthy and perfect. They helped me move up to the postpartum room, and I passed out on the way there.

At this point I was so dazed; I remember sitting there and then suddenly there were tons of nurses around me. They were making me smell something terrible and kept telling me to wake up and talk to them. I kept hearing, redhead…redhead…

Later they told me that redheads tend to have more problems with bleeding and passing out. I guess I was just doing what came naturally to me, then.

We were settled in our room, finally finding some peace after quite a traumatic day. We set about making phone calls since we were unable to tell anyone I was in labor (except for my Facebook status Friday night!).

Savannah doesn’t seem too worse for the wear, having being born in a toilet! We’re now having fun sharing her birth story with others. I am very proud of myself for delivering her naturally, even if it were completely unintentional! I am very grateful that things naturally worked out as they did in her birth. The entire situation could have gone from bad to worse quickly if I had any complications with an unassisted birth. I’m still a little sad that I didn’t get the water birth I had hoped for. But, oh well. Savannah is here, and that’s what is the most important of all.


I’m still here

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I’m alive. I didn’t intend to take a blogging break. I’ve been very busy this month! I finished Savannah’s scrapbook – it looks wonderful; I’m really pleased with how it turned out. We took a road trip up to Pennsylvania to see our friend Melissa who lives in Asia. We had a wonderful time with her, and we also got to see Jes on the way back to Atlanta.

Today is Savannah’s first birthday party. My parents came up on Wednesday, my brother and sister-in-law came Thursday, and my in-laws arrived yesterday. Right now, I have a little bit of down time while Savannah naps. Actually, I just spent all my downtime checking my email so now I have to get lunch together. :-)

I will blog more later, hopefully!