Monday, March 26, 2012

One year ago....

One year ago, I found out I was pregnant!  It was such a glorious, crazy, shocking, strange day.  We were blessed enough to get pregnant the first month we tried.  I was charting and temping.  Since it was my first cycle, I thought for sure it would never happen the first round.  I remember wanting to wait until the weekend to test because on the off chance it was positive, I would not be able to go in to work right after!  My plan was to test on Sunday the 27th.  On Saturday the 26th however, I woke up...took my temp and just could not go back to sleep.  I was 15 days past ovulation.  I decided, what the heck....I am just going to go and test, find out it's negative....then I can go back to sleep and sleep in on this Saturday morning!

Well, clearly.....I could not go back to sleep.  I came back from the bathroom, woke Phil up and said "honey, I just took a test." Phil started to reach over to rub my back and comfort me because he also thought it would be negative.  Then I said..."and it was positive."  We said a prayer together. I had him recheck the test for me.  Instead of going back to sleep, we headed off to a very early breakfast at our favorite breakfast place.  It's usually packed on Saturday morning, but we were able to beat the crowd.

These weren't actually the first tests that I took, I'm not sure I even have a picture of the very first one.  I know it was an EPT with the plus sign.  In the coming weeks after that first test, I took 11 tests.  Yes, you read right....11.  It wasn't that I didn't believe the tests, I just loved seeing it every.single.time.  

The day we found out, we went over to Phil's parents house for the quarterly birthday celebration of all the family members.  Phil's grandparents were also in town.  We ended up telling everyone there, because all of those people are people we would likely tell if something had happened.  We also called my mom and told her. Luckily, we never had to break any sad news.  The pregnancy was a dream, and now there is a stunningly beautiful, smiley 3 month old who is sleeping away.....for now.  What a tremendously happy year we have had.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Goodness, it's been a while! Cloth diaper accessory review

Well, my last post I talked about wanting to do a review of all the accessories that go along with cloth diapering.  So, here's the low down:

Wet bags/pail liners:
You need a place to store all those dirty diapers before laundry day.  Most people tend to use either a trash can with a water proof pail liner, or a hanging wet bag....which takes away the necessity of using the can.  I use both, but I prefer the hanging wet bag.  I use the pail liner in the nursery in a step can, and the hanging wet bag I use downstairs and I hook it on to the pack and play. The hanging wet bag also has a separate "dry" side to it so I can also stick Noelle's clothes in there if I change her outfit on the main floor of the house instead of in the nursery. Most of her diapers are changed downstairs on the pack and play.  It's also great for weekend travel.  I took it to Cleveland once leaving on Friday and coming back on Sunday, and it fit all the dirty diapers perfectly.  I have the planet wise brand.....highly recommend.  These both work pretty well.  The reason I prefer the hanging bag method is because the
pail liner does not stay around the edge of the step can very well because of the hinge.  If I used a can that had no hinge, I think it would work great.  Also, in the nursery the step can kind of gets in the way.  If I used the hanging wet bag in there, I could just hang it on the knob.  I may be putting 1 or 2 of those on my wish list when people ask me for ideas, then I would discontinue use of the pail liner for the most part.  I have 2 of the pail liners though, so there is always one clean.
I also have a kangacare wet bag.  My daycare provider recommended this one as her top preference.  It's plenty big, but small enough to transport easily.  It is smaller than the planetwise hanging wet bag, but it does the same basic thing.  I just got it very recently, and it is nice to have while the other one is in the wash.  It's also small enough that it can go in the diaper bag...though I prefer even smaller ones for that.  The nice thing about this is that it does have a nice 3D design so it's easy to get into and dump into the washer.  I think it will also be nice to store in the bathroom once the poop is more solid and needs to be sprayed.  Here's a picture.
In addition to these, I have 2 smaller wet bags that go easily into the diaper bag.  One is another planet wise brand and the other is a momma kitty brand.

CJ's products:
CJ's is all the rage amongst CD'ers as a CD safe way to treat diaper rash.  You have to be careful about what products you choose to treat rash because the wrong thing can cause your diapers to repel.  Desitin and A&D are the biggest no-no's.  There's several safe options though, one of which is easy to find:  California Baby.  I've also used Aveeno though, and just used a flushable liner and it's been totally fine.  But, I digress.

CJ's BUTTer is an all natural cream that can be used to treat diaper rash.  From what I can gather, it is a compilation of different oils.  Coconut oil, sesame oil, and castor oil perhaps?  I have the vegan formula which does not include coconut oil.  It comes in a round tub.  It's pretty darn neat.  BUTTer is a very appropriate name for it.  At first, I assumed it was called that because of the goes on the butt.  However, once you put it on the skin, it literally  It's crazy!  This is also a new addition to my CDing, but so far, so good.  I haven't had much in the way of rash...just a little pinkness/redness sometimes and this seems to do the trick.  I've been putting it on every night as a precaution to keep that nasty rash away!  I also have a spray version of the BUTTer which I stick in the diaper bag and send to day care.  That one is not the vegan formula and is also lavender scented.  I wasn't sure about using a scented product for that purpose, but CD'ers speak so highly of the CJ's brand that I took the chance because that was all the store had in stock.

Now...for my favorite CJ's product.  CJ's Carcass Cleaner!  This stuff is incredible as a cloth wipes solution!!!  3 squirts in 2 cups warm water (and I add a drop or two of tea tree oil, but I don't know how necessary that is) and've got a nice solution to wet your wipes with and really get a clean bottom.  I was using just plain water, and that was okay.  But since discovering this, I probably won't go back.  The reason I tried a solution is because my daycare provider really prefers a solution over just plain water.  She is a passionate CD'er herself so I decided to give her suggestion a try.  I was going to make my own solution from a variety of recipes available, but was pleasantly surprised to see CJ's products at Cincinnati's green store, Park and chose to keep it simple instead.  I am so glad that I did!

Rockin Green:  This is a popular CD detergent that I have used two bags of so far.  It seems to work okay.  At the beginning, I felt like I had some stink issues and had to use a lot more than the recommended amount.  I think it may have been because of the crazy frequent poop that newborns have.  Once the poop decreased, I started using less with not much of an issue.  My diapers seem plenty clean.  I did have 2 random cases of 2 diapers not coming clean though....which was strange, but may have had more to do with the cycle being set too slow.  The one thing that really bothered me though, was the amount of suds left over in the utility tub after each wash...regardless of how much/little soap I was using.  Because of this, I decided to try Charlie's Soap.  To be fair to Rockin Green, I think I figured out where the suds were coming from.  We have this detergent dispenser in our washer and I discovered that I was getting a ton of suds if I just poured water down the dispenser and ran a totally empty load.  So all the extra suds are coming from years of detergent build up in the dispenser I think.  This is a picture of what one cycle looked like when I poured vinegar in the dispenser to get rid of some of the residue (this is an empty load.)  Yikes!

Charlies Soap:  I've only used it once so far....but I really really like it.  There's no scents but the diapers just come out smelling soooo clean and fresh.  It also does not leave residue and has lower suds.  I think this might be a better fit for us than the Rockin Green.  I will caution however, that there is some scary stuff on the internet about Charlie's soap causing these horrible burns....which is why I avoided it for a while.  If you have hard water, it might not be the best choice...or you should use Calgon with it.  From my research, it sounds like the reactions some children have are due to reacting to bacteria left on the diaper.  No detergent disinfects, however, some detergents leave a film that apparently keeps the bacteria away from the skin but doesn't rid the diaper completely of the bacteria.  The downside is that this residue can eventually cause your diapers to repel.  Charlie's does not have this residue, therefore, the bacteria can cause a reaction.  It is recommended to use either vinegar or bleach once a month or so on your diapers to make sure they are getting disinfected.  Of course, I started reading all this 2 days ago when my diapers were in the wash with Charlie's for the first time and got immediately paranoid, so I ran another wash with vinegar to be safe.   So far, no outrageous burns on Noelle's hopefully all the stuff on the internet is just sensationalized and we won't have any issues!

Wool dryer balls:
Wool dryer balls are great!  I am not sure what brand we use, but I am not sure there would be a big difference from brand to brand.  Wool dryer balls replace dryer sheets.  They reduce drying time and help to soften clothes.  They are usually sold in packs of 3, but you need 6 to have them be effective.  Phil is pretty funny about them...he loves them!  He has always had this weird infatuation with things like bounce sheets, and the bounce bars you can put in the dryer.  He is very attracted to these types of products for some reason.  I was nervous to tell him that we couldn't use the bounce bar anymore when we started CDing, but he ended up doing all the research for the dryer balls and gets oddly excited about them (though won't admit it.)  lol.

If you are going to be washing CD's it makes the most sense to go ahead and use cloth wipes.  You are doing the laundry anyway, and then you don't have to throw the wipe away just toss it in with the diapers.  I have some home made ones, made from recieving blankets.  I'd like to make some more of those, but my sewing machine keeps jamming and it's not easy to do that with a 3 month old who demands so much of my attention.  I also have bumgenious brand wipes, baby kicks brand, and cheap baby wash cloths.  I don't have any strong preferences on these.  They all work pretty well.  The homemade ones are the cutest which is why I would like to make more.  The cheap wash clothes work well because they are textured on one side but smooth on the other so you can get the bum really clean.  I prefer to prewet my wipes with the solution so they are ready to go.  Some people worry about mildew with this method, but I don't wet many at a time and have not had an issue.  I also keep some squirt bottles around to squirt a dry wipe if I have not been organized enough to wet more (and this happens frequently.)  Both methods work great, especially if you are using a solution.  The solution just seems to help the wipe glide so much better than plain water.

I use the Vera Bradley medium sized cosmetic case as a wipes container in the diaper bag.  It's not water proof, if I am going to carry premoistened wipes, I stick them in a ziplock bag which I then put in the cosmetic case.  I also carry the CJ's BUTTer spray that I mentioned, and a very tiny spritz bottle of the CJ's solution in the case.  The squirt bottle is very handy for me to use to "wash" my hands when we are out to eat and my hands get all greasy.  Also, if I don't have wet wipes with me I use this to spray the bum directly then wipe.  I prefer the spritz bottle to the bigger squirt bottle if I am going to be spraying the skin directly because I imagine that is much more comfortable for Noelle.

Diaper Sprayer:
I have the Bum Genious diaper sprayer.  It works really well!  We haven't had any leaks at all with it. Phil installed it when I was still pregnant, and it sounds like it installed pretty easily.  I used it a time or two post partum as well....but man that was some cold water!   I think I will be very happy to have a sprayer once we start solids.

Well, it's quite late, and I am afraid I have ceased to be making any sense at all at this point.  So I am going to say goodbye to the blogging world for now.