Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Cloth Diapering, so far

The number one question I get these days is, "So, how's the cloth diapering going?" I can say with full confidence that it's great. We started using the cloth diapers when Liam was around four weeks old. We use a mix of bumgenius and fuzzibunz. Right now my favorite are the bumgenius diapers. The fit is a lot more trim and they're generally easier to use. Whenever Liam wears a fuzzibunz diaper his booty looks ginormous! It's comical. The nice thing about the fuzzibunz is all the adjustable features, but this also makes them a little more complicated to use. I hate having to adjust the elastics on the legs and I never seem to get it right which has led to a few leaks. It's annoying to have to deal with. With the bumgenius you just adjust the rise with a few simple snaps and you're ready to go. I think as Liam gets better I will like the fuzzibunz more but I really love the bumgenius diapers and will probably buy a few more of those so I don't have to rely on the fuzzibunz so much.

Washing the diapers is ridiculously easy and really not as gross as one might imagine. Whenever we change Liam's diaper we remove it, take the insert out, and stick it along with the actual diaper into our Planetwise wet bag. If it's a poopy diaper I spray it down over the toilet with our diaper sprayer and then into the wet bag it goes. This step is not really necessary because Liam is exclusively breastfed and breastfed poo is water soluble and can go straight into the washing machine, but I like to get the diaper as clean as possible before sticking it in the wet bag. I think it might also help with stains. When the bag gets full it's time to wash. [Liam has about 20 diapers or so, which means I wash them every two to three days] I dump the contents of the bag into the washing machine and do a cold rinse. After that I wash them on hot with 1/3 the amount of recommended detergent. Right now we are using Seventh Generation Free & Clear. It seems to be getting the job done just fine. I have a few samples of Rocking Green detergent that I'll be trying to figure out if I like it or not. I'm also interested in trying Charlie's Soap because I hear good things. We'll see. After they're done washing I put them in the dryer on low for 30-45 minutes and we're done! I take them out, stuff the inserts back in the pockets, and put them away in Liam's dresser. It's really not too much trouble to go through to save some money on diapers. If we used disposable all the time (which we did for the first month of his life) we would be buying a lot of diapers and wasting a lot of money. With the cloth diapers he can use them up until the day he's potty trained (which will hopefully be sooner rather than later, supposedly cloth diaper babies potty train earlier than disposable diaper babies) and if we have more kids they can use these diapers too.

I should mention that we do use disposables on occasion, mostly at night. It's just easier that way for now. I am considering using a night time cloth diapering system (maybe doubling up on inserts?) but for now I'm okay with using disposables. Even when we go out he still wears cloth. We just bring a mini wet bag in his diaper bag. When we change him the dirty one goes in there until we get home and can put it in the big wet bag.

So there you have it. Cloth diapering is amazing. I love it. Alex loves it. And I think Liam loves it too. :-)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Response to M. Turner

First of all, I want to thank everyone who commented on my previous blog post, on here and on Facebook. It means a lot to me to have so much support. Being a mother is difficult enough as it is without having a good support system cheering you on. So, thank you!

I wanted to quickly respond to a comment left by M. Turner.
I'm totally not trying to be a crazy controversialist and I'm a dude so I might just be weirded out by this whole thing.

But... don't you think that there are a lot of other natural things that are not shameful but are best left in private? I think of husband and wife activities or bathroom habits as two particular examples.

Again, I think your blog emphasizes modesty and discreetness so I am not really opposed to what you are saying. I have just been in a few situations (once on a train ride to Philadelphia and another in a shopping mall) where it seemed that a mother was being totally immodest and awkward.

Please, please, please see my comments as those from a confused husband rather than a criticizing misogynist.
Thanks for commenting and expressing your concern. I don't think you are a misogynist, but I do think you're mistaken in a few areas. You compared breastfeeding to sexual relations between a man and a woman and going to the bathroom to relieve yourself. Breastfeeding is not like either of these things. Take the first example, what a man and woman do in the privacy of their own bedroom is sexual in nature, breastfeeding isn't. Believe me, there is nothing sexual about me feeding my son. My breasts are not sexual objects, they are a tool to keep my son alive by providing him the nutrients that he needs. America has really oversexualized breasts and made them taboo, but I really don't see my breasts as sexual objects. Their main purpose is to feed my son. Now, can they pull double duty and become sexual? Yes. But again, that is not their main purpose. And if we didn't make breasts so taboo, then breastfeeding in public wouldn't be such a big deal. The second example, relieving oneself in the bathroom...well, it's gross. Let's face it, human excrement is just nasty. It smells, it isn't pleasant to look at, it's best left in a toilet and flushed away where no one ever has to see or smell it...ever. There is nothing gross about my baby eating his dinner. As I said in my previous post, if a bottle-fed baby can have his dinner in public then so can a breastfed baby.

I'd like to also mention that being confined to your home because you're breastfeeding your baby can really lead to depression issues. Right now Liam eats about every two hours, like clockwork! That's every two hours from the time he starts! Meaning if he eats at 12, by 2 o'clock he's ready for another round. And it can take anywhere from half an hour to an hour to feed him. That means if he ate at 12 and finished at 1 that leaves me an hour of freedom before he's back at the breast. An hour is not enough time to go to the grocery store or have lunch with friends. What am I supposed to do? Become a hermit? As I mentioned above, being a mother is hard, especially when you're new to the game, being stuck at home can only fuel feelings of loneliness and desperation, which isn't healthy for anyone. The mother suffers, the baby suffers, and the spouse will also suffer.

Maybe if more public places were more accommodating to nursing mothers, providing a nice space to feed your baby, I could understand...but most places don't have much more than a public restroom to offer. And I'm sorry, but we all know public restrooms are disgusting. I barely want to take my baby in there to change his diaper, much less feed him!

Again, thank you for your comment, M. Turner. I hope my response has helped to change your mind about breastfeeding a little bit...and if it hasnt then all I can say is, next time you're on the train and a woman takes her breast out to feed her hungry baby, just look away (and I mean that in the nicest way possible). I guarantee you that she doesn't want to be stared at. She doesn't even want to make a political statement. She just wants to make sure her baby isnt starving and wants to give him the best nutrition possible. And if that means that she must courageously expose her breast and be ridiculed and judged for it, so be it. But baby comes first. And if baby wants the boob, baby gets the boob. :-)

Also, thank you to Jenni for her words of wisdom on the matter...check out her comment in my previous post for her perspective.

Monday, September 19, 2011

breastfeeding in public

Not only is it really important to me to exclusively breastfeed my baby, it's also important that I breastfeed him in public. Why? Because I want the world to know that it's normal. When my baby is hungry, he needs to eat. Right now this is the way he eats and there's nothing shameful about that. I was actually really nervous to publicly breastfeed Liam in the beginning. I would make sure to go out right after I fed him so he would be satisfied and I would return home before he would be hungry again. This would make for very hurried outings. Little by little, though, I have become more comfortable with nursing him where ever I am. Here are a few tips that I've picked up along the way. If you're a new mother who is exclusively breastfeeding and need a bit of help getting comfortable doing it in public I hope these tips help you...

  • Start small. The first "public" place that I nursed Liam was at a friend's house. It was the first time I nursed him out of the privacy of my own home, but it still wasn't out in public in front of strangers. I was in the company of trusted friends who didn't make me feel weird about it at all. Next I nursed Liam in the back of the car in front of a coffee shop. Again, not too public, but I was getting out there. Now I've nursed him at Starbucks, church, and restaurants while eating lunch. Baby steps. 
  • Dress appropriately. You have to have easy access to the boob in order to nurse in public. I like wearing v-neck shirts (easy to pull down), button-up shirts (just un-do a few buttons), or anything with a zipper in front. Also, I don't find much use for nursing tanks. They're either expensive, ugly, or not very comfortable. I just use regular camis if I need to. They're easy enough to pull down. 
  • Be modest. This kind of goes hand-in-hand with the previous point. I don't know about you, but I don't exactly want the whole world seeing my breasts. No, I'm not ashamed of them...and no, I don't think there's anything obscene about breastfeeding...but I'd rather not make anyone else feel uncomfortable with the sight of my breasts (even though it's perfectly acceptable to hang giant Victoria's Secret ads with half-naked women in the middle of a mall...dumb). That's why I always use a nursing cover. I have to say, nursing covers are not my favorite. I find them a bit clumsy to use, but I am not yet a nursing ninja. [Nursing ninjas are what I call those women who nurse their babies while they're in a sling as they stroll the aisles of Target. Amazing. I'm just not there yet, but maybe some day.] 
  • Stop caring about what others think. In my experience, people absolutely do not care that you are nursing your baby in public. I've never gotten any nasty stares or comments. Most people just mind their own business. I think if you don't act weird about it, neither will anyone else. And even if you do get weird looks, who cares? You are doing something so important, you are nourishing your child. If a bottle-fed baby can have his dinner in public, then so can a breast-fed baby. Just relax and don't even worry about it. 
  • Look at helpful resources. It is within your legal rights to nurse anywhere you need to. Maybe you could read up on breastfeeding laws so that you are well-informed and feel more comfortable. I also looked at a few youtube videos of women talking about how they nurse in public and read some blogposts to get tips, like this one and this one. Also, I love It's helped me feel empowered and see what fashionable nursing-friendly clothes are out there. 
Happy breastfeeding to all! :-)

Nursing at the Starbucks inside Target.

Cute little legs peeking out from under the nursing cover.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Abuelita Carmen

My grandmother is in town for a little while spending time with Liam and cooking delicious Nicaraguan food. Talk about blessed! She has been such a tremendous help so far. I don't know how she does it all but she is more active than I have ever been.

It's so special to me that she gets to be here with us and that she gets to meet Liam. She moved in with our family when I was about eight years old and by the time I was in college it was just the two of us living in that house because my parents had moved to Texas and my sister was in Gainesville. Needless to say, I think the world of her and I know Liam will too.

What a gorgeous great grandma!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Another Rose Guest Post

I did another guest blog post for Rose Medical Center's blog, Rose Knows Health.
I want to thank Rose once again for giving me the opportunity to share my story. I really feel blessed by my birthing experience and by this hospital that really supported me every step of the way.
Please check out my guest post here and feel free to leave your comments.

P.S. I had an entire post written out about cloth diapering and it somehow got deleted. Verrry annoying for a new first time mom with not a lot of free time. I hope to re-write it soon and share it with everyone who has been wondering how it's been going for us so far. 

Monday, September 05, 2011

one month

Liam is one month old today! Can you believe it? To celebrate we got Boyz II Men to perform a special concert in his honor. Okay, so really they're in town for Taste of Colorado. We'll be heading over there in just a bit to enjoy the food, fun, and music.

But back to this little one... He's already a month old! We're getting the hang of this parenting thing, thank God. We're learning his little mannerisms, his likes and dislikes. He's a pretty awesome little dude. I feel blessed to be his mommy.

And here is his one month photo...I'm so looking forward to doing one of these every month to see how he grows and changes. I hope you all enjoy it too!

Check out that cute mint colored cloth diaper! I die.

Friday, September 02, 2011

how to survive the first four weeks

No doubt about it, having a baby is an adjustment. Your world is turned upside down by this tiny little creature. It can definitely be overwhelming at times so I wanted to share a few thoughts on how to survive the first four weeks of your baby's life. Everyone is different, but this is just what worked for us.

  • Get help. Seriously, don't be afraid to ask for help. We have been so blessed to have my mom, dad, sister, and mother-in-law all out here to visit and help with the baby in some capacity. Hallelujah! When I was still pregnant I was worried about having so many visitors but now I am so glad they have all been helping. I seriously couldn't have done it on my own...especially with Alex being sick the first few days of Liam's life and having to go back to work so quickly. 
  • Meal help. Another great help has been our church family bringing us meals every other night since Liam was born. I already hate cooking, so I could not imagine having to cook dinner every night with a newborn. Megan used to coordinate meals for us and again, I am so thankful! In fact, check out this very helpful post she wrote about bringing a family meals when they have a new baby.  She provides lots of great little tips. If no one offers to do this for you I say you shamelessly ask a friend if they'd be willing to get some people to bring meals for you. Or if you know someone who is pregnant, please coordinate meals for them! Seriously, do it. 
  • Let it go. I am an organization/clean freak. I like my dishwasher loaded in a certain way, my bathrooms to be cleaned a certain way, my pantry to be stocked a certain way. I'm very particular. But since Liam has been born I've had to just let things go. My mom didn't always do things the way that I would do them, but I just kept my big mouth shut and focused on resting and breast feeding. Which brings me to my next point...
  • Rest! Labor is hard work. Your body has been through a lot and you need to rest and recuperate. Don't feel bad about being "lazy." You're not being lazy, you are making sure you get back to 100% so you can take care of your baby. If you want to know what it's like to deal with a postpartum body and mindset, just ask, I'll talk about anything and everything. But just so you know... there will be blood, aches, inflammation, baby blues, tears... Don't worry, it won't last forever. Oh, and nap when the baby naps, at least once in the day. You'll need it. 
  • Cry it out. I'm not talking about letting the baby cry it out, I'm saying you need to cry it out. There are so many emotions that are felt when a new baby arrives. Don't feel guilty if you're feeling frustrated, sad, or upset. Sometimes you just need to cry and complain to your spouse about everything you're feeling, both emotionally and physically. You need to get it out so you can refocus on taking care of your baby.
  • Focus on the good. It's easy to get sucked into all the negative aspects of being a new mom. You're sleep deprived, your body is in pain, you don't know what to do when the baby cries... But stop, focus on the good stuff. Is your baby healthy? Praise God! Do you have clean diapers so your baby doesn't have to sit in his own waste? Hallelujah! Are you able to feed your baby when he's hungry, whether it's breast milk or formula? Be thankful! These are all good things. And your baby is the ultimate good thing. Plus, they are pretty darn cute when they're not screaming their heads off at two in the morning. I mean, just look at this face:

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Pillow Baby

One of the hardest parts of being a new mom is the middle of the night feedings. I'm the kind of person who loves my sleep...I need my sleep. Being woken up in the middle of the night to feed and calm a crying baby can be a challenge. On top of that, I'm a light sleeper and every little noise Liam makes wakes me up. AND I'm constantly having dreams where I'm nursing Liam which only confuses me when I wake up to a hungry baby at 4am. Wait, didn't I just feed you??? [Thank God for the Baby Connect app for my iPad, otherwise I'd be totally lost]

The funniest thing that's happened to me so far is that I will wake up trying to nurse my pillow. I'll have my trusty little pillow grasped close to my chest and I'll really think it's my baby... Until I open my eyes and realize it's not. Whoops! I'm not alone either. My friend, Tati, who had her baby just two days before I did, has done the same thing.

My Pillow Baby

Any other mamas do weird things from sheer exhaustion in those early weeks with a new baby? I'd love to hear about I know I'm not the only crazy one.