Sunday, January 29, 2012

You do WHAT with your baby's butt?

Hello, my name is Emily, and I cloth diaper my baby...

Of all the new parent questions I get, this is the subject that is asked the most of. Why do you cloth diaper? Isn't that gross? Is that with the pins and the plastic underwear?

I thought I'd do a quick post about it to all of my friends that think I'm nuts (or that are having babies and may want to consider it).

I think people assume I cloth diaper because I'm some sort of eco-freak. While saving the earth from more and more piles of poo and pee stained plastic diapers is a huge benefit, that's not the only one for me. It was actually my husband's idea to cloth diaper. He argued that with cloth diapers, the babies never get diaper rash. I still wasn't convinced. I dreaded cleaning poo out of diapers, doing laundry all the time, and having to carry dirty diapers with me no matter where I went. So I went to my local cloth diaper boutique (Top 2 Bottom Baby, for those readers that are in my area) to get more info. I was quickly initiated into the new world of modern cloth diapers. No longer is cloth diapering a thing of pins with little plastic duckies on them, plastic underwear, and cloth squares that get turned into cleaning cloths once the kids are grown. There are many, many brands of cloth diapers- do a google search for an idea of how much of an industry this is. I settled on FuzziBunz- these are referred to as pocket diapers. At $20 bucks a piece, they can be a pricey initial investment (the store owner recommended 20 - 24 for a two day supply).

Which brings me to my next big perk of cloth diapering- I rarely spend money on buying diapers anymore. I know that people that exclusively cloth diaper are saying "Why do you have to spend money at all on diapers?" We'll get to that later. When I started thinking more and more about cloth diapering, I listened to my parent-friends and their horror stories of realizing at 2 in the morning, or 2 days before payday, that they used the last diaper and were scrambling for new diapers. Or about how much money they spent on diapers. I buy one package of disposable diapers every few months. That's really nice, considering how much I spend on formula...

And it's true - you rarely deal with a diaper rash with a cloth diapered baby. So that is another big perk.

And I'm not exclusively cloth - I do use disposables (or sposies, as they've cutely been dubbed in the cloth diapering community). If I know I'm going to be out for a long time, I'll use disposables. And you can be sure that on my first road trip with the little one, I'll be packing a bag or huggies, rather than worrying about finding a place to wash diapers on the trip. This is where I get a lot of condescension in the cloth diaper community as well. I also use them overnight - my baby is a heavy wetter and is able to sleep through the night longer in a disposable because she doesn't feel quite as wet in an overnight cloth diaper. People who exclusively cloth diaper think that this is inexcusable. Too bad! I'm tired, and to me, getting a full night's sleep is worth it.

So here are my commonly asked questions and their answers:

Isn't it gross?
Nah. You're already cleaning the poo from the baby's butt, what's adding another step to rinse the poo off in the toilet? Also, you get to attach a sprayer to your toilet, which also aids in cleaning the toilet and bathroom later on - an added bonus! Plus, it's like having a redneck bidet (really just kidding here - that toilet water is COLD and I would not recommend it for human-rinsing purposes).

But isn't it gross to clean diapers in your washer and dryer?
Again- nah. Is it any worse than cleaning the clothes that the baby spit up on or peed in? You rinse all of the "solids" off in the toilet, so there's not that much waste going into the washer. And there are cleaning services that will pick up dirty diapers and drop off clean diapers for those that are just too squeamish for this task.

Are you doing laundry all the time??
Every 3 - 4 days, yes. But really - doing laundry really only consists of the 5 minutes it takes to load the washer, the 5 minutes it takes to move from washer to dryer, and then 15 minutes to stuff the diapers again. Less of a time commitment than running to the store to pick up diapers, if you ask me.

Why does your baby have a J-Lo butt?
Now we come to the one big drawback- cloth diapers are bulky. They will make your baby look like she/he is getting ready for a hip hop dance video. But I got used to it.

So there's my lecture on cloth diapering. It's not for everyone, and I don't judge people that say it's not for them. I'm certainly not a cloth diaper or die kind of person! I'd like to thank Erin for turning me on to much of this knowledge and telling me about T2B Baby. If it's something you'd like to think more about, I'd recommend going to your local cloth diaper retailer and start asking questions.

Friday, January 27, 2012

I'm going to let you in on a secret...

I tend to take too much on my plate at once (figuratively, and literally...). For example - I have a 3.5 month old baby at home, and I'm a first time mom. I'm trying to get our house ready to sell and move into a new house. I'm making big changes in my life in regards to food and exercise. I'm also trying to keep up on my reading for book club (and I'm totally cheating - I read Water for Elephants years ago but don't really remember all the details, so I plan on just renting the movie with horrid Robert Pattinson starring). I guess to sum it all up, I have way too much to deal with at once.

And I totally do it to myself! No need to lecture me, because I've already heard it. Sometimes I look forward to the day where it's all "done", and I can sit back and relax. But then I realize that just isn't me and it's never going to happen. My Pinterest board can attest to that!

I went to the hobby store yesterday and stopped myself from buying supplies to start yet another craft - hand embroidery. Once I'm in my future home with a craft room, I'll probably be back at that store buying all of the items that I stopped myself from buying yesterday- but at least, until that time comes, I've saved myself from further to do list overload.

But enough about my huge drawbacks... how about something I'm good at???

My money saving lesson that I'm most proud of recently is to find a product that you really enjoy and purchase a lot (for me, lately, it's baby formula), and to call their customer service number printed on the back of the product to tell them how much you like it. Best case scenario - you get free product in the mail (Hello, free expensive baby formula. How I wish I was in your company more often)!!! Worst case scenario - the customer service rep is too used to getting complaints and doesn't know how to react to you calling to say thanks for a great product. It's worth a shot, though!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Learning to Simplify, or, Baby Steps

I've recently become a parent, and while I love it and all that comes with it, often I am thinking back to "simple" times. When I spent 9 weeks at home with my little one and rarely left the house, I realized just how easy it is to make life too complicated. I also noticed that I spend way too much money- like it's going out of style. So in addition to learning how to be a parent, I've made it my goal to life life simply - making things easy, simple, saving money, and giving myself more time to enjoy little things. This blog will be an account of my dive into simplicity.

A big theme for me over the past three months has been to learn to ask questions. If the answer seems obvious, or the question seems dumb, I ask the question anyway. It's actually quite rewarding. Recently I ordered a new diaper bag from The bag was discontinued by the manufacturer so it was not easy to locate. I had originally ordered it from an online seller through Amazon, but they were wrong about their inventory levels and ended up not having a bag for me after all. So after I found one at Target and it was delivered, I was elated! I got the bag in the mail shortly after ordering and promptly filled it with all sorts of baby paraphernalia- diapers, onesies, toys, many extra socks- you name it! The bag came with a plastic wipe case that you could stuff with wipes and reuse again and again - which was exciting for me since I'm trying to be more green. Unfortunately the plastic was warped just enough that the lid of the case wouldn't stay snapped. Now, this little plastic case was not a deal breaker for me- I was so excited to actually have my bag that had been discontinued that I wasn't going to let it get me down. I called their customer service to ask if they could just pull the plastic wipe case from another bag and send it to me. I figured the answer would be no, and in the past I wouldn't have bothered asking. I called anyway. Of course the answer was no; however, the customer service rep sent me a $15 gift card for my inconvenience (the bag was $40, so it was totally worth the inconvenience)!

So what is the lesson learned by my harrowing tale of a bag with a plastic wipes case adorned with a loose lid? Call customer service and ask for their help. Even if you know the answer is more than likely going to be NO, it never hurts to try, and can sometimes surprise you!