Monday, July 23, 2012

Cloth Diapering

So, a few people have asked which cloth diapers we're using. Let me tell you, I am SOO excited to share what we're doing in terms of diapering. Maybe TOO excited. I'm no expert, but I like pretending that I am, so here goes. 

Reasons we like cloth diapering

1. In the long run it saves a lot of money. (I think I've spent about $325 total on cloth diapers and accessories and if they perform like they're supposed to, we won't have to buy anything else until potty-training, except for water and detergent.)

2. It's better for the environment. Of course I've heard the argument that there's more water used, so cloth and disposable diapers are a toss-up for the environment. However, this doesn't make sense to me considering the fact that diapers don't decompose for thousands of years. So, that's a WHOLE LOT of dirty diapers in landfills.

3. They make N's bottom half look geriatric. (Ok, so that's not a benefit, but a slight drawback. It's still true and hilarious!)

BumGenius 4.0
I'm definitely no cloth diapering expert, but other than vacation, we exclusively cloth diaper. And we've been pretty happy with it. I'm grateful that a good friend of mine has a baby just 2 months older than N and she did LOTS of research before I did. So, she's been my cloth diapering guide. We also tried some regular pre-fold cloth diapers inside "Thirsties" waterproof covers that another friend lent to us, but we didn't like them enough to buy them to use permanently. Maybe N is just a heavy "pe-er," but all the pee right against his skin irritated his poor bottom.

So, after some online research and talking to others, we would DEFINITELY recommend pocket diapers! This means that there is a diaper cover, but instead of the part that soaks up the liquid being right on baby's skin, there's a pocket in the diaper cover where you put the "insert" or "soaker." We like this a LOT because this was the liquid is more wicked away from N's bottom and is inside the pocket. I was tempted to try "all-in-one" cloth diapers, but good friend said she tried them and they were bulkier, so we trusted her judgment. =)

So, we currently have a stash of about 25 cloth diapers. MORE than enough to do laundry every 2-3 days. Our favorites are BumGenius 4.0! LOVE them! They work on babies 8-35 lbs with lots of snaps to adjust! We have the snaps because we heard that they lasted longer than velcro. We also have 8 MG Baby diapers and we like those too. I got them on Tanga for over 1/2 off, but I hear that they're essentially the same as Alva diapers, which are only around $10 a piece! And that's a pretty great price for a pocket diaper with bamboo inserts. 

Here are things that (in my opinion) you need and should know when cloth diapering.

I would consider getting this a necessity and they cost around $40. We got this one from Amazon, but our friends have the BumGenius diaper sprayer and rave about it. (It literally blows the CRAP out of those diapers...hehe!) It only takes a couple of days of rinsing off poopy diapers in the toilet to make you want to buy one of these things pronto. ;-)

2. Get some reusable cloth wipes
Apparently, in the "olden days," like when WE were kids, parents that used cloth diapers used wash cloths as wipes. I don't see why this wouldn't work now! We have some reusable wipes and just dip them in a tupperware container of warm water that we keep on the changing table. Since we're already doing the extra load of diapers and the wipes can be thrown in, then why not? Just less waste and again, cheaper in the long run.

3. You can't use regular diaper rash cream
They say that regular Desitin, Butt Paste, and even Burt's Bees all have ingredients that can mess with the absorbency of diapers. And since cloth diapers average around $17 a diaper, I don't want to possibly mess them up! Here's a website that lists some safe ones. Thankfully, when using cloth diapers N doesn't often get rashes, but we currently use "California Baby" when we need some since you can get it at Target.

4. A plastic diaper pail and an anti-bacterial liner
I'm sure you don't NEED the anti-bacterial liner, but it's super helpful because you can just throw it in the washing machine along with the diapers. Ours was just $15 from Amazon. Our plastic pail was just a rubbermaid container from Target for about $5.

5. A Wet Bag
That's for putting the diapers in when you change your baby out and about. Again these are super handy because they can be thrown in the wash too. We also got ours from Amazon for $12.

6. You can't use regular detergent with cloth diapers.
Just like the diaper rash cream, it could ruin them. :/ Here is a site that lists the safe ones to use. We currently use "Charlie's Soap." And because we have a front loading washer, we only use 3 tsp of powder per load, so it should last us a long time.

7. You can't use fabric softeners.
Again, it could ruin them. I actually invested in some dryer balls, and now I use them for ALL my laundry! And all our laundry is just as soft! And without all those nasty chemicals and hormone disruptors found in liquid fabric softeners.

See? SO awesome!
That's all I can think of for now. Don't let it overwhelm you if you're interested in trying it. If there's someone you can ask your questions to (like me!), it makes it WAY more do-able. =)

Also, I've discovered my favorite baby gadget so far! The Snugglider! We have a pretty nice baby swing that actually converts into a high chair, which will come in handy later. But, I was a little nervous about going on vacation without a swing since sometimes in the evenings it's the only thing that calms his fussiness. I found the perfect thing! The Snugglider is a swing frame that the Graco SnugRide carseat snaps right into! It's perfect for travel because the frame folds up pretty small and if he's sleeping well in his carseat in the car, we can always just snap it right into the swing to keep him moving and sleeping. I just LOVE it! 

We got ours on craigslist. I'm not sure I would pay the full-price $70, especially since it seems like it can only be ordered online and you'd also have to pay for shipping. But, other than diapers, pretty much everything we've purchased ourselves for N has been bought on craigslist. I'm not a huge fan of buying new and/or expensive things, especially when it comes to baby items that are used for such a short time!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Infertility & Adoption

I think that often people think that once you adopt you no longer have sadness and issues related to infertility. I thought (hoped) this might happen for me too! But, of course there are still times and situations that remind me of the pain we have been through.

But, recently someone recently asked if I would talk to a particular person about adoption because "she just gets so sad every time she starts her period." And even though we are HUGE proponents of adoption, my (I hope polite) reply was, "Even when you adopt, it doesn't mean that you stop getting sad when you get your period." Thankfully another person in the room said they completely understood, so I didn't feel crazy for making that my reply. :-)

Of course, the past couple of months my period has mostly been a side thought, and maybe even a relief (because as much as we want more children, I don't particularly want them to be 9 months apart). But, there's still a feeling of sadness and also frustration that our bodies just don't seem to "work" like they're "supposed" to. And it's hard to not care after a so much time of it being such a sad and upsetting time of the month. (Which is also strange after those first few years of marriage when my period was a RELIEF because we weren't ready to be parents! Whew... that's strange to think about.)

Then, this post showed up on one of my favorite blogs and was so fitting to this conversation! Creating a Family is a blog about what's new, interesting and thought-provoking in the world of infertility and adoption. And this post, "Does a Baby Fix Infertility?" really hits the nail on the head on this topic. I 100% believe that adoption is a beautiful way to build a family! And it's the way God designed us to build our family and that without the gift of adoption we wouldn't be N's parents, which would be so sad!! But, I also firmly believe that even though adoption makes you a parent and brings a child into your life to love and raise and is a miracle, I also believe it doesn't cure your infertility. There are still losses and this article addresses them quite well.

Anyway, just some awareness to start your week. =) More posts on parenting to come soon....

Thursday, July 12, 2012

"Mommy Guilt"

"Google Image" search yielded over 2 million pics!
I've been a mother for such a short amount of time, but I still already feel familiar with "mommy guilt." And even worse "mommy judgment."

Why is it that we feel the need to compare ourselves to other moms? And why does this bring more guilt than other things? It's not like I've ever (or often) felt "wife guilt." And I HAVE had "teacher guilt," but rarely. I just feel so bad every time I do something "wrong."

Alright, enough with the quotation marks. But, I do think there's this horrible comparing and judging that goes on between moms. I feel judged for things like my choice of diapers, our scheduling system, what we feed him (donated breastmilk),the public places we bring (or don't) bring him. Some say we waited too long to bring him to church, others say we should have waited longer. Some think I should let N cry it out when it's time for a nap, and others say you shouldn't schedule a baby at all. And these are not from my books, but from the looks and suggestions from others. And when you have an adoption agency checking in on you and making suggestions and judgments on your parenting choices, it just adds even more pressure. Am I the only one here? Surely not! I even hate that my post about his schedule could have caused mommy guilt/judgment since I told you how well he was sleeping (which of course he defied last night needing to be soothed on several occasions... haha).

Here's a HUGE example- going back to work. When people ask me if I'm going back to teaching in the fall and I say "yes," I can definitely tell if people support working moms or stay-at-home moms. I feel incredibly blessed that I have a job I LOVE (teaching K-4 Spanish at a local private school) and I feel even MORE blessed that the administration is so supportive of me that they are allowing me to cut down my hours and do more prep work at home so I can spend time with N this year. It's a VERY great situation for us and I 100% feel like it's the right choice for our family right now. However, I still have the "mommy guilt" about it. Guilty that I will be missing out on special moments with him and won't be with him every day. But, also annoyed with those that judge me as not being as "good" of a mom for not staying home. :/

I'm convinced that there's so much "mommy judgment" because of our own inadequacies. Kind of like why a group of middle school girls need to pick on one specific person so that the rest of them feel better about themselves. I'm convinced that we judge other moms and their decisions because we want to validate our own. The problem is, I already notice it in myself too. As much as I don't want others to judge my own parenting choices, in my head I determine what others do that I disagree or agree with. There's no need! Wouldn't we all feel so much less pressure and judgment if we all just acknowledged if we're all different people, creating different families and needing to make different choices?! And being more accepting of what others do? Truly, belittling others' choices does NOT make my own choice any better, right? Unless someone is doing something truly dangerous we should probably just encourage ALL parents because we could all use a little encouragement, right? And us first timers are already totally paranoid about all the choices we make as it is and need all the encouragement we can get! (Thanks mom!)

Sorry to get on my soapbox. I obviously haven't solved any big problems here, just thought I'd share this discovery that I was completely unprepared for! =)
This is not mommy guilt. Just mommy love. =)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Musings on Parenthood

Caught a little smile! (And in a cloth diaper too!)
My apologies for being such a bad blogger the past 2 months!! Parenthood is quite time-consuming! And even more than the parenting part has been the preparing for baby that most people get 9 months for. :-) But, no complaining here. I LOVE being super busy taking care of N and figuring out all kinds of fun things, like how to cloth diaper, researching baby "strategies", reading up on baby care, buying necessary (and some unnecessary) items and even taking the time to write thank you notes. ALL worth it. =)

Here are some of my more immediate thoughts/reflections on parenthood for us so far.

At 7 Weeks
1. Infertility was a nightmare. IS a nightmare. It doesn't go away whenever you have a child and become a parent. We're still infertile. And that's still annoying!

2. Despite our infertility, I'm completely grateful for it! (I know, I know. I'm totally contradicting #1. Welcome to my world of confusing thoughts.) If it weren't for infertility we wouldn't be N's parents. So, all the heartache was and is completely worth it.

3. I used to be really mad at myself (and us) for not trying to conceive sooner and for taking the break in-between. But, now that we're parents I don't regret it at all. Becoming a parent is the biggest life change I can imagine. It's 100% time-consuming (for us at least)! It's a complete blessing in every way. However, I am also so VERY grateful for the 4.5 years of marriage we had before becoming parents! 

Just chillin'
In those years we were able to do so many things we are no longer able to do and won't be able to for at least 18 years. =) Like jetting off on an 8 night vacation just the two of us and not having to worry about another little person (either on the trip with us or at home with grandparents), deciding last-minute to go downtown on a Tuesday evening and see a movie, sleeping in as late as we'd like on the weekends, etc. etc. Don't get me wrong! Having N is worth losing all of these things! But, I'm very grateful for the time we DID have to do all this. Even with the troubles we had becoming parents (and I know the journey is much longer for others and they may not agree with our conclusion), but we're very grateful that we were very ready to be parents when we started trying. I didn't always think that way, but I definitely do now. (Also, isn't it ironic that it was just about 2 months before he came along that we REALLY started appreciated our freedom and stopped obsessing with becoming parents?)

SO happy after his bath!
4. Sometimes I wonder why God choose US to be N's parents. I know why N's birthmom chose us, because she told us what attracted her to our profile. :-) But, I wonder sometimes why WE were chosen to be HIS parents. Why would God not allow us to conceive after so much trying yet allow his birthmother to conceive the child we were meant to raise? I'm grateful that N is our son and I'm very grateful that we never did conceive (because otherwise we wouldn't have him), but doesn't this way seem more complicated?

Standing with just a bit of support from daddy!
Idon't think I believe that there's ONE reason that we are N's parents, but sometimes I wonder about the spirituality and "cosmic-ness" of it. And why THIS was God's plan. Why did He choose US? What makes us worthy of being N's parents over any other parent in the world? Maybe I'm sounding confusing and strange, or even ungrateful, but that's not what I'm going for here. It's just that our journey to parenthood is so far from "normal" or "typical." Snuggling with little N, feeding him and even changing him I can't imagine my life without him! He's such a blessing! And I wouldn't WANT it any other way. But, sometimes, when I'm not frantically running around I wonder how this part of our life's journey is a part of God's bigger picture. I know part of it has been to teach me trust and patience, but I know that's not the whole story. Not that I expect you all blog readers to provide answers to my crazy thoughts, I'm just sharing some of the musings I have. =)
At 8 Weeks Old

That's all for now! I'm off to finish sewing a head strap on N's beach hat! (Don't be too impressed... I'm just using an old strap from a bathing suit I no longer wear and it definitely doesn't match the hat. But, if it keeps it on his head it works for me! hehe...)