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Retired: the story of a diaper

A disposable diaper’s story would be a short one indeed.

Today I retired my first cloth diaper.  The waterproof layer was done.  This diaper served at least 4 babies.  The mother who gave it to me bought it at a yard sale…so who knows its history from there.  I used it on both my girls.  It was an imse vimse cover with frogs on it. 

Think about that.  One diaper cover serving at least four babies for less than 15.00. 

Do cloth diapers and disposables come out the same in terms of environmental impact?  No way.  I don’t care which study (subsidized by pampers) you look at, look closer and you’ll see the flaws. 

And I’ve compared month for month my water and electric bills since Cedar was born.  No significant change.  My natural gas bill (we have a gas dryer) has increased by about 2.00/month.  I have bought zero diapers.  I purchased 2 containers of Charlies Soap, a 7.00 laundry bag, and a 6.00 bottle of woolwash.  That is less than 50.00 in 10 months of diapering.  How much is a package of disposables? 

Today I also timed how long it takes me to fold and put away Cedar’s diapers.  It took 11 minutes.

Does cloth diapering make you a better parent?  Certainly not. 

Does it save you some money?  Heck yeah.  Unless you buy designer diapers and throw/give them away after one child.  Sell those things! 

Does it keep poop, plastic, and chemicals out of landfills?  You betcha.   

I’m not writing this post to sound smug.  I was simply feeling super proud of the little imse-vimse-that-could which we retired today.  Your work is done tiny diaper.

Check my cloth diaper page for more info on choosing cloth.

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My Breast Pump Runs on Biodiesel

I was in a waiting room yesterday and picked up that horrible BabyTalk magazine.  You know the free one that seems to have radar on every new mama.  BabyTalk and formula companies find your address by magic (or by Babies R Us selling your information to them).  They didn’t find me this time!

Anyway, it was the “green” issue–all about saving the planet while raising your wee one.  Of course there was the token nod to cloth diapering but the article pointed out how difficult it is to deal with the waste.  In BabyTalk, one does not say POOP, I suppose.  It is waste.  Nevermind how troublesome it is for the planet to deal with the waste of disposable diapers. 

I digress.

At the end of the magazine, there was a funny article about the ultimate Green Mama who collects her children’s tears in rain barrels and whose breast pump runs on biodiesel. 

I am not the ultimate Green Mama.  But around here, we do a few things to reduce our footprint.  In honor of Earth Day, a few ways we help out:

  • We do not purchase baby food.  Not formula.  Not jars.  So much waste in packaging–huge cans and tiny jars.  Not to mention that it is easy-peezy to feed your baby real food.  Side-note:  Did you know there is chocolate-flavored formula for toddlers?  And strawberry, too?  Marketed as “healthier than real milk.”  Could someone call Jamie Oliver?
  • We use cloth diapers and wipes.  And it isn’t terribly difficult.  Cedar has never used a disposable.  While there are heated arguments about water usage and energy consumption, cloth diapers ultimately win out.  You can learn more about the impact of disposables here.   
  • I use the Diva.  Although thankfully, I haven’t had to break it out yet since I became preggers with Cedar.  Hoorah!
  • We clean most things (including my hair) with baking soda and vinegar. 
  • We try to avoid plastic.  Admittedly it is difficult sometimes.  But we try.  And Scott has been making lots of lovely wooden things for the girls.
  • I buy most of our clothes second-hand.

Do I sound like I’m patting myself on the back?  Well it does feel good.  BUT here are just a few of the ways we do not tread lightly:

  • Fuel.  We live in ruralville.  To keep my sanity, I must drive the distance to hang with mama friends. 
  • Baths.  To keep my sanity, I must take a long, hot bath.  With the door closed.  Without children.  Preferably with a book.
  • Garden.  Not doing one this year.  Although if you need oregano, mint, lemon balm, catnip, rosemary, horehound, yarrow, or parsley, just ask.  My herb garden survived the winter without help from me and is spreading daily.
  • Food.  We live in ruralville so in the spring/summer there are lots of farmstands for produce but it isn’t usually organic.  And we do still eat of the box sometimes for convenience.

There are many other ways I could do better.  Sustainable living usually begins with one change at a time.  What have been changes that you’ve made to treat our earth more gently?

Simple Diapering

I attended the Greenville Cloth Diaper Group yesterday.  I could not believe how many mamas were there!  Even a first time pregnant mama with her mother came to learn about cloth diapering.   I think there were around 15 women there! 

I love cloth diapering.  There are so many choices available.  Really the sky is the limit on creative options for different lifestyles.  My “go-to” diaper is still the bumGenius one-size.  But around the house, I do love a simple prefold with a snappi.  I love the simple look of it.  It makes me think of summer and clothes-lines.  It is close to the way my grandmothers diapered.  Of course, I’m clumsy and would never attempt to use a safety pin anywhere near a wiggly baby so the snappi it will  be! 

It isn’t waterproof which is great because I am trying to learn Cedar’s elimination cues.  And sometimes the snappi comes undone and snags on a towel or bedspread.  I remember Norah crawling across our bed and getting stuck by her snappi.  According to the snappi instructions, they are not meant to be used without a cover.  Call me a rulebreaker.

The prefolds I use were given to me before Norah was born and were purchased by another mom (who also used them) at a yard sale from a family (who also used them)!  Needless to say, a quality prefold holds up well! 

When your baby grows out of prefolds, they make wonderful cleaning rags. 

They are also an inexpensive option.  A good prefold costs 1.50 (you’ll want a dozen) .  And a snappi costs 3.95 (you only need one).  To make them waterproof, you can add a 10.00 cover (you’ll need at least two).

As I think about my sister and her husband diapering in a developing country without hot water, I think prefolds might hold up the best.  Of course, where they are going, the babies don’t wear diapers at all and they might find that practice suits.

Postpartum: the good, the bad, and the ugly

Having survived my first day alone with a 3 year old and a newborn, I am–if not settling into–at least, accepting my new normal. 

Here are some highlights from my first two weeks:

Husband:  Aside from being the best birth partner on the planet, Scott played host to our visitors, cleaned house, had special daddy/daughter dates with Norah, brought me 156 million cups of Mother’s Milk Tea, made delicious breakfasts, and was the all-around hero of the story.

Family:  My family is incredible.  They have fed me, cleaned my house, and picked up strange items I needed at obscure places (my mom went all over Greenville searching for myrrh, no-sugar added coconut water, and vegetarian capsules).  And check out the wonderful cloth wipes my mother-in-law sewed.  Yes, she embroidered “Cedar” on them.  I bet I have the only personalized bum wipes in town. 

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Friends:  I knew my friends were wonderful but wow!  First, this food chain idea is the best.postpartum.gift. EVER.  Period.  We’ve been supplied with a delicious meal every night–beginning with mom bringing our traditional Sunday feast over after the birth.  I’ve had friends drive 45 minutes to an hour to bring a meal!  It has blown me away.  And Cassandra drove from the far side of the world to give me a day-after acupuncture treatment!  Spoiled.  Utterly spoiled.  And Scott keeps saying, “Wow, you have great friends!”  Yes.  Yes, I do.

Placenta:  When Carey heard I had more bleeding than expected, she swooped into action to arrange for my placenta to be encapsulated by our friend Crystal.  I had wanted to do this but felt I would be too busy with my “galactagogue plan” to take time to do it myself.  The placenta is rich in nutrients, vitamins, and hormones that can assist the body in recovering.  And many people believe that it can prevent or lessen the effects of postpartum depression.  In some studies, it has shown an 86% success rate in increasing milk supply.  So bring on the placenta. 

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Diapers:  Having never cloth diapered a newborn (we started late with Norah), I have been pleasantly surprised at how smoothly that has gone.  She hasn’t worn any disposables.  I was worried the meconium would stain.  It didn’t.  I had two grassy green stains (from the chlorophyll supplement I’m taking) that disappeared after I put the dipes in the sun for a few hours.  Magic.   

Breastfeeding:  This one is a day-by-day.  I had breast reduction surgery 12 years ago.  There have been days I supplement an ounce or so with donated breastmilk based on signs from Cedar and her weight.  I’m using a syringe and feeding her with it while she is latched and actively nursing.  I prefer this method to the SNS.  I weigh her almost daily with the same scale we used at birth.  I definitely have more milk than I did with Norah.  It takes two weeks for domperidone to reach maximum effectiveness so I’m hopeful my supply will continue to increase.  I increased my domperidone dosage from 90mg/day to 120mg/day this week.  Unfortunately, the domperidone causes horrible headaches and the only thing that helps is a cup of coffee.  Do I give my child caffeine so that I can continue to make milk?  Yep.  I’ve been reading that the headaches fade with time.  So we’re still in a wait-and-see place.  But I’m hopeful.  And regardless, I know I’ve done everything I could.  I feel really positive. 

Babywearing:  Hoorah for wearing babies!  Cedar loves being worn.  So far, the Maya ring sling and the Moby wrap have been her favorites.  I didn’t expect to use the ring sling much since I prefer wraps.  I would have gotten a prettier sling.  I’m disappointed that she doesn’t like the My BabyNest.  But that is why I have so many products–she might like it next week…

In other news, I’ve been pooped on 4 times and peed on 3 times.  I’ve realized I need more nursing tanks.  I spend most of my day nursing.  I’m writing this blog entry with a sleeping baby snuggled to my chest in a Moby wrap.  I love it.

Lovelies

This morning I find myself with nothing to do.  There isn’t anything left.  The nesting is over.  The honey-do list is checked off.  Norah is with my mom. 

I’ve wandered the house admiring lovely baby things.  Then, I grabbed some and took pictures.  Because, what else do I have to do besides sit on my birth ball and drink red raspberry leaf tea? 

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 The tye-die is a muslin swaddling cloth I ordered from an Etsy shop in Australia.  Norah was a winter baby.  Cedar will appreciate a lighter muslin fabric if she/he should fancy a swaddle.  If not, it will make a nice blanket, play cloth, etc.  The gift certificates are for acupuncture.  Woo-hoo!  A postpartum treat for me!  The necklace is also for me.  I will wear it in my birthing time.  And that white diaper is a tiny bamboo bumgenius.  So super soft!!  I think I’ll wait for the meconium to pass before using that white perfection.  The black is My Baby Nest–a wrap I didn’t have until Norah was bigger.  It is one of the first baby carriers I’ll use with a newborn. 

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More diapers.  Tiny newborn cloth diapers are irresistible.  I still shake my head that I have enough cloth diapers to completely diaper a child from newborn to toddler.  What a HUGE cost savings!  The two pants are wool longies.  Wool is the stuff when it comes to diapering.  The tiny blue diaper is also wool.  The heart diaper is the first one I plan to put on Cedar–lined with a fleece barrier to catch the dreaded meconium.  That little gray onsie isn’t new but I remember Norah in it–the outline of her full rounded belly stretching the fabric.  Sigh.  I won’t be using the baltic amber teething necklace or wooden bowl/spoon for awhile.  But I love admiring them!  Norah still wears her teething necklace so there was no hope of sharing it with Cedar. 

Pitiful, isn’t it?  This wistful wandering today.  I do have a massage with Natalie scheduled for this afternoon.  Bliss. 

In a final pregnancy update.  All systems are go.  My cervix is very nicely dilated and effaced–I’d call it at 3-4 cm.  My pressure waves (it is a Hypnobabies thing) are pleasant and picking up in consistency.  Honestly, as this baby keeps getting lower and lower.  I wonder if maybe I’ll simply skip first stage labor and go straight to pushing?  As I’m reading Hypnobabies birth stories, it seems like quite a few either go very quickly (birthing in cars and bathrooms) or miss/ignore first stage because they are so relaxed.  I feel relaxed.  I feel ready.  I feel birthy.

We’ll see.

Who is this woman?

Today, having joined other moms at the monthly Cloth Diapering Group to discuss laundry issues and while sharing a cup of organic green tea with agave nectar with my daughter, I wondered…who is this woman?  I once lived off ramen noodles and spent days reading fiction.   

Words overheard at the mom’s group:  poop, growing so fast, amber teething necklace, child-directed, attachment parenting, meltdown, basal temp, environment, your child escaped, sleep, no, raising our children, bamboo, how often do you wash, discipline, microfiber, love and anger, potty, ovulation, mommy’s milk, babylegs, be gentle, odor, odor-remover, nursed all night, share your toys, see you next month. 

My husband asked me last night:  Do you ever think of anything except breasts? 

I had mentioned that stem cells have been found in breastmilk.       

Again, who is this strange woman? 

I like her.

Blessingways and Broken Mornings

I’m re-reading Spiritual Midwifery and getting lost in the hippie love of the Farm midwives.  Why is it that in almost every Farm birth story, the couple makes out during labor?  I didn’t even think of that during my labor.  I was very close to Scott physically and emotionally during the process and he was very hands on but we weren’t making out.  No.  I asked him if he’d be willing to give it a go next time around.  Of course, he suggested we start practicing right away. 

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Because I’m dreamily lost in the Farm love, my background music carries the smell of patchouli.  Yesterday, Norah and I were riding in the car.  I was listening to a Cat Stevens song.  Norah asked, “What’s dat song called?”  I said, “It’s called ‘Morning has Broken.'”  Norah:  “It needs batteries, Mommy?”

This Saturday is our monthly Blessingway at UCEDS.  The Blessingways are free and open to anyone.  It is our way of surrounding new and expectant families with positive support and mindful information.  Caryn will be sharing her birth story and then we’ll have an informational session on Cloth Diapering 101.  We need experienced women with encouraging wisdom to bless these new families.  We meet from 2-4 at UCEDS the 4th Saturday of each month.  Children are welcome.