Monday, August 30, 2010

The Book I Cannot Be Without

I am a natural birthing, breastfeeding, baby wearing, sleep sharing, non-circumcising mommy and this book helps me do that the best way I can.

The Baby Book my Dr. William Sears and Martha Sears is my go to book for all kinds of questions. I have referred to it for anything from newborn procedures, to potty training, to growth and breastfeeding. This book has it all.

One of the reasons I really like this book is because it coincides with a lot of the beliefs I have about how to care for my baby. This 28 chapter, 767 page book is written from a non-biased prospective and points out both sides of issues and questions I have. But, I like the fact that my questions regarding parenting from a somewhat non-mainstream point of view are answered.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Cloth Diapering

Are you overwhelmed by the idea of cloth diapering? Does it seem too time consuming? Or, are you kind of grossed out by all of it?

There are many reasons to use cloth. It is cost effective, eco-friendly, there are many brands and styles available, and they are so comfy on your baby's bottom, not to mention healthier too.

We have chosen to cloth diaper for all of the reasons listed above. Let me tell you why I absolutely love to cloth diaper.

The average cost of diapering a child from birth to age three with disposables is between $2,000 - $3,000. Cloth diapering for the same amount of time can cost about $300 - $800 depending on the diaper choices you make. And, you can reuse them for subsequent children - an even better savings!

So far for our 7 week old we use organic cotton prefolds and little beetle hemp diapers. I bought three sets of a dozen prefolds in three different sizes to use as he grows for about $15 - $18/dozen from Hip Green Baby and the Little Beetles were hand-me-downs from my sister. Although you change diapers more often and do laundry about every other day, cloth diapers are less expensive in the long run. And, if you line dry, you are saving money on your energy bill too.

Cloth diapering allows you to reuse and recycle. It makes me feel good to know that I am not contributing to the landfill. And, being open to using hand-me-down diapers helps out our wallet as well. We use flannel washcloths to wipe his bottom when changing him which also helps reduce the use of disposable baby wipes. I have a large pail lined with a washable bag from Hip Green Baby and a small bag for holding dirty diapers so that cloth diapering can be just as convenient on the go. If you have a baby like mine, you can often times change several diapers within a matter of a few minutes. Think how little time that diaper spent on that little bum compared to the hundreds of years it will spend in the landfill.

Cloth diapers have come a long way in the past few years. If you are thinking messy, hard to fold cloths with scary diaper pins and plastic covers, think again! There is quite a variety of choices when it comes to using cloth diapers. Cloth diapers are snug fitting, waterproof (in some cases), breathable, and have user friendly covers with Velcro or snap closures. We use a leak free, inexpensive diaper cover from Terra Tots over the prefolds and Little Beetles, as well as the diaper cover from gDiapers that we place a prefold organic cloth diaper in. As he grows, there are many adorable cloth diapering options including FuzziBunz, BumGenius, Swaddlebees, and many more.

Thankfully my little guy hasn't had a diaper rash from the little bit of disposable diapering we have had to do. But, many babies get diaper rash and their bottoms can become irritated by the chemicals in disposable diapers. In addition, the toxins associated with disposable diapers have been known to cause respiratory problems and asthma. Disposable diapers are made with Tributly-tin (TBT), a toxic pollutant known to cause hormonal problems in humans and animals. They also contain a harmful ingredient called Sodium Polyacrylate which is the gel-like, crystal substance used as a super absorbent. Other harmful ingredients include: polypropylene plastic, petrolatum, stearyl alcohol, cellulose tissue, elastic, and perfume.

Consider investing in the health of your child, planet, and your pocketbook. It is well worth it for you, your baby, and the environment.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

World Breastfeeding Week

My last post was on breastfeeding, but in light of it being World Breastfeeding Week, I would like to share a few more thoughts.

Did you think about breastfeeding when you were pregnant? I did. And, in my mind I really thought it would be a cinch. I would just buy a special bra, slap in a nursing pad, and feed my baby when he got hungry. Ha ha, if only it were that easy. I have a tendency to be an optimist when it comes to these things.

While pregnant, I had been glancing through several of my breastfeeding books, but honestly, the information doesn't make as much sense until it is actually happening to you and you are trying to figure the whole breastfeeding thing out as you go.

My experience hasn't been as challenging as some, but I can say that I understand why women quit just like I understand now why women want to be induced and get epidurals. But, I was one determined mommy to not do any of the above. Having cracked, bleeding nipples is not fun though. My toes curled up and I would clench my teeth each time I latch him on. I consulted a lactation consultant during the first weeks of breastfeeding and I contribute my healing to her suggestions. Ultimately, I think it came down to the Medela Soft Shells for Sore Nipples that made the difference. After four and a half weeks of painful feeding 8-12 times a day, I used the shells for three days and, voila!, my nipple was scarring over and healing. And, now, he latches on and I have no pain. It is just a joy to feed him now. Ladies, please hear this...DO NOT quit until you have tried to get help from a professional first. It is worth it for your sake and your baby's.

To all the women out there who are dealing with early breastfeeding issues, listen to those who have come before you (just as I did) - IT DOES GET BETTER, I promise.

What a joy to know that I am giving my son the wonderful gift of breastmilk. It is building his immunity, our bonding, and it is so healthy for us both.