Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ohhh Mama!

Upon entering the world of cloth diapering, I thought it was awesome that I could get so many cute chemical free  bundles of fluffiness for my daughters bum.  I was new to the world, and did not know that the "re-useable" options went beyond diapers.  Little did I know that I had already begun my movement by eliminating kitchen paper products.  Instead of paper towels, I invested in a couple packs of plain white washcloths sold by the dozen at local retailer for $3.99 each, replaced paper plates with kid friendly resin plates, stopped buying tissues, and stopped buying disposable diapers.  The thought (at the time) of cloth wipes left me shuddering, so I withheld...

Anyways..  a while later, I came across mama cloth.  My initial reaction was Eww!  You reuse them?  What about the staining, what about the handling, what about.....  No way.  I was not going to go there.
I went on buying my disposable pads, while preaching and touting the benefits of cloth diapers. Until..

I don't know it it is the industry, or so many women are suddenly having issues, or they are just beginning to talk about it, but after the birth of my 5th child, I began to have reactions to my "trusted" brand of pads.  It was also getting to the point where it would take me 5 minutes standing in front of a green and blue plastic bag filled wall.  Scented, unscented, super, overnight, mega industrial, tiny light, liner, etc..  There are more options here than on my last new car!  I have never been able to use the scented ones, instant rash!  By day 3 or 4 post pardom, I had welts from the disposable pads, as well as raw rashes.  This coupled with birthing tenderness, I could barely walk, let alone sit down to feed my baby.  Other women have reported similar reactions, from rashes, to breakouts, to welting as well.

WOMEN!!  What are we doing to our poor bodies!!!

I decided now was the time to try cloth for me.  I started with just one figuring minimal investment, why not...

It was heaven.  Breathable, flannel lined heaven.  Non bunching, non shifting, no glue, no tell tale plastic wrappers.  And this was just in the first 5 minutes!  They absorb pretty much the same as their disposable counterparts, so you change them just as often, and come in varying sizes and absorbency, but they also come in cute fabrics, prints, and colors!  There is also less smell involved.  That oh so lovely "period smell" is barely even there, since these cloth pads breath!  Better yet, they even come in MINKY!

If you are already cloth diapering, there is no extra laundry to do with these.  Simply throw them in with your diaper laundry and wash with them!  Most of them are foldable and have snaps, so they can be snapped into cute little fluffy squares to keep in your purse, under your bathroom sink, in your car, at your desk, and nobody will know the difference.  Use the same method, along with a small wet/dry bag for when you are on your cycle to store them before washing.  I personally put them in my diaper pail for laundering.  If you are not cloth diapering, or are out of the diaper age, a simple small load on the smallest washer setting at the end of your cycle (or whenever you need to re-use your stash during your cycle) will work nicely.  Tiny amount of detergent, and no bleach.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Inspired By Finn Review

I have always been one to avoid medications when possible.  This could be due to my ever growing list of allergies, or just not wanting to put things in my body that I can't pronounce.

I was not always this way.  One fine day, on my way to my routine GYN appointment, I took my previously prescribed pain meds, and within 10 minutes was in the ER with a full blown reaction.  I decided at that point I was done with medications, unless it was dire.  I have passed this to my children as well.  Not knowing if they inherited my growing sensitivity to over the counter meds and intensity of reactions, I don't want to take a chance at all with them!

But as we all know, with kids comes pain, and headaches, and then there are their ailments!  LOL!

I came to hear about Baltic Amber.  First I was seeing it as cute little necklaces on babies and toddlers.  As I grew into my semi crunchy lifestyle, my interest peaked.

I caved.

This is Abby.  She is my cranky girl.

She just entered her teething stage, and let me say, this Amber came none too soon!  I have only had to give her Tylenol a couple times since putting the necklace on her, but before it got here, I was giving her pain medications at least 1-2 times per day, and hating it :(

The necklace seems to be helping with her drooling as well.  She has not cut her teeth yet, and does not seem to be overly bothered most of the time with her teething.  I just like that I don't have to continually medicate her to ease her pain.

I got curious and tried an amber around my ankle, as I have been having chronic knee pain.  Within about a hour, I was able to go down on my knee with little pain.  The next morning, I had zero issues bending my knee, or applying pressure to different spots.  After taking the amber back off, all the pain was back :(

I have to say after reviewing this amber, I am a true believer, and have since ordered an anklet for myself, and a necklace for hubby, who suffers from chronic neck and back tension.  

I prefer the screw style fastener that was sent with Abby's necklace.  I have used the C clasp style on other jewelry pieces and had it spring and break  :(  I also like the added security of each bead being knotted, so if it does break, you don't have a bazillion beads scattering across the floor like a scene out of Home Alone!  

A few facts about Baltic Amber:
It is not a stone, it is fossilized tree resin.
The skin warms the resin releasing trace amounts of oil that contain succinic acid.  
The succinic acid is what is absorbed onto the skin. 
Baltic Amber can even help boost the body's immune system and healing ability.
Can help replenish oxygen and energy supply to depleted cells.
Can help break the cycle of chronic inflammation.
Looks stylish!
Inspired by Finn is CPSIA compliant :)

A few disclaimers:
Children should always be supervised while wearing any piece of jewelry, including Baltic Amber.
Jewelry should be removed at sleeping times.

Want some for yourself? 

You can buy it here
Want a chance to win a piece, or get awesome sale or discount notifications? "Like" Inspired By Finn on Facebook.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Newborn Diapering

So this has GOT to be my favorite part of cloth diapering, Tiny little bums wrapped in fluffy goodness :)

Q. How many of what diapers do I need to start?

A. It depends on how often you want to wash.

If you want to wash daily, I would recommend at least a dozen diapers a day. Multiply that number by the days you want to go between washings and that is how many you will need to start.  Keep in mind that your new little bundle is going to be up every 2-3 hours to eat, and for the first 4-6 weeks are going to be having bowel movements each time.  In newborn diapering you need to look at quantity over quality. Saying that, you don't want the cheapiest of the cheap on the bum, but you have to have a large enough supply to be successful!
When I started cloth diapering Madison, I started with about a dozen preemie prefolds and 2 or 3 bummis super brite covers.  I was washing daily.  I would wash her diapers with my sons one day, and the next day wash it with a load of her clothing, so hers were getting washed daily.  I had to rectify that quickly.
Prefolds are a staple in cloth diapering.  They are about the only item that will last from the first diaper change to the first oil change for the same child :)  I used mine for diapers, snotty nose wipes, burp rags, hot mats, doublers, liquid spills on the carpet and coffee tables, postpardom leak pads, etc...  You get it, there are one million and one uses for prefolds!  Most babies can go straight into infant sized prefolds, Madison was an exception at a mere 5 lbs 15 oz.  Abby was able to go straight to infant at 8 lbs 3 oz.  She also went straight into XS covers.
Next comes covers.  For the newborn stage, look for those with double gussets, and specifically made for newborns.  FYI, not many one sizes will fit all too well on a newborn.  Make sure to have at least 3-4 covers.  Most of the time you can simply wipe off any messes and re-use it, or let it air dry to rotate back in later in the day. You can look for covers with umbilical notches in them, and most XS or newborn will have this on there, but it is actually easier to have the diaper cover the umbilical area, as not all cords are at the same rise.  Don't weigh your cover selection on this alone.
For outings:
I don't recommended an ALL AIO stash for a newborn, as that would get quite expensive, and they don't fit the newborn diapers for too long, but I do suggest 2-3 AIO's for Dr visits, helping mother in law's, and daddy changes.  Most newborn AIO's run about $12-18 each, so it is easy to see why an entire stash of these could easily break the bank :)  Once that little Bean gets a little meat on their bones, you can start supplementing with pockets.  Some of the better fitting pockets I have found for my newborns are Rumparooz, Fuzzibunz and Bumgenius.  Rumparooz and Bumgenius take a larger slice of cake in my opinion since they offer aplix.  When you are dealing with a tiny newborn belly, sometimes snaps just can't get a secure enough fit.  Snaps however are GREAT later on!!
Wipes.  That HUGE stack of baby washcloths everybody gave you for your baby shower are going to be the best wipe for a newborn bum.  Thin enough to reach the tiny folds and sensitive skin, but soft and thirsty enough to get the mess cleaned up.  Moistened with a touch of plain water is all you need!
Many people are reluctant to start cloth diapering from day one for fear of meconium staining.  While it's nice to have bright white (or natural colored) prefolds, that meconium is some rough stuff, however, the sun is even more powerful, and free!  None of my prefolds, (even after 2 from day one diapering) have residual staining on them.  Don't let this fear keep you from starting early!
Some people will even opt for a diaper service for the fist couple months, to get them on their feet and into the cloth diapering routine, and past the itty bitty diaper phase.  Some retailers have caught onto this as well, and have started offering newborn diaper rental pacakges.  You can keep an entire stash of newborn AIO's and pockets for a couple months for minimal charge, and return it when you are done.
Finally, ENJOY the newborn phase!  It goes by so quickly!