Thursday, April 17, 2014

Why is it so Easy? 2 Simple Words: Attachment Parenting

Lately I've seen several posts from different sources quoting how hard raising kids is. The "no breaks and no vacation time", the "not sleep, not eat, not rest" rules do not seem to apply to me.

Every time I see someone saying that "the baby never sleeps", I go back to the brief week I had that situation. Co-sleeping took care of it. Not only have my babies slept all night since they were born, I am also able to put them to sleep if I need a nap. Little Guy is 4 and has an amazing ability to put himself to sleep whenever he thinks it's appropiate.

Every time I see someone complaining about feeding the baby, I get puzzled. I never do that. I never prepared food for Little Guy. His main source of nutrients came from breast milk, and then I would cook for the 3 of us and serve only 2 plates, he would come to me and ask me to share with him. He is in good height and weight right now, drinks about a little of plain water a day and eats with us, now in his own plate. He is also able to go to the kitchen and get snacks and even helps me with the cooking.. Tiny Guy is in the tasting stage still, upon request, he gets to eat whatever is in my plate, for the next 6 months or so, breast milk will keep taking care of his main nutritional needs. I don't have messes or wasted food and my boys are used to having their meals in a family environment in which the 4 of us are included.

Every time I see people complaining about painting in the walls I get puzzled. We never provided paining material to Little Guy when he was in an age to do so. He now knows the purpose of using paper and spends a good amount of time drawing in recycled envelopes from spam snail mail, as well as a magnetig board and an etch-a-sketch. My walls have minimum marks from his early years.

Every time I see complaints about supermarket outings I get puzzled. These people do not know about carriers, toddler carts and just doing it since they are little. Little Guy helps me a lot and never disappears from my sight. Tiny Guy is confined inside the carrier until he learns to stay close too.

Are my kids perfect? Hehe, no. They do throw tantrums and have a very destructive nature. But we get along and keep learning from each other every day. I just try to make things as easy for me on a day to day basis. It works. I have many things to stress about, but my kids' basic needs are not one of those.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Getting Intimmate with my Old Friend - The MoonCup

And.... it finally happened.

After 27 months (not counting post-partum bleeding), my period is back. What occurred yesterday morning after I went to the bathroom and found out my preferred contraceptive method had expired was to be expected: me yelling around all over the place, unable to find my MoonCup.

It is understandable that my husband had moved it around, since it had not been used for a very long, long time. More even that he found it immediately and calmed me down. Of course I was frightened. The idea of driving 450 miles with a foreign object between my legs was not appalling. Fortunately, that was not to be the case.

Using a menstrual cup is in every way better than any other alternative, but that does not imply it is free from complications, frustration and red spots. Have you heard of the womens' club that claims they can't wait to have their period so that they get to use their cups? Well, I'm not a member. Still, it went from living in panic for 7 days to a 4 day inconvenience.

I remember when my sister got married. She asked me to bring tampons on my diaper bag and give them later to her matron of honor, since she was in charge of  the bride's bag. I told her a menstrual cup would be one of my wedding presents, she turned and said NO. Fine, she spent her whole wedding day in panic hoping her dress wouldn't be stained. If you'd rather suffer with tampons and pads than get a little blood on your fingers, don't bother to get one.

But let's put it in simple terms:

The Good:

Shorter periods with less colics. Cups have succion and it helps. A lot. Zero rashes and zero dryness. Zero risk of toxic shock, cheaper in the long term.

The Bad:

It does not seal perfectly, leaks may occur. Putting it in and out can be irritating. Has a learning curve.

The Ugly:

You'll get your fingers in and they'll get dirty.

Advice:

Do not cut the lower stem. Try it first and if it bothers you, start cutting very small pieces. Some women will prefer it without stem at all, but others will need it for removal, you won't know how you want it until you try first. I definitely need the stem there, it is about half the original size.

The vacuum created can be a problem for removal. I know that Lunette users squeeze the cup to break the succion. That does not work with the MoonCup (believe me, I've tried). I introduce my middle finger and pull the edge down, the thing is, no matter how you do it, the succion cup will not be removed by just pulling it, as your experience with other objects can demonstrate.

Boil it after you're done with your period. Takes 10 minutes and it gives you peace of mind that next time it will be ready for usage.

Remember, you need to check it once in a while, don't forget there's something down there...


Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Contradictions of EC

Tiny Guy has been in Cupid mode for the past couple of weeks. It may be due to a small rash he had on his bum or just plain simple he just likes it that way. Since he is very determined and skillful, no matter what I put on top of the diaper to keep it in place, he gets rid of everything.

So I decided to take advantage of the occasion and try a little Elimination Communication, saving a few laundry loads or spacing them more.

Once, he just got rid of his diaper and ran to the bathroom, I placed him on the bathtub and voilá, pee came right away. Such a piece of luck, however, only has come on a couple of occasions.

The funny thing is, despite these little pees here and there, Tiny Guy is going through almost 10 diapers a day, so my laundry relief has become a constant battle to beat the monster.

Hoping he will stop now that the rash is almost gone. It's been a very eventful week, and I'll keep trying to do a little EC here and there if he keeps on his fresh trend in the near future.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Brands that I Don't Like

Did you ever turn out to the sky and ask, can something get worse?

Usually the answer will be having a dog walk by and urinate on you.

After a very painful night in which Tiny Guy would wake up every half an hour with a runny nose, finally we got a little rest with him sleeping on top of me. All of a sudden, I felt warm and wet on my waist.......

Yep, the Flip had failed again. I barely use covers and if I do, they usually are Real Nappies because the Flips have a much lower quality and terrible design.

Which brings me to the question: which brands I really can't stand?

You guessed right: The most famous of all, Bumgenius and all its aliases.

Mainly it is the very poor design that never fits right what bothers me so much, or the butterfly taps, the deal is that I have 2 Flips and a Freetime and only use them when the stash is mostly dirty.

But what then makes them a good diaper and such a famous one?

They are a great company. They manufacture in the US and select materials carefully. Which is why I was very surprised to see the Flips so badly terminated, or maybe because my other covers are better in every possible way.

But then I got a Freetime for free. Same problem with design. It is the only one of all my diapers that is breaking apart, that never fits right and that I hate spraying.

Should you buy them? Be my guest. I am one of the few people that are not impressed and have seen great reviews from honest moms.

What other brand can't I stand?

Kissaluvs.

Very poor design. Last very little, and if you don't have a dryer, forget it, you will get cardboard.

I should have returned those.

why do I write this?

Many retailers give you a 30 day guarantee, in which you can return the diapers that you don't like. I contacted them with the Kissaluvs and they suggested several things. I did not follow my instincts and decided to give them a second chance. Bad choice.

If you don't like a diaper, return it immediately, don't try to see if it works. There are several other brands out there that you will love. Believe me, I didn't get that bad feeling or disgruntled face with Real Nappies, Blueberries or Fuzzibunz.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Washing Diapers in a Twin Tub Panda Washer

I've seen several inquiries and google searches about washing cloth diapers in a Twin Tub Panda, I'm no expert, but have been doing this for a year, changing routines, adapting to new situations and battling ammonia, so I'll see if I can answer your doubts to the best of my abilities.

Is it possible to wash diapers in a Twin Tub portable washer?
Yes. It takes more time than doing it on a regular and you have to do it more frequently, but it can be done.

How often should diapers be washed?
Depends on the number of diapers being used and the age of the machine. When it was newer, I could wash 10-12 diapers at a time, which allowed me to go for a couple of days without them accumulating if I had only one child in diapers (I had 2 for several months). Since it has been losing power due to barring and over use (and abuse), I do 7-8 diapers now, so I can wash twice every three days.

Should I spin the diapers inbetween rinses?
I do, just like in a regular machine, because it gets rid of more soap and more ammonia, but if you have good results skipping that step, good for you. This machine is extremely flexible, you control the time, the ammount of water and how many times you wash and rinse, there is no automatic cycle you have to adapt to.

Do diapers come dry out of the spinner?
No. But they dry much faster when you hang them than coming out of a regular washer. Polyester fabrics come almost ready, it takes a couple of hours, natural fibers are usually dry overnight, depending on humidity conditions.

Can I use a different detergent for my regular clothes?
Yes, I do that all the time, just give a rinse to the tub before you start filling it up.

Can I drain the water in the bathtub, will it overflow?
Yes, you can. It fills about 1/5 of the bathtub when you drain and it empties out in a couple of minutes. It is much safer than draining in the bathroom sink and pumping water in the drainage.

Do diapers get ammonia when washing them in a small portable setting?
Like any other devise, they might. In order to wash the ammonia buildup away, you need a combo of temperature, detergent and time washing. I use a ton of soap, hot water and 12 minutes in the wash and that keeps it down. I actually have an easier time dealing with ammonia with the Panda than with a regular Maytag.

Will my diapers get stained?
They might, I get less stains than in a regular washer, but if they do, I just hang them by the window and they are good as new after 2 or 3 washes (stains do not affect the diaper's funcionality).

What do I do if the washer starts walking?
Your spin drier is out of balance, open it and reaccomodate the clothes on top, trying to put them evenly and flat.

I like my puffy prefolds, can I get puff in the spin drier?
No, you need an air based drier for that. Time also helps, sometimes prefolds I haven't used in weeks appear fluffy later on.

How long does it take to get the diapers clean?
50 min to an hour according to my routine. About 2/3 of the time, the machine is doing its job by itself, no need to stay and babysit.

Can I leave the tub filling and come back later?
Yes, the machine has a hole on top that keeps the water draining into the inner tub and out, so it won't overflow (you still need to save water).

Can I leave the tub draining and come back later?
Yes, but there is no timer in the draining pump, so I wouldn't recommend leaving it on for  an undetermined period of time.

Can I leave the washer and/or the spinner working and come back later?
Absolutely!

Will my diapers get damaged if washed in the Panda?
I've been using diapers for more than a year in a very limited stash. The Fuzibunz look good as new and so do the Tots Bots and the Blueberries. The Grovias do look wasted in the leg elastics, but I bought those used already.

How many times should I wash/rinse in the tub to get them clean?
As many as you seem appropiate. I do 4 (3 min hot rinse - 12 min hot wash - 5 min hot rinse - 3 minute cold rinse) and do not spin between 1 and 2. That's the equivalent to 2 cycles in a regular washing machine but with hotter water.

Can I use Dawn or Oxyclean in the Panda?
I do. Much safer to use Dawn in a Panda than in a regular washer.

Do diapers get moldy if left inside the spinner?
Depends on how long, the only times I have had mold issues the diapers were inside a bag damp for several hours, it was only the Grovias. I would still recommend not leaving them overnight in the spinner (no problem with leaving them soaking in the big tub).

I hope this helps, feel free to ask more.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Different Brands for Different Situations

Over the past year, I've used cloth diapers almost exclusively. I got different brands at different times and they have more than paid for themselves at this point.

I have different brands and my stash is definitely small but varied. Anyway, this is a comparison of what I have and what works better for different situations.

I have Blueberry Econappi, Simplex and prefolds. Grovia AIO, Bumgenius Freetime, Tots Bots AIO, Fuzzibunz OS Elite, Flip OS Covers, Real Nappies covers, Flip organic inserts, Unbranded prefolds and Kissaluvs hemp fitteds.

The Confy One.

My favorites are Fuzzibunz. They have the best fit, they always look perfect, they dry fast and there's always one ready to use. I generally grab the diaper and a couple of inserts and in 10 seconds stuff it, it takes me no time to put it on and the three snaps on each side and waist adjustment make them a total winner.
My second choice is Blueberry Econappi. Not as fantastic fit as the Elites and not as dry due to being all natural, but the bamboo inserts last longer and are less bulky, I just love those diapers.

The Outsider

Econappi most likely will be my diaper to go, and Grovia AIO will be my diaper on the bag. Fuzzibunz tend to have compression leaks in the car and the inserts don't last as long because they are polyester. Econappi will last longer. Grovias are the least bulky, great for tight pants and for bringing in my tiny purse or in the baby carrier, just in case Tiny Guy needs a change and the ordeal is longer than 3 hours.

The Daddy-doer

This one is tricky. If they are ready, the Fuzzibunz are the best choice, and he always put them right. Also a great choice is a prefold in Real Nappies covers, since they are velcro, there is no room for making mistakes, and he doesn't mind that they are not a pocket or an AIO.

The Daddy Impromptu

If there's nothing prepared ahead of time, the Freetime is the one that I've seen best placed on Tiny Guy from all the AIO for a person that doesn't know what he's doing. The snaps are the easiest to put and press and the 2 flaps are easy enough to figure out.

The Trim One 
Grovia AIO. Period. I don't think disposables would look as trim, even before the gel fills up.

The Night Cruiser

Trifolded prefolds "girl mode" as inserts of an Econappi. My boys are not heavy wetters, several things and combos work for night time, but that one is the best of them all. Rash free and durable.

The Cutest Print

Tots Bots New York. The only diaper I have bought because the print was just perfect for a baby boy.

The Baby Model

On my sister's wedding day, the photographer went to the house for the dressing part, she saw the baby and started taking shots of him. He was wearing a prefold with a snappi. I immediately went and changed him. Grovia AIO was my first choice in the rush.

The Baby Proof

Fuzzibunz Elite. Why, I don't know, but Tiny Guy has yet to take that one off. He has disposed of every other one.

The Staywet

Blueberry Simplex OS. If it is not wet with urine, it is wet with water. It takes so long to dry and my stash is so short, that it spends more than two thirds of the time wet.

The Staydry

Tots Bots AIO is the dryest. It takes a couple of hours after the spinner and it does not need stuffing.

The Explosion Container

Believe it or not, Grovia AIO has contained every single explosion, even when it doesn't last that long for regular wetting (I change it within an hour). None other holds such an honor (although explosion leaks are very rare in general).

The Leak Proof

Freetime has so far proven to be beyond leaks and in a class of its own on that regard.

The Rash Free

Fuzzibunz Elite and Tots Bots are my to go every time Tiny Guy gets a rash, they disappear by themselves with daily baths and

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Overcoming the Stink Monster of the Uncovered

The only item I got with my first order of diapers a year ago was a small wetbag. I was washing every day with 2 boys and a tiny bag. Eventually I got another 2 (one of them a little bigger) and closed my non diaper budget.

I was very aware that a dirty diaper had to go in a place that would keep it safe and sound until washing time, and the smell away. My 3 wetbags have seen a lot of washes and traveled all over the place.

But when I started having stinky problems, realized 2 things:
1) My dirty diapers were smelling through the wet bags, creating a smelly monster that I didn't have space to place.
2) Being in a closed area without much air to breathe was not helping the ammonia wrecking when getting wet.

So, whatever was the motive or the discussion, I started dumping the dirty diapers in the dirty clothes hamper, with all the dirty clothes, dirty towels and dirty sheets. Result: less stink.

By no means the stink monster disappeared, but the dirty clothes are much better at hiding the 2 day old urine than the wet bags with one miserable layer of PUL, and even in my second home, where the hard water makes it more difficult to clean, the overall smell is almost negligible compared to the stay away from me wet bag.

I still use them, they are great for outings and travelling, but for inside the house, nothing like dirty clothes to keep the smell at ease.

Oh, the dirty clothes have not expreienced any change once they are clean, they have my favorite scent when out and dry: nothing.