Cloth diapers

I’ve been asked about cloth diapers many times, and each time I’ve emailed the friend who asked with information about the diapers I like. I decided it would be easier to put the information all in one place so that I could direct any future friends who ask to my blog. I’m also planning to add posts about other baby items that I’ve found helpful.

Before Kate was born, I bought or requested a few different kinds of cloth diapers. I had a number of unbleached cotton Chinese prefolds in two different sizes (small and medium). To fasten these diapers, I used Snappis, which are a great alternative to diaper pins.Β  and a number of Kissaluv fitted diapers in small and medium (size 0 and 1). These sizes fit longer than disposable sizes 0 and 1. Kate still wear the size 1 cloth diapers at night since they’re made to fit until the child is 25 pounds. They work well for smaller babies or for potty training toddlers since they only hold so much. They are very easy to put on and don’t require any folding or anything, and they have snaps built in that allow you to adjust the size.

My favorite diaper covers are Bummis Whisper Pants. I tried some of the wool diaper covers, but they didn’t work as well and were really restricting of movement which Kate hated. The whisper pants are thin, comfortable, washable, last well, and keep in moisture really well. I also enjoyed using homemade fleece diaper covers that attached with velcro. You can usually find these online on Ebay or Etsy. I made mine during Kate’s naptime one afternoon with free fabric, elastic, and velcro from the sewing room on our campus.

I bought my diapers from Baby Because and had excellent service from them. (I emailed them recently since some of the items I purchased weren’t on their website, and they said they are redoing the website and so some items aren’t displayed. If you’re interested in buying from them, I’d recommend calling or emailingΒ  since they sell some of these items that aren’t listed on the website for good prices.)

One benefit of the kinds of diapering supplies that I’ve listed above is that they are all very helpful during potty training, too.Β  I still carry around some Chinese prefolds in a plastic bag in our car to put inside of our Potette portable potty. By using these, we don’t have to use the special disposable inserts that they sell with the potty. We use this portable potty so that Kate has a quick place to go potty instead of using public restrooms. This was GREAT on our long trips to Iowa and Virginia recently. As I mentioned above, the larger fitted diapers and larger Whisper pants have been useful for nighttime and naptime diapers for Kate. The only extra things I purchased for potty training were a few packages of Gerber training pants. I used the Whisper pants on top when she was having more accidents, and in the very beginning of training I used two training pants at the same time for extra protection.

I am a big fan of cloth diapers for many reasons. After the initial investment, they save lots of money since disposables are expensive. They are also great for using in places overseas where you can’t get disposables or where you’re hesitant to use the ones that are available. I also strangely enjoy the end result of putting dirty diapers in the washing machine and taking out fresh, clean diapers for my babies. (I’m positive I wouldn’t enjoy this as much if I had to wash them by hand all of the time.) Another great thing is that most stains on diapers (and ALL stains while a baby is still breastfed) disappear within an hour or two just by placing them in the sun. Cloth diapers have helped with Kate’s sensitive skin, they’ve saved us money, and they’re just cute!

In my next post, I will share more about our experienceΒ  with “elimination communication”, natural infant hygiene, or infant potty training. It’s another great tool to add to a mama’s toolbox. πŸ™‚

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Published in: on September 2, 2010 at 2:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

Our little one-year-old …AND

I am sitting and watching Kate play, and I realized that since I don’t have her baby book with me, I haven’t been recording what she is doing and what she is like at this age. I want to be able to remember all of the little things about Kate right now that I’m likely to forget over the years, and I decided it would be fun to share my observations on the blog.

Kate begins her day with a few sniffles and a yell or two, and by the time I have picked her up from her pack ‘n play, she has already said her favorite word at least once. “Uh oh” echoes through the apartment, although we’re never sure what she’s uh-ohing about so early in the morning. Until about a week ago, she was waking up around 7 or 7:30 and going to bed around 7PM. Since last week when we had a few late nights, she’s moved her schedule back to 8AM-8PM, and she has decided she doesn’t take morning naps anymore! Since this is a very new development in the Smith household, we’re still having a hard time adjusting, especially since our language lessons are in the mornings during what used to be her nap time. I’ll just keep hoping this is temporary and that she will change her mind about mornings naps very soon.

After she gets up from bed, I bring her into the living room where Bryan and I place our mattress each night, and she nurses and snuggles as we all gradually wake up. The next thing she says sometime during nursing is, “Hi, Da!” This morning she said it many times because Bryan didn’t answer right away. She loves her morning “Hi” from Daddy, and sometimes when she’s finished nursing she crawls over and gives him a kiss on the head or arm or nose. πŸ™‚ She is quite squirmy, and we always tell her that she must not understand what snuggling is. She crawls all over the mattress and all over us, and many times she ends up using one of us as a jungle gym with our heads or noses as push-off points for her little feet as she wiggles all over. πŸ™‚ After that, we all get up and go into the kitchen. Bryan has his tea, I have my cereal, and Kate has her breakfast of fruit, yogurt, cereal, or baby crackers. She signs for “more please,” which is really almost a clap and is pretty much exactly the same sign she uses for “potty,” unfortunately. Since she doesn’t usually sign for potty without being asked, though, we can normally figure out what she needs. Right now she is going through a screaming/squealing stage. She fusses by making a very high-pitched squeal, and when she gets VERY angry (like sometimes in the middle of the night), she screams the squeal and sounds like a ring wraith from LOTR. (Any suggestions are welcome from those of you with older children who have done the same thing or something similar. I suppose discipline at this age could be a whole different post!) So sometimes if I’m not looking and she wants more food, she’ll squeal, and then sign when I turn around. I’m trying to get her to say “Mama” to get my attention instead of screaming, but that hasn’t worked so far since she only says anything close to “Mama” when she’s VERY sad and cries, “Mommmmmmyyyyyyyyy.” She usually eats a very good breakfast.

After we’re all finished with breakfast, as long as it’s not a day for language lessons, Kate plays around the apartment while I get household work done. She babbles and sings little songs to herself while she plays, and she entertains herself very well. Some of her favorite things to play with are Bryan’s metal shoehorn, doors, her shoes (we don’t let her play with ours because they get quite dirty here), a “talking” baby doll that our language tutor gave her for her birthday, and plastic measuring spoons that I brought with me from home. If she finds Bryan’s socks anywhere, she will crawl around with one in each hand, and every once in a while she will snuggle with one up against her nose like she does with her blanket at night as she sucks her fingers, or she will try to eat them. If she finds any crumbs, pieces of leaves, fuzz, or any tiny things at all on the floor, she usually wants to eat them. I have tried to get her not to eat them so many times and have asked her to give them to me instead, and so now if she finds something, she’ll crawl over to wherever I am while pinching the tiny fleck in between her thumb and forefinger, and she’ll hold it up for me to take from her. Lots of times she’s already dropped it and doesn’t realize it, or the thing she “picked up” was a drop of paint on the floor in the kitchen. πŸ™‚ Sometimes she is just about to eat something from the floor when she notices me watching her, and she’ll hold it up high for me instead. She says, “Uh oh!” many times while playing with all of these things. She says it whenever anything drops, of course, but she also says it if she wants to get down from being held, if there is something she wants, or if there is something she sees on the floor, like shoes, her toys, a bird outside on the sidewalk, etc. πŸ™‚ We were watching shot put on tv the other afternoon, and whenever one of the women would throw the shot put, Kate would exclaim, “Uh oh!”

Her language use is rapidly increasing, and every so often she surprises me by coming out with something new. Yesterday, for example, I was praising her for asking for more food nicely instead of yelling, and she said very happily and very clearly, “Okay!” For some reason it reminded me of Virginia when she was little. πŸ™‚ She has started saying some of the words with the signs that we use, such as the one for “All done.” She says, “Ahhhhh duh” when she’s finished eating or finished going to the bathroom and wants to get down from the potty. We started a new sign recently for “Down, please” when she wants me to put her down on the floor, and she often says, “Doooow peas” as she does the sign. One of her other favorite words is “Daddy,” and lots of times she’ll repeat this over an over when he’s gone and she wants to know where he is. Sometimes she says “Hi” or “Hey” and “Bye bye,” but usually she just waves.

Mama sent Kate some socks for her birthday, and since she seemed a little bit chilly, I put a pair on her as I began to type all of this. She came up to me a few minutes ago pulling on them and wanting them off, so I took them off. Now she is happily playing with them, waving them around, putting them down, and picking them up again. πŸ™‚ Maybe I’ll let her play with those and put another pair on her feet. πŸ™‚

Kate is a strong-willed little girl, and she gives us trouble at times with her stubbornness and temper, but she also has lots of times when she is very sweet and loving. She loves to give us kisses, and sometimes she gives hugs and pats on the shoulder. Sometimes her kisses are very forceful and she leads with the forehead so that they’re more like kisses from a little head-butting goat. πŸ™‚

Kate loves music, especially piano music. We have a piano in our apartment right now, and she likes it when I play for her. I played for her the other day while she was eating lunch, and I looked over and she was dancing around while sitting and eating. Then when I was finished, she clapped! She knows how to make her mama feel appreciated. πŸ™‚ She likes to sing her own songs, or to sing along when we sing to her, and she loves it when her Gee (my mother) sings to her on skype. She dances and hums along almost anytime she notices music around her. Lots of times as she is going to sleep she sings little songs in her bed, and last night when she was up in the middle of the night, I heard her singing quietly for a while before going to sleep again.

She doesn’t usually want to eat very much for lunch, unless it’s on Sundays when we eat a late lunch. I haven’t been able to find milk here that has fat in it that doesn’t taste absolutely disgusting, so she is not drinking milk from her cup yet, but she loves drinking water. Sometimes if we’re out to eat, we’ll give her a sip of Sprite or Fanta from a straw, and she likes that, too! Her favorite thing to eat when we go out is chicken mcnuggets from McDonald’s. (By the way, we are VERY impressed with the McDonald’s here. We don’t usually eat there in the States, but the food here seems to be of higher quality and is always hot and tastes fresh. The restaurant is extremely clean and well-staffed, they give Kate a balloon to play with almost every time we go, and the music and menu are in English! Well…I guess the music is, and the menu almost is if you can figure out the spellings, like the “Big Teysti” burger.) Kate eats 6 nuggets by herself, along with a few fries and sometimes a few bites of our burgers. She usually eats more for supper than for lunch, and we’ve discovered that she can be a bit of a picky eater. I don’t know if it’s because her teeth are hurting her or if she’s just being picky, but sometimes she just decides she doesn’t want to eat what we are having for a certain meal, and she’ll just sit there the entire meal and play instead of eating, even if I know she’s hungry.

Kate usually has a little snack and sits in her high chair while I’m making dinner, and after each meal she loves being cleaned off at the sink. She thinks it’s fun to put her hands in the water and grab the faucet, and she likes it when we clean her mouth because she gets to make funny noises and lick the water on our hands. She plays for a while after supper, and she likes to sit in Bryan’s lap while he’s on the computer while I do the dishes. Some nights she takes a bath, and she has recently discovered that baths are FUN! She likes it when the water is higher so she can bob around in it a little bit, and although she still doesn’t like getting water in her ears, she’s doing a lot better with water in general. She likes to splash a little bit, she loves to explore the shiny handle of the water stopper, and she enjoys playing with the water as it comes out of the faucet. After her bath, she always smiles if I turn on the bright lights above the bathroom mirror while I comb her hair.

She usually goes to bed pretty easily. We take her to the potty before bed (and numerous times a day), and she’ll usually go before bedtime. She’s not completely potty trained and we’ve had lots of setbacks in the past few months with all of the changes, sickness, and teething. She’s doing well, though, and whenever she has training pants on, she’ll let me know when she needs to go or just after she wets her pants, and she rarely has dirty diapers or pants but goes in the potty instead. After putting on a clean diaper, I usually sing her a little song and put her in bed, and she goes to sleep without much fussing.

I hope I will be able to make this kind of post a tradition for our children each year around their birthdays. It will be fun to have a record of what they’re like each year.

Oh wait, I just said children, didn’t I? πŸ™‚ As a reward to my readers for making it all the way to the end of this post, now I’ll share some exciting news. I’m pregnant! πŸ™‚ Praise the Lord! πŸ™‚

Published in: on August 26, 2009 at 8:02 am  Leave a Comment  

Ask a question, get an answer!

Today was an exciting day! I’ve been sick, so Bryan took care of Kate this morning so that I could sleep in. When I got up, he told me about something she had done when he fed her breakfast. He asked if she wanted more food, and she nodded her head! He did it a few more times, and she nodded each time.

We tried again at lunch, and it seems she definitely means to be nodding for yes and shaking her head for no. She nodded many times for us to give herΒ  more food, and then she started shaking her head when she didn’t want anymore. We asked if she was all done, and she nodded and held out her hands like she does when she wants to be picked up. A little while later, I asked her if she needed to go potty. She nodded, and when we went into the bathroom, she went potty!

Tonight at dinner, she was so happy to be communicating what she wanted that she was nodding after every bite of food, sometimes even when she hadn’t finished with the previous bite. It is so fun to see her start communicating with us!

Published in: on May 2, 2009 at 7:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Shopping trip

Kate and I got back from a trip to Target a little while ago. We found some great deals, and we used the trip to try something new. I got training pants for her the other day, and I decided to take her to the store wearing the (NOT waterproof) training pants. She stayed dry! I tried to take her to the bathroom when we first got to the store, but she didn’t need to go. I got all of our items and got ready to check out, and as I was picking up the last few items, she started to squirm a lot in her carrier. I was really hoping she could hold it since I didn’t want to get wet, but I knew I needed those last few things before we could go home. I got to the checkout, left our items there, and took her to the bathroom. She went right away, and I was so excited! This is one of the first times she has been able to “hold it” for longer than a few minutes and has waited for me to take her to the bathroom. Yay for more progress!

Published in: on April 28, 2009 at 11:43 am  Leave a Comment  

Potty progress

Kate has surprised us in the past few days by being more vocal about her needΒ  to use the bathroom. This is something I’d read about babies doing, but she had never shown obvious signs that she was trying to communicate with us about it until now. Before this week, I mostly had to rely on timing to know when to take her to the bathroom, and occasionally she would fuss a bit and I’d know she needed to go. This week, though, she has started looking directly at us, reaching to be picked up, and fussing pretty insistently when she needs to go. She is also getting good at waiting until she’s at the potty. We still have a few wet diapers a day, but the number has dramatically decreased. Who knew a 7-month-old could do that?!

Published in: on April 10, 2009 at 9:55 am  Leave a Comment  

so many new things!

What a great day Kate and I have had together! (Unfortunately I don’t have pictures since our camera was out of batteries.) We started the day off well by sleeping until 7:30, and we had a quiet morning. Kate went down for her morning nap around 9:30, and I went on a walk & got ready for the day before she woke up. After her nap, I set her down to play on a blanket nearby as I was sewing. Last night I had started making a Mei Tai baby carrier for her. I already had the pieces cut and the shoulder straps sewn, so I just had to iron it all, pin it together, sew it together, and topstitch. (I used this pattern with a few changes and some VERY cute upholstery fabric that Mama gave me when she was cleaning out her sewing room.)Β  I can’t wait to post a picture of it! Kate took her afternoon nap before I was finished, and I was so excited about it when I finished that I wanted to wake her up to try it out. I didn’t, of course, but I wanted to. πŸ™‚ When she woke up and we tried it out, it worked really well and she seemed to like being carried in it. I strapped her on my back and got a lot of housework done before dinner, and she didn’t fuss one bit!

One fun thing about the day was that this was the first day I decided to see how long we could go without using a diaper. It was as if she’d been waiting for me to try that! She went from 11 AM (after her first nap) until bedtime without needing a diaper, and there was only one time on the blanket when I didn’t take her to the bathroom soon enough. She even stayed dry during her two and a half hour afternoon nap! A day like today gets me excited about EC and IPT all over again! πŸ™‚

The final excitement of the day was at dinner time. Kate has been trying to eat a few new things here and there, like last night when she had her first Cheerios. Tonight she had her first fruit, and she loved it! Mama gave us a baby food mill, and I used it to puree a cooked apple. I was expecting to have to mix the apple with some oatmeal baby cereal to get her to eat it since it was a little tart, but she ate it all by itself!

This is really such a fun age! She is learning SO many new things, and she seems so happy about all of it! It’s hard not to catch some of her enthusiasm and cheerfulness. πŸ™‚ What a little blessing she is!

Published in: on March 10, 2009 at 7:33 pm  Comments (1)  

Unintended post

I wasn’t going to write about this. πŸ™‚ I thought if I ever tried it I’d be hush hush about it since it’s not too common in the US. I didn’t want people to think I was weird or crazy, and I didn’t want to be talking about my baby doing something that lots of toddlers don’t do yet. But I realized that it’s ok for me to post about it even though it’s unusual. I’m just explaining what we’re up to these days and sharing the excitement I’ve felt upon trying something new!

So what in the world am I talking about? We’ve started infant potty training (IPT), otherwise known as Elimination Communication (EC), Natural Infant Hygiene, or the diaper-free baby. IPT is based on the idea that babies don’t like to be wet or dirty and would rather go to the bathroom somewhere other than in a diaper. EC focuses more on the communication aspect and says that babies signal to their parents that they need to go to the bathroom before they go, and that parents can respond by taking the baby to an appropriate place, like the toilet. Those who have written books on the subject in the past few years get many of their ideas from other cultures where babies are regularly carried naked and are given opportunities to use the bathroom. I know that while we were Africa, I saw many babies without diapers, often being carried by their mothers or walking around naked if they were old enough, and I never saw a single “accident.”

You might be wondering why in the world we would be trying IPT when diapering is so easy and is the social norm. Kate has recently moved up in diaper size, and while I use cloth diapers the majority of the time, I use disposables at night. I have used Pamper’s Swaddlers since she was born, but they don’t have them in size 3, so I had to change to a new kind of diaper. Once she started wearing the new diapers, she developed a bad rash that I couldn’t get to go away. At her 6-month checkup, the doctor said she has eczema/atopic dermatitis, or very sensitive, dry skin. He told me to let her go without a diaper when possible, and to be careful what we use on her skin. I’d read about IPT and was interested before Kate was born, and this was just what I needed to convince me to try it.

The first day we tried it, she spent much of the day without a diaper on top of cloth diapers or towels so I could observe her and so she could “air out.” Just before her bed time, I realized she had been dry for a while and decided to take her to the potty just to see what would happen. To my surprise, she used the potty!! I couldn’t believe it. I was SO excited! I yelled for Bryan (and scared him half to death πŸ™‚ ) and she went again when he got into the room. At that, I was hooked.

Since then, she’s gone once on the potty each day when I’ve taken her regularly, and I’m starting to get better at knowing when she needs to go. This morning she’s already gone on the potty once, and I hope she will at least one more time today. We’re still using cloth diapers, and I’m giving her diaper-free time when I’m not very busy. I hope we’ll gradually work into needing diapers less, and maybe eventually we’ll start using tiny training pants. Her rash is a lot better already, and I’m thankful that all the changes seem to be helping. Unfortunately I still haven’t figured out a good solution for nighttime. She wakes up so easily when her cloth diapers get wet, and I don’t want the rash to get worse again by using disposables, so I’ll still have to work on finding another option. Any suggestions would be welcome!

SoΒ  along with the daily tasks of being a homemaker, I’ve added a little extra laundry and many more trips to the bathroom. I wasn’t expecting to be using words like “potty” and “wee wee” quite this soon or talking about it this often at Kate’s age, but I’m actually enjoying it. It’s exciting to watch her learn something new, and it’s nice to realize that even though IPT is often a long process, it’s likely that she will be potty trained long before she would have been if I had waited to do it in the usual American way.

So tell me. What do you think? πŸ™‚

Published in: on February 18, 2009 at 11:36 am  Comments (2)