Friday, October 26, 2012

cloth diaper update & review

As you may recall, Matt and I decided we were going to use cloth diapers instead of disposable. I purchased a bunch of diapers before Charlotte was born, as well as a few packages of disposables for the first few weeks. It has now been 6 weeks since she was born and we are 80% cloth, 20% disposable. This is mostly because we needed more diapers. I had 14 on hand when she arrived but quickly realized we could use that in one day, easy. Plus, Charlotte isn't a huge baby so some of the one-sized diapers are a little big on her. I can make all of them fit, but some of them give her a huge bubble butt. I also prefer to use disposable at night (at least for now). We use about 4 diapers at night (I change her every time she wakes up to feed) so using disposable isn't a big deal to me. And it is much more convenient.

It actually took us a few weeks to phase our way into the cloth. I was a little scared and really started to second guess my decision. Disposables are so convenient! Just take it off and throw it away and you are done. But boy do they cost a lot! Every time I had to pick up a package of diapers I would cringe. $10 for 30 newborn diapers. Ugh! And we went through 30 diapers in 3 days or less! That is about $30/week in diapers. It hurt. So I finally caved and tried the cloth when Charlotte was 3 weeks old. She wore them during the day for a few days and then I did the wash and found it was all pretty easy! Not messy or gross and just as easy as the disposable. And since I already paid for them they felt free :). I recently ordered another 8 diapers to add to our stash so I can space out the laundry to every other day. 

relaxing in a Blueberry diaper & her new bow

And since we use a variety of brands, I figured I could give some feedback for those considering cloth diapers....

FuzziBunz - They are really well made, good quality diapers. The insert are super soft and they seem like they will last a long time. We have two types, the Elite one size and the Perfect Size diapers. I actually prefer the OS for Charlotte. Because they have these elastic bands in the waist and legs that are adjustable, they fit her really well. The Perfect Size diapers are nice, but the legs are a little roomy and I'm concerned they will leak. 

bumGenius! - These are all OS diapers with either snaps or velcro. I actually just got 3 of the velcro and love them! They are so easy to get on and off. And these diapers are probably the thinnest ones we have, giving her the smallest bubble butt possible. Great quality and very popular diapers. 

Blueberry - I actually hated these at first because they leaked. I then realized it was operator error and not the diaper. lol. These are very similar to bumGenius in fabric and style. I have two of these diapers in a newborn/small size and they fit Charlotte perfectly. They are usually the first diapers I choose to put her in because they fit her the best. 

Grovia - What I love about these diapers is the size. They fit Charlotte perfectly and don't give her a huge butt. They are also AIO (all in one's) so I don't have to worry about stuffing them or pulling the inserts out before putting them in the wash. The downfall to that (and any AIO diaper) is they take forever to dry! And for some reason the Grovia diapers stain!! All the other diapers wash clean with no issues but these stain. So I usually have to lay them out in the sun for a day to get them white (the sun is a natural bleaching agent).

And for those wanting to purchase cloth diapers, check out Kelly's Closet . They always have a deal or a sale going on and they carry a ton of brands.

nothing cuter than a naked baby

Friday, October 19, 2012

New Baby Must Haves!

After almost 6 weeks with my little Charlotte, I feel like I could finally give other Mom's or (soon-to-be Moms) a few recommendations on the newborn must-haves. I thought long and hard about what items we could not live without and here is my list....

For Baby:

1. An Exercise ball - I know, this isn't a normal "baby" item, but we would be up a creek without a paddle if we didn't have this. Charlotte loves to be bounced and this is magical (most of the time). If she has been fed and changed and is still crying, this usually works.  I hold her in my arms, sit on the ball, and bounce. She will either fall asleep or just quiet down and look around the room. It has saved us from hours of screaming!

2. Beco Butterfly Carrier - Another must have for a crying baby. Or for a Mom that wants to get some chores done. Or for grocery shopping. I use this carrier daily. When we get out of the house and run errands, or when Charlotte wants to be held and I need to get a few things done, I put her in the carrier and work around the house. If I happen to turn the vacuum on she will usually falls asleep in minutes. There are a ton of carriers out there and many will work great, I chose the Beco because I tried a bunch on in a store with a weighted baby and it was my favorite.


3. A Swing or Bouncy Seat - We actually have both (Snugabunny Swing and Comfort & Harmony bouncer). And use both daily. The swing is downstairs and the bouncy seat is up in our room. Right now Charlotte chills in the bouncy seat while I shower and get ready in the morning. And she sometimes naps in the swing downstairs. It is nice to have somewhere to put her that is safe and fun for her while I make myself food or change the laundry. And sometimes Mommy needs a break. :) 

relaxing in the swing
4. Miracle Blanket Swaddle - for our little Houdini, this is the only swaddle that worked. She was able to work her hands out of all the others and the key to swaddling is getting the hands down by their sides. In the first few weeks when she was crying for no reason the swaddle, combined with some loud "shhh" and a little swaying calmed her right down. We don't use the swaddle as much now, but I am so glad we had it!

5. Gas Droplets & Diaper Rash cream - Sometimes when the baby is crying and you have tried everything else, a little gas droplet does the trick. And if it doesn't work, at least you know you tried everything! Within the first few weeks Charlotte broke out in her first diaper rash. Having the cream on hand was key. Having to run to the store when it happens (and all babies get it eventually) is not fun. We used Boudreaux's Butt Paste and CJ's BUTTer diaper rash cream (for cloth diapers). Love the CJ's, it smells like blueberries!!

For Mom (note they are almost all boob related lol!):

1. Breast Pump - even though you may not plan to pump until you go back to work, or maybe just when you leave for an evening out, it is good to have this when the baby arrives. I didn't start pumping until about 4 weeks after she was born and I wish I had started sooner. I am now trying to build up a little supply so Matt and I can take a weekend trip sometime, and I need at least 30 feedings. That is a lot. Especially since I can only get an ounce or two every time I pump and I am only pumping two to three times a day at the most (I am storing 4oz portions). It would be great to pump while I feed her, but that multi-tasking is difficult (I've tried). I have the Medela Swing pump and I like it a lot. It gets the job done.

2. Breast Pads - I use about 4-6 of these disposable pads a day. I leak, a lot. I have tried the Medela and the Lansinoh brands and I think I like the Lansinoh better. Either one will work though. And I prefer the disposable over the washable cloth ones. The cotton sticks to my nipples and they get soaked quickly. They also end up getting my bra or shirt wet since there is no barrier, which is why I like the disposable shirt stays dry!

3. Breastfeeding clothes - I have 5 bras and 4 tank tops. And I use them all. I got one bra from Motherhood and the rest from Target. They are around $20/each and come in a few cute styles. They won't last more than 6 months or so (especially since I wash mine often) but they are great. I have a bra that is perfect for the night, comfortable and roomy, and 4 others that I can use during the day. I didn't think I would need that many, but I did. I would end up soaking a bra or two a day and couldn't do bra laundry daily (plus they need time to air dry). And you really don't want to get breast milk on your clothes and then re-wear them, you start to smell like sour milk after a while (not sexy). And the tank tops are a good back up for the bras, or for anytime. They have the snaps that make breastfeeding easy, and come in a lot of cute styles (thank you Target). 

4. Frozen food - even if you hate the pre-made frozen junk, it is good to have at least one or two meals on hand. There will be plenty of nights when you don't feel like making dinner, or haven't had time to get to the store, and those will come in handy. We had a frozen lasagna sitting in our freezer at least a week before Charlotte arrived!

5. Family - This is a must have for baby and Mom! Having family or friends around to help the first few weeks was a life saver. Matt and I could have done it on our own, but having the extra hands to help cook or clean or babysit so you can shower was awesome. It takes a little while to figure it all out and get into a routine and having a little help makes that transition so much easier. Plus, your family wants to see the baby and bond and be a part of the whole experience too! Fun for all! :)

Charlotte and Grandpa :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Necessities for labor

The other day looked back at my previous post where I listed all the wonderful things I was packing in my labor bag for Matt, Charlotte, and myself. While I didn't get to use most of the items in our bags, I can tell you what I did find super important and what I wish I would have had with me that day......

For Baby:

  • 2 receiving blankets  - they had everything we needed
  • One newborn onesie, one 3 month onesie - must haves!! You never know how big the baby will be. I thought I would have a huge baby and Charlotte was only 7lbs 5oz
  • PJ set  - not necessary
  • Socks, mittens, and cute hair bows! - of course these are important!
  • 4 diapers  - doesn't hurt to have them, but they should have plenty for you
  • Wipes & blanket (in the car, just in case) - always good to have in the car
For Mom:
  • Battle gown - due to all the pain, I totally forgot I had it. Wish I had used it tho, love this gown!
  • 2 nursing bras - one for the tub, one for after - YES! Must haves for sure!
  • Extra undies and socks - Always good to have extras :)
  • Sweatpants & nursing tank for after - Sweats were a good call. All you want is roomy comfort after giving birth.
  • Slippers - didn't make it into the bag. And I was in bed the whole time, so they weren't needed.
  • Toiletries - hair ties, hairbrush, lotion, toothbrush, toothpaste, mouth wash, LIPGLOSS! - All were must haves! I puked during labor so that mouth wash was key! And my lips have never been so dry in my life. Don't forget the chapstick or you will be sorry!
For Dad:
  • Swim trunks for the tub - Matt didn't have time to get in, but glad we had these with us.
  • Comfy change of clothes - He was glad I had these packed
  • Slippers - He was glad I had these packed too!
  • iPad/iPod/Magazines - haha. Didn't use these at all! I'm sure if you are heading to a hospital they will come in handy. 
For Labor:
  • Music (on iPod) - didn't use it. Glad I had made it, but never turned it on.
  • Candles (special ones my Mom got us) - really bummed I never used these. Nice for home though.
  • Tennis Balls (help with back labor) - I think Matt used these on me a few times. Very nice if you are having any back pain!
  • Water/Juice/Snacks/Hard Candy/Honey - The drinks and snacks were much needed during recovery!
  • Camera and Camcorder (as well as the chargers!) - Must haves!!

A few things that weren't on the list but  should have been.....

One thing I wish we had at home was a straw! I was so thirsty during labor, but for some reason drinking out of a cup or bottle just wasn't doing it for me. A straw would have made that much easier. So if you plan to labor at home, stock up! :)

Another thing that came in handy at the end was a wet washcloth. Those last contractions were killers and that cool towel on your face is awesome. Plus you can scream into it. haha.

And finally, if you can, have an extra person in the labor room besides your husband. They will be so caught up in the moment that they may forget to take pictures and video. Having an additional person, whether that's a Doula, a parent, or a friend, is key. You can give them the task of photographer, and they can also relieve your hubby when he needs a break.

OH and pack that bag early! It may seem ridiculous, and you may think you can pack it at the last minute (I sure did) but trust me, that will be the last thing on your mind. You will be in pain and your hubby will be running around like a chicken with its head cut off, so there won't be any last minute packing going on. It will probably be more of a mad dash for the car, barely remembering the bag at all. Or maybe that was just our crazy experience! :)

Good luck to all my friends due in the next few months! You will be great!! And remember, if those girls on 16 & pregnant can do it, so can you! Plus, after all that hard work, you get a cute little baby....

Monday, October 8, 2012

Happy 1 Month Charlotte!

Wow time sure does fly! It is hard to believe that Charlotte is already a month old! We managed to keep her alive and happy (most of the time) for a whole month :). Our baby girl is growing up so fast!! We did a little photo shoot this morning just for the blog post....

Harley kept an eye on his baby the entire time
Life sure has changed. It is wonderful, but boy is it different! What used to take me 2 hours now takes me 7 (if I get it done at all). And some days I feel like I just sit around and watch TV all day long. I usually feed her downstairs, and she eats every 2 hours, so I get a lot of TV watching in. I really should start reading a book while I feed her, my mind needs a TV break :). We have managed to get out of the house a few times, but only for short periods. We've been to dog beach, the grocery store, Balboa park, Target, and a walk to the mailbox! I get stir crazy and need to get out of the house to do anything. But she is still a little unpredictable and I hate being somewhere public when she starts to cry. I feel like people are thinking "shut that baby up!" or "take that kid outside". I am sure some people understand, but it makes me nervous. When the feedings are further apart I think we will venture out even more. I know Harley would appreciate another trip to dog beach! 

Even though it is hard work, I love being a Mom (still weird to say btw)! I love her more and more every single day. She is our world and I can't imagine life without her! I love taking care of her. Providing everything she needs, when she needs it, and watching her grow and change every single day is amazing. I still think of her as my little newborn, but she is already so different from the first day we brought her home. She is lifting her head and holding it up for short periods of time. She is so much more alert and spends a lot of time just looking around at anything and everything. She loves when Daddy comes home in his blue camos.....the pattern just mesmerizes her! And the little noises she makes?! I call her my little squeaker because she is always making funny little sounds, especially when she wakes up from a nap. She stretches and squeaks for a while before her eyes finally open (like her Daddy). She is a really good baby and I am so thankful I can be home with her all the time. 

A typical day at Casa de Clute....wake up, feed Charlotte, change her, put her in the bouncy seat while I shower and get dressed. I've managed to put on makeup a few times, but mostly I'm excited to just wash and blow dry my hair! If she is in a good mood I can actually make the bed or do other misc things around the bedroom before she starts crying. Then we head downstairs, feed H, grab tea, and something to eat. Right now my MIL takes her while I eat, but I will soon need to learn to do that one handed. My girl loves to be cuddled and doesn't like being left alone too long. Before I know it 2 hours has passed and the cycle starts over again: feed, change, soothe. If she naps then I will sometimes do a few chores around the house, or sometimes we will go out and run an errand. But sometimes she is having none of it and the only thing that gets her to relax is the exercise ball. You know, the ones at the gym you do abs on? We sit on that with her and bounce. It works like a charm (most of the time). I don't know why but she absolutely loves it. Maybe it is all the moving around I did while I was pregnant, or maybe she is an exercise junkie like us. Whatever the case, it seems to be the magical solution to any crying. We basically repeat this cycle until 8pm when we are off to bed. I feed her until she falls asleep (it is the only thing that works) and then she usually sleeps for 3 hours! Ahhh 3 hours in a's the simple joys in life. 

I would like to take a second to say thanks to my wonderful hubby, my Mom, and my MIL for all their help these last few weeks! It would have been so much harder had they not been around. I probably would have showered once a week and lived off of granola bars and peanut butter. We would have made it, but Harley would have gone hungry a few times and the house would be a huge mess. Ahhh life with a baby.

A few more pictures of my girl....

nap time

in the harbor watching Daddy's ship leave

hanging out with Grandma
pulling on Mommy's hair!