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all about cloth diapering.

cloth diapering.  my number one eye roll, head turn, questions asked mama related topic.  i thought i would start off with the reasons why cloth diapering works for us.

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  • these are not the cloth diapers our grandmothers used. no pins required.
  • there are a LOT of chemicals in traditional diapers (did you think that magic gel stuff that absorbs 100 times its weight in urine is natural? no. am i the only person horrified at the claims of 12+ hours of wear for a disposable diaper? would you want to hang out with your soiled underpants for 12+ hours?!)
  • cloth diapers save money, especially if you have more than one child. especially if you have friends that practically GIVE you their used diapers. i have read that each child costs about $2,000 to diaper and can contribute about 600,000 diapers to the landfills. you can get a couple dozen really high quality (even organic) cloth diapers for under $500 and they can last through several children if you take care of them. and if money is really tight, it is even possible to completely cloth diaper from birth to potty training for around $100.
  • cloth diapering can actually be easy! it is overwhelming at first, but you will find your routine.
  • cloth diapers are CUTE! i mean, really, really cute. colors. prints. i just got one with bicycles on it. love.
  • they actually leak much less than disposables. so far, no outfits ruined by baby poop!
  • there are a lot of brands of diapers that can fit baby from birth to potty training, so it saves space too! did i mention money savings? huge.
  • potty training is suppose to be {fingers crossed} easier because the little one can feel wetness, which leads to motivation to potty train.
  • they hold their value, so you can actually sell them when you are done with them.

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the nitty gritty. poop.  i don’t get squeamish around my little ones poop.  at this point he is mostly breastfed, about 70% to 30% of formula.  his poop goes directly into the washing machine.  no fuss, no muss.  once he starts solids, then we will put our handy diaper sprayer {easily attached to the toilet} to good use.

our set up:

we have a HUGE assortment of diapers.  this happened because all of our diapers have been given to us or bought at consignment sales.  i was overwhelmed at first because of the variety but now i love it.  i have my favorites and they seem to change depending on little mans growth that week.  we have bumGenius, fuzzibunz, kawaii baby, rumparooz, grovia, and mudpie baby.  the bumGenius are solid, my go to and probably my consistent favorite.  i am loving the kawaii baby right now but a couple weeks ago it was the rumparooz.

my husband likes the velcro best.  i like the snaps.  he does the diaper changes throughout the night {lucky lady here!} so i always make sure to have the bumGenius velcro all in ones clean and ready for him to grab at night.  i like the snaps because when we are up and moving during the day, i think the velcro can something scratch, me more than him, so i tend to favor the snaps.

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i have a kitchen size trash can next to my diaper/changing station.  i line it with wet bags/liners.  one day i was in a jam and used an old pillow case.  basically, you take the entire bag and empty it into the washing machine and throw it in there as well.  the trash can has a lid and i wash at least every two days, but mostly i wash once a day so the smell never has bothered us.

to wash: i use a 1/2 cup baking soda in a cold pre-wash cycle. i then use a natural detergent like charlie’s soap to wash on hot. i haven’t had to strip the diapers so when i do, i will post the details.  i then run another cool rinse cycle at the end to make sure all the detergent is out.  our new washing machine has a “my cycle” saved.  so i just have to push “my cycle” when i have a load of diapers and voila.  done.

i run the liners/inserts and cloth wipes through the dryer and hang the covers to extend the life of the elastic.

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about the cloth wipes. why not?! again, saves money.  you are already doing a load of diapers. i made my own but you can buy bulk cloth wipes from etsy. my solution is 1 cup distilled water + 1 tablespoon coconut oil + 1 tablespoon dr. bronner’s baby soap. i keep them in the prince lion heart cloth wipe warmer.  once a week i change out the water solution and roll my wipes.  takes 15 mins. tops.

in the diaper bag for on the go changes: i keep a small wet bag for the soiled diapers. a bag with dry cloth wipes and a small spray bottle with my cleaning solution {see above}. i wet the dry wipe and clean the bum.  throw everything in the wet bag and when i get home throw it in the wash.  done.

i was SO overwhelmed before we started cloth diapering.  it seems every one that cloth diapers has a different way of doing it.  you just have to find a way that fits your schedule and lifestyle and you will be off.

did i mention how super cute they are?!

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{one week later}

i can’t express how appreciative i am of the support you all have expressed to me over the last week.  i felt it best to share an update with a couple of my most favorite photos.  gosh, i just love this little one in ways i didn’t even know was possible.  this week i have learned a lot about myself, as a mother, and have been so proud.  that’s right.  something people don’t often express, i was/am really proud of myself.

after a really long day last wednesday of basically pushing food, all. day. long. i realized that wasn’t the way to go.  by the end of the day i realized neither of us had had one smiling moment with each other.  he was left with a tummy ache and i was just stressed.  i had a moment that evening where i looked at g and thought, “he is fine.”  literally, he is fine.  he is happy.  he is hitting his milestones developmentally.  he isn’t stressing about his weight.  i am a hot mess and worried.  i am stressing.  he is fine.  i decided to listen to him and follow his lead.  i relaxed.

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and you know what happened, i was able to start supplying 4 ounces of breast milk, instead of the 3 i had been.  i started being able to pump again.  g stopped having angry fits at the breast.  the couple of times he seemed unhappy, i just took him off and we read a book.  i distracted him long enough for him to tell me when HE was hungry.  not when I thought he should be.  once he was hungry, he would nurse beautifully.

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this past week has looked like this.  i nurse him the same number of times as before; this keeps my supply up.  then i offer him two – four ounces of breast milk, if i have it pumped, or formula.  he takes whatever he wants.  sometimes it is the full four ounces.  sometimes no interest.  on average, he takes about two supplemental ounces.  we are all happy.  and best of all, he is gaining!  last week he was 12 pounds and 8 ounces.  one week later, 13 pounds and 1 ounce.

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when they say it takes a village to raise a child, they weren’t lying.  a quick shout out to several people that have provided tools, support, education and friendship.  my thoughtful friend caitlin sent me supplemental formula with a g’s baby gift before he was born.  she included a sweet note that said, i know you are planning on breastfeeding, but i needed a little boost and i thought i would share what worked for me.  after trying the formula that the pediatrician offered {g completely rejected it!} i remembered i had caitlin’s gift up in a cabinet.  i didn’t need to leave the house to find the exact formula that g ended up loving.  i met abby through a mutual friend and stayed in touch via facebook.  she read my blog and offered SO MUCH knowledge.  she has professional experience from working at one of the local hospitals and talked me through formula and offered suggestions about supplementation.  melissa continues to be my mama rock.  i go to her for everything.  literally, we have talked about it all.  the fact that i have any confidence in my mama skills is because i know i have her number in my back pocket.  there are countless others that have offered phone calls, emails and messages of support.  i am humbled.  i am grateful.

so one week later, we are all doing great.  i wish i had the confidence a week ago that this would be where we would be.  lesson learned.  this mama needs to listen to her baby, relax more, and have the confidence that we are all doing well.


{battles} with breastfeeding.

i feel i should just preface this entire post with a “i am not judging mama’s that don’t breastfeed” because man, we as women can be super defensive and highly emotional when it comes to this topic.  this is my story.  my journey.  my beliefs.  my struggle.  my path.  i promise there is absolutely no judgement in my heart for the choices any other mama makes for herself and her baby.

i believe breastfeeding is the best thing i can do for my baby.  i have yearned to have a little one attached to my body as i am giving him all the nourishment his body needs to thrive.  today is a hard day.  my eyes are filled with tears.  today i had to come to terms that my baby is not thriving.  in many ways he is but his weight is not.  it is a struggle we have been battling daily since his birth.

he was born with an upper lip frenulum and an ankyloglossia, tongue tie.  both prevent successful breastfeeding hence weight gaining issues and are extremely painful for the mama, both emotional and physically, and frustrating for baby.  both were corrected at two weeks and our little guy didn’t start gaining weight until after his third week of life.  so naturally, he is a little behind.  i thought we were over the hump.  we weren’t.

imagine this. red faced, screaming at the top of his lungs, back arched, kicking legs and throwing fists baby.  is it colic?  is it reflux?  dairy intolerance?  maybe yes to all of the above.  this picture of madness happens daily.  not at every feeding.  but out of the ten feedings i average every day, at least three start like this.  at least once a day we both are in the nursing chair crying.

just last night the husband came home to the both of us stripped down, wrapped in a blanket doing skin-to-skin to calm us down with eyes red from crying for over an hour.

for four months i have had anxiety at the very thought of feeding my child.  and i have cried.  i mean really cried.  it was just so painful, emotionally and physically.  i have been so angry that this was happening to me. i mean, i worked SO hard to have a child.  why did this have to be hard too?  why were my breasts not working? why wasn’t my child able to feed in peace like i had read about?  

the worst moments were when i was alone in the shower. i would stand and cry with the water pouring down my back. my breasts so sore that i could not let the water near them.  the physical pain isn’t the worst.  it is the emotional fear that i am failing.  failing my son.  failing as a mother.  failing as a woman.  

i didn’t want to admit to my friends that i was struggling so badly.  my family, no one understands.  i have felt so alone in this battle.

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after a month of weekly weight checks our little guy is no longer gaining, no longer maintaining, he is losing.  he is not thriving.  i am not thriving.  we are surviving and not well.  i love our pediatrician and after handing me the box of tissues, she told me it was time to try something different.  i am stubborn.  i am determined.  but i am not willing to put myself before the health of my boy.  and i knew this day was coming.

our plan is to supplement with formula.  from weighing on our own baby scale before and after feedings, i am exactly transferring 3 ounces at every feeding.  at his age, he should be getting 4-6 ounces.  the plan is to basically top him off at every feeding.  my goal is to breastfeed as long as possible.  this is tricky when starting to supplement with formula.  the key is to not miss feedings.  if i give him a full bottle because of one of the “fits of unhappiness” described above, i must make sure to go pump to ensure my milk supply does not tank.

our doctor said the biggest pitfall is giving a full bottle of formula before bed.  the benefit, baby boy will sleep soundly all night long.  it takes the body longer to digest formula than breast milk.  the downside, my body will skip the two-three feedings that we are naturally doing right now.  another downside, those are usually my favorite feedings.  yes, i am so tired and i do look forward to the day he can go longer with non-interrupted sleep.  but those feedings go so well.  he is so sweet and snuggly after he finishes feeding.  plus, i don’t want his longer sleep to be artificial.  long ago we decided that our little ones well-being came first. even at the expense of our own comforts.  i feel that to give him formula before bed, just so i can get more sleep would be selfish.  plus, the whole point is to get extra calories to my boy.  more feedings = more calories.

so this is the plan for the next couple of weeks before we start solids.  then we can hopefully replace the formula with solids and continue with the breastfeeding.  or continue to do all three.  in the short four months of being a mama i have learned that i need to be flexible with my goals and plans.  and i desperately need to be more kind to myself.  my plan was to breastfeed until g was two years old.  i still have hopes of that happening but i have to be flexible and supplement when it is in his best interests.

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this is a really hard day.  battling with these feelings that i am failing. that i am not enough.  but i am. {even if in this moment i don’t believe it to be true}. and i am determined to make this combination of breastfeeding, formula and soon solids work in the best interest of my baby boy.  and when he is smiling his dimple grin, everything else fades.


chalkboard monthly photos {the first year}

i love documenting monthly changes.  the development in the first year is astounding.  these little ones go from blobs that don’t make eye contact to babbling, walking little people with personalities and opinions of their own.  i scoured and scoured pinterest during my pregnancy to try and come up with a fun way to document these changes during garrett’s first year.

1 month

i had painted a dresser mirror a while back and thought it would be the perfect backdrop.  i knew i would have the patience or time or creativity to hand draw on the chalkboard each month.  i brainstormed and realized that i could take the photo of the solid chalkboard and upload the photo into picmonkey.com and “write” on the black space.  i think they are turning out super cute and the number one comment is “how did you do that?”  so i thought i would do a little tutorial.

2months

each month i position my little guy in a way that he has spent a lot of the month prior.  the first month, blob of baby.  the second, loved being curled up on his side.  the third, his back.  and the fourth, lifting his head and rolling over.  below is one of the outtakes that makes me laugh.  he was so clearly “done” with the process.  it shows the photo before i play around on picmonkey.

3mon

you first upload your photo in the “edit.”  from there you can play with filters, crops, etc.  then there is a Tt link on the left hand side for text.  you can pick many fonts and adjust colors, size, etc.  some of the fonts and filters require a membership to picmonkey but you can still do a lot without it.

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i try to include an image that correlates with the month.  december {one month} was christmas.  january {second month} was snowy.  february {third month} was valentines day, so a heart was in order. and march {fourth month} was st. patrick’s day, so i put a little green banner.  below is a screenshot of my work in progress.

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and the finished product.  i love that i have a blank slate to remember little things each month like his favorite book or milestones accomplished.  these little memories, while so life encompassing right now, will soon fade and i am thankful i have these photos.  i hope this helps and please let me know if you have any detailed questions! i am thrilled that i have inspired some of your own monthly photos!

 

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introducing our son, garrett alexander.


1

tomorrow he will be four months old.  four months and i am just now finding our routine.  finding time (and honestly, motivation) to write.  i want to document this extraordinary, ordinary life that we are now embarking on.  you know the one, parenthood.  i have lots of ideas for mama related posts, our birth story, cloth diapering, sleep patterns (or the lack thereof), not fitting into real pants, etc.  i want to keep this space my own, for my musings as not only a mother, but as just me.  this is my little world and i want to keep it sacred.

2

we have set up a private blog for everything garrett.  one day i will proudly make it into a book and give to him.  he will see our words, our thoughts and stories at each milestone and every moment in between.  i knew this would be a more simple way to document than a scrapbook.  a scrapbooker, i am not.

3

we had his “newborn” photos taken at three months.  this is telling of our first three months.  we had feeding issues that took up the first month of his existence.  then the second i got hit with a viral infection, strep throat and pneumonia all at once.  then he was three months old and the husband and i realized we were finding our way.  slowly, beautifully, and sometimes painfully so.

4

having our son has forever changed who we are.  in many ways i can’t yet comprehend.  it has been everything i have ever wanted along with nothing at all what i thought it would be .  to say it is an adjustment is not doing it justice.  one of the hardest challenges and yet, perhaps, one of the greatest blessings of being a mother is the basic fact of being needed.  i have these two little hands and body hanging from me at all hours of every day.

5

the endless diaper changing, frequent nursing, spit up, tears.  this neediness, this constancy of having to be everything for this little person can certainly take its toll.  those early days it was so difficult to see beyond that moment.  some days, it still is.  but there will be a day where i won’t be needed.  this realization has shown me that those frequent nursings, up multiple times each night exhaustion is a privilege.  it is such an absolute privilege to be needed and this moment is fleeting.

6

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his fingers will only be this little, his legs with the adorable chunk, his perfect big round belly for such a short droplet of time.  i am intentionally soaking up every moment.  the good and the bad.  being honest that yes, there are really crappy moments.  moments in this short four months that i feel i am failing.  feel like i can actually do this.  feel like no one understands.  feel like i have surrounded myself with an amazing village of friends to support me.  feel every cry.  every smile.

8

9

 

my favorite book to read at night is “wherever you are.”  here is the text:

i wanted you more
than you ever will know
so i sent love to follow
wherever you go.
it’s high as you wish it. it’s quick as an elf.
you’ll never outgrow it…it stretches itself!

so climb any mountain…
climb up to the sky!
my love will find you.
my love can fly!

make a big splash! go out on a limb!
my love will find you. my love can swim!

it never gets lost, never fades, never ends…

if you’re working…

or playing…

or sitting with friends.

you can dance ’til you’re dizzy…

paint ’til you’re blue…

there’s no place, not one,
that my love can’t find you.

and if someday you’re lonely,
or someday you’re sad,
or you strike out at baseball,
or think you’ve been bad…

just lift up your face, feel the wind in your hair.
that’s me, my sweet baby, my love is right there.

in the green of the grass…in the smell of the sea…
in the clouds floating by…at the top of a tree…
in the sound crickets make at the end of the day…

“You are loved. You are loved. You are loved,” they all say.

my love is so high, and so wide and
so deep, it’s always right there, even
when you’re asleep.

so hold your head high
and don’t be afraid
to march to the front
of your own parade.

if you’re still my small babe
or you’re all the way grown,
my promise to you
is you’re never alone.

you are my angel, my darling,
my star…and my love will find you,
wherever you are.

you are loved.

~ Nancy Tillman

10

my baby boy, you are loved. you are loved. you are loved.


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