Cloth Diapers – We made it a year!

Wow! I just realized that we have been using cloth diapers for almost a year. I remember starting out at the suggestion of a friend (I didn’t have a good reason not to try). I was so confused at all the options and brands.

Just to update where we are after a year from where we started with just a Grovia starter set (2 shells and 4 inserts).

The 2 GroVia shells are holding up ok. The H&L is rolling over a bit even though they are line dried. The fit is still wonderful on my LO now that she is 15 months and 26lbs. We did end up buying a few more snap in soakers but don’t use them that often. Even though these offer the flexibility to pull out the soaker and re-use the shell, we often just wash both pieces at each change.

We also invested in several Bum Genius 4.0 Pocket Diapers. They are just ok. I hate the inserts and some of my pockets have relaxed elastic in the legs even with line drying. It causes leaks some times either out the leg hole or from pressure. We also have 2 BG Elementals and they have held up great! I don’t always like the fit of these and how the inner cotton bunches up.

We also have several Charlie Bananas (size M) that I got on sale from zulily. We really love how soft these are and the pocket opening in front. It is a microfiber insert but each diaper comes with two and they seem to be holding up better than the BG4.0 microfiber inserts.

Lastly, we did go back and try a Thristies Duo Diaper (their pocket diaper). I really like the fit of these and I LOVE the insert. The velcro on these does not hold up at all. Again, no trouble with leaks.

To try to save our pockets even though our inserts were shot, I bought a pack of 3 organic Flip prefolds. I love these. They hold SO much and never stink. The flip cover is nice too (wipes out unlike Grovia) if you want to do the prefold plus a cover route.

We have had good luck with our wash routine and our front loader. I have the Heavy Duty setting saved with a pre-rinse, extra wash, and extra rinse. I wash every two days and because of the liners it’s really just a matter of dumping them in the washer and letting it do its thing for two hours!

Vroom Vroom

Last night I attended the semi annual kids consignment sale that comes to town. Ever since I found out I was pregnant I attended and have loved finding toys, clothes and gear that are gently used and at a great discount.

We really don’t need any more toys right now but one thing I wanted to check for was a little tykes cozy coupe car. DJ played with one at a friends house and just loved it. She loves anything she can push or ride in (although sometimes with her wagon she climbs in and doesn’t understand why it’s not moving)!

Poor girl has been home sick for two days and when I walked up to the house after being at work and then shopping all day I could hear her crying. I’m sure J was ready for a break. It was so much fun to walk in the door with this new car toy and see her face light up. I quickly wiped a wet rag over it and let her play away for the next hour!

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For $15 I think it was a great purchase and we can just add it to our line up of other big toys that are parked in the corner of our living room!

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Current favorite book -rainforest wonders

In the past few months DJ has gotten really into reading her books. It is so sweet to see her go pick out a book and bring it over and ask to read it. We don’t have a set reading or story time in our routine yet but I feel like we are getting plenty of reading in every day. I love when they go through little phases of favorite books and I always want to remember these books we read over and over and over again. Besides nursing, reading books with her cuddled up in my lap is one of my favorite memories.20120923-061833.jpg

Currently our favorite book is “Rainforest Wonders”. We got it from some sweet friends at our baby shower. Now that DJ is wanting to interact with books and is learning animals this is the perfect one. Each page is a short two sentences long and the side of the page has a board that slides out to reveal the animal.

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She loves to pull out the side tab and reveal the animal and then push the tab back in before turning the page!

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The pages are bright and colorful and are even highlighted with metallic shimmers to catch the light.

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I think we read this book about 100 times this weekend!  We have a similar one called “Ocean Wonders” and we will try to change things up, but right now this one is her favorite.

Wittle Bee Box Review #2

Over Labor Day, we got another deal on a Wittle Bee box.  We were pretty happy with our first box and decided to try another one.  I tried to use the same style notes but changed some of the preferences to more winter clothes. 

  • Styles needed: Short Sleeve, Dresses/Skirts
  • Accessories Needed: No thanks
  • Favorite Colors: Green, Blue, Yellow
  • Clothing Style: Hipster, Mix & Match
  • Graphics: Polka Dots, Flowers
  • Styles not needed: Writing/Slogans
  • Climate: Chilly Nights

Here are the note we left:

Please no animal print, logos, slogans, licensed characters, or screen prints. Love ruffles, classic prints (stripes, polka dot, gingham, etc). Mix and match items appreciated. Love Tea Collection!

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Here is the box with the six items.  First was a polka dot Laughing Giraffe dress.  Its a nice thick cotton which is nice and matched our profile of polka dots.  We didn’t list pink as one of our colors though but we don’t mind this one pink item.

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I can’t find this item for sale online but I would normally pay maybe $4-5 for this.
Next we got two pairs of leggings with lace on the bottom.  I forget the brand of these but its a no name brand.  They aren’t bad quality but nothing like Gap leggings.  I would normally want to pay around $5 for 2 pairs if I bought these at the store.

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Next we got another American Apparel long sleeve t shirt in Lavender.  I’m happy to get another one of these quality shirts (we loved the blue one from the last box).  I’m hoping it will be useful for layering in the winter.  Online these are about $10 but I would like to pay less than $5 for it since its just a basic top.

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The last two pieces were a Vitamin baby outfit set (counts as 2 pieces though).  I like this but it is short sleeve.  The link to the outfit online is here for a better picture.  It normally sells for $24-$30 for the outfit although I think I typically would buy something like this for around $10-$12.

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As a whole I think they followed our notes and I got my $20 worth.  However, I do not think I would be happy to have paid the full $40 for this box.  Maybe I will give Wittle Bee one more shot at the next sale!  If you want to try Wittle Bee, sign up with this link and save $10 off your first box.  For $30 its worth trying and then you can cancel very easily!

Wittle Bee

So based on a few online recommendations I decided to try the kids clothing company called wittlebee. You pick your style, size, and needs and they pack a mystery box of six clothing items to send to you. For $40 they will send you a box monthly.

This month I got my first box. I forgot exactly how I filled out my “style profile” but I would say they pretty much got it right.

Here is the cute box with a little bee on it. They pack up all the clothing so sweet it makes it so exciting to open the lid. You can see DJ was by my side. I was quick to snap a picture before she tore into the box. She has a thing right now with pulling things out of baskets and boxes so this was right up her alley.

From the six items in the box we got enough for four outfits. A pretty pink shirt with an embroidered tulip. DJ played with this shirt for almost 30 minutes. She would put it on her head then thread her arm trough a hole and feel the little flower. In the picture it’s matched with some cute jean shorts but it really is a set with the amazing leggings and skirt combo below. I love this type of thing because it gives that cute layers look but is so easy to just pull on. Skirts are hard with daycare but this is perfect to keep her little knees covered while playing hard all day. On the left is a cute green dress with strawberry patches. The bottom outfit is a blue American apparel shirt and black lace leggings.

If you want to try it out you can get $10 off if you register though this link. http://curebit.com/x/mHFvO It’s a subscription but it is really easy to cancel any time.

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My (bad) Habit

Having a little girl is causing me problems.   I love to shop for her.  More specifically, I love to shop for great deals for unique clothing.  This causes me to endlessly search and browse internet, stores, sales, anywhere for anything that might catch my eye.  I think I have tried to control bad habit pretty well.  More often than not, I will fill my shopping cart/bag/whatever with items I would love to buy and I often leave without purchasing anything.  However, one site keeps catching me.  Its MyHabit.com.  I think I love them because they really do offer great products but they also have the free 2 day shipping that I love!

Here is my latest purchase:

sperry topsider girls bluefish pink shoes
I got them for $24 with free shipping.  I can’t wait for her to wear them this winter!

If you want to try out MyHabit, you can join through this link and help feed my bad habit when you make your first purchase!

Cloth Diaper Review – Charlie Bananas

A while ago, Zulily had some cloth diapers for sale and I thought I would try them out.

Type – Pocket Diaper but marketed as a hybrid or AI2 because they sell disposable inserts for these.

Features

  • Pocket opening in the front of the diaper
  • Flap covering the opening (unlike fuzzibunz which seemed unfinished to me)
  • Comes with two full size inserts
  • Microfleece inside instead of the BG microsuede
  • We chose to purchase the sized diapers, but Charlie Bananas do come in OS.

Price –

I got these off zulily for about $14 each but I think they are normally more like $18 each.

Although it took forever for these diapers to arrive, we have been really happy with them!  The PUL is super soft and the inserts are really nice.  It seems like the microfleece inside is holding up from piling better than the Fuzzibuns.

I really love the print of this diaper that we purchased, but the other colors are REALLY pretty as well.

Charlie Banana Print Cloth Diaper Butterflies

As soon as I get a good picture of DJ wearing this I will update!

 

Trying Cloth Diapers – First Trial Purchase

This may come as a surprise to those who know me because I’m typically not very into this type of thing but we are going to try cloth diapers. Several friends have asked me “why” and I can’t really give a great reason. I guess it really stems from a good mom friend from our hospital breast feeding support group that asked me “why not”.Two other big factors play into the “why now”. First, we have gone through the disposable diapers that were given to us at our showers, and second, we found out that daycare will accept certain kinds of cloth diapers.  I do believe there is a cost savings with cloth diapering and I do believe there is a health benefit (although I don’t think disposable diapers are bad).

So with J’s blessing to “try it out”, I dove into the cloth diaper (CD) world. There are all kinds of options and lingo to understand. I love doing this type of research and learning all about new things. My friend was going to meet up with me to go over some options, but on my own, here are some things I found that I “thought” I wanted (more on that later).

  • Snaps are known to last longer than velcro (also called applix or Hook and Loop)
  • Cover + Insert (Hybrid) option means less laundry because the cover (also called the “shell”) doesn’t get dirty at every change.  It also means less laundry, quicker drying time, and longer life for the diaper.

So I met with my friend at a cloth diaper workshop one Saturday and got to learn all about cloth diapers and the options.  It was great because I got to even try them on DJ!

What I learned:

First, I’m not sure I want to use prefolds (flat pieces of cloth that you have to fold in thirds to go inside the diaper cover/shell).   It was just kinda complicated and while I’m sure I could get the hang of it, I know J wouldn’t want to deal with that and neither would day care.  The GroVia Hybrid (or All-in-Two) system provided the ability to snap in a liner and unsnap when soiled.

Second, we reviewed the Thirsties shell and the GroVia shell.  I preferred the fit of the GroVia and the soft mesh lining of the interior (as opposed to the Thirsties which was just PUL).   Also, I found that I actually liked the GroVia applix because it was much more like a disposable to fasten.  With this you don’t have to line up the snaps to get a good fit.

So, I walked away purchasing three things:

1.  Two GroVia Hybrid shells with Hook and Loop (Blackberry and Mod Flower)

Gro Via Blackberry cloth diaper hook and loop hybrid ai2
Grovia mod flower cloth diaper hook and loop shell hybrid ai2

2.  Four Gro-Via Snap in BioSoaker pads.
Gro-Via snap in soaker pad hemp

3.  Medium sized Wet Bag from Wise Planet.  This will be used while at home and on the road for dirty diapers.  The entire bag is washed with the diapers.

 

Wet bag cloth diaper wise planet

So, that is enough to get me through four diaper changes.  We have tried them out over the past two weekends and we have been really happy with the results.  I do not think the snap in soakers will be strong enough to last her overnight, but she did make it through a long three hour nap the other day.

Of course, here are some pictures of her wearing them, they are so cute!

 
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Up next, will be our plans for going forward with cloth diapers at day care if its cost efficient for us!

Pumping at work schedule

When I was going back to work after maternity leave, one of my biggest fears was being able to keep up a good pumping schedule so I could keep DJ on breast milk for at least 6 months (although my long term goal is a year or more).  I had so much anxiety around figuring out my new “routine”.  I could just not wrap my head around how I would make all this work!  There wasn’t a lot of resources online about the schedule of working moms that pump.

I have been back to work now for just over 2 months and I finally feel like we have a good routine going.  Also, I use the Medela Freestyle pump.  I love it but will have to do a review on it later!

6:30 – J and I are both dressed and ready for work.  I get the baby changed and he “packs the bags”.  It is so helpful that he knows what this means.  I would highly suggest making a list for your husband to help with this or make sure its done the night before.

My pump bag includes:

  • Medala Freestyle pump
  • Pump wall charger
  • 2 extra freezer milk storage bags
  • Set of pump parts stored in the little medela cooler (we use a different cooler for bottles so this one just stores my parts but anything could be used).
  • 6-8 bottles with flat lids (for pumping 3-4 times while at work)
  • Sometimes I throw in a few pieces of chocolate!

I take DJ to daycare and feed her there from 7-7:30.  This totally was not my plan but it works for us because J can help us get out the door (he leaves at 6:45) and she is more awake for her first feeding.   Usually she only takes 1 side so sometimes I pump the other side while I drive to work.  My drive between daycare and work takes about 25 minutes with lots of traffic lights.  At my first long light, I set up my pump with one bottle and hook it up.  I don’t use a hands free bra but just use one of my arms to hold the bump against me.  After about 10-12 minutes, I wait until I hit another long light and I “unhook” and put everything away.

At work, I try to pump in the morning between 10 and 11 am.  They have a pump room (required by law) with this little sign on the door:

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Once inside I quickly set up my pump which looks like this (note, these are Gerber bottles, not the medela ones that came with the pump).

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I usually pump for anywhere between 12 and 18 minutes.  It requires a lot of compressions and keeping my mind off work stuff.  My first pump of the morning usually yields between 4-6 ounces!  Here you can see, my one side was almost 3. 5 ounces (she ate off this side at 7 am at daycare so it had been a good 3 hours) but the other side only produced 1.5 ounces (I had pumped this side on my way to work).  This is a totally normal variance for me, but usually as the week goes on and my body gets used to pumping both sides at once it evens out.

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DJ currently takes about 4 ounces per feeding at daycare.  One time saving tip I found was to go ahead and combine milk after pumping to try to make full bottles.  So in this instance, I would add a bit to the larger bottle to make it a full 4 ounce bottle and leave just a bit in the other bottle.  This way, I know I have one full bottle ready for the morning and its less pouring to do at 6:30 am when we are half asleep!

After all that’s done, I run water through the breast shield to rinse out any milk left in the pump.  I set on the counter to “drip dry”.

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After that I set them back in the Medela cooler bag which I then throw with my bottles into the fridge downstairs.

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This process takes me about 20 minutes in total.  I am thankful my job is flexible enough to allow me this time.  I will repeat this process on my lunch break and again in the afternoon.  Sometimes I then will even pump on my way home if the baby has just been fed (sometimes she is waiting to eat as soon as I get home).  Some days I only get 3 sessions in and some days I get in a lot more.  So far I have been able to keep up with her 16 ounces per day and only dip into my freezer stash a little bit!