the adventures of ernie bufflo

things magical and mundane


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life, filtered: thoughts on instagram and identity

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I’ve made no secret about the fact that Instagram is probably my favorite Internet. Instagram is a happy place, for the most part (unless you’re totally following the wrong people), where folks share the beauty and joy and interesting things in their lives. There’s no BuzzFeed Quizzes. No weird out-there political rants. No ugly. No mean. Just all of my favorite things: food, babies, nature, pets, scenery. It’s the first thing I check when I fire up my phone in the mornings, and often the last thing I scroll through before bed.

Which is why it confuses me when people feel the need to “expose” the reality behind the filtered world of Instagram, or confess that Instagram makes them feel insecure.

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cloth diapering update: into toddlerhood

tips for cloth diapering toddlers // the adventures of ernie bufflo

I’ve written about cloth diapering newborns and infants, but I figured now that the girls are 17 months, it’s time for an update on the toddler phase of this operation.

I still LOVE LOVE LOVE my cloth diapers. I still think they’re no grosser or more difficult than disposables. I still think they’re 10 times cuter ;)

One new development: a diaper sprayer is a must in the toddler years. (I’m about to talk about poop. There’s no way around it. You’ve been warned.) While newborn and infant poop is water soluble, once baby is really eating solids, you’re gonna need to get most of that off the diaper before you wash it. For us, this was around 13 months. Of course, you could be lucky and just have a kid like one of ours (not naming names because they’ll be Google-able someday), whose poops are just little turds that easily roll off the diaper into the toilet. No sprayer necessary, pretty much ever, if that’s the case. But for our other kid, her poops are just a sticky mess and must be sprayed off. We have a sprayer from BumGenius, and my husband easily and quickly installed it on the toilet in the girls’ bathroom. It works great, just like the sink sprayer you probably have in the kitchen.

Also, toddlers pee more. Their bladders hold more, so you may find yourself needing to up the absorbency in your diapers. This is one reason why pocket style diapers are my favorite. It’s super easy to add an extra insert, preferably in a natural fiber like cotton, bamboo, or hemp, when you need to add absorbency, like nap time, or when you’ll be out and about. I like bamboo inserts from Alva Baby and hemp from Thirsties.

This also means you might have to find a new system for overnights to keep baby from waking up soaked. Our girls are such heavy wetters that I have yet to find a disposable diaper that doesn’t leak overnight, so even if we’re traveling and using disposable diapers, I put a cloth cover over the disposable to prevent leaks. Meanwhile, through trial and error, I’ve found cloth diaper systems that help them go more than 12 hours leak-free. For our heavier wetter, we use a Flip cover stuffed with one Flip organic overnight insert with a Flip stay dry insert over that. For the other girl, we use either a Thirsties Fab Fitted stuffed with a small Thirsties hemp insert inside a Flip cover or a Green Mountain workhorse fitted with a small Thirsties hemp insert and a fleece liner to keep her feeling dry (I cut up an old sweatshirt) inside a Flip cover.

Another new toddler cloth-diapering development is that Claire goes to pre-school:

Cloth Diapering and Daycare or Pre-School

When considering cloth diapers and daycare/pre-school, remember: it never hurts to ask, and the ask is easier if you Show And Tell. I asked if our pre-school would consider cloth diapering, and they said they were open to the idea. So I took in a few of our pocket diapers for them to check out. Once they saw they were all one piece, just like a disposable diaper, they said they’d give it a shot. And it’s worked out great! Some other things to keep in mind:

  1. Make it as easy on the caregivers as possible. For us, this means I take pre-stuffed pocket diapers all ready to go. I also don’t require them to spray poops or unstuff the diapers. Since their changing table is right next to a toilet, they dump the ploppable poops in the trash, then fold up the diapers and stuff them in a wetbag. I unstuff them when I get them home and throw them in the wash. I also didn’t try to rock the boat with cloth wipes. Just getting them to cloth diaper is enough for me! I also made sure the only diaper cream we provide is CD safe, which isn’t a problem because each kid supplies his own cream.
  2. Ask how many times a day they change kids, and send enough changes plus a couple extras. Our center changes kids every 2 hours, and she’s there from 8:30-3:30. I make sure they have 6 cloth diapers in Claire’s cubby at all times, along with a medium wetbag (we have 2 medium wetbags that get rotated according to which is in the wash).
  3. Make sure you tell them: “Put it on tighter than you think it needs to be.” I have found that putting on diapers too loose is the number one reason non-CDers have leaks when they try cloth diapers. I explained that the key to keeping wetness in was a tight seal around the waist and legs, and while they had a couple of leaks at first, our teachers eventually got it down. I also reassured them that a little redness from the elastic is normal, but we don’t want deep red marks.

Do you cloth diaper a toddler? Have any tips to share? Any questions?

 


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cloth diapering: four new reviews

I’ve written before about cloth diapering newborns and infants, but since my last post on the topic was when the girls were 5 months old, now that they’re 18 months, I figured it was time for an update now that we are well into toddlerhood.

Today, I’m sharing some reviews of brands/styles we’ve tried since I last wrote about our cloth diapering methods. Tomorrow, check back for a post with tips about cloth diapering toddlers and cloth diapering at preschool or daycare.

Charlie Bananas OS pocket cloth diaper review:

I picked up two Charlie Bananas OS cloth diapers at Target during a clearance sale, for $5 each. Regular price is around $20 per diaper. I’m definitely glad I picked these up. Structurally, they’re like a hybrid between my Alva Baby diapers and my BumGenius 4.0 snaps. They have snaps more similar to the Alva, with double snaps on the tabs and hip snaps to prevent wing sagging, but there’s a flap over the pocket like the 4.0s. They also stuff from the front rather than the back, which is different from most diapers, but doesn’t seem to affect the operation much. I will say, the inners are fleece where the 4.0s are suedecloth, and the fleece is much softer to the touch. Since some babies have sensitivities to suedecloth, these might be a better alternative for folks with that issue. They came with two microfiber inserts, one small and one large, and recommend using both for babies of 4 months or older. Since I usually just use one MF insert in my pockets during the daytime, I have only been using the large insert, and it’s been just as absorbent as my other MF inserts that I use on their own. I see no reason to use both unless you have a heavy wetter, or for overnights or naps.

One thing that isn’t really an issue for me, but might be for some people is that instead of snapping to adjust the rise, the elastic is accessed on the inside and can be taken in or let out using a sliding buckle similar to a bra strap. I hated (HATED) the elastic adjustment on FuzziBunz (which, I hate FuzziBunz diapers in general), largely because the buttons are exposed and dig into my babies’ skin, and would probably not enjoy trying to adjust Charlie Bananas up and down either, but since we’ve got the rise completely let out on all our OS diapers these days, I don’t have to deal with it at all. Overall, these are a nice pocket, just as absorbent as any others I’ve tried, and the fleece inside is nice and soft. I definitely recommend them.

Here’s some photos comparing the Charlie Banana Pocket to some 2011 FuzziBunz One Size diapers.

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Alva Baby diapers vs. BumGenius, FuzziBunz, and Charlie Banana

Another thing I’ve wanted to post about is how “Cheapy China” diapers from Alva Baby stack up to the more popular brands.

At less than $5 per diaper, Alvas are absolutely a great way to get a stash of pockets for very little investment. Sure, the website looks like it came straight from 1998, and free shipping from China seems sketchy, but they take PayPal, the shipping is slow but truly free, and they’re worth a try, whether you’re just filling out a stash, looking for a diaper to send to daycare, or buying all of your diapers.

I will say, they seem lower-quality than BumGenius or Charlie Banana, with flimsier fabrics, snaps that don’t match the fabric, and no flap over the pocket, but they’re perfectly serviceable, and none of those features are dealbreakers when you’re talking 1/5-1/4 the price of the “name brand” diapers. They only come with one insert, but they’re not leakier than others, and I recommend buying a few of their bamboo inserts, because those are super absorbent. Another thing: they seem to run a little bigger, particularly in the legs, than the others. This is great news for Claire and her luscious thighs, but this might be a problem on a skinny baby (though Etta is in the 5th percentile, and they work fine for her). And despite the flimsier feel of the material, these have held up just fine for us, unlike my Fuzzibunz, two of which have lost snaps.

Bottom line: Alvas are a great, cheap diaper and a great way to get the ease of pocket diapers on a budget.

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BumGenius Freetime AIO OS diaper review:

Recently, BumGenius introduced the Freetime, an all-in-one diaper that essentially marries their suedecloth-topped stay-dry Flip inserts with their 4.0s to create a stay-dry microfiber diaper with sewn in flaps that eliminate the need for stuffing. I bought two on sale, and I like them just fine.

Pros: they’re a little trimmer than the pockets, and they’re a little more absorbent. You don’t have to stuff them, so they’re always ready to go.

Cons: again, this is less of an issue for us because we just use the diaper as-is without having to size down in the rise, but having to fold the flaps over could be annoying. They’re also harder to get on right, because the two overlapping flaps try to slide out the sides, and because if you don’t get the flaps laid down right, baby can be lying on the flap, preventing you from pulling the front up all the way– so they’re just tricky. My husband expressly avoids using them, because he doesn’t want to fiddle with making sure the flaps aren’t peeking out the leg holes. Also, if kiddo poops in the diaper and you’re trying to spray it out into the toilet, the flaps flop around and have been known to make the process difficult.

Overall: I like these diapers fine, and not stuffing is nice, but I still prefer the pocket style of the 4.0 because there are no flaps to fuss with, and because it’s easy to customize the absorbency with added inserts.

Cloth Swim Diapers:

First of all, if you have toddlers in warm weather, you MUST have a kiddie pool. Mine were a little young/unsteady as walkers to enjoy splash parks this summer, and we don’t have consistent access to a real pool, but the girls have LOVED their kiddie pool. Not sure why it took me so long to get one.

Now, you can use an unstuffed pocket or just a diaper cover as a swim diaper, because all a swim diaper does is contain poop. Yep, even your disposable swim diapers which immediately become waterlogged when you get in the pool aren’t absorbing any pee. At first I was just using Flip covers, but those are kind of clingy, and I don’t think wet PUL clinging to my skin would be very comfy. Then, at the same Target clearance sale I mentioned above, I found Charlie Banana swim diaper/training pants on sale for $3.50. So nice. They look more like little swim bottoms, and have a cotton liner and a drawstring at the waist. Also, they pull double duty as waterproof training pants when potty training time arrives. I highly recommend them. I’m even thinking about starting to stock up on them to use as training pants when the time comes, because I like them better than any other trainers I’ve seen.

The pink diapers on the right are the swim/trainers.

The pink diapers on the right are the swim/trainers.


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cloth diapering twins 5 months in

My initial post on cloth diapering our girls has been so popular, I thought I’d write a follow-up now that we’re 5 months in, as I wrote the original only a week or so after we moved into our one-size diapers. So, see that post for the most detailed newborn cloth diapering info, and this one for cloth diapering past the newborn stage.

The short version is that yes, folks who keep asking me if I’m “still doing that cloth diaper thing,” I am, and I still love it. Here’s the more detailed version:

What diapers are we using? Which are our favorite? Least favorite?

For daytime, we exclusively use one-size pocket diapers. We have well over 50 changes, as a few friends gifted me some used BumGenius pockets since my last post. We have mostly BumGenius 4.0s, and we really like them. I can see from the used ones that the aplix (Velcro) closures don’t necessarily hold up great long-term, but I still like the aplix best for fit. So that might be something to consider if you plan on using your diapers for multiple kids– the snaps hold up better over time, even if you can’t quite customize the fit as well.

My second favorite diapers are probably Alva Baby, and they’re only my second favorite because they run slightly bigger, and because I just don’t have as many of them. Honestly, though, if I were buying a completely new stash, I’d probably just order Alvas. You could get 24 Alva pockets for $115 and have a great stash of diapers to last from about 10 lbs through potty training.

My third favorite is probably our Rumparooz, but because I don’t absolutely love them, I sold I’m planning to sell the 6 I have (so let me know if you want them!). On the bright side: they’re well made, I like the colors, and I love the inner gusset for containing runny baby poo. Their inserts are probably the most absorbent microfiber inserts I’ve seen. The downside for us is that they just don’t fit our girls great. I often have gapping at the waist. It rarely leads to leaks, but it did cause my one and only poop blowout in cloth, doubly frustrating because we were in a waiting room when it happened… (It came out the waist in the front. Ick.)

My least favorites are Fuzzibunz OS Elite. The PUL (the waterproof outer fabric) is “sticky” on the inside, and the pocket is narrow, which makes them really hard to stuff. I can’t even imagine getting an extra insert into them for when I want extra absorbency. I also had one of the snaps pop off one of my diapers (I’ll be contacting customer service to get a replacement under the warranty).

What about nighttime?

We have a couple methods for nighttime. The most bullet proof is still a Thirsties Fab Fitted with a Thirsties hemp insert in a Flip cover. Fitteds are a popular choice for nighttime because the entire diaper is absorbent, not just the insert, so you’ve got the “soaker,” the outer of the fitted, plus an extra insert, all absorbing. We can go over 12 hours without leaks in this combo. (Some folks also let their kiddos run around in just a fitted and no cover at home, because it allows more air flow which can prevent rashes. You’d definitely need a cover for leaving the house or if you were putting pants over, though, because otherwise you would have soaked pants! At home you can just change the minute you notice the wetness has migrated to the outer layer.)

We also use a BumGenius 4.0 with a Thirsties hemp insert overnight with success. This is also my go-to method when we’re going to be in the car for a while, or when we’re going to be out running errands and I don’t want to have to drag both babies into say, a Target bathroom for a change. (My pockets with their microfiber inserts are good for about 2 hours between changes. Adding one hemp insert really makes a difference.)

How does it work when you’re out of the house?

I still do cloth diapers when we leave the house. They’re definitely bulky for the diaper bag, but my diaper bag is now a Patagonia Half Mass messenger bag that holds all my twin gear. Not a problem. I just change them like normal and stuff the dirty diaper into a wet bag to deal with when we get home. I also carry an emergency stash of disposables in the event we blow through 4 cloth diapers while out and about.

What about daycare?

Our girls go to daycare 3 days per week while I finish grad school. Our daycare does not cloth diaper, and I’ve yet to hear of any in my city that do. I keep disposable diapers on hand at home so I can send them to daycare in a disposable. They supply the diapers they wear all day while there, and then I put them in cloth when they get back home. I’m not so militant that I can’t allow my girls to wear disposables a few days per week so I can get my degree finished.

It’s also good to have some disposables because of what I call…

The diaper rash cream situation

You can’t use just any diaper cream with cloth diapers. Desitin, Butt Paste, A&D, Balmex, they’re all out, because they coat the fibers of the diapers and ruin their absorbency. California Baby is the most readily available cloth diaper safe cream, and I can get it at Target. It’s not very thick and doesn’t sit on the skin as a protective layer, so it’s not the greatest for major rashes. Burt’s Bees is cloth diaper safe according to many, and it’s nice and thick, but I’ve found it sometimes leaves a residue on my diapers that has yet to affect their function, but annoys me nonetheless. If I’m really dealing with a rash (mostly this is with Claire and I believe is specific to her because of her spina bifida and having many many more frequent wet diapers than her sister), I either use a flushable liner in my cloth diapers or put the girls in disposable diapers so I can use an “unsafe” cream.

I also go super hippy dippy and use coconut oil as a moisture barrier and rash preventer. I keep it in a little tupperwear and slather it on at changes to keep wetness off their skin.

The laundry routine

I still don’t find cloth diaper laundry to be much of a burden. I generally wash every day, but now that the girls are in daycare, they don’t go through the diapers as fast. Basically, once the wetbag is full, I start a load of wash in the morning. I have a front-loading Samsung HE machine. I do a cold “quick wash” with no spin, then add my detergent and do a hot/cold “normal” wash with an extra rinse. We use Tide Ultra Original HE powder, and it works great. I wanted something I could buy at Target. I usually tumble dry my inserts and hang my pockets to dry.

Currently, I just toss the dirty diapers right in the wetbag and then they go straight into the wash, but we are rapidly approaching the end of this simple era because it’s almost solid food time. Solid food poops are not water soluble like formula and breast milk poops. With solid food poops, I will have to “plop” what I can into the toilet, and am planning to get a diaper sprayer to rinse them off into the toilet. When we leave the house, I will use flushable liners.

In the evenings, after the girls are in bed, I stuff the inserts into the pockets, usually while drinking wine and watching TV. It’s really no big deal.

Overall, I still love cloth diapering. In fact, I may or may not have made up a parody version of “I like big butts” by Sir Mixalot, dedicated to their fluffy cloth diaper butts.

Update: If you like this post, you might like my later posts on cloth diapering:


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hippie crap: a cloth diaper post

One of the few things I felt very strongly that I wanted to do as a parent was cloth diaper the girls. It’s also one of the things I get asked about most often (seriously, random texts from friends asking “can you tell me about this cloth diapering thing?”), and I figured it might be easy just to write about it and have someplace to point people when they ask me questions. So here’s that post.

Why Cloth Diaper?

Different people cloth diaper for different reasons. For me, there are two biggies. The most important to me was the environment. We recycle, garden, compost, bicycle, eat mostly vegetarian, and try to consume sustainable products. Knowing that the average baby produces at least 1.5 tons of diaper waste, all of which goes to a landfill and never biodegrades (seriously, even if you use “compostable” or “biodegradable” diapers, if you don’t compost them, they don’t get enough air and sunlight in a landfill to ever break down), I really wanted to find a better, more eco-friendly way to deal with diapering. The way I see it, we’re preventing at least 3 tons of landfill waste, and that’s huge.

My second reason is financial. Having two babies in diapers to potty training would cost at least $2k, and knowing I would probably at least be buying pricier eco-friendlier diapers if I were using disposables, that total would likely be closer to $4k.

Etta rocks a newborn Lil Joey diaper.

Now, there are seriously dirt cheap ways to cloth diaper a baby, but I was a little afraid of the cheapest option of prefold diapers and covers. I wanted to go with the easiest options, most like disposables, where you just put on the diaper with either snaps or velcro, it’s all one piece, and all I have to do is toss it in the wash afterward– no folding or pinning or other origami type skills necessary, so I chose All in One (AIO) diapers for the newborn (NB) stage and one size (OS) pocket diapers for the rest of my diapering days. I stalked deals online (Zulily, Babysteals, EcoBabyBuys, Abby’s Lane, Cotton Babies), shopped used (Spot’s Corner, various message boards, Ebay), and received many of my newborn diapers as gifts from our registry. I personally spent $125 on newborn diapers, and did not pay full price for a single diaper.

Overall I had 36 newborn AIO diapers (BumGenius, Kissaluvs, and LilJoeys) for a total cost of $388. Additionally, after the girls outgrew the NB diapers, I sold them online for $245, bringing the actual cost of my newborn diapers to $143, and, considering what I actually personally spent as a result of receiving so many diapers as gifts ($125), essentially got paid to use cloth diapers for the first 9 weeks.

I also built up a stash of 36 OS pocket diapers (BumGenius 4.0, Rumparooz, Fuzzibunz, and Alva), plus 4 Flip covers and 12 Flip inserts, plus 12 fitteds (Rearz and Thirsties) and 6 hemp inserts (Thirsties) to use for overnights. The total cost of this stash, essentially 60 changes of diapers, which I hope will last until the girls potty train, was $545.90.

$545.90 is less than one half of what I would have spent on disposable diapers for just one baby.

In addition, I purchased two large hanging wetbags, for $30 each, and 4 travel size wetbags for various prices, one at $5, one at $18, and two for $14. That adds $51 to my total.

Other folks are convinced that cloth diapers are healthier for their babies because they don’t have chemicals in them. Others swear their kids get fewer diaper rashes (this has been true of our experience). And others claim that cloth diapered kids are potty trained easier. So, maybe some of that interests you.

What are the diapers like?

OS diaper on the left, NB AIO on the right. Both from BumGenius.

For the newborn stage, the diapers are truly not much different than a disposable. The AIOs I chose are all one piece, with waterproof fabric on the outside, soft fleece on the inside, and microfiber “soakers” (the absorbent part) in between. They closed with snaps or velcro. Because the poop of formula- and breast-fed babies is water soluble, there is nothing more required than taking the diaper off the baby, tossing it in a wetbag, and unzipping the wetbag and shaking the diapers into the washer when the wetbag gets full. They can be tumble-dried on low or hung out to dry (the sun does wonders for keeping them white and fresh), and there’s no folding or stuffing required. I really don’t see how this is any more work than tossing the diapers in the trash and taking the trash out when the bag gets full. I did not find changing the diapers to be any more disgusting than the disposables we used in the hospital.

Inside a NB AIO.

The OS pockets for 9 weeks and beyond have one extra step. The absorbent soaker is not sewn into the diapers like with the NB AIOs, and instead must be “stuffed” into the pocket of the diaper after washing, and removed from the pocket of the diaper before washing. This extra step is worth it, though, because pockets can be stuffed with more and different inserts to customize absorbency, for example, by using hemp inserts in addition to or instead of microfiber inserts (that typically come with most pocket diapers) at nighttime for added absorption.

Inside a BumGenius 4.0 OS pocket diaper.

The way OS diapers are in fact one-size is that they are adjustable to fit most babies from about 10 lbs to 35 lbs. Most use snaps to change the “rise” of the diaper, and either have snaps or velcro/aplix to customize the waist. The only diaper I have that doesn’t use snaps to adjust the rise is my Fuzzibunz, which use leg elastic adjustments to change the size.

My girls were born at 6 lbs and wore their NB AIOs for 9 weeks, up to about 12 lbs. At that point, they still physically fit into the NB AIOs, but had outgrown the absorbency, leading to leaks. We switched them to the OS pockets at that point and have not had daytime leaking problems.

Rocking their first “big girl” OS diapers.

Nighttime leaks were another scenario as we began to get stretches of sleep up to 6 hours. This led me to look into fitted diapers. Fitteds look a lot like OS pockets in that they are adjustable in size. However, with a fitted, the entire diaper is absorbent, not just the soaker, so they can hold a lot more fluid. They can also be stuffed with additional inserts to make them even more absorbent. Because the whole diaper is absorbent, fitted diapers must be used with a waterproof cover. Right now we are using Thirsties Fab Fitteds at night with an additional Thirsties hemp insert and our Flip covers and have gone up to 8 hours with no problems. Even after that long, they seem like they could hold more liquid.

But isn’t it so much work?

Even with newborn twins, I haven’t found cloth diapering to be oppressively labor intensive. If you’re one of those people who hate laundry, you might hate this too. I don’t mind laundry, or diaper laundry, because a machine does all the work, and most of the work required of me can be done while sitting on my butt in front of the TV. It’s easy enough to do the cold rinse on the diapers, and then add in all the dirty baby clothes, blankets, bibs, and burp rags for the wash. I do about one extra load of laundry per day. If I had more diapers, I could do laundry less often.

But isn’t it gross?

One of the most common reactions I get is “ewww poop in your washer.” Well, blowouts and leaks happen even with disposables, so unless you’re planning to throw your kid’s clothes out every time s/he has a blowout, leak, or spitup incident, there’s going to be poop, pee, and puke in your washer too.

Other folks are grossed out that I bought some of my diapers used, noting a squick factor similar to used underwear. Once washed in hot water with soap and a little bleach, I saw no problem with it, personally.

Another common question is whether or not I have to touch poop. So far in my experience: not any more than when we have used disposables. When the girls start solids, we will have to “plop” their poop into the toilet and likely spray it off with a sprayer attached to the toilet. But overall, I don’t feel like I’m getting my hands any dirtier than I do when I change disposable diapers.

What about leaving the house?

I don’t do much different when we leave the house, except I take a smaller travel-sized wetbag to hold the dirties until I can deal with them when I get home. If we go on vacation to someplace without access to a washer and dryer, I will either buy the disposable inserts for my Flips or use disposables.

Anything else?

One thing to keep in mind with cloth diapers is not to use anything on them that might coat the fabrics or make them less absorbent. This means using “cloth diaper safe” detergents and diaper creams. Lots of folks use all kinds of specialty detergents, and there are lists that will let you know what’s safe, but I use Tide Ultra because it’s cheap, easy to find at Target, and gets my diapers clean and fresh-smelling. Folks buy all sorts of indie diaper creams too, but we use California Baby, which I can get at Target. Burt’s Bees is also cloth diaper safe, as is the lanolin you might also use on your nipples if breastfeeding, as is coconut oil.

Any questions?

Feel free to ask!

If you liked this post, you might like my later posts about cloth diapering:


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parenthood one month in

Saturday was my due date. Instead of being in labor, I spent the day with my ONE MONTH OLDS. They’re already growing up so fast! There’s no way they’d fit in the little preemie footie pjs they came home in just four weeks ago. Amazing how time flies when lived in 3 hour intervals between baby feedings.

Time also apparently flies between blog posts around here…sorry about that.

The truth is, my life is rather boring but happy at the moment. I’m not kidding about the living in 3 hour intervals thing– we followed the “golden rule of multiples” from the start, which is “one up, both up,” and mercifully the babies are on roughly the same eating/sleeping schedule, which works out great until I’m home alone with them and they’re both screaming with hunger at the exact same time, and I can currently only feed one at a time because they both like to try to drown in their food, or dribble it all over themselves, or choke themselves by sucking the nipple too far into their mouths. Luckily, until June, Jon is home with me most of the time, and we can just both feed a baby at the same time. This also means we can trade off at night and get longer stretches of sleep!

In a similar vein, I’m no longer mournful about not being able to breastfeed. Formula may be stinky and expensive, but it’s also fast and easy, and it allows my husband and me to share in the feeding of our babies. It also means I’m getting much more rest than I would be if I were nursing, and I’m enjoying having my body mostly to myself after 9 months of sharing it with two other people. I get to drink wine in the evenings! More than one glass even, if I’m feeling crazy!

Another thing that’s working out great is cloth diapering. I was really hoping it would work for us, and it totally is. I don’t find the cloth diapers to be any more disgusting to deal with than the disposables we used for the first 2-ish weeks, and when we have babies spitting up and such all the time, we’re already doing an extra load of laundry every day anyway. If anyone is particularly curious about what we’re doing, I thought I’d give a quick rundown.

We have a “stash” (oh cloth diapering lingo!) of 36 newborn all-in-one diapers (aka AIOs). They are BumGenius XS’s, Lil Joeys, and some Kissaluvs. (When the babies are bigger, we’ll switch to my stash of one-size pocket diapers.) I chose AIOs because they’re the easiest to use, and the most like disposables. I could probably wash every other day, but I just do a small load every day because I’ve got other stuff to wash anyway. I run the dirty diapers through a rinse and spin cycle with no spin, and then I add in the other laundry and do a “sanitize” cycle on the heavy duty setting for extra water. We tried All Free and Clear detergent, but I wasn’t crazy about it (I felt like the diapers still kind of smelled), so now we’re trying Tide Original Powder. I figured I’d exhaust all my available-at-Target options before moving on to more specialty detergents. I’ve been mostly drying the diapers in the dryer, though I’d like to line-dry them more often.

I think the cloth diapers are really cute, and I like that we’re not creating tons (literally) of trash by using disposable diapers. Other folks use cloth for health reasons, but those weren’t one of my top priorities. Most of all, we’re saving a ton of money over what it would cost us to have twins in disposable diapers. I know some folks try to claim the energy and water from washing is just as expensive, but with our high efficiency washer and dryer, it’s totally a negligible cost.

As far as the babies themselves: they are perfect. Sure, Claire sometimes reminds me of a hungry hungry hippo (do NOT get between that girl and her bottle), and Etta is our little Fussbudget who wants to be held all the time, but they are the most precious and beautiful little things I’ve ever seen. When they’re snuggled together? The cuteness is somehow multiplied by a factor of 10. I’m so looking forward to seeing their personalities develop.

A month in, motherhood has both changed and not changed me. I feel like the same person, even though I was worried that I wouldn’t. Sometimes I look around and feel like I’m playing house and wonder who entrusted us with the care of these two little people. But at the same time, I’m surprised by how much I don’t mind all the work that care involves. I used to have a hair-trigger gag reflex, but now I can deal with all manner of the disgustingness babies produce without batting an eye (though the nasty smell of formula spit-up in my hair still makes me want to run for the toilet).

I’ve still not spent an entire day alone with the babies, and we have basically only ventured out to doctor’s appointments and church, and then always with Jon. The very idea of going somewhere alone with the babies seems VERY daunting to me at this point. Two infants is just a lot to handle.

As for all of my fears about how having twins would rob me of some of the specialness of a new-baby experience, they were both founded and unfounded. I read the posts of new moms of singletons on one of my pregnancy message boards and see things like how they never let their baby cry for more than just a second, how they’re always rushing to comfort their baby, how they never put their baby down, even how exhausted and frustrated they are, and I almost want to laugh AND cry. With two infants and only one me, if Jon’s not home, sometimes one baby just has to scream her head off when I’m feeding her sister and can’t stop to feed her too. I’m always having to put one baby down to pick up another. And nighttime feedings take twice as long because I have to do the whole routine twice. I must resist the urge to say, “we had only one baby home for a week and it was SO EASY.” Seriously though, my theory is that 2 babies are 4 times harder than 1, though I should probably save that sentiment for the multiples message boards– infancy is hard, no matter how many infants you have.

I still get plenty of baby snuggles. I still spend hours staring at their tiny faces, gazing into their currently still-blue eyes. I still have babies falling asleep on my chest. I still feel very bonded and connected to both of them. And all of us are doing so much better than I could have possibly imagined either while pregnant or just a month ago.

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