Tuesday, December 3, 2013

first snow

Snow is sticking on the ground outside for the first time this winter and I thought it would be fun to take Shep outside to discover it.

I thought wrong.

He refused to touch it, walk in it, or otherwise marvel in it. Time to move to Florida, I guess!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

what I've learned about cloth diapers


  • Prefolds: flat cloth with more layering sewn into the middle
    image from bumritediapers.com
  • Flats: Um...just flat cloth. Flats and prefolds are time-consuming to put on, but they are the cheapest cloth diapering option.
    image from clothdiapergeek.com
  • Fitteds: cloth that is pre-shaped and has snaps. Fitted diapers are absorbent and offer great coverage.
    image from diaperjunction.com

Prefolds, flats, and fitted diapers need covers because they are not waterproof. You can put the diaper inside your cover and then put it on the baby, or you can fasten the diaper to the baby with a fastener (pins or the non-pokey Snappis) for better coverage and then put the cover on. There is a bit of a learning curve; look up special folding instructions for prefolds and flats.

  • Pockets: waterproof cover with cloth pocket in which you stuff a liner/insert for absorbency. Pocket diapers wick away moisture from baby's bum and have customizable absorbency based on the number and type of inserts.

image from blueberrydiapers.com

  • All-in-ones: absorbent cloth is sewn into a waterproof cover. Sorry, AIOs, you don't get a picture. I guess these ones are the least effort because all components are combined.


Total Cost: Approximately $300, not including the newborn rental kit.

I honestly have no idea how much money we've saved doing this because we've used a mix of both disposable and cloth, but I think we've probably spent as much on getting to this point in cloth diapering goods as we would've spent on the disposables we didn't buy doing cloth.

We now have a stash of 19-ish diapers, which I feel is a perfectly adequate number with changes every 3-ish hours during the day.

  • 12 Alva pocket diapers ($5 per diaper from superstash.net. This site was such a find for me. Bonus, she gives you a sample of CJ's butter, a cloth-diaper-safe diaper cream!)
  • 5 BumGenius 4.0 pocket diaper (approximately $20 per diaper, which is so expensive, but I do really like them!)
  • 1 CharlieBanana pocket diaper (approximately $20 and not worth the cost, in my opine, but does have adjustable leg elastics, which is cool.)
  • 1 Kawaii Snazzy Minky pocket diaper ($9)
  • 1 Kawaii original diaper (approximately $7, but came free with a certain-size order at kellyscloset.com/)
  • 2 Thirsties covers (approximately $13 per cover)
  • 3 Gerber prefolds that we received as a hand-me-down


  • Reusable wipes ($12)—This expense is unnecessary, probably, because you could make your own easily or just use washcloths. We have used like one pack of store-bought baby wipes over the past 14 months for out-of-house diaper changes.
  • Pail liner ($15)—Nice to have, but you could probably just use a pail without a liner.
  • Pail ($6 for a garbage pail with a lid)
  • Diaper sprayer ($30)—Very nice to have for solid poop that doesn't knock off into the toilet easily. Also doubles as a bidet, which saves on toilet paper! Too much information?

Cloth diapering a newborn

If you're interested in diapering your baby from the outset, you'll probably need a set of diapers specifically for the newborn phase (which is why I think rental kits are a cool idea). Most one-size diapers don't work amazingly well with tiny legs and bodies, but I've heard a few do. Fitted and prefold diapers are good options for newborn diapers, from what I can tell, because they contain explosive (read: exclusive breast-fed) newborn poop really well. Make sure to use a cover with leg gussets in order to get maximum containment!

Newborn cloth diaper rental

We did a newborn cloth diaper rental from a lady in SLC who runs Cloth Diaper Utah. I did not love the cloth diaper rental from her. First of all, the newborn AIOs that she gave us didn't actually fit Shepherd until he was 3 months old. It was a trial package of used diapers, 24 AIOs, and the fee was $100, only $25 of which was refundable. There are rental packages with better diaper options and better refund options available from cloth diaper stores online. (If you want a specific list for ideas about rental options, request it in the comments and I can e-mail you mine!)

Velcro (hook and loop) vs snap closures

I didn't love the velcro, which we used on our AIO rental and one of the Thirsties covers, because it gets worn easily and is scratchy/snaggy, and is harder to maintain. (If you do go with velcro, remember to close it/attach it in the wash to keep it nicer.)

Rashes and diaper cream

Haven't had a problem with rashes using pocket diapers, though Shep's skin is not overly sensitive. In fact, I've heard some people have fewer problems with cloth diapers because there are not as many chemicals in contact with baby's bottom, assuming you're using some good detergent. You should not use most rash creams with cloth diapers, though, because they don't wash out easily and can thus cause absorbency issues.

Type of inserts

I've heard that more natural fiber inserts (e.g., organic cotton, bamboo, and hemp) are more absorbent than microfiber, which is the type of insert that came with all of the pocket diapers we own. You can also use prefolds and flats as inserts.

Using both disposables and cloth 

We use disposables at night and sometimes if we have a diaper change while we're out and about. The next step in my cloth diapering progression is to use cloth diapers at night. I'm hoping to get a few more inserts to double up before I try this.


Cloth diapers do require rather special laundry care. If doing laundry more often for you is a major problem, this may be a deal-breaker for you. Most detergents are not ideal for cloth diapers because they leave some residue on the diapers that make them less absorbent. I've heard some people say they use Tide Original without problems, but this seems specious to me. More environmentally friendly detergents that don't contain harsh soaps are usually a better idea, but they are also harder to find in stores and more expensive. (You really should not need to use much soap in your wash cycle, though.) You should also have at least one extra rinse cycle to get them really clean.

Hard water leaves mineral deposits and sometimes you'll need to "strip" your diapers to get rid of these residual deposits. RLR is a popular laundry additive used for stripping diapers, but like many detergents, it can be hard to get your hands on. I've also heard of stripping methods using Dawn, vinegar, hot water alone, boiling, and washing soda or baking soda. Boiling can harm the fibers of different inserts and ruin waterproof fabrics; hot water may not be incredibly effective; and RLR is basically the same thing as washing soda/baking soda, but in a more concentrated form. I really have a lot of faith in the power of stripping to increase the absorbency of diapers.

Make sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions on the diapers.

I never put my diapers in the dryer. I either hang them inside or outside to dry on a line. Hanging outside is nice because the sun does wonders on stains!

Getting used diapers

I wouldn't have any qualms about getting a rental kit of used diapers, especially from sellers that have care guidelines that renters agree to. Also because you only use rental diapers for a short time. I'd be careful about buying used diapers for a permanent stash, though, because you don't necessarily know how they've been treated, and many cloth diapers need a pretty assiduous wash routine in order to stay nice, absorbent, and functional. There are plenty of people who do not follow these recommendations and eventually it degrades the diaper. So that's why I would be wary of buying used. But if you have good, reliable information about the diaper's history before buying, why not?

Making your own cloth diapers

I actually know nothing about this, only that it's possible.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

12 months

Shepherd had his first birthday on the 13th of this month. It's hard to believe it's already been a year since that one time when he was born. We are so grateful he's healthy and happy.

These days, Shepherd . . .

  • Loves washcloths. I hear some kids have "loveys" and washcloths must be Shep's? He carries them around with him as he crawls around and waves them like flags and wipes stuff down with them. Is he mimicking my sometimes hyperactive cleaning habits? 

  • Can stand on his own but is too much of a wimp to do so.
  • Is much more confident crawling and has developed a real crawl rather than his earlier army crawl--so he comfortably gets around on his own now. He still wants us to pick him up and be interacting with him most of the time, but occasionally he will go exploring on his own.
  • Still loves for us to walk with him by holding his hands.
  • Can understand some phrases we repeat often. 
  • Has started throwing tantrums a bit. Watch out for the terrible twos! Sometimes, when we make him do something he doesn't like, he screams and thrashes about. It's a little bit unsettling.
  • Plays with toys and things way more often and is much better about doing so by himself. He particularly loves putting things in containers and pulling things out of containers. He is also keen on passing items back and forth with us and of course inserting items, including his hands, in our mouths. He also likes taking lids on and off when no twisting is required.
  • Loves finger food and eating by himself, but he's a picky eater. His favorites are fruit and bread. We're making some effort to keep him away from added sugar as long as we have control over what goes into his mouth, so he had a bran muffin for his birthday cake. Awesome, right? I figure one-year-olds don't actually care about cake anyway.
  • Speaking of controlling what goes into his mouth, he was eating a used wipe one day and some used cloth diapers another day. Constant vigilance is necessary and my vigilance hasn't been amazingly constant.
  • With some prompting, Shep can blow into a recorder. He also does this funny thing where he hums through his nose while we pinch it for him. It is so funny!
  • Claps and waves (though he doesn't wave consistently, he understands its functional purpose, I believe), and likes to get us to clap our hands.
  • Has 4 teeth (his two front and bottom) and the cutest developing tooth gap on top.

  • Helps us when we're dressing him by sticking his arms and legs through the proper holes. He knows how to do it.
  • Diversifying his babbling repertoire with new sounds. He is becoming quite long-winded.
  • Still hates his car seat and still wakes up 3-4 times a night, sadly. He is back on a good schedule with naps, though! 
  • When he's not a grumpy pants, he is very smiley and happy to laugh at pretty much any moment. His sense of humor is developing, too, and that's fun to watch.

Friday, April 5, 2013

baby's first year in dollars

Shep is turning one-year-old next week (crazy, right?). To commemorate his birthday, I thought I'd tally up just how much he's cost us.

Total cost: $4497.67


Just a few notes about these figures:

  • We've spent a pretty decent portion of the diapering portion on cloth diapers, which we started doing gradually after Shep was bigger. I think the savings by using cloth diapers are going to start factoring in more in the future, since it was a large upfront cost. We use a mix of cloth and disposables, so we do have some disposable diaper expenses still.
  • We purchased most of Shep's clothes and toys second-hand.
  • There is no "feeding" category because Shep hasn't needed formula or specifically formulated baby food. He's just breastfed and/or eaten real people food.
  • We received several things as gifts both before he was born and since. These gifts aren't totally accounted for here, but I estimate the value of everything we received to be probably somewhere around $500.
  • The "healthcare" category includes our coinsurance responsibility for the hospital birth and a (partially subsidized by insurance) breast pump. That's all the expenses in that category.
  • The miscellaneous includes a lot of the big things: a crib (which we don't use! argh!), glider/rocking chair, car seat, stroller, 2 Ergo baby carriers (I lost one, sadly), a bike trailer, and 7 nursing covers. (Seriously, I have purchased 7 nursing covers. I lost 2, bought one I didn't like, and then bought 4 more that were being sold in a bundle. I figure I'll use them!)
Has anyone else tried to estimate the cost of their child in the first year? How do we compare? We've tried to be frugal, but I'm not sure if we've succeeded.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

half-baked mobility

Occasionally I'll turn my attention away from the baby for a few moments and hear him start whining. When I  investigate, I realize the cause is that he's pulled himself into a standing position somewhere (the last occurrence, it was on the door frame in the bedroom), then feels stuck and doesn't know what to do next.

Friday, March 15, 2013

His Cuteness

. . . in his Sunday clothes.

Monday, January 28, 2013

9.5 months

Our little baby is growing! His real age is somewhat near what his gestational age was, which is to say he's been alive out of the womb for as long as he was in it. Crazy, partially because being pregnant felt like an eternity, but having a baby on the outside makes time fly—they change so fast and every new stage brings new adventures.

I really feel like he's starting to make huge developments in the past few weeks—days even. It seemed like he wasn't doing much other than put on weight for a few months. Now he's learning! And learning so much that listing it all here would make for a rather long post. So get ready for a long post! But first, pictures.

Notice ridiculously cute baby sweater

About Shepherd:
  • Is finally starting to be mobile. This is exciting to me because I feel like he has been frustrated by his lack of control/mobility for a while. Now he's scooting/army crawling a bit, though he doesn't seem to want to hold himself up on his hands.  But he really is pretty adept at getting around and he whines the whole time. He gets frustrated quickly and gives up until we pick him up and carry him to his intended destination. He is also really into walking assisted these days, taking steps and propelling his motion by himself while we hold him up by his hands. He seems to be gaining a sense of motion and direction and all that.
  • Really likes to stand up holding on to the couch but hasn't figured out that he can pull himself up yet.
  • As of 1/26/2013, is cutting his first tooth on the bottom!
  • His sleeping is passable (he puts in 3-4 hour blocks on most nights) but there aren't any significant changes to speak of there, besides the occasional refusal to sleep for long periods of time or go back to sleep using his normal means. The past couple of weeks he's been going through one of his poor sleep phases (possibly due to teething and having a cold), which means he's waking up crying every 60-90 minutes, when usually he doesn't wake up crying or that often. We're really thinking about sleep training still but struggling to determine what and how to implement any decisive action on that front. 
  • Occasionally talks a lot, and it's fun to hear him babble. Sometimes he talks when he cries which is funny and sad all at once, and sometimes his lower lip quivers when he cries as if he's cold, when he's clearly not, which is probably unintentional, but terribly terribly cute.
  • Loves to grab everything and anything. We have to be careful about where we hold/carry him now. The other day he grabbed a hot pan on the stove! (No serious injury ensued.) It is also very hard to use my laptop (Work? Not happening.) if he's close by and not deeply asleep (as my missing S key can attet). He never nurses quietly anymore; he always grabs my face and hair when he's nursing, which is a bit obnoxious, and sticks his hands in my mouth, nose, etc. He thinks it's a funny game when he grabs my face hard enough for me to turn my head or hits my face. I'm not sure how to teach him that this is not a fun game but rather obnoxious, but I like it when he laughs too (and he doesn't laugh terribly often), so I'm torn.
  • Loves baths. We just have to take him in there and turn the water on to get a big grin out of him. 
  • Smiles so easily. It is fun to hand him toys and have him smile this curious, eager sort of smile when he sees them, or to get him to smile just by making eye contact with him.
  • Still doesn't eat a lot of solids and continues to nurse all the time. He has recently started developing a picky streak, refusing food we offer (green beans, for one). Before he would just accept it without any apparent response. A few months ago, we even gave him a lemon, which he accepted and sucked on with no response. But recently, sucking on a lemon caused the classic reaction you might expect. I wish we had a picture of it!
  • Loves loves loves to drink water from our water bottles. He doesn't drink water from receptacles designed for babies: bottles or sippy cups or what have you. He likes our adult water bottles best. He never really learned how to take a pacifier or bottle well, though.
  • Doesn't laugh super often, but we can get him in hysterics when he's tired especially. He also seems to laugh rather reliably when we tell him no.
  • Is more and more interactive and into mimicking: plays patty cake and is starting to wave bye-bye, though inconsistently. Usually he will ham it up for other people, but not as reliably as he used to, possibly due to some stranger anxiety and clinginess.
  • Is doing new things with toys. He's starting to learn how to hit other objects with objects he's holding, and seems to understand functionality more, like with his little glockenspiel/xylophone toy.
  • Is really into picking up (or trying to pick up) tiny things, like crumbs, little bits of paper, and mainly garbage that he finds on the floor. I guess we need to vacuum more often.
  • Is sort of okay on his own for longer periods of time. He is not okay when he notices you walk out of the room, and he still wants to be held and carried much of the time. Sometimes he'll cry for us to pick him up and crawl to us at the same time.
  • Continues to fall along the 15th percentile for height and weight (he's now about 18 pounds), and the somewhere in between the 50th and 60th for head size.

Monday, January 7, 2013

interrupted sleep

This morning, Tim asked me if the image of me walking past with a plunger in tow really happened at some point while he was in bed last night. Our plumbing is terrible and our sleep is always interrupted, so really, it's a very feasible situation, but I am pretty sure it didn't happen unless I was unclogging the toilet in a completely subconscious state.

I'm not sure what my point is or even why I thought about this, but I'm going to go ahead and publish this post regardless.