Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Missing In Action!

Sorry I've been out of the loop!  Between going back to work, our suddenly busy schedule, and my procrastination, my just-started blog has fallen by the wayside.

My goal is to get two posts up a week: one product review and one post about myself and my family or a parenting or stress relief issue.  Once I get a routine set, I'll let you know when to expect things to come up on here.  I'll also be posting links on my Facebook page to keep everyone in the loop.

Because things are going to begin happening around here, including some review giveaways I'm in talks to host, you'll want to follow my blog!  You can do so by finding the button on the sidebar.  Also, be sure to follow me on Facebook here.

Monday, September 13, 2010

We Cloth Diaper...Do You?

I'm a self-admitted cloth diaper addict.  But 6 months ago, I never could have expected it.  You see, this is baby number one, and there's a lot of things I didn't expect with this little guy.  But I think what's surprised me most is my experience with cloth diapering.

I made the decision to use cloth almost without thinking about it.  When Baby Tubbs was just 18 weeks in my belly, a friend mentioned her plans to use cloth.  She didn't describe the diapers or anything before my mind immediately knew I wanted to do the same.  I spent months researching and planning and warding off judgement from unsupportive friends and relatives.  But I was ready when Tubbs arrived.

It's important to note the "I" in this process.  My husband (Papa Bear) was not at all interested in doing cloth.  He is usually someone who likes to go with the flow and not stand out, so doing cloth seemed pretentious and unnecessary to him.  He still won't say he likes cloth, but he's not fighting it and I think he's seeing the benefits here and there.  Plus, how can you not think this is adorable?

Tubbs just chilling out in his bumGenius 4.0 in Grasshopper.

I will say, there have been struggles.  We didn't know what to do at night for the first few weeks.  About 5 or 6 weeks in, I had to admit that the system I had spent months touting as the most amazing thing on the planet just didn't work for us.  I went through a phase where I had 4 diapers we were using, and I'd wash 3 as fast as possible as soon as the fourth went on Tubbs' bottom.  I've spent tons of money on things that didn't work for us before determining what does.  And now that I know, I spend tons of money because I just can't stand how many adorable options there are!

Right now, we use a mix of pockets and all-in-ones (AIOs) as our primary diapers.  We have mostly hook and loop (which is the generic name for Velcro) because it's so easy for Papa Bear and our daycare center to use.  We do have some snaps, which I like, but the hook and loop fits on smaller babies, which is great for us. I stuff the pockets before putting them away, so they are ready to go.  All of our pockets are one-size diapers, which started fitting Tubbs right away and should fit until potty training.

Here's what I know for next time (and the advice I give to new CD moms):
  • You can cloth diaper from moment one.  There are diapers that will fit well at itty-bitty sizes and that go below the belly button.  We will probably wait until we get home from the hospital, though, so I don't have poopy diapers sitting in a bag, needing to be washed the second I get home with the new baby.
  • Having prefolds on hand is a lifesaver.  We use them when I wait too long to do diaper laundry, when I've packed our stash for a trip, if there's only a short time between the diaper change and bedtime, or if I'm just in the mood.  But when I had my sudden, abrupt breakup with our first diaper system, it's all Tubbs wore until we could afford to buy what I really wanted.
  • For most families (and dads), pockets and AIOs will really be your system.  I know there are people who love fitteds, prefolds, flats...but most people really will just be best served with pockets and AIOs.  It's the most like disposables, and the easy of use is just unbeatable.  Still, your favored brand will not necessarily be what you think it will.
  • Just because a diaper is cheap does not mean it's bad.  And just because a diaper is expensive does not mean it's good.  We have diapers that cost over $20 that we can't stand, and a couple $10 ones that we could definitely use as a whole stash.  Read reviews, watch user videos on YouTube, and talk to people at local cloth diaper stores.  You'll learn what you're looking for, and then just find out if a diaper fits that.
  • Hemp is the only way to go for overnight.  I don't care what type you use, but you have got to use it.  Just trust me.
  • Cloth diapering is a community.  I've found so many friends through getting involved in cloth diapering communities, and you can really get a ton out of it.  Enjoy, cherish, learn, share and love.
  • You WILL want to talk about your cloth diapers.  Just remember not everyone is as excited as you are.  If you must, pick one or two quick points that might interest someone and then leave it be unless they ask more.
Relaxing in a Mac & Cheese FuzziBunz after a long day of playing.

Cloth really cuts my stress.  I never have to rush to the store because we're out, Tubbs has never had a diaper rash or blowout, there is no super-stinky disposables in our trash can, and our laundry level is no larger than my friends who don't cloth diaper.  Plus, folding and stuffing actually makes me really happy.

Do you cloth diaper?  If so, what made you decide to do it?  If not, was it something you considered at all?  

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Forward Thinking Has Me Pegged

My current obsession is Forward Thinking, a work at home mom (WAHM) operation with some of the most gorgeous items around.  Leading the shop is Cheryl, who personally creates diapers and diaper sets, bags, leg warmers and bibs for customers.  You can check her out on Facebook or at Sew Crafty Baby, where some of her items are stocked.

I was lucky enough to get in on a testing round for the new Forward Thinking bag.  With its gorgeous and bold orange bird print, strong construction, and big interior space, I knew I would be in love from day one. 

Ralphie and Sophie love to ride along in this super roomy bag!
We use this as a diaper bag/purse/carry all and let me tell you, it carries it all.  We can fit 5 cloth diapers, wipes, a burp cloth, blanket, change of clothes, 2 toys, my wallet, a wetbag, 2 bottles and formula with a little room to spare.

It is beautifully made and I get tons of compliments.  Don't tell my cousin, but she is getting one in another print for Christmas, just because I think it is gorgeous and versatile.  She doesn't have kids, but she carries stuff on the NYC subway every day and this will be perfect for that, too!

Check out the gorgeous interior fabric, too!

My bag doesn't have all the bells and whistles the final version will, like top closures and a key ring.  But it does have two inside pockets, one big (that holds tons...sometimes I find 3 pacifiers in there without knowing I'd had one in there from the start!) and one small (perfect for quick-grab stuff like travel hand sanitizer and lip gloss).

All in all, it's my favorite bag, hands down.  And I can't wait to scoop up more Forward Thinking goodies!

Less Stress Makes Mama Happy!

Welcome to my new blog.  Here I will try to find different products, articles and ideas to help reduce stress for parents.  Studies show mothers (and fathers!) with less stress have more confident kids, and that's my goal!  It might not always be what the books recommend, but I always want my baby to be happy, healthy, and growing strong.

I'll post my first review shortly, but if you want an early taste, head over to Forward Thinking on facebook.  This might be one of my absolute favorite places right now, and I can't rave enough about the gorgeous products Cheryl sells.  She's hosting a giveaway when she reaches 2500 fans, so stop on by, and let her know the Less Stress Mama sent you!