babywearing: what I've learned so far

I wrote this post back in April and never hit publish because I was lost in baby land and it just wasn't quite perfect. Well, perfect or not, there's some good info in here for any one looking to wear their babies! I am not an expert on baby wearing, this is solely my opinion! 

When I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to try baby wearing, but I had no clue how much I would fall in love with it. It's a total addiction, and there is a whole world of baby wearing groups on Facebook, dedicated to learning about it, and to buying and selling carriers. Like cloth diapering, there are so many different brands and kinds, and I sort of want to try them all! (But for obvious financial reasons, I've had to choose)....

Here's what carriers I have and what I've learned so far...

I registered for the Ergo 360, and the infant insert to go with it. This is a more structured carrier, and I really am not a huge fan of it... yet. We've used it a few times for walks and needed the infant insert because Holtan is a small guy. The straps seem to hit me in the wrong spot on the back of my arms, so it's not the most comfortable for me, but it's possible it just needs to be adjusted. I'm not in love with how stiff it is, but I think if we used it more and broke it in, I would like it a little better. Dave has used it a few times, and it seems to be a more "masculine" carrier, and I could see him using it in the future for front forward carriers once Holtan gets more head and trunk control. It will maybe also be nice for back carries when we are hiking or out for walks.

first time in the moby wrap  

first time in the moby wrap

 

I bought a moby wrap off the MC Buy/sell/trade site for $15. I'm glad I did. It was black, so was covered in fur and the fabric was thicker, and harder to manage than I liked.

little man loves to be in the solly wrap

little man loves to be in the solly wrap

But had I not tried the moby (and watched the videos on how to wrap) I maybe would not have discovered the solly wrap. This thing is my favorite. The fabric is light, and its comfortable. The only downside is it's a long piece of fabric, so putting it on outside is difficult if you don't want it to touch the ground. I usually put it on before we leave the house and just wear it as part of my outfit. The was perfect for when Holtan was really little, and I still use it for around the house, when I know he needs a nap, but won't sleep on his own. He usually falls asleep within minutes of being put in it. This is the wrap I use most often. 

first trip to ikea in the solly wrap

first trip to ikea in the solly wrap

After falling in love with the solly wrap, I knew that I wouldn't be able to use it forever... as he is getting heavier, the fabric stretches a little more and you can only use it for front carries, where baby is facing you. I know as he gets more alert, he is going to want to face out to see what's going on. So I started looking into other options. 

Which brought me to the ring sling.  I discovered the Wildbird Ring Sling from Instagram, and it really is kind of like a cult. In a good way of course. There are different types of fabrics, double and single layer. I spent a lot of time watching you tube videos and reading their site, and finally decided to get a single chambray ring sling (Magpie). It is a definite learning curve, but this is my favorite way to wear him for short burst of time, and on the go. The other day we went to Target and little man was NOT HAPPY on the way there. I put the ring sling on, dropped him in it, and he was asleep the whole time we shopped. It was a quick and easy way to make him happy, and didn't take forever to get on. 

trying out the wild bird ring sling

trying out the wild bird ring sling

Which brings me to the last 2 styles and brands of baby wearing devices that I have purchased. Since I love wrapping some much, but wanted something a little more structured, but still soft, I landed on a Moby brand, Baby Hawk mai tei wrap.  I have tried it once, and I think Holtan is a little too small yet. but I think this will be a nice thing to use when he gets a little heavier and bigger and the solly isn't supportive enough.  

And last but not least, I found a used Tula carrier on Facebook and just got it last week. I have been using it a lot. I've had my eye on the Tula for awhile (after I discovered the Ergo wasn't very comfortable for me), and knew I wanted to buy a used one (so that it would already be broken in). I am very happy with it. It has buckles (vs ties like the mai tie) and is quick and easy to get him in. He seems to really like it too. This may be my go to carrier this spring because I can get him in fast, and he seems well supported. 

So, as you can see, I'm addicted to baby wearing, and have spent some money getting a stash of carriers. The good news, I can use them for any other kids that we have, and I can sell them and get my money back on most of them.  I have used all of them and each carrier has its advantages. Holtan loves to be snuggled up on a carrier, its a great way for me to snuggle him, but still have 2 hands to get some things done. I hope that he continues to like it even as he grows.  

 

cloth diapering: what I've learned so far.

Warning: This post contains poop talk.

I've been wanting to document our experience with cloth diapering, but was putting it off because I didn't feel like I had our groove figured out yet. Turns out, I'm still trying to figure that out, but I want to get this down so I have a reference in the future (and to help any other moms and dads out that might be hoping to start down the cloth diaper path). 

Here's the deal with cloth diapers: It doesn't have to be all or nothing. AND, it might take awhile to find what works best for you. When they are newborn, it's hard  to find something that fits them well , won't leak, works for your lifestyle, and is easy enough for both parents to figure out.  I also think that as he grows and wets larger quantities, I'm going to need to learn a bit more about absorbency.

We started cloth around week 7, and here's what I've learned so far:

There are lots of styles and brands. 

All in one or AIO: this is a diaper that is just like it sounds. It has the inserts sewn in and is a one time use diaper, then it needs to be washed. I didn't think I would want this, but the more I use them, the more I like them.

All in ones we've tried: 

  • Grovia: they are ok.. I do not like how they snap and he has had some daytime leaks-they might still be a bit big?
  • Bumgenius: I want to like this one, but it leaks everytime we wear it. I'm wondering if it needs to be washed a few more times to reach maximum absorbency?  
  • Thirsties:   a size 1 AIO and a one size fits all AIO. I just ordered 5 more of these, they have yet to leak!  If there are more children in our family, I may consider investing in some more thirsties AIOs (and the smaller size to wear earlier on.)
  • Padded Patootie:  I only have one of these, but I like them. Even though they are expensive, I invested in 3 more because they are easy to use, and absorbent. 

Things to think about with all in ones: *absorbency, *how they fasten: snaps of velcro, *how many snaps they have: 1 row or 2, *cost (they are more expensive) *dry time is longer

Hybrid/AI2 (All in 2): I thought this was going to be the diaper for us when I first started out. We have the Grovia hybrid with organic cotton soaker with the velcro closure. I LOVE the velcro closure, these seem to be most like disposables when putting on, super easy.  But if he poops, it usually gets on the cover, so the whole thing has to be washed. They are mostly used as all in ones in our house, but this may change as he poops less throughout the day and we can reuse the covers. I ordered 2 more covers, as we haven't had any leaks with these yet. My only concern is they are one more step for babysitters to have to learn as the inserts need to be snapped out of them and the covers can be reused if they aren't soiled. 

I just got a hybrid sample from Mother-ease, I haven't tried these yet, but if anything I heard these are amazing night time diapers. 

Prefolds with covers: These are my favorite for night. I got the Osocozy bamboo prefolds, use the snappis to close them, and use a FLIP cover every night. We have never had leaks with these. As he grows older I did buy a Grovia O.N.E. to use for nighttime, but it's still a bit big. We have tried some other covers that were given to us, and they work ok, but have had leaks with them. The FLIPs seem to work the best for us. This is the cheapest option for cloth diapering, but the biggest learning curve for putting on (Daddy is still learning!)

Pocket diapers: I haven't tried these yet, mostly because I'm too lazy to stuff the insert into them, but my friend Jamie sent me a ton of these and she said she just laid the insert in them. I may try that, but I'm I really thinking AIOs are the easiest option for our family.

Moral of the story, there is no perfect diaper, and there is no simple formula for figuring out what will work best for your family.  Each of the styles will fit each kid differently, and at different stages. It's about figuring out what works best for your family and your little one.

I'm also using reusable wipes, which I love. I make a simple wipe solution, put it in a spray bottle, and squirt onto a Grovia reusable wipe. The wipes just get washed with the diapers. Super easy, soft on his tush, and good for the environment! 

Other cloth diaper supplies I have and use: 

A large wet bag

2 small wet bags

A diaper pail with 2 washable/reusable inserts

I really love cloth diapering so far. I feel good about knowing what kind of material is against his skin all day and night. Initially, getting a stash of cloth diapers is an investment, but I know I am saving a ton of money on diapers and wipes, especially if we have more children.

I would love to hear about other's experiences with cloth diapers.. share in the comments if you have anything to add! 

Also, a quick shout out to all my cloth diapering friends who have taken time to answer my endless questions and have suggested all of these products! Thanks a bunch! 

 

holtan armand: 2 months

I can hardly believe this little guy is 2 months old already. Time is flying and he is changing so much everyday.

Current stats and things I don't want to forget:

I don't know how much he weighs or how long he is, we go to the doc on March 22, so we will get an update then. My guess maybe 10 lbs? He is definitely getting some thigh rolls, elbow and hand dimples, and chubby cheeks.

Around week 7, he grew eyelashes.

He still has crazy hair that sticks straight up, I love it.

He smiles, coos, and says "Gee" when he's crying. He focuses on objects (lights) and is much more engaging when you talk to him.

He hasn't figured out his hands and feet are his yet, but he definitely has been moving them more. 

He is still exclusively breast fed, but does take a bottle when we need him to, and occasionally likes a pacifier. 

He is in size 1 diapers, but we are slowly transitioning to cloth. He has the cutest fluffy butt in cloth diapers. 

He is up 1-2 times a night, usually around 3 in the morning to feed. He goes right back to sleep. He's been sleeping nights in his crib since 5 weeks. He loves to take naps in his swing and still loves to be in the ring sling or wrap on mommy. He has had a few nights where he has gone longer (6 hours) and one night where he slept from 9:30 to 5 am! We are hoping those nights become more frequent! 

We had to put the newborn clothes away (so sad!), and he is now wearing 0-3 month clothes, he mostly hangs out in onesies and socks, but definitely prefers to be naked!

He loves bath time with Daddy! It calms him for bedtime, and I'm hoping the love of water continues so we can have a lot of lake time this summer! 

He has been to Minneapolis to meet his buddy Brady, who is 3 weeks younger, and took a 3 day trip to Kansas City. He did awesome in the car.. slept the whole way. 

Every day he seems to grow a little (and sometimes a lot) more and is changing so fast! It has been so much fun to watch his little personality start coming out. 

 

 

Stuff i loved when I was pregnant.

I really enjoyed being pregnant. There were days when it was uncomfortable and sometimes painful, but all in all I had a really good pregnancy. I was able to walk and practice yoga up until I gave birth, and I gave myself some grace when it came to food (I didn't deny myself). Looking back, there was definitely a few things that made my pregnancy even better, and if you yourself are pregnant, I highly suggest looking into these....

 1. A snoogle body pillow. This is a serious game changer for sleep. Luckily I didn't have too much trouble sleeping, but I had this pillow since my first trimester, so I didn't know what it was like to try sleep without it. 

2. Maternity outerwear (if you're pregnant in the winter).  I held off on buying a winter jacket, but when I found one at Old Navy for $40, I bought it. As soon as I put it on I was so grateful that I got it. It fit (yay!) AND kept me warm. I was trying to skimp, but really having a winter jacket is worth the money. I do still have my eye on this though... for baby wearing and any future babies.. 

3. Maternity clothes that make you feel good. Another thing that I didn't have problems spending a little money on was maternity clothes. When you're pregnant, your body changes so much in the 10 months. I got some t shirts and tops from Old Navy, and jeans from Pink Blush. 

4. Water bottles. Plural. I love my eco bottles and my insulated tumbler from Tupperware. Obviously there are a million kinds of water bottles out there, I suggest you have several. So, so thirsty.

5. Epsom salt baths. This isn't so much something you have, but I have taken so many warm baths with lavender epsom salts, and they always make me feel relaxed and help my aching body feel better. 

6. Low impact exercise, for me walking. I love to walk. I did a lot of walking during this pregnancy. 

7. Yoga. 

8. Sweettarts. or whatever it is you're craving. Don't deny yourself, as long as you aren't diabetic.

9. A bra that fits. This is a no brainer, but this was another thing I tried to skimp on for a long time. I went in to get measured and had them help me pick a bra that could grow with me if I got even bigger. Now to find a supportive, comfortable nursing bra....

What are your pregnancy must haves??

thoughts on 2 weeks postpartum

I wrote this post 2 weeks after Holtan was born, and in my fog of new babyness, I never got it posted, thinking I wanted to edit it and add pictures.. that's funny, like I have time for that. So here it is, a month and a half late, unedited and without photos... I'm publishing it, because it's part of our story, and I don't want to forget this part. 

So far, so good here. Breast feeding has been great. At first, of course, it was uncomfortable, but since day 1, Holtan has just seemed to know what to do, my milk came in, and we haven't really struggled. I honestly can't believe how amazing breast feeding is, how my body knows to produce just the right amount for him, and how he knows how to get it from me. Nature rocks.

Sleep is broken and whenever I can get it. I'm up several times throughout the night changing diapers, and nursing him, but those late night feedings, when its just the two of us, are pretty special.

I'm so, so tired. I'm lucky to have Dave and his help, and I'm able to sleep a little during the day.

About a week after he was born, I hit my lowest point. It was an ice storm, I hadn't been out of the house for 3 days, I had been in pajamas for over a week, and I was so, so tired. I cried a little that day, about feeling completely overwhelmed, mostly by people wanting to come visit. Actually, that has probably been the hardest thing for me to manage. While I know it is all in good intention and everyone is very excited to meet our much anticipated little man, I have struggled with managing visits from friends and family. Luckliy, everyone is very understanding. But when someone visits during the day time, that means I miss out on precious sleep time, and then I also have to be up all night long. Not a good combo. My turning point was getting out of the house to have coffee with a friend, then a solo trip to Target. This COMPLETELY changed my attitude. I was me again, not just a milk producing mom. I HIGHLY suggest to any new mom, when you feel up to it, find a friend to take you out to lunch or coffee or something during that second week. Game changer. 

I had my placenta encapsulated, which I think has helped with my mood. While there are many benefits to encapsulated your placenta, combating postpartum depression was my main goal. Overall, it has been good, and I can't really complain, except that I'm tired (have I mentioned that?)

I also feel a little pressure to work, which stinks, because I'm technically supposed to be on maternity leave, but when you own your own business, there really is no such thing as maternity leave. I still have to check the email, phone messages, and get back to people about Natural Plus things. Spring is still coming. But I am trying to give myself grace and only do a little bit each day, and let the stuff that doesn't really matter sit on the back burner for awhile. 

This motherhood stuff is truly amazing. I'm tired, but totally in love with this little human that relies on me every 2 hours to feed him and comfort him. It's totally cliche, but becoming a mom for the second time has been the hardest, most rewarding thing I've ever done. And we're just getting started.