Great Cloth Diaper Change: Athens–Are you ready???

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Hey wouldn’t it be fun to get together with other families this weekend? Like, on Saturday? To hang out?

We could talk about cloth diapering and our favorite prints, maybe swap some tips, and let our kids play together! And those parents who don’t cloth diaper could ask the old pros for some advice. You know, like “How do I build my stash?” Or “What is the best night solution?” Or “How do you deal with all that POOP?”

You know what else would be awesome?  If we worked together to help families in need use economical cloth diapers. Maybe we could even bring some cash and donate to some raffles!  Or how about stock up on some samples of different eco-friendly parenting and baby products? Like rash cream! Or nipple cream!  Maybe some people would even donate some goodies for us mamas and papas!

Think this sounds like a great idea? Let’s make it a party! Sometime during this “party” we’ll have to change a diaper. I mean, it happens. Whoa–what if we all changed a diaper AT THE SAME TIME????? This could be really fun! How about if there were activities for siblings? Or a cloth 101 class? And maybe even some snacks and COFFEE???

Guess what? It’s happening, this Saturday, April 18th at ARTS/West. We will be part of a global challenge to set a world record for changing babies into cloth, and YOU ARE INVITED! 288 locations, 20 countries, and Athens, Ohio! Cloth diapers have never been so much fun!

Working and Breastfeeding Made Simple: A Review

As you all know, we at Cradled in Joy Birth Services are passionate about breastfeeding. It’s great for mom, great for baby, and great for the planet.

But it’s not always easy. Especially if you have to go back to work.

Luckily, there’s a book for that. Nancy Mohrbacher, the author of Breastfeeding Made Simple, has done it again with a book that focuses on mothers who may be spending a lot of time pumping in the near future. I love her first book because it takes all the guesswork and silliness out of breastfeeding, and breaks it down to the natural essentials, so I was so looking forward to reading this new book. (I should also add that Breastfeeding Made Simple is one of my required texts for my Lamaze classes–it really is that good.)

Thankfully, Nancy was kind enough to send me a copy of Working and Breastfeeding Made Simple to review. Let’s just say that it will now be required reading for all my Lamaze mamas who plan to return to work.

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I’ve been lucky enough to work from home most of the time, but many moms aren’t. I think some of the biggest questions plaguing new working mothers are:

Will I make enough milk?

How do I pump?

How do I bring this up with my employer?

Will my day care provider support me?

These are some heavy questions, and all of them and more are answered in detail in Working and Breastfeeding Made Simple.

The good:

One of the things I love about Ms. Mohrbacher’s approach is that she uses plain language, and she repeats it over and over so you remember the basics. She simplifies the process to a few key ideas, and then expands upon them to make the complicated process of pumping boil down to those major concepts. I have friends with jobs that don’t allow pumping breaks, and I always thought that breastfeeding was a hopeless proposition for them, but with Ms Mohrbacher’s explanation of milk removals and various pumping schedules, I learned how a mother can truly keep her supply up if that is what is important to her.

She is also flexible, and doesn’t take an all-or-nothing approach. I can’t tell you how many friends have approached me, tentatively telling me they had to supplement because they couldn’t pump enough at work, and then defending their reasoning. No mom should have to do this–as Ms. Mohrbacher says, any amount of breastmilk you can feed your baby is still beneficial. The book outlines several scenarios for pumping full time, part-time or sporadically, and even offers weaning advice for when you don’t want to pump any more. Many other pumping books I have read do not take this approach, which I feel is in ignorance of the realities of navigating breastfeeding and the modern workplace. (I’ll save my rant about our cultural norms for working mothers for another post, yeah?)

I also ADORE the section on how to use a pump. So many books assume you will figure it out. Well, guess what??? I first used a pump when my eldest was born and couldn’t latch, and you know what? I couldn’t figure it out! I had no idea how to make the milk come out, or that letdown would take a while, and there I sat, engorged, with a pump that I thought didn’t work. This book not only shows you how to properly fit yourself to a pump, but also how pumps work. Hooray!

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And finally, the appendix in the book has a wonderful handout for care providers. Care providers are used to feeding formula to babies, which is a whole different ballgame, and sometimes they feed breastfed babies in a way that doesn’t preserve our liquid gold. This handout politely and efficiently provides the information care providers need to appropriately feed the baby and conserve your milk stash as much as possible.

Critique:

My only critique of the book is that by the end of it, I felt it got repetitive. As someone who is well-versed in breastfeeding knowledge, I didn’t need the repetition of basic concepts. However, if I were a first time mom heading into the workplace, I think it would be important to hear some of these things over and over, if only to boost my confidence, so perhaps there is a place for it. As a WAHM, I don’t need all the different pumping  schedules and plans featured in the book, so I skimmed over many of them. However, I love that the book has a plan for just about every single type of working situation.

Overall:

If you can’t tell, I am in love with this book. It is hard to limit my review to a readable length because I have SO MANY positive things to say about Working and Breastfeeding Made Simple. I feel like this book is detailed enough to give mothers a fighting chance at keeping supply up while working AND supportive enough to make moms feel like rockstars no matter how they choose to feed their babies.

PS, Nancy Mohrbacher has also released an excellent mobile app called Breastfeeding Solutions. It is absolutely essential for new moms and I highly recommend it!

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I received a complimentary copy of Working and Breastfeeding Made Simple to review. I was not compensated in any other way for this post. The opinions here are my own!

Cloth Diaper Laundry; Tips and Tricks, and No More Stripping!

Whenever I teach my Cloth Diaper 101 classes, I get oodles of questions about laundry. Like, a ton. Like, people who already cloth diaper come to my classes to learn about the laundry. The thing is, it’s really not so hard as people make it out to be. So let’s break it down:

Start with good care:

Wash your diapers every couple of days, and avoid goopy white diaper creams. The traditional creams (Boudreaux, Desitin, A&D) will KILL your cloth diapers and stain them and make them waterproof. Try a cloth-diaper friendly ointment like the GroVia Magic stick or Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm.

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The Wash:

Let’s start with my favorite acronym:

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Simple Wash Routine

Stop with the soaking and extra rinses; your diapers just need a wash! (Some areas with hard or well water may need one pre-rinse, but nothing more). Wash on hot with one extra rinse and you are done. DONE.

Use Enough Detergent

Detergent is what gets your diapers clean. Stop skimping because you are afraid of chemicals near your baby’s bum. You know what sucks more than chemicals? Ammonia build-up and stank.

As a side note, I prefer to buy cloth diaper-specific detergent. People have a lot of opinions on what detergent to use, but traditional detergents (yes even free & clear varieties) contain a lot more additives than I prefer to use on my cloth diapers. (See below.)

Duration

Make sure your wash cycle is long enough, agitating your diapers well to get the funk out. A heavy duty wash should be long enough.

Skip the additives

Whiteners, brighteners, bleach, etc–skip ’em. Why? You don’t need them, and additives build up in your diapers.

How often do I need to strip?

Ideally, never. In three years of cloth diapering, I have never once had to strip my diapers. I use CD-safe creams and I follow the simple wash rules. Of course, there are a few reasons you might have to give your diapers a more thorough cleaning:

  • You used heavy non-CD-safe cream (ahem, see above), and now your diapers are waterproof
  • You used additive-laden detergent (ahem, see above), and now your diapers are losing absorbency or smelling/looking weird
  • You are dealing with a yeast/thrush problem

But what about Stains and Stink?

If you followed the wash rules above and your diapers are still stained, don’t worry–they are still clean! However, if you are concerned about stains, there is one really great tool to get them out: THE SUN. That’s right, stick them in the sun for an afternoon. Sun will bleach, disinfect and de-stink and it’s FREE.

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For stink, it can be a little more complicated. Over time, some diapers do build up some extra funk. To get it out, you usually just need an ammonia bouncer/deep cleaner like Rockin Green’s Funk Rock or GroVia’s Mighty Bubbles detergent. If your water has high mineral content, you may wish to use RLR, but I have never had to use anything other than Mighty Bubbles on my diapers. Generally, I do the special treatment about every 6 weeks or when the diapers start smelling. It’s only one extra wash cycle, and I know it is safe for my cloth diapers. Also, you know what helps with stink? SUN (ahem, see above)!

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Go Forth and Clean Better

Hopefully this quick start guide gives you the tools and confidence you need to get started. Honestly, cloth diaper laundry is easy when you keep it simple. Don’t listen to all the chaos–just keep it simple and you will be fine!

Interested in learning more about cloth diapering? Check out the rest of my series:

Why Use Cloth Diapers?

Types of Cloth Diapers

Cloth Diaper Accessories

 

Wee Can Too Review!

So, I am a lover of all things baby, and I asked Wee Can Too if they would be willing to send me a product to review for you all. I already was a huge fan of their finger paints and veggie sidewalk chalk, and thought it might be nice to share some of the advantages of buying children’s art supplies from a small business.

So….let’s get started. Why Wee Can Too? Well, their products are all made from natural ingredients, including fruit and vegetable powders, which makes them the perfect starter art supplies for babies and small children!  Even their dyes are made naturally from food based ingredients, and their products are free from chemicals, preservatives, and color additives.

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They sent me a set of Tempera Paints to review, and I invited Jackie and her girls over for a painting playdate, which turned into a fingerprinting date with so many littles around!

These paints start out as a dry powder, so you start the process by mixing in water. The instructions stated to mix one tablespoon at a time, but I found that to be cumbersome in the small pots (it was hard to stir the mixture without spilling powder over the side), so I poured the powder in a cup and added water slowly from the tap until they got to the right consistency!

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Then, it was time to paint! We had four kids of varying ages try out the paint–an 8 month old, a 19 month old, a 3 year old and a 4 year old all painting together. The youngest mostly wanted to put it in his mouth, and the oldest mostly wanted to take globs of it and smear it around, so lots of fun was had by all!

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The paints produced deep, rich colors, and had a bit of a grainy texture (likely due to the nature of the ingredients–I have found that Wee Can Too products don’t always feel like mass-marketed traditional paints, but they still get the job done quite well!) My oldest (the three year old) was a little freaked out by the consistency, but he still managed to participate, which is pretty impressive given some of his sensory issues.

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The two youngest enjoyed playing with the paints and exploring the colors.

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And here is a picture of the youngest with the paints right near his mouth. Nope, not worried at all. Thanks for the safe ingredients! And the oldest guest with her hands coated in painty goodness!

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Right before the playdate devolved into chaos, I managed to get everyone to make some handprint art. Glad I got a picture, because by the end of the day, my boys had shredded it to bits!

Overall thoughts:

The Good–main reason I love Wee Can Too so much is that the ingredients are safe. With two boys close in age, it is nearly impossible to keep them out of each other’s toys, and it is equally near impossible to keep their hands out of their mouths. This makes art projects easier for us because they can do what they want and I know it will wash out and be safe in case they ingest it.

Areas of improvement–my only complaint was that the mixing was a little tricky in the included pots (which were a bit small for the test), but really that is pretty minor considering we all have cups and bowls in our cupboards, yeah?

Be sure to check out Wee Can Too for yourself when you get a chance!  It is a small mom-owned company that is dedicated to making great products that are safe for our babies!

I received a free bag of Tempera Paints for this review. Otherwise, I was not compensated to write this review. The opinions are my own!

Mommy Con Columbus; Coupon Code and More!

I am so excited to announce that I have been selected as a Street Team member for Mommy Con in Columbus, Ohio!!! Mommy Con is a gathering of parents who are interested in the latest products and ideas for parenting. Birth, baby wearing, breastfeeding, and more are all featured at the MommyCon events, and one is happening so close to Athens!

MommyCon Columbus takes place on September 19, 2015, from 9am to 5pm. There will be tons of speakers, a product expo, and like a bajillion giveaways!  The Baby Gear Guy NYC is always a presenter at these things, along with bloggers like the Leaky Boob, Honest Toddler, and more. I CANNOT WAIT to go

AND I HAVE A COUPON CODE!!!

You can order tickets online and get $5 off when you enter the code:

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I hope to see you there!

(PS stay tuned for more updates, include VIP event information and more!)

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New Diaper Alert!

Okay, I may be a little obsessed, but some great new prints and designs are coming down the pipeline from GroVia Modern Cloth Diapers. 4 new prints have been released, and will be available for purchase on April 6. The ONE diaper, a versatile nighttime solution, will be available late April or Early may!  So exciting!

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To celebrate, there will hopefully be two events this summer. The first will be a cocktails and coloring event (think wine and canvas but with cloth diapers), while the other will be a swim party celebrating cloth swim solutions!  Stay tuned for more information!

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