The First Day…

Yesterday I lost it. More than once.

The newborn wouldn’t wake up and really eat when she was supposed to, so then she dragged on and fussed/wanted to keep eating when I needed to cook to have dinner on time so that we could have bedtime on time the night before the first day of school. Then she fell asleep and never really finished eating, so my boob felt like it was going to explode. But I couldn’t stop and go pump because I had dinner cooking on the stove and a toddler who needed a new diaper very badly. The 5 and 3 year olds who were supposed to be clearing and setting the table were running around chasing each other as the dogs were barking and my husband was recording a video and needed QUIET in the house.

Oh, and this was only ONE of the times I lost it.

But the good news is: Today is the First Day of the Rest Of My Life.

I am a homeschooler at heart, and hope to homeschool in the future, probably starting next year. But for now, for various reasons, we have decided to send the boys to school. And boy, am I glad!

I see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m still exhausted, I still have more to do than I know how to fit in. But, its so nice and quiet here! I can think! There’s a calm in the house that I haven’t noticed in a looong time.

Aaahh.

The Poop on Cloth Diapers (part 2)

The Poop on Cloth Diapers (part 2)

I used to think that disposable diapers were the only way to go….

In my previous post, I started giving the reasons why we switched to cloth diapers a few years ago. In this post I’ll cover the environmental and money-saving benefits of cloth diapers over disposables, as well as discuss basic cloth diaper care.

Except for very limited uses, we’ll never go back to disposables!

Cost To The Environment
(from an article by the Sustainability Institute; entire article here: http://bit.ly/KIuk2)

…”18 BILLION disposable diapers are used in th US each year. Each one has an outer layer of waterproof polypropylene and an inner layer of fluff made from wood pulp plus super-slurper sodium polyacrylate that can hold a hundred times its weight in water.

Those 18 billion diapers add up to 82,000 tons of plastic a year and 1.3 million tons of wood pulp — 250,000 trees. After a few hours of active service these materials are trucked away, primarily to landfills, where they sit, neatly wrapped packages of excrement, entombed undegraded for several hundred years. “…

Cost To Our Pockets

“Disposable diapers” was absolutely the highest on-going expense we had with our first two babies. Consider this:

Your baby will use about 6500 to 7000 diapers from birth to 30 months.

Most parents seem to spend an average cost of $50-$80/month for Huggies® or Pampers® OUCH!!! That would come to $1500-$2400 over a 30 month period, more if you diaper longer — and there are reports that show cloth diaper babies often potty-train up to a year earlier than those who wear disposables.

Now….I’ve been using Mother-Ease One Size diapers since March of 2006, and (full disclosue) we will soon be offering them for sale here on my blog. The same diapers fit my newborn all the way to my toddler. It only takes 4-6 months to completely recoup our family’s initial costs. After that, we’re essentially diapering for FREE. The laundering costs are minimal in both time and money.

By choosing cloth diapers over disposables, you will save thousands of dollars on each child!

Especially in these difficult economic times, who doesn’t want that? Let’s face it, who doesn’t NEED that?!

Caring for Cloth Diapers
Caring for the diapers is quite simple: just rinse poop into toilet (NOTE: we have a sprayer attached to our toilet that makes this easy; in the US where it’s not as simple to connect this, I think most folks dunk&flush) & place diapers in a covered pail with water and some vinegar (neutralizes odors). When ready to wash, empty the soak water into toilet, do a prewash or rinse cycle, and then a full cycle in hot water with detergent. Dry. That’s it! We wash diapers every night before we go to bed. Our older children (even the toddler who still wears one at nighttime) know how to fold them and put them away. It’s as simple as that!

I love knowing that my babies are touching comfy soft cloth and not toxic chemical-filled plasticky-feeling stuff. I love knowing I’m doing our part to keep disposable diapers out of landfills, and I LOVE the amount of money we have and continue to save!

(There’s a lot more to say regarding using cloth diapers vs disposables — including the benefits of natural fibers, tips for making the care of cloth diapers even easier, and the scientific links of disposable diapers to asthma and male infertility. I will cover these issues in future posts.)

The Poop on Cloth Diapers (part 1)

The Poop on Cloth Diapers (part 1)

With a new baby in the house, of course we are changing a lot more diapers — and even with five children under the age of seven, with two in diapers full-time, I’ve been reminded why I love using cloth instead of disposables.

When I was pregnant with my first child, my environmentally-conscious husband approached me to consider using cloth diapers. I didn’t know anyone who used them, and didn’t know that “modern” cloth diapers had been designed. I was too overwhelmed with all that would come with being a first time mom and never looked into it. When my second son was born only 11 months after my first, I was once again too overwhelmed. Not until my third did I dare to enter what I was sure would be a complicated world…only to find that it wasn’t! I wish I’d started using them sooner.

The cloth diapers I use really are simple (ours have built in snaps to accommodate all sizes, so there is no pinning) and don’t take much time at all to rinse and wash. I love that I never need to worry about running out of diapers, like I used to with disposables.

The way I see it, there are 3 main reasons to choose to cloth diapers over disposables:

1. To avoid the toxins (and their negative effects on health) in disposable diapers

2. To reduce environmental waste

3. To save a bunch of money

In doing research for this post, I discovered that the many costs of disposable diapers were more than I realized:

Costs To Our Childrens’ Health
from an article on The Diaper Hyena; entire article here

SODIUM POLYACRYLATE – This is the chemical, added in powder form to the inner pad of a disposable, that makes it super-absorbent. When the powdered form becomes wet, it turns into a gel.

Can absorb up to 100X its weight in water.
Can stick to baby’s genitals, causing allergic reactions.
Reported to cause severe skin irritations, oozing blood from perineum and scrotal tissues, fever, vomiting and staph infections in babies.
When injected into rats it has caused hemorrhage, cardiovascular failure and death.
Banned from tampons in 1985 because of its link to Toxic Shock Syndrome.
Has killed children after ingesting as little as 5 grams of it.
Causes female organ problems, slows healing wounds, fatigue and weight loss to the employees in factories that manufacture it.

DIOXIN – This is the chemical by-product of the paper-bleaching process, using chlorine gas, in the manufacturing of diapers.

Carcinogenic (cancer-causing chemical)
The EPA lists it as the MOST TOXIC of all cancer-linked chemicals.
In small quantities it causes birth defects, skin/liver disease, immune system suppression & genetic damage in lab animals.
Banned in most countries, but not the United States.

If we really care about our babies’ health, isn’t this information alone enough to make natural-fiber cloth diapers the right choice?

(In my next post, I’ll cover the environmental and money-saving benefits of cloth diapers over disposables, as well as discuss basic cloth diaper care.)

Our Daughter

What an incredible week! Our baby girl came to join us…

Everything went according to “plan”. She was born the very day we hoped to have her (for a variety of reasons), the beginning of the 38th week of pregnancy, the morning after a restful Shabbat. The birth was at home, and went perfectly. Labor was just a few hours, and the delivery was done in the water. It was all quite amazing.

Now I’m dealing with the exhaustion, the emotions, the new challenges that each unique baby brings. Yes, I’ve done this four times before. But I’ve never done it with this baby.

She’s worth every moment.

Head’s Down, Thumbs Up! On My Way To Home Birth

That was what my first grade teacher would call out before we played Seven Up, which was my favorite game at that big-kid school. (Well, not the homebirth part).

This time, I mean something entirely different……THE BABY TURNED! HER HEAD IS DOWN!!!
Thumbs up, as in, “fantastic.” Head’s down, as in: her head is down. Capish?

I am so excited that she’s finally decided to go along with the program.

While she was turned the wrong way, I did some research and found http://www.spinningbabies.com/. It was very helpful and gave me lots of information as well as recommending the exercises/positions I tried, like the inversion I showed as a video example in one of the last posts. Some of the information on baby position I got from this picture that I borrowed from them. The caption above this picture is

Head Down Is Only Half The Story

I didn’t know this. I’ve heard of “posterior”babies that give you lots of back labor. That’s when the baby’s occiput (the back of the skull) is facing your back, so you see the baby’s face as it comes out, instead of the back of the head. It’s a little harder and usually more uncomfortable to push this baby out.

The ideal baby position is LOA, “Left Occiput Anterior”. This means that the baby is lying along the left side, with the occiput facing the mother’s front (not posterior).

I believe that my little princess is in that ideal position, but I am not sure. At least her head is down, though.

If your baby is head down, but in one of the other positions, SpinningBabies has some exercises/positions that are supposed to be helpful for getting the baby to move. I am going to rest and trust that all is well unless I get an indication of something otherwise.

If at all up to us, we would like to have our baby one week from yesterday, on August 16th. Don’t laugh, we’ve chosen a delivery date in the past, and it worked just fine.

I’ll keep you posted!

From a very soon to be mama of 5.

You’re Giving Birth WHERE?!?

Which sounds better to you: Bright lights, strangers walking in and out checking machines that make beeps, being strapped to a table, unable to choose whatever position is most comfortable, being cut open because you’re taking to long…..

OR

Your own comfortable home with a few select friends or family, your favorite relaxing music, the lights low, able to do whatever feels best?

I love homebirth. I completely trust my body to know what to do; it was created to do it. Birth is not an illness, and it has no place among the sick in an atmosphere of fear.I have had all four of my children in a home birth setting with a certified nurse midwife attending. I can’t imagine doing it any other way, and I hope that I never need to.

Below are 2 short related videos.

Watch this trailer to what looks like an amazing documentary: http://www.thebusinessofbeingborn.com/trailer.php

And here are some good websites/communities about natural birth:

http://www.mybestbirth.com/
http://www.givingbirthnaturally.com/

CAN A ONE YEAR OLD LEARN TO NOT TOUCH?

We’ve all seen it: the harried mom (or dad) in the store, with the toddler riding in the shopping cart. Maybe there are one or two other children walking along, looking at all the interesting and exciting things on the shelves…things they don’t have at home. They don’t even have to be toys; they could be cleaning supplies and they’re still fascinating. One reaches out to inspect an item more closely. Another does the same, but he’s reaching for the display where they’re all piled, balanced ever-so-carefully…..Uh oh.

So you tell them, “no touching.” “Look with your eyes, not with your hands.” And anything else you can say to escape the store without being required to pay for an entire spilled or broken bunch of whachamakalits. And they obey.

Now the one year old, he wants to touch too. But you tell him, “no.” And what does he do? He touches anyway. So you take it away from him. And what does he do? He scrunches up his face, takes a deep breath, and….. you guessed it!

Is this you? Or do you leave all the kids at home so you won’t have to deal with this situation? I understand. Believe me.

But, believe this too: it is completely possible to train even a one year old to obey a command to not touch.

Are you in the habit of poking yourself in the eye? Why not? How old were you before you learned to not do that?

Training a child is as simple as learning to not poke yourself in the eye. A baby can learn to not do something if the outcome is undesirable (it doesn’t feel good).

How? Say “No.” and flick his little hand. He’ll look at you, surprised, and then try again. Repeat. Again. Again. Eventually, he’ll start crying. Is he crying because it hurts so badly? No. He’s crying because he finally realizes that he is not being allowed to do what he wants; you are breaking his will. When he makes the choice NOT to touch, and instead does something else, praise him. You have won.

If you are consistent with this, and find or arrange opportunities to practice it, you will train your little guy to respect your word. Eventually, the word alone will be enough to stop him.

Does this work? Sure. My 15 month old LOVES to play with the silverware that’s in the dishwasher. Nothing wrong with this. Except when it’s dirty, or has sharper-than-I’d-like-him-to-play-with things. He also thinks it’s great fun to splash around with the dog’s water bowl. I suppose I could never load the dishwasher until he was occupied elsewhere, or make Fido wait until baby’s asleep to let him quench his thirst. But that doesn’t work for me. (Or the dog.)

We’re all much happier when we know who’s in charge.

Now, where did that crawling guy go? I’d better go see what he’s up to….