Sunday, May 12, 2013

Hey First Time Moms & Dads! You Don't Need All That Stuff!

Hey readers!  This one goes out to all of you future moms and dads that are expecting your first baby.  It's inspired by some good friends who are pregnant with their first babes as I type this, and the conversations we've had about what you do, and do not actually need.  (Now, this is by no means a definitive list, and there may be a few things on here that really would make your life easier that I just didn't find necessary... but you get the picture here!  It's always nice to know what other moms could have lived without, because magazines and stores will try to convince you that you need a whole lot of junk that you just don't need.  Ever.)

Ok, so I'm going to start with a couple of things you need.  And y'all know what #1 is going to be right?

#1 must have for new parents- Cloth Diapers!  Seriously now, if you didn't see that one coming... But really- I've said this before, and I'll say it again.  And again.  And again.  Cloth is EASY, Saves you money, keeps nasty chemicals away from your sweet babe's bum, and they are just so darn cute!  My favorite of all favorites right now happens to be Thirsties Cloth Diapers AIO (that means All in One if you're new to cloth).  I'll tell you why I love them because this will be a good jumping off point, and then you can look through some of my older posts about cloth diapering like this one or this one, or even this one here.  There are quite a few.  Take a look around!  Anywhoo-  Thirsties Diapers makes a few different styles of diapers, but my favorite by far (and even favorite out of anything right now) is their Duo All in One Diaper.  It's only about $15 a diaper, two sized for a great fit, and it's nice and absorbent.  Also, it's my opinion that Thirsties has some of the best colors around on their diapers, and there are so many color options and prints to choose from.

#2 must have for new parents- a co-sleeper of some sort.  With E we used a Rock 'n Play Sleeper, which worked great, but I think with baby #2 (whenever they decide to come into existence) we will get an Arm's Reach Co-Sleeper since babe #2 will be sharing our room longer than E did as we are currently living in only a 2 bedroom house.  Either way, having a safe and easy way to keep baby right next to you in those first 3-5 months will be a sleep-saver.  Trust me on that one.  You don't want to be getting out of bed, leaving your room, feeding your baby in a chair for an hour, then dragging your tired feet back into bed a million times a night.  With a co-sleeper you can just reach over and bring your baby into bed to nurse.  So.  Nice.

#3 must have for new parents- This one's for the moms.  A really good, supportive nursing pillow.  Especially if you are big chested like I am.  I had a Boppy with E, but I always needed a pillow under it.  It was a little bit of a head ache.  Spend the extra money, and go with something like the Balboa Baby Nursing Pillow.  That extra support and firmness can make a big difference in how comfortable you are when nursing your baby.

So now let's get to the things that you really could live without.  So save your money.  Babies are expensive enough, right?

#1 thing I wish we hadn't registered for-  a travel system.  Yup.  HUGE waste of money in my opinion, and here's why... when E was a tiny little baby I personally preferred to wear her.  She preferred it too.  There were times when a stroller came in handy at first, but we just didn't use our travel system stroller much in those first months.  Now that E is older, we go on more walks, but I quickly found that the small hard wheels of the travel system stroller just wasn't going to cut it here in Kansas City.  The sidewalks are awful.  And they're definitely not made for trail walking.  oi.  So I bought a BOB jogging stroller, and I LOVE it.  Now I really don't see when I will use the stroller that came with our travel system.

What I should have done was this- buy a nice and safe infant car seat.  Buy a stroller frame that I could have just clicked the carseat into.  Then bought a BOB.  Had I done that, I wouldn't be sitting here trying to figure out what the heck to do with my travel system stroller.  Lesson learned.

#2 thing I wish we hadn't registered for-  a Bumbo.  I thought I would love that thing, but man, I think I used it a maximum of ten times, and now it's just taking up space in my daughter's room while I try to think of where to store it.  Seriously.  They're cute, and it seems like a great idea, but E never seemed comfortable in it.  I would say you can skip it.

#3 thing I wish we hadn't registered for-  all those little odds and ends.  You know what I'm talking about.  The cute little gadgets, the toys, the socks.  All that stuff that will clutter up your baby's room and look cute, but never actually make your life easier.  The little bath ducky that is supposed to tell you if your baby's bath water is too hot (it doesn't really work), the stuff that companies will market to you because they know you're nervous because you've never had a baby before.  Trust your instincts, and save your money.  

I could go on and on and on with stuff you need and don't need.  So before you go and register, poll your mom friends, ask your sisters and your brothers what they found helpful and what they didn't.  Go buy yourself some Cloth Diapers, and ditch the useless gadgets.  After all, you know what the Beatles said- "All you need is love!"

And a bassinet.  

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Do you have a love-hate relationship

With your cloth diapers?

What I mean by that is, did you buy a whole lot of one brand of diaper when you started your stash after doing weeks of research, thinking you found the perfect one, only to find that they just aren't all you thought they'd be?  Or maybe you just love them at one age, and hate them at another?  I'm here to tell you, don't throw in the towel just yet!

just hanging out in her Fuzzibunz
Cloth diapers are a big expense, and it can be frustrating when they're just not working as well as you want them too.  Whether they're just too bulky, you can't get the rise just right, or they're too tight in the legs, what doesn't work well for you right now may be just what you need three months from now.  Of course that also means that what works for you now may not work for you in three months.  Especially if you use one sized diapers.

The first diapers that fit E super well were our Fuzzi Bunz Cloth Diapers.  The rise was perfect, no leg gaps at all, and super trim.  Of course she was tiny so one insert was all we needed, so her diapers fit perfectly in her clothes.  They really were the only diaper that fit her for a while.  Especially when she had newborn thighs.  The adjustable leg elastic was a life-saver.

Now when E went through a super-heavy wetting stage, I had a little bit of a harder time figuring out how to make our Elites work for us.  Two inserts just felt too bulky, so I kind of abandoned them for a few months.  I moved on to some other one sized diapers.  I never loved how bulky the others were on her when she was itty bitty though.  I kept wanting to make those Fuzzi Bunz Diapers work for us!

A month or two later I decided to give the Elites another go.  I realized I could trifold a small prefold and stuff that into the pocket.  Problem solved!  All it took was a month or two, and getting out of the super-heavy wetting stage, and they are one of the first diapers I reach for again.

And those other bulkier one sized diapers that fit so poorly on E when she was tiny-  now they fit great!   I've just learned in these past 14 months that babies change so quickly.  Their little thighs go from chicken legs to roll-covered cherub legs in no time flat.  Then just as quickly they're back to chicken legs when they start walking!  So the moral of my story here is that if you bought a few diapers that you thought you would just love, but don't- you may not have to throw in the towel just yet.  Give it some time because they could be just what you need a little further down the road.

That's also why I tell people to buy a few different brands of diapers when they're starting out.  You just don't know what you're going to love, because you just don't know what your future little bundle might need.  Give your diapers some time to prove themselves, and if after a six months or a year you just don't love them- you could always sell them and try something new.  That's the beauty of cloth after all is that it holds its value so well.

So if at first you don't succeed, try try again.  Or sell them off and buy something new.  Whatever floats your boat!

Smart Bottoms AIO Diaper Review

It's been a while since I've reviewed a diaper for you guys!  Woo!  Feeding your addiction one diaper at  a time.  I've got another one for you!  Lovely Eco Chic needed a second opinion on the Smart Bottoms Smart One 3.0 AIO, and I was more than happy to give that second opinion as I'd never tried Smart Bottoms before.  And y'all know I LOVE trying new diapers on E.  We've talked about our addiction before.

We'll start that Cloth Diapers Anonymous group as soon as our stashes are done...

Yeah.  Ok.  Enough with the delusions and on to the good stuff!  I know you want to hear all about this diaper, and I have a lot of great things to tell you about it!.  Firstly, it's a one sized all in one- so if you're new to cloth and trying to figure out what in the heck that means- it's a diaper that can grow with your baby.  Smart Bottoms says their diaper can fit a baby ranging from 8 lbs to 35 lbs.  It's also an all in one which means no stuffing, no prefolds, no trying to figure out how to set it up- the organic cotton inner is sewn right in!  Easy peasy.  They come in a bunch of great colors and prints, and have a feature I love- some of their colored diapers have contrasting snap colors.  Cute!!!

The deets-  The inner is a sewn in "snake style" insert.  What that means is that it is one long insert that you can lay in the diaper however your baby needs it.  I put it on E to sleep in one night and the girl is a tummy sleeper so I folded that little "snake" to have the most absorbency in the front, right where she gets the heaviest wetting at night.  It's a feature I definitely love.  It does not have a stay dry top on the insert, which is something some people love and others hate.  I don't feel passionately one way or the other about that, but it's just something to keep in mind when you're ordering one of these.  Some people do say that having a natural fiber against the skin with no stay dry inner can help babies potty learn faster because they can feel when they are wet.  It's also just my personal feeling that a diaper without a stay dry inner has got to be more comfortable and much less hot in the summer.

The diaper has four rise snaps which means there is tons of room for customization on the fit.  Which is awesome, because if you really do have an 8 lb newborn, the diaper will probably be pretty bulky snapped all the way down, but I think you probably would be able to get a good fit.  Obviously E is 14 months and almost 20 lbs, so that isn't an issue with her, but it does fit her really well.  It's not bulky at all, and she has plenty of room to grow into it.  If she keeps her infant round-tummy I might worry about running out of room in the waist, but as I think that will go away as she grows, I think she will get a lot of use out of this diaper.

The way the waist snaps are set up is a little different than most diapers, and in a really great way.  The female snaps are on the tabs, and the male snaps are on the tummy panel.  So what does that mean for you and your little one?  It means that there's no possibility of an errant tab snap digging into their skin. While I don't really think that would be an issue with this particular diaper since there are no hip-snaps, it is something that I think makes a whole lot of sense, and I'm not sure why other diapers aren't made that way.

So what do I love about this diaper?

*Organic cotton inner.  No worrying about what kind of chemicals may be going up next to your baby's skin with this diaper.  And if it does help with early potty learning- another huge plus.

*Great trim-fit.  Even when the snake insert is folded into crazy positions, your baby will never look like she or he can't move in this diaper.  But even being as trim as it is- E slept in this all night long with no extra absorbency added and had NO LEAKS!

*I love that the snaps on the tummy panel are reversed from what most cloth diapers are.  The female snaps are on the tabs, so they won't dig into your babe's skin.

*The colors and prints are so adorable.  Seriously.  I want them all.  Which really shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, but they are just so cute.  And the contrasting snap colors?  Yes please!

*Super absorbent.  Keep in mind that as this diaper is organic cotton- it will take 5 or 6 washes to be fully absorbent.  If you only wash it once and then put it on your baby and it leaks- that is why.  That being said- once it is prepped and ready, this diaper is awesome!  It lasted E all night with no leaks.  And that is saying something!

*Easy to size, easy to use.  There's not much of a learning curve with this diaper, and there are so many ways you can fold the insert to get the right fit for your baby.

Is there anything I would change about this diaper?

*The leg elastic.  E has been having some crazy watery teething poops lately.  It's unfortunate.  And some diapers just don't hold it in at the legs.  While E hasn't pooped in the Smart Bottoms yet, I do worry about it's ability to keep it in.  I'd really love it if the leg elastic was top stitched.  I feel like leg elastic that is top stitched just stays in place a little better, and holds everything in a little better.  The way the elastic is on the Smart One is not bad- it's plenty snug, but I do worry about the watery teething poops.

*I'd like the tummy panel to have one more set of snaps and be just slightly wider.  On a really chunky baby, I'm not sure this diaper would really fit up to 35 lbs.

But that's it!  Just two things that I would improve on, and neither is even close to being a deal breaker for this gal!  I think the Smart One 3.0 is going to become one of those diapers that I reach for first.  It's so easy to use, is super duper cute, and really absorbent.  I also love the organic cotton inner, and think I'll probably need a couple more for the summer months because it just has to be a little cooler than most of E's fleece-inner diapers.

All in all, I really really love this diaper and I'd recommend it to anyone!  At $23 it's not the most expensive AIO, but it's not the cheapest either.  I'd say it's a pretty fair price for an organic cotton AIO and it certainly won't deter me from buying more.  I'm already planning my purchase of a Berry Berry color.  Pink with purple snaps!

Alright folks- hopefully I've just helped feed your cloth addiction today, and told you about a diaper you didn't know too much about before!