Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I don't understand why they call it morning sickness if it lasts all day!

As you can likely guess from the title...... I'M PREGNANT!  Yay for new babies!  My older kids are so excited, they are constantly giving my food (even when I have my own) and telling me that I need to feed my small baby (my 18 month old is my big baby).  My three year old keeps putting his hand on my tummy to feel the baby, even though I tell him it's too small to feel right now (I'm due in September)  he still insists that he can feel it (I think he only remembers the end of my last pregnancy, when he could feel the baby).
As can be expected at this stage, I have been experiencing "morning sickness" but it lasts all day.  I experienced the same thing with my first, but with my second and third I only felt nauseous when I was really hungry or if I smelled tuna fish or barbeque sauce.  I kind of figured/hoped that the nausea was only so strong the first time because I wasn't used to the hormone changed and because I was so used to doing more hard core exercise and was then too tired to do much at all.  But I am back to the all day nausea and extreme fatigue and just feeling...bleh.  The big difference is: with my first, it was only my husband and I, he didn't work as many hours so he could make me toast when I fist woke up to keep the nausea down, I only had a few classes or a few hours of work which were fairly minimal, then I could come home and nap when I needed to.
Now: three kids I get to take care of.  Ages 5, 3 and 1.  We also homeschool, and my husband works about twice as many hours a week than he did during my first pregnancy.  So more responsibility and less adult help.  Oy!  What's a mommy to do?  Here's how I've been handing it to keep nausea down and energy a little higher.

1. Have a bedtime.  The kids have their bedtimes, and I enjoy the quiet hours right after they go to bed.  I have always been a very big nighttime person, and had trouble with insomnia (except in Basic Training)  so this has been a challenge for me.  But if I exercise during the day (not very close to bedtime) and don't take a long nap while the kids are sleeping (though any sleep at all is nigh impossible).  Even if I haven't gotten everything done that I want to do I have been forcing myself to drop it and get to bed.  Even if it takes a while to fall aspeep, just laying down and relaxing helps.

2.  Eat when you wake up.  A lot of pregnancy books advise keeping crackers on the bedside table, which is a good idea, but I thought they were too dry and crumbly, and they made me want milk, which I can't keep by the bed all night and it just didn't work for me.  Now I have kids who get up fairly early so I have to get out of bed no matter how woozy I feel.  I have found that eating a banana  right when I get up really calms my stomach.  Then I get the kids breakfast so no one has a low blood sugar meltdown and I eat something more filling for breakfast.  I am impressed by how well this works for me.  It's kind of nice.

3. Beans. Small amounts of protein throughout the day help keep morning sickness down, but I've found that beans seem gentler on my tummy than eggs or meat, plus the smell of eggs and meat cooking when I'm pregnant can sometimes turn my stomach, and beans are lower in fat, which is good if you're eating them every few hours.  Homemade lentil and cheese burritos are my friend.

4. Gum.  I've found that when I'm cooking and don't want to eat right before dinner or something, chewing sugar free minty gum helps make the nausea subside while chewing and for a few minutes after spitting it out.  Then I eat and that helps too.  This only works sometimes, and maybe once or twice a day, but every little bit helps!

5.  Get little helpers.  As I mentioned, my husband works a lot of hours, so the only days he can help me out are his day off and Sunday, when he gets up with the kids and makes everyone breakfast.  I really appreciate this, and tell him often.  When he's not around though, I get up with the kids but I might be feeling drained later in the day.  This is where I love having a five year old who loves to be a helper.  She helps put laundry away, she can get milk or juice for herself and her oldest younger brother, wipe up spills, things like that.  My three year old can put one article of clothing away at a time (more than that and he gets distracted) wipe up a small spill, and pick up toys his little brother has strewn through the house.  My one year old can put things in the toy box, or garbage, we have to watch him to make sure he doesn't mix up the two, or throw things into the toilet for good measure (on the rare occasion the bathroom door is open.)  This helps me feel less overwhelmed so I can use the energy I have to spend time with those cute little helpers playing and reading and stuff!

6.  Do little things throughout the day.  I've found that I can no longer do all the dishes, sweeping, wiping the table down and all that after I put the kids to bed, as much as I love waking up  to a clean kitchen.  So to help with the clean-ish kitchen thing, I do all the dishes in the middle of the day, including cleaning the sink and wiping down the stove top. I've always had to wipe the table down several times a day, but giving it a good scrub somewhere in the middle of the day seems to me more manageable than doing it at the end of the day.  When I am no longer feeling yucky, I might go back to the end of the day so everything feels really nice in the morning, but at least the stuff is still all getting done.

7. Stretch. This doesn't help too much with feeling woozy, but it does help with having energy and when you're muscles aren't as tight you do things faster when you have moments of non-nausea.

8. Use the slow cooker. No this doesn't make the nausea go away, though I wish it did, but it does make sure dinner is ready and warm and not burnt, even if your afternoons are really hard.  It also makes great soup, which helps settle upset stomachs.

9. Water!  Being dehydrated can make you queasy when you're NOT pregnant.  When you are, it's even worse.  Plus, the baby needs that water, and it will help your circulation too!

These are just a few things I've found that help me function and be an active mom and wife in my family's life.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"Cloth" is Not a Four Letter Word (as in diapers), part 4

Daily Use and Care

I mentioned some of the daily use and care in part 3, but I thought I'd elaborate a little.
I wash the diapers every day. Most people wash every other day (beyond that and you get a lot of problems with stink and stains), but I wash every day because I don't have enough diapers to last for two!

To further reduce the cost, I hang dry them in our room on a drying rack.

For my wash routine:
1) In the even of a poopy diaper, I just shake the stuff into the toilet, no spraying or dunking here.
2)Every evening when I wash the diapers: dump diaper pail contents into washing machine
3)Put a little water in pail and swish around to get anything out of there, then dump that water in the washing machine (a lot of people have a washable pail liner in a lidded garbage can, which works great, I'm just using what I have)
4) Do a cold rinse to remove poo still on the diapers
5) Do a hot wash with about 1/4 the recommended amount of detergent
6) Do an extra cold rinse, chicking on the agitation to see if there are a lot of bubbles (indicating that I added too much laundry detergent before) and if there are a lot of suds I'll do another rinse.
7) Hand diapers, covers and wipes up to dry on drying rack.  In the morning is they're still wet I'll put them in the dryer for a few minutes (NO DRYER SHEETS!) and they're ready to go!

So that's what's been working for us.  Sometimes it would be nice to have enough diapers to wash every other day, but we're building up to that and I can use swagbucks to slowly build up a few more.

This is the only picture that's not blurry from him running around, as you can see, the best bottom diapers are very trim for a cloth diaper!

part 1 journey into cloth diapers
part 2 choosing a style and brand
part 3 frugally building up a stash
part 4 daily use and care

Monday, January 16, 2012

"Cloth" is Not a Four Letter Word (as in diapers), part 3

Frugally Building Up A Stash

Since I used swagbucks I only paid bout $14 for the first four cloth diapers, whereas if I had not used swagbucks it would have been about $50!  Figuring that each disposable (of the generic variety) is about $0.19 (at least) and using four cloth diapers a day in replacement of disposables, my purchase paid for itself in about 18 and a half days.

For detergent I got the generic free and clear detergent from Albertson's because every other kind of free and clear had brighteners or enzymes, which can cause rashes (another thing I didn't know the first time around).

For wipes I use the flats, moistened.  I have been cutting them into fourths and hand stitching over the loose edges so they don't fray.  This size is a little more manageable. On rare occasions, I may use disposable wipes, but only if it's REALLY nasty!
I cleaned it out really well first so it doesn't get residue on the diapers

For a diaper pail I have a bucket for laundry detergent (the regular kind) that has been used up.

My grandma sent us some money for Christmas, and I talked to my husband about building up the rest of our stash with that.  He said since it was from my grandma, do whatever I want with it.  Don't have to tell me twice.  So I went online and bought two more Best Bottom diaper shells and six more inserts (that came to about $57.84 so it will pay for itself in a little over a month and a half).  A few days later I had enough from swagbucks to get another bumgenius diaper and some wetbags.  If you're wondering what wetbags are, let me explain: When you're out and about with cloth diapers and your little one needs a diaper change, you need somewhere to put said diaper so it doesn't smear diaper contents all over everything else in your diaper bag.  And it needs to be water proof so wet diapers don't saturate anything else.  Hence the need for a wetbag!


Closed with drawstring closure

closed next to a baby foot

In a pinch, I have also put a folded flat diaper and just laid it in the cover.  It does scrunch, but it's better than nothing!

part 1 journey into cloth diapers
part 2 choosing a style and brand
part 3 frugally building up a stash
part 4 daily use and care

Saturday, January 14, 2012

"Cloth" is Not a Four Letter Word (as in diapers), part 2

Choosing a style and brand

Once I started really looking into cloth diapers I started to get overwhelmed.  It makes me think of when my daughter was a newborn (she's the oldest grand baby on my side) my parents, uncles and grandma commented several times "Wow, disposables sure have come a long way!"  I secretly thought to myself that this was further proof that disposables were better than cloth because cloth was still just flats and prefolds with pins and plastic pants.

How wrong I was.....

Anyone who's looked into the more modern cloth diapers has likely had their head spin from all the choices!  Disposables may have come a long way but man, I think cloth has come even farther!  There are still flats and prefolds and pins and plastic pants, and I'd seen a friend use a snappi, but there are also pocket diapers, and all in twos and all in ones, and hybrids, and stay dry inserts, and flush-able inserts, and hybrid diapers, and snap closures and hook and loop closures, and sized and one size and.......and.....and....oh it just makes my head spin!
The most economic way to go is still a prefold with a cover, but now they have covers that look more like disposables with either snap or hook and look closure, and a snappi is a stretchy band with hooks on it, kind of like the old ace bandages so you don't have to use pins.  I thought about doing that again, and it's a great way to get started, but I also knew that I wouldn't want to stick with it very long since we had done flats before, and I wanted to get something that I wouldn't have to soon replace with something I liked better, if that makes any sense.  So I needed something EASY.
All in ones are easy, they're just like a disposable, only you wash them.  The downside is that they are hard to get all the way clean, and the take a long time to dry, plus they are the most expensive kind (at least $25 per diaper!).  So I kept looking.  I needed some thing easy AND affordable AND that would get all the way clean!
Another thing I wanted was something that didn't hold moisture against by baby's skin.  All in ones had a ticking feature, but so did many other kinds.
Hybrids don't make any sense to me.  It's like a cloth diaper but with a disposable insert instead of cloth.  The inserts can get quite pricey, so it didn't make sense as an economical option.  Although some people use the term hybrid and all in two interchangeably, it's my understanding that hybrid is meant to mean a combination of disposables and cloth.  Though you could say it's a hybrid of prefolds and pockets, but that's really not the point.

So my search led me to either pockets of all in twos.  A pocket diaper has a waterproof outside and fleece or suede moisture wicking layer on the inside.
Pocket diaper and insert


Stuffing the insert into the diaper

Insert in the diaper, I keep the tag in the back so I can grab it to remove the insert and not touch too much yucky stuff.

This pocket opening folds down so the insert doesn't work it's way loose

Ready for a baby!

There is an opening (or pocket) in either the front or back or both for you to slide an absorbent insert.  You can customize the absorbency, you take the insert out to wash it so it gets nice an clean and dries in a reasonable amount of time.

All in twos are very similar, but instead of a pocket, and all in two has the moisture wicking part sewn on top of the absorbent part into one insert that lays or snaps into a cover.
All in two insert and cover

You can barely see the snap in the back of the insert.

Snap it in on one end

Then snap in the other end

All it needs now is a baby!

Then you just change the insert during a diaper change, unless it's a tyrannosaurus poopy that gets everywhere, then you wash the shell too.
So you can see how this would save money since you only need a few shells and then lots of inserts.  I really like this, but I figured that if I left the baby with my hubby, he would want something that was exactly like a disposable, and if we left him (the baby, not the hubby) with a babysitter, we would definitely need something that did not require much explaining.  So I decided on all in twos for most of the time, and pockets for when he's with someone besides me, or when I run out of all in two covers.  Possible overnight too, since I can more easily add more absorbent layers, until I get the overnight inserts for the all in twos.

*side note: my husband turned out to like the all-in-twos better, go figure!*

Even narrowing things down that much still left me overwhelmed.  But here's how I decided:

All in twos: I knew my baby is a busy active little guy, so the inserts that just lay in might not be the best idea, which means I needed a snap in insert, and I wanted a cover that was wipe-able and could contain messes, despite the fact that he's a little on the skinny side. I came across the Best Bottom Diaper and fell in love.  Wipeable cover, easy to snap in, double leg gussets to contain all the mess, works well with skinny babies or chubbier babies, stay dry inserts, really cute covers, one size covers so we can use them whenever we have another baby!  Yep, that looks like the one for me.
Really small setting and large setting (it gets even wider but this is what he's on right now)

Double leg gussets to hold in the mess!

Pockets: Again I wanted one size, and I wanted something that was simple to change between sizes, snaps to adjust the size are good (also in the Best Bottoms)...but there are a lot of diapers that meet those criteria, how do I decide?  I read lots of reviews and looked at diagrams of the diapers, many of the pockets just have an opening in the back to put the insert into, and many reviews reported that these inserts would work their way up out of the diaper a little on active babies, causing moisture wicking onto their clothes, so I went with the Bumgenius 4.0 pocket diaper.  The pocket opening has a little flap that keeps the insert in, it had great reviews, and of the diapers with awesome reviews, it was the most affordable (though still a little hefty in the price tag).
micro-suede folds over to keep insert in

I also knew that I needed to try them out before buying too many, in case they didn't meet my expectations.  I used swagbucks for amazon gift cards and a mom4life gift card, plus a coupon code at mom4life to get one best bottom cover and three inserts and one bumgenius pocket diaper (about $50 worth of stuff) for $14!

I'm happy to say that I have not been disappointed!  Not only are they cute and contain the messes that disposables didn't always, but my son had been getting diaper rash regularly with disposables, at least once or twice a week.  Since we've replaced 4 diapers a day with cloth, he hasn't gotten any diaper rash!  Yay for exceeding expectations!

Tip:  If you're looking for more information about the Best Bottom diapers and you want to do an internet search of a search on youtube for video reviews, make sure you type "best bottom diaper" not just "best bottom" or you may get something less than family friendly, I with that I didn't know this from experience!

part 1 journey into cloth diapers
part 2 choosing a style and brand
part 3 frugally building up a stash
part 4 daily use and care