Tuesday, May 15, 2012

"so, i breastfeed my toddler..."

this article in TIME magazine has me.... torn. and my friend over at "little froggy feet" has written and wonderful response to the uproar and i wanted to add my 2 cents.

i have no room in my heart to judge others on their parenting choices. it is not my place and i think that holding hostilities towards women we have have never met takes far too much energy. instead, i am going to share the story of my breastfeeding journey.

my story actually began before i even became pregnant. the only women i had ever known (or remembered) to breastfeed were my good friend tattney and my loving sister in law, becca. these women had easy easy stories and and i am blessed to have seen that side of the issue. but the woman who forever shaped my role as a "lactivist" was my best friend, shalane.

she did not have an easy go. it was not simple for her and my words will never be able to convey how hard she worked to nourish her baby with the best thing she could provide, which happened to come from her own body. her baby did not latch on right away. her suck was weak. but shalane was determined. she was blessed enough to have her baby in a hospital in northern colorado that had a breastfeeding clinic held from 10-2 every day in the week. my dedicated friend went in multiple times a week to work with lactation consultants to check brooke's latch, to see how much she consumed in one feeding and to get help with using a nipple shield (and eventually weaning off of that shield). she had bloody and cracked nipples. they were in constant pain. and her baby was NOT getting enough milk. the nurses at the clinic encouraged her and she pumped to help up her supply (while simultaneously taking supplements). her husband was supportive and knew that breast milk was best for their baby and so he never pushed formula and never suggested the easy way out. if i remember correctly, my friend had to nurse (which took almost 45 minutes on each side as brooke did not have a strong suck) and then pump afterwards to stimulate milk production for 3 months. for over 90 days. with each session taking at least 2 hours. and doing this 8-ish times a day! my friend just continued on her path of determination. i admire her more than she will ever know for this. because of her, i knew that breastfeeding was not easy. i knew that i would hit snags in the road. but because of her i knew that i could do it. not matter what lay in the way.

as it goes, my journey was not nearly as difficult as shalane's. lily was born via emergency cesarean section and while i was in recovery, my husband went with our baby to the nursery and let her suck on his finger until i could come up and latch her on. thankfully she was still awake when i got back to the room. and the latch was successful. her lips were exactly how they should look but it hurt. i had no idea what i was doing and even though the nurses said i was doing great it was shalane's kind words that reassured me. of course it hurt. lily was learning to nurse. until she got it, it was going to hurt. and my boobs would hurt when the milk came in. and i was going to smell like milk all the time. and i was going to feel like a human pacifier. and i would have this baby tied to me for a long, long while (during which time she has bit me more than once and even went on a nursing strike that we eventually worked through).

and none of that mattered. i was so utterly in love with this new little bundle that i had only known from inside my belly. every pre-conceived notion of how i would parent went out the window while i was holding her for  the first time. she was perfect. and our love was perfect. and i was terrified but i knew i would figure things out. my parenting style developed over the next few months. i had no name for it at the time. all i knew was that i was trying to do everything that everyone else had suggested for me. and i loved all of these people and wanted their approval. and was drowning in the lack of my success. finally josh grabbed hold of me and said "lesley. if you were on an island with just me and lily, how would you do it?" and that question has guided everything else. my friend holly broke it down even further. she said "remember the holy spirit? yeah, God gave us that so we can listen to his promptings. God gave you lily. He knows you are the best mommy for that baby. and of course, she is the best baby for you. you need to listen to that intuition because it is there for a reason.

and isn't that so true? shouldn't women be listening to that intuition more often instead of listening to media? and to what society claims is normal or acceptable? it is extremely difficult to parent outside of societal norms but as i have been listening to the holy spirit, and to my gut i have naturally developed a parenting style that many now call "attachment parenting" (this term is coined from dr. sears, whose whole line of books have been wonderful and i now consider my parenting style guru). and to be honest, before i was pregnant, i had heard the term and thought these parents were cah-ray-zee. i had no intention whatsoever of becoming "that kind of parent" but like i said, holding lily for the first time caused a major paradigm shift. and as i have done more research on everything related to parenting, it has only further affirmed our belief that the way we are parenting is the best for our little family. it works for us and it feels right (and of course, i am a big advocate for intuitive parenting).

the question i get all the time now is "so when are you weaning?" and this question makes me sigh. if you had asked me while i was pregnant i would have said "around a year." but that time has come and gone. so to this, i have no answer except: when lily is ready. we currently are doing the "don't offer, don't refuse" method to nursing and will continue to do so until lily doesn't want it anymore. i could go into the scientific reason why this is okay. and go on and on about how breastfeeding an older kiddo is normal and our bodies are actually made to do so, and how the united states has one of the lowest breastfeeding ages in the world. but this is not a statistical post. you know these things already. and if you don't, before you judge me or you judge the mom on the cover of time magazine. please do your research. and i won't get on my soapbox about the sexualization of breasts either.

i will leave you with this. before you get up in arms about the picture or judge attachment parenting, ask yourself "why does it matter?" "how does it effect me?" we all are just trying to parent in the best way we know how and shouldn't we support one another when we are doing right by our children? and if you are a breasfeeding mother, "how can we foster a community where breastfeeding is the new norm? how can we create an environment where it is the new desirable goal? how can we support other women who do not have a network of other nursing moms to lean on?"

and by all means. send me statistics and new studies. i am not one to sit in my ways simply because "that's how i did it with my first one." i am always up for trying something new if research shows it is better.

Monday, March 26, 2012

a button for the blog

look! i have a button now.

just had to share. :)

and if you add it, let me know.

the pecks too (and 3)

Friday, March 23, 2012

little toes

i have been feeling.... blah lately. i may blog about this later when i am in a better place. but for now, i have decided i need to do some creating. i think this will help, immensely.

wanna see what i have been working on?

{those are lily's toes. not mine ;) }

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

cloth diaper washing routine

on to routine.

if there is poop in the diaper, that must be scraped off before the diaper goes into the diaper pail, unless it is exclusively breastfed poop. this poop is very water soluble and diapers soiled with ebf poop can be tossed directly into the pail. we were actually lucky to start cloth diaper at this stage. it made it easy because we didn't have to think about what to do with poop. we could just concentrate on getting used to using cloth. as it is now, i just scrape poop off with toilet paper, into the toilet. some people have diaper sprayers (but poo can fly when these are used) and some keep a bucket with a spatula by the toilet to do the scraping). others use a bucket and the shower head. for really messy diapers, this is what my husband likes to use. i just dunk them in the toilet. you just have to find what works for you.

we have our large wetbag in the diaper pail. i bought a cheap 13 gallon trash can with a lid to use. i have one wetbag in the pail, and one that can be in the wash. i prefer a wetbag with a drawstring so i can travel with cloth but that is personal preference. i usually sprinkle baking soda and a couple drops of essential oil in the bottom of the pail. we really don't have an issue with stink though. i try to wash every 2-3 days, which helps keep those stinkies at bay. when it is wash day, i grab the bag out of the pail, and take the whole thing to the washer. i dump everything in (first emptying the wetbag, and then throwing that in as well). i don't add soap yet. i run a prewash on cold. this gets rid of the poo nasties and the cold water helps with stains. if i need to strip because my diapers stink or are repelling, i add the dishsoap here (only a tsp). i also like to add tea tree essential oil here.

once that is done, i add the soap and wash on hot with an extra rinse. if i am still having repelling issues (which sometimes happen even after a strip), i add rlr now. this would also be the time to add ammonia drops/tabs if you are having issues with ammonia smell. but keep in mind, i do not need to do these extra things all the time. only when my diapers leak, or smell awful, which is rare.

then, i do one more rinse for good measure (unless stripping, then you must rinse, rinse, rinse until there are no more bubbles).

last, i dry my diapers. i prefer to hang them outside to soak up the sun. however, in the winter, they freeze (which is fine) but then must be dried in the dryer. or, it may be raining or snowing, or too windy to put diapers outside so they must be dried in the dryer (or hung in the basement). i never dry the covers and only dry the diapers on medium heat. a dryer is very hard on diapers.

that is it.

i know that seems like a lot. but i assure you, it's like second nature now and i do all of these things without even thinking! as you gain experience, it gets easier. if i can do it, anyone can.

are you feeling brave now?

cloth diaper options

so starting to cloth diaper can be overwhelming when weighing the options. maybe you don't understand all the types. if so, this post is for you!

the first thing to consider are the kinds of diapers you would like in your stash. most people have more than one kind and often times what works for one baby may not work for another. a lot of cloth diaper stores (and online) offer a 30 day trial so you can try different kinds and send back what doesn't work.

these are the most similar to disposables. the name says it all. there is one piece and you change the whole thing at every diaper change. these have the absorbent parts sewn into the waterproof cover.

these have a soaker part that pairs with a waterproof cover. if the soaker is the only thing that gets soiled, the cover may be reused.

these are covers that have a "pouch" or pocket where a soaker pad is inserted. this whole diaper has to be changed at diaper changes.

this diaper is similar to a disposable but is not waterproof. they are usually very absorbent but require a waterproof cover if used for sleepy times or for extended period of times. again, if the fitted is the only thing to be soiled, the cover can be reused.

these are square pieces of cloth with three sections sewn in. the middle section is the most absorbent. they must be used with a waterproof cover (that can be reused if poop doesn't get on the cover). these can be trifolded and laid in the cover or folded and used with a snappi. i prefer to use the snappi as it holds in the mess better, in my experience. plus, snappis are much easier to use than pins. though, some still prefer to use pins.

these are large, flat pieces of fabric. they are folded in various ways and then pinned with pins or snappis. many like these because they are so cheap, trim, and because of the freedom to fold however you want, can be customized to fit all different babies.

these waterproof covers are used over fitteds, prefolds, and flats. these can also be made of wool or fleece if you prefer to stay away from tpu or pul.

these diapers usually have a cloth option or you can put a biodegradable soaker pad in. these can usually be flushed.
There are also sized diapers and one size (or two size) diapers. usually one size diapers can't be used at birth unless you have a big baby. we used our one size diapers when lily got to be about 10 lbs.

*i don't necessarily prefer to buy at the stores listed. they just happened to have very user friendly sites and i could link my examples. i simply wanted to be able to give you something to look at (though, my lovely friend does own greenbyusa,  where they only carry products that are made here in the united states and i do love to support her).

you will also need a diaper pail, a large wetbag (which is a waterproof bag), though i recommend 2, to put in the pail, and a medium wetbag for your diaper bag. i also have a small wetbag that i put my cloth wipes in. i like making my own wipe solution because then i know exactly what i am putting on my baby's skin. it is also cheaper and i don't have to worry about fishing a disposable wipe out of the dirty diaper pail.

ready to get started now? haha

why should you consider cloth diapers?

i have decided to do this post.

i have friends that are "fluff" (aka cloth diaper) curious. but once they start looking into it, they become overwhelmed. it is true. the options are endless!

so i will start off my little cloth diaper series with a few reasons why we chose to cloth diaper.

i'm not going to lie, our number one reason was cost.

this video sold me. she speaks very quickly so you may want to watch more than once.

the cost up front can be a lot for people but there are options to buy used. however, the nice thing about buying new is many companies offer a warranty in case the elastic goes out or the stitching comes loose. buying a whole stash up front can save money in the long run, but if you don't have that, buy a diaper or two at a time. soon, you will have enough to switch over!

the second reason: cloth diapers are better for the environment.

some argue that more water is used in the cloth diaper world than in plants that make disposables. however, water is a renewable resource. and i will be keeping hundreds of pounds of waste out of the landfills. that alone was reason enough. studies have been done in the past, stating that water/energy used in cloth is still more than in disposable (when looking at the "life" of the diaper, from field to plant to home). however, all the studies i have seen have been done in the 80's and 90's using horribly old washing machines. a new study  done in 2000 showed that while the level of energy used isn't significantly less with cloth, it still was less. this study was not done using the new, energy efficient washers. i'm willing to bet that the energy and water usage is even less with these machines. disposables also generate 60 times more solid waste and use 20 times more raw materials (like crude oil) than cloth diapers.

third: we believe that cloth is better for lily. 
less diaper rash! that's right! kids in cloth get changed more often as cloth does not hold as much liquid as disposables. because her diapers get changed more often, there is less time for bacteria from ammonia to grow and multiply. plus, there aren't toxic chemicals against my baby's skin. in disposables, the bleach used to whiten the cotton leaves dioxin. dioxin has been known to cause cancer, birth defects, liver damage, and skin diseases. there are unbleached disposables, but as our main concern was cost, there was no way we could afford to buy those diapers (and of course, we would still be putting a ton of waste into landfills). these are the same toxins that are thought to be linked to toxic shock syndrome (tss).

disposable diapers have emissions. did you know that? yeah, that plastic-y, nasty smell. the smell that reminds me of maxi-pads or scented tampons? new studies suggest that these admissions can cause asthma and asthma like symptoms. some sites even suggest that disposables cause little boys scrotal temperatures to be higher, which can affect fertility later on in life.

those were the biggies for us. but there are even more benefits:
they provide a great way for baby skin to absorb vitamin d. setting cloth diapers out in the sun, they absorb great vitamins from those uv rays. then, those vitamins go right onto baby's skin. the suns' uv rays can also kill yeast and other bacteria.

another plus: they are soooo dang cute! i love the prints and colors! i love all the options! and i think a little fluffy bum is just adorable! 

many people may be hesitant because of the "gross" factor. i.e. what do you do with the poo? i would like to point out, that i *think* that directions state that fecal matter on disposables should be flushed before the diaper is thrown away (anyone care to confirm this?). if this is true, then the yucky part of cloth should also apply to disposables. i'll go over what we do for poo. it really isn't a big deal and you get used to it.

if you don't have a washer at home, here is a great video showing you how to create a bucket washer. if you are really daring, you can make this work if you don't have the facilities at home!

others may be hesitant because it seems like a lot of work. there is extra laundry, but diapers don't need to be folded. there are diapers that are very similar to disposables (called "all in ones" or aio). these are more pricey, but more convenient. they do take more time to dry, so the time factor should be considered.

but i'm getting ahead of myself. look to the next post to learn more about cloth diapering options.

*i got my statistics from here , here,  and here for the reasons that we chose cloth. these sites link back to specific articles, books, and studies, which i appreciated.