Wednesday, March 31, 2010
As I said, when I got started cloth diapering (or cd'ing as many moms like to say) I used gdiapers with prefolds. (See previous post for more on the types of cloth diapers) This was a great way for us to get started. Nathaniel was an older baby, at this point he was only needing a diaper change 4-5 x a day. I truly fell in love right away. It was so nice to not have to worry about running out of diapers, ordering diapers, spending money on diapers, etc... I didn't use disposable wipes right away. In fact, even after I was already in love with cd'ing, I still felt wary about using cloth wipes. That was the next step. Finally I decided it was silly to be ordering wipes and not diapers, so I bought some awesome Baby Kicks wipes from Amazon.
I fell in love all over again! Nathaniel always had some type of rash with the disposable wipes- not so once his little behind was getting truly clean each diaper change! I bought a couple 99 cent spray bottles at Walmart and diluted some of my favorite soap (what we use for body wash and practically everything else) called Miracle Soap. I thought it would be a hassle to have to spray a wipe, but it's really not a big deal. You can also use an old disposable wipes container to keep the wipes moist if you want to just be able to grab and go. Or you can buy a wipes warmer. Prince Lionheart has a great one for cloth wipes.
Once Micah was only a few months away from being born, I thought about what type of cloth diapers I wanted to use for him. I decided that I wanted to use Bummi's organic prefolds,
and Little Beetle organic one size wool diaper covers. Wool is a truly amazing material. I'll have to write a post on wool all by itself. Our bed is actually made of wool. More on that some other time! Anyway, I wanted Micah to have 100% certified organic, natural fabrics for his diapers. No polyester anywhere, baby. These Little Beetle covers are amazing- they come in cute colors, they are one size, and they're organic merino wool, so they'll last forever. They are also machine washable which is a really nice perk. Most wool is hand wash only. Another thing I love about wool is the fact that urine reacts with the lanolin in the diapers, which produces a natural anti-bacterial soap. Neat, huh? So it's nice that when the diapers just get peed on, they don't start to smell, and you don't have to wash them until they get soiled. If they're super wet you just air it out a little and put it back in the rotation.
You might be wondering why I chose to use prefolds. Prefolds are known as the "O.G." type of diaper in the cloth diapering world. They're usually what people dread when they think of cloth diapering. But using prefolds with a wrap diaper cover is actually really easy. And you don't have to use pins or snappi's. (Wrap= any diaper cover with snaps or velcro)
The main reason I decided to go with prefolds was because it was the cheapest way to go 100% organic. Some of the organic all in one and fitted diapers can run $30 a piece, and you need to get at least 30 of them. I didn't want that steep of an initial investment, so I decided to go with prefolds. Another plus of prefolds is that they don't have any cute design/patterns on them, so I really don't care if they're ultimately kept totally clean and spotless. I don't rinse them off in any way whatsoever before putting them in my diaper bag. And I don't mind that they sit there for days a time since I have enough to only do laundry 2x per week. It's nice to save myself any extra steps.
The last things I needed to decide were what wool wash I would use, and what I would store the dirty diapers in. I also scoured the Internet searching for the absolute best price for everything I needed. Tomorrow I will conclude my series on cloth diapers with a discussion about my favorite cloth diaper accessories and the best websites I've found!
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Does it get any cuter than this?! This is my baby when we first started cloth diapering. He looks so little, it makes me sigh! Anyway, when we first got started cloth diapering I used gdiapers. With one exception. The cost of buying the inserts for these is even more than just using Seventh Generation disposables, so I got the idea from a Baby Center forum to use something called prefolds for the absorbent part of the diaper. (More on the types of cloth diapers in a minute.) These worked great, with a little extra necessary for my super heavy wetter at night. Gdiapers are aptly referred to as the "gateway" diaper- once you use them and see how easy it is, you get hooked on cloth diapering. This is definitely what happened for us. And I started out with just two diapers that I bought at Whole Foods for $25!
Anyway, here is a little more info on the different types of cloth diapers that are out there, and a brief explanation. This is a great article from- www.kellyscloset.com.
The Four Basic Types of Cloth Diapers:
All-in-One Cloth Diapers (also known as "AIO"s) - These diapers are the easiest and most leak proof diapers to use and have a built in diaper cover sewn into the cotton or fleece layer. They fasten with snaps or velcro and work like the ease of a disposable. NO diaper cover required.
Fitted or Contoured Cloth Diapers - These diapers are fitted with snaps or velcro and do require a diaper cover. One of the reasons why customers choose these diapers is because they dry faster than the All-in-One diapers.
Pre-fold and Flat Diapers (old-fashioned diapers) - These diapers are wonderful for not only diapering but are used as burp cloths, household clean-ups, and so much more. These diapers need to be fastened with pins or a Snappi and used with a diaper cover. Most of the covers we have available do NOT require the use of pins.
Pocket Cloth Diapers
This is one of the best explanations I have found of the basic different types. Tomorrow I will talk more about my "stash"!
Monday, March 29, 2010
1. It's cheap.
I love cloth diapering for this reason alone. I cringe when I think of how much money we spent on disposable diapers and wipes in the first 20 months of Nathaniel's life. I added it up one day, and it was over $1500. And that was before I had two in diapers. I'd be well over $2300 total by now. In contrast, my cloth diapering "stash" cost about $500, and I'm set for all our future kids! I love feeling like I'm cheating the system. It makes me so happy when I think of how I'm keeping money in our pocket instead of making Seventh Generation and Amazon wealthier month after month.
2. It's healthier for baby.
As I said before, the chemicals in conventional disposable diapers are deplorable. According to Weston A Price Foundation, numerous chemicals are out gassed from commercial disposables, such as those from the polypropylene liner and polyethylene backing. In fact, scientists have discovered that the chemicals in disposables, when inhaled, are toxic to the respiratory system. Disposables also contain cross-linked sodium polyacrylate, a powder that turns to a gel in contact with liquid. This is the same chemical that was linked with toxic shock syndrome in super-absorbent tampons. Let's do better than this for our kids. All of the organs and systems in their bodies are still developing, and the chemicals we allow into their bodies increase their body burden and therefore increase the likelihood of sickness and future disease.
3. It's better for the environment.
Did you know that if Christopher Colombus had been diapered in disposable diapers, they would still be around? That fact alone is enough to switch to cloth diapers! How gross is that? Disposables spend an average of 500 years in landfills. And consider this fact: did you know that even the side of the box on disposables says you should never throw away human waste? According to the WHO, it is illegal. I read this when Nathaniel was about 9 months old, and even when I was using Seventh Generation disposables, I would dump Nathaniel's *ahem* waste in the toilet, because my conscience bugged me every time I wanted to just throw it away! You might as well just cloth diaper! And it is nice to have so much less trash, and no bags full of disgusting disposables laying around the house/garage for a week waiting for the next garbage pickup.
4. It's fun!
This is my second favorite aspect of cloth diapering, next to the incredible cost savings. I mean, come on, if you're going to be doing something 6,000 times per child, you might as well have some fun with it! There are so many styles to choose from these days. Your diapers can suit your personality, your taste, and your budget. And I'm sorry, but babies bottoms just look cuter in bright colors, patterns, and natural fabrics. (I know, Big Bird and Winnie the Pooh, you think you compare, but you don't!) Diapering becomes way more fun. Instead of something you're just throwing in the trash and not thinking twice about, it's something that you own. Doesn't it make you happy when you use things that you really like and that work well? Something that you carefully selected because you wanted it? That's what you get to do with cloth diapering! Everytime I change Micah's diaper and see his little organic merino wool fluffy bum, I can't help but smile. Why? Because I picked the wool, I picked that it was organic, and I picked the color. As a Mom, you've got to add some fun to these mundane activities that we do 24/7!
There are plenty more reasons why I love cloth diapering, but those are my personal top four. In my next post I'll cover the different types of diapers that are out there, and what ones I personally use and love!
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Ok, ok, I know what you're thinking. When you first think of cloth diapers, what are the two thoughts that first enter your brain? I know what they are, because they're what previously symbolized cloth diapering to me too. Two words.
Both are a mom's nightmare, right?
But cloth diapers are a mom's dream! Before you think I'm crazy, hear me out.
I started out my diapering career (they say the average mom changes 6,000 diapers the first two years of a baby's life- no joke!) using disposables with Nathaniel. Seventh Generation disposables, because the chemicals in traditional disposable diapers are just deplorable. We also used Seventh Generation wipes. I didn't really like their wipes, but their diapers worked fine and they were the cheapest natural diapers on Amazon, and so we stuck with it. Then I got pregnant with #2. One day, when I was about four months along, it hit me. With two kids under 2, just how much money are we going to spend every month on diapers?
I added it up.
I got $150 per month.
You've got to be kidding me!
And that's if both boys used exactly the number I planned, something children are notorious for not doing!
These thoughts were all going through my mind when my good friends Thai & Angela invited me to a cloth diapering info meeting at a local cloth diaper store, adorably named "Happy Bottomus." When I got there, Thai (who knew more about cloth diapering than the staff, because of all his research) gave me the rundown. I asked them, "Are you guys going to do it?" "Oh yeah," he said. "We're 100% going to." "Really?" I said. Wow!
The peer pressure was on.
I went home and did my research. I read and I read and I read and I read and I read. (Did I mention that I read about cloth diapering?!) I knew that if I did it, I was going to jump in full throttle and not look back. I seem to be incapable of functioning any other way, so I like to do my research before I jump in.
Finally I was sold. I mean sold. And I jumped in full throttle with Nathaniel, so I could get the hang of things before baby #2 arrived.
And I fell in love!
I can't believe I'm writing that I'm in love with cloth diapering, but truly I am. I can't believe I waited so long with Nathaniel, and I'm so glad I've been using cloth with Micah since birth. In my next few posts, I'll show you the cloth diapering system that has worked for me, but in the meantime, check out these awesome resources so you can do your own research!
These websites will also give you more info on the chemicals that your children are being exposed to 24 hrs a day, for all those 6k diaper changes in traditional disposables!
I look forward to sharing more with you about my love for cloth diapers!
Monday, March 22, 2010
Are you married? If you are, and you wed your beloved in a church, chances are that you went through premarital counseling. But did you know that in days past, you would have been required to go through a time of premarital nutrition as well? What on earth is premarital nutrition?
Well, it's something that was discovered by Dr. Weston Price, a Harvard trained dentist, in all the cultures he discovered around the globe still living "primitive" lifestyles- lifestyles so primitive they were untouched by the dental problems, heart disease, cancer, arthritis, autoimmune diseases & diabetes that we modern, progressive types enjoy. Lifestyles that followed the guidelines given to us by God, all the way back in the time of Moses.
Anyway, Dr. Price, now considered to be the "Albert Einstein of nutrition" found that all of these people groups required a time of premarital nutrition, a practice where both future husband and wife were required to eat special foods, in preparation for parenthood. These foods were also given to pregnant and lactating women. So what was so special about these foods? Here's how Jordan Rubin explains it in the Maker's Diet, (p.45)
"According to Dr. Price's findings, they were very rich in fat-soluble vitamins A and D- nutrients found only in animal fats...The healthy bodies, homogenous reproduction, emotional stability, and freedom from degenerative ills enjoyed by such prmitive societies contrast sharply from modern individuals existing on the impoverished foods of civilization-sugar, white flour, pasteurized milk, and convenience foods filled with chemical preservatives and additives."
We have to remember that these people enjoyed lives that were very different from ours: miscarriages and birth defects were uncommon, their children did not suffer from asthma, dental problems, and frequent ear infections, colds, and sicknesses like ours do, and they didn't die of degenerative diseases such as arthritis, Alzheimer's, cancer, or suffer from heart disease and autoimmune disorders.
Doesn't their way of life sound so much better? Turns out it's actually God's way.
I can attest to the wisdom of God's ways from personal experience. When our second son Micah was born, we noticed something different about his vision. Our first son, Nathaniel, had been very alert, even from birth, but Micah wasn't just alert, his eyes tracked moving objects and focused intently from the very beginning. I wondered why this was the case until I read an article from the Weston A. Price foundation (this organization was made in honor of him and his discoveries) detailing the vitamins necessary for a baby's development.
In the article, they discussed one nutrient in particular, choline, which is incredibly necessary and vital in pregnancy. It has been found to produce incredibly resilient nervous systems (the nervous system controls the brain and eyes) , increases memory for life, and produces great focus in the eyes, even on multiple objects at once. Once I read that, I realized why Micah's eyes were so well developed. Eggs are one of the greatest food sources of choline. Free-range, pastured & organic eggs, that is. During my pregnancy with Micah I ate 5-6 eggs per day, something that I did not do even with Nathaniel. I ate so many eggs because early in my pregnancy, I felt very faint and shaky all the time, and my midwife told me that I needed more protein. I also had pain in my feet when I stood up after sitting for any period of time. She said both these symptoms were caused by deficient protein levels, and that I needed to eat protein at least every 2 hrs. That's hard to do while chasing a two year old around, so I needed fast protein. I started eating an egg sandwich every day, and hard boiled eggs made an easy snack in the late afternoon. I felt sooooo much better once I started doing this, which made eating so many eggs worth it! And now it turns out there was an incredible benefit to our son that I didn't even know about.
Speaking of what a pregnant woman should eat, here is a great diet for pregnant and nursing mothers that the Weston A. Price Foundation has designed, modeled after the diets of the incredibly healthy people groups that he studied. (I have to admit, I do not eat liver, and I don't eat very much fish/seafood, just cod liver oil. Also, I have to add that all of these items should be organic, for continued optimal development of the baby. Chemicals don't help any living thing grow! Plus they add to your baby's body burden)
Diet for Pregnant & Nursing Mothers
Cod Liver Oil to supply 20,000 IU vitamin A and 2000 IU vitamin D per day
1 quart (or 32 ounces) whole milk daily, preferably raw and from pasture-fed cows (learn more about raw milk on our website, A Campaign for Real Milk, www.realmilk.com)
4 tablespoons butter daily, preferably from pasture-fed cows
2 or more eggs daily, preferably from pastured chickens
Additional egg yolks daily, added to smoothies, salad dressings, scrambled eggs, etc.
3-4 ounces fresh liver, once or twice per week (If you have been told to avoid liver for fear of getting "too much Vitamin A," be sure to read Vitamin A Saga)
Fresh seafood, 2-4 times per week, particularly wild salmon, shellfish and fish eggs
Fresh beef or lamb daily, always consumed with the fat
2 tablespoons coconut oil daily, used in cooking or smoothies, etc.
Lacto-fermented condiments and beverages
Bone broths used in soups, stews and sauces
Fresh vegetables and fruits
- Trans fatty acids (e.g., hydrogenated oils)
- Junk foods
- Commercial fried foods
- White flour
- Soft drinks
- Drugs (even prescription drugs)
Don't you think you owe it to your children's future to nourish them with the foods that God intended, starting in the womb? Let's set our kids up for success in their health, instead of doing what everyone else around us does: setting their kids up for lifelong health problems and eventual disease. God has given us His plan for success. Don't you think with so much at stake, it's time to start following it?
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Isn't that amazing? So much is going on for this precious new life inside its mother's womb, beginning at conception, not in the fourth month or six month or at birth as many today would like you to think. I hope you took my dare from my last post and found a pregnant woman to thank. And don't forget to tell her how beautiful she is! Everything in our society and her head is telling her otherwise!
But now I must move to the original intent of this series: nutrition for pregnant mothers and nursing moms too!
With so much going on inside your body, optimal nutrition is imperative. This is not the time for counting calories, skipping meals, eating processed food or McDonald's. Your baby is depending on you for optimal nutrition during this incredible period of growth and development. Don't let them down! The choices you make now will have effects upon your child for their entire life.
For example, the right amount of omega- 3's increases your child's I.Q. for life.
Folic acid prevents neural tube defects such as spina bifida, and deformities of the mouth, face, and heart.
Choline increases lifelong auditory and visual memory by 30%. (Betcha don't know what choline is!)
And fat in mom's diet controls her hormone levels, which keep progesterone and estrogen in the right balance in her body, which keep the pregnancy viable and healthy.
And the source of all these nutrients is imperative as well. The toxic load of a mother's body is passed directly to the baby. Thanks, Mom!
Now that you know a little bit about why it's so important to eat well during pregnancy, in my next post I'll show you how!
Thursday, March 4, 2010
"We live in a world that glorifies youth, uncommitted sex, and bodies that require a ridiculous amount of self-serving time in the gym.
Let's turn that around.
Let's reaffirm the bodies of women who have generously and selflessly produced life for one, two three, or four babies. Let's appreciate those men who work hard to support their families and who don't have time to stop off at the gym and lift weights because they're eager to get home and play with their kids."
-Dr. Kevin Leman
All I have to say is Amen. No, seriously, Amen. I know I said in my last post that my next article would show you how to optimally nourish your unborn baby, but, I think we need to spend some more time celebrating what is happening inside a woman's body when she's pregnant before we can move on.
You know what's funny? Something my friend Charlotte posted on my facebook today got me thinking. She said, "I just saw a VS commercial and was honestly disgusted by these womens' bodies. Holy cow they're too skinny and it's not even sexy, just awkward seeing a prepubescent body in lingerie. I don't get why we idolize that."
So why do we idolize that, ladies? Have you ever stopped to question why we women think, "the skinnier the better?" I mean, really, deep down, that's what most of us think. Just admit it. I remember when I was still recovering from my stomach problems, and was in pain every day and continuing to drop weight. I was at a visit with my chiropractor, a wonderful woman I've known since I was a little girl, and she asked me how much I weighed. I think I weighed about 99 lbs at the time. She said, "You're really pushing it. You should be at least 110." I said, "Yeah, I know, but it's hard to gain weight when I'm always in so much pain from eating," but my most inner voice quietly shouted, "The skinnier, the better."
Wait a second. Where did I get that? Why did I believe that?
Do you think this might have something to do with the fact that we are taught that true beauty, as my friend termed, is found in model's "prepubescent" looking bodies? Women that are so skinny, they look sterile. You don't look at these women, lovely as they are, and think, "true femininity." You don't think of real women, women who produce babies, nurture families, and foster life. You think, "They're so hot." But who says so? I don't even think men are as attracted to these kinds of women as we think they are. But we women are. Why? Whose vision of beauty are we embracing? Some homosexual male designer's vision of beauty? Some woman designer's vision of beauty, who doesn't even look like that herself? I mean, seriously, where do we get this standard, these beliefs about what beauty is? We're all buying into beliefs about what we should and should not look like, but we're living believing a lie. It's like we're following the rules of a game that doesn't even exist. It's this fake universe created by a very small group of people, and it is not reality. And it's not what God says about beauty. Because it doesn't happen naturally. Shooting heroine, smoking and starving yourself to look a certain way is not just "beauty in the eye of the beholder." It's self hatred and vanity.
I know, I know, I am so unpolitically correct. But think about it. It's the truth. Our little girls grow up seeing the magazines and the commercials and start dieting at age 13. Or they go the other extreme and become obese. Either way, they're bombarded with these images, with these lies about true beauty and reality, and they know they can't measure up. So in the end they think, "the skinnier the better," just like I did, because then I can look like the models. They're hot, right?
No wonder we freak out when we get pregnant and gain weight every month.
But where did this all come from? I believe it is because we live in a culture that celebrates death, not life. You read that right. Every day we kill 4,000 babies in our nation and call it "choice."We teach our girls to hate their bodies, to murder the babies they make "inconveniently", and that children, husbands and family are a nuisance, an impediment to their greatest destiny. We teach our boys that girls are useful for no-strings-attached sex, that marriage is unnecessary, (or as Dr. Laura says, "Why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free?") and that strong men fulfilling their roles as husbands and fathers aren't needed.
So it's no wonder that we idolize sterile, skinny, fake model's bodies. We idolize them because we do not value life. I think it's high time to turn that around, as Dr. Leman said. Let's start by celebrating the bodies of women whose full, swollen tummies are holding the future of the world inside them, not getting fat.
I dare you. Go find a pregnant woman and tell her how extremely beautiful and attractive she is. And thank her for choosing, embracing, and loving life by giving her body selflessly to see it brought forth.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
"Nothing more clearly illustrates the continuity between the new life within the womb and the adult he or she will become than the fact that the quality of nutrition during these nine months produces lifelong effects on the brain, kidneys, and the cardiovascular system;
determines the risk of degenerative disease; and profoundly influences the quality of life that persists through adulthood and into old age."
Ah, pregnancy. I love being pregnant. It's such a miracle to know that a life is growing inside of you, waiting for "the" day- the day that God ordained before the foundations of the world, to bring it into existence on this beautiful earth. Having a baby is truly a glorious event. And so much takes place- in a mere 9 months God creates a completely new human life within a woman's womb. In fact, someone I spoke with told me that the Bible explains how the Holy Spirit is brooding over a pregnant woman in a special way, as He fashions and forms the precious life inside her body. She has a double portion of the Holy Spirit, so to speak, during this sacred time. But that's another post for a different time! In this post I want to talk about the incredible importance of a mother's nutrition for optimal health of her baby.
When I got pregnant with our first child, Nathaniel David, (now 2) I was just on the heels of recovery from my stomach problems. At that point I still had stomach pain every day, although it was significantly better than when I first started the Maker's Diet. Because of that I couldn't eat very much. I weighed 100 lbs and wore size 0 jeans. I kept losing weight and actually got pretty close to being technically underweight for a few months. That all changed when I got pregnant. I was STARVING. I mean STARVING. It makes sense. As soon as I got pregnant my stomach problems completely disappeared. And my body needed food, much more than I had been eating before, to grow this new life inside me.
I gained weight really quickly. Big surprise, I was eating, eating, eating! My doctor was awful about it. She expected my 100 lb self to gain 20 lbs in the pregnancy. She told me what an awful delivery I would have if I gained "too much" weight. (She was wrong- 4 hrs 45 min of active labor) Every visit for months she spent most of our 7 minute visit berating me for gaining what she thought was too much. For a while I would leave the appointments and cry and cry. I couldn't help it, I was SO hungry! And it's not like I was heading to McDonald's and eating Bryer's every night. Finally I decided I was not going to spend my entire first pregnancy worried about gaining weight!
We women in America are way too obsessed with gaining weight and potentially being, *gasp* fat. We hate to even say the word. And we especially hate going to a doctor's office every month for 9 months and being weighed! But you know what, we need to get over it when we're pregnant. And we need to eat the right foods to nourish our babies optimally. Actually, I take that back. We need to get over it permanently and focus more on being healthy. Otherwise these beautiful children we bring into the world will spend their lives just as unhealthily obsessed with their bodies as we are, and with just as low self esteem. Tell me, when you look in the mirror, is all you can see what you don't like and is all you can think about what you want to change? One preacher I heard recently said that means you have created an idol in your very own bathroom, and that you agree with demonic spirits each time you look in the mirror. Sounds hard core, but it's true. He went on to say,
"Why are you spending your life trying to look like some 5'10 supermodel who shoots heroine every day and wishes she were dead?"
There has to be more than this. And that's when you're not pregnant. When you are pregnant, if you want your child to be optimally nourished, you have got to lay down the idol in your mirror and focus on growing your unborn child. In my next article I'll show you how.