Friday, November 30, 2012

Cloth diapering, a year in review

I can't believe it's been over a year and I'm still cloth diapering. I remember when I first heard about it, and I was immediately appalled and intrigued. (I seem to have that reaction a lot.) These days, the idea of washing your diapers seems so medieval, primitive. Everyone uses disposable diapers because that's what is done. It's not really a hot button issue, just a way of life. Having a diaper cake at your baby shower is a right of passage for the pregnant mother. Once you get one, you are officially going to have a baby. Before that, it's all a mirage.

So of course I had to be different. Not because I love being different, just because I'm usually trying out stuff  I read about to prove someone wrong. Cloth diapering must be impossible, so let me do it. Wool diapers are  for barbarians, I'll buy 15. Elimination Communication is the love child of the devil and a madman. Babies will never, I repeat NEVER go to the bathroom on a potty. I've got to try this.

What is wrong with me? Why am I doing this to myself? Whatever brain abnormalities aside, I've learned a few things over this past year of cloth diapering that I'd like to share with you.

1.) Newborn cloth diapering is not for everyone. You have to want to do it. If it becomes overwhelming, stop. Love that baby and focus on more important things like establishing breastfeeding (if you are doing that) and getting some much needed sleep.

2.) You will eventually stop buying a new diaper every week. This usually happens when you have at least one of every diaper you just can't live without.

3.) Most likely your spouse will eventually jump on board. At first Mike thought I was a raving lunatic and now he's telling me we need to do diaper loads and begging me to put wool on her at night.

4.) Aplix (or velcro, as normal people like to call it) is not all created equal. My aplix Blueberry diapers are still going strong, but my Bumgenius one is no longer reliable. My daughter walked right out of it last night right before bath time. That being said, different people have different experiences with different diapers. Just know that you might not be able to use all of your diapers for multiple children.

5.) Never underestimate a hip snap with a crawling and walking baby. I HATE my Sweetpea diapers now because they don't have hip snaps and she is constantly leaking out in them.

6.) You are going to start hating some of the diapers you loved and vice versa.

7.) Cloth wipes are still easy and you never run out of them like disposables.

8.) Different one size diapers work better for different stages of your baby's development. I used to like Blueberry for nap time and now they don't hold in all the pee. Sweetpea's used to be my favorite day diaper and now I can't stand them.

9.) Buy the most expensive diaper you can afford that works well for your baby. I bought two really horrible diapers I will write about in another blog. They were super cute and really reasonable. Now they just sit in her diaper drawer and I curse at them every time she has a diaper change. I could have spent the money I used on the two of them to buy one really nice diaper.

10.) If you are traveling or your baby has a bad case of the runs, just go to the store and get some disposables. It's only a week here or there. No one gives you a trophy that says you 100% cloth diapered your baby's bum after they have potty trained, so save yourself the trouble of doing diaper laundry in a hotel at midnight and enjoy your life.

11.) This process is totally doable if you want to do it. If you find that it's too hard, you might need more diapers. At the beginning, I remember feeling pressure to make sure I had a load of diapers in so that she would have some for the next day. Now that I have enough (cough, cough) for a few days (a week), I feel more calm about washing. Everything is more fluid and I know that I'll be using these diapers for the future youngins to come. However, if you get more diapers and you still can't figure it out, don't worry. Sell your diapers on eBay and move on. You're not a horrible parent if you don't cloth diaper. (Email me first though, because maybe I'll want to buy your diapes!)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Elimination Communication

Being the hippy in denial that I am, when I first heard about EC, I had a similar reaction to this. What kind of voodoo believing, co-op membership holder, community garden gardeninger (wait, is that a word?), chia seed enthusiast would do something like this? I mean, seriously? I can understand cloth diapering. I have a website devoted to the subject. I’m progressive, hip. I’m with it. (insert Dr. Evil docadocadoca dancing scene from Austin Powers)  Potty training a baby is NUTS! No one does that! I mean NO ONE. Only crazy people do…

And so I had to try it.

I needed to prove them wrong, the thousands of mommies out there who in fact do this unfathomable thing. How in the world could someone actually expect a baby to go potty in a potty? Newborns even?! Say what! So, I promptly bought an EC book and got to reading. As per usual, it was filled with hippy crap that appealed to me. Damn it. Why am I so gullible?

Here is what I gleaned from the book:

1.)   A lot of cultures actually do this. (I have no proof of this, nor do I really care.)
2.)   Babies don’t like to feel dirty or wet, so they take easy to the method.
3.)   Your baby wants to potty train. (I have not asked any babies, so I am not endorsing this statement.)
4.)   Babies go potty during transition times, ie. getting out of the car seat, carrier, after a nap, after mealtime, etc…
5.)   Naked time to help your baby learn about how it feels to pee is essential.
6.)   You have to grunt with your child to help cue them for poop and go “ssssss” to help them go pee. (This one is hilarious.)
7.)   Offer the potty often.
8.)   Potty time can be bonding time between parents and baby.
9.)   Take your baby with you to the bathroom and describe what you are doing by using the cues. (Again, hilarious in practice! Hey Lucy, I’m peeing, “ssssss.” Mommy is going pee in the potty.)
10.) People are going to automatically think you are crazy for doing this. Get used to it.

I am no expert on EC, and we are not really religious about offering the potty after every transition, but, my daughter has gone two months with only two “misses” in her diaper. I’m talking one to three poops a day in the potty and sometimes pee! Granted, my little bundle of poopy joy is not walking by herself yet, but she’s content to sit on the potty while we read, watch Baby Einstein, play with my phone, sing songs, or play with her toys. I’ve had to wash fewer diapers, which is a plus. But, more importantly, I haven’t had to clean any poopy diapers in ages!  

I started this around 9 or 10 months, but really got into it after our move at eleven months. Some people start from day 1, which I think is great if you can! At that point, I was in survival mode, so I don’t know if I would have the wherewithal to stick with it. However, I think starting around 6 months, would be a great way to ease your child into using the potty. Remember, every child is different and you are not going to actually “train” a newborn or baby to do anything they don’t want to do. My daughter is headstrong (I wonder where she gets that from?) and believe you me, she would not be going to the potty unless SHE wanted to sit there and go.

So, do with that what you will. If you EC or are thinking about it, let me know what you think! I’m fairly new to the whole process, but we have taken two successful trips now with no poops in the diaper. Crazy, right? For now, I’m a big fan.

Lucy catfishing (A term we coined after we discovered that giving the cat toy to the baby on the potty provided hours of entertainment and distraction while mommy sat by cueing.)