Tuesday, June 12, 2012

TotBots Easyfit Diaper Review

My daughter has the cutest bum on the planet.


She at least inherited that from me ;) But seriously folks, is this not a cute little number she's sporting? I'm a sucker for anything with cherries. I think it comes from my old swing dancing days. Today's diaper review will be on the TotBots Easyfit, which is an AIO, but with a twist.

I first bought this diaper solely because it had cherries on it. I'm not going to lie, I do that more often than not. I haven't seen many reviews of them, and it is not one of the "big names" out there. I often overlook this diap when I'm thinking to myself about all the diapers I love in my stash.

Yes I do that. I know it's weird. I have a cloth diaper blog. I blog about diapers. Often.

Anyways, so I forget about this diaper a lot. Why? I think it's because it's so awesome. Okay, let's take for example the fact that my daughter, who is gigantic for her age, is still on the smallest rise. How many people can say that about a diaper in their stash? (She is wearing 12-18 month clothes right now and she is 9 months.)

Pros

-The rise is really high so it's going to last you longer than most diapers in terms of size
-It's an AIO. (All in one which means there is no reason to stuff or put a cover on it. The absolute easiest kind of cloth diaper out there.)
-The Hook and loop is super strong! Even stronger than Blueberries', which is saying a lot.
-It dries quickly, which if you are not using a dryer, is important.
-It's a hybrid with a pocket that you can stuff for nighttime or long trips.
-They have a tiny fit for newborns!

Cons

-The price is higher than most AIOs

Why it's different

So why is this AIO better than other ones? I thought you'd never ask.

Well, the AIO part is actually a long piece that is sewn into the front and you have to stuff it into the pocket. This way in the wash, it comes out with the agitation and washes just like a regular pocket. Except, you don't have to go searching for the stuffing because it's attached! And on top of that you can add extra boosters for nighttime or trips.

What? How awesome is that! There are not many hybrid diapers out there on the market, but I think this one is a great option. It's not that bulky and now they have all these new prints. They even have one for the Jubilee! That is crazy talk. You can commemorate the queens' reign on your baby's bum? How chic is that?




One more for the road :)

Friday, June 8, 2012

My favorite things-Part III-Baby carriers!

If you've ever been into a baby store, seen a Time magazine, or been outside of your home in the last year, you've probably already seen the armies of hippies, I mean people, walking around with babies strapped to their chests, straddling their hips, or slung over their backs like chattel.  I mean, who actually wears their baby? What is this baby wearing movement about and why would I do that as a mother? I've already carried them inside me for 40 something weeks, you mean I have to keep doing it once they come out? I feel like that's just asking a little too much.
If this sounds like you, don't worry, it's really not that hippy to carry your baby. And even if it was, you're reading a cloth diapering focused blog, so you already have hippy tendencies. Just accept it already. Okay, so baby carrying is great bonding, blah blah blah, keeps the baby feeling secure, blah blah blah, and other attachment parenting things. I love baby wearing, but I'm not writing this blog to convince you of the benefits.  Just buy a carrier and you'll experience so much more than what I could describe to you in my sarcastic,slightly mocking, but nonetheless very informative tone. Actually, better yet, go hang out at your local non-Starbucks coffee dispensary and befriend someone already wearing their baby. I'm sure they will let you borrow one and in the process talk your ear off about the benefits of baby wearing.

Okay, so I'll bite. What are my options?

Most new parents have heard of the Baby Bjorn as the best carrier out there. Well, this post is to debunk that myth and to blow your baby carrier wearing mind.

Enjoy.
Baby Bjorn
(all info and pictures taken from BB website)



Looks pretty cool, eh? I've personally never used one of these before, but I've heard good and bad things about them. All of the talk I've heard that is negative deals with the hip problems that can develop, but I'm not a scientist. The company seems to have an option for 3+ months that fixes this problem. If you notice, with the bb's you will have to buy two carriers. One for newborns up to 3 months, then one for 3 months(13 lbs)-2 years (31 lbs).

Pros
Front and back facing
Cool color options
Very easy to register for and buy at most big box baby stores

Cons
Weight limits require you to buy two different carriers if you want to start from birth
Possibly bad for baby hips
Possibly overwhelming for a baby to be forward facing

If you'd like to look into all the options that Baby Bjorn has to offer, click here to visit their website.

Moby Wrap
(info and pictures taken from Moby website)

I love this pattern, although it's not really my style.



This was the second carrier that I had heard about during my pregnancy, and although I didn't buy one at first, I eventually did. I wish I had gotten one earlier. It is a little more complicated than a ring sling, or a snap on carrier like the baby bjorn, but it makes up for all of that in the experience. When I wore my daughter in the hug hold, it literally would melt my heart. She was so soft, and her little arms around me were amazing :) This carrier goes all the way up to 35 lbs, which is more than the BB. I don't know if you would want to carrier an older child with this type of wrap personally, but for a newborn up to 5 or 6 months, I would say this is my ideal wrap. Of course, every carrier is a personal decision, so don't take my word for it, try one out! There are tons of videos on youtube and on the company's website about how to tie this wrap. It takes a couple of times, but after you get the hang of it you'll be fine.

Pros
Keeps baby really close
Very soft
Great support on hips and shoulders
High weight limit so you'll use it longer

Cons
Tying it can be confusing at first
Stretches as you wear it some
It's more complicated to put the child into
It can be more difficult to tie in public
Here I am with my baby girl at five months rocking the hug hold. I look exhausted! Oh yeah, I have a baby. I should look that way.
If you'd like to look into all the options that Moby has to offer, click hereto visit their website.

Ps. Don't tell my husband that they have a Red Sox wrap now.

Ring Sling

There are so many of these out on the market, that really it's just a matter of a quick web search for one that you find appealing. I am not as big of fan of these as the Moby, Ergo, Beco, or Boba because I don't think the distribute the weight around enough. I used one when my daughter was first born until the age of 1 month or two and then I switched over to the Ergo because I liked to go for long walks, and my back would be killing me after an hour. Some people swear by them, and honestly, I think they are really cute, they just aren't practical for me past a certain baby weight. I currently own two slings-The Balboa sling in Geo Trim which you can find here and a sling I picked up from a local cloth diaper store by BabyEtte which I loved while she was little.

Pros
Keeps baby close
Easily slipped on and off
Doesn't take up much room in the diaper bag
There are even mesh ones for the pool!

Cons
Not as much support to wear for longer periods of time
Can be frustrating to get the right fit

Front and back carriers


Boba

Okay, I'm totally biased, but I love the Ergo carrier. Honestly though, you can get a Beco or a Boba, which are basically the same. There are differences, like they are made by different companies, the colors are different, and if you buy a Beco or a Boba, you're a little more crunchy than the average mom. But seriously, the Boba does have a feature that I really wanted in a carrier and I might end up breaking down and buying one when our little bundle turns 2. I'm talking about the stirrups that you can see in the picture below, taken from their website found here.
If you look very carefully you can see the stirrups on the sides of the carrier on the moms hips.
Boba also has two male patterned carriers for the dapper daddy wearer. Trust me, daddy will eventually break down and want to baby wear after awhile. My hubby did and now we fight over who gets to wear her.

Beco

Now the Beco has two types: the butterfly2 and the gemini. I'm officially lusting after this one now. Here is a picture from the website because I just want to look at it some more.


With the Beco, unlike the Boba and the Ergo baby, you can wear the baby facing out like the BB, hip, front facing inward, or in on the back. It also has a head rest that you can put down or up, depending on whether baby is sleeping or needs head support. I think the Beco has better patterns than the Boba or the Ergo, if that is important to you. I personally would love to have one of each in my baby wearing stash (hint hint husband)!

Ergo

Finally we get to the one that I currently own. The Ergo baby carrier is a great carrier from birth to 45lbs. I ended up buying this one because of the infant insert. I can't remember exactly when I stopped using it, but I think it was around 3 or 4 months. This carrier is a great fit for my 6'2 frame and is easily adjusted to fit my 6'5 husband. My sister-in-law also has one, and she can't be over 5'6. I'm not really sure because honestly everyone shorter than me looks the same height. I just saw on their website that they have a new pattern, which I'm kinda crazy about now. Guess what print it is?


Zebra what? Are you kidding me? It is literally taking every ounce of self control that I have left to not buy this carrier right now. I am all kinds of in love with this print. Real Housewives eat your heart out.

If you'd like to check out all the Ergo baby carrier options, visit their website and while you're at it you can buy this carrier for me. I am officially in love.

Alright mommas that's all I have to say about baby carriers. I know there are others like the Mei Tei, and Sleepy wrap, but I don't know everything. Google does, so ask her. In the meantime, happy baby wearing!


For more information on baby wearing go here.



Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Newborn diaper options

Most people skip the newborn stage of cloth diapers and just wait until their babies have reached about 10 lbs to start with cloth diapers. It's really a personal preference when it comes to whether or not you want to buy a seperate stash of diapers that you will only be able to use for one to two months. I decided to take that risk, and ended up buying a combination of prefolds with covers, fitted diapers, and AIOs. For those of you who didn't read the previous post, prefolds are the most basic form of cloth diapers that were used by our parents. They are several layers of fabric sewn together, with an extra amount of fabric sewn into the center for extra absorbency. These usually come in 4X8X4, meaning 4 layers on the outside and 8 layers sewn down the center. Here is a picture of the kind that I bought. It's the newborn Sweet Pea prefold.



When using prefolds, you must always cover it with a waterproof layer called a cover. Covers are really convienent and can also be used as swim diapers! Shown is an XS Thirsties cover and the prefold. http://www.nickisdiapers.com/thirsties-diaper-cover.html Even though I don't use prefolds and diaper covers on a regular basis, I like to keep a couple diapers around the house just in case I've run out of my other diapers.  They are basically my back up diapers for those lazy days when I just don't feel like doing laundry. The great thing about covers are you can reuse them several times before you wash them. Just wipe them out and then put in another prefold and voila!







The great thing about Thirsties covers are they have double gussets to keep all the poo in!



Here is a one size cover that I bought called econobum by Bum Genius.



This is a one sized diaper cover, so it's supposed to last from birth until potty training. The next type of diaper combo you can use is a fitted diaper and cover. With these you just snap on the diaper and then put a cover over it as a waterproof layer. I bought Happy Heineys, but there are several brands to choose from if you want more options. I didn't really like these as much because my daughter always immediately felt wet and so I had to change her a lot more.



Here is the fitted diaper with the Thirsties cover.



I also forgot to mention you can use Snappies with a prefold and do the old school diaper folding that our parents used to do with a cover as well.



The final way to cloth diaper your infant is to use an AIO. AIOs are All in one diapers, meaning the only step you have to take is to put it in the baby. There are two kinds of closures for AIOs; hook and loop and snap closures. I had both, but preferred the hook and loops. I used mostly the Bum Genius XS sized diapers. In this picture you can see the tab on the inside that you put the Velcro straps onto so they stay put in the wash. After one wash you'll realize how important it is to put the tabs down.











My snap diaper was Grovia, and it didn't fit her well. Every time he wore it it leaked. I loved the pattern and the design looked like it wouldn't easily leak, but it did not work well with her body type.











This diaper is stained a little, but stains are easy to get out. In a future blog I will talk about washing and diaper care.



The flap on the inside was a great idea because you can adjust the absorbency for the middle or front, depending in what area your baby wets more. Okay, that's all for now! If you have any questions ask away! I love talking about cloth diapers!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Flying with bébé

Two weeks ago, I set off on a airplane extravaganza with my 8 1/2 month old daughter. We were invited to go to the wedding of my best friend's sister, and seeing as it was in France, I was slightly nervous to make the voyage alone. After several days of deliberation, I nervously forked over the cash and bought our ticket. Now I say "our ticket" because lap infants do not in fact fly free on international flights. I will preface this that after many google searches, I did not find a carrier out there that didn't charge, but you may know of one that I don't, so please reply to this post with the name of the carrier if they exist.
Okay, back to the trip. We arrived at the airport with one overly stuffed bag to check, two carry on bags filled with any and everything I could think of for the flight, my Ergo carrier, and the jogging stroller. In hindsight, I wouldn't have brought two bags on the plane. But we'll get to that later.

After paying a fee for the bag being overweight, I was armed with pumpkin butt, stroller, carrier, and the two carry on shoulder bags. Now, if you haven't yet flown with an infant who isn't walking yet, be prepared to hand your baby off to a security agent while you walk through. You cannot wear them through the security checkpoint, you can't keep them in the car seat, or in the stroller. If you have a large car seat and stroller, you can just tell them they won't fit through the scanner and they usually will just do a hand check. For those of you whose babies still drink milk, you are allowed to have water for the formula and/or breast milk. They do a quick check and you're out.

I had already previously flown with Lucy once, so I knew what outfit would work best for wearing her through the airport and getting through security in as pain free a way as possible. Slip-on shoes, big comfy sweater to wrap around her while she was in the carrier, and a black tee that would hid any stains I would accrue throughout our trip. For those of you who are debating whether you should take a stroller or not, they check them for FREE at the gate. If you have the room, I say take one. I didn't use mine much, but when I did I was really really glad I had it.

Okay, enough storytelling, let's get down to the important parts.

1. Bring toys that will engage your child for hours. You're going to need to keep them preoccupied while sitting in your lap or in the infant bassinet, so you'll need enough for however long the trip is. I figured I would need at least 5 hours of entertaining time, so I bought a couple of new toys and then the ones I knew that were her favorites. My daughter is obsessed with necklaces, so I brought my two teething ones so that she would have a toy in the carrier and on my lap.

2. Bring all the medicines, teething remedies, and comforting tools you can for your cranky baby. He/she will become cranky for some reason thought the flight or on your trip and you'll be wishing you had packed those teething biscuits or thermometer.

3. Try to stick to your nighttime routine as best you can on the plane. If you read your little one a story before bed, read them a story. If you swaddle the baby, swaddle them. If you rock them to sleep, well, you're in the perfect place as you've got nothing else to do. This time you won't feel as guilty wishing your little one would hurry up and fall asleep so you could get back to Pinterest!

4. Most airlines have infant bassinets. These things are AMAZING! I was travelling alone, so I couldn't just hand off my baby to daddy while I went to the bathroom, or while I dug through the bag for that one toy my little one was crying for. But with the bassinet, I was able to put her in and give her a place to play while I sat back and ate my dinner. (Btw, I am not saying you should leave your baby in the bassinet while you go to the bathroom. Please do not leave your baby unattended, ever.)

So what are these bassinets anyway? Here is a pic from www.anjouaero.com.


After takeoff, your assigned steward or stewardess will come by and install this in front of your seat. You will have to request a seat in the bulkhead with the bassinet. I would suggest making the call right after you purchase your ticket. These seats are hard to get and you can't just ask for one when you get to the gate. Check with your airline to see if they offer them. I believe British Airways has the best kind, Britax I think. I really can't praise Air France enough for how helpful the staff was. Our journey was so much easier with the bassinet.

That brings me to my next point. During takeoff and landing, you'll need to use the seat belt extension they give you. It's basically a loop with a smaller loop attached to it that you loop around your belt buckle and then around the child. Little one actually fell asleep in this position during our hop from Pau to Paris. On our way from Paris to Pau, I still had her in the Ergo carrier and I was allowed to loop the seat belt around her and the carrier, which was nice since she was still sleeping. (Sorry I didn't take pictures. I didn't even think that I would be blogging about this in retrospect.)

5. Food. Bring lots of snacks and lovely things that can distract your child and keep them happy. This is the time to spoil them and make them excited about flying! If your child is older, some airlines even have children's meals that you can request.

6. Don't be afraid to ask people in the security lines, or in the airport where your gate is. I had several great experiences in Charles de Gaulle. I skipped two ridiculously long lines through security both coming and going, just by asking. People see you, then the baby and they naturally want to help.

7. Bring a carrier. Air France checked my stroller all the way to Pau, meaning I was left in Paris with a baby who can't walk and two bags. Thank goodness I brought the carrier with me, as it made the impossible, possible. I have several carriers, but I choose to bring the Ergo because it was easy to put on in a confined space. Here is a pick of it from Amazon.


For those of you with newborns, you can use this insert. We had it as well and it was great! I'm also a big fan of ring slings and the Moby wrap, however I felt this carrier would be the most comfortable on the long journey. I ended up using it a ton while in France and hardly ever used the stroller. It made shopping and walking around the narrow aisles in stores a lot easier.

8. Make sure your baby is swallowing something or screaming during take off, but especially landing. You don't want to be the person with the upset baby for hours after the flight because the baby can't pop it's own ears. My parents made that mistake with me and they said I screamed for hours after the flight. If you breast feed, make sure the baby is at the breast. Just time it right because sometimes taxing before takeoff can take a while. We had a 20 minute delay on our way back and I had to keep Lucy from eating because I knew she was going to suck the bottle down and then crash before we reached our cruising altitude. It wasn't very pleasant for the passengers, but I had to think about her first.

9. Your baby is going to cry sometimes so just be prepared. Sometimes babies need a good cry and all you can do is console them. There isn't an off button as you already know, and deep down, those douchy passengers who give you the stink eye because they want you to shut your baby up will one day get their just desserts. That might sound mean, but it kept me going when the guy behind me on the flight from Houston to D.C. was complaining about babies on flights, etc...

10. Relax and realize that the flight will end and you will get some sleep, one day. I know it might seem improbable when you are in the moment, but it will happen. Life will go on, and even if your flight is horrific, there will always be tomorrow.

11. If you use formula, there are these great travel packs that are amazing because they take up little to no room at all. I filled four bottles with water and then kept these bad boys in my diaper bag, which really kept down on the bulk.

12. Don't be afraid to use disposable diapers. I know, I know, this is a cloth diapering blog and I'm telling you to use disposables. I have travelled with both, and I did not feel comfortable using my friends parents washer while 6 other people were in the house, just so that I could keep up cloth diapering. It wasn't my favorite thing, but I bought the degradable kind and she survived just fine.

Flying with an infant has it's challenges, but it isn't impossible. If you're considering going on a trip, just be flexible and things will work out. I learned a lot about my daughter and myself throughout this process. For example, I can survive on little to no sleep with coffee. My daughter likes older boys and eclairs. She had several little friends that gave her quite the laughing fit in the airport in Paris and on the flight to Paris from D.C.

For those of you who are planning trips, feel free to post what worked for you! Happy flying everyone!