Blog

Category

Currently showing posts tagged baby

  • Working With a Baby On Your Hip

    Our daughter, Aila, turned one year old in January! It has been so fun being her mom over the last year.

    But one thing that has been most challenging for me is still accomplishing all the tasks throughout the day that I still need to do. I am a task-oriented person, therefore not being able to do everything I want in a day really irritates me. I know my value does not come from accomplishing. Let me stress that again, just in case you missed it: as a task-oriented person, I do not get my value from accomplishing tasks! My value comes from the value God has placed on my being, which was determined before the beginning of time.

    "Your eyes saw me before I was put together. And all the days of my life were written in Your book before any of them came to be." Psalm 139:16 NLV

    "This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life." John 3:16 MSG

    “Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you..." Jeremiah 1:5 MSG

    Learning how He values instead of trying to prove myself constantly has been tough--especially since little Aila has been on the scene. There have been days that when I was laying down for bed at night, I felt like a failure, despite all the love that I gave that girl {diaper changes, nursing around the clock, outfit changes, cuddles and play time}. I enjoy doing laundry, washing dishes {aka, loading the dishwasher}, cleaning the house, paying bills, sending cards, hosting parties, organizing our schedule, meal planning, etc. That's why I stay so busy as a stay-at-home mom. When I did work as a nurse in the hospital, I thought multiple times while trying to pick up shifts from their schedule, "I am just too busy to work!" It was always so hard to fit in a shift when really I wanted to use that time to reserach a new meal or custom-fit our old pillowcases to our new pillows {tutorial coming!}. 

    So how do I still get work done after having a first baby? Here are some tips I've learned so far:

    1) Prioritize

    First of all, decide what is most important to you. There are basic needs for everyone in the family--decide what you must do everyday and then work your way from most important tasks to least important. Write them down!

    Photo Credit

    I've learned that I easily make time for food and drink--hands down, that's easy. But after providing basic meals for Ryan, Aila and I, it gets a little harder. After years of trying to justify not doing things "I know I should do", I have started to really prioritize the things most important to me--like actually put them into action. If I don't do my quiet time first thing in the morning, it likely will not get done. But something I am even less motivated to accomplish on a regular basis is exercising! I will get in the Word and study my Bible for hours to avoid a workout! Ugh... So just this week I have started making myself go to bed by 10:00pm. Wellness Mama, Katie, talks about the importance of enough sleep here and the Holy Spirit has just not let me get it out of my head. I need seven to eight hours of sleep and I am making it non-negotiable. Going to bed at 10:00pm has enabled me to wake up at 6:00am every day to exercise before Aila wakes up around 7:00am. 

    2) Utilize nap time

    Nap time, glorious nap time. Ryan and I implemented The Sleep Lady's Goodnight Sleep Tight Sleep Solution for Aila when she was about five weeks old and we do not regret it for a second! Since she was 9 months old, she has been sleeping 12 hours straight at night and napping for an hour and a half for both of her naps {in the beginning it was 2hrs for the first and 1.5hrs for the second--it will continue to change as she gets older}. In the beginning, I took naps when she did, but as my sleep deprivation lessened, I started utilizing nap time more and more. 

    Because I've started working out before Aila wakes up, I have two nap times to accomplish tasks that I just can't do while she is awake. It took time to figure out what those were: I can cook and clean while she is awake--she just plays next to me while I am cleaning or enjoys sitting on the countertop playing with ingredients as I prepare meals. She also enjoys playing in new places for short periods of time--for example, exploring the basement while I do laundry and pulling out bottles of hair product from their drawer while I do my hair and makeup. 


    If you try this at home, do NOT walk away while your child is three feet in the air and unrestrained! I thankfully know this from common sense, not experience! 

    Tasks I can not accomplish while she is awake: paperwork, computer work, reading, sewing--pretty much anything where I am sitting still. She will forget her toys exist and only want up on my lap to check out {destroy} whatever it is I am trying to accomplish. After I figured out, in general, what I need to do only when she naps, then each day I just decide what I need to accomplish.


    Closet-cleaning at my parent's home when Aila was around 3 months old.

    Just as I won't exercise if I don't do it before Aila wakes up, I also will not likely spend intimate time with the Lord if I don't do it during her first nap. It's as if once my task-mode turns on, it doesn't turn off until night time. My intimate time with the Lord can just NOT be 'done' in task-mode. Sometimes I journal: my thoughts, feelings, desires, frustrations, what I am learning, fears, details of special events or conversations, etc. Other times I do actual Bible study by finding scripture on my own and digging into it's original meaning using a Strong's Concordance or study tool. Or I study the Bible by using a guided study, such as the 'Daniel' study I am going through right now by Beth Moore. One other method my Aunt Linda enlightened me to recently is the Lectio Divina method. You can read more about this method here, but basically you follow a four-step process of meditating on scripture. 1} You read your scripture of choice all the way through at least once and then listen for the "still, small voice", or a word or phrase that sticks out to you. 2} You reflect on that portion and think about how it applies to you--WHY do you think it spoke to you more than the rest of the words in that portion of scripture? 3} Open your heart to God about your thoughts and feelings regarding what spoke to you--it may be praise, confusion, anger, frustration, joy, relief, etc. This step ushers you into conversation with God--the act of relationship with Him. And lastly, 4} listen to what God says to you in response to what you shared with Him.

    "This is a freeing of oneself from one's own thoughts, both mundane and holy, and hearing God talk to us. Opening the mind, heart, and soul to the influence of God." ~S. Michael Houdmann. 

    3) Accept help or "me time"

    My 'mother-in-love' has occassionally and graciously offered "Kory time" to me to do whatever I want to do! It's usually a few times a month for around four hours at a time. It. Is. Glorious! Though I have adjusted to life with a baby, there are some things I definitely miss from my former, 'married without a child' life. What I miss most is being able to leave my house to study, read a novel, or spend intimate time with the Lord--whether that is at a coffee shop, a park or at a restaurant over a long lunch. I used to spend hours with a book or computer and headphones studying. Now, I am lucky to get an hour and a half straight with no interruptions. I also miss going to the grocery or shopping without making sure the diaper bag is loaded, spending five minutes loading her and her belongings in the car, constantly using disctraction methods to keep her patient while actually doing the shopping, and then spending another five minutes packing her and my purchases back in the car. I will never take 'just jumping out of the car' and running into a store for one item for granted again. I miss running easy errands! So during "me time" I don't usually clean the house or do laundry--I do whatever I want to do. If someone offers to watch your baby for a few hours, take it! 


    Aila with her "Suzu", my "mother-in-love".


    Aila with her MeMe Reichert, who often comes from Indiana to babysit for us.

    4) Give yourself some slack

    In a post about 'getting things done' I must mention that you should give yourself a break until your baby is 6-12 months old. If you are exhausted--sleep! Take care of your self, your basic needs, and the needs of your family first. The house can collect some dirt for a month or two until you are back to your motivated self. And let's be honest, it's more fun to clean a really dirty house than a clean one--you can see the results more easily! 

    5) Teach your child patience

    I strive to provide Aila opportunities each day to learn patience. As parents, it is our responsibility to teach our children that they are not the center of the universe. Cloud and Townsend explain 'delaying gratification' great in their book, "Boundaries":

    "[Delay of gratification is] the ability to say no to our impulses, wishes, and desires for some gain down the road. The Scriptures place great value on this abilitiy. God uses this skill to help us see the benefits of planning and preparing. Jesus is our prime example, "Who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Heb. 12:2). Generally, this skill isn't relevant until after the first year of life, as bonding needs to take precedence during that time. However, teaching delay of gratification can begin quickly by the beginning of the second year. Dessert comes after carrots, not before."

    Though it breaks my heart to see Aila's big 'ole tears falling down her cheeks, I know as long as her basic needs are being met {her diaper isn't dirty, she's not starving, she's safe and she's not in severe pain}, then she is learning a very important lesson by not getting everything she wants immediately. I want to love her well--to give cuddles, play time and plenty of attention--but discipline is just as essential for her to grow up as a mature, self controlled, humble and healthy child and adult. 

    One of my favorite books, "Bébé Day by Day" by Pamela Druckerman perfectly words Ryan and I's parenting goal for Aila and the virtue of patience:


    Photo Credit

    "The secret to patience isn't expecting a child to be a stoic who freezes and silently waits. Scientists have found that kids become good at waiting once they learn how to distract themselves--by inventing a little song or burping at themselves in the mirror, for instance. This makes the waiting bearable.
    French parents have discovered this too. They know that they don't even have to teach a child how to distract himself. If they simply say "wait" a lot (attend in French) and make a child practice waiting on a daily basis, she'll figure out how to distract herself. But if they drop everything the instant she complains that she's bored, or if they get off the phone when she interrupts, the child isn't going to get good at waiting. She's going to get good at whining."

    So that's where I am right now!

    I am learning how to do this whole Motherhood thing as I go along. I am sure Ryan and I will modify and adapt our methods to Aila's developmental changes as they come. I can only imagine what moms of multiple children are thinking while reading this advice. I wonder if it gets harder and harder or if you become more and more efficient with each additional child!? Hopefully Ryan and I will find out one day!

    I'd love to hear your thoughts and answer any questions--leave me a comment below! 

  • Cloth Diapering: What We Use & How We Do It {Updated}

    Ryan and I ordered our diapers from Alva Baby. Their website is terrible {poor organization and explanations of different diaper types and 'series'}, we had billing problem that eventually got resolved, and we received one wrong diaper, but aside from all that, we have been pretty happy with the diapers we chose so far. I shared our dilemma and decision about ordering from Alva Baby instead of local brand here, so I'll not go into that again. 

    What We Use

    Alva diapers are what they call pocket diapers {there are lots of different styles of cloth diapers}--you literally stuff the inserts inside the pocket and then put it on the baby. There are different types of fabric used for the diapers as well. The majority of our diapers are minky and PUL {Polyurethane Laminate}. The minky is soft and sort of velvety feeling and the PUL is more smooth and sometimes shiny looking. The snaps enable you to fit babies from 8-35lbs, per Alva's website.

    Each non-bamboo diaper you order comes with a microfiber insert. A bamboo diaper comes with a bamboo insert. The inserts that come with them are great "wicking" inserts, meaning it pulls the wetness away from the baby's skin, but it does not absorb/hold a lot of fluid. We originally tried using only microfiber inserts--one, and then doubled--but almost every time our baby would wake up from a nap, her diaper would be soaked as well as her pants and the crib sheets. SOo... we did some research and then ordered bulk hemp, which is very absorbent! We put a microfiber on top and hemp insert on bottom {all within the pocket} so she feels dry, but it doesn't leak.

    Fyi, bulk hemp is much cheaper than pre-made hemp inserts, but they require sewing. I will share my tutorial for sewing hemp inserts for Alva diapers as soon as I can!


    Two microfiber inserts and a hemp insert inside a PUL diaper. 

    In the beginning, we said we would likely use cloth diapers at home and disposable diapers when we were out and about to make it easier, but really it's not any easier...or harder. We literally still wrap it up like we would a disposable diaper and instead of throwing it in the trash, we throw it in her wet bag and go. Easy breezy, seriously.

    We do still use disposables wipes when we are out and about, but use cloth wipes at home. This decision has just been a convenience one for the diaper bag packing, really. I sometimes feel like I am constantly adding more cloth wipes and water to our warmer, so I really don't want to be doing that to the diaper bag as well. One mom I know said she keeps a spray bottle of water in her diaper bag and dry cloth wipes in a container. During a diaper change, she sprays the baby's bottom and then uses the cloth wipe... or maybe she sprays the wipe first? I can't remember which, but that does sound easier than keeping wet cloth wipes stocked. Again, I just haven't tried it yet. {And like the cloth diapers, they just all go in the wet bag}. Maybe after our HUGE box of Costco wipes are gone, I will try it...maybe.

    I just use plain water for the cloth wipes. I have tried adding soaps and essential oils, but they started to smell badly after a few days and, honestly, it was just more work. If Aila has a particularly smelly urine diaper or I want some extra power for a poopy one, Ill just spray a dot of foam, baby body wash on the wet wipe before I wipe her. Much easier, but just as effective.


    Our diapers came in the mail while I was at the hospital working, so Ryan sent me a picture of them! 

    What We Do Until Wash Day *{See update below}

    Our storing and washing process has been quite an experiment! It's been difficult figuring out what works for our diapers and washing machine to get them clean. I think the ultimate problem is that we have a front-loader washer instead of a top loader. Since the diapers aren't agitated in a pool of water, I had to troubleshoot how to get them clean in a washer that purposefully conserves water! Ugh. I have a friend that has the same diapers, a top loader and hers are spotless, so I knew it was possible!

    I use a wet pail for poopy diapers. Immediately after she poops {unless we are out, of course}, I spray it off the best I can with our bumGenius sprayer and then put it in an old gallon-size ice cream bucket with two ounces of Bac Out Stain and Odor Eliminator {two ounces came from dumping in an old "Girl's Night" bachelorette shot glass worth of it! Do it, gurrl!}. Bac Out is pretty amazing stuff--it has live enzymes that "attack pet, food and beverage stains, organic waste, and odors until they are gone, digesting them back to nature, safely and naturally", per their website. I tried putting the Bac-Out in the prewash cycle only, but they weren't coming clean with this alone. Instead, I let the diapers and inserts soak in it overnight. 

    More often than not, Aila will poop-adee-doop as soon as I have finished a load of diapers instead of right before {meaning it will be three more days before I do another load}. In that case, I let the poopy diaper soak in Bac-Out all night, and then the next day, I empty the bucket, spray the diapers and inserts again, refill the bucket with plain water and let it soak that way until wash day. I have found if I never go down and change the water, the entire diaper {not just the area where the poop originally touched}, gets tinted yellow. So far, it has always come out {often with the help of sunshine}, but I just like to have it sit in clean water instead of poopy water.

    Oh, and I do dive my hands down in the bucket to agitate the diapers a little. Eww. Cloth diapering is a dirty job sometimes, but I don't mind getting a little dirty if it's better for my baby girl and baby girls of the future. Because of this, I keep hand soap and a clean, dry towel nearby to wash my hands.

    Sometimes, she only urinates in the diaper! Yayyyy. I just take the diaper from her bum, pull the inserts out of the diaper to seperate them for laundry. I put the inserts in a 13-gallon, kitchen-style trashcan with a waterproof Smart Bottoms pail liner and close the lid {it can get pretty stinky after a few days of sitting}. I throw the diaper in a seperate trash can {it's smaller and doesn''t have a lid--the diapers don't hold much urine themselves, so they don't smell as bad as the inserts}. With a stash of approximately 35 diapers, I wash a load of diapers about every 3-4 days. 

    To wash a load of inserts, I set my washing machine to sanitize {hottest cycle}, heavy soil {more water, hopefully?} and an extra rinse. Since I use a wet pail, I don't use the extra pre wash, but I occasionally add a little bit of bleach. I experimented with a few different laundry detergents, but have landed upon Rockin Green and so far, we are satisfied. It is free of fabric softeners, perfumes, dyes and brighteners...and free of a whole lot of other things too {you'll know what I mean when you read the outside of the package}. For a list of other laundry detergents recommended {and not recommended} for cloth diapers, visit www.pinstripesandpolkadots.com and click on the Diapering Basics tab {lots of great info}.   

    The last thing I do before pushing start is add an old, designated, soaking wet towel to the washer with the inserts {I do the same for the diapers too}. A soaking wet towel adds weight and more weight in a high-efficiency washing machine means more WATER!!!

    To wash the diapers, I set my washing machine to normal, {but actually turn my water temperature to cold instead of warm}, heavy soil and extra rinse. I tried washing the diapers on warm, but a few of them delaminated. Delaminating is when the plastic, waterproofing layer seperates from the diaper. Bummer. I am guessing my "warm" water is hotter than the recommended water temperature because since I have switched to cold, I haven't had any other diapers delaminate. I still use those diapers and haven't had any leaks, but it is much more difficult to stuff the inserts when the layers are seperated. 

    Oh, and don't forget to add the soaking wet towel!

    I hang my diapers and inserts on the clothes line, when possible. If the weather or my schedule is not permitting, then I will dry my inserts as I would normal laundry and hang my diapers on a clothes line in my basement. If I am in a pinch to get my diapers dry, then I use low heat in the dryer for as little time possible. 


    Our clothes line with drying wet bags, designated diaper towel, a pail liner, diapers and inserts.


    Aila at three months old while I am hanging clothes on the line.

    Ahhh, Clean Diapers

    Stuffed oreos and pizza crust as well as Thanksgiving stuffing sounds better than stuffing diapers, but it's not so bad. Once I got the hang of it, I can do several in the time it take my husband to do one {don't tell him I said so...that's one less I have to do}.

    My favorite time to stuff diapers is in front of the television after Aila has gone to bed. Productive, multitasking type TV-watching is my favorite, but I try to limit it to only when I REALLY need to get something done {"Um, honey, Aila only has one more clean diaper in the drawer!?"} and it doesn't require all of my attention, of course. Otherwise, I am learning that to-do lists and purposeful relaxing should not be simultaneous--the value and effectiveness of each decrease when combined. ...moving along!

    Just in case you missed it earlier, we stuff a microfiber insert on top of a hemp insert into the diaper for daytime use. Review: microfiber pulls the urine away from baby's skin, but doesn't hold much. Hemp absorbs a LOT of urine, but does it slowly--that's why I use both. For nighttime, I stuff TWO microfiber inserts on top of a hemp one and she rarely leaks. Though, as I am writing this, I'm wondering why I have never tried one microfiber and two hemp!? Hemp is thinner than microfiber and it holds more urine, granted it is much more expensive--but if it is just for nighttime, maybe it would be worth it? I'll keep you posted.

    We store stuffed diapers in a dresser drawer in her room. It constantly changes, but lately I have been storing the "triple stuffs" for nighttime in her pajama drawer.


    This was Aila's diaper drawer after the first time I washed, stuffed and put them away. Trust me, it's never looked this cute since. 

    Cloth Diapering When Out & About

    Monkey Foot Designs wet bags are amazing! They are waterproof bags that you can hold dirty diapers, swimsuits & towels, workout clothes, beauty products while traveling, etc--you can just throw it in the washing machine with your other laundry when it's dirty. I have two sizes: the extra large and small. I never fill up my extra large one with only diapers when I am out. It does come in handy, though, if she has a blowout and I need to do a complete outfit change. The small bag holds about three wet diapers--perfect for running errands for a few hours. It's nice to know I am not going to get any bodily fluids from her lower half dripping in or smelling up my diaper bag that is only meant for spot-cleaning.


    Aila at the pool in an accidentally way-too-big suit.

    To use cloth diapers at the pool, just remove the inserts!

    Well, those are the basics of how we cloth diaper {sometimes it's a verb}. I hope it helps. Feel free to message/email me with any questions!

    Cheers!

    ------------

    *Update:

    This whole cloth diapering thing is such an experiment. In experiments, I find that I change my method occassionaly to figure out what works best. Well, like I said above, we had several solid-colored diapers that delaminated and I thought it was due to using too warm of water. Well, I follow a co-op for Alva on Facebook and some of the moms said they were experiencing the same thing with their solid-colored diapers and they had only ever washed their diapers on cold. I decided to contact the company {as those other moms did} and was pleasantly surprised by their customer service! They had me take pictures of the delaminated portions of the diapers as evidence, but asked no other questions! I shared with them my concerns about replacing my defective diapers with more solid-colored ones {zero of my patterned-print diapers had delaminated} and I requested that the replacement diapers be patterened instead of solid. A part of me expected them to say, "Yeah right, you probably washed them in boiling water and now just want new ones", but they didn't! They said that would be just fine and even had me pick out which new diapers I wanted. They shipped right away. Because the patterened diapers are more expensive than the solids, they replaced my six solid diapers with five patterend diapers. That was just fine with that. Since then, I have seen no other diapers delaminate and I couldn't have asked for better customer service, truly! 

    Because I was no longer conviced that it was my laundry method that was ruining my diapers {just a bad batch, I guess? Other moms on the co-op page said they had never had any problems with delamination of their solid-colored diapers}, I decided to try washing all of our diapers and inserts in the same load. I was previously washing the diapers on cold and the inserts on hot. Well, for the last month or so, I have been washing all of them on warm/cold instead. I think if I have any problems with any inserts not coming clean, I will likely just sepearate them from the diapers, let them soak in some bac-out and wash them like I did previously.

    Anyway, that's a little update to my process. It is less work to throw all the inserts and diapers in one laundry hamper instead of seperating them--I'll keep you updated if anything changes. 

    Feel free to ask any questions or leave any tips--we are figuring this out as we go!

  • Cloth Diapering: Why?

    Ryan and I use cloth diapers on Aila's little bottom.

    Everyone seems to freak out when I tell them this. First of all, let me say that they have come a long way from safety pins and plastic covers.

    For us, cloth diapering has been awesome.

    We orignally looked into it for the financial benefits, but soon began learning so much about health benefits for our baby girl and the environmental benefits for all of us. 

    Since our original reason to cloth diaper was for financial reasons, we bought our "stash" {the collection of diapers we have} from Alva Baby as recommended by a friend. Their website was... t e r r i b l e..., but they were incredibly inexpensive and have served us well so far. I found out that they are so affordable because they are "China diapers". Ughh. It makes sense now that they are $10 cheaper than many other diaper brands, likely because they aren't being made by a local mom who is sitting in air conditioning with a latte. Ryan and I ended up relieving our guilt by realizing sometimes you just have to pick and choose your battles. We could return our stash of 40 diapers and buy about 15 instead for the same price, or we could keep them and try to save the earth and love people in other ways. 

    We started cloth diapering when Aila was about 3 months old. We didn't want to deal with the 12 poops/day phase when we were just trying to figure it all out. We knew if we completely overwhelmed ourselves right from the start, the likelihood of us continuing to use cloth diaper would decrease. We had received a lot of disposable diapers at baby showers, so we just slowly transitioned into it. Looking back on it now, I think we did the right thing. We were so tired and we initially had to do a lot of trial and error to get our diapers clean! Because we now have a system, I think it will be fine to start at birth for any future Buttrey Babies.