Tips for Using Cloth Diapers on Vacation

As you know I love cloth diapering my children.  My son potty trained at 2.5 years-old and my daughter will be about the same age when she is potty trained.  At this point we have been through a couple of vacations while fully using cloth diapers.  I really thought that it was going to be difficult and way too much work, but really it wasn’t that bad.

My family takes a yearly vacation to the beach with both my side and my husband’s side of the family.  Last year I used disposable diapers for the 4 day vacation with my family and noticed that my son took 3 HUGE steps back in the potty training.  Before the vacation he would tell us when he went and would want to be changed immediately.  He was really getting good at noticing when he went.  After using disposable diapers for the duration of the vacation, he no longer mind sitting in the pee, and he wouldn’t tell us he went.  It took a couple of weeks to get him back to where he was.  After that I knew that the second vacation I was going to cloth diaper him and my daughter the entire time.

I knew that the week vacation we take with my husband’s family has a washer and dryer, so it was no big deal to be able to take the cloth diapers and continue using them throughout the week.

Below are tips of cloth diapering while on vacation:

  • Bring twice as many as you think you might need
  • Bring 2 wetbags/diaper pail liners
  • Bring cloth diaper safe cream
  • Bring laundry soap you use for the cloth diapers
  • Bring disposable inserts or liners to cut down on the laundry
  • Think about using prefolds, as they are easier to wash and dry
  • When you get to your location, scope out where you are going to keep your diaper pail or wetbag
  • Think about bringing a hand washing machine, if you know that their will not be a washing machine

It is something that can be done and something that people do all the time.  Please comment with other tips you have for using cloth diapers while on vacation.

Ashley

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Mommy Wars…..

I know I have discussed the Mommy Wars here and here, but I feel once again to touch on this point.

A little history, as you may know I had severe Postpartum Depression after the birth of my daughter in April 2012.  It is now 2 years later and I can honestly look back and see that it was a lot worse than what I even thought!  During that time I know that other moms didn’t mean to say something that I took so deeply, but in some cases I couldn’t help it and in other cases it could have been said better.

Recently a friend on Facebook posted  “Me: “I used a great practice of midwives for my son’s birth.” Other mom: “oh, I couldn’t do that. I really cared about my baby.”” as her status.  I was appalled.  I know that 2 years ago and even 1 year ago a comment like that would have sent me into a spiral of self-doubt and would have been hard to get out of.

Now that comment was outright rude and judgmental, what about the comments that aren’t so outright.  The ones that are like Do YOU discipline your child? as the child is running around in a fit.  Or how about the comments like Do YOU EVER give your kids a bath because they always seem to have something all over their face.  Those questions were not meant to be hurtful, but to someone who is battling with themselves, they can be even more hurtful.

Please understand that what you say to people can have a good effect and a bad effect on that person.  You never really know what people are going through.  They only show you what they want you to see.

My suggestion is to be supportive, really try to read the situation.  Understand that not everyone does it the same way and what works for you may not work for them.  Encourage them to do their own research and not just go based off of what you said.

Cloth Diaper Calculation

When my mother cloth diapered us, it wasn’t the most popular mainstream thing to do.  Actually it was somewhat looked down upon as “hippy” or “Weird”.  In 20 plus years the times have changed.  Since I made the switch to cloth diapers I have met more people who cloth diaper and follow the same eco-friendly ways.  In my endless nights awake, I stumbled up a blog post about cloth diaper calculation. Move it Forward Everyday had actually done a really good calculation comparison between disposable diapers and cloth diapers.

Cloth diapers can be expensive or very inexpensive depending on what you get.  For my husband and I, it was always about the cost savings, so I didn’t really care what the diapers look like (yes there are some really cute ones), I only cared about function.  So we sat down recently and calculated how much money we have saved using cloth diapers.  

Before we started we were spending on average $54 on Luvs (using Amazon Mom and Subscribe & Save) for both my children a month. When we first started we purchased cheap diapers from china on eBay.  These diapers work great, but are cheaply made and in my opinion do not last long.  For us it was more about not spending a lot of money on cloth diapers not knowing if our lifestyle would accommodate all the extra washing and taking care of the messy diapers.  Purchasing cheap diapers allowed us to save up money to purchase better quality diapers as money permitted.  After about 3 months of cloth diapers we had enough money to purchase better diapers and a full stash.  We purchased 24 brand new cloth diapers for $135.  October is a year, and we have saved at least $500.  This amount includes deduction for purchase of cloth diapers, and additional $5 per month in water bill.  This amount does not include the resale value of the diapers.

Now I know how addicting it can be to purchase all the cute prints or colors, but we decided to cloth diaper to save money.  I was not going to get addicted to purchasing a large stash.  The 24 diapers lasted us 2 days with 2 in children.  This amount will vary from family to family (my youngest was 6 months old when I started).  Keeping that in mind has really made our savings even more.

So what if you don’t have the extra money for a full stash? There are many different ways to get a starter stash for even pennies. 

  • Use old t-shirts/sweatshirts (buy baby safety pins to hold together)
  • Use flannel receiving blankets (use baby safety pins to hold together)
  • Make your own (Joannes, eBay, Hobby Lobby, Hancocks all sell the supplies to make them)
  • Buy used via facebook, eBay. craigslist
  • Buy on eBay 
  • Prefolds and Covers are extremely inexpensive

There are a ton of videos on Youtube on how to sew cloth diapers, how to fold cloth diapers, and so much more information.

Personally, when we we started we didn’t have a full stash.  We figured out how much each disposable diaper cost us and for every cloth diaper we used we saved double the amount of the cloth diaper.  We also took that time to calculate an average amount of diapers we used per day.  Once we had enough for both for 2-3 days we purchased our full stash.

To save an extra $12 a month on wipes, we slowly moved to cloth wipes.  We were already doing the laundry for the diapers, it wasn’t anything to add the wipes.  We don’t do anything special, just wet with water and use.

Want more information on Cloth diapers? Read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 on Cloth Diapers.

Ashley

Tips for a Container Garden!

Want to dabble in dirt but don’t know where to begin?  Want a beautiful garden but not the work that goes behind it?  Consider a container garden.

Lisa Stadler of Stadler Nursery begins with soil…..

When choosing plants, it is important to know what type of sun you have to work with.  Certain plants do well in shade while others need partial to full sun.  Some suggestions are…..

  • Plants can be as attractive as flowers if well chosen for their textures and variegated colors.  They have the added bonus of looking lovely all the time even without blooms.
  • Stadler suggests “Cram, cram, cram” so that your garden container looks lovely now rather than waiting for the plants to spread out their own which could take weeks.  She prefers to cover all the dirt with plant material.
  • Consider unusual items such as herbs.
  • Place something tall in the center.
  • Surround an annual such as a Gerber daisy with perennials so when the annual is over the perennials will continue to grow.
  • Stadler also suggests we get over our “economy” mindset.  While annuals can be expensive some las as long as six months.  Perennials run a 50/50 chance of not surviving the frost so in the end annuals may be money well spent.
  • Container gardens are perfect for decks, porches, apartments, hanging baskets.  It’s not necessary to have a huge landscaped area.  Just begin with one or two containers.  Fill with dirt.
  • Fertilize.

A container garden is perfect for children to get involved with.  Have them help water and prune the flowers!

Do you have any suggestions for planting a container garden?  Please share!

Positive Parenting

Positive Parenting is not something that you can fake, it is something that parents have to believe in.  You discipline in a gentle and respectful way as opposed to disciplining out of fear.  You encourage your children.  Parents believe in every opportunity to teach their children instead of punishing them.  By teaching them you are helping them develop responsibility, honesty, respect, and confidence.  You are able to work with them for a solution to the problem, instead of just telling them what to do.

“Positive parenting, at the very core of it, isn’t about what you can and can’t do in terms of disciplining, teaching, and guiding your kids. It isn’t even about having the perfect relationship (as there will always be breaks and repairs; such is life). It’s not about techniques or tools, whether or not to use time outs or time ins, consequences or problem-solving. All of those things stem from the practice of what is at the very core of this philosophy, but they are not THE philosophy itself. What it’s really about is the way we view children, their emotions, their needs, their motives. It’s about seeing them as human beings, worthy of respect and unconditional love, delicate, impressionable, who have as much to teach us as we have to teach them. When THIS sinks into your heart, the practice of positive parenting naturally flows from it. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.”  (Positive Parents.org)

My mother believed in positive parenting.  She believed that children are human and deserve respect.  You can discipline a child without putting fear into them.  We never had the “Do you want me to get the belt?” question, where we do what she wants out of fear of getting hit.  We had an encouraging house where my mother would say, “If you tell me the truth, then I won’t be mad.” and truthfully she wouldn’t.  She would be mad if we lied on top of whatever we did.  She understood that children are learning and make mistakes.  They are testing boundaries and seeing how far they can go.

Children only know what we, as adults, are teaching them.  They learn through hearing, seeing and doing.  As parents, we need to model the behavior that we expect from our children.  We can not expect them to be perfect all the time, even we as adults aren’t.  So when we talk to them about the behavior we want, it is just reinforcing the actions we are already taking.  For example, have you ever heard the saying “Do as I say, not as I do”?  This is a classic example of adults expecting their children to do something that they themselves don’t.

Positive Parents.org is a wonderful website that has great information on positive parenting.  I know, I found some great information and some better ways to execute my beliefs!

Punishment: What to do Instead

Last week we found out what punishments really teach children.  So what are we suppose to do instead?  Below is the same list with alternatives to parent positively.

  • If your child hits another child, do not hit them as punishment.  This only teaches them that it is ok if you are bigger than they are. Instead, use your words and inquire about the incident.  Most children hit out of frustration.
  • If your child hurts another child, do not force them to hug/kiss, say “I am sorry”, it isn’t genuine and it only teaches them that it is ok to lie.  Instead, explain to them that hurting other children is not appropriate.  Tell them to use their words instead of hurting them.
  • If your children are bothering you, do not send them to someone else.  They learn that you can’t handle them.  Instead, explain to them the reason why they are being sent to someone else.
  • Avoid comparing  your child to another child, they will then compare themselves to others.  Instead, tell them what you want them to do.
  • Don’t tell your child to “be nice,” or “be gentle”, it is too vague. They may think they are being nice.  Instead, be direct and tell them what you want them to do.  For example, change “be nice to the dogs,” to “please pet the dogs softer”.
  • If two kids are fighting over a toy, don’t take it away.  They will never learn how to negotiate that way.  Instead, be the mediator.  Help them solve the issue and share the toy.  Or ask them how much longer they want with the toy. Put a timer on to measure how many minutes they said.
  • Avoid using food for anything other than nurishing their bodies.  This puts value to food and could cause eating disorders.  Food should only be used as a source of fuel.
  • Avoid using any physical punishment, it only shows them that violence is ok.  Instead model the behavior that you want.  If you don’t want them to hit, then don’t do it yourself.

How do you handle some of these situations?

Ashley

Punishments: What They Really Teach Children

Positive parenting is the belief that a child can be disciplined in a positive encouraging way without punishments.  Punishments, like time-out, spanking,  only show children unnatural consequences to their behavior, it does not tell them why it is wrong, nor does it allow them to figure it out themselves.  Punishments only stop the immediate behavior, they do not teach what behavior you want.  Below are some common punishments and what they teach children.

  • If they hit another child, do not hit them as punishment.  This only teaches them that it is ok if you are bigger than they are.
  • If they hurt another child, do not force them to hug/kiss, say “I am sorry”, it isn’t genuine and it only teaches them that it is ok to lie.
  • If they are bothering you, do not send them to someone else.  They learn that you can’t handle them.
  • Do not compare them to another child, they will then compare themselves to others.
  • Don’t tell them to “be nice,” or “be gentle”, it is too vague. They may think they are being nice.
  • If two children are fighting over a toy, don’t take it away.  They will never learn how to negotiate that way.
  • Do not use food for anything other than nourishing their bodies.  This puts value to food and could cause eating disorders.
  • Do not use any physical punishment, it only shows them that violence is ok.

So what are you suppose to do?  Come back next week for tips for each of these!

Ashley

Crunchy Living: Homemade Glue

This is a great nontoxic recipe for homemade glue.  It won’t have the same stickiness as the store-bought glue, but it works.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup water

Directions:

  1. Mix the flour and sugar together.
  2. Pour in the water slowly, continuously stirring.
  3. Cook over low heat, continuously stirring.
  4. Allow to Cool.

 

Do you have any recipes for homemade glue?  Please share!

Ashley Myers

How to Pump and Store Breast Milk

Pumping:

  1. Pump 3-4 hours after you last nursed the baby.
  2. Wash your hands.
  3. Use clean equipment.
  4. Adjust the pump setting on low to start.  Then, increase it to your comfort level.
  5. Wet the horn with water or a few drops of breast milk.
  6. Center your nipple in the horn, don’t let the nipple rub.
  7. Pull the plunger gently about half way out for the first minute or two.
  8. Pull plunger about once every second, this imitates the baby’s nursing rhythm.
  9. First your milk will come in drops, then sprays.
  10. Pump 10-15 minutes on each breast.

Storing

  1. Freshly pumped milk can be safely left in a warm room for 4-6 hours or up to 10 hours in a cool room.
  2. Refrigerated milk can be stored for 8 days.
  3. Freeze cold breast milk. 6 months in a freezer and 6-12 months in a deep freezer.
  4. Use either disposable bottle bags or a container to freeze breast milk
  5. Put 3-4 oz in each container or bag.
  6. Make sure to date each packet.
  7. Keep the pumped milk cold with a chill pack inside the carrying case.

Warming

  • never microwave
  • Never heat on the stove.
  • Put frozen packets in the refrigerator over night or set frozen packet in a cup of warm water for a few minutes until room temperature.
  • Shake gently to mix the milk

 

Do you have any products that help with pumping and storing breast milk?  Please let us know!

Ashley Myers