Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cloth diapers, by request

First let me say that I love our cloth diapers. I love the big tushy they give Teagan and how cute and colorful they are. In comparison, disposables look like toilet paper to me. I didn't really anticipate that I would feel that way, but there it is. So, I am starting with a pic of Teagan in her light green bum genius one size diapers.

Okay, as far as the cloth diapering experience in general, I'll start there. First I went with one size diapers that adjust via snap (bum genius) or elastic (fuzzi bunz) as your child gets bigger. As a result, I had to use disposables until my daughter got to about 9 lbs, which was a while for us since she was born just under 7 lbs. Once we started, things went well. Both kinds of diapers have small inserts for when your baby is little and big inserts for when they grow, so we started little. Initially, I was doing a load of laundry a day, but after about a month, that went to one every other day (I have about 25 diapers). Note: I change her ALOT, probably more than most because I tend to hate the idea of wet soggy bottoms but most people say this many diapers can get you through 2 days at least before you need to wash.
Things to be aware of with cloth diapering: you want to buy good detergent that won't damage them. My favorite is Country Save which I buy online in boxes of 4. Its cheap, safe for the environment and very very mild. Also, if you are going to cloth diaper, don't buy traditional diaper creams. You can only use them if you put a liner between the cream and the diaper, instead, I've used Grandma El's diaper remedy, which I love. In fact, I haven't had to use any at all since the very beginning when Teagan was allergic to the first detergent I used. Since then, not a single rash until this awful yeast one from the formula. Also, be aware that cloth diapers (whichever kind you choose) are bigger than modern disposables so you may want to buy bottoms slightly bigger than tops when you buy clothes (I worried about this because I didn't realize it until much later but we honestly haven't had much of a problem since baby clothes are usually so stretchy, the only problems I've had are with non-stretchy materials, which I think I have 2 or 3 bottoms of).

Here is my experience: I really like the Bum Genius diapers we bought. My husband is willing to use them, the daycare at the YMCA is willing to use them and they don't need a lot of explaining if I have to leave her with my mom. They work exactly like a disposable, with velcro and all. There have only been a few leaks and they were mainly caused by Teagan growing out of the newborn inserts and mommy refusing to believe it, so hanging on to the little inserts against her better judgement. As soon as I changed to the regular inserts (which snap up to be made smaller with the smaller size), the leaks stopped. The colors are great. Her giant tushy is so cute. There is, however, one drawback...the velcro. The very thing that makes these so convenient is the very thing that concerns me in terms of longevity. So far, I've followed the rules and they are hanging in there, but one of the main selling points to my husband was that cloth diapering saves a lot of money, so the idea was to have these work through potty training. I am skeptical that they will. I might be proven wrong, but I'm still skeptical. Velcro just isn't that long lasting. But its so darn convenient! Anyway, if this is a concern for you, look into the fuzzi bunz diapers (I have a few and LOVE THEM, maybe equal to, maybe better than the bu.m genius), which are snap closure or look into the new bum genius snap diapers.

Other concerns - with the All-In-One (AIO) diapers, you get a water wicking liner right against your baby's tushy and the inserts are usually made of microfiber, which is super absorbent. However, if you've ever used high performance fabrics at the gym or outdoor sports, you know that these fabrics have a tendency to retain odor. It took me a while to figure it out but you need to add an extra rinse cycle at the end of your washing and then once a month or so add a little (less than 1/4 cup) of bleach to the hot cycle (this is actually recommended by the makers of bum genius, on their website). This is a problem with both brands that I use but has been fixed now that I'm cognizant of the issue.
Also, don't waste money on an expensive diaper pail. Buy a cheap one with a few diaper pail wetbags (I use ones by planetwise that are great). When it is time to wash, I just pop the bag inside out into the washer, throw the bag in with it and clean it all...as a result, I have 2 of these wetbags (which are apptly named, I guess, though you don't need to put any detergent, deodorant or water or anything in with the diapers so they aren't wet from THAT or anything).

I also have a few prefold diapers that I use mostly as burp cloths but when I want to air teagan's tushy out (like the last few days with this yeast rash), I've been using them without a cover for breathability. They are handy for that but I know hubby would never use these and they aren't nearly as absorbent and the minute they get even a drop wet, Teagan lets me know (also handy for the yeast thing, but overwhelming regularly I am sure).

Last, I've used homemade cloth diapers that someone gave me that have a snap closure, are very absorbent and have an insert that snaps directly against the bottom (the all-in-ones you have to stuff the insert into the diaper and under the liner, these just snap in on top of the diaper and against your baby's tush). I didn't love them. They seemed to leak a lot but that was probably this particular one (which seems popular here, I happened to have one it in the baby expo grand prize thing).

I hope this was informative. I get the feeling I've left a TON out of what I intended but I started the post, ran to the gym, and then finished it, so I absolutely lost my train of thought. If anyone who uses other brands wants to chime in, please comment. I can only speak of the ones I've used. Overall, I love the diapers I have. So far, they have definitely hung in there and have been amazingly easy to use. I've heard that they have lasted through one child to over 2 years and then were used with a second child, so I'm probably being unusually harsh on the velcro and I will be nicely surprised but I didn't want to steer anyone wrong.

Quick update. Cloth diapering next post!

I just have time for a quick update but by tonight/tomorrow I'll post about my cloth diapering experiences. I've been meaning to, but have been so caught up in all my drama.

Teagan had her doctor's appointment yesterday. She is 50% for height, 50% for weight and 50% for head circumference. They said she was "perfect" and I said, "perfectly average!!!". Its a very good thing. The rash is a yeast rash and the pediatrician said it is very likely from formula. Some formulas have too much sugar or yeast in them that then goes out in your baby's poo, hits the diaper, hits your baby's tushy and there is your yeast rash. We, as a result, switched back to our original formula (I started with Ea.rth's Best and then switched to Bab.y's On.ly on recommendation from friends, which is when the rash started). I finally gave up on my guilt over stopping breastfeeding since she is at the 6 month mark, it would likely take me a few weeks to build up supply again and, by then, I'll want to start weaning in a few short weeks anyway.

Brett and I talked it over. It seems that just when I panicked about the breastfeeding thing as a result of the rash, he panicked about the rash and then we both panicked about how much money a cycle this fall will cost and how we'll have to live on a MAJOR budget for the next year or two just to get out of the debt of a cycle. BUT, here's the catch....a few month's won't make too much of a difference in the grand scheme of things and waiting a year or two to cycle can definitely mean no more children - no siblings for Teagan, which was the whole point of this. I wish we could just look at each other and get pregnant like others do, but we can't. A lot of people have suggested we go back to my old RE here because he is SOOOOO cheap and make him do the meds the way I want but, honestly, I have ONE MORE cycle in me (if that). I refuse to go through endless more IVF's trying for a sibling and hear "Perseverence!!!!!" from him one more time. So, the end result, if all goes well with AF coming on time, etc, we may still cycle this fall.....if not, I will at least get the ODWU done by November so that we'd cycle in January/early Feb. Either way, we get to use that flexible spending money and I can stop losing sleep over that.

Last night we researched financing options, scared ourselves silly, tightened our already painfully tight belts, and decided we were just going to do it. So, we play it by ear. I feel better about this though still nervous about how much debt we are going to get into, but we'll just have to be careful and knowing this is it-the last time we will be spending this kind of money-makes me feel a little better. Hopefully, we get at least one good embryo.

So, I will start a post with all the stuff I want to say about the cloth diapers we chose, the other random cloth diapers I've tried and tricks that seem simple but are life saving when you are figuring things out.

Monday, August 9, 2010

panic over, now just annoyed

Thamk you all for your comments! (and for not saying I am being overly dramatic!!!!). I seem to be feeling very overwhelmed lately and it may be from hormones or from the incredible stress from stopping breastfeeding (and its not like I don't know stressful, law school graduate, worked with judges, um, 7 IVFs!, had both fiance and brother fighting a war in Iraq at the same time, etc....this was still very very stressful). Anyway, the end result...it is a no-go on restarting the milk supply. I thought I was in the clear because when I decided to restart, I immediately pumped 5 oz, so I thought that would restart it and it wouldn't be that bad. But, my breasts never refilled with milk. I can start the process of "relactation" but I don't think I have the committment anymore...basically, I'd have to have Teagan on the breast constantly (even though she'd get no milk, frustrating!), be constantly pumping and taking herbs and all of this would have to go on for weeks before it was likely I'd even see any milk. So, the end result, I have to put off the cycle for financial reasons and work convenience reasons even though I had to stop breastfeeding early. I am kind of upset.

When I was stopping breastfeeding, Brett and I sat down to discuss whether a cycle this fall was really possible. We said it totally was, or we'd make it possible. We both agreed I had to stop breastfeeding. The pain ensued, but I did it. Now, my poor little girl has what appears to be a yeast rash on her tushy, I can't breastfeed her anymore, and I'm not cycling anyway. All of a sudden, we just can't do the cycle this fall.

Anyway, I'll try to get the ODWU in before December shut-down so we don't lose the FSA money and I hope we don't postpone this even more....hopefully things work out.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

bumps in the road

So, I just started trying to get my milk supply back after ALL THAT. I can't believe I am even typing this. Anyway, the first few days of breast milk/formula mixing went fine. Then we noticed a rash. The rash got worse, I tried changing formulas, the rash is still there. I did some research. She is probably showing an allergic reaction to either the milk in the formula or the soy. Either way, it may be too much for my conscience. Then, Brett came home and we discussed how stressed we are about doing a cycle this fall and how we are going to pay for it. We decided to try to push it off...which is totally conceivable, HOWEVER, we have a flexible spending account at his work with about $3k in it that we have to spend on medical expenses before the end of the year - otherwise, we lose that money. This seemed unlikely to be a problem because we were planning on the one-day workup this fall and likely a cycle as well. Now what? I am not going to let us lose that money. I thought I could call up the finance office at CCRM and discuss paying for the one day workup and bloodtests, etc before they are actually done, and they'd now likely be done in January...but I just found out from other people that the financial office didn't let them do this under similar circumstances. So, here I sit...stuck. I tried to follow our schedule and did everything in my power to move forward but I'm hitting so many snags. For now, it looks like I will try to breastfeed again for a few more months and try to make it so I can fit in that ODWU sometime just before the December shut down at CCRM. Its going to be cutting it close. Someone had a great idea of getting my meds early and paying for that with the flexible spending money but so far, that's the one thing that insurance has covered for us. Ugh, we really went about this in a stupid manner. If it weren't for that money in the account, I'd honestly be a little relieved not to worry about a trip this fall, to be able to breastfeed again and get rid of that poor rash on Teagan. But, I have no idea how to manage this.

So, I'm stressed. I'm sure its compounded by guilt about her poor red tushy and the likelihood that my hormones are nuts since I stopped breastfeeding and I think I am almost due for my first period since last April. But, if you've experienced PMS, knowing these things are making your crazy doesn't really help you deal with them.

Oh, and Teagan has her pediatrician checkup on Monday so I'll discuss the rash with him. I know he'll point me to other formula options but I don't know how I feel about the costs of that and what those other options are. I really don't want a soy based formula for her (I was allergic to soy as a child, among other reasons) and I just want to feed her something that is good for her. I know there are lots of formula options that I haven't tried but the fact that she is having reactions to the 2 that I tried (which both have milk and soy in them) is just wearing on my conscience. Ugh.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

This is ridiculous. Some people should not be allowed to speak in public

Supermodel Gisele Bundchen Thinks Mothers Should Be Forced to Breastfeed - Pregnancy - FOXNews.com

Okay, first, I LOVED breastfeeding. I think it is the greatest thing for baby and a great thing for mom. I am bummed that I stopped breastfeeding early but I have my reasons which no one has the right to judge. Anyway, this is kind of funny that a supermodel even has the ability to get a rise out of me because, c'mon, they aren't known for their brains. But, in the U.S., celebrity makes you an expert on everything from natural disasters, to adoption, to political and environmental concerns, to breastfeeding and motherhood. We eat up every word from vain, uneducated people and take it as law...so its no surprise this has gotten press...but such is life, right?

Anyway, whether you breastfed or not, for reasons none of any of our business, you did great by your child by feeding it as best you can...whether from breast or bottle. Ugh.

One other target of scorn this week - hospitals that don't train their staff in breastfeeding awareness. My sister in law had a baby this week and the nurses didn't seem to be very helpful in teaching her about breastfeeding and colostrum and the fact that your baby's belly is literally the size of a small marble at birth (not the big shooter marble, the little itty bitty ones) and so they don't need ounces and ounces of milk or formula. Ugh. I'm surprised...I live in a relatively small area and our nurses went around with marbles on strings around their necks in order to reiterate to breastfeeding moms that they are making enough colostrum and not to worry about the fact that your milk hasn't come in yet. Ugh. Education. Its like you are fighting an uphill battle if you decide you want to exclusively breastfeed. I did a lot of research before having Teagan and insisted that she stay with me in the room because I had read that even if you say a baby is exclusively breastfed and you send them to the nursery, hospitals have been known to feed formula or give a pacifier against mom's wishes....which is just frightening! Anyway, if you are pregnant or are likely to get pregnant (or are working on it), definitely do your own research on breastfeeding, if it is something you feel that you want to do, because the hospitals in this country do not help at all.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Still improving

The breast issue is still improving. I know I should have weaned slowly from the breastfeeding, that was what I read in all the books and it is totally logical, but don't tell that to a woman who doesn't really want to stop breastfeeding, feels guilt and loss associated with it, and just wants to fill the freezer full of pumped breastmilk, lol. I kept trying to cut back on feedings but then I wanted just one more day's worth of milk in the freezer, so I kept putting it off and next thing I knew, the deadline I set for myself (last week in July) was here!!! So, internet research began and I did it fast. Going slowly over the course of a week or two when you don't want to stop feeding in the first place is pure agony.

I don't have much else to write for now. Things are going good. I am loving every minute with my baby girl and we are finally having fun again as a family. I'll leave you with a cute pic from camping this weekend. I took this picture to try to get a shot of her cute little elf ears:-)