Saturday, December 19, 2009

Baby Registry Advice

Last year, a friend of mine who was pregnant sent out an email to several people asking for input on putting together her registry. I have referred back to my responses and passed them along to a few other moms, so I thought I should just go ahead and post them here for future reference. These are her questions, and my responses, plus a summary of the feedback she got from everyone she asked.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Improving Night-time Sleep

Little Missy is 20 months and still nurses at least once overnight, so take this with a grain of salt, but she's never been a great sleeper, so we've had to do a lot to get her sleeping for longer stretches over the past year and a half or so...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Introducing straw cups and sippy cups to breastfed babies

Since I'm a SAHM, we never really had a need to introduce bottles to the Little Missy. We took a few bottles when I went to a wedding when she was 6 weeks old, but then by the next time we tried to offer one, she had decided she only liked her milk from the tap. I tried every bottle out there, but she was too smart for my tricks.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Our Diaper Wash Routine

This isn't meant to be a comprehensive tutorial on cloth diaper washing, but here's my wash routine. It has worked pretty darn well for a over three months. The only time I had problems, I think it was due to some oily rags from the garage that I washed right before doing a load of diapers (probably not too bright of me). I've also included some other tips and things at the end.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Feeding Meat to Babies & Toddlers

Recently, studies are showing that meat should be introduced to babies earlier in order to provide them with this excellent source of heme iron. In our family, we have taken an approach to introducing solid foods called Baby-Led Weaning, a concept where babies are given food in their normal form instead of pureed. We still did some purees, but pureed meat did not go over very well with the Little Missy. So we opted for pieces of steak, hamburger, and chicken instead, and let her gum on them. Although her tastes are constantly changing, some of her favorites have been:
  • steak fajita strips
  • baked or rotisserie chicken
  • chicken fingers
  • shredded chicken taco meat (see recipe below)
  • Mild Italian sausage
  • breakfast sausage (I found some with no MSG and no nitrates in the freezer aisle.)
My favorite recipe for the Little Missy is Shredded Chicken Tacos. It's very simple...
  1. Place 3-4 boneless chicken breasts in a crock pot. Cover with water.
  2. Add packet of taco seasoning (McCormick brand says it has no MSG, for what it's worth).
  3. Cook on high 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours, then shred chicken with forks.
* Baby can eat chicken just like that, or with some shredded cheese sprinkled on top (once you've introduced dairy). For the adults, I put it on soft taco shells with taco toppings.
* Variations call for adding green peppers, onion, and salsa in the crockpot, but we never do this, because I don't like all that stuff in my tacos.
* Recommended sides include black beans (I get the low-sodium variety for the Little Missy), corn, and guacamole (which is of course excellent for babies, due to all the good fats in avocados).

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Primer on Prefolds

I recently started cloth diapering my daughter (just a few months ago), and was instantly addicted. I think I've read everything there is to read about it. It seems these days every one is interested in pockets and fitteds and other trendy options, but I adore my prefolds, and they are definitely the cheapest option for cloth diapering. So I put together this primer on using prefolds for newbies.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Favorite cloth diaper inserts/doublers

I've used a variety of different inserts and doublers in our diapering adventure so far. We mostly use prefolds at home, but we use pockets for convenience when we leave the house and when I dare to try cloth overnight.

With our prefolds, I bought some Hemp Babies doublers at first, but found that my daughter only really wets up front, so I wanted something smaller just for the front. I found the perfect solution is a Happy Heiny Stuff-in Oval. I like the Hemp Babies large doublers for pocket diapers still though. The Hemp Babies small doublers are shorter, but oddly wider, which bugs me, because the Little Missy has a narrow crotch.

My favorite inserts are hemp and microfiber combined. This is because microfiber absorbs quicker, but hemp absorbs a lot more. If you put microfiber over hemp, the microfiber absorbs almost instantly and then the hemp can slowly soak up the wetness. In this category, the LoopyDo inserts are definitely the trimmest that I've used, both in width and thickness, but with great absorbency. We have several of those that I use in all our smaller diapers. (The sizing runs a little off I think, because I use the Large inserts in my medium diapers and they seem like a great fit.) I also LOVE the super absorbent Blueberry one-size hemp/microfiber insert. It is amazingly trim despite how big it looks unfolded, and the way the one size feature works, you can have the hemp portion double thickness in the "wet zone". This has worked very well for us. These inserts come with Blueberry One-Size Deluxe pocket diapers, or you can buy the inserts separately.

NOTE: I buy from whenever possible, because she offers free US shipping on all orders and great customer service.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Smartipants Diapers

Smartipants are a new brand of one-size pocket diapers. I have a couple of testers and like them. They seem a lot like BumGenius diapers, complete with suedecloth inners -- except they have snaps. They cost less than most pocket diapers and the price includes a microfiber insert. Plus, they offer a 3-pack that gives a substantial discount. (Most other cloth diaper packages only save about 25 cents a diaper, which annoys me.)

I got my testers a few weeks ago. I think the fit is pretty good on my my tall, skinny 14 month old. I also talked to another mom who had a tester and she was also happy with the fit on her even smaller toddler. I'm not sure how they would work fully snapped down, because the insert is rather large. I guess you're supposed to fold the insert when the diaper is snapped down? As far as the sizing goes, I have used it snapped down one and on the largest setting, and both work for my daughter. Either way, the side flaps touch in the middle, so there is definitely room for a much bigger baby/toddler to wear these diapers.

Technically, instead of a pocket, it is a sleeve with openings at the front and back. I found the sleeve rather hard to stuff, because I think the insert is a bit too wide, but it does seem to stay in place once it's there. I haven't noticed an issue with the insert poking/coming out either end. And it definitely comes out on its own in the wash, as advertised - I've tested that many times. I also let my daughter completely SOAK the diaper by having her wear it longer than I normally would, and it held a LOT with no leaks.

My only complaints are that I don't like suedecloth (that's one of the reasons I got rid of my BumGenius diapers), and I think the sleeve is a bit hard to stuff. But it does fit my daughter nicely...