Category Archives: Motherhood

Cloth Diapers

I recently had someone ask me about our cloth diaper use, so I thought it might be helpful to post our experience with cloth diapers. We actually really liked using them, though we used a combination of cloth and disposable.

So we bought two kinds of cloth diapers — fuzzibunz and Bumgenius. I’m lying — we also bought prefolds, Thirsties, and gDiapers. Sujal was not really that comfy with the prefolds (He thought they looked too giant on the newborn Che), so we abandoned them quickly, though we still used the prefolds as under-the-baby-changing-absorbers in case he had an open air accident. The Thirsties were diaper covers, if I recall correctly. The gDiapers were with the flushable liners. I found that they leaked more than other diapers, so I didn’t love them, but they were okay. I’ve since sold them.

The fuzzibunz (pocket diaper) have snaps to change the sizing — and they are fine. We don’t love them, but they are fine. The are infinitely easier to stuff than the Bumgenius. We mainly use the Bumgenius — they have snaps to resize, but the closures are velcro-like. We like that because there is the most room for adjustment with them. While the Fuzzibunz have lots of snaps for a variety of sizes, it always feels like guesswork.

Our goal is to use the cloth diapers all the time at home with the exception of nighttime. The reality is the cloth diapers work just fine at night. There were just a few times when it made sense to use the disposables at night, and we simply got into the habit. When we travel, we use disposables. When I go out in the day, I usually use disposables, but I do have two wet/dry bags so we can take cloth out. I did sadly once leave one of the Bumgeniuses in the BabiesRUs changing room and someone threw is out. (That’s an expensive disposable!) Because I was staying home, I found the washing and stuffing pretty do-able. Not sure it will be as easy once I go back to work. My thought is that we will do disposable at daycare and cloth at home. Daycare can’t dispose of solids or separate the inserts from the main part, so it would be a lot of gross work after I get home from work.

Oh — and the soap — we use Charlie’s Soap, which is great. Frankly, I’ve even started using it on our regular laundry. Once in a while, I did not to “strip” the diapers — wash them in extra hot water. Our washing machine does have a “sanitary” setting, and that’s what I’d use, and it easily did the trick. When I would do that, I would wash the diaper pail liner (we used Kissaluvs Antibacterial liners — 2, one for the wash, one in the pail) separately. When the diaper pail got really stinky, I’d sprinkle some baking soda in there.

I really wanted to buy our cloth diapers at a local store where they would help explain things, but the only one nearby went out of business. We bought a few diapers up in Northampton, MA at A Child’s Garden, but we bought the lion’s share at Kelly’s Closet online. We bought larger amounts so the prices would go down. I have to say — I think we saved a lot of money breastfeeding and cloth diapering this year!

Hope this helps! Leave a comment if you have diapering ideas and suggestions.

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Breastfeeding in Public

My Che is now 9 months old. At this point, we are planning on putting all of our eggs in one basket (oo pressure, kid) — so I have this knowledge and experience that I can at least share. I hope if you are looking for some advice on breastfeeding in public that you find this post helpful.

When I began nursing my newborn, I was a bit hesitant about how and where to nurse. I knew one thing for sure — I did not want to be “banished” from a room. I didn’t want to have to go hide myself at holidays or when we had visitors, as we so often did in the beginning. I’m social. I like to chat it up. I also know that I would have a hard time merely staying at home all day. I needed to get out of the house. This, of course, involved feeding Che on the go.

At the time, I did search on the internet for good places to breastfeed. I quickly learned that this is still word of mouth type information, one can only assume because of the taboo around it.

So how did I maneuver in this new territory? When it came to guests at our house or visiting others, I would usually ask, “Do you mind if I nurse.” I think that is actually particularly generous and considerate on my part, because the reality is my kid had to eat whether anyone else liked it or not. Only once did I have a really awkward situation where I was banished to a room — a room with children in it. But in such situations, if I was not “welcome” to nurse where I was, then I’d ask my husband or someone to hang out with me. There were a few instances when I nursed privately when around older, more traditional folks, but even that was pretty rare. I do recommend asking a buddy to hang with you. I found that the overwhelming majority of people were completely fine with me breastfeeding. Even in the instances of being “banished,” several people seemed to want to accompany me into my banishment.

The next road to navigate: where to breastfeed in public. I think I feared more people not being okay with it. Luckily, I have not yet encountered any kind of rude looks or stares. Frankly, I sometimes wonder if many people even notice when I breastfeed. They don’t.

Initially, I looked for nursing-friendly places. I live in West Hartford, CT — so here is a run-down of some of the good local places as well as generic places. It was fall/winter when my son and I were out and he nursed often, so we went to the West Farms Mall. A lot. The bathroom off of the men’s department in Nordstrom has a separate nursing room, which is quite nice, though I preferred the main lounge in the bathroom because it has comfy couches. Nordstrom even has free wifi, though it is a bit slow.

The family bathroom in the middle of the mall downstairs is also a great place to nurse. It’s definitely not as comfy as Nordstrom, but it works.

In West Hartford Center, I found Reuben’s Deli to be particularly friendly — not just to breastfeeding, but to babies in general. The Noah Webster Library (main branch in WeHa Center) is also breastfeeding friendly. I nursed there once in a pinch — early on when I was more nervous about it. I went into the stacks and quietly nursed. Once I asked if there was anywhere I could nurse in the library, a librarian told me — you can nurse anywhere in the library. If you want privacy, you can use the parent conference room, which is in the children’s department. Let me also make a plug for the awesome facilities at the children’s room in the library!

Another great thing is if you ask, I found places were often very willing to accommodate. As my husband and I tried to open a bank account for Che, I asked if they minded if I nursed as we waited, and an officer opened a meeting room for me. Asking opens doors, literally.

It wasn’t long before I got over my nervousness about breastfeeding in public. I had a nursing cover, but it was a pain in the ass to use. I quickly gave that up. Then my favorite places to nurse where usually coffee joints or some kind of restaurant. I have nursed in many Starbucks and the like. If we went out for breakfast, lunch, or dinner — nursing was usually part of the event.

I traveled with my baby — with my husband and alone. I’ve nursed in rest areas. It was actually in New Jersey at a rest area where I realized that I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone breastfeeding in public. Then I further realized, I don’t think most people are even remotely aware that I am breastfeeding when I am. I think I just missed it when others have nursed in public. So if you are feeling nervous about it, think of that reality check.

Obviously nursing at playgroups, doctors’ offices, baby stores, La Leche meetings, etc are all welcomed and encouraged.

Once my son hit about 6 or 7 months, my public breastfeeding habits changed a bit. I still do it, but less frequently — partly because he is also eating solids, but partly because he is more aware of the world now and gets very distracted. Even so, I feed my kid on the run frequently, and it is perfectly fine.

The bottom line is that you need to feed your kid. In most states, you are protected by the law. And the vast majority of the time no one cares — or notices.

Books — the kind for kids, little, little kids

I am enjoying reading kids books more than I thought I would–well, some of them. I’m generally not a huge fan of the maudlin, poetic, “I love you” books, but I do like the more “character-driven” ones, if you can say that about a board book or a picture book.

I am really digging Mo Willems in particular. Che loves Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, which he received as a gift. He would just lagh and laugh at it, so I also bought The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog!, Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late!, and several other books. Che also received Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Taleas a gift, and subsequently, “Aggle flaggle!” is now an expletive in our house.

I love that Willems creates characters who, though imaginary, feel real. There’s a verisimilitude to them. The pigeon wheedles us and throws temper tantrums. Trixie gets frustrated that her father has no clue what she’s trying to say. They aren’t merely characters who behave and are cute.

You can check out Willems’ website. It’s also cool that he lives in Noho. I also just read that he is going to be appearing at the Holyoke Barnes & Noble later this month.

Che also just received two books by Leslie Patricelli. She has very simple drawing, but the concepts are very fun. Higher! Higher! shows both imagination and perspective. Baby Happy Baby Sad (Leslie Patricelli board books) gives an emotional frame of reference to a child — and they are both just fun books.

As I mentioned, I have been pleasantly surprised by how fun some of these books are. I also like to embellish the stories, of course. Check them out below:

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=sujaldotnet-20&o=1&p=8&l=as4&m=amazon&f=ifr&asins=078681988Xhttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=sujaldotnet-20&o=1&p=8&l=as4&m=amazon&f=ifr&asins=0786818697 http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=sujaldotnet-20&o=1&p=8&l=as4&m=amazon&f=ifr&asins=0786837462 http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=sujaldotnet-20&o=1&p=8&l=as4&m=amazon&f=ifr&asins=0786818700 http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=sujaldotnet-20&o=1&p=8&l=as4&m=amazon&f=ifr&asins=0763632414 http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=sujaldotnet-20&o=1&p=8&l=as4&m=amazon&f=ifr&asins=0763632457