Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Let's Set Things Straight

I'm just going to come right out and say this, in a large bolded font.

You do not need to rinse formula poop off of a diaper before you put it in the wetbag.  There are no extra steps.  It is just as easy as breastmilk poop- maybe even easier*.

I've been wanting to write this entry for a few days, and I've been having a hard time coming up with an introduction.  How do I start this entry?  Why am I even writing it?  I'm writing it because 16 months ago, I was wishing that someone had.  I had just made the decision to stop pumping for my 4 week old and switch to formula.  Every single website that you find about cloth diapering tells you about how magical breastmilk poop is- it dissolves in water!  You don't have to rinse the poop off!  The diapers clean themselves!  RAINBOWS!  This was all fine and very reassuring to pregnant me, and pumping me.  But when I decided that my lactating days were over, I realized that I had no idea what I was going to do re: poop.

I looked around, and I saw a few vague mentions of having to rinse the poop off beforehand, or scrape it off, but then the author would reassure you DON'T WORRY, BREASTMILK POOP WILL WASH RIGHT OUT!  Honestly, it seemed to me like the cloth diapering community just doesn't acknowledge that parents who choose to formula feed are just as willing and capable to choose cloth diapers.  Not cool.  I made a post on Livejournal asking about what I was going to have to do when we made the switch (he was already getting maybe 3 bottles of formula per day) and a few women kindly told me that they didn't change anything.  It is the same as breastmilk poop.  They were right.  My son's poop definitely got a whole lot smellier, and it looked different- thicker, mostly.  But I didn't waste any time trying to remove the poop from the diaper before I washed it and just threw it all in the washing machine, and what do you know?  It all washed out- just like the breastmilk poop did.  

So, this post is for the pregnant woman who is not interested in breastfeeding at all and is going to feed her child formula right from the start.  This post is for the mother who breastfed at first, but for whatever reason is choosing not to continue any more.  This post is for someone who breastfeeds, but is trying to help a friend or relative who doesn't.  It's ok to formula feed, and don't let anyone try to tell you that it will lead to more work with your cloth diapers.  That is not true, not even a little bit.  Every time that I see a post on a messageboard where someone is wondering about what to do with formula fed poop, I will always respond.  I want to make this knowledge abundantly clear, because I wasn't able to find any of it when I needed it and I don't want anyone else to have to be stressed about it like I was.

*  In my experience, that crazy yellow breastmilk poop stains like CRAZY.  Formula poop, on the other hand, never left a stain on the diapers here.  Your milage may vary ;)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The End of Bedsharing

When it comes to parenting, I exist in this weird middle ground between "mainstream" and "crunchy."  I am sort of too weird for the mainstream- my husband and I cloth diaper, cosleep/bedshare, babywear (until he got too heavy), our son wasn't circumcised, I planned a homebirth.  On the other hand, the crunchy group doesn't want me either- my son only latched onto my breasts maybe 5 times in his life and I returned the hospital grade breast pump before he was a month old so that what little milk that I did make was good and dried up by the time I went back to work when he was 6 weeks old.  Any future children will go straight to formula.  We also vaccinate on schedule, don't care about eating organically in the slightest, used (non organic!) jarred baby food, the list goes on.  Sometimes when my kid is just completely overwhelming and demonic, even though I know it's awful, I'm tempted to just let him cry it out.  So, so SO SOOOO tempted!

Cosleeping is defined as sleeping in the same room as your baby, and bedsharing is when your baby sleeps in bed with you.  Cosleeping just made sense to us- we wanted to be close to our baby, for convenience when it came to late night feeding and just because we love him and want to be around him.  We didn't buy a crib, but we had a pack and play set up beside the bed and the plan was for him to sleep there.  I really wasn't too keen on the idea of him sleeping in bed with us, but I decided to just roll with whatever happened.  It didn't take long to see that he slept better when he was in bed with us, so we made our bed as safe as possible and welcomed him.  It turned out that when he was little, bedsharing was great.  He stayed in one spot and was very snuggly and adorable.  Once he began to gain the ability to move, however, he took full advantage of this.  Somehow this teeny little person was taking up more room in our queen sized bed than my husband and I combined.  My husband was crammed against the wall, I was hanging off the edge, and there was Arthur- sprawled out horizontally across the middle and usually kicking me in the face.  But, the convenience factor was a strong one so we continued despite being uncomfortable.  Plus, he wouldn't sleep by himself at all.  We heard horror stories about how hard it was going to be to move him into his own bed, and that itself was enough to keep us from even trying.

This carried on until 2 nights ago.  Enough is enough, we said.  17 months is old enough.  Plus, he's finally starting to get mobile enough to be unsafe in our bed.  Twice in the past week I came to get him after a nap and found him dangerously close to scooting backwards off of the edge.  We bought a twin sized mattress and put it on the floor in the corner of our bedroom, put some Spiderman sheets on it, and laid him down for the night.  He fell asleep just fine, but that first night was awful.  He woke up crying every 45 minutes.  He slept better as a newborn!  Finally at 5 am, my husband crawled onto the teeny mattress with him and we managed to get a 3 hour stretch in before he woke up for the day.  I was horrified.  Was this going to be our new normal?  He had been sleeping more or less through the night since he was a few months old with the exception of a cup of milk at around 3-4 A.M. and that was a pattern that I was totally fine with.  We talked about what we were going to do, and we decided to be consistent.  Even though we thought about letting him cry, and we thought about just bringing him back into our bed, neither of those actions were consistent with what we wanted.  We didn't want him to sleep in his own bed out of fear, and we really really just don't want him hogging our bed anymore.  Last night, we repeated his bedtime routine and settled him in to his new bed.  I braced myself for another night from hell, but he woke up at 3:30, had a cup of milk, and went back to sleep until 7.  Seriously??  Really??

I thought that I was going to be more emotional about moving him into his own bed, but I'm actually really happy, relieved, and proud.  I can sleep with my entire body on the bed, I don't have to worry about potential diaper leaks, there are no little feet in my face or my stomach, and my super clingy little boy is starting to show a little bit of independence.  I think that it's a win-win situation for everyone in the family.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


My whole life I have loved drying my clothes on the clothesline.  I've always, with the exception of 2 years, lived in the country in a house with a nice long clothesline outside.  Nothing ever feels or smells better than getting into a bed made with line dried sheets- NOTHING.  In the spring and summer once it warms up, I still hang just about everything outside to dry, including and especially cloth diapers.  The sun and cloth diapers are a perfect pair, if you think about it.  The sun's rays not only dry them without the wear and tear and electricity of a dryer, but it also kills germs and removes stains.  Like I said, it's perfect for diapers.  In the spring and summer, my diapers are always fresh and stain free.

Since it's winter, I haven't been able to make it out to my clothesline at all.  Even if I could, it's just too cold.  There's no point in trying to dry anything outside in the winter, but even though it's cold, you can still use the sun to remove stains in the winter time.  It doesn't work as well as direct sunlight, but putting a damp diaper near a sunny window will give you a similar effect.  Adding lemon juice is supposed to help, but I've never tried that.  

It's almost 50 degrees outside today, so I figured that I would use the opportunity to put some prefolds and pocket inserts out on the line.  Everything was in various stages of dingy to stained from a winter of no sun and I was getting sick of looking at it, honestly.  I'm going to have to take it down before I go to work, but I'm hoping that a few hours in the sun will brighten everything up at least a little bit.  It'll be spring soon enough.  We've had a weird winter in Maine this year, and I'm ready for it to be over.

Monday, March 5, 2012

It's Been a While

I'm so sorry for my lack of updates.  Between work, school, the early stages of moving, and parenting my very, very intense little Gremlin I haven't had much time to blog.  I have a few specific products that I want to write about, along with a couple of cloth related issues that we've been dealing with and have successfully overcome.  Basically, life is kicking my butt in more ways than I even though possible.   I mean, I even have the Blogger app on my iPod, and I still can't get anything done.  Have you ever tried to type anything of length on one of those things?  It's just not happening.  So anyway, the ideas are bouncing around in my head and I'm going to try to make more of an effort to get around to actually posting them.