Happy Birthday, sweet boy

I can’t actually believe that I’m writing this right now.  I’ve been pretty bad at keeping up on posting (3 months?! oops), but this little milestone deserves at least one post.  What can I say, life is pretty full for us at the moment, and that’s a good thing.  We’ve had graduations, showers, lots of family events, time with friends old and new, and life is just whirling past me like it’s no big deal.  I’m really trying not to be overly sentimental, but I’m sitting here on the eve of our firstborn’s first birthday, and that’s a pretty deal in my eyes.  

First of all, by the grace of God, Elijah is doing SPLENDIDLY!  He’s healthy, thriving, and growing, and it’s so amazing to have a front-row seat to his little developing personality.  He’s so fun, happy (really, joyful- the way his eyes light up an entire room just melts my heart and causes me to fall more in love with him every day!), silly, playful, trusting, brave, SWEET!, beautiful (in the most masculine sense of course, hehe).  He’s eager to try new things, although sometimes cautious, pretty content most of the time, occasionally intense and easily frustrated.  He loves eating (seriously- he eats everything presented to him and in a very voracious manner as if he will not get another opportunity in approximately 4 hours).  He’s so independent, trying to feed himself with a spoon (not well, mind you), holding his “big boy” straw cup and taking sips intermittently at will.  He’s pulling up, cruising, and starting to stand independently, with walking being just a tiny bit farther on the horizon (I’m guessing 13ish months).  He’s in 18-24 month size clothes.  He’s in size 4 shoes (not that he ever wears any).  

He is INFATUATED with dogs- “dah” being his primary word of choice the last week or two.  He pretty much wakes up saying “dah, dah” and wants to go see where Sadie is and what she’s up to.  He literally gets this gleeful chuckle when we read his favorite books and we turn to the page with a dog.  I always say “where’s the puppy?” in a goofy voice and he loves it! Books, oh man, that boy is loving his books right now.  I’ll notice that it’s been a little too quiet for my comfort level for a few minutes and I’m worried he’s getting into something, but he’s usually just made his way to his book basket in the living room or is pulling every book of the shelf in his room and has the pages open to about 12 books, all surrounding him.  He loves to turn pages, and gets really excited on certain pages.  He enjoys reading the same book about 4-6 times in a row.  He says “mama” and “dada” occasionally, and it’s definitely more purposeful in the last couple of weeks than it previously has been.  He really enjoys going on walks in the jogging stroller around the neighborhood, swinging at the park (or at Mimi’s & Geepaw’s house), playing in big pools and his kiddie pool, getting out pots and pans and tupperware, playing peek-a-boo, being tickled ferociously, trying to play with Sadie (which sadly isn’t reciprocated always), dancing with Mama in the living room, checking out the garden with Daddy, bath time with Daddy, playing with his cousins, spending weekends with both sets of grandparents.  Oh, I could go on and on about this boy of ours.

Let me just add that I legitimately *don’t* understand how single parents do it.  Being a mom is fantastic, amazing, and downright blissful at times, but my gosh it’s really hard so much of the time.  Being a SAHM for the entire first year of my baby’s life has been the biggest blessing to say the least (more to come on another post about that in the very near future).  I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  But let me just say, that EVERY single day after my husband came in the door, he dropped work and embraced his father role immediately- literally in the form of usually promptly changing his diaper, followed many nights by giving him a bath, getting his dinner ready, bringing my water bottle while I nursed, making dinner while I nursed, feeding E while I made dinner, getting E in PJs, reading him a story, etc.  That man is my rock.  I am so, so, so grateful for who he is and his heart for his family.  Also, pretty much every night since Elijah has slept in his crib and we’ve done the whole “bedtime routine”, Stanley takes him from me after he finishes nursing and goes and prays over him before he lays him in his crib.  THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is called “qualities you need to look for in a potential mate”.  

And speaking of nursing, I EARNED MY GOLD BOOBIES!  Ok, that’s corny and a little disturbing, but it’s a little joke in the blogosphere.  I am beyond proud of myself and E for making it to that “gold-standard” one year mark.  Even as I nursed him before bed tonight, I thought, “wow, I’ve nursed him for 364 days STRAIGHT”.  Not even one day off, true story.  Ok, just for fun, let’s do the math.  Let’s say the first month I nursed 10x a day (that’s putting it lightly on some days), about 8x a day for months 2 & 3, about 7x a day for months 4 & 5, about 6x a day for months 6-7, 5x a day for months 8-9, 4x a day for months 10-11, and now we’re down to 3x a day.  *Roughly* 2,460 times have I fed that baby!  Honestly, that is a conservative estimate.  There were always those marathon cluster feeding days.  Even when I was sore from birth, sick, tired, and just plain EXHAUSTED from it (in those first few weeks), I bit the bullet and whipped ’em out.  And l am SO glad I did.  I am so glad that I spent countless hours reading books and pretty much every article on the internet about breastfeeding.  And everything that goes wrong, because a few of those things happened and we still pushed through it.  But all in all, we’ve had a great nursing relationship and it’s been a great decision for us.  I will forever cherish those memories, literally hours every day spent in-arms with him.  And now that he’s older and so busy, it’s really the only time he’ll be still (sort of?) and just chill for a bit.  But no reason to get all sappy, because he’s not weaned yet, and although he’s cut down to 3x a day (it was 4, but I kind of encouraged him dropping a feeding the past week), we’re still going strong and I want him to keep that morning, nap time, and bedtime session a little while longer.

Also, I’m *pretty much* back to my pre-pregnancy weight, so that’s always encouraging.  Now to actually get some muscle back instead of flab would be nice, but I think that’s already happening because of how much/often I have to pick that little goober up and carry him.  

Thank you, God, for keeping our baby healthy and alive for one whole year.  We are so looking forward to seeing all his years unfold!

 

 

 

 

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9 months in: A Breastfeeding Update!

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So here we are, 9 1/2 months in, and my baby boy is still nursing like a champ!  It’s so crazy to see where this road has taken us…when they say time flies, “they” aren’t kidding!  Wow, let me tell you, I am just so excited that it has gone well for both of us *for the most part*. That doesn’t say “everything about breastfeeding is puppies and daisies and cookies!”  HAH!  It’s really been such a learning experience for both of us, as I know it is with every mother and child.  Every woman is different and every baby is different.  But I feel EXTREMELY blessed and grateful that we’ve had a good run so far.  The photo above is from a recent session in The Chair when he was waffe-hand-holding.  

It’s funny, because nursing an older baby is WAY different than nursing a newborn/itty bitty infant.  Like how he weighs 21 pounds now and kicks and bounces in my lap, how he tries to roll off my lap, and how he can’t stand the nursing cover anymore and tries to fling it off me.  Which is kind of OK because he’s able to go much longer between feeding sessions now that he’s older so I can usually just nurse before we head out and not have to nurse in public.  However, I totally don’t have a problem nursing in public and have just really gotten over the fact that it’s ok to nurse, whenever/wherever.  I’ve learned that infinity scarves and cardigans can be pulled just in front of his mouth to where you really can’t see my breast at all.

Several months ago, E began getting distracted and popping off the breast multiple times, looking around to see who I was talking to and what was going on.  But he also began looking up at me, smiling with milk dribbling out of the corner of his mouth.  Sometimes I even can’t help myself from tickling him just a little to get a giggle out.  I can’t STAND the cuteness of that!  It’s seriously more than I can handle.  He has always been what I will call an “aggressive” nurser, beating my breast, pinching my arm flab, sticking his fingers in my mouth and nose.  But he is also the sweetest, most affectionate little baby, taking his time (although he is a much faster eater now, thank goodness!) to stroke my cheek and rub my arm while nursing.  I just didn’t really know what to expect going into this, but breastfeeding really is about so much more than nutrition- it’s bonding, connecting, and just loving each other in a tangible way.

Starting solids presented its own fun, albeit somewhat challenging changes.  E loved eating everything under the sun (other than avocado the first few times).  I made all kinds of homemade purees, which of course is healthier and cheaper.  But I don’t have a problem with store-bought jarred or squeeze pouch baby food either (as long as you read the labels).  He loves table foods and finger foods too!  I learned that he wasn’t too picky with texture, didn’t care whether it was hot, warm, cold, room-temperature, and really didn’t have a preference for homemade vs pre-fab.  We started with one meal a day around 5.5/6 months, went to 2 meals a day around 7 months, and went to 3 meals a day just a few weeks ago.  Around 6 months of age, E was nursing about 6 times a day.  Around 7 months, he dropped down to nursing 5 times a day.  Now that he’s a little over 9 months, he still nurses 5 times a day most days, but occasionally has only nursed 4 times a day.  He’s still sleeping great at night (don’t hate me please), napping pretty well at *3* times a day (please don’t hate me), but in transition of dropping that last evening nap.

Here’s what our schedule looks like most days

7:00-7:30- Wake up and nurse

8:30ish- breakfast (solids)

9:30ish- morning nap

11:00/11:30ish- wake and nurse

12:00/12:30ish- lunch (solids)

2:00ish- afternoon nap

3:00/3:30ish- wake and nurse

5:00/5:30ish- down for evening catnap (*sometimes*…I occasionally nurse before this nap or I nurse right when he wakes up around 6)

6:30ish- dinner (solids)

8:00ish- nurse and bedtime

Notice the “ish”-ness above– For us, a fairly consistent routine but not too strict of a schedule seems to work best as far as encouraging good moods and restful nights.  As E has gotten older, I’ve learned the importance of a flexible yet sometime predictable routine for him.  I try not to let everything revolve around him, but sometimes it just does and that’s ok.  And sometimes it can’t, and that’s ok too.  We’ve just found what works for us.

Around 7.5/8 months, I noticed my supply seemed to be decreasing and I could barely get any out when I pumped.  Needless to say, it stressed me out a bit, but I found that adding a pumping session in the morning during his long nap for about 2 weeks really helped bump it back up.  I know that it’s normal to decrease a little as solid intake increases, but I wasn’t ready to wean and I wanted to go longer if possible.  Being a mere two and a half months away from our goal of 1 year (WAIT, WHAT?!?!?!), I’m just so so grateful that we’ve had the opportunity to try.  So naturally, when I began reading about weaning, I got a little more emotional than I thought I would at the thought of being done with this special time.  But I’m not going to force a premature ending to it if it’s still going well for both of us.  After he’s 1, I’d like the freedom of not really having to pump during the day, but I’d like to continue a morning and bedtime feeding for a couple months if he still wants it.  We’re just playing it by ear, which is what I’ve learned is really just a pretty good way to look at most things if you can.

All in all, it’s been a wonderful journey, though not without its really emotionally/physically draining times.  I’m so blessed to have the most amazing supportive husband (who more than once “threatened” to call the lactation consultant at the first sign of trouble!), family, and understanding friends!  That alone has made all the difference in the world.  Because of that, I now realize the importance to be that support for someone else when the time comes.  

Just to reiterate: I really am not bragging or tooting my own horn.  I’m just really glad that I haven’t had to buy one ounce of formula and that we’ve been blessed for me to take a break from the “working” world while I figure out this mommy thing.  So if my story doesn’t sound like yours, that’s ok- all of our stories are different and each beautiful in their own way!

 

A Love Story (*this is from Valentine’s Day and I forgot to publish it…lol)

As I sit here drinking my coffee after starting a load of laundry and watching the TODAY show while playing with my funny Valentine aka my adorable baby son, I am content and yet surprised that this is where I am.

When I was 16, I re-dedicated my life to Christ and began wholeheartedly seeking him. I remember going to a D-Now (Disciple Now) weekend and hearing my youth pastor’s wife say “someone needs to snatch up that S.W.” I knew my now-husband just a little back then, mainly from our youth group. I was sitting in the back of a van and just “put a pin” in that thought. I had already noticed that he was attractive, funny, sweet, and really seemed to love The Lord. He was friendly, kindhearted, helpful, humble, smart, and just an overall really good guy. Around the same time that I was wholeheartedly seeking God’s will for my life, I began to have a deep longing that I would meet a guy who shared the same passion I did. By the way, that wasn’t a coincidence. It really does seem odd to most people that at the ripe old age of 16, I would really want to meet someone and share a great love with him. Of course, probably some of it was just a longing of feeling unconditionally loved and accepted (a normal emotional need for a 16-year-old), but it really felt bigger than that. So as the next few months progressed, I got to know him better by hanging out a little at high school, staying late to chat after youth group and choir, and suddenly having an increased amount in the times I went to “work out” at the gym where he went.

True story: I pursued him. I’m an extroverted person and have never had trouble making connections and conversation. He is an introverted person and may have not really pursued me fully had I been a little closed off, distant, or unapproachable. By spring break in April, he had asked me on our first date (after *I* asked him over and cooked him dinner- quesadillas- by my mom’s nudging). That weekend after working at a banquet, he asked me to be his girlfriend in the Wendy’s Parking Lot. Yep, the beginning of our epic love story starts there.

Fast-forward through our whirlwind of finishing high school together (his senior year, my junior year), our first year apart as he went off to college and I finished my senior year, and our first “real” year apart as I went off to a different college 2.5 hours away from him. It was hard. Like, REALLY hard. I was 18/19 and he was 19/20 and we experienced really big growing pains. Learning to be effective time managers during our strenuous majors (communication sciences & disorders and mechanical engineering) while still maintaining open communication and nurturing a deeper, stronger love was exhausting to say the least. Keep in mind, Facebook had just arrived on the scene (and he never has really used it since), smartphones weren’t invented yet (or at least to where a lot of people had them), and I didn’t even really have text messages on my phone yet! I know- try to wrap your head around that one. Oh yeah, and cell phones didn’t have “unlimited” minutes. So I made it a point to call him everyday and at least talk for a few minutes (most days closer to an hour if I could because I just missed him so much) in-between going to class and working between 8-5 everyday in addition to church, extra-curricular activities and trying to form relationships with friends and roommates. Many of those phone calls ended in tears (either known or unbeknownst to him). I specifically remember having more than one “DTR” (define the relationship- do people still say that?! lol) conversation, but I especially remember one very painful conversation towards the end of my freshman year in the community bathroom of North Russell Hall (oh if those walls could talk!). I asked him to be honest with me and let me know if he wanted to date other people or take a break. He gave me a resounding affirmation that he loved me and wanted to make our relationship work. How could I not want to dive right in with this amazing man? As if I wasn’t already head over heels in love, that really did seal the deal.

On our first date in 2002 (?!?!?!?!?), he took me to Texas Roadhouse for a steak dinner, and we went to Books-A-Million afterwards for a coffee at Joe Mugg’s before getting me home 1.5 hours before curfew. As we sat on the bench next to my front door for about an hour, few words were said, we held hands, and I remember having an interesting sense of peace and contentment with this guy sitting next to me. A few years later, he shared a recurring dream he had that involved us standing at the front of a church and basically sharing in ministry together- a prophetic dream that has come to fruition since. Our relationship has definitely been a God thing from the beginning. And it’s by God’s grace ALONE that neither one of us had to experience years of heartache, brokenness, or emotional damage that so many others endure. I am so, so, so eternally grateful for that!

6 years ago, he drove to Waco on Friday, February 15 (the day *after* Valentine’s Day), took me out to dinner and to see a play all while experiencing a pretty bad toothache from a botched filling by a dentist who shall not be named here in Tyler. After bypassing the coffee shop that I had requested we stop at, he proceeded to park the car and suggest a walk around the Baylor campus in the dark (while it was cold and a little drizzly). Needless to say, I wasn’t too happy about not having my hot coffee in hand for this, but I got over it pretty quickly as he began to express how much he loved me and wanted to spend the rest of his life as my husband. So in the “Ring of Honor” (aka the echoing star) in front of Pat Neff Hall, I had a beautiful diamond solitaire placed on my left hand and said yes to marrying him. Best decision EVER.

5 years into this season of marriage with my first and only love, I’m the best version of myself than I’ve ever been. He truly does bring out the very best in me and everyone else he spends time with. He is selfless, humble, strong, gentle, hardworking, encouraging, challenging, loving, goofy, sexy, helpful, and truly the best father I could have ever prayed for my son to have.

His unconditional love, commitment, and faithfulness to me is the best blessing God has ever given me. As quoted on Downton Abbey, “well, aren’t we the lucky ones?”.

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Prayers for my Son

Since I had a baby, I’ve found my prayer time to be so enriched.  Not that it was an excuse, but being in a pretty constant state of “busy” often left me feeling guilty that I wasn’t doing more during those inconsistent, rushed, and frankly more often than not ABSENT quiet times with Jesus.  I still struggle with taking a social media/TV/busywork/chores break, but I really needed to “get off the carousel” for a little bit. But for me, just stopping and resting in His presence is still a daily struggle because I still have a tendency to be productivity-oriented and I can be so distracted by other things.  Which, most of the time, are really petty/mindless/wasteful/shallow/unimportant, etc, etc.

Enter: my baby’s naptime.  Even though he’s getting older (excuse me while I have a sobfest) and tends to fight being rocked to sleep because he’s just so darn wiggly and needs to stretch out, I find myself longing for him to just submit and let me rock him to sleep!  I will say I’m glad he doesn’t *have* to be rocked to go to sleep (we really tried to let him get used to being put down in the crib while still awake so that he would learn to fall asleep on his own), but I honestly attempt to do it once a day (he takes about 3 naps a day now).  It’s a time where I’m held captive in a chair (the same glider my mom had when my sister and I were babies!!!) and something about holding my baby boy just FORCES me to reflect, be grateful, be honest, and draw near to God.  Not in a legalistic “it’s time for you to pray!” kind of way, but in a “I literally can’t help but want to draw near to You right now” kind of way.  It’s really refreshing to say the least. Oh, the prayers I know my mom prayed over us:)

Sometimes I just pray out loud while E is still awake and it’s like we’re practicing for praying when he’s older and can understand it more–“thank You for this day and the nice weather, and for our family, and for our health and a place to sleep”.  But it inevitably goes deeper and deeper as he drifts off to sleep in my arms.

My cup runneth over! Lord, thank you so much for waking me up another morning. Thank you for your amazing goodness over my life. Thank you that I get to take care of this precious life in my arms! Thank you that you chose ME to be his mother- I cannot grasp the responsibility that is! Thank you for my gentle-yet-strong, encouraging, servant-hearted, funny, serious, loving, selfless husband. Thank you for his job and the things we have because of it- our cars, home, food, clothes. Thank you that I am able to take care of our son at home. Thank you for precious friends that I can walk through life with. Thank you for my parents who have always been there for me. Thank you for my baby sister who’s grown into an awesome young woman. Thank you that Elijah has all 4 grandparents in his life (and 3 great-grandparents!) Thank for for our incredible church home that feels like family. Thank you for our big, crazy family and how close they are.

I pray you give me & Stanley wisdom, guidance, patience, and vision for his life. Give us grace for the times we don’t know what to do. Lord, please keep your hand over Elijah his entire life- to love others, to have boldness and courage, to be compassionate, to be a friend to the friendless, to be an encourager, to be an adventurer and to see beauty in your creation. Lord, let us see his giftings and talents and help him use them for your purposes. I pray that he always displays your joy and that He knows you from a young age. I pray that you help him keep his way pure and that he would love his future wife and children well.

God, I pray that he would know how fearfully and wonderfully made his is, and that you would continue to let him grow in strength and health. I pray that he would have meaningful relationships and that he would learn to be humble and sacrificial. I pray that he and his father have a special closeness throughout life.

Lord, I ask that you always keep me in your will…teach me how to trust you with everything, even when it’s hard. Show me your heart for others. Let me never take this time for granted. Give me peace in my heart and mind.

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For Such a Time As This

I just need to journal this for my own memory’s sake. I received a card at one of E’s baby showers and I keep it on my fridge to this day because of what it says. It’s such a good reminder, and I smile and yet feel somewhat pained whenever I read it while passing by during my daily tasks. So without further ado:

“Just Think” by Roy Lessin

Your son is here not by chance,
but by God’s choosing.
His hand formed him and made him the person he is.
God compares him to no ones else-
he is one of a kind.
Your song will lack nothing
that God’s grace can’t give him.
God has allowed your son to be here
at this time in history
to fulfill His special purpose
for this generation.

WOW!!!! If that doesn’t blow you away, I don’t know what will. It’s full of those sentiments that we hear so often that we sometimes downplay the meaning behind them. But let it be known, that I will undoubtedly cling to this poem more times than I can probably think of.

Cloth Diapering…say what?!

Beware: this post contains MULTIPLE mentions of the words “pee”, “poo”, “poop”, and other similar references to human waste. There.

After much thought and research, we decided to attempt cloth diapering. This is not at all something I thought we would do, and I had never planned on going this route when I was pregnant or even after our baby was born. I knew a few people who used cloth diapers, and I had asked a few questions, but it was not even on my radar because I thought it would just be ONE MORE THING to deal with. I really just thought it would be too much of a hassle.

E was about 3.5 months old when I started researching cloth diapers (and BOY, did I research! YouTube, BabyCenter.com, etc, etc) because he was only pooping once every 2-3 days. Supposedly this is normal with exclusively breastfed infants. I was throwing away 8ish pee-soaked disposable diapers a day and thought, “well that’s kind of ridiculous and wasteful”. I thought, “how hard would it really be to wash cloth diapers?” My initial thoughts of poop being flung around the interior of my pristine front-loading washer made me cringe, but after some education, I learned that there were many different ways of handling this. There were also countless options when it came to cloth-diapering (all-in-ones, all-in-twos, prefolds, flats, fitteds, covers, hybrids, pockets, woolies, OH MY!)

Well, here we are, 2 months in, and I thought I would give an update on what’s worked for us so far and pros and cons. I will say I did not choose to use cloth diapers solely to save the environment, but I do admit, it makes me feel just a little better to know I’m not contributing to MASSIVE amounts of poopy diaper landfill waste. The main reason we chose to try it was simply to save money. Even using free shipping and buying a massive economy sized box from Sams or joining Amazon mom, or using Diapers.com would be expensive. We used disposable diapers (which I really don’t have any problem with) during the newborn months because we had been given several packs as gifts at showers, so I didn’t really actually have to buy too many more. And we still use disposables when visiting our parents back home, going on trips, and just at times it’s more convenient (like out running errands for several hours or going to church. But after E was about 2-3 months old, I started realizing how much this was going to add up. I think when I did the math, a Huggies or Pampers diaper was about 25 cents each, so if you’re changing 8-10 times a day (and even sometimes 12 times a day in the newborn explosive breastmilk poo stage- basically every time you feed the baby), you’re spending roughly $45-$70 a month depending on brand and how many diapers you change a day (sometimes more than every 2 hours in the newborn stages). And as babies get bigger, the number of disposable diapers per pack dwindle with each larger size (for the same amount of $). I’ve spent roughly $185 total, so I feel that I will break even once we’ve used them for about 4 months. The energy/water costs so far seem negligible. You can spend much less than that and much more than that depending on the system you choose to use.

Another reason I wanted to give cloth diapers a try is that they can reduce occurrences of diaper rash and are a more natural option (stay-dry diapers are full of chemicals to make them not leak). I also read that cloth-diapered toddlers tend to potty train several months earlier than those who are in disposables all the time (due to the fact that they may actually feel a little wet and not like it!)

That being said, I’m glad we didn’t use cloth the first few months because that time was difficult enough just with the “getting-used-to-having-a-child” stage, the really difficult first few weeks of breastfeeding, and lack of sleep. So for us, that decision made sense and if we choose to cloth diaper again with possible future children, I will probably wait to start after about 8 weeks (due to meconium tar-like poop and frequent breastmilk blowout poops).

After MUCH research and brain fatigue, we first decided to try “Flips”, which are a waterproof PUL cover with a stay-dry microfiber insert (basically think a large cotton maxi pad, sorry). We bought 2 covers (which are one-size and have snaps) which came with 6 inserts. The reason I went with snaps is because I heard that older babies liked to undo the velcro and that the velcro simply didn’t hold up well in the washing machine. After using those for a few weeks (just intermittently with disposables to get the hang of it), we decided they worked fairly well for us and were pretty affordable, so we decided to buy another pack just like that. They were on sale on diapers.com for $40 for the pack. The reason I liked the Flips is because the cover could be reused a couple times with pee-only diapers (you simply wipe out the waterproof interior and replace with a fresh clean insert) and the fact that they weren’t too bulky under clothes (which can be an issue with many types of cloth diapers). So far, these have been our go-to daytime option, but because they are microfiber (as opposed to a natural fiber), they do have to be changed around every 2 hours.

After I had tried cloth diapers for a couple of weeks, I decided to go ahead and go “all in” and invest in some more diapers so I wouldn’t have to do laundry every day or 2. I decided to give pocket-style diapers a try because they seemed to be a favorite of many moms. I found some BumGenius 4.0 pocket-style diapers (basically the best top-rated cloth diapers according to the masses) on sale on CottonBabies.com (the maker of BG, Flips, and Econobum) for $45. WHAT?! For 3 diapers?! (granted, I also got a free BumGenius “Freetime” with my order). However, I have spent $15 for a cute baby outfit before and it was worn 5-6 times max. So I justified that decision as a hopeful attempt that he will at least use a diaper NUMEROUS more times than wearing a certain outfit. The BumGenius are very well made, and although expensive, I do think they will last the longest and hold up to months of wear and tear (and hopefully another baby will get some use out of them!) With the pocket-style diaper, you can change the absorbency based on the type and number of inserts you use (microfiber, bamboo, hemp, charcoal, etc). I bought a couple hemp “doublers” that I simply put underneath one microfiber insert inside the pocket and this combo lasts 12+ hours through the night with NO LEAKS! For this reason, the BG pocket-style diapers are our go-to nighttime solution.

I also bought some SunBaby diapers, which are a cheaper pocket-style diaper. They are made in China, so a lot of people have a problem with that, but they were developed by a working mom and are manufactured with *supposedly* fair labor standards. They even shipped directly from China (with free shipping!), but took a couple weeks to reach little old me in East Texas. A friend of mine recommended these as her diaper of choice for a good, affordable pocket-style diaper. I got 6 diapers (these had cute prints…I know, it’s a diaper) with 12 bamboo inserts for $51! I use both inserts for more absorbency, and the diapers are still not too bulky under little adorable baby jeans:) Because the pocket-style diapers are lined with a microsuede or microfleece material, you do have to wash after each use (not reusable like the covers). But they really are soft and I’m pretty sure E appreciates the finer things in life.

So I basically have 22 cloth diapers total and just wash every 3 days (about 7-8 diapers a day). And it’s really not that bad. It does take a little time to get used to the routine, but we’ve got it down pat now and it’s working out great for us. I will also mention that we don’t use any special “cloth diaper” detergent (which don’t really clean that great), just original powder Tide! I basically do a cold rinse/prewash without detergent (just to get the residue out), then a hot wash with detergent on the heavy duty cycle, then an extra cold rinse at the end to get any leftover suds out (which can cause the diapers to get a buildup on the surface and contribute to leaks). It takes around 2.5 hours to wash, then I just tumble-dry all the inserts on low in the dryer and hang the covers to dry. In the morning (I usually wash at night), I just fold the microfiber inserts for the Flips and stuff the pockets of the BG 4.0s and Sunbabies. I just keep them in 2 small baskets on the changing table shelf.

*I’m a stay-at-home mom at the time, and although some full-time working moms choose to use cloth, I don’t think I’d have the patience to use them…however, I think it would definitely be doable if working part-time

*many daycares are ok with using cloth diapers, but I haven’t dealt with this personally

*we use regular disposable wipes since they are very cheap; some people choose to use cloth wipes since they’re already doing laundry anyway

*you can use a “wet bag” to contain your dirty diapers until it’s time to wash, but I’ve just used a plastic Wal-Mart sack in a trashcan and it doesn’t stink

*they contain blowouts WAY BETTER than disposables

*I do find that I change a little more often with cloth because they will leak if left on more than 3 hours or so (except with the hemp inserts overnight). But that is probably a good thing because I’m sure my baby appreciates a nice dry bottom;)

*now that we’ve started solids (our little one is 6.5 months old), he’s in the “peanut butter” poop stage, so I place a Viva paper towel folded in half (which is cotton-based) on top of the diaper if he hasn’t pooped in a while and I feel like a BM is imminent;) That way, clean-up is a breeze and the diapers stay a little fresher. When he was exclusively breastfed, I did not rinse or use a liner since breastmilk is water-soluble- it came right out in the wash;)

*To remove poo stains, you can simply lay your clean diapers in the sun while they are still wet (we haven’t had any stains yet!)

I’m sure we will re-evaluate as things move along, but this is where we are at the moment.

***my husband actually doesn’t mind changing him and is proud of me for saving us money! Also, he refers to our son’s “cotton bottom” probably more than he should.

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