Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Little Green Tushies and the Mythical World of Cloth Diapering

I swore I'd never do it. I promised to all humanity that I'd velcro my kids in disposable diapers from the day they were born to the day they were potty trained. I committed,without hesitation that I would "NEVER cloth diaper". Yuck.

After 5 months of dumping blue, horrific looking piles of decomposing baby excretions in the trash, disposable diapers made from who-knows-what and costings us upward of $15-20 a week, I got sick of all the waste I was creating, retired my diaper genie of it's duties and started on my research. 

There are dozens, if not hundreds of options when it comes to cloth diapering. Times have changed a tad from yesteryear; cloth diapering is no longer limited to folding, pinning, and plastic covers (although, it's still available!) The list is endless: there are all-in-ones, one size, pocket diapers, and snap-in's, training diapers, sleeping diapers, swimming diapers and more. Overwhelmed and totally perplexed by this infinite world of cloth diapering, I signed up to learn everything you can learn about it: Cloth Diapering: 101, at our local Natural Children's store - Podlings.

I realized after my jam-packed information session along with the research I did on my own, that much of what was holding me back from cloth diapering were a few silly myths. Let me first do some myth debunking:

Cloth Diaper Myth #1 - "Cloth Diapers are TOO much work!"

The verdict: There's definitely a certain draw to the ease of disposables - seeing as all it takes is putting out the trash to eliminate the stink, but there really isn't all that much to cloth. Pocket Diapers are almost as simple as All-in-one's, which require no dis-assembly. For my pocket diapers I simply remove the soiled soaker and put both pieces in the wet bag. Every 2 days I fill the washer with cold water, flip the wetbag inside out and dump the diapers in, do a quick cold rinse, then fill the washer with hot water, 2 scoops of detergent and a teaspoon of NaturalClean Oxy Stain Remover. I hang my diapers to dry, and dry the soakers in the dryer for 30 minutes on high.
Soakers easily insert in the diaper when dry, and they're all ready to use again!

Cloth Diaper Myth #2 - "Cloth Diapers Smell"

The verdict: They don't. Not once have I smelled  any foul odor coming from my son's behind - no more than I would from a disposable diaper, I'd even venture to say they smell considerably less. In addition, you get to enjoy the natural of your baby without the overpowering odor of perfumes! I personally think the smell of disposable diapers mixed with poop creates a much greater stink! Amazingly, the smell of soiled cloth does not permeate the bathroom, unless the diapers are left too long (no more than 2-3 days). If your diapers start getting a little funk, soak them for an hour in a mixture of hot water and Rockin Green Detergent and they're good as new!

Cloth Diaper Myth #3 - "Cloth Diapers Cause Diaper Rash".

The verdict: My disposable's caused the worst rashes and bleeding (!) my son's bum has ever seen. Most of the cloth diapers are made with a fiber that wicks moisture away from the skin. Cloth diapers (like disposables) should be changed often, every 2-3 hours.

Cloth Diaper Myth #4 - "Cloth Diapers are Too Expensive"

The Verdict: The average household will save $400-600 dollars per child, per year by switching to cloth diapers. Cloth diapering is a bit costly at first, but consider buying diapers one at a time, or putting aside money throughout pregnancy to be able to afford them as a lot.

Below are a few suggestions I have found helpful for starting out with Cloth Diapers:

1. Put aside money - the cost of one or two diapers, every month while you're pregnant. Even if you find an affordable cloth diaper, you need a minimum of 16-20 to full-time cloth diaper, it's a lot of cash to put out all at once!

2.  Do your research, try a mix of diapers - Some cloth diapering stores offer trials of a variety of cloth diapers. They charge a fee as well as a deposit, and this allows you to sample different styles of diapers, getting a feel for the ease of use and care for each diaper and find one that suits you and your baby best, without having to purchase multiple diapers.

3. Don't necessarily limit yourself - I generally stick to one diaper, but different diapers serve different purposes. Rumparooz, are a great nighttime diaper with a double layered large soaker, but are quite bulky for daytime use, whereas AMP diapers and AppleCheeks offer a more fitted, trimmer option.

4. Prepare yourself for a bit of a mess - as much as I'm an advocate for cloth, and was incredibly surprised at how easy they are to use and launder, you can't avoid the fact that they're a bit messier than disposables! There a few gadgets that will make cloth diapering easier:

Bummi's Bio-Soft Flushable Liners are helpful once your child is on solids. However, for those messy newborn poops......consider purchasing a Diaper Sprayer, a device that can be easily attached to your toilet, shower head or faucet.
- Get a Wet Bag. My wetbag is stored behind my bathroom door. I flush my liner, remove the soiled soaker from the diaper and toss both pieces in the bag, leaving it for no longer than 3 days before a wash. Both wet bag and diapers get thrown in the wash together. Most wet bags have an elastic top, making it easy to fold around a laundry basket (with a lid!) I use disposable for trips and long outings, but I carry a zippered wet-bag in my diaper bag for easy cloth-diapering on-the-go.

- Don't sacrifice on soap! Most commercial soaps cause build up on cloth diapers, causing them to be less absorbent and therefore ineffective! My favorite brand of diaper-laundry soap is Rockin Green, they have loads (pun intended) of different scents, it's great for the environment, and even better for your diapers!

After trying a number of diapers, my first one being the cutest little velcro closure, snap-in liner cloth diaper - a bright green,GroBaby,as well as the AIO Bum Genius, Rumparooz, AMP diapers, and FuzziBunz, I decided on the Made-In-Canada, Vancouver based diaper manufacturer, ComfyRumps. I fell in love not only with the money-saving, environmentally friendly cloth-diaper concept, but also how cute my kids butt looked in a little squishy green diaper!

ComfyRumps has a large color selection of one-size pocket diapers at an affordable $8.75+ shipping for both the diaper and cloth insert.  This is a steal of a deal compared to other cloth diapers, which generally run at $20-30 dollars a pop.They usually have a promotion on allowing you to receive free diapers with a minimum purchase.

Some of you are not convinced, but let me challenge you with this: check out your local Cloth Diapering Store, or order online from, and sample a single cloth diaper. Try it out, get comfortable with it, and see if just maybe, cloth diapering is for you too!

Sagacious Mama

Monday, December 6, 2010

Saving the World - One Blog at a Time.

I love to learn. I devour any new information, anything that expands and enhances what I may already know about nutrition, health, babies, culture etc. Learning is limitless, and no matter how well read and researched I feel I may be, every day I discover new information  that challenges my current sub-par thinking, and time and time again I’m challenged to confront what I believe.  I like this about myself. I’m not satisfied with the status quo (at least, what I perceive as status quo) and strive to set the bar higher and further with every bit of information I receive, and I enjoy living life this way.
A fact you may not know: I am an ENFP. There’s no question in my mind or grey area around this assumption, Myer’s Briggs nailed my personality type without flaw. I stumbled across this quote in an article that described me to perfection:
“ENFPs often have strong, if unconventional, convictions on various issues related to their Cosmic View. They usually try to use their social skills and contacts to persuade people gently (?) of the rightness of these views; this sometimes results in their neglecting their nearest and dearest while flitting around trying to save the world.”
My mom is nodding her head in wholehearted agreement as she reads this.
I love to share/convince/make you believe what I believe, and often mistakenly take the approach of “take it or leave it, but you better believe it!” And I’ll be honest, I’d much prefer you take it. And to top it all off, motherhood has multiplied this process by approximately a million.  Myer’s Brigg’s evaluation doesn’t excuse my behavior, (and I’m really working on curbing it!) but it definitely explains a lot. And not just about myself, but so many other momma’s out there.
We all know the phrase, “girls can be catty”, and there’s no doubt in my mind this label was coined when the first generation of females went through Junior High. Girls are tough - they can rip each other apart and destroy any ounce of self worth in one, feisty stab in the back. If girls are cats, then momma’s are tigers, and the fighting doesn’t stop at childbirth, it only gets nastier, feistier, and a whole lot more personal.
The intricacies of raising a child from birth are immeasurable. After two or three decades of only thinking about ourselves we become faced with the responsibility of being the decision maker for every detail of our child’s life. Some may be more ready than others, having invested in a library worth of reading, preemptively planning each step of the way and facing decisions steadfast and absolute, or at least with careful thought and study.  Others of us make decisions based on what we’ve seen done, going with the flow of what is normal and relying on our upbringing and cultural influence.
There is so much information (mostly media driven), and so much of what we do in our culture is “default parenting”. The general population allows the media, advertising, healthcare providers, and the stocked shelves in their local Superstore to decide the fate of their future. I’m 100% guilty of this mentality. The rest of the population tend to lean toward being information junkies, researching everything with incredible detail, and relentlessly summoning all to follow in there footsteps. I feel like I fall somewhere in the middle. 
 Many of the decisions I made were based on the mainstream culture and I was devastated to find out that what I thought was best for my baby boy was often in fact someone else’s chance at making a buck. As I moved through the journey of mothering over this last year, I was sickened to discover that so much of what I was spoon fed about what was best for my child, was in fact a money-making, marketing strategy, set out to deliver a mediocre start to my child’s life for the betterment of a few large corporations. But what can be equally devastating is making innocent, and even well thought out decisions, and being told via someone’s facebook status update (in a roundabout way) that I’m an ingnorant, mindless and misinformed mother.
What’s worse?
Social media avenues like Facebook and Myspace are too often used as “protected platforms” for moms to innocently share information, but for what purpose, and at what cost?
There seems to be a level of rationalization in the realm of mom slashing; that, somehow, defacing a mothers’ dignity and shaming her for her choices by thoughtlessly pushing information regarding parenting decisions is offering a measure of protection for all children, and therefore, justified.  
I’m as passionate as the next person, and I fully understand (and love!) all you momma’s out there who are like me, or perhaps even a little fierier (!), but I think there comes a point when we need to tame that fire, step back, and ask ourselves what our motivation is, and who our hot head is going to hurt in the process. Our words need to be chosen wisely, graciously, and with understanding that we’re all at different places in our mothering journey.
By the same token, there is an all too common and far too comfortable passivity in our culture to take things in stride with what we know, without having to dig too deep to find it. There is a wealth of information at our finger tips, and if we uncover the rubble we will find so much we weren’t aware of. I am grateful for the women in my life who have shared with me some of their knowledge and findings, and I’ve been challenged to deliberately evaluate the choices I make as a parent. But I promise you, these women did not defame my character and decisions in the process.
We can be passionate without be arrogant, and we can share our knowledge and beliefs without crushing each others spirit. We must parent with thoughtfulness, make informed choices, and allow others wisdom to challenge our own. Let’s live, love and learn with one another in harmony, respecting and encouraging one another as we grow and move in this beautiful journey of motherhood together. 

Sagacious Mama

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Biggest La-Ooser: How I Measured Up

 The day has come for me to announce, that I am not the Biggest La-Ooser. I know the grief is hard to bear at this point, but I'm here to tell you that it's really O.K.

After twelve weeks I watched 14lbs and nearly 20 inches disappear off my body (where does it actually go? I've always wondered...) and I'm incredibly satisfied with my accomplishment. I MAY have rewarded myself with a handful or two (or three) of Hershey's chocolate chips, and a hot cocoa lavishly topped with miniature marshmallows. On that note: f you're going to indulge in chocolate for the first time in three months, please, invest in Lindor, Ferrero Rocher, or at the very least, Cadbury - something with a little substance. Hershey's semi-sweet baking chocolate is not worth the hundreds of calories easily consumed in sheer minutes, but what's done is done.

Nonetheless, I celebrated, I indulged, and other than experiencing a rather annoying (but to be expected - my body hates sugar) bout of hives following my sugar binge, I really have no raging desire to go back for more. Of course there's always allowances, and surely I'll enjoy my share of treats between now and New Years Eve, but I hope to keep the patterns that I've developed over the last three months and allow them to shape my future for eating and exercise. I've enjoyed pulling on my jeans without have to do jump squats, and I'm soaking up the invigorating feeling of energy that runs through my veins after an 8 kilometer run.

I'm also looking forward to blogging about topics totally unrelated to my own personal weightloss journey, and venturing into the many things I'm inspired to write about. Stay tuned, there's definitely more...

Sagacious Mama