Sunday, August 19, 2012

Cloth Wipes & Solutions

If you're a cloth diapering mama, it makes sense to use cloth wipes as well. First of all, you can then throw your dirty wipes and diapers into the same place prior to washing rather than needing both a garbage can for wipes and a pail or wetbag for dirty diapers. Secondly, using cloth diapers eliminates chemicals so why use subject your child's bum to chemicals in disposable wipes? I will admit that when I started cloth diapering, the idea of cloth wipes seemed weird so I stuck with sposie wipes at first. Then it got annoying to need to cans in the nursery: one with a garbage bag for wipes and another lined with a pail liner for the diapers. So I bought a sampler pack of cloth wipes and gave it a whirl.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that it only took 2 cloth wipes to clean a poopy tush when it normally took at least 6 sposie wipes for that! I wasn't convinced that just water was enough to clean J's butt though, so I did dabble in making my own wipe solution from a recipe I found online. The recipe called for 2 cups of water, 2 drops of tea tree oil, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and 2 tablespoons of baby soap. Something in that solution caused J to break out in a diaper rash, plus it quickly smelled rancid so I abandoned that and stuck with just water for awhile. I also purchased more cloth wipes made on etsy because I found a pack of 25 for just $10. You can use cheapie baby washcloths for wipes though!

Poop is sometimes tough to completely clean off with only water, however, so I decided to try some wipe solution that is pre-made. The owner of Mama's Emporium sent me a sample of Punkin Butt wipe spray to try and I must say that it is pretty cool stuff. I dampen a wipe first then spray some of the wipe solution onto it, then wa-la, I have a toddler with a clean fresh-smelling tush. This wipe solution comes in a spray bottle and is pretty convenient for things like going to the park. I just travel with it in my Planet Wise wetbag front zipper and spray it right onto a dry wipe when I need to change J in the park. AND the ingredients in this spray have not caused J to get a rash at all as opposed to when I tried to make my own solution. Will I buy more of this stuff? Absolutely!

Click here to visit Mama's Emporium

Yes, he's still rear-facing...

"You haven't turned J's seat yet? But he'll be happier if he can face forward and know he isn't alone," is something that I hear so often that it drives me crazy! I did my homework and am well aware that both the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) and the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) recommend that children rear-face in their carseats until the age of 2 at a minimum or until they max out the weight limit of the carseat for rear-facing.

                                    Here is the reason for the current recommendations:

Nowadays, most carseats have higher weight limits for both rear-facing and for using the harness in general. Most carseats have a rear-facing limit of 35-40 lbs and a harness limit of 65-80 lbs. J's carseat is the Evenflo Triumph Advance which has a weight limit of 40 lbs for rear-facing and 65 lbs for usage of      the seat forward-facing. Here's how I see things...

The whole point of a carseat is to protect a child's life in the event of a car accident. No, the reason for the current recommendations is not some crazy conspiracy of carseat manufacturers to keep people spending money as many like to believe. That said, why not do everything in your power to make sure the seat is used the best way possible in order to protect your child? No matter how safely you drive, there are always crazy people on the road and accidents do happen. So yes, I will keep J rear-facing at least until he is 2 unless he maxes out the height or weight limit of his seat to do so much to the annoyance or chagrin of others. And yes, I will keep J in a harness for a long time too rather than move him to a booster seat the minute he turns 3 as some of my friends do. 

So here are a few important things to also keep in mind when it comes to carseat safety:
  • Carseats have expiration dates! Over time, the plastic does break down which will eventually inhibit the ability of the seat to protect your child. Generally the expiration date is 5-6 years after manufacturing date and it is now printed somewhere on the seat (usually on bottom).
  • Heavy winter coats should not be used with a carseat. It causes compression in the case of an accident and your child can fly right out of the harness.
  • Carseats are supposed to be replaced if you get into a car accident because unseen damage can occur that will cause the carseat to not do its job in any other accidents.
  • And as I already blogged about, rear-facing til at least 2 is no recommended. BTW, I give J some toys and play his music in the car and he's perfectly happy RF because he has no idea that there is another way :)
My little man is perfectly content to be RF in the carseat :)

Friday, August 17, 2012

All About Toddler Shoes

Generally, it is not recommended to put shoes on babies' feet because it can hamper their development. Further, they're best off in bare feet so that their feet can feel the ground as they learn to cruise then walk. If you really want shoes because you're worried about your little one having cold feed, then the Robeez are a good choice because they're soft :)

 If you are outside a lot in public places like parks and what-have-you, you want a shoe for your new walker. I will preface this by saying that toddler shoes are pretty darn expensive, and toddlers' feet grow fast; I'm talking needing a new pair of shoes about every three months. Ever since J turned 1, he has had shoes for moments like going to the park, the doctor's office, etc. When we are at home in the backyard, J is barefoot.

I will say that it is such a good thing that I have a boy and not a girl! If I had a girl, I would have bought 2-3 pairs of shoes for each season because they make such adorable girl shoes: girly sneakers, mary janes, sandals, etc. Since I have a boy, I just get one pair of shoes. His first pair of shoes were Stride Rites at 12 months; he always fought me putting them on him, and walked awkwardly in them. He only walked holding 2 hands and never out at the park so if I could do it again, I would've gotten just Robeez at that point in time.

Over the summer, I got a pair of Teva sandals for J. They are great shoes because they're so easy to put on and are versatile because of the fact that they can be wet or dry. One thing I did not think about, however, is that open-toed sandals are not the greatest shoes for going to the park because woodchips get into them and hurt little feet. Again, they were great, though, because I could un-velcro both velcro straps and lay them flat against J's feet rather then shoving his feet into a closed-toe shoe. I do think that next sumer I will be buying both Tevas and a good closed-toe sandal. 

A few weeks ago, J went through a massive growth spurt during which he outgrew the Tevas, so I went back to my local kids' shoestore to get his feet measured for sneakers. I figured that since summer is almost over, sneakers were our best bet. J has very wide feet so the shoe saleswoman brought out three types of sneakers for him to try that work best for new walkers with wide feet. There is one pair that I did not put on J because they were higher in the ankle and I didn't think it was worth the effort to put them onto J's feet. The two that we did try were StrideRite SRT's and Pediped Grip and Go. I do need to say that I love the StrideRite brand and really wanted to get that brand for J; yet I found he walked quite awkwardly in them as they are a little less flexible than the Pedipeds. So we did go with the Pediped shoes. While I liked the look of the StrideRites better, I needed to choose the shoe that J could walk comfortably in. A  benefit to these sneakers aside from their flexibility is that they only have one piece of velcro which makes putting them on fast.

I happen to always buy J's shoes at a mom & pop shoestore downtown that always runs amazing sales. I do think that with the high cost for toddler shoes that sales are a fabulous thing. Any tips from my readers on buying toddler shoes for a decent price? Any other favorite toddler shoes you want to talk about?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Periods and Instead Softcup

OK, so this is clearly a blog that is for the mamas out there. I need to start this with a disclaimer. My period grosses me out. I can handle nasty poop, vomit and spit-up, coxsackie virus blisters, and what-have-you, but when it comes to my own cycle all I can say is ick. I hate that I bleed: the odor, the sight, the's just freakin nasty. Not to mention, my cycle has never been my friend. Without some form of hormonal birth control, I'm so irregular that it isn't funny and I bleed heavily. I could soak through a box of pads or tampons in a day, that's how bad it is. Then I could go many months without a period. When it comes to birth control pills, I forget to take it and get myself more irregular. When it comes to birth control like nuvaring or the patch, I get migraines. So after becoming a mommy, I got Mirena put in so that I don't even have to think about it and it is localized to my "down there region" and I don't get migraines. It is a wonderful thing.

Anyway, all that aside, let's talk feminine products. I may be a cloth diapering mama, but mama cloth grosses me out. As I said, I cannot handle my period, so I cannot handle dealing with and washing cloth pads....big EWWWWWW! For those who can use mama cloth, that's awesome. What can I say? I'm weird. But I do have an issue with pads and tampons. OK here is the deal with pads. Only Always brand works for me with no leaks, but I get nasty rashes. They chafe me and I get itchy red dots everywhere the darn pads touch. The more natural disposable pads fall apart when I wear them because I forget to change them often enough. There is a problem with tampons too. When I put them in, I itch down below, always get a yeast infection, and after awhile they slip out so I leak. I've ruined many a nice pair of underwear while wearing tampons. Not only that, but I have a confession. I can be a moron when it comes to tampons. On more than one occasion, I've forgotten that I have one in and inserted a second one. Then I've been in pain from having in 2 and needed to get them a professional.

This month, I decided to try something new. I wanted to try a menstrual cup which sits near the cervix and collects the blood in it, rather than absorbing the way a tampon does. A big plus to a menstrual cup is that there is no risk of TSS as there is with tampons! There are reusables on the market, such as a Diva Cup but my period may eventually go away with Mirena, plus I don't want to wash one because that's just not for me. So after recommendations from @youarelovedTSS on twitter, I found a store near me that sells the Instead Softcup and ran there to buy it.

                                                      Here is what the softcup looks like: 

Basically, you insert it the way that you insert nuvaring, by squeezing it in half between to fingers and inserting it up high in yourself, then you hook it under the pubic bone. It's very easy to do.

                                                   This is how to sqeeze it for insertion: 

 Then it lasts for up to 12 hours! I wore one for the first time last night, didn't feel it at all (no itching) and didn't leak at all in bed!!! That is a first.  Taking it out was more of a challenge, because I clenched when I went to pull it out but I know it isn't hard to remove because you do it just like you do the nuvaring, which I did use years ago. I did change it a second time with no difficulty removing the softcup. Basically it is important to relax so that it slides right out. I was scared of spilling both times, but no such thing occurred.

I actually attended a pool party today wearing the Instead Softcup. Yes, I was a little nervous without knowing what would happen but it did the same thing that it did before: collected the blood with no leakage. I did laps in the pool, played with J both in and out of the water, and had a great time. It was nice not having to worry about a tampon falling out of my special place while in the water and causing a blood ring around myself in the pool (yes, it has happened in the past).

Will I keep using this for every single period? Absolutely!

A pack of 12 is $10 at the local store; not cheap but a pack should last for my entire period and the pay-off for me is no chafing, rash, yeast infection, or leaking.

 If you want to look for Instead Softcup in a store, this is what to look for!
For more information on insertion and removal of the Instead Softcup, check out the official video at :

Thursday, August 2, 2012

TV Time

I have to warn my readers that this post goes against the grain of thinking when it comes to toddlers and TV time. The AAP and other professionals recommend no screen time for children under the age of two because of risk for delays. Before I was even a mom, I swore that I would stick to that recommendation and did really well with keeping the TV off whenever J was in the room during his first year of life. However, once he hit 1 that became harder.

J has always fought having his nails clipped and while lots of people suggest I do it when he sleeps, my son wakes up the minute I enter his bedroom, so that wouldn't work for me. Unfortunately, I need to clip J's nails every other day because #1 they grow fast and #2 he digs in his ears to the point where he'll scratch himself so deeply that it causes a lot of bloodshed. That said, it is not fun to clip a child's nails when said child is trying to throw himself out of your arms and screaming and flailing about! So yes, when J was 12 months old, I started to put on PBS Sprout for 5 minutes in order to trim his nails. J gets nice and quiet, and "in the zone" so that clipping his nails is easy to do and hell, it works to do it this way!

When J didn't suddenly become a dumb child, I started to let him watch TV a tad bit more. Now I'm not saying I use the TV as a virtual babysitter by any means; I actually do believe that too much TV creates dumb people (sorry but it's true) so I still limit the viewing time to no more than 30 minutes a day, and that time is not in one consolidated chunk. Every morning when J wakes up, I change his diaper then he comes into my bedroom and watches 5 minutes of PBS Sprout while we wait for my husband to come up from his shower. Then after breakfast, J watches another 5-10 minutes while I drink my coffee. After that, there is no more TV unless J needs his nails clipped...until late afternoon. If J starts to get antsy waiting for my husband to get home from work (usually around 4:30), we will snuggle and watch a few minutes of TV til he calms down then we go back to playing. We still read a lot of books together and play outside for the majority of each day.

I do not keep the TV on at all times; it is only on for a few minutes here and there. J has not suddenly stopped developing; he was actually found to be 2 months above his chronological age in terms of his social, emotional, and verbal development. Yes, J was evaluated and that was for something completely unrelated :)

With all this said, I do want to stress that what you choose in terms of TV is entirely up to you as a parent. If you want to wait until your child is 2 to get screen time, then by all means do, and if you show TV sooner then that's your prerogative. I will say that it helps you know what your child is watching. I have found that with all the channels for little ones that I like PBS Sprout the most. There is a variety of shows on it, most of which are educational, and I can tolerate the shows...OK I like some of them. The channel itself promotes physical activity with the Super Sproutlet afternoon, and J likes most of the shows in the lineup.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Sippy Cup Obsessions

When J was nearing the 6 month mark, I started to obsess over sippy cups. In my head, if I didn't pick the perfect cup, I could ruin the entire experience for the both of us. God forbid, I completely traumatize my child and cause him to become anti-cup! No, I'm not joking at all - I really did feel that way. After talking to other mommy friends of mine, I decided on the Nuk Learner cup as his first cup because of the silicone or latex spouts making it so similar to a bottle:
J instantly took to that cup and it was fantastic. It never spilled and all I had to do was put in the travel disk and it could be thrown right into the diaper bag for easy travel. I did try a Dr Brown's training cup that a company rep sent me free of charge, but J could not figure out how to use that cup; for about 2 months he was only able to use the Nuk one. .The cup was fantastic up til J got his first tooth, at which point he started chewing the spouts and destroying them. Initially, I bought replacement spouts on, but it got pricey after awhile at $7/spout. Once J had a few teeth and I had dropped a lot of money on spouts that I was constantly having to replace, I opted to try some different sippy cups.

I cannot lie; I went crazy with buying sippy cups so I have lots to say. I will only include pics of my favorites so as not to overwhelm my readers and drive you lovely people crazy. First I went back to the Dr. Brown's cup. It is great because unlike others, it has oz markings on the side which is helpful in instances where I need to know exactly how much of what I am giving to J. He wasn't totally crazy about this cup and did at times refuse to drink from it altogether, and J loves his water, so I needed to try something else that he would accept more readily. It is also a bit of a pain to put together because there are so many parts (just like the bottles); that said, it is 100% spill proof and has a soft silicone spout that you can interchange with a harder plastic spout.

Some of my fellow May mommies on suggested a Nuby soft spout cup which is only about $2 at Walmart so I thought, I would give it a shot. J did accept that cup but destroyed the spout, rendering it a cup that leaked often so I didn't stick with it for long.

After J turned 1, I decided to try some hard-spout sippy cups, knowing that I wouldn't know if he would accept them if I never tried them. I picked up a 2-pack of Nuk Gerber Giggle & Grin sippy cups that was on sale for half price at the super market and they were great! I could easily toss them into my purse or the diaper bag with no risk of leaking or spilling. Plus they had a pretty cool shape to them that made it easy for J to hold them since that was the first non-handle cup I had purchased for him.

With only a couple of other cups in rotation and needing more sippy cups for milk and water, I went to Target for more sippy cups. I picked up a bunch: Munchkin Mighty Grip, a Disney insulated no-valve cup and Playtex Insulators. I honestly am not a fan of the Munchkin Mighty Grip. The spout is soft and there is no valve, which is a plus; however, it is a pain in the rear to put the thing together. The notches on the side of the spout need to be aligned perfectly with tabs in the ring that the spout is pulled through, otherwise it'll leak. Not only that, but the cup will leak from the spout if it isn't upright. The Disney cup is nice in that it actually changes color when there is a cold drink in it, and changes back to a different color when the drink becomes warm. It is also so simple to put together than anyone can do it since there is no valve. One problem is that it will leak if not upright in the diaper bag; I'm not a fan of finding milk or water all over the inside of my purse. The Playtex Insulator is a fabulous cup because it keeps drinks cold, does not spill at all (with the exception of when J throws it), and has a locking feature so that you turn the lid until you hear it click and you know it is on securely. I've actually invested in 2 more of the Playtex Insulator cups.

Out of all the brands that I have tried, I now stick with hard spouted Nuk cups and hard spouted Playtex cups. The benefit to my sippy cup obsession is that I have lots of info on so many types of them for anyone who wants to know :)