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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Learning to Let Go

We got some books for Christmas, like "Which Pet Should I Get," by Dr. Seuss and "the Blue Zone." There was an unexpected surprise for us. It's a book we'd never heard of, by Marie Kondo called The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. It's a small volume, pretty and well-worded. Marie Kondo does a great job of making discarding and tidying sound fun and portrays our belongings as having lives, too. As a matter of respect for our things, we should keep as few as necessary and those that bring us great joy.

For a long while, it's been apparent we had too much stuff. We moved in together from spaces larger than the ones we'd share, and especially since my father moved from his house to an Airstream on the road, I have had lots of sentimental .. well, baggage. Having lots of stuff is great when it's useful and easy to find when needed, but we were overburdened with our own awesome stuff, and it was taking a toll on our relationship. It's stressful to feel there's not enough space to play, not space to put down bags when we walk in the door, or to put a new book when we bring one home.

This new book has changed us. We are different just since perusing the pages... One cursory glance told us something about our lives would change, even if we did nothing. Hubby dear and I dove in. Last day of the year, first day of the next, we are doing it.

If you're curious, check it out. Below is a link to (FYI I do not  make any money if you click this link, hmm, maybe I will learn how, but I don't currently.)

Friday, December 4, 2015

Ten Month Update- and oh, how things have changed.

Well we are here at ten months. Somehow. 

Our LBD is cool as ever, and so much different than he was at eight, five, and two months...

Let's discuss some behavioral changes:

  • LBD still LOVES "please chase me," and "I'm chasing you," but now wants to engage the Kitty in his games. He cries out "KEEEE" and crawls (or climbs) quickly after her. She is totally not willing to play.
  • Our little fella is soooo close to walking. We're in no hurry. It's super fun to see him occasionally stand upright without holding something before he realizes he's doing it and plops onto his bottom. Then he looks at us excitedly, to see if we noticed.
  • He just started eating more often (was just a few times a week, a few bites, here and there). He has picked up how to use his spoon incredibly quickly, just in about two weeks of a meal every couple days. He woke from his nap today and did the "more" hand sign, then dug a spoon into the blanket to show me he wanted food. Then he looked at the spoon as he brought it to his mouth, and put it in. Wow. We only gave him tastes of food til around Thanksgiving time and he's caught up very quickly in his eating skill set. Note: we're only feeding him fresh and cooked fruits and veggies. No meats, no grains, no corn, no dairy, no sugar, no beans nor soy.
  • Our fella has totally caught on to our desire to please him and will cry and look at us disapprovingly if we don't do what he wants. Usually this would be when we keep him out of the cat food or litter, or when I take my keys from him.
  • Also, LBD understands that milk is like food for him. He offered me his spoon at my nipple to see if he could get some milk. I filled the spoon for him with a few mommy milk squeezes and he totally ate it from the spoon. Kinda cool, probably not gonna happen again.

  • He's lots less verbal as far as clear, easy to understand words (like milk) and talks so much more in baby babble. It's beautiful, though I miss thinking I knew what he was saying. It seems like as he began to crawl and climb and practice cruising (walking holding things) the verbal skills changed over to practicing vowels and consonants.
  • He's wearing a size 18-24 "mos" now, or Euro size 80 and bigger.
  • There are 8 teeth in our baby dude's mouth! Aaaaagh! And he bites, but as of today, he's consciously practicing gentle bites. We say, "be gentle, please," and "soft touch, LBD.

  •  Co-sleeping is going great, if that's what we want. Though we're very happy with our son's level of comfort, the bigger he gets and the more space he takes, the more we look forward to him discovering his nearby big-baby-boy crib/bed. It's on the other side of the room now and he mostly uses it as a jungle gym in the day time... Not a problem, though, as we know that someday he'll be out of our bed for good, and that these counted days are precious.
  • I'm still baby wearing him lots, especially before bed, at naptimes, and around large groups of people. He's so comfy this way, and doesn't pout very much, except when he's really, really tired.
  •  LBD still is very happy to use his potty, but doesn't initiate it nearly as often as from 2-6 months.
That's all for now!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

8 Month Update

8 months have absolutely flown by since our LBD (little baby dude) arrived in February.

He's just started sitting after about a month of crawling, which gives us about 30 second-breathers in between his favorite game, "Please chase me," and his favorite activity, "Can I climb this?"

This is a really fun time at our house, and as "new" parents, we're learning tons. I suppose each baby is so different that even a second child in our household would bring us tons of learning, but there are things we just didn't anticipate.

For example, though we provide LBD some really neat learning toys, he prefers what I've started to call "adult tech." Usually these are things we don't want to share with him yet, such as coffee mugs, glasses, kitchen machines, car keys, writing tools, and even toilet paper rolls.

So, we do our best to keep offering him toys and have found a couple ways to keep them interesting.I read about how "magic" makes babies prefer certain toys. The example I read was from a study at Emory in which babies were more interested in toys which seemed to break a rule they understood. The toy would pass behind a wall then reappear, whereas the other toys did not reappear.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Challenges and Joys of Crawling & Cruising

We're amazed that our little baby dude (LBD) has already started standing and cruising around. From what I hear, cruising is when a little dude/ette starts to mobilize from standing to moving along edges of things they can hold onto.

Perhaps this isn't odd, but it seems really funny that LBD hasn't yet learned sitting- at least not on his own, and doesn't stay up if we put him in a sitting position.

I've read that our little folks will each be very different during this first year or so of development, and it's so fun to watch!

It's totally the coolest to see LBD put on his determined face (lips tightly pressed together against his new two teeth, in a straight line) and pull himself to standing using fabric on our sofa, chairs and bed. He looks so pleased when he sees our smiles back at him.

One of the hardest things to watch is our son tumbling down when he's in an impossible position or when LBD just can't hold himself up any longer. Sometimes he sticks his bottom out so far that he's standing at a 90 degree angle. We now feel that he needs constant supervision- no more leaving him a couple minutes on the bed thinking he wouldn't be able to roll or scoot too far... nor leaving him on a blanket "knowing" he'll be there when we return. Now, if I get up in the night, I check to be sure he's still in bed before I stand, worried about tripping over him if he got up and fell asleep on the floor. Not that it's happened. I guess that part of parenthood- worrying about things before they even happen- but it makes it easier to baby proof.

So far, we've put caps on all our electric outlets. We've tried this cheapest Munchkin brand baby gate (image below) but it was such a piece of crap (sorry, it's true) that we returned it the next day. I couldn't even get it to lock in position between our walls... we both tried and we read the instructions. No go. Someone else I know has a really similar gate for their dogs. I asked if it worked and she said they don't test it... This is exactly the problem: I'd expect our son to test it thoroughly if we or something he wanted (including Miz Kitty) were on the other side. Or just because it is there and wasn't before. When I touched our gate it fell over. For now, darling hubby and I have decided to continue with constant supervision.

Eeek! Speaking of constant supervision, I was setting up the high chair with our son out of his normal "mommy pocket" (Girasol carrier review LINK) and he was pushing a ball around. (New Favorite Game!) The ball, and then our son went under an old armchair. My hubby's folks refurnished the chair some years back and our cat took to it immediately when the gave it to us. She loves to sit in it these days to keep her above the LBD's reach. It was pretty funny to see her react to him climbing up and looking at her in the chair today. Anyway, when he climbed under the chair, his head was rubbing against the underside so I inspected it for danger. And, danger I found. The chair has half inch iron nails (guessing by appearance) pressed into the underside to secure the fabric. This never mattered before our precious LBD started scratching everything he could. (around 5 mos?) Now I think we're going to either declare the office totally off baby-limits and move the chair there or *sigh* let it go... this would be sad though, as it is really our kitty's favorite spot, and we both love to sit in it.

These are challenging and such fun times. It is so cool to see our LBD as a person, gaining a small semblance of autonomy and it's nerve-wracking to see what he gets into, and it feels so right that these steps of development are paced as they are.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The BIG 6 Month Update:

Teething, Crawling, Nursing and Elimination Communication 

Well, it's been about a month since I've posted much of anything here, so it's update time!

We are thrilled that our little baby dude (referred to as LBD hereafter) has started to show front teeth and to crawl.


The two bottom teeth just popped out three weeks ago. That Tuesday evening as we were getting ready to nurse I pushed a finger (gently) along his lower gumline. I read on la leche league international mommy's forum that massaging his gums may help to reduce biting as teething progressed, so on days that I saw him chew a lot on toys, I started doing this before nursing. This evening I felt this intensely sharp little edge on his gum, like a razor sticking out. They have arrived!


The same week, he had been pulling himself around with his arms, and on alternating days, pushing his bottom up. It was so fun to watch, first little baby push ups, then gathering his feet under his bottom, sometimes sort of hopping them under him like a little bunny.

By the end of that week, the moves had coordinated into a full all 4's - knees under, arms straight and reaching forward. He also started waving that week. It's all happening so fast!

 New Feelings

And, though it has been totally inspiring, sweet, and beautiful, something else happened that totally surprised me. I felt sad, overwhelmed, and worried.

My darling husband helped me figure out what was going on. I wasn't feeling sad that our baby had teeth, nor that he could crawl, and waving is positively the coolest. It wasn't that I was worried that he was healthy, nor that I worried about his learning environment- I was feeling stressed because suddenly our son ha(s) a whole new set of skills for us to keep up with. I'm overwhelmed because suddenly the folding metal chairs (they have really comfy seats & are heavy- well made!) that we love so much seem really, really dangerous. Actually, besides our books being in danger of baby slobber, most of our house now seems a danger to a baby.

We can handle this, and we anticipated the need to baby proof. It just happened so, so fast.

Nursing: Ouch, Baby Bites?

And then, the inevitable. We were sitting at the dining table and our son was hungry, so I offered him the breast. He smiled and hungrily lunged for it and - moment of suspense?? - totally bit me so hard my nipple started bleeding. Before this time, when he bit my nipple (especially before the teeth came through) I laughed and squealed and gasped and felt/acted really surprised and sometimes said "ow." This time I cried, "Owwww" and looked at him as if I was crying, then made a short act of crying. Oh goodness. Our LBD broke from smiling at me (he thought it was funny at first) to crying in earnest. The poor little guy! And, oh, his poor mommy! We were a mess. Worse, we were both worried about nursing.

Throughout this day, LBD wouldn't nurse the right breast (the one that bled from little razor teeth marks.) When he awakened from his nap and realized his [brave] mommy was nursing him with right breast, he burst into tears and popped "on & off" the nipple intermittently crying.

Finally, after dinner, with right breast just about to pop (so engorged from a day of no nursing), we took a bath and LBD nursed as normal. He was so relaxed in the tub! Thank goodness. That night at bedtime, he nursed both breasts as usual, and then (as usual) popped off the nipple and rolled away. SO CUTE!

 I wouldn't do it differently if I had it to do over. Although it made us both really sad (when I feigned crying and he actually cried) this was a great way to train our son not to bite the nipple that feeds him. He hasn't done it since- and even that day was super gentle with left breast. Thank goodness. Whew!

Elimination Communication (read: Elimination Radio Silence)

We've moved into using mostly the large size prefolds in our diapers, and occasionally the intermediate (blue edge) with a doubler. See the article on diapering if you'd like more details. Our son's peeing so much more liquid each time now that the old diaper liners just weren't doing it.

These days, our EC is kinda out the window. I was happy to run into an old friend yesterday for the first time in about eight years, during which he had a beautiful daughter. She's about six, so they've had plenty of time to work out potty training, and I said to them that with teething and crawling, our son is waaay to busy to tell us about pottying, but that I felt bad, because it seemed like a special way to honor our communication when we were doing it so well. Pepy said, "ah, don't worry; it comes and goes." This totally felt right.

I think we will continue to give our LBD opportunities to EC, but not worry about outcomes. I felt like we'd failed him, or he forgot how to use his potty, or something like this, but I think Pepy is right. It's happening just right; it will work out.

So, instead of 90% potty use as we were a month ago, and around 60% since 2 months age, we're now at about 10%. So it goes.

More updates to come! Things will surely change again.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Berkey FAIL :(

I had high hopes for Berkey filters. I felt I'd done plenty of research. The few naysayers I found (before I saw the reviews!!!) seemed far out and really, just plain mean.

I read review after review (before I went back and saw they are "affiliates!!!") and they all were happy customers. I saw a return policy and didn't question that the filter was available from different companies with the name Berkey in the title... Sites such as Berkey Filters, GetBerkey, BerkeyWaterFilters, and Directive21. Yowza, the latter gives a clue. Is a red flag waving yet? If not, maybe the name Mike Adams will ring a bell? He endorses Berkey Filters. I've linked to a wiki page for his website, as wiki calls it "dedicated to the sale of various dietary supplements, promotion of alternative medicine, controversial nutrition and health claims,[3] and various conspiracy theories."


So before doing enough research, and after reading about Berkey filters on Wellness Mama's blog (and I love her recipes!) I ordered one on a great sale from one of the above sites.

And it arrived really quickly! Oh, delight, we were excited to have great water. My dear hubby was a little concerned when I told him how much it cost, but considering it could filter for 4-6 years without replacements, it seemed cost effective. Our current system (countertop Z,ero water filter) would cost about $40 per 3 months, or more, depending on city versus well water.

I ordered it with the arsenic/fluoride removal filters & I followed the directions. Over and over we "primed" the filters and each time they dirtied the beautiful stainless steel basin they filled with "purified water." Finally, I decided to test the water to see if it was indeed cleaner (even though it tasted like metal and had a whitish residue, with rainbow surface. Again, yowza!)

Our total dissolved solids wands (we have 2) both read 30 ppm for our well water when running cold, 40 and higher for warmer water. When I put in in the Berkey water, it read 60 ppm and higher, and as high as 120 ppm. This is twice to four times more dissolved solids in the filtered and purified water than before we filtered it at all.

A week and about 20 "primings" later, we gave up and returned our filter.

I called Berkey and a super nice, super helpful employee suggested I might need to reprime. I told him how many times I'd done this and our method. He agreed we were doing it correctly. I told him about our total dissolved solids (TDS) wands and the increase of dissolved solids in the water, and I asked if he knew what would be coming out of a black berkey filter, or an arsenic/fluoride white berkey purifier. He said he'd ask and returned to the phone a few minutes later. His coworker suggested it was sulfur from our well water. This does not explain why it would be an increased amount of solids in the water, or the rainbows or white chunks. Finally I told him I really appreciated his help trouble shooting, but would really like my money back and to return the whole system to his company.

We did this, and it worked great. The customer service was great, much better than the filter.

Thank goodness we got our money back.

SometimesOften, simple is better.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Yum, Homeade Butternut Squash Babyfood!

Hubby & I think butternut squash is delicious and we're excited to share the eating experience with our son soon. 

I'd hoped to wait as long as possible to feed him anything but mommy milk- for simplicity and to see if his teeth come in before his interest. Basically, we're in no hurry to feed the little baby dude (LBD). Note: He's now 5 months and 3 weeks... nearing 6 months and the magic pronouncement by many docs of "ready to eat."

We won't be waiting much longer. If he's in my arms and I'm eating, our darling is lunging for my food. If he's nearby and we're eating and he's not in our arms, he fusses until we hold him.

In short: it's feeding time.

How exciting!

His first foods (last 2 weeks) have been little teeny bits of slightly cooked egg yolk and sips of bone broth- from local grass fed cows and lambs. (I'm a little sad for the lambs but they make AMAZING broth) We plan to wait as long as possible for grains and sweets, but to include vegetables, animal products and eventually some fruit during this first year.

For fun, and for months now, we encourage LBD to smell things like essential oils, herbs, spices, and of course, food. This has evolved to our LBD opening his mouth and slowing moving toward the foods we're holding out to him. (He does not do this for the other smelly things. He knows.) 

It's been pretty neat to see his experience with food change, and will be really neat to feed him more and more diverse kinds of food. 

For now, we're taking it easy. There are no teeth in his mouth and no sign of them (besides drooling, tons of drooling, and his chewing practice on toys.)

So, when I made butternut squash my favorite way tonight, and it came out mushy, of course I thought of our LBD and saved some. Here's how I made it:

One butternut squash, sliced into 1" pieces (triangles, actually)
About a 1/4 cup of OJ, lemon or apple juice would be nice also
Two ladle fulls of lamb stew with lots of the fat that had congealed on top

Put into a baking dish (I used a glass one) and bake at 425 until your preferred doneness. I liked it about 40 minutes and pretty mushy- The squash still held its form, the liquids were bubbling, and it smelled divine.

We ate part of it ourselves and once cooled, put the leftovers into the freezer tray pictured below. 

Next, I'll pop them out of the tray, bag them up, label & date them, and replace them in freezer. 
We'll have a fun and wholesome food to warm up for our son someday soon.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

OOoh, awesome *new* IKEA glasses


hehe, just had to share. These are only .99 at IKEA... so pretty!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Fin Art of Ray Troll, Salmon and Ratfish's crazy jaws.

I found this article (while researching cod liver oil & ratfish oil) about a fossil that finally helped scientists understand how to put together an ancient fish's mouth. There's such cool stuff out there, and are/used to be so many strange creatures all over our Earth.

The Fin Art of Ray Troll
Through that article at National Geographic on the ratfish jaw structure, I also had the pleasure of discovering "the Fin Art of Ray Troll." This guy is amazing. Check it out. Above is an image from his site. It's such awesome and inspiring art, with really fun twists and plenty of science thrown in.

Alright, one last thought to end this post. Have you ever seen a picture of a salmon? It's long been among my favorite foods, but sometimes we end-users can be quite detached from our food sources. I'm hoping to improve that one step at a time in my family's lives. (future LINK)

Here's the real deal, folks: (wild! Oncorhynchus nerka)
Oncorhynchus nerka 2.jpg

"Oncorhynchus nerka 2" by Dave Menke - This image originates from the National Digital Library of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

so much squash!

Hubby and I planted 18 squash seeds and each came up. Mom planted 25 more (or so) and they all came up, and now we have totally plenty of squash. I visited Grandma Betty and she gave us more squash. How could I say no???

Time to cook it up. (or pickle them?) While looking for quilting recipes patterns, I found these.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Second pot of bone broth soup

Mmm, so we LOVED our first pot of bone broth soup. I think I made eleven quarts, and put away about 6 talenti (pint-sized ice cream containers- we've collected these over the last few years and they're great for 2 servings of soup each. They're also BPA free and have screw on lids) jars of the beef broth.

After a week of eating beef broth, both hubby and I felt that we'd experienced some improvement in our health, generally, particularly in the feeling of inflammation. It is different for each of us, but we include joint aches, swelling, muscle soreness, and unexplained tiredness in the category of inflammation. This seemed like a good food for us, especially compared to other stuff we'd been eating. I really don't feel as great when I eat grains, and have been surprised lately by cutting most beans at how much I feel better without them.

So, I made our second pot of bone broth soup. The first time we left the 2" and larger bones on the stove for 3 days and I stopped it on the 4th day. On day 4 I let it cool and stored some in the freezer. We put the rest in a huge La Parfait jar in the fridge and I made it into a soup on day 6. This was so awesome & so easy. We added a bunch of homegrown squash, potatoes, onions and some greens.

Our second pot of bone broth was oxtail. I found these bones from a local farm and I cooked the bones for about 15 minutes on 350 degrees Fahrenheit and about 5 hours on 225 degrees. I put them all in the pot with about 10 quarts of water, then brought them to a boil and turned it down, letting them simmer for about a day, then turning it off and storing some, cooking the rest into a soup. We ate about 3/4 of the pot just as broth. It is so delicious. This time I made soup using local uncured sausage, onion, green bean, and squash. YUM! Again, so easy.

Still, my favorite way to eat our home made broth is a spoonful of sauerkraut, a spoonful of chili garlic sauce, and a tsp or so of sea salt. (until I am making our own, this is my favorite kraut.) I really like that Farmhouse culture doesn't use jars for their sauerkraut.

Diapering - Pail

We use a DEKOR diaper pail. I like that these come in colors, and really like the "sage" green one we chose. This pail holds in the pee/poo odors pretty well, and supports our full-cloth system well. We put our reusable wipes into the pail, too.  There's a little knob that allows the caretakers to lock the pail's door - the part you push the diaper into. The insert can be plastic bags, or can be pail liners that are washable. We really like the reusable bag and haven't used any of the plastic ones that came with it. Hmm, maybe we'll re-purpose these as household garbage bags...

I found this awesome picture with explanations on this website.
Dekor makes pail liners that fit their pails, and I just got two- one for the laundry and one for the pail. This way one's usually clean while the other's in the wash with the diapers. Um, actually there's a kinda funny story behind this pail choice. I found the liners at Target on clearance for $6 instead of the $24+ that they go for at full retail value. I bought them before we even had a baby shower, thinking I wouldn't be able to beat that price, and that if the company made cloth pail liners, I would probably like the pail. I looked it up in the store on my "smart"phone and liked it well enough to add it to our registry.

Diapering - Wool Covers

I've now tried wool covers and am excited to share my experience. Hopefully more to come.

I ordered the Disana wool diaper cover in green & blue. Since I have lots else to say, I'll get to the point first. :) They are so wonderful! I might use these only, if I had known about them before investing in higher tech shells. As long as we already have an assortment of other shells, I'm using them sometimes under the wool, or instead- the wool covers I ordered are SO big that they goes up to his armpits... can't put this on under overalls, pants, etc.

I'm really happy with the cover's ability to keep my son feeling dry and keeping our bed, blankets, play areas, and clothes dry. This hasn't been a super- conclusive run since he's generally out of a wet diaper really quickly. He lets us know! Also, he generally has been pottying on/near sinks & toilets lately instead of in diapers. He really wants us to get him out of the diaper before he pees & poos. Cheers! (5 month-olds can be potty trained... they just can't walk to the potty. :/)

Most importantly for a diaper cover, I'm SO IMPRESSED by the smell. These diapers have picked up a smell of our house but NO pee/poo smell, even after repeated uses for about a week. I'm using one a day, or if it gets a little wet, switching for the other, and he's wearing them even to bed. I've used them with a shell and insert, or just a pinned prefold, and have had absolutely no concerns about any urine or poo smells, though the prefolds and inserts and even shells sometimes do pick up an odor.

Here's what says about the sizing:  (this is just for the size I ordered)
size 86-92,   Medium, 17 - 26 pounds (tag says 12-24 months)

This size is really funny looking on our son, but to be fair I did no felting or washing before wearing. I hope that he'll wear it as long as possible, and two years seemed plenty long, while also fitting his approximate weight. A few weeks ago he weighed 16 lbs.

There's been no difference in the absorbency/wicking between the covers after I processed them differently- one I soaked and the other I put directly on, no washing, lanolizing, or even rinsing.

Green Mountain website/printout on diapering and wash suggested I lanolize if water doesn't just bead and fall off the wool (the wool did absorb some water on arrival) and to start by soaking.

With the first cover I was uncertain how to proceed. The Disana instructions were that it didn't need washing, should never be soaked and should be minimally washed in general. I soaked it and was preparing to lanolize but didn't feel right about adding soap and/or lanolin. Green Mountain suggested not using Woolite or regular detergent, but instead to use Ivory or Eucalan. I didn't have these on hand. I'd premixed lanolin, hot well water, and a bit of peppermint doctor bronner's liquid castille soap (figuring this would be gentle on baby skin) but discarded the mixture because: a) the lanolin was "glopping" on top, and b) I didn't have the heart to add anything to what felt like a perfect product. It just seemed so right the way it was. When I read Disana's info on their product, I decided it was clean enough to go ahead and put on. They smell like sheep and I really like that. I really love natural wool.

So, I pulled it out of the warm soak water, rolled it in a towel to dry, carefully moving it around with my hands supporting its weight underneath so as not to stretch the fibers.

After drying, the one I soaked (and almost washed and lanolized) felt softer than the other, has pilled slightly more, and shows less stretching from pulling on and off our son.

I suppose that rinsing alone may have done it some good, and perhaps soaking, and may do that for the other one, but for now will continue with them as they are just to see how it goes.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Diapering - Inserts

A note about how we use inserts:

I find these really simple to use with our shells. This is the best thing about shells instead of all in ones.

We simply insert the liner, snap or velcro the shell and are good to go.

If the diaper is wet or poopy, we just take the liner (insert) out and put another in. Or if the shell is also soiled, we replace the entire diaper setup. The Gro-via shells dry incredibly fast, so unless they're soiled or really smell stinky (pee), I just leave them out to dry and wash the next time the inserts are washed.

Soiled Shell & Prefold Insert - no pins!

The good old Prefold:

We have about 24 newborn prefolds, 36 medium sized prefolds, and I've just ordered 12 large sized prefolds. I think we'll be getting more large ones as our son keeps growing. I just didn't think I should invest in more until I try them on, since every kids a different size and I'm not sure quite what size he is right now. To be clear, the mediums still fit but we are going through them really fast, even though we have so many. I've been washing laundry once daily or sometimes every two days, but if I go that long, I'm running out before they're dry. We have found it's good to have disposables on hand, but don't like to have to use them.

I really have enjoyed using prefolds. They are old-fashioned, simple, and easy to wash. They dry relatively quickly compared to some of our other inserts, and have a pretty high success rate at keeping the pee and poo inside the diaper, though that really seems dependent on the cover we're using.

Benefits to prefolds:
They lay sorta flat on a shelf instead of taking up extra space. (insert image)

They are cute!

They wash & dry easily.

They are super-absorbent.

We used the orange (newborn) and blue, not pictured below, but equivalent to mediums.

Here's an image of Green Mountain's cloth diaper prefold options:
(Go to this page to see more of their diapers and really cute pictures of how they fit on babies. The author of the site even lists their ages and weights, which helped me to plan ahead.)
cloth eez prefold diapers white cotton

The Insert/Soaker:

Inserts come in many styles. We have tried several. I really like flat, rectangular ones the best and have enjoyed some made of bamboo that we were gifted.

I prefer prefolds, but have found some inserts to be really useful. When we first got started, my hubby was helpful with diapers but really didn't like using the prefolds- found them cumbersome & bulky.

The Gro-Via inserts take longer to dry than the prefolds, but can be dried in the dryer. The leg gussets do not work well for us at all. I noticed these do not have very high ratings from other users, and though they are "easy" to use with the Gro-via system, are not as good for keeping our son clean.

I do love to take them along places, and keep them pre-inserted in covers for quick changes on the go. These are also really great for hubby & other caretakers as inserting them is very direct.

I lucked out with an insert score at the consignment shop, and got six of them all half off the new price. Here's what they look like: (ours actually look only kinda like this, must be an old version)

GroVia® Organic Cotton Soaker Pad

Disposable Inserts:

These are pretty cool.. innovative. I like them, but we use them rarely. We always have one or two along, just in case.

Warning: you DO NOT want to wash them in your washer (like I have) They breakdown very easily. Unlike the Seventh Generation disposable diapers I've washed (whoops!) which come out completely engorged with water and intact, the biosoaker came apart almost completely... (urgh) Luckily our washer has a "clean" setting. It seems oK.

Gro-via makes some awesome biodegradable disposable inserts. I do not prefer to use anything disposable, but they make diapering pretty easy for grandparents and some occasions (can't actually think of any right now. Maybe just tired ;)

Here's an image of Gro-via's biosoaker on a hook & loop shell:

One big criticism: the gro-via biosoaker inserts have adhesive and it gets stuck to the inside of the gro-via shell fabric and snaps. I find that pretty disappointing, but easy to work around. We just don't use the adhesive. Our little baby dude is *very* active, but still we've had no trouble putting the biosoaker in his shells without securing it.

Diapering - Wet Bag

We got a wet bag once we wanted to be out more often.

It wasn't at all needed when we were mostly home, but our little baby dude soaks a lot of diapers, especially with pee, and we didn't want to use disposables when we're out unless necessary (if we ran out of cloth, for example). Every couple days I wash this in the diaper laundry as it starts to smell pretty funky if we actually use it. And we use it every time we go out.

I couldn't imagine needing one that was as big as the one I purchased, but at 12.5 x 15.5 inches, it's just right. This would be an item that would be worthwhile to have two of, one for the wash and one for using.

Here's an image of a wetbag like ours:

April Flowers - Wet/Dry
My hubby and I value the few features this bag has; they are all necessary. This is the only wetbag I've used, so I'm not sure if we'd need or want anything more.


Strap with snap for easy carry along & attaching to other bags. (so many bags!)

Zippered front pocket for "clean" things, such as our wipes, spray bottle, shells, and inserts. I always throw in an extra onesie & baby pants.

PUL liner to keep wet stuff inside.

This one is from Planet Wise. I wanted to buy one locally made but they all had princesses and I'm so not a fan. :p

Diapering - Newborn

Many companies make diapers specifically for newborns. I'd not recommend for or against investing much in this until baby arrives, unless you somehow magically know just what size baby you'll have. (I know, it can be estimated by sono, but it can also be waaay off)

Ours was 9 lbs + at birth and outgrew his newborn diapers in about two or three weeks. We had 5 all in ones (AIO's) from gro-via, about three or four more all in ones from another company (I'll add that in later, loved them!) and about four or five more covers that were exposed PUL style.

We were using Green Mountain diaper's orange prefolds for newborns at the time. I was lucky enough to find these on sale in our local consignment shop. They were about $6 for a dozen, used, and I got two sets. New they'd be $25 per dozen at Green Mountain. I really like the color coding (edges are colored), though it is very obvious they are way smaller than our next size up. I'll include a photo of the sizes in the inserts section of the diaper info.  It was lovely how they fit for that time, though many newborn clothes are only meant to fit from 5-8 lbs. He was about 10.5 lbs by 2 weeks, so we were kinda stretching it keep diapering with the newborn AIO's.

Gro-via had a newborn all in one sale right before our son's arrival, so I ordered 5 of their discontinued prints at about $11 each. This was a great deal for these AIO's. These are also the only AIO that we've used, since I'm really into getting as many uses out of our shells as possible, and an AIO needs washing after just one use. These totally stayed away from his cord stump.

The image below shows a normal Gro-via hook & loop shell on our 3-day old. You can see under the diaper top that we've put it on very loosely and that his umbilical clamp is in place. We ended up leaving the clamp on until the whole stump fell off, so we really tried to either not let diapers touch it, or keep them loose in front. You may also be able to tell that there are scratches on his inner left thigh from the velcro. This is my main reason to go for buttons instead. I strongly prefer snaps. I just don't want to cause our LBD any discomfort, especially if it is avoidable!

Also, in the picture above, you can see that the pink cuff meets the flowery pattern without any snaps exposed. We have it on the tightest rise setting using all the snaps to make it short enough to fit our little guy. Here's a picture of another gro-via diaper on our newborn at 4-days old. The image is really dark because we kept the lighting low at first, but you can probably see the gap in the leg area and that the front of the diaper elastic on the inside leg is by his knee. We didn't quite have the hang of fitting diapers yet. :) This is where patience and persistence come in...

Since we had a newborn and were just adjusting to the high-maintenance lifestyle of a baby, it was pretty nice to have a diaper we just put on and took off - no inserts or adjustments needed for newborn size AIO's. If you don't mind shelling out the cash (pun intended!), or if you have access to consigned or hand-me-downs, these  may be a good option for the first lil while (depending on size of baby). Or maybe you'll love All in Ones and just go with these for all your diapering - it's comparable to using disposables in that you just put it on and take it off. These cost more up front, but they are all you'd need.

I did not like the newborn Bummis and the "aplix." The (aplix) velcro was hard to keep away from little baby dude's skin and made little scratches on his super fresh tummy. They do a good job of fitting away from the cord stump, but I was otherwise unimpressed. I thought they were so cute and had high hopes, but would not use these again. I would consider trying their snapping style wraps.

Diapering - Finding Shells

Top Choice (for us) is the One Size Fits Most and Snaps

Shells by Gro-Via

True size. 

G-diapers(S/M/L/XL), Thirsties (only 2 sizes), Bummis for newborns, Happy Heiny (I found this page absolutely overwhelming!)

Newborn Shells vs. AIO Diapers (LINK)

PUL exposed. (Polyurethane laminate)

PUL is the stuff that makes these diapers mostly leak free. This is only part of what makes a good diaper. Another key is fit.

Econobum & Wink are in this PUL exposed category. On the upside, when our LBD wets his liners with econobums and wink's covers, we can feel the warmth on the outside so it makes the turn-around time from pee to clean again faster. I'm not sure there are any cons, but they do take a little longer to dry after wetting than the Gro-via's.


(hook & loop, aplix)
Why I don't like velcro:
1.  Our 5 month old already gleefully pulls these off.
2.  He's gotten little scratches from them since he was a newbie, and that makes us a little sad.
3.  It wakes our baby if he's asleep, I'm changing him and I pull the velcro.

Why we kinda like (hubby definitely likes, baby loves) velcro:
1.  It's most like a disposable diaper, EASY to use. 
2.  LBD pulls them off- it totally thrills him.
3.  Easy for other people to use for our LBD.


 (compatibility doesn't matter for our recommended style of diapering.)

Fitted, no closures

Wool "longies," pull overs- usually woolen

I love these, but I haven't grown to trust them fully yet. Maybe in time...  

Essentials for Cloth Diapering

In progress... This page will function as an index for individual articles on our diaper choices. This way we'll be able to keep it from being too messy. It is about keeping clean after all :) 

Wet bag - and why to get a big one. 


Shells - Many styles, definitely not equal! 

Wool Covers
Newborn diapering.


Diaper Pail

Laundry/soap (i'm not sure i've figured this out yet. except this: lots of laundry, lots of soap, lots of rinsing.)


Baby Wishlist!

OK, so I've been shopping for an upgrade in size for our diaper inserts on

I found this and wanted so much to get it, but it's summer here!

Disana Melange Merino Wool Jacket Sweater

Maybe later this year, when it's actually cold... Also, I have no idea what size our little baby dude will be by then... who knows, it may not fit him at all.

green melanage disana wrap around sweaterblue disana melange

First cup of Bone Broth Soup

It's been about 24 hours since the bone broth soup started. When I made our supper last night, I added kale ends, onion tip and skin, and carrot ends to the bones and broth. It's been really fun to add what might otherwise be lamentably "garbage" (ideally compost but our home is currently an apartment).

I tried just the broth and it was very plain, but tastes mineral-rich and has a beautiful, clear oil across the top. Too plain for my taste though.

I added salt and it started to taste better, then added cayenne powder to taste and about 1/16 tsp of tumeric. It still was a little boring. I'm sure I'll get used to it plain, but wanted to "jazz" it up a bit. I looked around in the fridge and saw the sauerkraut. YUM! This totally did it. I just added a couple forkfuls of caraway kraut and my mug of broth is now absolutely amazing.

Bone Broth Soup from Nourishing Traditions

We picked up two big hunks of bone from the natural foods store this week. I am definitely not a vegetarian. I love eating meat, and would eat just meat and berries if it was cost/health effective.

I inquired as to whether the cows were grass fed and our butcher said they were until they were "finished" with grains. It felt a little funny to describe a cows final days, munching down on grains as "finishing," but I'm familiar with the term and just got over it. I do SO love cows... and I really enjoy eating them, too. Next time I buy the bones I'll insert an image of them.

I'd read on Wellness Mama blog (really enjoy many of Katie's posts) and all over the internet, about bone broth stews, perpetual "soups," and other styles of making nourishing broth from bones. I was ready to try it out! This is the first recipe from Nourishing Traditions that I felt ready to make. It somehow seemed lots easier than making my own whey. (future LINK)

Something I enjoyed from looking at "perpetual" bone broth recipes is that I realized that food scraps from cooking these days can just be added into the bone broth.

It was really simple to start. I roasted the two cuts of leg bone (with some meat on them :) for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees, then added them and about 1/8 cup of Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar to an IKEA stock pot.

Yum! After about 18 hours, it was smelling more than edible. I added a handful of bay leaves (if your pot is as big as mine, that might work for you, or you may want to add only a few leaves) and left it simmering, but first added a ladle full to a cup of quinoa and roasted butternut squash. Presto-change-o! My grain and squash was instantly transformed to a delicious soup. I added a liberal amount of salt to this and felt it really satisfied my hunger.

Here's my 11 quart pot's description:  IKEA 365+ stock pot with lid, stainless steel, Diameter: 12 " Height: 7", and below I've added an image of it. I use it with a glass lid so that I can see the insides. The glass lid fits perfectly, and is a Wolfgang Puck chicken fryer pan lid. I love this fryer pan so much! I'm not sure if the lid is oven safe, but I use the pan in the oven well as on stove top. Perfect for frittata!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

I ordered my copy (first ever!) of Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions

As the title suggests, Nourishing Traditions is a book about traditional foods that are nourishing to eat.

I find that most of my "typical American diet" experiences (most of my life) have not felt satisfying, or have left me with side-effects that are undesirable. I have often wanted more from food, and found some foods really enjoyable that were on the fringes or the slow-food side of the typical American fare.

For example, I've acclaimed pizza as my favorite food for years, but often found I have a throat ache the next couple days and occasionally rashes on my face or arms within around four days of eating it. The same thing happens with sandwich bread, ramen noodles, and cake, much as I hate to admit it - it's seemed more convenient to eat these foods without connecting my symptoms and just thinking I got colds and rashes for no particular reason.

During the last ten or so years (after 20 of eating just whatever, such as spaghettio's and canned beans) I've tried to be very conscious of how much and what gluten products I eat, eating only organic produce, local or grassfed meats, eating more squash, less white potatoes, more cultured veggies and beverages, and here and there tried even more "special" diets, looking for improvement in my overall health.

I'm sure all of this helped, but I still felt I wasn't eating right. I studied "Eating Right for your Blood Type," and the 80-10-10 diet books, and felt that I was getting closer. Maybe sorta paleo is right for me?

I'm glad I finally got the Nourishing Traditions book because I agree with most of her writing about food sources and industrial shortcuts, and the recipes are really agreeing with my constitution.

I'll be posting more about recipes I try, how they feel, and what variations I work with.

The next post is "bone broth soup." And what a good place to start!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Our favorite non-essentials

Here are our favorite toys non-essentials from the first four months. I'm sure to add more soon as things change.

I'd originally titled this "our favorite toys," but as I added them, I realized some are purely functiofrustratedthers are just toys... here's the best of it. You may notice there are only a couple plastic items. I really don't think plastic is good for babies' mouths, and our little baby dude puts everything in his mouth. I really like cloth and wood toys, and try to provide mostly these for him. Of course, there are some exceptions. I haven't found a picture yet, but his all-time favorite toy is a plastic maraca (percussive shaker toy). It's also the first toy that he bled on- it cut something in his mouth when he chewed on the handle. Boo... I'll add a picture shortly. It was absolutely fabulous until he started chewing on the wrong end, so we got at least 3 good months out of it. Not bad at all.

Hape toys makes some great stuff. The xylophone/pounding toy pictured is really fun. We bought it used and didn't know we should have gotten a hammer. It's great as it- we can sort of punch the balls through (a little bit of silicone holds them in place but they budge easily with pressure) and the balls fall onto the xylophone. The xylophone has a handle and easily slides out of the hammering bench to be a mobile instrument. Very innovative, colorful, and probably a toy we'll "hear" a lot of. We'll find our own hammer.
Rattle Hexagonal

We love this wooden rattle from Grimm's but sadly they only sell to end-users in Austria and Germany. If you can find someone who sells them, their toys are gorgeous. Here's the site.

Once our baby really got into tummy time, I wanted to give him a ball to encourage him to go after it, and I wanted it to be easy to grab. This one makes his *hugely* soccer fan daddy happy, too. LBD spends a lot of time grabbing this, and he even caught it once as it fell off a couch. It's easy to hold onto, lightweight and BPA free.
First Keys picture

Green Toys Rattle Keys

Where are they? I haven't seen these in a couple weeks, but these were the very first toy our baby played with. They're easy to grasp and fun to shake. They kept his attention - even stopping the crying sometimes in the car. They're eco-friendly, too. They are BPA free and made from recycled plastic. These folks make cars and stuff too- we'll probably buy more of their stuff later on.

These two IKEA kids' soft toys are super sweet looking and soft to touch. They are lightly stuffed,  easy to clean, and have no removable parts. The hedgehog has a squeaker inside that our LBD hasn't found yet. The bunny is much bigger than the hedgehog, and fits across the LBD in his carseat. It's 15 inches long, so it covers his lap when he's face to face with it. It's hilarious to see him suck on its face and wrestle with it.
This set of little chewy mushrooms by Vulli (french company) are playfully called "chan, pie, and gnon" (mushroom in french, right?)  This squeaky toy was fun to prop under LBD's leg when he was in the heights of his kicking phase, and now that he's almost crawling, he has just started to realize he can make the squeaking sound by pushing on it. It's hilarious to see his surprise and delight when he squeaks it with his face, tummy, or legs, and he looks to us to be sure we know that it's squeaky. It sounds just like a dog toy. Ha! The Chan, Pie, and Gnon are easy to grasp, soft natural rubber and have "alimentary" paint. I'm not sure what that is, but I uncharacteristically trust this company. I just really like their stuff... They are also the makers of Sophie la giraffe. I like the mushroom waaay more. It's just so cute! We got the one with the curvy handle head, which is great for chewing as well as holding.

Now that our LBD is all out teething, we got a toy just for this. It's the NUBY silicon teether and he likes it pretty well. He's quite fussy and when it's chilled he seems to enjoy the cold. It's tough to see him so frustratey, but it feels better to give him something cool & comforting.



We have all four of these. (I know, they aren't toys. I still think they belong in this post- maybe it's a post on diversions rather than just toys.) I really, really didn't think I would be OK giving our kiddo a pacifier, but I am sooo glad my cousin gave us one at the baby shower. It was so helpful numerous times when we wanted to soothe our little baby dude in the car. We don't really give it to him otherwise. After we had two and I thought we lost one, I insisted we buy another set so that we would not run out again. Hehe, I went from wanting none to four! They are Gumdrop Soothie, modeled after the NICU style and human nipple-shaped. (supposedly better for mommies who breastfeed.)

This rattle is made by a German company, Haba. We love it. The rainbow parts are flexy with a taut rope inside. It doesn't stretch, but the wooden pieces still move enough to be fun. This is a favorite teething ring for little baby dude. There was a stir about Haba moving production to China. Here's an interesting article about it.

Our LBD totally chews on these kitties every day. Lately he's taken to nursing the tails and legs. It's pretty cute, and I feel comfortable with it because they are washable. The stripes are delicious and these plush rattles are easy for new babies to grab. He's been playing with these since very early on - among his only "first toys." Hooray IKEA. Note: I recently found our cat playing with them. Apparently they're not just fun for babies. :/
We bought this in a boutique baby store (it was their cheapest toy at $15, I think) and our little guy couldn't hold it for a couple weeks. Now he chews on it and folds it. I love the colors. They are so rich and it looks pretty neat- stretches slightly and forms a star or a circle. In the shape pictured, it also rolls like a wheel on flat surfaces.
We really wanted to go to shows and help our LBD to experience live music, too, (and just aren't ready for a babysitter yet) so for his 2 month birthday we bought LBD a pair of baby Banz earmuffs. They are rated for safety at sporting events, drag racing, concerts and air shows. They are way too cool. And, yea, I chose the lavendar color. Gotta love purple.

Fisher Price Baby Rocker/Bouncer

Our baby's first chair

Neither of us had any idea what this thing was for or how it would be useful, but when our little baby dude (LBD) was about three weeks old, he already wanted some space occasionally and was so content to sit in this little chair. I called it our baby rocker but the internets seem to call it a "bouncer."

The bar underneath the chair in the front can swivel out to prevent the rocking and also creates a greater angle to keep the baby reclined more. The red buttons under the orange cross bar allow the seat to lean forward and back, but this is not a very large difference one way or the other.

The overhead cross bar has some (I think crappy) little plastic animals. I liked that they are forest themed. I was really surprised when around six weeks or so I could tell our baby was staring at the animal's eyes. Pretty neat. We usually left this bar off, as it detaches somewhat easily with little click-lock tabs on the sides. There's a leafy thing (i think) hanging from the turtle in the center of the bar that can be pulled to make some kind of annoying super high pitched music. We all were pretty happy to leave off the "busy bar" but occasionally used it to slightly extend the time he spent there contently.

There's one other feature I'm not a fan of that may work for some folks (and some babies). The chair has a vibration switch front & center by baby's feet. We never used it.

The chair seems really safe as it has a lap belt, but we didn't leave him alone in it as we were a little worried about it tipping. It is so stable, though, that we never had any real worries. He did sit a little sideways in it most of the time, but it didn't seem like a big deal.

Note: This was our baby's favorite place to BE in all the house. He would just kick and sing and play for 30 minutes at a time. He and his daddy developed a game kicking a blanket off in this chair and it was their favorite past time for a couple months. Oh, such sweet memories. This was excellent for me to put him in and pull into the bathroom when I needed lots of postpartum baths, and for his daddy and me to eat dinner while he watched, and kicked.

We are a little sad he's already outgrown it, but the way he acts in it now seems dangerous. He arches his back and it seems to turn the fabric inside out - like, up & out. Even with that behavior, the chair's going nowhere, but we respect our boy - we got him outta there and put the chair away.

Today we shopped and saw newer versions of the same chair by Fisher-Price, but they have the same features. Not much has changed except the fabric and attached toys. 

Our baby hasn't ever cried himself to sleep

We just can't listen to him cry without trying to do something.

Babies' cries are meant to get our attention. For some cultures, a baby doesn't cry without someone picking them up. Even if this means it's a village member, uncle, another child. Babies cry because their instinct informs them that if no one is touching them, they may be in danger. Their cry is sharp, difficult to ignore.

When I was a baby, docs told new parents to time the crying and check the new kiddo every so often... but that they needed to cry to sleep. 

I think some doctors still say this. There is evidence from many studies that crying to sleep at newborn age can cause neurological issues in our babies. Further, the baby will eventually give up on its caregivers coming to help. I really appreciate Dr. Sears' article on this, "Why do babies cry?" We have chosen his suggestion of giving a "prompt and nurturing" response. It just happened that way.

I know every family is different, and that many people don't (or can't) stay with their baby 24/7. We all have different levels of tolerance (his cry makes my ears ring sometimes) and different schedules, and different desires. No judgement implied. I'm writing about my experience. When my baby cries, I feel irresistibly drawn to help him anyway I can.

The PHDinParenting blog has a lot to say about this. I heartily agree. Some of the reasons this blogger lists not to make the baby cry are: (my favorites first) "the world needs more love," "it's disrespectful of my child's needs," it "harms the parent-child relationship,"can result in decreased intellectual, emotional and social development, and it can "cause harmful changes to [babies'] brains."

From a biological perspective, this is the most vulnerable time of our lives. Babies are entirely needy and dependent upon their caregivers and have no way to do anything differently than what they do- cry until their needs are met. It just happens this way. When their cries aren't met with affection, caregiver's attention, food, a clean nappy, or whatever it is the baby senses a need for, they eventually give up.

We don't want our baby to give up on us. And it's actually going well.

 We do our best to meet his needs and haven't "had to" cry it out yet. I also don't feel at all manipulated. When he cries or even starts to frown, I genuinely want to help.

When our little baby dude (LBD) was born, we had no idea how we would parent. His first moments on Earth were in the morning on a Wednesday and we cleared our schedules and stayed up with him that first day. We napped and nursed and looked at each other and did little else. This was the beginning of our bedsharing. He still sleeps in the family bed where he was born. By the way, "The Family Bed" is the title of a book we love! It's written a while back, but still available on Amazon.

On those very first days when he started to cry we naturally pulled him close to us, swaddled him, rocked him, checked his diapers, and offered him mommy milk. Since those first days, every time he cries, we try these things. We've added a few to the list, and there are exceptions. Now we may try to help him pass gas by flexing his legs up to his torso or we may take his diaper off and offer him an "elimination communication" potty session. We might try sitting him up to get a burp (patting his back for burps never worked for us, usually just an upright hug does the trick!) or give him a toy to play with, or a book. If it's bed time or nap time and he's saying "ow-waah" then we put him in a carrier with a muslin swaddle blanket loosely atop it and he falls asleep in minutes of walking around.  (more on the "universal" baby sounds here LINK)

Since birth, we carry our baby most of the time. When he's sleeping, 60% of the time, I'm sleeping with him. I don't expect this to last forever; I don't think it's necessarily a good thing for my sleeping habits, but it is good for my baby. He sleeps beautifully, frequently and is growing fast!

Back to the title of this post, "Our baby hasn't ever cried himself to sleep," I mean that we just don't leave him to cry. We haven't ever needed to. We just do our best to help using our mental checklist (did he poo? is it gas? is he hungry?, etc), and if we can't do anything else, we hold him close while he cries.

Swaddle Blankets Review

aden™ by aden + anais® for Zutano 4-Pack Cotton Muslin Swaddle Plus® in Car/Blueaden™ by aden + anais® for Zutano 4-Pack Cotton Muslin Swaddle Plus® in Owl/Pink

Muslin Swaddles

We asked for these on our registry and are so glad we did. They are Aden & Anais brand. We use them for all sorts of things.

They were about $45 for a set, so I wasn't sure if anyone would buy them, but we got both sets we asked for and have 8 of these blankets. I'm not sure why they cost $45 - that's like $11 each blanket! I'd be more willing to pay $6 or less each, but thank goodness for baby showers. I guess I'm kinda cheap.

We used them at first as swaddles. Now we use them as nursing covers, diaper station covers (think: shopping or restaurant diaper table & wandering baby fingers...), play blanket, sun cover for stroller on bright days, and hope LBD will use them for forts someday :)

They are fabulous, lightweight, soft & the patterns are beautiful. We actually got the car set, pictured above, and the blue owl set. I absolutely love the dots pattern in the car set.

Pacifier Cleaning (or Dirtying) & the Swedish Study


According to a study, the way we clean pacifiers could affect our kids' immune systems

Before being a parent, I'd always wondered why people boiled baby stuff. Why not just clean it with hot soapy water and good old friction?

Now that we have little baby dude (LBD) I have a different perspective. I want his stuff to be clean. If we're out and his toy falls on the floor, I put it away until it's washed. When he bit his gum on a plastic rattle and bled on his soft kitty rattle, I washed them both. (with hot soapy water and friction)

Since I didn't think I'd ever want to use pacifiers (worried choosing passy over breastfeeding, nipple confusion, and that he'd keep it in forever) I didn't ever consider how to clean them.

The first time his pacifier ever fell out of his mouth I had a dilemma. We have silicone pacifiers so they can be boiled, but I really felt inclined to just rinse it off and give it back to him. We were home and it didn't seem like it was really all that dirty. (by the way, the 5 second rule has some validity but has been pretty much debunked. Gross facts lurk in the google results :p )

I looked up pacifiers and cleaning and found a swedish study which showed that licking the pacifier clean transmits germs to babies that seem to help prevent allergies.

Here's a quote:
"Those whose parents sucked the pacifiers clean were significantly less likely to have developed eczema at 18 and 36 months and less likely to have developed asthma at 18 months, the researchers say."
NPR wrote up the story in 2013. Here's a link.

Or you can search these terms: "pacifier swedish study lick," and get great results.

So now when our baby's pacifier falls, or when it's linty from a bag we put it in, I'm pretty likely to lick it. However, now that I've read that the 5 second rule is debunked, I'm not going to lick it if it falls on the floor! Ew.

LBD doesn't have teeth yet so I'm not too worried about the bacteria causing tooth decay... even though the American Dental Association says the Streptococcus mutans bacteria can be transferred and cause dental caries.

I'm much more concerned about sugar consumption, handwashing after trips to bathrooms, hormones & antibiotics in our food supply... He's going to be exposed to our spit here and there, most likely. I've seen kids pick up all sorts of things and put them in their mouths, and he puts his fingers in ours. (I do NOT encourage this. It just happens!)

It seems unavoidable that children are exposed to their parents' bacteria, and frankly, to me it seems most natural. Perhaps this is exactly how it is meant to be. I think this study brings us a little closer to understanding a healthy dynamic of germ-sharing and how living too clean may not help our immune systems.

Oh, and if you love it, you can buy the pacifier pictured above at Here's the link. I don't endorse it, I just loved the picture and want to give them credit. :D

Surprises in Baby Shopping

Babies Need a Lot of Stuff (not surprising!)

Twice today I talked to someone about what things we were surprised to need, or what I thought I wouldn't need for our baby.

Here are some of the things we really love, or that I didn't think we would want, or that we don't. I'll continue to update this post as our little baby dude (LBD) grows.

We really LOVE the following:

Swaddle blankets- big soft muslin style by Aden & Anais - great for nursing/carseat covers, early months swaddlin' and play blanket on the go. We always have one along.
Baby carriers - see my post on this.
Cloth diapers. Absolutely love them!
Cloth wipes. Absolutely amazing results for rash & cleaning (and easy to launder, and waaaay cheaper than purchasing wipes.)

Didn't think I'd want (and really needed/loved):

Baby clothes hangers and adult sized dresser. My hubby's old dresser is four drawers, all full of baby stuff. Hubby was totally sweet to give it to his LBD. The bottom drawer has toys, top has sleepers, socks and hats. The middle drawers are shirts in one and pants in the other. We hang a few things, and baby hangers are just the right size - and a fun reminder of how teeny he really is.
Baby hats. Just didn't realize this would matter. They are so fun, so cute, and we used them all the time for the first few months. LBD outgrew these rapidly, so it's good not to have too many the same size. He outgrew almost all of them at once.
Changing table (this one from IKEA
Infantino baby playmat- I thought these were stupid. They rock! See review (LINK)
Fisher Price baby rocker  - gave us dinner time for a few months & mommy bath time. Sigh, so necessary, and double-sigh, already outgrew this chair. At 4 months, our baby seems able to turn it inside out with his back arching. He used to love it. :(
Soothie pacifiers - We have 4 so that there's always one along. I thought I was against them until the first time he cried lots in the car. They are a lifesaver. And, yes, he still breastfed normally and did not get "nipple confusion." We started them after 3 weeks. See my post on pacifier cleaning.
Washable Breast pads (!!!) Some days I used three sets or more in just hours. This became much more manageable as time passed, and now I don't use them but still like to have them on hand.

Don't really like, but thought we would:

Baby socks. These little teeny stretchy things just kinda suck. Besides, at four months, we haven't even put a shoe on. They fall off, get lost in the wash, etc. We got one set we LOVE (not teeny size, but he'll grow into them)
Baby shoes. Same reasons as above. They are so cute, though!
Sleepers with zippers- we LOVE buttons for easy off with diapers & pottying.
Zip-up polar fleece baby bag things. They are so perfect for keeping LBD warm at night since he likes to kick blankets. We prefer the ones with sleeves. If they made them with buttons, we'd prefer those.

Baby jeans. Stretchy pants seem comfier- LBD's belly changes sizes daily, and even after pooing.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Crib and Mattress Shopping

We thought a crib was absolutely necessary for our little baby dude. We were probably right. It's not yet, but we will likely soon be very, very glad we have it. We are very glad we chose a crib and mattress that will work for awhile. (unlike our super cool but almost outsized carseat)

We got the Gulliver crib from IKEA in birch wood (unpainted). I've included some images from the IKEA website. When I searched for it on the internet to write this post, I was happily surprised to find that this Gulliver is spelled just like the one from the story, Gulliver's Travels. Fun!

We looked at Sniglar (only $69 USD!) but it seemed a bit flimsy and I like to have stuff that can withstand a bit of rough use. The Gulliver has wider corner posts and just looks lots more sturdy. Like the Sniglar, it comes in plain wood and they both have a removable side so that it can be a toddler bed after the crib days our past.

Here's a really fun IKEA hack for a cosleeper Gulliver bed (3 cheers for Petriojk, engineer/dad):

hacked IKEA GULLIVER co sleeper crib

Monday, June 15, 2015

Handmade Book from Custom Made Printed Cloth