Tuesday, July 24, 2012

First cycle with DivaCup and mamacloth

            So my DivaCup arrived the day before my cycle started, thank god. I figured it was best just to jump right in and pretend that i knew what i was doing. I read all of the information that comes with my DivaCup and it was very helpful but reading and understanding something is very different from actually DOING it. I had read some pretty terrifying reviews about leaking, getting stuck and all sorts of hassles so i am not going to lie i was quite intimidated but i figured its better now than never.
-Day one
            Woke up to my lovely aunt flo knocking on my door and figured that it was time to try all my new stuff out. I inserted my DivaCup according to the directions [so i thought] and put on one of my brand spankin new cloth panty liners from TheCrazyElephant and i went on my merry little way. About 6 hours later i figured i should probably check the whole situation out and i was pretty surprised. There was some leakage, but my liner took care of that, but really it wasn't all that bad. I removed my cup, washed it, and reinserted it. I was very proud of myself for not having as hard of a time as some of the other consumer reports i have read.
-Day two
. . . still leaking, isnt this thing supposed to not leak unless its full
-Day three
STILL LEAKING, being a green diva is sound pretty stupid right about now and im out of panty liners. So i open up to my trusty friend GOOGLE to see if this leakage is a result of user error. Turns out that yes, yes it was user error. Turns out i was not inserting the cup at a horizontal i was trying to insert it up like you would a tampon. I changed this and the leaking stopped [yay]
-Day four
            I have now mastered the DivaCup so i decided to give my trusted cup a break for the night and try out my heavy absorbency pad. So i dig through my closet find my good, old, ratty, period sweatpants and i put a dark sheet on the bed [just in case] I go to the bathroom to remove and wash my DivaCup and put on my pad. First thing i notice is that i dont feel like im wearing a pad. It feels like i am just wearing my underwear. It was so nice to not feel like i was wearing a diaper. I go to bed with a cautious but still postive attitude.
-Day five
            I wake up. The first thing i notice is that i feel very. . . dry. In a very good way. No slimy, sticky, papery feeling. No squished up ball of cotton hanging out between my legs. So i get up and asses that my sheets are dry, my pants are free of any [new] stains. And i head to the bathroom to see the damage done to my underwear. . . NONE not one leak, not one spot. And may i add that my last cycle before mamcloth i would get cramps bad enough to leave me bedridden. . . As my aunt flo settles down for another three week nap i realize that through this whole cycle i have not had one measly cramp. No backache. No discomfort at all.

So there you have it. I am a real person with a real period who REALLY will never go back to disposable menstrual products. If you have any more detailed questions feel free to message me on facebook

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Single parenting. . .

            So i am now on an all new adventure into single parenting. I know i don't have any regular followers but i apologize for being MIA for so long. Skye had some health issues, me and my fiance broke up, i got a job, and i totaled my car. So while i was away my life has become quite hectic. But, through all of this i am trying my best to stay positive. My daughter was not in the car when it wrecked, me and christian are still friends and very happy with it that way, and i LOVE my new job. Everything happens for a reason and i am hoping and praying that there is a bigger picture going on here that i just cannot see or understand at the moment.
            I am excited and afraid of the independence of getting my own place and providing for me and my daughter. I am confident that this will be the best thing for us but it is still quite a large change from being a stay at home mom. I am thanking god right now for my amazing family and friends who have been here with me and are helping me figure all of this out. I love the fact that i have enough people that care about me and Skye that i have no need for childcare other than family and friends. This task seems so daunting but I trust that what is meant to be will find its way. I know that if this is what i am meant to be doing then everything will fall into place.
            I love the fact that me and christian have no need for visitation schedules. We talk and communicate and there have been no fights since we separated. I do love him but at the point we were both at, we were just miserable and fighting constantly. We made the decision that if we are going to be the parents Skye deserves that we need to separate before things get ugly. I will always have a huge amount of respect for the maturity and selflessness that Christian showed me while making this decision. I also know that no matter what he will always be the best thing that has ever happened to me. Just because in the long run we were not right for each other i know that we were meant for each other for the time we were together. He was there for me at a time in my life when no one else was and without him i do not know where i would be right now. He gave me my beautiful daughter and he is an amazing father. I want to thank him for all of these things. I cannot imagine asking for anything more than that.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Cloth diapering part 3

            So in this section i would like to go into the yucky stuff. . . . cleaning. cloth. diapers. haha I am totally joking, it is super easy and clean.

Lets start with a list of cloth diaper safe detergents
 HE washers                                           Older washing machines
-RubyMoon                                           -Allens
-Charlie's Soap [powder/liquid]              -Arm and hammer free essentials
-Moutain Green free and clear                -Bio-O-Kleen
-Moutain Green Baby                            -Country save liquid 
-All small and mighty                              -EviroRite
-Caldrea                                                -Lifekind
-Country Save                                       -Nature clean 
-Dropps                                                -Oxy-prime
-Ecos                                                    -Penguin
-Maggie's soap nuts                               -Planet ultra powder
-Method free and clear                          -SensiClean  
-Nellie's                                                -Sport-wash
-Rockin green                                       -Trader joe's
-Sun and earth                                      -Vaska
-Oxyclean free/baby
 This site has a detergent chart for which ones are better than others.
            So you start off with a large amount of brand new/new-to-you dipes of your choice and the first thing you are going to want to do is prep them. To prep your dipes you will want to follow these steps
Sunning our dipes at grandma's
 -remove all packaging [sometimes there are tags INSIDE the pocket of your dipes]
-un-snap all snaps and undo all aplix and fasten laundry tabs
-remove any inserts/doublers
-Throw everything into your washer
-Set wash setting to heavy/hot wash/cold rinse
-Add 1tbs. original dawn dish soap
when the washer is done, run the entire cycle again WITH NO SOAP
-Line dry anything containing PUL
-Toss all inserts/doublers/prefolds/flats/fitteds/wipes into the dryer
VOILA you are prepped and ready to diaper

            So now that your dipes are prepped you will probably want to put them into action but first you will want a diaper pail/wet bag to put your soggy dipes into. You have three choices for a diaper pail here[I have tried all three by the way]. Wet pail, Dry pail, or Wet bag.
            A dry pail is exactly what it sounds like, a pail with a garbage bag type liner made of PUL. With this method you will need at least two diaper pail liners because whenever you empty your pail you will want to toss your liner in the wash with your dipes or else it will end up getting pretty funky. With this method you will want to go no longer than 3 days between washes because of the fact that the dipes will dry/stain if left in there too long. I stopped using this method because my dipes always smelled like ammonia, even if they were clean.
My diaper pail
            You guessed it haha the wet pail method is WET. This method is discouraged now because of the drowning hazard but i keep my pail in the laundry room with the door shut. I have a solid plastic diaper pail that i fill 3/4 of the way and add 1tbs. of oxyclean free to. I put the lid on and put all of my dirty dipes in there. Since i started using the wet pail, you cant smell diapers in my house anymore, the ammonia smell in my dipes is gone, and all of my dipes look the same as the day i bought them. No stains or anything.
Inside my wet pail
                     A wet bag is NOT the same as a wet pail haha. All a wet bag is, is a bag made out of PUL that you can hang in your nursery or on your changing table to put your soggy dipes in. It is pretty much the same as a dry pail but it is a bag that you can hang. The only time i ever use a wet bag is in my diaper bag when we are on the go.

            Now that you have a bunch of prepped dipes and the diaper pail of your choice . . . you are pretty sure you are ready to go right. Wrong. What kind of wipes are you going to use. Your options are cloth or disposable. If you choose cloth then you also have a choice between making your own[my preference] or buying them. I will soon do a post for a cloth wipes tutorial and the recipe for my wipe solution. But anyways, for cleaning your cloth wipes all i do is throw them into the pail with my dipes, wash them, throw them into the dryer with my inserts/prefolds and it is as easy as that.

Ok so NOW are you ready
. . .
YES, now you are ready to put that adorable little tushie into the fluff of your choosing. And soon there will be. . . POO [OH NO] but wait, it really is not as gross as everyone thinks. Hmmm because i am a mother i have come into contact with poo A LOT but. . . it has never been because of cloth dipes. IMAGINE THAT haha but in all seriousness, exclusively breastfed baby poo can go right into your pail. No rinsing. But if you formula feed or have started solids you will have to rinse the solids into your toilet and then toss your rinsed dipe into your pail. there are two ways that you can do the deed 1] buy a diaper sprayer, this hooks up to your toilet so all you have to do is hold your dipe above your toilet and spray the poo into your toilet. 2] swish n' swipe, i found this easier at first. I would turn my dipe inside out [so the PUL is on the inside] and then dunk it in the toilet and swish the poo off and then flush the toilet.
Diaper sprayer

            So now you have been cloth diapering for around 2-3 days, your pail is full, your stash is running low. It is time to wash.
My wipes/prefolds/inserts in the dryer

-Empty your pail/wetbag into your washer
  -If you use a wet pail run a spin cycle before washing
  -if you use a dry pail run a cold rinse before washing
-Set washer on heavy/hot wash/cold rinse
-Add 1/4 the amount of detergent that you would for a normal/large load
-Line dry anything with PUL and toss everything else [other than wool] into your dryer
-Stuff your pockets/fold your flats and you are ready to go for another 2-3 days

Now if you are using wool covers for your prefolds/flats/fitteds you will wash your cover like this
-use cover until A]damp or has poo on it. or B] 1-2 days
-Buy a wool wash and wash your wool by hand
-hang or lay flat to dry

I will be linking with the pistachio project.


Just a small example of our endless disposable products
            Has anyone ever really sat down and asked themselves WHY IS EVERYTHING DISPOSABLE. In my opinion it is just plain laziness. Laziness is killing our planet and our desire for prettier paper products is exposing us and our children to dangerous chemicals. Really, for five minutes sit down and try to think of all the paper products we use everyday and then IMMEDIATELY put into the trash to go spend the next 30 years decomposing and leaching chemicals into our earth and water supply. And we do all of this damage to try and save miniscule amounts of time out of our day. Let me make a point real quick, are we saving time or are we killing time. Is our need for ease of use so dire that we are willing to destroy our planet. Our gift to our children should really be a healthier planet and an inner sense of responsibility for this world that we all live in.
We are filling landfills far faster than our waste is breaking down 
            Now that my rant is over i will get to the point, my goal is to eventually live in a home that is completely free of any unnecessary paper products [i.e. paper towels, toilet paper, pads, tampons, disposable diapers, grocery bags, . . . etc.] I plan on achieving this one step at a time. It is a rather large transition if you are coming from a disposable home but don't worry. You really can do it, if you take it a step at a time. Instead of diving into this head first why don't you start with something simple. Try investing in some nice kitchen towels and stop buying paper towels. If we all started making small steps to improving our lifestyles we could be capable of changing this world for the better.
I love this picture
             My first step in this goal was to start cloth diapers, now that i have done that and completely cut out disposables [not even allowed in the house] i decided to find my next step. I decided that mama cloth was the next step for me, it just felt right. I am very new to that but i did not just go out and buy a full stash and throw out all my pads and tampons. I bought enough to transition me over, after trying these products i plan on filling my stash slowly until i have everything i need. I truly believe that so many people give up on going green because they try to just jump in rather than taking small steps and sticking with them.
            After mama cloth i plan on switching my entire household over to un-paper towels. I plan on making them myself so that i can match them with the decor of my house.  I am very excited about these steps i am taking even though most of my family thinks that i am a crazy hippie haha and i am but i embrace it, you should embrace your inner hippie too.
            Finally somewhere along the line i will be making my own grocery bags, produce bags and also making the family cloth for my house i will be moving to next summer. Family cloth is pretty much cloth toilet paper but i will do a post explaining that soon.

I will be linking with the pistachio project.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Why use mama cloth?

            The reasons to use mama cloth are very similar to the reasons to cloth diaper. Quite honestly i cannot for the life of me figure out why anyone would switch from soft cotton for your baby or yourself to some unknown bleached, paper-plastic product. Oh did i mention all the chemicals inside tampons, yea those things that actually go INSIDE your body. But i am getting ahead of myself, allow me to explain in full.
regular tampon vs. organic cotton tampon

-Harmful ingredients in disposable pads and tampons.
             Many women do not realize the amount of chemicals within their store bought disposables, or how they may correlate with gynecological concerns. Disposable pad and tampon companies are not required to list the ingredients on labels. Some irritating or toxic ingredients found in disposables include: aluminum, alcohols, fragrance additives, and hydrocarbons. Tampon bleaching processes leave behind dioxin. Dioxin is a toxic chemical (chlorine-compound) linked to cancer, immune system suppression, ulceration, pelvic inflammatory disease, reduced fertility, changes in hormone levels and endometriosis. Try this simple test: Place a regular tampon in glass of water and return in a few hours. You will find the water cloudy and filled with residue - all things that your body is otherwise absorbing into the soft tissues of the vagina.

             Cloth pads = Savings:
The money you save using cloth pads will be worth it in the first year alone! Figure you spend $8/month on pads and another $6/month on tampons ~ that is $14/month or $168 a year! You could buy over 20 cloth pads for that amount…and still have them to use for another 4-6 years! That is a savings of $672-1008! I know that I have better things to spend my money on
             Environmentally, there are two main issues at stake: the impact of production, and the impact disposal. A typical woman can use anywhere between 8,000 to 17,000 tampons in her lifetime. This depends on individual usage of course. I hate to sound cliche here, but every woman is different, and the numbers available are all over the map. Think about it though, a handful of products a month, 12 months a year, for 30 to 40 years, multiplied by the female half of the population… It really does add up. According to the book Flow: The Cultural History of Menstruation, the average woman throws away up to 300 pounds of feminine hygiene related products in a lifetime. In the grand scheme of things this makes up only about 0.5 percent of personal landfill waste. But even so, when you see that there are alternative options available, it becomes difficult to rationalize. In the United States alone, an estimated 12 billion pads and 7 billion tampons are disposed of annually. Each of those tampons and pads has an environmental impact of the waste of not only the product itself, but the packaging, plastic or cardboard applicators, as well as the less visible costs of transportation and production.
If you can just get over the mental ick factor the decision is just plain obvious
 -Just plain comfort
            On average women who switch to mama cloth find that their flows are lighter and they have significantly less cramping each month, I mean really who doesn't want that. All in all, it again comes down to common sense. Which would you really want to wear something that feels dry and velvety soft or something that feels slimy and crunchy. I for one always used disposables because i thought that was my only option. Once i found out about mama cloth i was slightly put off by the idea but after doing the research i have found it to be the logical option not just for comfort but for all of the reasons listed above.

i will be linking up to the pistachio project 

Mama fluff arrived

            So my mama cloth from TheCrazyElephant arrived yesterday and i am SUPER impressed at how quickly everything got here. Let me add that i also ordered a Mei Tai carrier and a DivaCup on the same day and i tracked them and they will not be here for another several days. This is everything that i ordered from them and let me say that they are really really soft and way thinner than i expected. I figured that the heavy absorbency pad would be about as thick as a disposable maxi pad but even the heaviest absorbency is about as thick as an ultra-thin disposable.
            This is the heavy absorb short peanut pad in magenta cloud. It is velvety soft and super thin. I may actually be okay using pads if this mama cloth works as well as everyone says it does. I hate disposable pads because they get slimy and feel like a wet diaper. . . yuck. One of the benefits of mama cloth is that it should breathe and not trap moisture the way that disposable pads do. I am excited to try them out. This looks exactly like the medium absorbency pad except that the heavy has a layer of zorb in the center. And the medium absorbency is the peace and love pattern.

            These are my two teardrop thong liners. I am really really hoping my DivaCup arrives before my next cycle or else it will be almost two months until i get to try this stuff out. These are also very soft and thin. All of these products are a wingless design so the are not as bulky but they are backed with fleece to hold them in place while you are wearing them. TheCrazyElephant also doesn't finish the edges of any of their products, instead they cut them with pinking shears so that they will fray and be thinner on the edges but they are sewn so that they will not completely unravel.
            These are the plain panty liners that i ordered. They are freaking adorable and so soft. They are made up up of i think two layers of super soft flannel and backed with the fleece so that they wont slide around.

I will be linking with the pistachio project.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Cloth Diapers part 2

                So i would like to introduce and explain all of the different types of cloth diapers. In a later post i will then explain how to clean and care for cloth diapers and my final post on cloth diapers will be all about trouble shooting with cloth diapers because nothing is perfect and you are bound to run into a snag here and there. So for this post i will list all the types and explain what they are and then i will list the pros and cons from my own opinion.
An AIO with aplix closures.

-All in ones [AIO]
            An AIO is considered the easiest option in cloth diapering. They are very daddy and daycare friendly and easy to put on baby. All an AIO is made up of a waterproof outer material, normally PUL[polyester lined with polyurethane], with an absorbent material, like microterry, microfiber, bamboo, hemp, or cotton. sewn into the middle and topped with a wicking material like flannel or micro fleece so that the moisture is pulled away from baby's skin and into the absorbent core. Fastening options for this are either snaps or aplix[A.K.A. velcro] I personally do not like AIO's simply because i prefer line drying anything with PUL [it makes it last longer] so because i line dry my AIO's they take almost a day and a half to dry after washing.
an AI2 with a snap in insert and aplix closures.

-All in twos [AI2]
            These are basically the same thing as an AIO except the absorbent core is removeable. So you have a shell with your waterproof material and you have an insert with your absorbent material and you wicking material on it. With AI2's the absorbent core normally snaps into place. These will also fasten with either snaps or aplix[velcro] closure. I do not have any of these diapers so i cannot tell you from experience but i would assume that they wash and dry the same as pocket dipes and i LOVE my pocket dipes. The downfall to these is that they do take some assembly but they will wash easier and dry faster than an AIO's
Already stuffed pocket dipe, stuffed with a prefold.

-Pocket dipes
            Finally my favorite. A pocket dipe consists of a shell with wicking fabric sewn into the inside and a hole in the back of the diaper that forms a pocket. You have an insert made up of an absorbent material of your choice that you then stuff into your dipe and you are ready to go. I personally love these because of how easy they are to wash and dry. I pull the insert out of dirty dipe and throw shell and insert in my pail and then when my pail is full i pick the whole thing up and dump it into the washer [no touching dirty dipes] i wash everything then i pull the inserts out and put them in the dryer and hang my shells on a drying rack and by the time the dryer is done so are my shells. Downfall to these is that you do have to stuff them when they are clean but that is also an advantage because you can personalize the amount of absorbency you put in your dipe by adding more or less inserts.
My daughter Skye in her aplix pocket dipe.

Different sizes of prefolds

            These are the way your grandma cloth diapered . . . oldschool, yes. But I still have a place in my heart for prefolds. A prefold is a rectangular piece of fabric that has a thicker absorbent middle. These can be folded different ways to add absorbency or comfort for baby. This is by far the cheapest route for cloth diapering but it does have a bit of a learning curve. Prefolds have to be folded and then fastened with either a pin or a nifty little thing called a snappi. When i am at home i will use a prefold fastened with a snappi and no cover on my daughter it lets her breathe without peeing all over my floor. My daughter is in prefolds with no cover when ever she isn't sleeping or out and about. So  They also have no water proof outer layer so they need a waterproof cover if you are using
them full time.
My daughter Skye in her prefold fastened with a snappi.

Fitted diaper with snap closure.

            These are diapers with no water proof outer layer but are made up of many layers of absorbent fabrics. These do need a cover for using them overnight or for long periods between changes but many people find them absorbent enough to go without a cover during the day. These normally have some type of fastener such as snaps or aplix[velcro] and are shaped like a diaper so there is no folding invloved. I currently have one fitted diaper that i made out of a prefold but i am waiting for the oppurtunity to get myself a few poopsiedoodle fitteds.

            Now diapers like prefolds and fitteds have no waterproof outer layer so you will need to use a cover over them but again there are several options to choose from.
Wool cover in shortie style.

           Alot of people prefer wool because it is very breathable but it can be hard to care for sometimes. You will need to lanolize your wool cover before use, this entails filling a bowl with very hot water and melting lanolin on top of the water and washing your wool in it until it absorbs the lanolin. This makes your wool water resistant. You must hand wash your wool with a wool wash and hang it to dry. The benefits of wool is that it is extremly light and airy on babys skin and helps to prevent rashes because of its breathability. Also, wool soakers come in many different styles such as pants[longies], skirts[skirties], and shorts[shorties]. these covers require no fasteners because they are often just a pull up style.
PUL cover with snap closures.

           PUL is the same fabric that is sewn onto the outsides of AIO's, AI2's, and pockets. It is polyester that has been lined with polyurethane. The upside is that it is easy to care for, all you do is wash with your dipes and hang dry. But it has little breath-ability and it can trap moisture if baby is not changed as often as they should be. These covers also have snap or aplix fastening options.

plastic pants with nylon hem
-Plastic pants
            It is exactly what it sounds like. It looks like a tiny pair of pull up underwear except they are made of plastic. These are the cheapest covers to buy but they are not very good for babys skin and they are not very comfortable because the hemming along the edges is often done with a waterproof nylon that can be very abrasive on babys skin. Also, unlike the PUL which offers some air flow these will offer almost none. So when you are using these you will have to be very diligent about changing baby often. And make sure your baby has a little bit of diaper free time everyday, even just 5-10 minutes of air can help a lot.

I will be linking with the pistachio project.