0

Childhood Book Week

.

This week is going to be book review week. I needed to keep it simple. Last week I spent a day in the ER and most of that week recovering…this week the meds they gave me for that trip caused my blood pressure to bottom out….so we’re going super simple this week. We’re talking more Children’s books.

The medical trauma of my last week reminded me of my childhood. I spent a lot of time reading with mom since it was all that she could do with me.  She was always very sick and it took years to get her stable. It was scary growing up not knowing if my mom would be there. My parents could have kept it from me, but they didn’t want to lie or keep me in the dark either, a thought which I appreciate to this day.

Still, my new issue is one of the first issues my mom had and around my age…so it’s all had me thinking about Freya and my childhood.  Particularly since I couldn’t do as much with her as I usually did due to the headaches. So we just snuggled and I read to her between head bashings (via headache lol)

Anyway, as I was thinking about books that had greatly affected my childhood I started thinking about my dad. I remember the nights we read the Cremation of Sam McGee (yeah maybe not the most child appropriate tale, but still one of my favorites).  I remembered this poem that his mom said to him:

To Bed to Bed Said sleepy Head

Terry a while said Slow

Put on the pot said Greedy Gut

We’ll eat before we go.

And finally, I remembered Scuppers the Sailor Dog.

It’s a Golden Book tale about a puppy who wants to be a sailor and how he goes about getting his own ship. From getting the right outfit to run his own boat to the boat itself and his room, it talks about following your dreams and exploring the world.  Most importantly, the puppy was true to himself.

It’s like any Golden Book. It’s well illustrated and an easy read. It also has a good moral and ethical stand on being yourself and following your dreams.

It’s still one of my favorite books. I’ve gone through three copies of it (including ruining my father’s original story).

I know it’s a short review, but I still wanted to recommend the book.

While we’re talking childhood favorites I thought I’d list some of my other childhood favorites.

Matilda- great story about a little girl who finds a loving family. Great for any adopted kid or for any child who has ever felt unimportant to their parents.

Harriet the Spy- led me to write my own diary and watch those around me. It was also my saving grace amidst bullies and school yard trauma.

Harry Potter- It filled my mind with magic around the same time that I started my own journey into the craft and followed me all the way to college.

The Magic Tollbooth- a great story about whimsy and adventure

Xanth- It’s a full series by Piers Anthony. In each book a character or set of characters are given a quest that not only helps save the world but that helps them grow as characters.  Everyone has a magical talent and the world is full of puns. It’s a great series for families to share. While it does have some adult themes, the more inappropriate ones are hidden by concepts such as the “Adult Conspiracy” Which stops children from hearing bad words and learning adult secrets…kinda wish we had that for our own children. Still, one of the first series I remember learning about on my own.

Myth- by Robert Asprin.  It is the story about a wizards apprentice who is taken on a whirlwind journey far beyond what he is by a demon who loves to make money. It’s great for adventure and full of fun jokes about society and the world.

Nancy Drew- I think most of us know about the wonderful teenage sluth.

Sherlock Holmes

Heidi (Unabridged unless you want to loose all the messages of redemption and miss a lot of good story)

And anything by Jules Verne.

LIttle House on the Prairie

Yeah, I know I was a weird kid, but I was also reading early and we had a family policy of sharing an “adult” story….which just meant that we read bits and pieces of novels each night.

Anyway, feel free to share the books that shaped your childhood. Not only are we reminiscing, but we’re helping build a library of ideas to share with our children.
Blessed Be.

Advertisements
0

An Insert for You and Some Diaper Tips Too

.

So I finally made the decision. We were just talking liners, doublers, inserts, and their fabrics today. I was thinking about it and fabric choice here can be not only daunting, but overwhelming in and of itself. I’m going to try to keep it simple and to the point, but we’ll see how that goes.

Inserts, Doublers, and Liners

Doublers are thick pads you can use for extra absorbency in your diapers. You can use them on top of a diaper if you are already using pockets.

Liners are usually thin rectangular pads that go between a baby’s rear and the diaper. Some parents use them to make cleaning the poo out a little easier. They’re nice. You can make them for cheap out of a soft cotton and they are washable. Or you can get the flushable variety. It adds a bit to your cost, but can make it easier depending on your preference. Liners are also convenient when you use diaper cream as they can cause buildup and extra washing on your diapers.

This is a good time to note that you should read the instructions that come with your diapers before using any creams. There are some fabrics that rash cream can ruin. I haven’t personally run into this, but according to most of the books it is a thing.

Inserts are a layer of absorbency that is put inside of a pocket diaper.  These are also called soakers.  They can be made out of several different types of fabrics….which is our next topic.

Fabrics

So you’re going to hear a lot of fabric terms tossed around when looking at diapers and their soakers, inserts, doublers, liners, etc. Here are the ones you’ll run across most often.

Synthetic fabrics: They are excellent at keeping baby dry.

Organic: These are fabrics that are not treated with chemicals.

Bamboo: This soft and luxurious feeling fabric is both breathable and absorbent.  It’s considered eco friendly due to the quick growing plant it is harvested from and doesn’t involve many (if any) insecticides to grow.

Cotton: It is a soft comfy fabric but some eco friendly moms take issue with the way it is grown and processed.  It gets a bad rap, but honestly, we all have cotton in our lives and it’s still not as toxic as some of the stuff in our disposable diapers.

Organic Cotton:  This cotton is grown with a lesser eco impact than regular cotton, but essentially feels the same. If you are worried about your baby being exposed to anything from regular cotton, but still want cotton, this is your choice.

PUL: Polyurethane laminated fabric. Essentially it is a fabric with waterproof backing. This is what you would want to make your wet bags out of.  PUL is what is on the outside of many decorative cloth diapers (though not all). Essentially, the water doesn’t go through the fabric to get you wet, unless your wee one is leaking out around her legs at the elastic.

Wool: Wool is used in inserts, covers, and liners. Some parents like it some don’t. It will keep a baby warm and dry, but you have to be careful on the type you buy and some babies have trouble with reactions to the skin with wool.  Not to mention that you have to be far more careful when washing this fabric.

Hemp: This durable fabric is known for being ultra absorbent and antimicrobial.  Some parents swear that it can protect your child’s rear from fungus and bacteria.  It’s also eco friendly and does not require pesticides to produce.  It can both breathe and keep a baby’s bum warm in the winter.  It’s not cute, but it is one of the fabrics with the most function. It only comes in its natural color. Definitely great for inserts though.

Micro Terry: You’ll see this a lot. It’s cheap and absorbent without the bulk of cotton (it takes a ton of layers of cotton to absorb pee).   Most pocket diapers come with these so this is what we’ve been using though I do have some homemade wool inserts and liners.  You just can’t use it as a liner.  It’s so absorbent that it will pull out the skin’s natural oils. This will lead to chafing and irritation.

Polar Fleece: Most internal layers of diapers are made of this. It wicks away moisture from the skin. this means that it lets the urine through to the pad while keeping baby’s bum dry.  This is part of the reason why we love our cloth diapers. With disposables we were changing diapers every time Freya got the tiniest bit wet (because it would irritate the rash caused by the same issue). Now we don’t have to change her right away and we get more out of each diaper before she even feels wet. And trust me….she lets us know when she’s wet.

Sherpa Terry: This is the fabric you find in linens and towels. You’ll also occasionally hear this word with cloth diapers though mostly in inserts.
Honestly, the best thing to do is test out a few types in the store and see what works best for you.  Personally we’ve found that the One Size pockets works best for us. We have occasionally used a liner though it doesn’t really seem to make poopies any easier.  Our inserts are micro fiber. My liners are cheap flannel.  But take a look and figure out what will work best for you. Please don’t assume. I did that which led to making six diapers that not only cost me more to make, but that we only use as backups.  I love that I did it myself, but they still aren’t as functional for us as what we later bought.

I’ll leave you with this poem from a Mom who wrote in to Changing Diapers….my book source for this post.

C-Chemical Free

L- Leakpoof (mostly)

O One Size

T- Tender

H- Handy

D- Dependable

I- Ideal

A- Adorable

P- Penny Pinching

E- Eco Friendly

R- Rash Free

0

The Pooper Scooper on Cloth Diapers

I hope you all are having a great week so far and I hope you’ve been thinking more about the cloth diaper revolution and the choices that are best for your family. From that starting point, I would like to talk more about this money saving phenomenon that is also super eco friendly.

So we talked Money on Monday.  But let’s talk about what else makes cloth diapering awesome.

1. It’s less toxic for baby. Disposables are made from a variety of chemicals and bleaches. We have enough toxins in our lives without placing them directly on our child’s tooshies.  If you read Changing Diapers by Kelly Wells, you’ll find out that there are studies that some of the chemicals used in these diapers are harmful with long term exposure.  The gel inside of it was removed from tampons for being linked to toxic shock syndrome in the 80s.  Not to mention all the artificial crap that could cause allergies and skin reactions.  I don’t know what it was about disposables, but Freya always had a nasty rash when she wore them and now we rarely even get a diaper rash at all.

2. Money, which we talked about last time….so go back a post if you didn’t read Monday’s post. The point is that cloth diapers will save you thousands despite start up costs, between birth and the age of potty training. If you look up diaperpin.com’s calculator you can find out how much cloth diapering will cost you in comparison to disposables.  In just the six months we’ve been doing it we’ve saved around $120-$130 per month.  .

3, Eco Friendly.  As pagan parents it is our job to protect this planet as much as our children. With estimates saying that a diaper could be sitting in a landfill for over a hundred years….what harm do we do to mother Earth when we use disposables. Also, how many natural resources are being wasted to create a product that is “convenient”

4. Convenience. People are going to disagree with me here. I think that it’s more convenient to never have to shop for diapers. I think that it’s neat that I can just wash them and go. I don’t find it a hassle to take an extra bag with me and more diapers. I think it’s neat and convenient that I can customize freya’s look with her neat patterns or even simple colors (your preference).

5. Fun.  This goes back to the colors and the patterns. I love seeing Freya in her spidey diaper or her minky polka dots. I love being able to pick the pattern I’m in the mood in for the moment.

Types of Cloth Diapers

So now that you know the reasons we cloth diaper let’s get down to the dirty dukes of cloth diapering.  There are so many different terms that get flung around with cloth diapering.  Snappies, Doublers, AIO’s, pockets; what does it all mean.

I mean today’s cloth diapers are so different from what our grandparents, even our parents knew.  Long gone are the days of boiling and folding. That’s just not what most people do when they cloth diaper anymore.  Quite frankly, there are so many choices it can be hard to decide. What worked out best for me was going to a store that sold them and sitting through a tutorial where I could try it out. The owners at Mama’s HIp and Diaper Fairy Cottage on Bardstown Road in Louisville were great in presenting me with all of my options. By the time I was done I knew what would work best for me.

So here we go again

1. AIO stands for all in one. These are the closest to disposables except that they are made of cloth.  They are the most convenient, but the longest and hardest to dry.  The pro here is that you don’t have to stuff them with more inserts, but they can feel heavy and add weight to your baby’s rear, which I feel can make it harder for them to walk properly when the time comes.

2. Pockets have three layers. The inner layer lets water through to the pad, but not back out.  The inner layer is insertable. It is what absorbs the liquid. The good thing about a pocket is that you can choose your padding based on your child’s needs.  Then the outer layer is waterproof.  This is what we have for Freya.

3. One Size. While our diapers are pockets they are also one size.  I can adjust her diapers to fit her from birth to potty training thanks to a series of snaps on the front and around the waist. Some use velcro around the waist, but I’ve found the snaps to be preferable as Freya scratched herself on one of my homemade ones that had the velcro.

4. All in two diapers.  These are like pockets where you can choose the material, but they snap on top. My homemade diapers are All in Twos.  You don’t insert them like in pockets. Which some find easier and others don’t like as much. I’m torn. Honestly the only reason I ended up using more pockets is because that is what I could get at the best price.

5, Flats. These are the ones you fold. I don’t like them. I can’t remember how to fold them….and they are inconvenient for me at least. If you want the cheapest option though…you can get a pack of three of these at Walmart for 9 dollars or so.  They are the most cost effective, but I don’t have the patience for them…so I invested just a little more into something that was easier for my family, but if you can master folding them then I say power to you new mom or dad.

6. Prefolds are folding diapers as well. They are a bit easier however as you just fold it in thirds and then widen one edge. However most of the folding ones don’t have velcro or snaps of any kind. You’re going to need safety pins or the plastic latch connectors that some baby stores buy for cloth diapers.  I think they are called snappies

7. Fitted. These are cloth diapers that have two parts. The inner diaper that is absorbent and a cover to contain the wet. I know some parents online who use these as swimsuits for baby…but beyond that I really don’t know much about them. Personally, they seem less convenient, but that’s just me.

8 The Hybrid. These are part cloth part disposable franken-diapers.  They are generally the most expensive as well.  You can use a disposable insert with them so that you can just chuck that poo into the toilet.

Friday I’ll get to the inserts, liners and types of fabrics. I also may get to talk about washing. I haven’t decided if that will work better as a separate post as there are a variety of methods.

Thanks for tuning in and I hope to see you all again Friday

Blessed. Be.

0

Going Green With Diapers

This month has just not been it for me. Now we’ve added two emergency room visits in a few days and a scary eye problem. We’ve had the eye issue going on in my right eye for a while now, but this is the first time its gotten so bad that I just couldn’t function at all.  So where the ENT, Allergiest, Optomitrist, and GP have failed to come up with an answer….the doc in the ER visit (a hospital that is generally known as a worthless bandaid station….but only place I could get a ride to) may have come up with an answer….cluster headaches/migraines in or around my eye. I’ll be going to a Neurologist on the 3rd of Aug and hopefully we’ll get a confirmation and a method of treatment that doesn’t make me feel high and trippy as all get out (like I feel today after all the meds my GP put me on to make it to that appointment).

So if you’lre following me or reading for the first time, please send me all the positive energy/prayers you can muster.  I’m hoping to kick this and finally be out of the woods with all the problems we’ve had this month.

Also, I apologize in advance if thinks are a little messy. I’m still not seeing very well…so please forgive a comma for a period or silly things like that. I did my best to catch them all, but I’m not making any promises.

Anyway lets get to it.

So, today I want to talk with you about diapering. Now there are two options. First there are disposables and then there are cloth. Granted there are a ton of options in each camp, but first let’s compare and contrast.

Disposable diapers

With  disposable diapers, first, they aren’t biodegradable. Aka they are bad for the environment. So that is a negative. Second, they really aren’t as absorbent as most cloth diapers (provided you choose your best choices and get the right inserts). There’s a second negative. Third, they cost around $120 per month if you’re in size one or two….and from the jump in price between size one and two….it only gets more expensive as you go.  A third negative. Finally, they are convenient and don’t require washing. So two positives veres three negatives. Not too bad in terms of a pros and cons list.

Now lets look at the other side.

Cloth diapers

First, you only need thirty of them total for a child from birth to potty training and a kid can go further between changes the older they get. So you’re looking at a base investment of somewhere between $150 and $300 (depending on where you get your diapers) for thirty. That’s about two months of buying disposables. Note here that with a smaller baby…a lot of time the one size adjustables won’t fit till month three or four so you may have to buy some disposables. But the one size adjustables are the way to go if you want to save money. They will grow with your child.

I would call that a big positive over $100-$150 in disposables per month. I would call those savings a definite positive.

There is the cost of water and detergent, but I really can’t call that a negative….because we’re still saving more paying that (even in a private community where we pay twice as much for water as anyone else in the county) than we were when we bought disposables those first two or three months.

You have to scoop the poop out of a diaper into the toilet. Yes, it’s a negative, but honestly, it’s not a big deal. Not to mention the fact that technically you’re supposed to do this before you throw away a disposable anyway. You can get a diaper sprayer or liners (if you want to lose a bit of your savings here) to avoid this.  But, if you have kids, you’re going to be dealing with far worse than a poopy in their lives. I can barely count this as a negative.

The only downfalls I see on this side of the fence are start up costs and having to wash the diapers every two or three days. I personally think that cloth diapers are still better than wasting all that money and the environmental damage done by non-degradable diapers.

There is a visual at http://www.chetramos.com/how-to-start-cloth-diapering/ that really puts it into perspective.  Now they say that they spent $500 on cloth diapers, but if you look around you can find the one size adjustable ones online (and in cute prints) for around $6 each. I’m betting these people bought the first ones that they found or had to buy the ones that cost $20 a pop. We ordered ours online and only spent around 150 dollars including shipping and handling.  And others have found them used for less…but that’s easier to do in a larger area….and we don’t live in a metro area anymore.  Also look for swaps and such for cloth diapers online. You’ll save and get some name brands if that is your thing.

They show the average number of diapers used in a year with disposables (3800) and they have it costing around $1000. Now I did the math on my end based on what I spent for 144 diapers (so 3800 divided by 144 times $30 a pop per box of diapers) and it came out to around $750….so it apparently does vary greatly depending on brand and where you live I would guess, but I bought the cheapest thing worth buying and that’s what it would have cost me (provided I stayed at size one the whole year).  Still, we’ve only spent around $300-$400 with all the home supplies I DIY’d.

So what do you need?

1. You need around 30 diapers to keep up with a newborn washing every two days. Right now at. nearly a year we probably wash ours every three days on average still.

2. A pad for each diaper (usually included with diaper). The only way this will cost you more is if your diaper comes with a cheap pad. If it says its microfiber though….it should be fine especially if it’s a pocket diaper. That’s what we use.

3. POWDER detergent: the liquid can build up and make your diapers less absorbent and then you have to strip them, which equals more money lost.

4. Oxyclean powder: We use this to combat stains. So technically this is optional, but I find it really good for fighting stains. Just DO NOT get anything with baking soda because that can cause build up as well.

5. Diaper sprayer: This is another optional. If you don’t want to pull out poopies with a wipe then you want a sprayer. If you don’t want to have to rinse them out in your sink or tub…you want a sprayer. Now you can buy a diaper sprayer, but they are overpriced. you can build one yourself….but I can tell you it’s far simpler to just buy a bidet sprayer and set it up in your house. I honestly wish at this point that we had done this instead of making our own (which only works in the one correctly plumbed toilet in the house…another issue with making your own if you live in a trailer.)

6. Wet bags: You need at least one big one for the house and one smaller one with a zipper for travel. We have four (one big three small). I figure I can use them later when we go swimming or what have you.  You can make these on your own for cheaper than you can buy them. Babyville fabric at JoAnn’s (or bought online there) runs around $15 per yard on a regular basis. You need a yard or two to make the ones we have. And if you just look up quick zip wet bag tutorial you’ll find all the video and blog tutorial options that you could ever want. Pick the one that best suits your family. And as a final note here…we actually carry two bags with us sometimes when we travel….one for poopie and one for wet…so we don’t have to worry about messing up a public bathroom.

I think that’s about it.  Anything else is really just extra. If you really do your research and look for the best buys you’re looking at $150-$200 for 30 cloth diapers, $40 for a bidet sprayer (optional), and around $30-$50 for the supplies to make the wet bags. That’s around $300 if you DIY and trust me the wet bag is easy to make (and otherwise costs $20-$30 per bag).

If you add incidentals per year I think I’ve spent (on estimate) around $200-$300 on water and cleaning supplies for the diapers. So total around $600 maybe $700…which would still be cheaper than my cost for one year of cloth diapers. If you look at the fact that next year (already having the start up supplies) you’ll only spend up to $400 or so on water and cleaning supplies (and that’s an overestimate still). You’re saving even more that next year provided you aren’t doing your laundry at a laundromat.

A final thought

I’m adding this here so I can put in my personal experience. Yes, you can make cloth diapers as well…but let me give you a warning. I spent $120 and that only made me six diapers. Also….if you struggle with elastic….don’t make your own. There really aren’t any good patterns without spending yet another $20-$30. I can do the sewing, but it wasn’t as economical as buying the cloth diapers I bought. Not to mention that they were huge on Freya. I doubt that they would fit her even now at one year.  So, unless you can modify patterns. I suggest not doing it and if you insist….do a test run with cheap fabric first.

So that’s my intro to cloth diapers. If any of you have other relevant experience please share. I’m going to continue this topic Wednesday with more tips and tricks on Cloth Diapers.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a second post for the week.

Blessed Be.

0

You, Sleep, and Your Child

Sleep is something many of us hold near and dear to us and something that Freya likes to interrupt on a frequent basis. I can’t complain too much, I just wish she didn’t get up so dang early in the morning because I am not a morning person.  So let’s talk about babies and toddlers and sleep.

The Basics

During the first year baby will go from sleeping around eighteen hours to fourteen hours. I would say Freya probably does a solid twelve to thirteen hours, but those are still the average numbers. Don’t worry too much if your child deviates slightly from these.  During the first four to six months expect to get woken up a lot. I think Freya would wake us up at least 2-4 times per night, which makes me so glad that I wasn’t working at the time.

Many of the night time wakeups will be due to dirty diapers or feedings. So get your rest where you can. If you’re like me and naps don’t work, try napping with baby. I normally don’t do the whole nap thing well, but a nap with Freya every once in a while helps. If that doesn’t work, find someone you trust who can watch your baby for a while you get a nap in and catch up on things around the house.

Expect a baby to need to feed two to three times per night though that will decrease during the first six months. By about that time they can go most the night without a bottle. Freya usually wakes us up once a night for a bottle now that she’s 10 months.  With a baby it is okay if they fall asleep on the bottle. Doctors only worry about that once they start getting their first teeth. After that nothing right before bed aside from water.

Where?

There’s a lot of debate over where a baby has to or should not sleep.  Some people think that baby needs to be in their room with them in a crib or a cosleeper. Others believe in monitors and the baby sleeping in their own room. Even if I had a room all for Freya, I don’t think I could personally do that, but choose whatever works for your family and life.

Some parents let their child fall asleep in a swing, just be careful about this. We did this for a few months and it caused some issues with having to be rocked to sleep for a while. It also became a problem once Freya decided that being restrained was a bad thing. So you can create some bad habits doing this.

As far as baby sleeping in your bed we do this part time. We’ve been told everything from it can cause SIDS to “aren’t you worried you’ll roll over on her?” Well I can honestly say I’ve never had an issue and I don’t sleep especially close to her. I’m just close enough that she can crawl over to me or when she was an infant she was in a travel cosleeper next to me so I could wake up to feed her in the middle of the night.

Sleeping through the night

The earliest you will most likely see this is six months though it has been heard of at two.  Freya is ten months and still doesn’t sleep all through the night every night. She probably wakes up once nearly every night usually because she is hungry around four or five in the morning.

A good way to work towards this goal however is to work on family routines. We usually bathe with lavender baby bath soap either in the shower or tub with mommy (assuming she needs a bath that day). Then we read about a half hour before bed. And right before bed we listen to Meghan Trainor because it just seems to make her happy. Then we start the fight against sleep and she eventually crashes in either mine or my mom’s arms.

It’s best to keep the room quiet during bedtime so you can let your child learn to fall asleep on their own.  However, there are a number of parents out there who don’t do this during nap times. The idea is that if you continue with your normal activities, be it watching T.V. or having company over, that your tot will learn to sleep through anything. Trust me, this can be useful.  This can also help with keeping the child asleep at night. This was recommended to me by a friend and so far it has somewhat worked for Freya.

Another thing is to always remember to put a child on their back to sleep. This is the surest way we currently know of to prevent SIDS. Also make sure nothing is near their face that they could suffocate themselves with. Keep them on their back until they can roll themselves over. Eventually you won’t be able to stop a child from sleeping on their stomach.

Day and Night Transition

When you have a wee little one the best way to teach them it’s more fun to do things during the day is to play with them in the day. I know it sounds simple, but it really works. If you spend most of your time doing interesting things with them at night they are going to want to be up at night. Same thing goes as they get older.

I think I’m going to stop there for now. I want to talk about all the sleep strategies out there and the pros and cons that I’ve found in my own research, but I don’t want this to turn into a 3000 word post lol.

So until next time

Blessed Be.

0

Things to Ponder

Today is kinda a catch all post. It’s also rather short in comparison to my normal post. I wanted to just mention a few things to think about as parents. Some of it is for expecting parents while some of the topics are things we all should be thinking about with a baby. And some of it is just things I had never thought of or known.

I was reading yet another book (The Only Baby Book You’ll Ever Need) when I found a lot of things I hadn’t thought about. So now I have a few new things to work on and some new knowledge under my belt.  Having realized that there are so many things I hadn’t considered, I thought I would highlight them for you in this post.

I’m not sure I’d want to do all of them but it’s nice to know that they exist as concerns and or options.

Hot Water

I’m a DIY girl, but I’m not good at stuff concerning the home. I’m learning, but it’s a slow and steady rather than a quick learning curve with me.  I never realized you can adjust your hot water temp.  The authors of this book recommend you turn your water heater down to 120 degrees before you even bring baby home to protect them from potential water burns. Now, this doesn’t mean you don’t still have to check the temp of baby’s bath, but it’s supposed to help prevent burns.

Cord Blood Banking

It’s supposedly worth investing in if you have the money.  This saved blood and cells can be used for a stem cell transplant if your child develops a genetic disease, blood disorder, or cancer that would normally be treated with bone marrow. I kinda wish I had known about this so I could have looked into it before Freya was born, but I’d never heard of it. This is a decision you have to make before your child is born though because the cells have to be collected right then. It can’t wait till later.

The estimated costs as of last year were $1500 to $1700….which is too rich for my blood.

A will

This is the big one I need to work on now.  While I don’t expect anything to happen to me anytime soon, you never know.  Anything can happen from an accident to a heart attack these days and you never know when it’s coming.  But I definitely want to have it set where Freya would go and how things would work out if either one or both of us passed.  I would also want to make sure that all my stuff went to her and wasn’t just sold off.

There are plenty of ways to do this without a lawyer. I would have to ask some people I know who have done it, but it is possible to do it with little to no cost.

Maternity/Paternity Leave

I know it’s a little late once you have children, but you really need to sort this out probably by around month three. Usually there is some paperwork (or a lot depending on your company) to file before your request can be filled. So don’t wait till the last minute.  If you are taking a leave make sure you plan ahead for a budget without the income. It’s hard enough on some families to lose a paycheck for the normal 2-3 weeks much less longer than that.

So just some food for thought.  Things to think about if whether you already have kids or not.

Blessed Be.

0

Baby Gear What you need (and what you waste money on)

So, I was looking back on what we’ve spent in the last year. There were a lot of things we didn’t get for Freya because we didn’t think we’d need it, and we didn’t. However, looking back I still find things we have bought that probably could have waited or never needed to be bought in the first place. More importantly, things that I could have made myself or things that may have worked better than what I bought.

And worse yet, there are so many things that consumer America (or insert country here) makes us think we need or can only buy. And there are several things that just are not essential. It doesn’t help that there are so many things to choose from.  It’s really easy to think you’ll need something that is really just another strain on the budget.

So here is my guide for what you essentially need for the first year. It also contains a few optional things with some info so you can determine if the cost is justified.  Just remember that prices change depending on what part of the country (or world) you live in.

Car Seat

You can’t even get out of the hospital without proof of one of these in most states. You have a few options though.  You can buy one used, but I’d have it checked at the local station (usually fire departments can do this but look up the nearest car seat check out point in your own area to be sure) which means buying it and possibly finding out that you wasted your money. Second, you can get a stage one seat (but then you have to buy a stage two later). And finally, what I recommend is getting a stage one and two combo. They are a little bit more expensive, but in the long run you save money and your car seat will last a whole lot longer. Ours was on sale for $140.  But with a stage one and two each costing around 80, we did save a bit of money doing this. If not then go for the luggable infant only carrier (which we never lug around but more on that next). For more information check out the AAP’s car seat guide for parents at www.healthychildren.org.  Another high point on getting the convertible seat is that in many cases you may end up having to buy one anyway, because the infant seats are only rated up to 22 pounds most of the time…and if your child doesn’t meet the rest of the qualifications for stage two, then you’re stuck in a lurch.

Baby carrier

I won’t go into too much detail here, but baby wearing is not only good for you and your baby, but it makes it so you don’t have to carry that huge infant car seat (especially if you don’t have one because you opted for the dual stage car seat).  And from personal experience, it is much easier to carry a baby on your chest than in one of those car seats.  You can buy one or make one. I recommend an unstructured carrier like the baby Katan or a Mai Tai… if you buy the fabric on sale they are easy to make and cheaper than buying one ($40-$60).  Not to mention that it is more personalized this way. Check out my baby carrying posts for more info (get link).

Cribs/Bassinets, Etc.

In my opinion you really don’t need a crib if you buy a pack and play. You can get mattresses to make this a dual purpose item and you can convert it into a toddler bed later by just cutting out a side. Even later down the line you can convert it into a bench or couch for your child. So I recommend a pack in play. If you’re doing Montessori you may just use the pack and play at night once your child is mobile since Montessori recommends your child being able to climb in and out of their own bed for naps.

Another note here is cosleepers. Yes, you can buy one, but honestly you can make one just as easily.  We were given our travel one (which she’s already outgrown), but I love cosleeping and we still do it even though we don’t have a cosleeper bed.  Freya and I just share a little double or I go down and sleep next to her little mattress on the floor. Some people can do this and some people need the cosleeper. Do what you think is safest if you want to have your baby close for those late night feedings.  Cosleepers can be converted into tables or benches later on as well.

But the only way I would recommend someone buy a crib is if it’s one that converts into a toddler bed and, eventually, into a single or double bed.

Strollers

If you don’t mind baby wearing your child everywhere, you don’t need a stroller. However, while we carry, I will admit it is useful for when we go out to the drive-in (like last night) and she falls asleep. It’s also great for holding the diaper bag, cups, keys, and extra stuff you buy during trips to the flea market and stuff. It can even provide you a break from carrying your child (I know a little obvious). Still a stroller is a good investment. If you are considering having a second child within the next two years I suggest a double. Worse comes to worse the extra space to store stuff for you and baby won’t hurt you.

Swings, Bouncers, Jumpers and more (optional)

This part is going to vary from child to child. Freya loved swings, but she hated the bouncer and jumpers she tried. They restricted her movement too much. But then again she only used her swing for four months she probably would have used it for longer if I had bought it right when she was born, but once she crawled, she was no longer interested in the swing. Personally, if your child likes swings, I suggest getting one second hand (with an AC adaptor if possible) or buy one and sell it at half a profit when your child grows out of it. Also, most doctors recommend against walkers as they can delay a child from learning how to walk.

Clothes

Hopefully most of the clothes you need will be given to you, but if for some reason you have to buy clothes here is what you’ll need for the first year:

A baby jacket

Seven onesies (in newborn, 3 month, 9 month, and maybe 12 months)

Seven sleepers/sleep sacks/nightgowns for bedtime (particularly in the winter)

Seven pairs of baby pants (in each of the above sizes).

Potentially a baby swim suit (though we just used one of her cloth diapers and washed it very well afterwards).

And if you plan on swaddling you’ll need either receiving blankets or several swaddlers.

I’m also going to put our linens here (at least two baby blankets and either a few crib sheets or a few more blankets to lie down)

Feeding Equipment

If you’re breastfeeding I suggest:

A pump (electric)

Freezer containers

Lanolin oil

If you cannot or do not want to breastfeed:

At least two baby bottles. I personally suggest the Advent bottles that mimic a nipple. It is very easy to switch out nipples as the child grows and babies respond very well to these bottles.

High Chairs

So you can pay for a nice wooden or plastic high chair, but they are really overpriced.  If you can’t find one for cheap or can’t afford to spend nearly (or more than) a hundred dollars, get a strap in seat that attaches to a chair from your retail store of choice. They are only about 30 dollars and convert into a booster seat.

Sippies and Bowls

By around six months you will need plates and baby silverware. You’ll also need sippy cups.  Preferably without hand holds as it makes them harder to learn to hold a cup later.  And because I didn’t feel it needed its own category, but deserves mention….if you are going to use  pacifiers, buy at least five or six to start out because they are good at hiding and or losing them.  If not, then no worries.

Diapers (Cloth or Otherwise)

Ok, diapers are a must, but if you want to save money, cloth is the way to go. The only exception to this is if you do not have access to a washer and dryer that isn’t a laundromat. Honestly, I invested $150 into 30 diapers (so 5-7 dollars per diaper). I wash half of them every two to three days. Our water cost maybe went up 10-15 dollars and our electric didn’t change much at all.  This is in comparison to buying a box of newborn (140-ish diapers) every week at almost $40 a pop or size one (around 100-ish diapers) for $40 a pop. We did that until she fit into her cloth diapers (she was a really small child) and were spending around $120 per month!  If you are serious about saving money go with cloth diapers and potentially cloth wipes (at least when you’re at home). The wipes can be made out of scrap fabric and will only cost you around 20 dollars.

And I think that about covers it. Everything else would be toys and books, which are nice, but not essential. Not to mention that there are libraries for that. As far as toys, you’ll be amazed what will amaze and amuse your child. Freya plays more with our plastic mixing bowl than she does with most of her toys.

If you can think of anything else that one absolutely must have, post it in the comments below.

Thanks and

Blessed Be.