Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I Made One Cloth Diaper!

I gotta say, I'm pretty proud of this little diaper!  It's the first one that I've finished.  After a week or so of thinking, sketching, and carrying my tape measure around everywhere, I finally sketched out my pattern. I guess I'll see what needs to be tweaked after test driving this one a little, but I'm fairly happy with the results so far.

This is a one size fitted diaper made out of an old T-shirt. It has one sewn in soaker and a second soaker that snaps in under the attached one.  I had a lot of trouble getting good pictures because my model wanted to chew on the diaper.  Once he had it on, he didn't want to stay still for pictures.  Always moving!

I finally just took one while he was sleeping on my lap (as I type this).

Silly me, I forgot to change my thread color, so I was top stitching with white on a dark fabric.  It didn't get too wacky though!

Update:  I made a couple more like this one and we have been using them for a while now.  With the next two, I added an extra layer of t-shirt material to make it a little thicker.  I think I will change the snap placement on the wings a little, but that's about it!  I'm thinking of trying a few hybrid fitteds next. These are fitted diapers with a layer of fleece hidden inside to make them moisture resistant, but not water proof. This way they breath little more, but can last a bit more without a cover.  I like letting him run around at home with just a fitted.  It's very easy to tell when he's wet and his skin gets a little more air.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Can I actually make a functioning cloth diaper??

I love using cloth diapers and I've really started to think about making some of my own.  I'm becoming more and more friendly with my sewing machine.  For years it's mostly been gathering dust.  I sure don't remember very much of what I learned in my 8th grade home economics class, so it's involved a lot of online research and YouTube videos.  Maybe some time I will be able to take a local class, but for now I'm just trying to use the machine more.  The most complicated project that I've completed lately is a simple draw string skirt for myself, although I did make some other clothing items back in high school.  Can I make my own diapers?

I'm going to start by trying to make a T-shirt fitted diaper.  We like using fitteds, coverless or with wool covers, around the house and at night.  So, we would use it and it wouldn't involve getting a bunch of specialized or expensive materials.  This way I can figure out what pattern I like most while expanding my sewing skills.  I just need to get a pattern together for my diaper.  This has the overall shape, snap placement, and elastic placement.  I know I need to use snaps because Hubby just doesn't want to use any of our snapless fitteds.  Snappis don't work well with knit materials anyway.  There are a few popular free diaper patterns available online, but I think I'll try drawing up my own first.  The results could be interesting!

Maybe someday I will get good enough to make and sell some diapers for a little extra income (a girl can dream, right?), but for now I'll be happy if I can make one that works for my little guy!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

How To Make A Diaper Dummy: Your little helper when using a diaper sprayer.

I didn't know if I wanted to bother with a diaper sprayer.  Then I got one.  Now, I'll never go back!  I miss it when we travel and I have to use other poo removal options.  My little guy is in the transition to eating solids stage and the results in his diapers have been very... sticky.  My only problem has been figuring out how to hold the cloth diaper and the sprayer and keep the diaper from collapsing in on itself while being sprayed.  This is important for getting the sticky stuff out of all the folds.  I could kind of lay it against the inside of the toilet, but that curves the wrong way and is just icky.  I've been thinking about it for a while and my answer is this odd little contraption that my husband calls the Diaper Dummy, because it looks a bit like a small mannequin.

The diaper snaps right to the top using the snaps already on the diaper and is held in place.  For my few non snapping diapers, I also attached some binder clips which I just clipped to the edges of the Dummy so they weren't flopping around.  And, of course, the handy jug handle is on the back.

I guess I'm crafty.  I make my some of my cloth diapers, wool dryer balls, some of my clothes, and many other things.  But, when I raided our recycling bin and sat down at the kitchen table with these supplies to started "creating," I'm fairly sure Hubby thought I'd gone more than a little crazy.  I wouldn't tell him what I was making until it was done, so he kept an eye on the baby and baked a cake!

How I made my Diaper Dummy....

empty and clean plastic milk jug
empty and clean 1 liter pop bottle
some yarn, string or ribbon (2 feet should be plenty)
2 binder clips
hole punch
exacto knife or box cutter
snap pliers (with an awl to make small holes for the snaps, but I forgot to put it in the pic)
4 full sets of plastic Size 20, 4 piece snaps (This is the most common size used in cloth diapers.  I used KAM snaps)

Cut the top off your milk jug and cut down the side directly opposite the handle.

****IMPORTANT**** Make sure you leave no rough edges and round off all corners!  Always feel around every edge to make sure that there aren't any spots that could snag a diaper.  Sand an edge down if you have to.

Cut off the bottom and about 2/3 of the sides so it will open up like this. (Save one of the side pieces for later.)

Use your hole punch to make a hole in the top right and left "shoulders."  Careful not to place them too close to the edge.

Push the handle side in to form the bump that holds the diaper open.  You may have to work at it a little to get the right shape.  Tie your yarn in the first hole, thread binder clip on yarn, wrap around the handle once, thread on the other binder clip, pull very tight and tie in other hole.  The string helps hold the Dummy in the proper shape.

Now to add the snaps at the top that will be used to attach the diaper.  These don't need exact placement, but you can match them up to your diapers if it helps.  I put one stud and one socket on each side.  This allows me to adjust the placement of the diaper by using any of the diaper snaps to attach it to the Dummy.  Also, different kinds of diapers use different snap placements, and this way I know all my diapers will work.  I cut 4 small circles from the extra piece of jug that I saved from earlier and used them to reinforce the snap attachments.  They are snapped and unsnapped frequently and the plastic jug is a little flimsy.  I put my snaps a little too far from the edge of the plastic and had a bit of trouble getting my snap pliers far enough in to attach them, so keep that in mind when punching the placement holes for the snaps with your awl.

The top portion of the Dummy is done!  It could be used like this, but it's a little short.  I added a "skirt" to make it longer.  For this I cut the top and bottom off the 1 liter bottle and cut open one side.  Round off all corners.

I opened this up and attached the curved side to the back of the Dummy using snaps.  Take your time with the snaps and make sure they are facing the right way before attaching.  I put them the wrong way on the bottom of the jug the first time.  Yep, palm smacked forehead.  Oops!  It's not easy to remove snaps once they're attached, but I was able to fix it eventually without tearing the jug.

Using snaps to attach the skirt is nice because it's very secure and has a little flex. You could add a third snap in the middle if you don't want flex.

All done!  I maybe spent 30 cents on supplies and it makes spraying off my diapers so much faster and less yucky.

-An upside down ice cream pail lid works well to set the Dummy in when it's not being used.  This will catch any drips.
-If all your diapers have snaps, you probably don't need the clips.
-If you have hook & loop diapers, you could attach some to the top instead of snaps or along with them.  I would use the loop side of the tape on the Dummy and flip my diaper tabs around to attach.  This would keep hooks from damaging other diapers.
-I used the box cutter to start a cut, then used the scissors to finnish, but you could probably get by with just the scissors.
-If you don't have a snap pliers, you could just use the clips at the top and tie the bottom piece on.  But, the snaps really do make the Dummy so much more handy.

If you were wondering, Hubby figured out what it was in two guesses once I was done, and the cake he made was red velvet with cream cheese frosting.  Also, not pretty (he didn't let it cool very much before frosting), but very tasty!

If you have any questions or would like to share any tips, please leave me a comment.

Happy spraying!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Eat, Sleep, Fuss

Moon Baby is 6 1/2 months old.  He got his first tooth on March 19th.  Now he seems to be getting a second tooth and going through a growth spurt.  He's been nursing constantly and sleeping most of the day.  It's been 3 days since we've seen poo, which is fine since he's almost exclusively breastfed.  He's only had a taste of banana so far. When he is awake, he's fussy for him, which really isn't bad.  I feel so blessed to have such a generally happy and mellow baby.  He sure is curious though.  He has to get into and examine everything he can reach.  He's so close to crawling, we really need to finish all of the baby proofing.  I'm having a hard time doing anything when all he wants to do is eat and sleep on my lap.  Oh, well.  I'm just going to enjoy all the good snuggling while I can.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Baby's First Cold

Moon Baby has a cold.  It really isn't that bad, but I hate seeing him unhappy.  He was just starting to roll over from his tummy to his back, instead of only the other way around, but now we've just been snuggling for the last few days.  He does seem to be better today.  I'm glad that I don't have to worry about taking time off from work.  I guess that if this is as bad as it gets, I'm lucky.  It's just sad to hear my baby cough.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Dreaming of Wool...

For the past few nights, I have dreamed about wool.  All kinds of wool.  Raw wool, wool yarn, felted wool, finished wool products, and even the sheep, covered in wool!  Why?  Well, I do love wool.  I am also very excited about some wool batting, white and dyed, that I ordered.  I have a few projects in mind and I've been brainstorming with my mom about them.   We've both been getting excited about this.  She is a talented artist and is always fun to talk to about creative projects.  And, we don't do things like this lightly.  She's even talking about getting some sheep again.  She grew up raising sheep on the family farm with her father and always loved them, even if Grandpa didn't.  She would possibly get Shetland sheep, or maybe Icelandic.  Mom already sells her pottery in a local store that is an artists cooperative, and through various other outlets, so it wouldn't be much of a stretch to include a wool line, either wool yarn or finished products.  Probably some things involving wet felting or needle felting or some supplies for either.  Wool is so versatile, there are so many options!  This reminds me of the days when we were just dreaming up the idea for her pottery business.  I guess we'll see how far it goes this time.  First, though, I'm going to make us some nice, funky, wool dryer balls!  ....and some kind of toy for Moon Baby....   hmmm...... a bear? a doll?  I'm guessing that I'll be dreaming about wool for a while!

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Nipple Shield: Friend or Foe?

I get the feeling that I should write down my memories of using the nipple shield now, before they fade away.  I guess I want to remember, for next time, how hard breastfeeding is in the beginning.  I'm already at the point where it seems almost odd how thankful I was to get the shield, and my baby is only 3.5 months old.  I believe that it saved our nursing relationship.

I did everything I could to prepare for breastfeeding, but there is only so much anyone can learn from books, the internet, and a couple La Leche League meetings.  My typical "research the hell out of it" approach needed some real world experience.  I was eager for my baby to be born so we could start.

I had heard and read many stories of moms and babies getting stuck with a shield, so I wanted to avoid it if I could.  My baby was a big, sturdy newborn who was happy to start nursing and my milk was coming in within 36 hours of his birth.  What could go wrong?  Well, nursing just became more and more painful over the first few days.  He didn't have a very good latch and, even though I was trying everything I could think of or had read about or seen in a YouTube video, my nipples were getting torn up.  Especially the left one, which was the side I had originally thought we were doing better on!  The right one was shaped a little differently, more oval than circular, so we had to start with side lying nursing for the first couple days.  I think this also saved that side from some of the more painful, initial damage from the bad latch.  Also, this helped us with getting sleep, because we had to be lying down.  My biggest problem was that my nipples would always slide part way out of his mouth, no matter what I did.  This left him sucking on half a nipple.  Ouch!!  This was creating clacks in the middle of the nipple.  As they became more and more painful, I kept thinking about the lactation consultant at the hospital suggesting a nipple shield and my negative reaction.  I thought I would be giving up if I started using one.  I know they can cause a decrease in supply.  I didn't want to do anything that might damage my ability to feed my baby, especially since my supply started off so well.  I also didn't want to have to worry about keeping one clean and always having it with me.

By day five, when we had an appointment with a nurse for a weight check, I knew I had to talk to her about breastfeeding.  She was also a lactation consultant, so I was hopeful that she could help.  She watched us for a bit and we talked about how things were going.  My husband seemed uncomfortable about this process, so he took a little walk.  I thought this was a little strange, as he is always very supportive of me breastfeeding.  But, this was hard for him.  He knew I was having trouble and wanted to help, but there was nothing he could do.  As the LC and I talked, I could see her only suggestion was going to be "power through the pain."  It was me that brought up the nipple shield.  I'm no wimp.  I didn't use any pain meds during the birth of my 9 lb 7 oz baby.  But, I didn't think that I was going to be able to keep doing this much longer.  I could tell that I was starting to dread every nursing session.  She didn't want to jump strait to a nipple shield, but we couldn't come up with anything else to help.  She finally pulled one out and we tried it in her office.  Wow!  I could feel myself relax and all the tension in my body drain away.  No pain!  I left her office grinning and feeling more optimistic than I had been all week.

I was careful to use the shield only as much as I needed it.  Baby didn't seem to care one way or the other.  I was happy that he didn't decide that he couldn't eat without it.  The shield also helped pull my right nipple into a shape where baby could get it in his mouth more easily and we could use that side sitting up.  I needed to use the shield almost all the time for the first few days, while my nipples healed.  Then, slowly, I was able to use it less and less.  I started to forget to put lanolin on my nipples after nursing.  I stopped worrying that my injured nipple would stick to my nursing pads.  After a couple weeks, my husband asked me how often I needed to use the shield, and I realized that I hadn't used it in days.  I haven't needed it since.

I'm still amazed at how comfortable we are with breastfeeding now.  I have always heard that if I could get through the first few weeks, it would get better.  Everyone's experience is different, but this was very true for me.  I look down now at my happily nursing baby and am so glad that I didn't give up.  I never thought that I would use a nipple shield.  But, in the end, I'm glad it was there when I needed it.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

My Best New Years Yet!

This year was the first time in eight years that I wasn't serving drinks for New Years Eve.  Sometimes I would try and go out for a few drinks after work, but it was always a huge appointment.  Everyone was already trashed and stupid, exactly the same people I had just had my fill of waiting on during one of the worst nights of the year at work.  Anyone who has ever worked a job like that can tell you there is such a thing as too busy.  When it's too crowded to get to your customers frequently enough, well, they just go get it themselves.  Then, they are cranky about that and don't even tip the bartender.  Not everyone is like this, but enough are that it turns a night that looks like it should be great into just a bunch of craziness.  It's frustrating and everyone has to work.  So, after a night like that I could go out, deal with more drunk, crazed celebrators and no available cabs which means getting stuck somewhere for who knows how long OR I  could just go home.  After getting home a few years ago at 9 a.m. pissed off, sober and exhausted, I learned my lesson.

What did I do this year?  I stayed home.  But this time I was hanging out with Moon Baby.  I didn't have to deal with the crappy weather outside or ANY drunk people.  Sure, I was puked on a couple times, and I had someone yelling at me that he wanted a drink.  This year, I made no tips.  My husband had to work, so my "New Years kiss" was a phone call.  I even got pooped on a little bit.  But, Moon Baby's smiles and laughs made it much more fun than anything else I could have been doing.  This is one of those times when I have thought back to what my life was like a year ago, before baby or even pregnancy, and am amazed by how much things can change in only one year.  Where will I be next New Years?  I can't wait to find out!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Squealing and Blowing Raspberries

And now we have hit the squealing faze.  At almost three and a half months, Moon Baby has just found the right pitch to rattle the windows.  When he is hungry, tired or has a wet diaper, the alarm rings!  I do feel lucky that he only yells and squeals when there is a real, solvable problem.  I don't have to make to many guesses to figure out how to make him happy again.

No problem now though.  He is sleeping in his favorite position, on my lap with his boppy supporting his back and his face pressed up to his "security boob."  This always makes me laugh because my breast is bigger than his head.  Watching him sleep like that is one of the many great things about being his mother.

Last week his big new thing was blowing raspberries all day.  He thought it was the best thing ever for a few days, then just quit doing it.  Although this was coupled with drooling, so they were wet and bubbly, I would happily go back to that faze.

Why am I starting this blog?

I will state right away that this blog is created purely for selfish reasons.  I am writing it for me.  I want to be able to ramble about what I'm thinking and doing as a new mom, or anything else that I happen to feel like sharing.  So, if you enjoy my ramblings, you are welcome to visit any time.  There may also be many references to cloth diaper pages, blogs and giveaways.  I love my fluff and am happy to share info with others about it, but I usually do get extra entries in giveaways by mentioning them here.  This should be interesting.  I will be mostly typing with a sleeping or nursing baby on my lap!

Just a little info about me and my family.  I am a wife and a mother.  My husband is a very caring man that is my best friend.  My son, I will refer to him as Moon Baby here, is just a little guy who has stolen both of our hearts.  We are in our early to mid thirties and this is our first child.  I guess we are a fairly crunchy family.  This wasn't anything we deliberately set out to do, but where we ended up after much researching and soul searching about what is best for our family.  I am now, of all things, a stay at home mom, living with my in-laws, and I couldn't be happier about it.  We cloth diaper, breastfeed, co-sleep, baby wear, have both become intactivists after having a baby boy, and use the three Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) whenever we can.  But, we are not vegetarians or vegans.  We do vaccinate, just on a more delayed and spread out schedule that our pediatrician suggested after discussing it with us.  We try to go organic when we can and it's affordable, but I still eat junk food more often than I care to admit.  I will most likely share the whys of most of this in future posts, but I don't expect everyone else to agree with me.  We aren't perfect, just human.  I know I will make mistakes as a parent.  I hope I can learn from them and not beat myself up to badly.  Every family is different and needs to do what works for them.  This is what is working for us.  For today, at least!