Should I Stay or Should I ERGO?

It’s been one week since I purchased an Ergo baby carrier.  I had fully intended on wearing my baby as much as I could, and I also had fully intended on solely using my Moby for that purpose.  For the first five months, my intentions were golden.  And then Nika hit the 18-pound mark, and things began to change a bit.  I love my Moby wrap, especially for its versatility in positions and affordable price.  That aside, I had to admit when I started spending more time with other mamas…I had Ergo envy.

After about a month of consideration and self-justification, I succumbed.  I finally decided on the Sienna Sunset Organic cotton with Organic cotton teething pads for the straps, which cost me about $160 combined.  The first time I put it on I almost thought something was wrong because I couldn’t feel Nika’s weight.  My aching back sighed with relief.

The next test was whether or not Nika would like it, and I believe she has been in the Ergo for no less than three times per day since we got it.  I call it her ‘apartment’ because it’s her little space to hang out in and she can choose her interaction level by looking around or snuggling under her “roof” hood.  I was even so impressed with myself to figure out that “C” clips that came with her play mat to suspend toys above her could attach to the Ergo straps and hold toys onboard for her, until five minutes later when she figured out how to unhook the clip!  Nevertheless, putting an extra ring and moving the clip near my shoulder seemed to do the trick.  I’m also going to try a pacifier clip to the same effect.

Saturday we strapped her in,  walked to a café (without even a diaper bag!) and stayed for over two hours without complaint from her, and I believe we only took her out once for a short time to stretch her legs.  The next day we looked at houses for five hours and zipped her in and out of the Ergo at each house from her carseat unless she was napping.  I really can’t imagine how much longer it would’ve taken to have to drag out the stroller or adjust the Moby at each stop.  To beat, Monday morning I wasn’t aching a  bit.  I’m so in love…

Pros

  • User-friendly – quick and easy to get on and off by yourself and without having to learn how to wrap or drag trailing material on the floor
  • Baby-friendly – Baby is not pressed against my chest or suspended from crotch and so is close without being cramped
  • Storage pocket for small toy/pacifier/burp cloth
  • Hood for sleeping/rain
  • Cute colors and patterns
  • BACK SUPPORT!!

Cons

  • Expensive
  • For use at four months old without separate insert
  • Can’t face forward

A Note on Selection

The Ergo-nomics made sense to me, and I already can’t imagine life without it.  The Moby worked well for us in the early months and I salute it, especially since I have heard mixed reviews about the infant insert for the Ergo.  Originally I had the Galaxy Gray on my baby shower registry, but when I started noticing the Ergos in person, some of them looked like baby-backpacks to me.  They have new super stylish Petunia Pickle bottom prints but they are pricier.

I liked the organic prints best.  The black was probably my style but I didn’t choose it because it lacked a hood pocket and I was worried it would be too hot.  At first it didn’t seem to matter, but now I realize that I can hook my cell phone clip really easily onto the hood flap when we just go out for a walk in the park or around the block, so I do like the hood pocket.  Also, the Sienna has a really nice embroidery that  just made it fell more accessorized.  Considering I have worn it more than any single article of clothing, I prefer it to have some style, although it’s not neutral enough to match all of my clothes and I’m sure that will be a consideration sometimes.  As far as the teething pads go, I purchased them because Nika is quite the teether and I hoped to limit the washings of the Ergo itself, but I don’t think they are an absolute necessity.  She tends to still like to teeth on the parts of exposed strap she can find, although I noticed she likes to rest her head on the pads.

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Harvest Time at Applecheeks

As a follow-up to my last post, Applecheeks is having a wonderful sale – 10% off until September 16!  Check out their Facebook page for some of the many participating retailers or head on over to Applecheeks site.  I plan on stocking up and trying out some of the bamboo boosters.

To sweeten the sale, like sugar on top of a fresh apple pie, Applecheeks is hosting a great giveaway to celebrate getting 8,000 fans on Facebook.  Check out the blog post to enter to win one of six little bundles, which include a diaper and insert!

Mmmmm….apples in fall are my favorite.

Printalicious is here!

Back in the beginning of June, I heard of an exciting event in the cloth diapering community called Printalicious from one of my favorite diapering blogs, All About Cloth Diapers.  The company Applecheeks was revealing it’s new diaper prints.  I had never heard of Applecheeks at the time, but in my new hobby of cloth diapering, I found myself excited anyway.

It was a month of firsts for me and my cloth diapering journey.  It was the first time I participated in a live web chat, where the creators of Applecheeks explained their diapers, the new prints and gave away a ton of really great prizes.  It was the first time I actually pre-ordered a diaper, just like I used to pre-order concert tickets in my 20s.  It was also the first time I finally admitted to being a cloth diaper junkie, something I never thought I would say only six months ago!

Delish…straight from the orchard

The Applecheeks company is owned by two likable moms, Ilana and Amy, who were super sweet and sincere in the live webchat.  I liked them, and I liked the idea of their product, a trim-fitting pocket diaper that unstuffs itself in the wash – genius.  I also loved the two new prints, Delicious, which is as yummy as an apple pie, and Wild Child, which is like an adorable box of animal crackers.  Both of them are cute in design and unisex in colors.  I love prints, but I’m picky.  I’ve seen many Blah prints out there, and I’ve also bought diapers solely because I love the print.  I had to have one of these, however.  I would have liked both, but I really fell in love with Delicious with it’s blue and green apple-logo design.  It matched perfectly with the brand new Hello Kitty Apple-a-day Babylegs I had just bought Nika!  And anyway, I love apples.  Perfect apple goodness.

I was excited to try it.  Two things are the bane of  my diapering existence right now – laundry tabs and unstuffing.  In fact, I never unstuffed a diaper for the first few months when they were on small settings with minimal stuffing.  I rarely had a problem with a diaper not unstuffing itself in the pre-rinse cycle.  Once the REAL diapering commenced and my girl started heavy wetting, however, that was no longer the case.  It’s not the end of the world, but there are times that unstuffing a poopfest is pretty nasty, and she hasn’t even started solid foods yet.

Bring out your wild side

So, Delicious has now been in rotation for about one and a half months and I’m happy to report that it has always unstuffed, even when filled with night-capacity stuffing.  It has also never leaked, making it a great night option, though it is so cute that I hate using it for nighttime.  I’ve actually gotten compliments on how cute it is!  It is still in that ‘new pocket’ phase, so I can’t be sure it will never need stripping, but so far so good.  It is also so soft and very trim, which is actually my favorite characteristic.  I sized up because Nika was in between the two offered sizes, but now at 18 pounds she fits in the diaper without much excess and I can actually fit her into age-appropriate clothes.  With my other pockets, I often have to put her in sized-up clothes because of the bulk.

I also noticed that the diaper came in an envelope marked EcoEnclose.  Curious, I looked up the company.  It provides compostable mailing supplies.  Their mailers and bubble-mailers are made from polyehtylene plastic that is treated in order to break down into humus during composting, or even in a landfill, in 9-60 months.  They also provide 100% recycled boxes and packaging.  I am still too wary to put it into my own compost, but am glad to know it will degrade even in a landfill and I’m happy to see some companies tackling the unsustainable shipping-waste issue.  The prices aren’t bad, either.  The mailers start at 16 cents each and even after shipping are still one-quarter the price of the post office supplies that I buy.  It’s a good way to vote with your dollar and support a sustainable business practice if you ship things often.

Feeding-time Follies

August 1-7 was the official World Breastfeeding Week for 2011.

I wasn’t expecting to celebrate in any particular way.  I certainly never thought I would be a part of a flash mob of any kind, let alone one that involved a dance simulating giving birth, but at my local Saturday morning farmer’s market I found myself dancing with my baby to the beat of steel drums and doing a cute bouncey dance that served as my morning workout as well as to educate the strolling market-goers about breastfeeding law.

The night before I was still uncertain about the flash mob idea.  I could feel the lukewarm “are you going to do it?” attitude among my weekly breastfeeding momma support group.  Plus, I had an east coast guest visiting for only one day.  At the beginning of the week there were only twenty or so mommas signed up.  Hardly a mob, and the last thing on my busy baby-mind was learning dance moves to not be the worst dancer among such a small group.

My guest arrived and we went out to dinner.  I fed baby first, but by the time we drove, parked, and made it to a restaurant, Nika was already getting a little anxious.  The restaurant was tiny with only one main room and a small single bathroom.  Normally, I would take her to a nursing-friendly baby store right downtown where we could pop in, sit in a rocking chair and change her in comfort and ease, but the store, Mother Nurture, was long closed for the night.  I thought to take her to the car to nurse instead.  It was Friday night and we had parked in front of a bar, so of course there were half a dozen smokers crowded right in front of my car.  No, thanks.

I drove to a car lot across the street from the restaurant, and by this time Nika had fallen asleep.  Whew!

Back in the restaurant, she immediately woke up again and she was HUNGRY!  So, back to the car, but by now I was boxed in tight by SUVs and the garage was dark and humid.  I bemoaned my situation, squeezed the carseat back in place and took off for home, leaving my husband and friend to cab it (after a leisurely baby-less meal and a bottle of wine, so I didn’t feel too sorry for them!)

In the comfort of the nursery, with a happy, sleepy baby, I thought about how grateful I was to have Mother Nurture to go to when I was downtown during the day.  It was a great resource that I knew I had to support, not just by patronizing the store but by dancing.  Publicly dancing.  So, flash mob it was!

The California breastfeeding law is as follows:

California Civil Code § 43-53.
1997 Section 43.3 of the Civil Code

43.3.  Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a mother may breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, except the private home or residence of another, where the mother and the child are otherwise authorized to be present. 

It’s so hot even my diapers are Thirsties

I’ll admit it.  The main reason I purchased a Thirsties Duo Snap Wrap diaper cover was for the print Blackbird, a print perhaps even more beloved than those sassy little monsters the Ooga Boogas.

Blackbird, blackbird, have you any PUL? Yes, sir!

I’ll also admit that on those bleary-eyed newborn mornings, a pre-stuffed pocket was a welcome sight over the two-step diaper-and-cover process.  I never quite got the hang of newborn prefolds.  Originally, I bought a dozen Bummis newborn prefolds and a set of three Snappis.  From my research, I thought I would use the prefolds often.  I was right – except I ended up using my prefolds to lay baby on for changing and to make sure her little bummi was nice and dry before a fresh dipe (and I still use them for this!)

Don’t fear, though.  My Thirsties never got neglected.  For the the first four months (to 15 pounds) that it fit, it was perfect over fitted diapers (Under the Nile and Green Mountain Diapers fitteds).  Also, oddly enough, my husband actually preferred the prefold/snappi routine over all other diapers.   This was one of the reasons I decided to get a dozen infant-sized organic prefolds and a Thirsties Size 2 when Nika needed to size up.  Now, I am enjoying the power of prefolds.  I’ve got the Snappi-dance down and the organic cotton is soft, smell-free and great for days at home.

I do have a few words of caution.  My new Size 2 is a solid color (rose).  I washed according to directions and still had some color bleed into the white seam, so I would recommend a careful first wash.  Also, be gentle with the snaps, as always, but especially with the rise snaps.  I found that they are more easily dislodged than on the Size 2 for some reason.

That being said, I would love to try some other Thirsties products like pail liners, prefolds, doublers, or even the diaper cover, which is said to have a roomier fit than the trimmer wrap for nighttime stuffings .  They have a give-away every week called Thirsty Thursdays.  Check it out.  This week is wipes and diaper bags!

A Wipe for every Dipe

One of my biggest revelations when I started shopping for cloth diapers was that there are cloth wipes to go with them.  Of course it makes perfect sense, considering you use multiple wipes per diaper change.  And likely they are among the easiest things to make yourself, though I am neither handy with a needle nor do I own a sewing machine.  But really it’s like napkins – I start to feel kind of swindled when I think of how much I have been convinced to pay for disposable paper squares!

I couldn’t believe when I saw in several baby books that it was recommended to wash the wipe to use it on a newborn.  This is because even the most hypoallergenic wipes still require preservative chemicals that keep them from getting moldy which may irritating baby’s sensitive skin.  Wash the wipe?  Really?

Even when I was still unsure about cloth diapers, cloth wipes made sense to me.  I invested in a setup recommended by Green Mountain Diapers, which includes having a Thermos pump pot, Kissaluvs Diaper Potion and, of course, wipes!  I originally only purchased two dozen including one dozen 5-by-8 inch velour and one dozen 5-by-8 inch two-sided terry and flannel wipes. It was recommended to start with 4-5 dozen, and I have since expanded my stash to include two dozen more, including Organic Birdseye wipes.

Wipe central

The whole setup sits right on the end of the changing table: Thermos with a little bowl and a washcloth underneath to catch drips, and a little basket next to it with wipes, cleaner, snappis, lanolin, and even a thermometer or other little things we might need.  I boil water in the kettle to ensure it is sterilized to put in the Thermos pump pot.  The Thermos keeps the water HOT for at least half a day, so much so that sometimes I have to let it cool for a few hours before I can use it comfortably.  After that the water gets cool before it’s gone, but my baby never minded even when it was cool temperature-wise.  Now that it is hot the cool water feels good!

I’m glad I tried a variety of wipes.  The two-sided terry/flannel wipes are great.  The terry side really grabs at solids and the flannel is smooth for a wipe-down.  These wipes are a bit thicker, however, so it’s nice to have a velour or Birdseye to grab after the initial wipe to clean out the creases or to make sure baby is nice and dry.  The Birdseye wipes are the thinnest and most like disposables.  They fold and fit easily into a travel case.  I found they took longer to “break in” but after six or so washes they are soft and much more absorbent.  I keep the Kissaluvs (all-natural) diaper potion handy to.  Water is all I need usually, but I’ll give it a spray of Kissaluv’s if its a major mess and not near bathtime!

I was still using disposable wipes sometimes during travel or laundry, and I found that Nika was getting red blotches that I believe were from the wipes, so I think clean, soft cotton wipes and water are so much better.  They’re so nice I’ve even considered using them myself!  The wipes go in with my regular diaper laundry and I’ve never had smell/stain issues at all with them.  The only real difference is having to boil some water every few days.  Oh, and not having to go buy wipes!

What I paid:

Thermos pump pot $17.99

2-sided wipes $9.95 per dozen

Organic Birdseye wipes $9.95 per dozen

Velour wipes $10.95 per dozen

Kissaluvs Diaper Lotion Potion Spray $7.95

Bye, Bye Blueberry

Today was a sad day for my diaper stash.  When I was changing Nika and realized her diaper made her look like a mini plumber-in-training, I knew it was time – time to say goodbye to her Blueberry MiniDeluxe newborn diaper.

The MiniDeluxe was always a favorite.  It’s soft and trim and was one of her best fitting diapers until she outgrew it.  I consider myself  lucky though – it fit from day one at 7 pounds and lasted until month 4 at 16 pounds (it’s tagged to 15 pounds).  Because of the trim fit I only used it during the day.  It fit well under clothes, but wasn’t as accomodating for extra nighttime stuffing.  I usually only used the microterry insert with it and can’t recall any leaking issues aside from it needing a stripping cycle at about 2 months of daily use.

The Blueberry was costlier for a newborn diaper at $19.95 (though I recently saw it listed at $17.95).  I considered it the splurge diaper for my newborn stash.  I love the color – meadow green with blue snaps – but moreso I love the quality.  It is always so soft and smooth.  No bunching or balling anywhere on this diaper!  And the company, which also makes Swaddlebees, is dedicated to using non-toxic cotton.  Truly a green diaper!   Hopefully I will soon be able to get a one-size to replace my mini Blue.  Until then, Blueberry season is officially over.

Peace out, green Bluey