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    Chiropractor Mama Dr. Dolly and professional photographer Elisa B. share about adventures in intentional and natural parenting while living in Virginia's beautiful Blue Ridge.
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Cloth Diapers for Toddlers and Bigger Babies

…because nap time and night time are a long time to go without a potty break.

Although my son wore most of his non-fitted cloth diapers for a very long time (4 months to 24 months), his bigger thighs have rendered most of the smaller cloth one size rather unwearable.

You may have already read my extensive review on cloth diapers and tips for how to care for them.

Since I wrote the cloth diaper review in August 2008, more styles and brands have landed on the market. So, it’s time for an addendum particularly targeting bigger babies and toddlers.

Again, a great benefit of cloth is how it makes babies conscientious of their wetness or diaper fullness, thus encouraging elimination communication at an early age.  Even once your child enters the potty training stage and transitions to underwear during the day, there’s the sleep time periods that require something other than underwear.

My son wore disposable training pants…once.  Never again.  He borrowed a pair from his cousin’s stash.  The extra amount of chemicals (polypropylene, polyethylene, polyacrylate) was irritating to his skin and caused an instant diaper rash.  No thanks.  We’ll stick with cloth.

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Kushies Ultra Lite

Kushies Ultra Lite, $12.49 – $13.99

  • Effectiveness at night: 4/5
  • Aesthetics: 5/5
  • Lack of bulkiness: 4/5
  • Ease of use: 5/5
  • Maintenance: 5/5
  • Comfort: 5/5
  • Value: 4/5

The  ultra lite is for infants is designed for babies who weigh 10 – 22 pounds, while the toddler-size is for babies who weigh 22 – 45 pounds.

This is a fitted diaper with hook and loop closure tabs using 6 layers of absorbent 100% cotton flannel plus an additional attached flannel soaker that can be folded up (boys) or down (girls). The roomy legs of the toddler version allow my son to run, jump, and walk without a discernible bulky cloth diaper waddle (totally cute in babies, but not desirable in walking and running toddlers). Compared to the Classic Kushies Diaper, the Ultra LIte feature two fewer layers of cloth and a lighter waterproof barrier.

My son used the classic Kushies beginning when he was 8 months old.  They were fantastic–and they were hand me downs used by 2 other children (talk about a long diaper life). I love everything Kushies makes regarding cloth diapers–definitely a workhorse that’s light weight and built to last, plus super easy to clean without pulling out stuffed pockets or removing snappies.

The Ultra Lite diaper is available in variety of fun and mod prints suitable for girl (pinks with brown accents), boy (blues with brown accents), and neutral (greens with brown or multi-color as shown above). As a day use diaper, I found it worked well compared to the majority of other cloth diapers that my son can barely fit into.  The slimmer legs are perfect for mobile babies and toddler.  As a sleep time diaper, I needed to use an extra layer of soaker for my son who is a heavy wetter.  There’s room to add soakers as necessary with this diaper.

Easy to clean since they’re washing machine/dryer friendly, comfortable for my son, and delightful to the eye.

Read product details from Kushies. Purchase Kushies Ultra Lite Diapers.

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Envibum One-Size with absorbency pad $23.99, Absorbency pads $2.99

  • Effectiveness at night: 5/5
  • Aesthetics: 5/5
  • Lack of bulkiness: 3/5
  • Ease of use: 5/5
  • Maintenance: 4/5
  • Comfort: 5/5
  • Value: 4/5

Envibum’s minkee soft outer features a PUL water barrier lining inside; plus, there’s an unbleached cotton waffle with extra absorbency.  It works like a pocket or with extra flannel soakers on top.  Washer-friendly and line dry to keep this super cute and super soft diaper beautiful for the long haul.  It’s designed to fit the tiniest newborn to a growing toddler for babies weighing 8 to 40 pounds.

The soaker pads are optionally fit with hook and loop closures to keep them in place (no need to deal with stuffing and unstuffing soiled soakers in pockets!)–or you can get them without the hook and loop closure.

Envibum has a high commitment to creating green products that are useful for moms from all walks of life.  This is a very high quality diaper that feels like a super soft stuffed animal.  You’ll want to snuggle your little one in this beautiful diaper.  My son stroked the minkee fabric saying, “So soft!  My diaper!”  It’s definitely his favorite cloth diaper and easily one of mine.

I LOVE that Envibum is owned and operated by a family who gives back $2 toward every all-in-one cloth diaper sale to a non-profit (based on the color of the diaper).  Read more on their giving back page. Available colors include green, pink, red, aqua (each color related to a specific non-profit).

Envibum

Mom4Mom diaper cover $12.99, t-shaped liner $9.99.

  • Effectiveness at night: 3/5
  • Aesthetics: 4/5
  • Lack of bulkiness: 4/5
  • Ease of use: 3/5
  • Maintenance: 3/5
  • Comfort: 4/5
  • Value: 4/5

This is Envibum’s take on prefolds with a cover.  The t-shaped prefold is made from flannel–it’s much less bulky than a rectangular chinese prefold, yet just as absorbent and durable.

Envibum claims you don’t need to use pins or snappies to keep the front flaps of the prefold in place before applying the waterproof, hook and loop closure diaper cover, but I thought it was very hard to keep the prefold in place while applying the cover (and my son is old enough to hold relatively still for diaper time).  Snaps  or hook and loop closures would help with securing the prefold. 

For every Mom4Mom diaper cover purchased, Envibum gives one to another mom in need.  Reading about how moms in third world countries re-use disposable diapers as diaper covers…for months…made my heart heavy.  Learning about the hope that Envibum provides for these moms (there and here in the US) and why they use brown velcro makes me want to support this company with all future cloth diaper purchases.  Period.Read product details from Envibum and purchase diapers.

Note: I received diapers, soakers, and cover samples for the purpose of this review.

Wordless Wednesday: 4 Generations

Almost wordless. I wanted to just write a short note to explain the significance of this post. I think this picture will be very special to Lucien in years to come. Here he is with his daddy, granddad, and great-grandfather (who is in his late 90s).

I have a very similar picture from my own childhood and I am the only child who has it (my great-grandmother passed away before any of my siblings were born). This will likely be the case for Lucien as well, so while he didn’t really seem impressed on the day, I do hope that he’ll appreciate the significance down the road.

Aren’t we lucky to have these photos as a lasting memory? I think so.

He is Risen!

Easter traditions really vary from one family to another, I’ve found – although I do think either a ham or lamb supper unites us all. This year we celebrated the resurrection of our Savior and baby’s first easter together with my family. We had an Easter egg hunt, but we always include a few numbered eggs … a dozen to be exact. Those eggs have special meaning as they’re resurrection eggs! It brings meaning to the traditional egg hunt since it tells the story of Christ dying on the cross to save us from our sins, and then rising again. The kids aren’t disappointed about not having a candy filled egg – they’re thrilled to be able to participate in the story.


Your turn: What are your Easter traditions?

Lucien at 4 Months

This past week was a big one for Lucien, and in many ways a big one for me as well. He’s growing so quickly, I can hardly believe it. I had always heard moms talking about this but now that I’m experiencing it, I know what they mean!

On Monday Edward was holding Lucien and I came over to say hello and he reached for me! He has started showing a preference for mommy and daddy in the last two or so weeks, but this was new. I can’t express how loved it made me feel. Tuesday, I went to get him out of the car and he was reaching for the dangling toys attached to his car seat – just reached out and grabbed them as if to say “I’ve been looking at these for a while and today is the day I make them mine!”

Wednesday we had our 4 month checkup with Dr. Gelburd. We found out that he has grown three inches in the last 8 weeks and he’s in the 90th percentile for length and the 75th for weight (flip flopped from his last appointment. No wonder he has already grown out of almost every 3-6 month sleeper we have!). Can you imagine growing at a rate like that?

Thursday was my favorite day of last week, and it wasn’t for anything that happened during the day. Lucien cried during the night and as I went to pick him up from his crib to nurse him he put his arms around me and gave me a sort of hug around my neck – so happy to that I had come to get him. When I took him back to my bed we just sat there in the dark – just the two of us – snuggling for a few minutes. It was beautiful being alone together (Edward was asleep) in the wee hours of the morning. I’m starting to realize how quickly those feedings will be over.

Your turn: What are some of the moments you’ve enjoyed most about being a mommy? Did you enjoy those night time feedings?

Lora’s Story

It’s officially spring now, and so many of my friends are hatching chicks! My good friend Lora and her husband Eric are expecting their first child any day now (she’s currently about 36 weeks pregnant). It’s their first pregnancy, and they are expecting a baby boy (yay, boys!).

Breaking the News: We found out together. There was a suspicion as I took out the garbage and almost threw up. After that, we both looked at each other and said – maybe we should check to see if we’re pregnant. We were both excited!

Birth Plan/Prenatal Care: We don’t really have a birth plan, per se. I am pretty open to whatever I end up needing to do. I love the idea of a hospital in the event that there is a conflict – everything is there to help. Also, it allows us to be in a different place, without a lot of clean up. Birthing somewhere other than my own space feels less stressful to me. I like the idea of spending sometime somewhere else and then bringing the baby home and getting settled. We have gone through an OB who works with Martha Jefferson Hospital, and it’s been fantastic. We’ve enjoyed all of our doctors, and we feel very cared for.

Healthy Measures: I eat healthy and avoid too much junk food and the basic things you’re supposed to avoid – like mercury seafood and too much caffeine. I’ve also tried to exercise and get rest.

Wise Words: Some of the best advice I’ve received is this: Pregnancy is difficult and beautiful. Fluctuating emotions and feeling sick is normal. Be patient with yourself and with your spouse. Read about other people; stay in community. Eat what your body tells you it wants.

Memorable Moments: I’ve learned that hormones are extremely powerful. Loving your body is important because your body morphs so quickly. Getting a lot of women to speak into your experience is very good – it helps you feel less like you’re losing your mind and that many people have gone before you.

Talk, talk, talk, talk about what you’re experiencing. Take a birthing class; it helps to have an experienced third party speaking to you and your partner.

I cried a lot in my first trimester. I was a giant ball of hormones. One time I got a call from a friend asking me how I was doing. It was late, and my husband was getting back from a wedding (he’s a wedding photographer). He got home at 9, and I wanted a corn dog. We drove 45 minutes to Waynesboro to get me a corndog and I cried the entire way about how nice my friend was to call and see how I was doing.

Forever Changed: I have been so amazed at how profoundly a body can change. It has really challenged me to think about beauty – what it means to be comfortable in my own skin, despite how it looks or changes.

Being pregnant has also helped me understand the permanence of bring a person into the world.

Lastly, it has challenged me in regards to abortion – understanding more fully the psychological impact it must have on women to abort – especially after feeling the baby move around – kick, have the hiccups, response to sound and light. It has made me more empathetic to young women who find themselves pregnant in a precarious situation.

I look forward to meeting him and watching/experiencing him grow. I look forward to seeing what his personality will be, what things he will like to do, the thoughts he will have about life, etc. I’m looking forward reading and understanding what it looks like to raise up a child. I look forward to be challenged in my own selfishness and coming to realize how intensely my attitudes and behavioral patterns impact someone else’s formation.

PS We always try to give credit where it’s due – the photos included in this post were taken by Sarah Cramer Shields of Cramer Photo and Lora’s husband (and daddy-to-be) Eric Kelley of Eric Kelley Photography.

Good Morning, Saturday

This past weekend our sleep was a little rough. We’re starting to go about 8 hours between feedings, but Lucien is rousing/fussing a few times during the night, which means mommy is rocking the babe in his bed or giving him a pacifier. He’s 14 weeks, and in the 90th percentile, so I know he’s not hungry during the night – he’s just used to nursing!

I feel like we’re on the cusp of getting some serious sleep, but while we’re going longer between feedings it doesn’t mean catching more zzz’s … yet! Saturday morning was lovely though, since we got to sleep in. Lucien nursed at 7am and fell back asleep. I was tempted, tired as I was, to get up and start my day but as luck would have it he (and we) got to sleep until 9:30! I snapped these pictures just before he woke up.

Your turn: What do you do to encourage healthy sleep with your children? How old were they when you started to try for a full night of sleep?

Books on Birth and Parenting

I have to say that when I was newly pregnant (tired, at times emotional, nauseous, etc.)  perusing the long aisles in the bookstore for helpful books seeming like a daunting task. Friends and family came to the rescue and recommended books to read and among the many that I read I’ve narrowed it down to a few that I recommend as “must reads” for new and expecting moms.

Keep in mind that part of my journey to motherhood included a home birth, but these books are wonderful even if you are questioning the typical medical model and want to read more about natural birth, or if you planning on a hospital birth or a birthing inn and want to minimize the number of interventions you and your baby receive.

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirthby Ina May Gaskin. I’ve been lucky enough to hear her speak and Ina May is a wonderfully candid and even humorous person to listen to. This book is full of wonderful and affirming birth stories written by mothers. She also has a new book out titled “Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding” which I’m looking forward to reading.

Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation by Pam England. This book was on my own mother’s shelf and she recommended it to me. I can tell you that while I was in labor this was the single most helpful book. It encourages you to protect your birth space, contemplate your expectations about labor, and truly enter in to the process of birth. I can’t do it justice!

Diary of a Midwife – The Power of Positive Childbearing by Juliana van Olphen-Fehr.

The Business of Being Born (film documentary by Ricki Lake) Also available streaming on Netflix! While I was pretty sure from the start the home birth was for me, Edward took a little more convincing. This movie sealed the deal. It’s a wonderful documentary on the differences between hospital and home birth.

The Happiest Baby on the Block: The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep Longer by Dr. Harvey Karp. Have a fussy baby? A colicky baby? Want to know the basics of soothing a newborn? I highly recommend this easy read – and I recommend you read it before baby’s arrival to smooth the process of becoming a parent. After baby arrives you may be too tired to read anything for a while! I think Edward especially benefited from this book, since this was the first part of parenting he could really take part in.

You may notice there aren’t a lot of parenting books in this category. In part, this is because we haven’t had any real issues and Lucien is only ten weeks old. This is also in part to the fact that when I asked my other parenting mom’s what books I ought to be reading, they promptly replied “burn them all! There is already too much guilt involved with motherhood to be reading books that will make you feel guilty for what you’ve done or haven’t done.” I guess ignorance can be bliss, but I’ll probably find myself at the library or on Amazon at some point.

YOUR TURN: What books have you found helpful in your quest for parenting advice?