Posts Tagged ‘newborn’

Thirsties Update: What’s New

Friday, October 14th, 2016

Thirsties updateOne of the gold standards in cloth diapers is Thirsties. We use their hemp inserts in literally every diaper we use. The year our diapered babe went to childcare we immediately purchased a stack of their AIOs. Thirsties is the only brand of which we own every single one of their products. They offer an outstanding company ethic too, a Colorado-based family company that stays connected to their clientele, committed to sustainability, and partnered with Giving Diapers Giving Hope.

If you’ve been away from the cloth diaper scene for a couple years, but especially the last year, Thirsties has made some major updates on most of their products that you’ll want to know about. In the last several years they updated their aplix to a larger tab with a higher quality aplix. It is arguably the best on the market if not one of the best. They also introduced a one-size pocket diaper with a hemp insert that is trim and absorbent. At the same time they’ve kept the quality and double-gussets that offer superior protection.

thirsties-6The most recent additions to Thirsties in the last 6-12 months include:

  • Cotton organic doublers—a natural-fiber alternative to the cotton velour doublers.
  • Natural fitteds in one-size and newborn options—Bamboo cotton replaces the old style fitted cotton mix. The inserts are also updated, and no longer fully sewn in like the older design.
  • Natural AIO in one-size and newborn options—The updated AIO has inserts of hemp and organic cotton, an update to their previous micro terry version. The material adds absorbency with its natural fibers. Change in design of the inserts (two sewn in at one side of the diaper) cut down on dry time and add versatility in how you place the absorbency for your child’s specific needs.
  • Sized covers now cover down to four pounds with the newborn size option.
  • Organic cloth wipes—updated from velour to an irresistible organic cotton and terry.

Thirsties also released a slew of prints in the last 18 months including the Ocean Collection, Woodland Collection, and a handful of limited and seasonal editions. Pick yours up today!

Lynette is a mom of three children from 6 months to age four. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

Do We Need a Daily Routine?

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

During my baby’s first year, one of the most common topics of conversation was about how she was sleeping.  Friends/family/moms in mom groups/strangers in the grocery line all seemed really interested in how she was sleeping.  Once we had established a daily routine, my response was much more positive to the dreaded sleep question. Routines are needed because they let your baby what to expect next, according to Babycenter.  When babies can anticipate what happens next, it provides comfort to them and helps them sleep better. Experts say that routines can be established as early as 2 months or as old as 6 months old, depending on your (and your baby’s) personality.

My first daughter was a snacker. She liked to nurse for short amounts of time every hour or two all day, every day up until she was about six months old. At about 6 months, we started to establish a routine with her, encouraging her to eat more during the day and sleep for longer stretches at night. My younger daughter was content to nurse for long amounts of time, less frequently. We worked out our routine around 4 months. Establishing a routine earlier with my second daughter also benefited my first because we returned to many of our activities that we did before the baby was born.

There is a wide range of philosophies about establishing routines, ranging from the parents setting the routines to basing the daily routine on the baby’s natural schedule and everything in between. For me, and my children, building a routine around their natural schedules worked best.  However, I am a stay-at-home mom, so I have flexibility with our days.

I found that using time intervals–instead of basing the routine off the clock–created a routine that was flexible but still offered my babies the comfort about what was coming up next.  Juniper was the most happy with about 3-3.5 hoursbetween waking and going back to sleep.  When she was about 6 months old, Juniper’s routine would begin with her waking up for the day.  I would feed her breakfast, play with her and do tummy time while her big sister was eating breakfast, get the three of us dressed, then about 2.5 hours after she initially woke up, I would nurse her for about a half an hour to forty-five minutes until she fell asleep for nap.  During her naptime, Lily and I would do one of her classes or another activity (like going for a walk or to the playground).  I would let Juniper sleep as long as she wanted, and then we would start the routine over (meal of solids, play/activity, nurse, nap) again, this would fit into about 3/3.5 hours.  At this point, Juniper was taking two naps a day and going to bed around 6/6:30 at night.  Because we were not tied to the clock, if Juniper wanted to nurse an extra time or take an extra nap, our entire day was not thrown off.

Setting a routine doesn’t have to be a struggle to have your baby follow a schedule based on the clock.  Setting a routine based on a pattern during a rough time interval offers your baby predictability and meets her needs based on her natural schedule with the flexibility that she needs day to day.

Becky Nagel is a stay at home mom to two girls, a three year old and a one year old, in Denver, CO who enjoys cooking for her family, running, and hiking.

The Week the TV Died

Monday, September 19th, 2016

The day the TV diedWe just returned from a two-month venture away from home, one of the perks of being a stay-at-home-mom with a teacher hubby. We drove several thousand miles over that time. The children were ready to be home. I was ready for a break, ready to not be “on” all the time. We came home to a power-surged television and Blu-ray player. Our only television and Blu-ray player. Did I mention I stay at home with three children and my husband is a school teacher? Going out and dropping a load of cash was not in the cards after the summer we just had (ever?). But fortunately, the TV was under warranty and could be fixed for free. In 19 days.

The official mom in me said, “We don’t need TV anyway; the AAP discourages prolonged screen time; play with your toys; use your imagination.” We don’t have cable anyway. I painted a picture of simpler times and the importance of creativity in child development. I glamorized our lives to that of a natural family magazine cover shoot. Oh, the opportunity! Oh the solitude! Unofficially I was a little rattled. I often sat up late at night with the 4-month-old, nursing. With hubby going out of town for a week, I needed the occasional assistance of a television for very basic needs—like mama’s gotta shower and momma needs to fix dinner!

We don’t own smart phones, but we have more than one screen. Our laptop and tablet ended up getting a little heavier-than-usual use by the end of the 19 days. We survived. Did we learn anything?

TV is overrated. Our kids woke up and played quietly without bother. They didn’t ask much at all that first week about the television or when it would make its return. We spent more time with books and playing with toys. I often use television as a tool when I need to get something done (like call customer service, etc.) or just need to take a deep breath because, you know, I have a young infant, toddler, and preschool-aged kid. Turns out toys did a pretty similar job as television with the whole “keeping them occupied” concern. In fact, they seemed to play together a little more with less distraction because the TV wasn’t there.

TV is underrated. Like I said, mama needs a quick shower with the assurance that something has her children’s attention. Few things are as mesmerizing as a new episode of Super Why! Mama needs a few minutes of peace sometimes, especially if she (or daddy) is a single parent or sick or has other additional, situational challenges. Also I can’t juggle a screen while nursing. We don’t have a smartphone and the laptop distracted the babe. I tried. More than once. I certainly got my minutes of peace! They occurred late in the night for the most part while baby nursed. Peace turned into a little aimless boredom because nursing a young babe is very time and energy consuming. You sit a lot. And, turns out, without a television late in the night when your mind is beyond tired, you stare at the wall, a lot.

There was not newfound solitude or deep satisfaction with life. I’ve heard the terms float around—the “no TV kid” or “low media kid.” I suppose we are already low media, and we do that rather purposefully though not as fervently as possible. I don’t think removing the television made all that much difference. Perhaps this is because I’m already mindful of limiting screen time and “cultivating intrinsically motivated, independent exploration” or because this venture lasted less than three weeks. Life was pretty much the same for us, and no life-changing development occurred so far as I could see.

There was newfound solitude and deep satisfaction with life. Sitting in the quiet at the end of a long day while I nursed my babe would previously include an episode of some old show on Netflix. Turns out the quiet was nice for me more than the children in that I spent those evening hours reading or processing the day. I spend time with my daughter all day but not being distracted by television allowed me to spend that last hour more aware and appreciative of her presence in my life as she settled into sleep. You know, all that “cherish every moment” stuff older parents mention? I did. Perhaps if anyone benefited from the lack of television in our home it was me. Turns out instead of going a little crazier I found a little peace.

Lynette is a mom of three children from 4 months to age four. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

How to Baby Proof with Big-kid Toys Around

Monday, September 12th, 2016

How to baby proof with big-kid toys aroI should preface this by saying we have never done the baby-proofing by locking the fridge, toilets, nor many cabinets. We have almost nothing that can break, put our few cleaners up high, and have a small (but cozy!) home where I can see all of my children most of the time and can hear them all of the time. We anchored our television and most furniture.

We are also in the stage of life where we see our living room furniture not so much as investment pieces and more like fun and comfortable. The kids can jump about the couch without us concerned with wear and tear (to a certain degree, of course). I think it is partially here that they’ve learned to be rough and tumble but also cautious. That said, as baby number three approaches 6 months and crawling, we’ve thought anew about what babyproofing looks like with older kids (almost three and five) in the mix.

Prevention. It’s helpful sometimes to “baby proof,” but sometimes prevention is key. Having fewer breakable things around gives some peace of mind. Minimizing the sheer volume of stuff in your home also minimizes the things your babe will come across. This includes your children’s belongings but also yours.

Consider your stuff, space, and child. Given the ages of your children, sleeping arrangement, size of home, and amount of toys, how you baby proof with big kids around may vary from my way. Consider the things that you are keeping baby safe from—stairs, breakable items, cleaners, medications, doors that lead outside, and so forth. We all have different variables with which to work. Also consider your child. One of our sons never had interest in plugs while the other approached them a number of times; one son has always had a keen interest in getting out the front door while the other, generally, stays inside when he should. Last, consider protecting your other children from baby. What toys or belongings do they cherish most? Try to make efforts to protect their most beloved objects from the baby when possible.

Create a completely safe space for baby. For us the living and dining rooms are always baby-friendly. Her brothers have toys out but, for example, we keep Legos in the other room on the table always. It’s helpful to have a location where I don’t have to be as alert to danger. Likewise, the boys’ room is one location that baby should NOT be in without my direct, hands-on, supervision as there are numerous toys with small parts.

Invest in baby-friendly toys for your older children. This can vary based on your children’s ages. Our two and four year old children still get entertainment and enrichment from large blocks, and smooth wooden and soft toys. When chosen thoughtfully, these toys can prove an investment as they span many years of child development while also safe for baby to play near or even with. Keep an eye out for small parts that can break off and baby-safe (i.e. lead free) paint/finishes.

Use your words to protect your children. Start early and explain simply. For example, we explained to our 4-year-old that shoes have dirt and other yucky things and they need to stay in the shoe bin, away from baby sister’s blanket and toys. We then made the habit of shoes going to the shoe bin. We still remind him sometimes but the expectation is established. The same is true for other things: Your food is for you (don’t feed baby); if you drop food, pick it up; leave baby on ground (don’t pick up); gentle (don’t hit); put your toys away; etc. Locks and gadgets can prove helpful, but they aren’t the only way to establish a safe space. Talk to them about responsibility at an age-appropriate level. For example, “If you don’t want your (favorite item) chewed, broken, or removed, then please care for it by putting it away where baby can’t reach.” Encourage grace when inevitably baby gets to someone’s treasured item.

Use babyproofing gadgets as appropriate for your needs. We haven’t used many but the ones we have purchased were a great relief. Anchors to secure our furniture to walls were worth every penny. Though we never used a baby gate for four years, we now use one almost daily to keep baby from unsafe spaces. While I generally keep an eye on my kids most of the time, sometimes I am busy, distracted, or otherwise occupied and cannot keep them safe only by sight. Invest in necessary precautionary measures and consider whether or not your older children should know how to maneuver the safety devices.

Lynette is a mom of three children from 5 months to age four. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

Babies and Big Groups

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

Babies and Big GroupsWe visit family often. By family, I mean a moderately-sized group of twenty or so people. The trick is we often stay in my parent’s or my in-law’s home where all of these twenty people are also around for prolonged periods of time. Sometimes they are also staying at my parents, or in the case of my in-laws grandma babysits many of the kids and we spend the weekends doing things together. Our visits are from a few days to as much as six weeks sometimes during summer and winter school breaks.

With our first child, our first long visit at five and again at twelve months, I really tried to stay rigid. We napped when we were “supposed” to nap; when a little taste of icing was offered I refused it on his behalf though; I apologized for his grumpiness at times. By now with the three kiddos in tow I’ve settled into a little confidence and competence on managing my babies in these big group situations.

Most important for us was to know our children’s individual needs. One child gets overwhelmed more quickly with sensory overload and crying fits occur more often. He needs a quiet room. For another we look for cues of needing more cuddles or neediness though he is not as acutely aware of noise. He needs more hugs. Knowing your child’s needs allows you to best advocate for them. Advocacy does not require shouting out defensively so much as just providing, as the adult, for your child’s needs and giving space for their voice in the context of uncertainty and unfamiliarity. We visit for weeks at a time, and I recognize that being far from home—away from bed, toys, the grocery store and church, even the streets and all the other familiar things—can be taxing.

Be ok with standing up for what your children need. We love our families very much and enjoy their company. I recall one day when additional family arrived unexpectedly to visit just as my children were waking from their naps (possibly having woken one of them from his nap). As we see them regularly during our long visits, I didn’t feel any pressure to “make every moment count.” In fact, ensuring my children’s emotional stability for the day allowed for the remaining moments to be most enjoyed. I politely and quietly ushered my kids into our bedroom and closed the door. There was no big explanation or curiosity about it. I could tell my children needed a few minutes to transition from nap to unexpected socialization. Those twenty minutes secured my children’s ability to cope and enjoy the remainder of the day with family.

Advocating also means finding trust within you. I make mistakes but generally believe I take the time to balance what everyone needs with what my children need. Just because we are far from home doesn’t mean they always get their way or even always get their needs met. Sometimes we don’t get our needs met. But I try to find a little grace for them and me when I don’t read a situation most accurately or my expectations (of myself or others) aren’t met. Though rare, any comment someone makes about their behavior I try not to engage it as a criticism. That comment doesn’t matter as a judgment on my parenting, but it is insightful in how I might be a better house guest or how someone else is experiencing their time with us. Again, it’s a constant negotiation of being present for everyone I can and not just my children.

I try to balance time with the larger family and friends with just my little family of five. For some of that time we are a family of four while hubby works. I build in days of just down time or little adventures (to the donut shop or park) where it is only us even though they have many cousins who would love to join us. We spend much time with the cousins and I find it grounding and rejuvenating for my kids (and me) to just be together alone. This means extra cuddle time and quiet time together, which I usually build in early in the morning before others wake up or arrive.

Last, I let things slide. I find it important to keep structure but my kids usually eat a little less healthy on any of our vacations. They take in a little more technology, sometimes stay up a little later, and their nap schedule becomes a little less concrete. After trekking 1,600 miles each way in a mini-van with three little ones you learn to bend a little to adapt and make the time as enjoyable as possible.

Lynette is a mom of three children from 3 months to age four. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.