Sunday, July 26, 2015

Check The Back: guest post by Melissa Blakeney

One day, I happened upon an article from the Washington post entitled "Fatal Distraction”, ever since, I have been telling everyone I know about this horrendous tragedy. I have found that on average 38 children per year have died from a heat stroke related illness in a car seat since 1998. A car with cracked windows can reach the high temperature of 109 degrees in a matter of 15 minutes, at 104 degrees a child’s internal organs will begin to shut down, and in 2014 there were 31 deaths with more than half of these children were under the age of 2.  Everyone always says “oh well that would never happen to me! I love my children!” but the reality is that it is almost always a parent or loved one who does love and care for the child immensely.  This tragedy is usually an accident that occurs when the person driving the child is out of their normal routine, the child is in a rear facing car seat, and the child is asleep.

My research lead me to be motivated to start a movement in America called “CHECK THE BACK” as my Girl Scout Gold Award project. "Check The Back" reminds parents and everyone to always check the back before walking away from the car.  It could be as simple as putting your purse in the backseat with the baby or a reminder on your phone. My personal plan was to write check the back on a clothes pin and to clip it onto the car seat when it is not in use, then, when the baby is put into the car seat you would put the pin either on your shirt, the sun visor in the car, or your key chain so when you get out you see it and are reminded of the child.

As I was working on this "Check The Back" project, technology started to catch up and now you can download an app on your iPhone to help you remember your child. called precious cargo for 99 cents. Now just because all these facts may have you thinking that rear facing car seats are bad and that you need to turn them around does not mean you should. Children should stay rear facing as long as possible in case of an accident. But to help with this, Evenflo has created a car seat with the technology in it to help remind parents of the child in the back seat.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Confessions of a Lazy Mom

I am sure if you have read my blog in the past you would have already realized I am kind of lazy. I mean the last post on this blog was dated over a year ago! I just never thought someone would call me out on it, I was pretty sure I was hiding it pretty well.

"Baby carriers are for lazy moms"

I have had friends tell me that people said that around them while they were wearing. They were not generally happy about it but I did not spend lots of time thinking about these comments. I have more important things to take up my very limited brain space.

That is until one day when I was at Costco.  I was feeling pretty good, I was at Costco, it was Friday, Emily was in my new pretty pink carrier on my back, I was at Costco, it wasn't very busy, we were having friends over and I was at Costco. Did I mention I love Costco? Its my favorite place in the whole world. Just the idea of Costco can make me smile. Then I heard it.

"Look at that toddler! Why is she in a carrier? Wow! She is pretty lazy...."

I was shocked for a minute. I could not believe that a mom would say that about another mom. I am pretty open to other parenting choices. I figure if you can make it through the day and everyone is still alive you rock and if you are able to make dinner too you deserve a Mother of the Year award.

As my stomach was churning in embarrassment I heard a noise. It was Emily singing. She was on my back smiling and waving to people, swinging her legs and singing a song. Then almost as if she knew I needed to hear it she said "mommy! mommy! mom! mommy.....lub you". And I realized. That lady is so right. I am lazy and I am ok with that.

Shopping trip to costco
My kid was happy and I did not have to do anything to keep her that way. She was not running around the store screaming like the little boy in the blue polo shirt. She was not trying to kill herself by jumping out of the cart like the toddler 3 feet in front of us. She was not throwing a temper tantrum like the little girl we just passed. The fact that she was not doing these things does not make me a better mom than those moms, it makes me lazy.

I am totally reliant on my carrier. The thought of going to the store without my carrier gives me hives because I know Emily would be that kid and I would like to avoid that behavior at all costs. If I get to the store and realize I left it at home I would turn around and get it.

I know when Emily is tired and refuses to nap I can put her on my back and walk the block. She will be asleep in 5 minutes and I get some exercise. I would so rather do that than listen to crying all afternoon. Ain't nobody got time for that.

I can fly with a toddler by myself without having a panic attack. I can make dinner and most of the time it is not burnt. I can stop the screaming of a teething toddler. I can get continuous hugs. I can prevent little hands from getting into things they shouldn't. The list goes on. I can do all these things with out my carrier but it is easier with a carrier. That is what makes me lazy, I would rather spend the least amount of energy possible to accomplish something.

The best part is that my daughter loves me for my laziness. Let me know if you would like some pointers on becoming a lazier mom.
Babywearing in an ergo. The lazy way to stay warm
Sleeping during a shopping trip 

Emily is a lazy doll mom. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Kisses and Hugs

Emily is now at the age where she will give kisses and hugs. It is so amazing but also a mess.

She grabs the sides of your face and pulls it in for a kiss. She has yet to master kissing so this is an open mouth attack. It also usually involves some licking. Afterwards you feel like you need a shower but we love it.

She also does one arm hugs. With her head snuggled into your neck and her arm wrapped around squeezing tight. She usually starts choking me while doing it. This usually happens when she is tired because she does not sit still long enough any other time.

Fuzzy Wuzzy

Emily is growing hair!

It is taking a while so right now she only has 1in long fuzz. I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!

I just constantly rub her head. If I am holding her I am rubbing my cheek on it. It feels so great.

Another plus. It holds baby shampoo smell. Baby shampoo is one of the best smells in the world. It is right up there with new car and puppy breath. I could just sit and sniff her head all day but she would probably not be that happy about it :)

She still has the the habit of rubbing her head back and forth when laying on her back. I think she will end up with a bald spot on the back for a majority of her childhood. Oh well. I think she can pull it off.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Cloth 101!

I did a ton of research and tried several things out before I found what works for me. Here is what I learned for those of you who want to know.


There are many styles of diapers and every style has hundreds of brands and just as many people make and sell homemade versions. Before you can try some styles you need to make one big decision: 

Cloth diapers can come in sized versions. Usually Small, Medium, and Large. Or you can go with One Size (OS) diapers. The one size diapers have snaps that make the sizing change. These diapers can be used for 8-35lbs. They say that is birth to potty training. We did not start cloth diapering until Emily was 3.5 months old but we would not have been able to use OS until she was about 3 months. She did not hit 8lbs until 11 weeks and even then she was really skinny so the diapers would have gaped around her legs. They do sell newborn diapers that go up to 12lbs and some of them even have a cut out for the umbilical cord. Though I suggest not using cloth diapers until you are done with the meconium stage. 

I decided to go with the one size diapers because I did not want to buy a whole set of diapers at each size. I would rather have the diapers last longer. 
Bumgenius one size diapers. Aqua-small, green-medium, blue- large
Bumgenius one size diapers. The snaps come down to make the diaper smaller
I was given a new born size diaper which I never used (because I only had one). This is what it looks like.
Bumgenius newborn diaper, all one piece

Bumgenius newborn diaper only comes in velcro closures. 
Styles of Diapers

There are several styles of diapers. I have tried 3 different kinds. Here they are: 

The Hybrid diaper
The hybrid diaper can be used several ways. It consists of a waterproof cover which you can put a disposable lining in or a reusable lining. The reusable lining can be a traditional prefold or stay dry microfiber pad. 
I bought 2 Flip diaper covers. I bought them as seconds  (seconds are when the diaper is not made to the perfect specifications of the company and so they sell them at a discounted rate) and I used them with the microfiber inserts. The benefit of a hybrid is that you only need 3-5 covers (depending on how often you plan to wash) and then just a bunch of whatever you are going to use inside. You do not need to change the cover every time you change a diaper. The cover only needs to be changed if it gets messy. After a few uses. I decided I did not like this style and I sold them on craigslist. I would suggest anyone who is planning on trying a hybrid to go with the econobum hybrid system. This is made by the same company as the flip but is cheaper. It comes with prefolds and does not come in the fun colors but is a much cheaper option for the same diaper. 

Flip diaper: smallest size setting, hook/loop option

Flip diaper with microfiber stay dry insert (folded because at smallest size)

Just the flip cover, still on smallest size so slightly twisted

The pocket diaper

I have 12 sunbaby pocket diapers. Pocket diapers have a waterproof outside and a fleece lining. You then stuff an absorbent layer between, in the "pocket". You can use different kinds of absorbent layers and you can double stuff if needed for heavy wetters or overnight. Sunbaby is a diaper made in china. They have 2 sizes, size 1 for skinny babies and size 2 for chunky babies but they are one size diapers. I paid $60 for 12 diapers and 12 inserts, no shipping cost. That is $5 a diaper which is a good price. Bumgenius also makes a pocket diaper it is their 4.0 but 12 of them cost $203. I was not willing to shell out that much money to try cloth diapering. They do sell these as seconds sometimes and you can find them used. The whole diaper needs to be changed at every diaper change. Once used you pull out the insert and wash. Once dry you re-stuff the diaper. 
Sunbaby microfiber insert
Sunbaby diaper. Smallest size
Stuffed Sunbaby diaper

As you can see in the photo above. there is a little skirt at one end. Under that skirt there is an opening in the fleece layer where you stuff the diaper. 

The All in one diaper (AIO)
I have 9 Bumgenius Freetime diapers. These are all one piece and usually run a little more expensive than pocket diapers. I had been successfully cloth diapering during the day for a while before investing in these diapers. My daughter is a heavy wetter and double stuffing my diapers made them to bulky for her. I wanted a diaper that would be good for overnight. I was willing to spend more money per diaper because I knew that I was committed to cloth diapering at this point. A freetime diaper normally runs $19.95 each. I found a lady who had a bunch given to her for her second baby that she did not need. They were brand new and she sold them to me for $12 each. I got 7 from her and then bought 2 with a gift card and coupon from Babies R Us. What I like about these diapers is that they are way more absorbent. They fit her better than the pockets and there is no stuffing needed. You can also put an extra insert in if you need it to make it more absorbent. I never use pockets at night, only my freetimes. I also like putting these in my diaper bag. I am considering buying some more of these because I prefer them and they fit her better. I would then just use my pockets as spare diapers or randomly. One downside to All in one diapers is that they take longer to dry. 

Bumgenius Freetime Diaper

BG freetime, inside 

BG Freetime, flaps are movable, this lets you customize absorbency for boy/girl also you can put extra insert under the flaps

BG freetime in smallest setting (bulky on baby at this setting)

Swim diaper
Yes that is right they make re-usable swim diapers. I did not buy a diaper made specifically for swimming. They mostly are one piece and slide up and down like a pull-up. That is really messy if they go to the bathroom. So I did some research. You can use a hybrid cover as a swim diaper but most people say it sticks to baby and can be uncomfortable. I also found out that you can use a pocket diaper with out an insert. I did not want to use my normal everyday diapers because the chlorine will fade the colors and the PUL in the cover will start to get messed up over time. I found someone selling 2 very gently used Happy Heine pockets.  I bought them for $10. They also came with inserts that I will use to double. 

You have to clean your diapers every 3 days. You can not go longer than 3 days. I wash every 2 but some people wash every day. You need to decide how often you plan to wash because that will tell you how many diapers you need to have. 

If you are exclusively breastfeeding all you have to do is take the diaper off the baby (pull out insert if pocket), put diaper in wet bag, then put in washer when time to wash. Breastmilk is 100% water soluble so it will all wash out in the washer. 

If you are using formula or solids you need to take any debris off of diaper (pull out insert now), rinse, then put in wet bag. 

When time to wash dump wet bag and contents into washer. 

I wash one cold cycle with soap. I then check all of my diapers to make sure there is no discoloration. If not I then do one Hot cycle. I air dry my diapers in my dryer. But plan to sun dry when it is not as cold. The Cottonbabies website says to wash cold, then Hot with soap, then extra rinse. But I found I did not like the ammonia smell after one wash and prefer the soap in the first wash.

You can not use soap that has any brighteners which means most of the free and clear detergents are out. You can buy cloth diaper specific detergent but that can be pricey  I use ECOS free and clear which you can buy at Walmart. It is rather inexpensive. For normal clothes in a HE machine you use 1 ounce of detergent. For cloth diapers you only have to use 1/8-1/4 of that. Here is a list I found helpful when picking a detergent. 

If you happen to get stains or your diapers hold an ammonia smell you can sun dry. After sun drying your diapers all stains will be gone and they will not smell anymore. It is cool how the sun works. 

What about the smell?
My wet bag sits open in Emily's bathroom. The door stays open. Because there is no enclosed space you can not smell anything. When I was using disposables I had a diaper pail that said it would not smell. This is false. It smelled horrendous. My cloth do not smell at all.
How many diapers do I need: 

This depends on how often you wash and how old your baby is. A newborn can easily go through 12 diapers a day so you should buy 12-18 and I would suggest washing everyday. Older babies you should plan on 8 a day and an overnight solution. So it breaks down to this:  

Wash every day- 3 covers and 12-15 inserts/prefolds
Wash every 2 days- 5 covers and 16-20 inserts/prefolds
Wash every 3 days- 7 covers and 24-28 inserts/prefolds

Everyday: 10 diapers, 10 inserts, 2-4 extra inserts/ doublers for overnights
every 2 days: 18 diapers, 18 inserts, 4-8 extra inserts/doublers
every 3 days: 26 diapers, 26 inserts, 8-10 extra inserts/doublers

All in ones: 
Everyday: 10-12 diapers
every 2 days: 16-20 diapers
every 3 days: 25-30 diapers

This is the minimum and you may find a mixture of types works best for you. 

I currently have 21 diapers (12 pockets, 9 all in ones) and 2 swim diapers. I feel this gives me a good cushion. 

So there are things besides diapers that you need.


2 large wet bags or a diaper pail with 2 washable liners. (i have a bummis bag and a planet wise)
2-4 travel size wet bags (for your diaper bag) (I currently only have one, bummis)
Laundry detergent

Nice accessories but not needed: 

Diaper sprayer (I am getting a used one from a friend)- this makes your wash so much easier. I have read that you can also use a hand held shower head and a 5 gallon bucket. 

Some people use cloth wipes. I don't, I like my disposables and I just throw them in the diaper pail I have from when I used disposable diapers. But cloth wipes can be washed with your diapers so it is not a lot of extra work. You can buy cloth wipes, or you can use baby washcloths from target or walmart. Some people even upcycle old t-shirts and pieces of fabric. If so you need wipes, probably a wipe warmer and some people like the soap for the wipes. This may be something I try with the next baby. 

Now there are other types of diapers besides these and other ways of cloth diapering. This is just what I have used and what I like. I am not getting paid by these companies. I also am not one of those people who look down on moms who use disposables. I think what works for you is how you should diaper your baby. I am very enthusiastic about cloth right now so I am more than willing to tell anyone everything about it but that may be because my life consists of a 5 month old and a dog. There is not a lot going on in my life right now so yes diapers are exciting. One disclaimer I have to make. Cloth diapering is addicting. Yes, you read that right. You will constantly find new things you want to buy or try. I am lucky and Cottonbabies has 3 store fronts in St. Louis. I went to the store and a lady sat down and talked to me for 2 hours about diapers and showed me all the different kinds. They also have classes you can attend. Most areas have diaper services which are great if you dont want to wash your own but they usually have restrictions on which kinds you can use and they can be pricey. Though most of these companies will come to your house and show you the different kinds and set you up. This is a great way to figure out if cloth is for you. 

I'm not so funny anymore

I used to be funny. I mean really funny. I could just look at Emily and she would start smiling. If I smiled back she would giggle and if the word "Boo" came out of my mouth we had full on belly laughs. You have no idea what this did to my self-esteem. I was Queen of the mommy world. I could do no wrong. I was a super hero, my power was to make crying babies laugh and my uniform was spit-up.

Well those days are gone. She could care less if I look at her. My smile usually makes her cough and if I play peak a boo she looks at me like I have 2 heads. I have lost all of my super powers and I am just a normal mom.

This will not do. I need to be super mom again. So I am pulling out all of the stops and I dont care what I look like in public. Yes, if you see me you may think I need to spend some time in a psychiatric ward but really I am super mom in disguise.

You can find me in Wal-mart pretending the stroller is a race car.

You can find me in line at the grocery store pretending to be an umpa-lumpa.

You can find me in Best Buy dancing, skipping, singing and doing squat jumps.

And while all these things may be crazy. I do not have the screaming baby in the store. I would rather have people stand back because they question my sanity than to deal with an inconsolable screaming baby.

So next time you see me or another super mom like me. Give her a smile, wave or even join in on the fun because she knows she looks nuts but she is willing to do that to make her baby happy. That is a super mom.

Saturday, February 23, 2013


It snowed when we were in Houston so we missed it. That means this past week was Emily's first snow. It was really pretty but cold and mostly a mix of snow/ice/sleet.

I wanted to take her out in it for just a minute. I did not invest in a snow suit this winter (and I am glad) because Emily is never really outside. She is only outside in the cold when going between a building and a car. Most of the time she is in her carseat during this and they cant wear snow suits when in a carseat. I did not want her to be cold so I decided layers were the way to go. I put her in a onesie, a light cotton pajama, a flannel pajama and her coat over top. She looked like that kid from A Christmas Carol. Add a hat and we were set.

I ran out, put her in the bumbo, took a bunch of pictures, then ran back inside. We were maybe outside for a total of 90 seconds. I may have gone overboard with the layers. We would have stayed out longer but between the time I decided to take her out and when I was finished layering her up it started coming down hard and turned to ice/sleet, which hurt. Here are the results:

Mom, Im not impressed
Hey! Its a slider!
Snow in the face!
And finally a happy one :)