Wednesday, February 29, 2012

[Going Green] Cloth Diapers: The Facts that Won Me Over

Following up on my green baby initiatives, I've finally decided to write about our biggest 'green' challenge - cloth diapering .  It's taken me a while to write this post since you can basically find 1000s of personal experiences all over the internet.  I was originally turned on to the concept of cloth diapers, where else other than, at Young House Love years ago.

(I highly suggest reading their post to get familiar with the concept if this is new to you!  Their method isn't the only tried and true way, nor is it for everyone, but its a great intro to the concept.)




Cloth diapers have come a LONG way from the days pre-disposables.  I actually didn't even know that you could cloth diaper at the time I read that article.  Just something I never thought about and figured was antiquated with the invention of something that you could just toss after use. 

With our devotion to creating as little trash as possible, the thought of being another household filling a landfill, where plastic coated (and dirty) diapers will never fully biodegrade just made me sad.  I knew this would be the major selling point to the Husband and I also loved the financial savings we'd reap.  Lastly, there are some other benefits such as less diaper rash since there are no chemicals touching the baby's soft bottom and claims that children will potty train faster.

Since we haven't started our cloth diapering journey yet to share the experience, I thought I'd just share the facts that I've stumbled over in my research that won me over.  This is by no means meant to be propaganda and convert all my readers into cloth diapering hippies, but just sharing information I thought was informative.  Knowing is half the battle.


Environment
(all facts came directly from http://www.realdiaperassociation.org/diaperfacts.php)
  • In 1988, over 18 billion diapers were sold and consumed in the United States that year.4 Based on our calculations (listed below under "Cost: National Costs"), we estimate that 27.4 billion disposable diapers are consumed every year in the U.S.13
  • The instructions on a disposable diaper package advice that all fecal matter should be deposited in the toilet before discarding, yet less than one half of one percent of all waste from single-use diapers goes into the sewage system.4
  • Over 92% of all single-use diapers end up in a landfill.4
  • No one knows how long it takes for a disposable diaper to decompose, but it is estimated to be about 250-500 years, long after your children, grandchildren and great, great, great grandchildren will be gone.5
  • Disposable diapers are the third largest single consumer item in landfills, and represent about 4% of solid waste. In a house with a child in diapers, disposables make up 50% of household waste.5
  • Disposable diapers generate sixty times more solid waste and use twenty times more raw materials, like crude oil and wood pulp.3
  • The manufacture and use of disposable diapers amounts to 2.3 times more water wasted than cloth.3
  • Over 300 pounds of wood, 50 pounds of petroleum feedstocks and 20 pounds of chlorine are used to produce disposable diapers for one baby EACH YEAR.6
  • In 1991, an attempt towards recycling disposable diapers was made in the city of Seattle, involving 800 families, 30 day care centers, a hospital and a Seattle-based recycler for a period of one year. The conclusion made by Procter & Gamble was that recycling disposable diapers was not an economically feasible task on any scale.17

Cost
(all facts came directly from http://www.realdiaperassociation.org/diaperfacts.php)
  • Disposables. For these calculations, let's assume that a family needs about 60 diapers a week. In the San Francisco Bay area, disposable diapers cost roughly 23¢ per store-brand diaper and 28¢ for name-brand. This averages to 25.5¢ per diaper. Thus the average child will cost about $1,600 to diaper for two years in disposable diapers, or about $66 a month9.
While starting a cloth diaper stash is nothing short of an investment up front depending on the styles you choose and quantity you keep on hand.  Our plan will have us investing about $500 (I'll give you the final figure when our collection is complete) for a stash that should last us through potty training (so somewhere up to 3 years) and any other future children.

Cloth diapers do require "extras".  Things like a diaper sprayer (not a necessity), specific detergents - though they can still be found at most grocery store you just have to do some ingredient checking, special balms for baby's bottom that won't repell, and accessories like 'doublers' for when the baby becomes a heavier wetter, and wet bags to store dirties before you are ready to wash.   However, that initial investment up front will most likely be met within the first year.


Health
(all facts came directly from http://www.realdiaperassociation.org/diaperfacts.php)
  • Disposable diapers contain traces of Dioxin, an extremely toxic by-product of the paper-bleaching process. It is a carcinogenic chemical, listed by the EPA as the most toxic of all cancer-linked chemicals. It is banned in most countries, but not the U.S..1
  • Disposable diapers contain Tributyl-tin (TBT) - a toxic pollutant known to cause hormonal problems in humans and animals.2
  • Disposable diapers contain sodium polyacrylate, a type of super absorbent polymer (SAP), which becomes a gel-like substance when wet. A similar substance had been used in super-absorbency tampons until the early 1980s when it was revealed that the material increased the risk of toxic shock syndrome by increasing absorbency and improving the environment for the growth of toxin-producing bacteria.3

Overall, these were the main facts that sold me on the idea.  However, we DO plan on using disposables while she is still wearing newborn sizes.  We decided to go with a stash of One Size (OS) diapers so until she fits in them without leakage issues, we'll use the Seventh Generation or Earth's Best disposables so we don't have have to stock up on tiny sizes that may only be used for a 1 week or possibly 3 months.  (Any 'crunchy' mamas out there with recommendations on more nautral disposable brands??)

When deciding on cloth, you definitely need to figure out what will work best with your lifestyle and budget.  Also, factors like daycare policies, shared or coin-op laundry facilities, or just never finding the right fit could change this option for a lot of people.  There are so many different options, this was a great site for me to learn the vast world of cloth diapering basics.

I'll follow up with a post when our stash is nearly complete, it's only about halfway there, about what we selected and why.  I'll also follow up once she is actually using them, and how it's going for us.  In the meantime, I'll be here,  warding off the side eyes from friends and family who say the all annoying phrases of "that'll never last"....  don't they know how stubborn I am??

Monday, February 27, 2012

[Babycakes] 6 Month Run Down

Though it seems like I'm been in the 7th Month longer, I'm officially 28 weeks in today.  I had my first 3rd Tri appointment this morning and now will be seeing my doctor every 2 weeks.



1 - Weird habit.  Last monthly round up I mentioned I hadn't painted my nails since my positive test.  This is still true, though I can't wait for a mani/pedi before my shower in 3 weeks.  I'm already trying to decide on a color!   

Another odd habit I have is that every night when I get into bed I play sudoku on my iphone.  I've been doing this for months as well.  I usually do it to calm my mind from thinking about a million things and keeping me up all night, but now I'm usually guarenteed a few kicks at that time.  I can't go to bed now without playing for at least 20 minutes (usually more) to get some kick time in.

2 - Sleep.  Still goes back and forth.  This week it's awful again.  Waking to use the bathroom 2-3 times a night and back pain that is just killer. My rib has slipped again.  Hopefully in a few days I go back to the nights where I just pass out and sleep through the night comfortably.

3 - Weight gain.  I can't believe I only gained 3lbs from my last visit over a month ago!  My belly seems to have tripled in size.  Today, the doctor said I'm only up 11lbs, but they are going from my first visit with them at 11weeks after I graduated from the specialist.  I'm still counting the 5lbs from before I was technically pregnant (since that's where I'd like to get back to) so up 16 in total.

4 - Cravings.  Avocado.  I just can't get enough of it.   On tomato, mozzarella sandwiches.  Guacamole.  On nitrate free, organic turkey dogs.  On salmon burgers.  On garlic mashed potatoes with lemon juice.... yeah, that right there was my "holy crap, you ARE pregnant!" meal.

5 - Favorite Thing.  Watching my whole stomach thump and twich around when she's having her little dance parties.  Even though my bare belly is less than attractive right now, I love sitting on the couch watching it bounce all over the place.

6 - Shopping.  Clothing purchases or myself are almost at nil.  I did swipe a pair of booties last night on Piperlime to maybe wear to my shower.  We'll see if they work out.   Otherwise all purchases have been nursery related - more on that to come in a few days hopefully!

7 - Belly Button.   It's out. Happened officially in the last day or two. Luckily it isn't huge or making a big mark through my clothing, but yeah, proud new owner of a Outie.  No stretch marks yet!

9 - Worries.  Thankfully since she's been pretty active I haven't had too many about her.  More of them have been focused on how we are going to get her out!  We've worked a little bit on our birth plan -  a med-free and natural hypnobirth with a side of Never Say Never based what may come our way.   A previous doctor at my practice left me a little worried about her support, but my usual doctor is totally on board and super supportive.  Just love her.

10 - Size of Baby. According to Babycenter, she's almost 15 inches long and weighs over 2 and 1/4 pounds.

11 - Favorite Moment of the 6th Month - Getting her room started.  The crib, the furniture, chair and curtains on the way, art waiting to be hung.  I just can't wait to see it come together...   I still peek in every morning, however instead of checking out her clothes, I imagine what it'll be like peeking in and seeing her napping.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bump-date: 6th Month (23-27 Weeks)

Another month (and trimester!) almost down, I'll be entering the home stretch of the 3rd trimester on Monday.  It's amazing how slow and fast this seems to be going at the same exact time.

This month I definitely grew the most so far.  As of my last appointment during my 23rd week I was up almost 12lbs.  I'm a bit scared to see what I have gained since then when I go in next week.  This month was huge in terms letting go of worries and enjoying being pregnant.  We got our crib and most of the nursery furniture.  I passed my glucose tolerance test and found out I did in fact slip a rib out of place - ouch!

Little A is now the size of a head of cabbage and yesterday I felt what had to be a hand or foot.  It pushed out, I pushed it back, and it pushed right back at me!







Seriously, I can't believe how much my belly has changed in the last two weeks!  I'm a little scared to see what happens to it in the next 2-3 months!!



Thursday, February 16, 2012

Guest Posting



Check out my guest post over at Haute Child in the City today!  Chelsea is getting to spend some time with her new bundle of joy (congrats!!) and I'm sharing all my favorite Baby Shower and Party Tablescapes.

Happy Thursday Friends!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

[Wishlist Wednesday] I passed!


... so please pass the cupcakes


I just got word that I passed the glucose tolerance test and I couldn't be more thrilled since all I want right now is cake.  I had the best cupcake last night and I stole another at work today (that was leftover from yesterday) without any shame.  I also had cake on Sunday at a baby shower.  I'm becoming a cake monster.  Well, in addition to the avocado monster - but that's a story for another day!

I really haven't been cravings sweets like crazy until just recently, so hearing I don't have to give them up is awesome.  Granted, I usually always have a "treat" each night, but that's been a routine for most of my life.



Ok, so cupcakes aren't the only thing on my wishlist. Right now the Nest 'Hudson' Diaper Bag is high a top it.  (I'm really not sure which direction my grabby hands are going in - the bag or the cupcakes - truly is a toss up at the moment)



I am a tad concerned about the gigantic size of it on my 5'2" frame, but I figure with extra space taken by cloth diapering, I'll appreciate not having everything being a tight squeeze and getting completely lost.  Bonus, it will convert to a great travel bag for trips when Little A isn't in need of bringing bottles, change of clothing, snacks, pacifiers, bibs, blankets, toys, changing pads, wet bags, diapers, wipes, and who knows what else where ever we go.  I'm generally not a fan of printed baby bags, so I love how discreet this one is while still being completely functionable.

Anyone have this bag?  Any other diaper bag raves to share??

Monday, February 13, 2012

Oh, so romant-- er, productive!

Instead of spending our weekend eating chocolates, tasting wines, and being all lovey dovey valentines, we got our booties in gear and got. it. done. To-do list style.


In the blur of the weekend we managed to have dinner with my dad and stepmom, order our chair for the nursery, watch a movie, go to dinner with friends, Husband went to the gym, I attended a Baby Shower, made a return and picked up a few items at ikea, Husband worked from home, I hemmed and hung the new curtains for the living room, Husband volunteered at the animal rescue, and we watched the Grammys.

Not in that order.  Whew.

The most exciting news is that chair should be in about 4-6 weeks.  I was afraid it was going to be a lot longer, so that's pretty exciting. I also found out last week, that the custom ordered curtains will be here in early March. 



Since I don't have pictures of our purchases yet, I'll leave you with a little 6 week bump comparison.  I'll post my Month 6 Bump pictures in 2 weeks.    I feel like I really blew up in the last week.  I was wearing the same top yesterday as I did in my 20 Week photo, so I thought I'd snap a pic for a side by side shot.  I have my Glucose Tolerance Test tomorrow - fingers crossed we pass!

 

...in other news, looks like it time to retire the Wreathen Blouse.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Pinteresting Prints

Ah, the nesting bug has kicked in.  I decided to work from home yesterday since I was feeling a tad under the weather and wanted to try to kick whatever was trying to creep in. 

Of course, being in the house all day led to building a shelving unit -picked up at our last Ikea run- for the powder room.  Hanging it, searching the house for things to decorate it, cleaning out the "costco closet", moving my large craft storage bins to the coat closet and re-storing my china.



I also picked out, customized, and ordered some prints for the Little Room.  I am SO excited about it and can't wait to share them with you.  However, until I can actually show you, I thought I would show you some of the many runners up.  I'm still hoping to find a way to use some of these prints at some point in time (bathrooms, playrooms, other children's rooms)!













Do you have a favorite Etsy print shop or website for art??  Share the love in the comments!


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

[Little Room] Update of Sorts

Just thought I'd post a few "in progress" photos of how the room is coming along.   There is still a ton to do, but the fact that we are finally getting some furniture (holy cow, a crib!) really is starting to make this feel real, aside from the jabs I get from the inside!


I had mentioned how we changed our minds on the dresser, saved $100, and picked up the 3-Drawer Hemnes instead of the 8-Drawer.


The dresser is 43" long and fits perfect on 52" wall.  It's also a perfect length for adding a changing pad.  There won't be much room for additional goodies like a wipe warmer or basket full of diapering needs, but that's what the top drawer is for....


I am OBSESSED with the Skubb drawer organizers from Ikea (at only $8 for 6).  Little clothes is so hard to wrangle, so it'll be great to organize onesies from sleepers from sleepsacks in the drawers below and and of course organize the beginning of my cloth diaper collection up top with all the bits and pieces like inserts, snappies, covers, and other accessories or needs.



The drawers also came with their own lining built in (which my previous Ikea furniture never did, so woohoo for upgrades!).  And naturally, I'm in love as it's the perfect shade of yellow stripes to match the rest of the room.


 

As I mentioned (here and here), I swapped the knobs that came with the dresser for some pretties from Anthropologie.  I got the Sunflower Medallion Knobs in Coral for the top drawer and Bubbled Glass Knobs in Clear for the bottom two drawers.



Speaking of clothes filling the drawers, clothes are definitely starting to fill her closet!



She is going to be one well dressed baby!


In other room news, here's the current state of the room in the form of some before and afters (after's being "in progress" as we are no where near finished)....






The chair is just there temporarily as it was moved from the basement and needed a home.  It also is helping with space planning while we make the decision on which glider/rocker we'll be ordering.  I love seeing everything slowly come together. It's already quickly becoming my favorite space in the house! 

Monday, February 6, 2012

[Going Green] There is a crib in my house?!


It's here!!


The crib decision was one that we put a lot of thought and care into.  I cared about a lot more than just the aesthetics since the baby will be spending about 75% or so of her time there once we get her sleeping and napping in it regularly.


Originally, I was turned on to the fact that a crib is more than just a piece of furniture after reading this post on Young House Love.  I had no idea that cribs were made with MDF or that MDF was constructed with glue that off gases formaldehyde - a known carcinogen.   I don't even want to get a Brazilian Blowout because of the formaldehyde, why would I want my baby breathing that in night after night?  So right then, in February 2010 (before any pregnancy) I knew I would make our future crib decision with care.

... granted, I'm fully aware we just purchased Ikea furniture to go in her room as well, which is clearly made from MDF (particle board), but she hopefully won't be teething on the bookcase or sleeping through the night on, or in, the dresser (fingers crossed!!).  The proximity of the crib and mattress were our greatest concerns. And like I said in the last Green post, you win some, you lose some.  You just make decisions based on what's best for you, your ideals, and your budget!


When I was first pregnant in Fall of 2010, I dove in head first naive as can be.  Before my first doctor appointment, I had researched cribs, cloth diapers, strollers, and of course, nursery ideas.  I was all in.  Weeks later after the loss, I still couldn't bring myself to delete the bookmarks of articles about 'greener' products and what to look for (like this one).  So lucky for me, half my work was done this time around when I finally started to peek at them again around 17 weeks. 



My in laws had very generously offered to buy our crib and just wanted to know which one we would be choosing.  After my online research and consulting Baby Bargains (a must for any mom-to-be trying to navigate the confusing world of neverending baby products), I knew the Babyletto Modo 3-in-1 Modern Crib was our winner.
  • Based on looks, I loved the modern lines.  Also, no sleigh style, high ends, and the crib is only 35" high, which is great for my 5'2" frame.  Reaching in to check on baby won't cut me off at the ribs. It actually hits me at the top of my hip bones.
  • The crib is constructed of 100% solid wood.  However, it should be noted that wood is New Zealand pine (grown in sustainable forests - bonus!) and is known to be one of the softest woods on the market, and therefore will be prone to dings.  At the same time, this is what is keeping the cost of the crib reasonable (just under $400) and not over $800 like eco-friendly cribs made of bamboo or beechwood.
  • There are no toxic finishes in the paint - which is great if she ever decides the rails make wonderful teething rings.
  • There are 4 levels, a toddler rail, and it fully converts to a toddler bed.  So our money is well spent that this crib will live longer than the 24 or so months (give or take) she sleeps in it.

The mattress decision was made similarly.  I knew I wanted an organic mattress and was a big fan of the Naturepedic line.  Again, after consulting baby bargains and weighing (quite literally) the pros and cons of coils vs. filled, I decided that the No-Compromise Lightweight Organic Classic 2-Stage Mattress would be easier for those middle of the night sheet changes since it weighs significantly less at only 10-12lbs.   It is also 2-sided which will be great when she is a toddler and ready for a little bit of a softer mattress compared to the firm sided infant side. 

I actually built the crib myself this weekend.  My in laws had to run after bringing it by with some bagels (yum!) and the Husband was being the resident nerd doing our taxes that morning.  I got it together in less then an hour.  I only needed assistance when connecting the mattress spring to the crib itself - one person to hold while the other screws it in.  There was zero damage during shipping and all the parts were accounted for, easy peasy.   I'm pretty sure we decided on bedding, now just need to get the guts to order that as well!


I have some other pictures of the in progress shots, I'll hopefully be able to share those today or tomorrow along with some other details from our weekend.  Happy Monday everyone!



* I am not sponsored or perked by BabyEarth, Babyletto, or Naturepedic.  I just love the BabyEarth website, product lines carried, and user reviews.  I am only including links for those interested in following the research path I took myself.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Five and Five: Shopping List

(1, 2, 3, 4, 5)


1 - No stretch marks to report of yet (...though that belly button is barely hanging on as an innie). However, like every winter, I have MAJOR dry skin.  Mixing the hot showers, dry heat, and now stretching skin equals a whole lot of itch.  I've been using this fab lotion that my stepmom got me for Christmas - it seriously smells amazing!... But, it's time to upgrade to a cream.  The belly is growing and I want to do what I can for those stretch marks to stay non-existent!  While pricy, I've heard great things about L'Occitane Mom and Baby Balm.

2 - I kept two of the coral knobs, and swapped the other two for these bubble glass pulls earlier in the week. Pics to come!

3 -  After seeing these on Natasha's blog, I grabbed a pair for a friend who is expecting a little boy in a few short weeks. Adorable!

4 - In addition to buying the smaller dresser last weekend at ikea, we got another 8 shelf expedit bookcase (our third!).  After reassessing the space in the nursery, we'll be taking it back to swap with the smaller 4 shelf guy.

5 - It's amazing how things work sometimes.  You may remember be complaining that my sunglasses were giving me these red flakey patches where they sat on the bridge of my nose last summer.  For the most part I stopped wearing them.  The other morning, I wore them on my 15 minute drive into work in the morning, when I got home from work 8 hours or so later, I could see two little red marks.  I'm SO done with the glasses. 

I had thought about buying the Tom Ford Jennifer sunglasses last summer, but couldn't stomach the $399 price tag at the time.  When I saw an alert for a Tom Ford Sunglass sample sale on Beyond the Rack, I snagged them faster than I had time to regret my decision.  All set for summer now!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

[Home Decor] Ditching the Plans

Last weekend, finally free of any obligations, I was able to drag the Husband to Ikea.  Since February (holy shit you guys, it's February already!) and March are already booking up with places to be and things to do, I knew I wanted to pick some things up to give me projects to work on and and a nursery to set up.

We had a pretty good idea of what we going to pick up. Like the Hemnes Dresser, which I already picked up 4 pretty knobs for for the tops drawers.

This would go on the long wall that the door opens towards and we'd place the changing pad on top like so...



...but after seeing the smaller option that we knew would fit on the short wall next to the closet, we changed our minds, and kept $100 in our pockets.

While I originally wanted to use that little wall for the changing pad area, I was having trouble find a dresser that would fit the space.  I'm glad the Husband, convinced me to go off plan, because as soon as we brought it home, the room immediately shrunk.  Plans of having the crib and chair on the same wall were crushed, so at least now the chair will have space on the wall where the dresser would have gone.  (I'll show pics of the progress soon, right now it's a land of ladders and tools).

We also decided since we moved all our "office" furniture to the basement and made some changes there - which I also need to post about - that we would update the curtains in the living room and move the white ones to the basement.  We grabbed these on whim...
However, they don't totally go with the current color scheme - which is great!  Now I have an excuse to make some other updates.


While this pictures is old (circa November 2010), it still looks a bit the same.  I can't wait to DIY some art for the wall left of the window and order a new pillow covers to pull in the blues. Got to love simple changes to refresh what feels stale.

I have lots of new options to work though now, and Spring Cleaning is officially underway.  I'll share some of ideas I have in mind soon!