Oscha Caledonia Braes Review

CB front wrap

When I was pregnant with Peregrin, I saw a picture on FB of a woman wearing a baby wrap that looked so Lord of The Rings. I thought, “I NEED that wrap!” I sent the picture to a friend. We quickly found the wrap was an Oscha Caledonia Braes. But there weren’t any new ones for sale on the site. Bummer. I figured I would just have to track down a used one.

oscha cb happy

A couple weeks later, I get a series of texts from my friend. “Oscha just relisted the Braes!” “I ordered one for you!” “If that isn’t okay I can sell it!” Of course, it was okay. I sold several baby carriers to fund the new acquisition. The Pastor did not think it necessary to own 8 baby carriers. I don’t know why. 8 seems like a modest number of carriers to own. (I now have 4, which seems like not very many at all!)

oscha cb watch

The Caledonia Braes- 50% organic combed cotton, 50% linen, 230 gsm. I got a size 7, which is long enough for really pretty tails. I love long tails.

oscha cb cello

This wrap is beautiful and tough. It  was soft and wrappable straight out of the bag. Honestly no breaking in was needed at all. It was just great immediately.

CB newborn sleep

It wraps nice and snug. It has the perfect balance of grip and slip. Not too grippy, but not too slippy. You can strand by strand tighten easily. Wrap a newborn with no problems. Wrap a toddler with no problems. This is really a wrap that can work all duties. If you’re only buying one wrap, you need a wrap like this. It works in any weather. Hot or cold, this wrap is fine.

CB newborn wrap

And did I mention it is pretty and perfect for my little hobbit?

oscha cb lean

Danu Sky Songs Midnight- A Review

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A friend of mine graciously loaned me her Sky Songs Midnight to try out. Well, and to help break it in. We’ll get to that bit. I had previously tested a Danu wrap, so I wanted to compare.

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Sky Songs Midnight is a wrap made by Danu. It is 55% Irish Linen and 45% cotton. 302 gsm.

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First, this wrap is thick. Very thick. And stiff. Very denim like. It is an absolute beast to break in. When I had this wrap, it had been months of attempting to break it in. And it was usable, but still had a long way to go before it was broken. This is one wrap that you might want to consider buying used. Very used.

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Now, it is strong enough for larger kids. It is a very sturdy wrap. It is also really grippy, so your passes don’t slide. Makes a great back carry because your passes won’t slide down.

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It is also really pretty, while still being a tough wrap. This would make an excellent workhorse/beater wrap. It would also be a really good choice for a wrap conversion because it is so thick and sturdy.

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Another really cool aspect of this wrap is that there is no right or wrong side. It made some awesome wrap jobs when you get both sides showing. They flip the hems on the top and bottom rails so either side really is “correct”.

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Overall, a pretty and sturdy wrap. Not really suitable for newborns. Not really suitable for inexperienced babywearers unless you find one super duper broken in. But a beautiful and tough wrap, for sure.

Sorry I have no pictures of me wearing the wrap. There is probably one on Instagram somewhere. I apparently failed to take a lot of pics of myself during that time. (Super bad haircut.)

So, Someone You Know Is Pregnant…

LexmarkAIOScan7

So, someone you know or just met is having a baby or just had a baby. Here on some tips to keep them from possibly harming you from saying or doing the exact wrong thing.

My editor (The Pastor) has insisted I put up some disclaimers to avoid hurt feelings- yours and mine.

**Disclaimer #1- I am not pregnant. Don’t ask someone if they are pregnant. If they want to tell you, that is their news to share. Never ask a woman if she is pregnant. Seriously. I have two shirts I can no longer wear in public because some punk asked when I was due while wearing them. I don’t have enough clothing options to keep this up. That is an old ultrasound pic. If you clicked over here expecting some big news, sorry to disappoint you. ZERO ANNOUNCEMENTS are going on over here. None. Kind of like the time I posted a picture of my dishwasher with little flour handprints on it and everyone thought it was an ultrasound picture because I added the caption “proof of little life around here” and I meant, proof a toddler and preschooler were being punks in the kitchen with some flour, but so many people same multiple fetuses in that picture. This is like that photo. Not an announcement. **

**Disclaimer #2- Do not ask us if we are having more kids. We’re kind of still working on the adding of the sixth kid. I don’t want to think about it right now, and I don’t have to. And really, you don’t want details. You don’t need them. There are words like amenorrhea in there, so just don’t ask. It gets too personal really quickly.**

**Disclaimer #3- Some of these things have personally happened to me. Most are things I have picked up from being around lots and lots of growing families and hearing their issues. Take no personal offense. I would have told you if you personally offended me or annoyed me. You’d know. If you don’t know, it is because you didn’t.**

**Disclaimer #4- I probably left some things out. I have only had six kids, there may be some more tips people need to know that I haven’t come across yet. You can add your own tips in the comments. Just keep your language clean so the editor doesn’t delete them.**

20 weeks 2 days

Now, tips when someone you know is pregnant!

Tip #1- Their pregnancy and anything pregnancy or baby related is theirs to share. DO NOT share a pregnancy on Facebook unless it is your own. Seriously. Can I tell you how many people I got to tell I was expecting my first baby? Um. One. Seriously. I got to tell my husband. Things just exploded from there. While your enthusiasm is a welcome thing, let new parents share their own news.

Same for when the baby is born. If you look at their Facebook page and they haven’t posted about the new baby yet, don’t post it. Let them post it when they are ready. Same for e-mails. Definitely DO NOT send e-mails to everyone about the birth of a baby unless you have express permission from the new parents.

If you share news that isn’t yours, pretty soon people realize this and you’ll be the last to be told anything, much like the four year old they know cannot keep their mouth shut. They’ll just avoid telling you. Do you really want to be at the end of the list?

Tip #2- The only response to “We’re having a baby!” is congratulations or some form of that. Either muster up some good will, or say nothing. “Are you done now?” “Are you the Duggars?” “But it is too soon!” “But you’re not done with college.” “Will this be your last?” “But you already have a baby!” “Oh my God, I would kill myself.” (Yeah, that really happened. The Pastor almost got that cashier fired.) None of those are appropriate. Either be happy for them or remove yourself from the situation. No one needs negativity during this time. Newly expectant parents have enough on their mind- they just need support. Period.

Tip #3-  No name bashing. I don’t care if they name their kid after Hefty trash bags- either say something nice or keep it to yourself. I don’t care if you think the kid should be little Frank. They don’t care either. All you get when you are negative about their name choice is no heads up on the name next time. Seriously. They just won’t tell you in the future.

Here on some response you can use: “How do you spell that? I want to make sure we embroider it correctly.” “That is a cool name, where did you come up with it.” “That is a nice name, does it have a special meaning.” “I like that name.” “That name will certainly stand out on his college application!” “Are you 100% set? I have a set of bibs to monogram immediately!” “[Repeat name]. That has such a nice ring to it.” “Woohoo! I am [name]’s Auntie!” “Unusual. But I like it.”

If you can’t find something nice to say, tell someone else about it. Really. Do not under any circumstance tell either parent. Tell your neighbor, cashier at the store, online support group, anyone BUT the parents to be.

Tip #4- Never comment on a pregnant woman’s size. Just don’t do it. She’ll be told by one bystander she is huge, immediately causing her to freak out about gestational diabetes. The next person will tell her she is small, causing her to stress over intrauterine growth restriction.

Tell her she looks cute. Tell her she is glowing. Tell her pregnancy suites her. Tell her you miss your own baby belly. Tell her she is radiant. Tell her she is a beautiful picture of motherhood. Tell her how awesome her bump is.

Tip #5- On a related note, once the baby is born, make no comments about the baby’s size! She’ll freak out that she isn’t making enough milk or that the baby will be obese for life or he’ll be labeled as failure to thrive. New moms have enough worry. Don’t add to it.

“He’s healthy!” “I forgot how tiny newborns are!” “Look at all those sweet rolls!” “He is growing really well!” “She is beautiful!” All of these are appropriate. Just avoid implying the baby is too big or too small, even if you are just “observing”. She’ll freak out. It is what Mom’s do.

Tip #6- New Parents will not tell you this, but what they really need is money. Really. I know you want to buy something baby, and that is cool and awesome. But think of all the ridiculous expenses pregnancies and new babies bring. You want to buy 15 hair bows, but they really need breast pads and lanolin, which make an awkward gift. They really need money for the poise pads, hemorrhoid cream, and take out food post birth. But they can’t tell you that. They can’t tell you they don’t need another bath set for the baby, they really need to pay their insurance deductible. They really don’t need five sets of tiny nail clippers and 20 pacis the baby will refuse to take because they decide that one obscure paci you found in that one random shop one time is the only one for them. They need a pregnancy support pillow, V2 support belt,  and prenatal massage to make those last days more comfortable.

It doesn’t really help to ask what they need. No one wants to name a high dollar item when you’re looking to spend ten bucks. No one wants to tell you something ridiculously specific. So, they usually just say “nothing”. Or they point you to the registry they know you’ll ignore. Because telling people what you need it hard.

Tip #7- Don’t offer your advice. I know you think you’re just the most awesome at everything, but they’ll be making their own way. It isn’t personal. You know you didn’t do everything exactly like your mom, aunt, second cousin, neighbor, or stranger at the store either. If they don’t ask you about teething remedies, don’t give them. I don’t go around sharing advice on how to deal with head wounds unsolicited. Don’t go and give your baby advice unsolicited.

Tip #8- Avoid asking about their reproductive future. This couple is just wrapping their heads around THIS kid and you’re already asking about the future ones that they haven’t even thought of yet. It really isn’t your business, so just don’t ask them. I know you’re dying to know when little Hefty will be getting a sister, but don’t ask. DO NOT ASK. It’s awkward and weird and they’re already overwhelmed and now Uncle Bobby is asking about their sex life. Don’t ask. Not your business. Again. Not your business. People usually only want to talk about such things with their spouses or BFFs. That’s about the end of the list. So, I know you’re curious, but don’t ask.

Tip #9- Don’t assume anything. If the mom to be has not said she is breastfeeding, don’t assume she is. If she hasn’t mentioned an epidural, don’t assume she’s getting one. You can safely assume that if she hasn’t brought it up with you she doesn’t want to talk to you about it.

Tip #10- Don’t ask personal medical questions. If the expectant couple has something to share, they will share it. Don’t ask about dilation (some of us don’t have that checked ever *gasp*). Don’t ask about the results from the trisomy screening. Don’t ask how much weight they’ve gained, what their blood pressure is, if they’ve had bloody show, if they’re leaking colostrum- if they don’t tell you, they likely don’t want you to know. It is sometimes hard to remember that in pregnancy, all these things are still personal medical questions. We don’t go asking people about their thyroid levels or menopausal status, so let’s keep it down with the pregnant medical stuff, too.

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Tip #11- I know I said “Don’t assume anything” but, assume you are NOT invited to the delivery room unless you are asked to be there. Don’t ask to be included. It just makes it awkward for everyone. Some people may not mind, but there are very few who feel comfortable telling family or friends to get out. (I happen to be one who will absolutely tell my family and friends when I need them out of my space, but I appear to be abnormal in that way.) It is weird and presumptive to ask to be there. They get that you are excited. I’m excited that you’re excited. But let them decide when and how they want you present.

The same is true for ultrasounds and doctor/midwife visits. They may want to share that with you. If they do, they’ll invite you. Don’t ask to tag along. It puts them in a really awkward spot. And really, do you want to be there if you aren’t really welcome? Let them ask you. Or not.

Tip #12- Don’t take it personally. When the new parents want some time alone with their infant, it isn’t about you, it is about them. When they don’t want you visiting immediately after birth, it isn’t about you, it is about them. When they don’t want to let you hold the baby immediately, it isn’t about you, it is about them. Their name choice isn’t about you. Their diaper choice isn’t about you. Let it go and just go with their flow. Everyone will be happier.

Tip #13- Don’t forget Dad. This is a big time in his life, too. He’s part of this. A big part. Don’t assume he is ignorant. Don’t assume this is all about mom and baby. Don’t assume he is stress free. Many Dads find that they are extremely stressed during pregnancy. They have their own brand of worries. Will their partner be okay? Will they be able to provide for their family? Will the baby have their unfortunate ears? Will the family finances be okay? How on earth are they going to pay for that crib? And the mattress isn’t included?! Dads worry, too. And they dream in their own way. And they are just as stressed and sleep deprived as Moms. So keep them in mind, too. And definitely don’t try to elbow them out or imply you can be better support. Dads are invaluable.

Tip #14- Holding the baby isn’t helping. There are a million things that need to be done. Super shame on you if your solution is to hold the baby while the woman who just pushed that cute little bundle of joy out takes care of the household chores. Laundry still needs to be done. Groceries still need to be purchased. Bathrooms need scrubbing (and remember she’s been super pregnant so that has probably gone undone for a long time). Dinner needs to be on the table at some point. The grubby 4 year old could use some outside time. Don’t ask “What can I do?” You know what you can do. Just roll in and do it.

At the same time, don’t be offended if they just don’t need the help you want to give. You may want to take the kids to the park, but that just stresses the new parents out thinking about swapping car seats around, so they say no. Or you want to bring them dinner, but they have such strict dietary guidelines, they really can’t explain to you what would be okay to bring. Accept it. You offered. They are grateful you offered. If you can help in some other way, cool. If not, that is okay too. Some people may not want you touching their bloody laundry or grocery shopping for them. It is okay. Again, not personal.

Tip #15- Don’t ask if this baby was planned. Really, what you’re asking is really awkward. Did they have sex knowing she was fertile? You really want a discussion about fertile cervical mucous or basal body temp testing? Do you really want to hear about her cycles and how regular or irregular they are? Along the same lines, avoid asking if the baby was conceived “naturally”. Babies are conceived, just go with it. Don’t ask about fertility treatments or drugs or herbs or anything of that sort. The fact is, if you were close enough to ask about such things, then you are close enough that you wouldn’t need to ask because they would tell you.

pip

Tip #16- Don’t ask about birth plans. This is such a charged topic and such an emotional one for so many women. If they had a c-section before, you can’t assume they’ll have another or assume they’ll have a VBAC. They may be wrapping their head around their options and they really don’t need more pressure from you. If they want to talk to you about the pros and cons of home birth, they will. But unless they bring it up, assume they’ve got things covered.

Tip #17- Don’t ask how they are paying for things unless you are willing to pick up the tab. Not everyone has insurance. It happens. Not everyone has the same priorities as you. Don’t imply they are irresponsible because they don’t have a college saving account already set up. Don’t imply they aren’t responsible because they don’t have the means to pay their insurance deductible the minute the stick showed two lines. Home births are often completely out of pocket with or without insurance, don’t judge them because they can’t just easily throw down whatever that might cost (usually around $3000-$5000, if you’re curious). Unless you are wanting to help financially, don’t ask. Even if you are wanting to help, just ask how much or give without asking. Imagine if someone came into your house and judged every single thing you spent money on this month. Not helpful. Big life changes don’t need financial judgement or commentary. Be helpful or be quiet.

Tip #18- Don’t harass them for information they don’t want to give. If they don’t want to tell the name until birth, they can do that. If they don’t want to find out the gender before birth, they can do that. If they want to find out and just not tell you, they can do that. Harassing them to tell you only makes them want to tell you less. Let them do this their way.

Tip #19- Don’t share horror stories. Seriously. A pregnant woman or her spouse do not need to hear about your Uncle’s third cousin’s fourth degree tear that required extensive corrective surgery. They don’t need to know about your friend’s mother-in-law’s baby who was born with eight toes. They don’t need to hear about your neighbor who had a surprise twin at birth in the 60s. They don’t need to hear about that woman who had a 15 lb. baby. Really, they have enough stress and worry without the horror stories. Even if it seems mild, like you had ridiculously bad hemorrhoids with your third kid that still haven’t gone away 30 years later- they don’t need to know. Keep things positive. Keep encouraging. Don’t be the black cloud and the rain.

Tip #20- Don’t hijack their happiness. This isn’t a competition. You don’t have to share how exciting your pregnancy was to share the joy of their pregnancy. You don’t have to brag extensively about your all natural dolphin assisted lotus birth. Their birth is theirs. Their pregnancy is about them. You don’t have to one-up everything or use every moment as an opportunity to tell them how awesome your experience was. I don’t respond to people’s pregnancy announcements with, “Congrats! I’ve had six pregnancies myself and they were awesome and I am an awesome pregnant woman.” I don’t tell people how old I am on their birthday. I don’t show people my shoes when they have on new ones. Let their pregnancy and birth and new baby experience be theirs. The sun can shine in two places at once.

(I’m not talking about having actual conversations with people. I am talking about those people who seriously turn everything into something about them. You know a one-upper when you have to deal with them, am I right?)

Tip #21- Do not ask “How are you feeling?” every single time you talk to them. Really, it gets old. And most people don’t even want a real answer. They don’t want to know about the varicose veins, unending nausea, pressure on your bladder, horrible hip pain, constipation you cannot even fathom is possible. They want to appear caring, and I think it is awesome that they care. But “How are you feeling?” is such a loaded question when you are pregnant. And it is downright annoying when you ask in *that* tone. (You know the one. That patronizing sing-songy one.) Unless you really want to know how a pregnant woman feels, don’t ask.

Instead of asking how they are feeling, greet them as you would if they were not expecting. Tell her you’ve been praying for her (if you have). If you must ask something pregnancy related, ask about whatever milestone just passed or ask about whatever they have mentioned to you in the past. Or say, “You look radiant.” Always tell a pregnant woman she looks radiant. Or give her a cookie. You can never go wrong with either of those. “How are you feeling?” is acceptable once in a while, if it is a legitimate question. Just don’t let that be all you ever say. And don’t use *that* tone. But be prepared! Pregnancy isn’t always pretty.

Tip #22- Newborns look like newborns. Do not tell a woman who just had a baby that her precious little bundle looks exactly like your Uncle Irving. You know that baby looks like every other baby born. They look like newborns. Squishy-faced, discolored, newborns. She doesn’t want to hear the baby looks like her father-in-law. She doesn’t want to hear the baby looks like cousin Larry’s new baby. The baby looks like a baby. You don’t have to immediately start playing the “who’s genes are stronger” game. Really. No need. Especially DO NOT tell them the baby looks nothing like them, mother or father. Never tell a parent that, newborn or not.

Tip #23- Do not tell a pregnant woman that her baby will be too big to come out. In addition to not telling her that her belly is huge, never tell her the baby IN her belly is huge. That baby has to come out. And she’s already wrapping her head around that seemingly impossible process. Don’t imply the child is massive. Who would that help? (When I was in labor with Pippin, my L&D nurse told me numerous times that my baby was huge. It was very, very unhelpful. I told her many times he was not huge. She just kept on. It didn’t help. And she was wrong. So, a jerk and a wrong jerk. Even if she had been right, she’d still be a jerk.) Don’t be a jerk.

Also don’t imply the baby is too small. Unless you are her chosen medical professional qualified to make such an assessment, you’ll just cause stress. Babies come in a variety of sizes.

Tip #24-  Don’t be pushy with your own agenda. Don’t buy them bottles when you know she is going to breastfeed because you are just sure she’ll need them. Don’t buy paper diapers when they told you they are going to use cloth. Don’t buy all pink when they express that they’d prefer things to be gender neutral. These first things may not seem like a big deal, but these are the first of their parenting decisions. Earn some brownies points by showing them that you respect them as parents and you will abide by their decisions. People tend to want to be around people that encourage them and don’t make them feel small and stupid. Don’t discourage them from these decisions either. If she says she wants a natural birth, don’t tell her she can’t because you couldn’t. If she wants to breastfeed, don’t insist she’ll need to pump so you can feed the baby. These things aren’t about you. Offer your support and encouragement.

Tip #25- Don’t buy yourself baby gifts. This isn’t for strangers, usually just close family. But don’t buy yourself a car seat for the baby for your car unless you have talked to the mother or father to be and they have expressed that you NEED to do so. Do you know how ridiculous it is when Grandma has an entire nursery and Mom and Dad and trying to scrape together enough cash to pop up a pack and play in their room? I cannot tell you how many grandparents have fully outfitted nurseries only to find they didn’t need half the stuff because the parents thought they were a little off their rocker setting up an entire nursery. Unless you have talked to the parents about it, and not in an informing way, but the parents have indicated this would be welcome, don’t set up a full nursery. Sure, a pack and play and high chair at Grandma’s are usually welcome. But don’t take it too far. Don’t buy toys just for your house or other gifts with strings. If it stays at your house, it isn’t a gift for them, it is a gift for you. It is just weird. And it is a big red flag to most new parents. Really, they get that you are excited, and they are super excited to have your support. But know your role. Grandparent is a wonderful title and a wonderful role in a little one’s life. It doesn’t look like the parent’s role. It is different and wonderful in its own way. Foster that wonderful role you have to play and don’t try to steal the parent’s role.

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Tip #26- Celebrate! If this is kid number one or kid number 9, CELEBRATE! A new life has entered the world. Celebrate. All babies deserve to have someone celebrating their arrival. ALL OF THEM. (I won’t rant here about pro-life people who are anti-large family or mean to unwed mothers or any of those things. I could, but I’ll refrain. Just be nice. BE NICE.)

Danu Enigma Beaufort- A Review

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I recently had the opportunity to test out the Danu Enigma Beaufort wrap. I’ve been wearing my babies, well, since the one that is 9 was born, so I’ve used quite a variety of carriers over the years, but have only recently gotten into using woven wraps. I was very excited to be chosen as a tester and even more excited when the cozy Enigma came into our home for a couple weeks.

danu enigma

The Enigma Beaufort is 62% Irish Linen and 38% cotton. It came to me after being well broken in. It was floppy and so easy to wrap with. This is a workhorse wrap. It is a great beginners wrap because it wraps so easily and securely without any work or wiggle. Soft, but strong. I sound like a toilet paper commercial, here.

danu lindsey back carry

I wasn’t sure Topher, who is 2 now, would let me send the wrap off to the next tester. He was constantly asking to be in “pig backs” (see picture) with this wrap. It looks like a big dish towel, and honestly, that is how it feels. And while that might sound like a slight against the wrap, it is actually amazing. The thickness was perfect. It tied easily without any bulk. I tried a dozen different carries and each was so simple and easy with this wrap.

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This red and white wrap was so comfortable and so supportive. In the above picture, The Pastor is getting ready to begin a wedding rehearsal. Topher was quite upset and not being able to go jump in the lake with an alligator (yes, there was an alligator watching the entire wedding rehearsal). The Pastor wrapped him up on his back, and there he stayed for THE ENTIRE REHEARSAL. You know how long those are.

danu adam back wrap

And while he was initially upset about not being able to go pet the alligator, he quickly got over it and remained Daddy’s side-kick for the rest of the evening.

And no, The Pastor usually doesn’t dress so casually for weddings. Upon arriving into town for this one, he realized he forgot all his hanging clothes, so he had to just go to the rehearsal as he was and then we hit up Target the next day for appropriate wedding attire. It happens.

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The Linen/Cotton blend was perfect for the weather. Not too hot at all. (September in Georgia can be pretty warm, if you aren’t familiar with the weather down here.) It really is a lovely, unintimidating wrap. It was a size 6, which concerned me a little since I consider a 7 my base size, but found this just as easy to do any and all wraps I use my 7 for. It tied so securely. The fabric is just the right amount of grip. I did wrap Pip in it, too, when Topher would let me. At 5 months old, he was a breeze to wrap in this, too.

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If you haven’t checked out Danu Slings, you totally should. They even have some Narnia inspired wraps to check out!

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Babywearing: A Personal History

bjorn 2We decided to wear our baby before our first was born. I loved the idea and thought it’d be so much easier than maneuvering a stroller everywhere we went. When our first was born, we were still in youth ministry and just knew a stroller wouldn’t really suit our lifestyle. So, off to big box baby store we went. And we registered for the most expensive, “nicest” carrier they had. The Baby Bjorn.

bjornWe quickly realized that was a mistake. Though at the time, I thought it was just babywearing in general, since I did buy the best and all. (Ha!) My hands would go numb within 30 minutes of wearing the carrier. See how narrow the seat is on that thing? Yeah. You had to turn her back and forth to keep her comfortable. Poor little hips.

bjorn 3We didn’t use it at all with our second. It was just too uncomfortable. For our third, we needed our hands! So, we dug the Baby Bjorn back out to give it another shot. I’d been reading and researching baby carriers and I knew there were much better ones than the big box baby stores carried. I just didn’t know if I could justify the price tag. I was looking at spending double what I paid for my Bjorn! And would it be worth it? Or would my hands still go numb and the baby still have to be rotated like a roasting chicken? Finally, we decided to go for it. We NEEDED to be able to wear the baby. We had a baby and two toddlers. Something HAD to work. I ordered my very first Beco Butterfly from Carrymeaway.com.

beco in savannahFinally! We had our hands back! (And they weren’t numb!) Why didn’t we do this sooner? That first Beco was worth every single penny I paid for it. We used it so much more than the stroller we paid way more money for. It made our life so, so, so much easier!

beco beachFinally! We could easily manage two toddlers and a baby!

beco sees flamingosWe even learned we could still carry the toddlers in the Beco Butterfly! Anytime someone got tired at the zoo, we could load them up and carry them without wearing our arms out.

beco colar bear(My kids, for the longest time, thought a polar bear was actually called a “Cola Bear” because of this guy.)

beco butterfly

Suddenly the baby carrier became our one must have item. You could forget diapers at home. You could forget an extra change of clothes. But DO NOT forget the Beco or we’re turning the car around!

first becoIt worked so perfectly for our life. Suddenly we were much more flexible. Even church camp  became easy to tackle. (The Pastor is teaching a class with Emery in tow.)

empty beco(I think he is missing something.)

there's baby!(Oh! There he is!) dinosaut k'tan

When our fourth was born, I bought a Baby K’Tan carrier. It worked wonderfully for the newborn stage- keeping baby snug and cozy against mom. I used it daily- at home and out.

beco ff aquariumWhen the new Beco Gemini came out, we’d been discussing becoming a two carrier family, so we decided to go for it. We knew we’d get our money’s worth out of it. It ended up being The Pastor’s favorite carrier. (In the photo, you can see how much longer it is than the Baby Bjorn. You can also see how much wider the seat is, even with it snapped into the “narrow” position. It is ridiculously more comfy for baby and parent!)

out of beco museum

 

beco gemini pierWe got so comfortable being a double babywearing family that when I broke the buckle of my Beco Butterfly (I slammed it in the van door), I just knew I had to replace it right away. (Should have checked, because you can buy replacement buckles on Beco’s website.)

beco butterfly newSo we bought another Beco Butterfly.

church super bowl party becoAbsolutely worth it!

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DITL- Momma BBThe Beco Soleil  joined our family earlier this month, and once again, we’re in love. We now own 4 baby carriers and I can tell you every single one of them was well worth the money.

soleil close upWhat makes them better than the cheaper versions? Well, quality, when we’re talking about something you wear, is always going to matter. The quality is simply not there in cheapo carriers.  You’re also dealing with a company that consistently makes a good product- always important when talking about baby items. The good carriers (if you don’t have any clue what a good carrier is, check out this site and browse around. They only carry good ones.) also last a really long time. Through washings, beach trips, zoo trips, being shoved in your bag, grocery runs, and ball games- these carriers hold up.  Good carriers have much higher weight limits! The Baby Bjorn maxes out at 25lbs. The Soleil maxes out at 45lbs.  That is a big, big difference! (And I can tell you from experience that the comfort level of a maxed out Bjorn is nil- while a maxed out Soleil is still incredibly comfortable and easy to carry.)

I’ve been asked frequently about the price of carriers. If you’re truly strapped and cannot spend more than Baby Bjorn price for a carrier, check out a wrap. They are going to be much more comfortable than a cheap carrier for both you and baby at the same price. You can still have a great carrier on a limited budget. If you’re expecting- you’ll use the carrier way more than the stroller, pack and play, exersaucer, etc. So invest the money in the carrier! I have never regretted the money spent on my carriers.

beco christmas tree * Note: You’ll notice that most of my carriers (the Baby K’Tan is the exception) are buckle carriers. There are plenty of other kinds of awesome carriers out there! Here is an article to help you decide which carrier is for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Which Diaper System Should I Choose?

There are so many kinds of cloth diapers out there, it can be difficult to choose which system will work best for your family. You research and research and finally decide, Yes! I will cloth diaper my children. Then, you are faced with which diapers to buy! It can be overwhelming trying to figure out the pros and cons of each system, especially since you’ll be pulling from individual diaper reviews and diaper sites. I often get asked why I chose what I chose, why I like my diapers, and would I choose again the same way if I had to do it all over again. Well, here is an overview of different styles of cloth diapers and what I think is nice about them and what I think is awful about them.

Prefolds (or flats) & Covers

+ They are the cheapest system available.

+ They provide a level of excitement, providing the daily challenge of achieving that perfect fold.

+ Dry quickly.

– They are the most intimidating system, especially to husbands and child care providers.

– Pins or snappis are usually required. (I have a personal aversion to pins and snappis.)

– Can be difficult to get the absorbency just right.

– Often bulky.

– Can be difficult to get on a squirmy baby or toddler.

– Sizes are usually needed. (There are a few kinds that offer one size covers. Econobum is the main one that comes to mind.)

Fitteds and Covers


+ Cute and often trim.

+ Great for containing messes. (Really great fro holding in newborn poo!)

+ Very absorbent and usually require little “fiddling” to get absorbency right.

+ Easier to use.

+ Can easily use all natural fibers only.

+ Can make yourself or buy from a work at home mom.

+/- Can be the most expensive system or a very affordable system depending on your personal choices.

– The most addictive cloth diapering system. (Yes, cloth diapers can be addictive.)

– More difficult to adjust absorbency if the absorbency isn’t right for your little one from the start.

– Take more time to dry.

– Usually need various sizes. (There are a few brands that offer a One Size fitted diaper and you can find One Size covers.)

Pocket Diapers


+ Easy to use.

+ Most common type of One Size diapers.

+ Dry quickly.

+ Easy to adjust absorbency.

+ Only require one diaper “layer.” No extra cover is needed.

– Require “assembly” of diapers after each wash.

– Usually made of man made fibers.

– Can be expensive, depending on the diaper you choose.

All-In-One Diapers


+ Easy to use. Easy for you. Easy for husbands. Easy for child care providers.

+ No assembly required. Ready straight from the wash.

+ Only one diaper “layer” is needed. No extra cover necessary.

– Can take quite a while to dry.

– More difficult to adjust absorbency if you need to.

– Can be quite expensive.

All-In-Two Diapers


+ Fairly easy to use.

+ Dry faster than all-in-ones.

+ Theoretically, you can reuse the outer cover, meaning you’ll have less diaper laundry and less cost.

– Not a good system for babies with loose poo. (The poo contaminates the cover, eliminating the chance of reusing it.)

– Require “assembly” before use.

What to do with all this information?

Well, I looked at everything and narrowed down the most important for me. I knew I would be drying my diapers in my dryer, so I’d want something that dried quickly. I knew I needed something that would work immediately without a lot of trial and error. The Pastor was barely on board with cloth diapering, so I needed it to work and be easy for him. I wanted a one size solution, since I have multiple children in diapers at one time, I didn’t want to have to separate and keep several different sizes out all the time. I just needed one stash for all the children I was diapering (except newborns). I did not want to use snappis or pins.

So, with all that information, I chose to buy one size pocket diapers. They worked without any playing around with them. They were easy to use. The only real downside for my family is that I have to assemble them when they come out of the dryer and that takes time.

I have since used every other system, except prefolds. I can say, I can find things I like and don’t like about them all. If I had to do it over again, I would have bought less variety and tried to stick with one brand. (Having a bazillion brands makes it difficult when you are assembling your diapers. It also makes it difficult on care providers to switch from one brand to another, when they aren’t really comfortable with my diapers to begin with.) I love fitteds and covers for the newborn stage! I really dislike all-in-twos.

So, what should I choose?

That is up to you. You shouldn’t feel like you have to choose just one system. I knew that in the beginning, it would make it easier for The Pastor if I only had one system. But many families use on system at home and one system while out. Or one system during the day and another at night. Choosing an easier system at first will make your transition into cloth easier. (Some people find prefolds very frustrating and quit cloth diapering because of these frustrations.) It is up to you!

A note about one size diapers: I often find that I would have probably liked sized diapers, too. There are several brands of one size diapers that require internal adjustment of either the diaper or the insert, that defeat my “one stash” goal. Also, diapers don’t last forever, so with one size diapers now on their third bum, I find they get very worn out. It might have been just the same to buy the various sizes and end up with more diapers, lasting longer. As it is, I must replace my diapers when they’ve had enough. I once thought one size diapers would save me money, and if I had one child, they would. But since I’ve now cloth diapered 3, I find that I would have spent the same, either way.

Happy Diapering!!! (You can check out my reviews of each of my diapers in the “Off The Bum” category.)

How I Wash Diapers

A very frequent question I get is how do I wash my cloth diapers. First, you should start with the most simple washing routine for your diapers (always avoiding the no-no items of bleach and fabric softners). If you start complicated, your wash routine will always be complicated. If you start simple, you may find that simple is more than enough for you. In which case, you’ve made your life infinitely easier. Second, the real trick to washing cloth diapers is using just enough detergent to get your diapers clean, and then using enough water to thoroughly rinse the detergent out. Seems simple, right? Well, the 1/4th a capful rule makes many people wary of using too much detergent and they end up with ammonia build up. Don’t be scared. If you use too much detergent, you can always rinse it out. You won’t ruin your diapers by using a little more detergent. Lastly, take into account your load size. A very small load of diapers (10 or so) will need very little detergent. If you are cloth diapering 3 and your load is 30 diapers, you’ll clearly need more detergent. Also, if you have a load size setting on your machine, always over estimate your load size, rather than underestimate it. You need water to clean your diapers!

One of my first questions when I was beginning to cloth diaper was, “What on earth is a diaper pail?” I couldn’t think if people were using Diaper Genies or what. You can use a Diaper Champ or something similar, but the easiest is using a kitchen trash can with a lid. You can see mine have liners. I made them from some extra home decor fabric I had lying around. I made two, so while one is in the wash, the other is in the pail. But it isn’t even waterproof?! I realize that. You can make a waterproof liner, but I don’t see the need. When I remove my liner and throw it in with my diapers, I spray my pail with Lysol. I let it sit and dry, then put a new liner in. In over a year of doing this, I have no problems with it.

The inside of my diaper pail has the following instructions:

Dump any solids! (That means, put poop in the toilet.)

Remove insert (if any). (Clearly, some of my diapers do not require this step. However, anyone not in the know about how to put my diapers in the pail is also not in the know about the Smartipants and TweedleBugs being exempt from this requirement. And clearly fitteds, all in ones, and covers don’t have inserts.)

If velcro, secure velcro to laundry tabs.

My laundry routine:

1. Once all soiled diapers, wipes, and the diaper pail liner are in the machine- I run one cold rinse. (This rinses out any poop that wasn’t dumpable – think breastfed baby- and keeps most poop stains from setting in.)

2. Add 1/2 capful of detergent (I know, you’ve heard to use a forth of what you’d normally use. I did that, it did not get my diapers clean enough. So, now I use half a capful  to 3/4 a capful!) and turn washer on for a hot wash with warm rinse.

3. Turn washer back on (without adding more detergent) for another hot wash and warm rinse. (My machine does have an “extra rinse cycle” button that you can push, however, I found that a wash and two rinses just wasn’t enough. So, now I essentially have a wash and 3 rinses.)

4. Put all diapers, wipes, inserts, and pail liner into the dryer and dry one cycle on low. Take out all covers (this includes the outer portion of pocket diapers) and dry on high heat. (There is something wrong with my dryer. It takes the full two cycles to dry all my stuff. It doesn’t take me that many at my mom’s since her dryer is not incapable of actually drying. At her house, I remove all the covers, then leave my inserts in for a 15 minute high heat  blast in the dryer for germ killing reasons, not drying reasons.)

That concludes my wash routine!

What detergent should I use?

You can use the special diaper detergents, but to start off that way goes against my “keep it simple” rule. So, I decided simple would be buying only one kind of laundry detergent for my entire household. I have used original Tide, regular All, All Small & Mighty, Arm & Hammer with Oxi Clean, and some super cheap kind at my Mom’s house. My favorite is Arm & Hammer with Oxi Clean. It is cheap and works well. (And it smells really nice!) Trying to decide on a detergent? Avoid “free & clear” varieties. Avoid anything with added fabric softner, water softner, or bleach. I also think the liquid kind rinses easier from cloth diapers.

What about stripping?

I every other week to every week wash once using plain blue Dawn instead of my detergent. It seems to keep build up problems at bay to routinely Dawn your diapers, though it is far from necessary. Need a deep clean but don’t want to use Dawn? Use more of your detergent (and you can add a scoop or two of Oxi Clean) and add a couple more rinse cycles to the end of your wash. It is amazing what a really good rinse will do.

What about using baking soda or vinegar?

Once again, to start with, keep it simple. Baking soda added to the initial rinse can help with detergent build up. Vinegar added to you end rinse cycles can sometimes help with ammonia build up. Sometimes vinegar will make your problem worse. Baking soda can make ammonia problems worse. So, jump these hurdles if they come, don’t start out using either.

How do I know if I have ammonia build up or detergent build up?

We often automatically assume it is the dreaded detergent when we have issues. Detergent build up will show up by your diapers not absorbing as much as they should. You’ll begin having unexplained leaks that are not caused by improper size or infrequent changes. Your baby could get a rash on their bum, but it usually doesn’t make your diapers smell. If your baby has a rash and your diapers have a smell (sometimes out of the dryer, sometimes when peed on) but are not leaking, ammonia is probably the culprit.

What do I do for detergent build up?

More rinsing! A Dawn strip can help you get your diapers back on track. If you are using “free & clear” detergent, find something else to use. “Free & Clear” detergents are a common culprit in detergent build up. Don’t cut down on the amount of detergent you use, you’ll only give yourself an ammonia problem that way. Add more rinsing to your routine! (And you may want to switch detergents. The more basic the detergent, the better.)

What do I do for ammonia build up?

A Dawn strip may help you quickly get your situation under control. Increase the amount of detergent you are using, because you are clearly not using enough detergent to get your diapers clean (thus the build up). You may need to increase you rinsing to make sure you rinse the increased amount of detergent out.

If you can, once a week add an extra rinse cycle or two to your normal load. I call this a “mini-strip” and usually do mine with Oxi-Clean or Dawn instead of my usual detergent.

What do I do if I’m still not sure if my problem is detergent or ammonia?

Easy. Do the most simple thing. Increase your detergent and add an extra rinse or two. To keep it from recurring, you can increase both your detergent and rinsing permanently. A strip or “mini-strip” would help both!

How many rinse cycles must I do?

Typically, one extra rinse is enough. ( rinse + wash + rinse + rinse) If you find that isn’t enough, you can increase your rinsing in one of two ways. You can add on rinses to the end *rinse + wash + rinse + rinse + rinse) or you can increase your load size on your washer, so each rinse uses more water, thus rinsing a little better. (small load to medium load) In my experience, water is the key to clean diapers!

Isn’t machine drying rough on your diapers?

Yes. I never dry my PUL on anything but low heat. I am not very easy on my diapers (should give you a little more confidence in my reviews). You can line dry your diapers, I just find very little time for such things.

How often do you wash diapers?

I wash mine daily. Some people wash every other day. Some only wash twice (or once!) a week. I have too many diapers to wash anything other than daily. My diaper pail is completely full by the end of the day! Also, Aidan pees acid. If his diapers sit longer than 36 hours, they must be washed twice to get all the ammonia out.

Doesn’t washing diapers take a lot of time?

Well, I’m not washing them by hand! You quickly settle into a nice washing routine. If I start my diapers when the kids are getting baths, I can have them in the dryer before bedtime. (I take them out when I get up in the morning, unless I just can’t sleep & do it after the kids are in bed.)

Still have questions? Feel free to ask!