Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Wordless Wednesdays-Christmas Edition!

Ok, so this is not technically "wordless", but in this case it was an appropriate picture for my Wordless Wednesdays post.  After two crazy days of family, food, fun, sleeplessness, here we all are...exhausted...but happy!  Merry Day After Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

December Natural Living Blog Carnival: Natural Remedies- Breastmilk Teething Pops

Welcome to the December 2012 Natural Living Blog Carnival: Natural Remedies. This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Natural Living Blog Carnival hosted by Happy Mothering and The Pistachio Project through the Green Moms Network. This month our members have written posts about how they use natural remedies in their homes.
It has been an exhausting week. And when I say exhausting I don't mean the regular old mom tiredness...this is like a hair raising, drunken feeling, I probably shouldn't be driving right now sort of exhaustion. Why am I so tired you ask? Well, my little guy is teething, fiercely. He has been up multiple times throughout the night for about a week now. Nothing seems to calm the little man down. He is extremely fussy and just overall crabby.  This baby is usually a very good boy, he pretty much goes with the flow, but his two little top front teeth are giving him such a hard time. Besides being feverish and crabby, a few days ago he started having the dreaded "D" word. Diarrhea. Ok, there. I said it. According to my pediatrician, this is normal because babies swallow so much mucus and saliva when they are teething that it all comes out in their bowel movements.  This little nugget has been exclusively cloth diapered for basically his entire life, we started him at around 3 weeks. And this is the first time I have actually had a problem with the poop. When you have a newborn, cloth diapering is actually easy, very easy. If your baby is breastfeeding exclusively, all you do is literally throw the poopy diaper in the washing machine and you're done (breastmilk is water soluble). My little guy has been nursing and on solid food since about 4 months. Now normally, I wouldn't suggest starting solids at that age, especially because of the decrease in nursing, but he would literally and aggressively steal food from anywhere he could find, including sticking his hands inside mommy's hot oatmeal, and scrounging the floor for Cheerios. Ever since I started feeding him solid foods he has been calmer-but let me tell you, this boy can eat! Which is great to watch because my older child eats absolutely nothing. For years I thought I was a terrible mom and that he might starve to death or get scurvy, like a baby pirate...I digress. Back to teething. Last night, as I was preparing dinner, my little one was extremely fussy.  All he wanted to do was nurse, so I had a grand idea for a natural remedy.  I quickly took out the day's pumped breastmilk from our refrigerator, placed it in my snazzy popsicle molds, and off to the freezer it went. 
Less than 4 hours later, voila!  breastmilk pops!  He gnawed on those things like they were going out of style!  What a happy, happy baby!  And mommy was happy too!  He has been devouring these, and I know that he is getting all of the nutrients he needs and having some much needed cold relief on his little swollen gums.   Please remember to handle all breastmilk pops according to standard safety guidelines.  If your milk is freshly pumped, you may pour it in the molds, and freeze up to 3-4 months.  Previously frozen breastmilk cannot be thawed and frozen again.  Partially eaten breastmilk pops should not be frozen again.  My little guy is still teething fiercely.  I used all of the tools in my mommy arsenal...the chewbeads, the amber necklace, the teething balm, the CJ's BUTTer spritz for his bum, and breastmilk pops...hopefully he will sleep tonight. Hopefully, I can have a rest as well...I know I sure need one!

Visit Happy Mothering and The Pistachio Project to learn more about participating in next month’s Natural Living Blog Carnival! Please take some time to enjoy the posts our other carnival participants have contributed:

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Gingerbread House

Christmas is great. I love this time of year, but as I got older, the magic feeling of Christmas kind of slowed down a bit. I wouldn't say it went away completely, but I found myself getting caught up in the un-magical side of the holiday, like bills and family responsibilities, and stressing over gifts. About 4 years ago something happened. Kids. May not seem abnormal, but let me tell you kids change everything. It's absolutely amazing to see a human being discover Christmas for the first time. But what's even more amazing is that every year it seems to get better. The older the little ones become, the more of that magic makes its way back into our lives. Seeing your kids happy somehow has the same effect as if you were experiencing this joy for the first time as well. (the only difference being that you are way more tired and only possess about a quarter of the energy they have in one little finger). This holiday, my little guy begged me to build a gingerbread house (possibly due to us reading "10 Gingerbread Men" every night of the year).   We had so much fun! We just sat around the table putting it together, I frosted the walls and windows while baby talked and simultaneously ate the candy decoration.  We managed to save a few of the unbeaten ones to decorate the roof of the house. I am so glad for the chance to slow down this holiday season, and especially for the opportunity to take the time to spend together and build this. What a great way to usher in the Christmas season. Do you and your family have any Christmas traditions that bring your together?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Great Detergent Debate

Left Photo Credit: Erica Dunhill of WP Inks
As a cloth diapering momma, one of the most challenging things about actually successfully using cloth on our kids is finding a washing routine that works.  No family is the same when it comes to their particular cloth diapering practices. It's really about finding what works for you, your particular washing equipment, and learning how to successfully match your baby's chemistry with your washing routine.  I have been a bit curious about trying out different detergents, and maybe sprucing up my routine a little bit...even though I am not currently having any problems. I wanted to test out different detergents to see how they stack up against one another. So here is my current washing routine: cold pre-wash, no detergent. Hot wash with detergent, followed by a hot rinse, then a second cold rinse. I strip my diapers using the blue Dawn method once every three weeks to keep everything so fresh and so clean! The detergent I currently use is Tide original powder (regular, not free and clear) because the bulk of my stash consists of Rumparooz G2 pockets, and Tide powder is the recommended detergent for that brand.  I tend to use a milder detergent for my clothes, however, I have never had issues with sensitivity from the enzymes in Tide, and I am very happy with how clean my cloth diapers are.  I have never had poop residue on my diapers, and up to this point, I have never had any staining or had to sun my diapers for stain removal.  They always come out of the washer really clean and white.  I have had my eye on Eco Nuts.  I am always looking for great products, whether it be new diapers or accessories, or detergents.  I really wanted to try Eco Nuts. I have been curious about how they would work, and love the thought of having a more natural approach to laundry.  It fits in nicely with our family's continued efforts to make our lives a little greener. I got a cute little bag of Eco nuts with 5 nuts in it. I followed the manufacturer's directions for laundering, which are as follows; cold pre-wash with no soap nuts and a half cup of baking soda. Followed by a a hot wash (with Eco Nuts added in the bag provided in the box) with a cold rinse and a final cold rinse.  To finish it off, all the diapers were tumble dried on low heat.

The verdict: The diapers and inserts that were washed with Eco Nuts were extremely soft...surprisingly soft. And they had no smell whatsoever, which is great! However, the cloth diapers that were pooped on did not come out as clean as I would have liked. One of my Rumparooz even smelled like poop and had little poop "particles" all over the gusset. Simply put, the diaper was not clean. Having said that, if I had been a bit more diligent about hosing off the diaper completely before placing it in the wash, I think the Eco Nuts would have done a great job.  For children with sensitive skin, this would be a great alternative to the traditional (perhaps harsher) brands of detergent.  Eco Nuts worked very nicely on my LO's clothes, but as far as the cloth diapers, since my LO does not have sensitive skin, I think the Tide does a better job for keeping the poop off the diapers.  Round one goes to Tide!