We Survived Our First Diaper Blowout!

Ribbon-1stIt took us two babies, but we finally experienced a diaper blowout.

The night began with the toddler screaming, “All done” around 1:20am. My partner went in his room and tried to get him back to sleep for about an hour and a half. When it didn’t work, I went into the toddler’s room. Instead of trying to get him back to sleep, I just hung out with him. I turned on his tablet and discovered …  that he was been taking selfies! Lol He’s taken tons and tons of selfies. Lol

After hanging out with him, he fell asleep after about an hour. I woke up, scrunched up in the toddler bed and decided to return to my bed. Just as I laid down in the bed and felt my muscles relax ….  baby girl started fussing (she sleeps in a crib in our room). I thought she might be cool, so I got up and turned off the ceiling fan. On the way back to bed, I peeked at her  only to find …  poop!

Poop was everywhere! There was poop on her sheets. There was poop on her onsie. There was poop CAKED on her feet. Ugh! Around 4am, I was up putting baby girl in the bathtub and scraping poop off of her ….  eew. After a bath she was ready to start her day. Lol She watched some Baby Einstein, some Patty Shukla, and was still awake.

I grabbed a Gerber oatmeal with pears and cinnamon and she LOVED it. She loved it so much that she wanted to feed herself.

It’s daylight now and both babies are awake. The toddler is downstairs doing …. something he shouldn’t be doing probably. Lol The baby is next to me burping happily and playing her rattle.

Life is good.

 

Being a Crunchy Black Parent

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Doing our world schooling thing in Salvador, Brazil.

I joined a Facebook group for crunchy Black parents and until I joined, I wouldn’t have thought to call myself “crunchy”. Lol I know that there are some things that we do that other Black parents don’t do but I don’t think of us as hippies or anything.When I delved into the terminology a bit more, I came to understand just how crunchy I am … or possibly scrunchy. Lol

Crunchy parents tend to be more all-natural. Silky parents tend to be more traditional. Scrunchy parents tend to be a mixture of both. Here are some things we do, in no particular order, that apparently make us crunchy:

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Our son is not impressed by Kirstenbosch Garden in Cape Town, South Africa. Lol

 

#1 Babywearing

We started babywearing when our son was about 3 months old. Until that point, we were carrying him around in his car seat. That thing is HEAVY! Lol Once I realized that I could use a little piece of material to attach him to my chest I was in love. It made me hands-free and helped us bond. Talk about a win-win. We transitioned over to a mei tei when he was about six months old and haven’t looked back. He’s almost 2.5 years old and we still carry him when we plan on doing a lot of walking or when we know there will be tons of people around.

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#2 Baby-led weaning (aka No Rice Cereals)

Everyone knows that babies should drink milk (or in our case formula) until their first birthday but starting your baby on solids is a whole ‘nother deal. I knew I wanted to make his baby food from fresh veggies starting at 6 months but I hadn’t yet learned about baby-led weaning. Basically, baby-led weaning means that you make foods a bit softer/easier for your baby to eat while not creating purees.

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#3 Cloth diapering

Cloth diapering is cheaper than disposables and some would argue better for the environment. I really wanted to use cloth on my little one, but I couldn’t get the hang of it so we used cloth mostly at home and used disposables while on the run.

#4 You dabble in composting

We attended a seminar on composting from our county and the idea took root. I love the idea of not creating as much waste and then trying to use some of the waste you still create. Our county offers a simple composting tube for $10. If you do it right, it produces little smell and created great fertilizer for your home garden.

#5 You have a garden

We went our house, so we haven’t created an in-ground garden. Instead we do pots. It’s easy to do, super cheap (non-gmo seeds are a few dollars a pack), fun to watch grow, and yummy to eat.

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#6 You used elimination communication

I found out about elimination communication before we were matched and loved the idea of it. Many cultures around the world use elimination communication and have used it for hundreds, probably thousands of years. Anyhoo, when our son was around three months old we started watching for signs of when he needed to eliminate and then sat him on a potty training toddler toilet. Around 13 months old, he could signal that he needed to eliminate. Kids are going to go anyway, this just made for fewer diapers for us to change.

#7 You’re considering World Schooling

Kids are learning from the day they are born and some would argue before. We had very different experiences in K-12 but we’ve both come away with the same idea: we’d prefer not to place our kids in the K-12 school system. Once that decision was made, we had to decide whether to homeschool (have class at home), unschool (let the child lead the learning), or worldschool (use the world as your classroom). We chose worldschooling because we love to travel and it would expose our children to lots of different ways to live all around the world.

#8 You believe in gentle parenting

We are not perfect parents but he is a perfect kid. We are making an effort to speak with him in a respectful way and encourage him to feel all of his feelings. He’s a raucous toddler. He likes to throw things down the stairs and leave toys all over the house. He rarely has temper tantrums though. His adoption worker says it’s because our house is so calm. We rarely yell, we try to stop problems before they occur using H.A.L.T. and we don’t believe that he is “too old” to be held or made to feel secure. I’m not saying that we don’t have problems. I’m saying that we try to deal with those problems in a respectful way to all the stakeholders involved.

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Travel toys in Johannesburg, South Africa rental house.

#9 You limit plastic toys in your home in favor of wooden ones.

Wooden toys have fewer chemicals and encourage a child to use imaginative play because they only do what imagine they do. When people started giving us toys most of the toys were of the plastic/singing variety. We did let him keep a few, but most of them were donated. I want him to be able to use his imagination and lead the play, not follow the directions of some toy created by some adult in some lab somewhere.

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I sewed this felt campfire, logs, and stones set.

#10 Borrow, Buy Used, Buy New

For me, part of trying to be “natural” is not spending tons of money on non-essential things and using, or re-purposing, what I already have. I sew soft toys for our son pretty often and almost all the rest of his toys are used. Every piece of clothing and”baby stuff” (blankets, burp cloths, etc.) that he has is something that a friend gave us or something that we bought used. I know as he gets older, we’ll probably have to buy more new things but we try to minimize as much as possible.

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Our little one munching a snack while I put groceries in the car.

#11 Extended rear-facing car seat usage is a must.

This was one of the ones that I didn’t realize was crunchy. Studies have shown that the longer your little one is rear-facing the better chance they have of surviving a car accident. While I hope that we’re never in a car accident, it’s better to be safe rather than sorry, no? Our little one is almost 2.5 years old and is still rear-facing. We hope to keep him rear-facing until he’s four years old. We’ll see. Right now, riding backwards doesn’t bother him so … shhhhh … don’t tell him that other kids his age are not rear-facing.

#12 You taught your little one baby sign language.

They say that most toddlers become frustrated because it’s challenging for them to communicate. One way we’ve tried to help with this is by teaching our little one baby sign language. We used free videos from YouTube. We learned together and he has been signing since about 11 months old. He doesn’t use it as much now that he can talk, but it’s there for him when he needs it.

Since we rarely hear about other crunchy parents of color, please, please, please leave a message below if you’re crunchy or scrunchy (I love typing that! Lol). If you have a blog, link to that. It would be great if we could meet IRL sometime.

 

 

 

 

Tips for Flying With An Infant

Flying-InfantWe will soon be heading out to Chicago by plane and I have a few questions. Though we’ve traveled internationally and extensively in the US this will be our first flight with a baby.  From what I can gather I should:

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Tape disposable spoons to store-bought food.

Bring a backpack instead of a sling-type diaper bag.

Bring cloth diapers with disposable inserts. Less to throw away in your large ziplock bag.

Dress baby in a long-sleeved, footed, jumper that you don’t mind throwing away.

Before Boarding

Get a Boarding Verification Document when you arrive at the airport (don’t forget to bring the baby’s birth certificate).

Wear the baby through security.

Don’t worry about brining his formula and baby food through TSA.

Gate check the car seat at the gate.

 

While Seated

Encourage the baby to drink during take-off and landing.

Bring tons of diapers.

Bring plastic bags for diaper disposal or soiled clothes.

Bring a “busy bag“.

Bring carabiners to clip on toys to the wrap so he can’t drop them.

Bring anti-bacterial wipes to wipe down surfaces baby will touch, lick, grab, etc.

Wear baby during flight (not during take-off and landing).

Play during the downtime to tire the baby out.

Ask for wings as some airlines still give out cute little pins for kids.

 

What am I forgetting? What’s your best tip for traveling with an infant?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cloth Diapering on the Cheap

Cloth-Diapering-CheapI am very cheap.

I don’t mean “frugal”. I don’t mean “thrifty”. I mean c-h-e-a-p. I think some of it comes from growing up poor (necessity) and some of it comes from learning the value of things as an adult (I used to buy Fiji water by the case several times a week when I was  single). Either way, if I can get what I want for less than retail I’m all in. We’ve been cloth diapering for about three months now and we’ve managed to get 15 pre-folds (we use them as inserts now) and 6 diaper covers for a grand total of $46!

I know that everyone has their own ideas about buying used items, but I’d like you to keep in mind that you can still be choosy with used items and really ….  you’re buying something that your kid is possibly going to crap in anyway.  *blank stare* Anyhoo … here are my tips for cloth diapering on the cheap:

Do it. Using cloth diapers is going to save you money. Buying two boxes of diapers per month at $35 per box will cost about $840 in the first year alone. The average American kid doesn’t get out of diapers until they are two …. or three …. or four, but I digress.  If you purchase new diapers that cost $20 each and you get 24 of them (you can use them from newborn through about 35 pounds) you’ll spend about $480 (but don’t forget that you don’t have to buy new). You’ve already saved about $360 out of the gate. Pop that $360 in your retirement account (assuming 6% interest rate and 40 years of tax-free growth) and you’ll add $3,944.68 to your nest egg.

Buy from thrift stores and resale sites. Purchasing items from thrift stores and resale stores does not always mean that those items will be used. I have found plenty of items still in the boxes/plastic or with the tags still on. Pay attention and take your time to find items that you want. Look for value, not just cost. It also helps if you search the internet when you find items you’re thinking about buying. You have to know how much it costs retail to help determine the value at that location. $3 seemed a bit much for a diaper cover until I realized that new diaper covers cost about $20 each! Eek!

Purchase gently used items. Another good option is to find people that are selling what you’d like to buy. So many people have kids that whatever you’re looking for has already been purchase by a million other families. Some folks might think it’s strange to buy used diapers, but you can find plenty of gently used diapers that look brand new. As expensive as they cost new, people tend to take really good care of them.

Take your time. Plan what you’ll need before you actually need it. That gives you time to hunt around for the best value. You do NOT have to take just anything because you are cheap.

What tips do you have that help you cloth diaper cheaply?

 

Baby Land Cloth Diapers Review

These are NOT your parents' cloth diapers.

These are NOT your parents’ cloth diapers.

 

I have been playing with the idea of using cloth diapers since the baby came home. I tipped my toe into the foray by purchasing 13 Imagination pre-folds new from a parent on Craigslist and then realized that though they worked well we needed some diaper covers! Lol

While thrifting I kept my eye out and was lucky enough to find 8 Baby Land cloth pocket diaper covers with snaps that looked brand new for $3 each. I only bought 6 because …..  I’m crazy! Lol I should have purchased all 8.

I love the way that these diaper covers fit and I like the multiple snap options. The inside rarely feels damp even when the insert is totally wet. The only thing I don’t like is the color. I prefer more vibrant colors, but if that’s all that I have to complain about …. that’s a good thing.

IMG_20140914_195755When I got home, I looked up Baby Land diapers on the internet and found mixed reviews. So far, they are working great for me. I’ve switched to using them all day long with no worries. We put them on overnight and everything!

What has your experience been with cloth diapers?

Shout out to Black Women Do Cloth Diaper for supporting new parents that are learning the ropes of cloth diapering.

 

Elimination Communication and Newborns

Elimination communication pot used with our newborn.

Elimination communication pot used with our newborn.

I decided to see if we could use elimination communication with our newborn. We started June 11th and it’s been going pretty well so I thought that I’d give a little update.

When we began the baby was 2 months old. He’s 3 months old right now. The first time I’m tired it, I woke him up in the morning and put him on the pot (we use a Phillipe Stark). I made the “psssssst” sound to let him know that I wanted him to urinate. He sat there for about 3 minutes and wouldn’t you know ….  he urinated! I guess it’s not rocket science ….  if a baby wants to go … they are going to go regardless of if they are in a diaper or on the pot ….  I was thrilled either way.

That was a little more than one month ago and by George … I really think that he gets it. In the last three weeks I’ve only changed one poopy diaper. In the morning, I put him on the pot first thing. If he has to defecate, he goes then. Throughout the day I may or not put him on the pot depending on what we have going on.

Did you know that you're supposed to flush poop and NOT throw it away in the diaper?

Did you know that you’re supposed to flush poop and NOT throw it away in the diaper?

Using elimination communication is nice because it gives us another way to attach to each other and there’s less mess. Just as with diapers, you have to dump the feces in the toilet. Just as with diapers, you have to pay attention to how often you change the baby. Just as with diapers, it’s pretty expensive … no … wait … this is nice because it also helps cut diaper costs. If I can get him to use the pot at the least 3 times a day that saves me at least 90 diapers per month. That’s almost a full box … about a $27 savings every month.

We start baby sign language when he turns 4 months old. My guess is that our elimination communication will increase as we get better at catching his cues and will really take off when he is able to tell us (using sign language) that he needs to use the toilet.

What has your experience with elimination communication been?

 

Diaper Dabbler

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I just heard about the Diaper Dabbler from MyBrownBaby.com. Apparently, the company sends you trial sizes of multiple diapers so that you can discover which kind you like best.

From article on Diaper Dabbler on MyBrownBaby.com:

Diaper Dabbler is a service that provides sampler packs of disposable diaper brands—all for the same price you’d pay for one package of diapers that you may end up not using. There are 20 different sample packs to choose from; each have three each of six different kinds of popular diapers you can test out, sans that huge financial commitment. The packs come in sizes newborn, 1, 3 and training pants, allowing you to try out diapers as your baby grows and her body changes and she starts walking, crawling or potty training.

Even cooler: the choice of sample packs cater to whatever it is you’re looking for in a diaper: there’s a pack for the most popular mainstream diapers, one for the most cost-effective diapers, and one for the most earthy and eco-conscious offerings.

Sounds like a great resource for new parents!