Newborn Cloth Diapers

There are a lot of things I'm excited about with Baby #2 on the way, but I have to admit, getting the chance to use cloth diapers on a newborn is up there near the top of the list! Man, I am such a nerd, lol.

Cloth diapers were a foreign concept to me until C was 3 months old, so I have no experience with using cloth on a newborn. In fact, we didn't switch to cloth until she was 4 months old because it took me forever to research and decide which type of cloth diapers to use. Since we made the switch to cloth, I knew my next child would be cloth-diapered as well. I can't say that I'm gonna be crazy about it and say that she will never feel a disposable diaper, though. I remember how tough the first few days are with a newborn, and I feel sure we won't want to add in the stress of figuring out a cloth diaper solution for her. So my plan is to have her in disposable diapers for the first week or so, then do a gradual switch to cloth. If things go well, maybe we'll switch sooner, who knows. The point is, I'm not going to stress myself out by saying I have to use cloth on her immediately.

I am looking forward to it, though! Newborn cloth diapers are SO CUTE. (Well, I say that about them all, but newborn ones are so tiny!!) After much research, I've almost decided to rent newborn diapers instead of purchasing them. Why? Because newborn diapers are not cheap, and they only fit babies for a short period of time (around 3 months, maybe less). I just can't justify spending hundreds of dollars when I know we won't use them for very long. Even if I bought all prefolds and covers, I'd spend well over $100. (Fortunately, all C's diapers are still in excellent shape, so there's no reason we won't be able to reuse them once this next kid is big enough to fit into them. And yes, all of C's diapers are "one-size," but they don't truly fit newborns, so newborn diapers will be a must.)

My favorite diaper store, Sweet Bottoms Baby in Raleigh, has a newborn diaper rental program. Its $215, and you get 24 new and gently used (and sanitized) fitteds. After 3 months, you return the diapers for a $100 store credit. So actually, you're only spending $115. My research indicates that fitteds are the most reliable diapers for newborns, even better than prefolds (and easier). Fitteds run anywhere from $14-25 each. Plus, you have to have a cover for them. (That's why I never considered fitteds for C. Too much expense.) With the diaper rental, I'll still have to buy covers, but its possible that some of my one-size covers will fit just fine, since fitteds do add some bulk. Even if I do have to buy covers, I'll only need 5-6 (depending on how often I want to do diaper laundry). So it won't be a major expense. I love that after 3 months, I just return the diapers to Sweet Bottoms and I don't have to worry about reselling them or storing them myself. And I already know what I want to do with that $100 store credit! (Hello, structured carrier!)

My mind is not completely made up on this diaper rental, but I am heavily leaning that way. The plan is to ride to the store and look at the diapers in person and talk to people about them. When I was researching cloth diapers for C, I didn't spend much time at all with fitteds since I knew I wasn't interested in them. Newborns are a totally different game, though! I'm excited for the challenge of finding what works for us and our new baby.

Meanwhile, I'm looking into wool covers for C. She's completely potty trained during the day, but I don't foresee her getting out of nighttime diapers for a while. Every morning she wakes up with a completely saturated diaper. I'm okay with that, and I'm not rushing her to get out of diapers. Its really not a big deal at all. The only problem is now that she's older her pee STINKS. Some mornings the smell is almost unbearable, and if of course gets into her PJs, so she has to wear a new set every night, which is annoying for me. And her diaper pail will almost knock you out with the smell when the lid is opened! Its truly awful. Even when she was wearing diapers full-time and pooping in them, they never smelled this bad. I can't decide if I need to change my washing routine or give wool a try (I've read that wool is great for odors). I'll probably pick up some cloth diaper-specific laundry detergent when I go to Raleigh and see if that helps before I spend the money on wool. For the past 3 years, I've used All Free & Clear on all our laundry and haven't had any problems, but I know things can change over time, so that could be the culprit here. We'll see!

Thoughts on the Birth Experience

I think I mentioned on the blog recently that I am currently expecting Baby #2. We found out a few weeks ago that it's another healthy girl! Everyone was shocked; this pregnancy is SO different from my last that we all just knew it was a boy. I can't say we're disappointed, though! She's healthy and that's really all that matters to us. Plus, now we don't have to stress about our living situation; C and the new baby can share a room easily. We don't even have to buy much at all for this kid!

Since C's birth was so intervention-ridden, I've really been focusing this time on having a completely natural labor and delivery. When I was pregnant with C, I was completely caught up in her progress every week, and spent hours each week reading about her development, and marveling at the changes my body was going though. Which is all well and good, but I didn't spend much time at all preparing for her birth. Huge mistake (for me, anyway). I know so many people who say, "oh, just go with it, get the drugs the doctors offer you, as long as you have a healthy baby nothing else matters." But you know what? Having a good birth experience matters to me, too. Having been down this road before, I know more of what to expect this time around. And I know that my body does not react well to the pain medication typically given during labor. I am at peace with C's birth, but I will always regret not becoming more educated beforehand.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not ignoring the miracle that is this child growing inside me! I worried for a while that I was focusing too much on the upcoming labor and that I wasn't taking time to just enjoy being pregnant. Thankfully, that's not the case anymore. Since I've done this once already, I don't feel the need to read all the pregnancy books or websites again. This time, I don't need to know which week her ears start working or when she's first able to smile in the womb. My belly is growing much faster than it did with C, and I marvel at that. And I absolutely love feeling this little one move around in there. I've been feeling her since week 15 very regularly. (I felt C move at 15 weeks, too, but not consistently.) She's very active! I truly do love being pregnant.

Well, I do NOT love this terrible hip pain associated with this pregnancy.  Its debilitating at times, which is concerning since I'm only at week 21. I had bad hip pain with C, too, but it didn't start until around week 30 and it was never debilitating at all. This time, my hip pain started (right side only) in week 10 and has progressively gotten worse. I see a chiropractor every 2 weeks, and I truly believe that is helping me, but its not alleviating the pain. I acquired some crutches this weekend, and once my friend Jessica finishes my super-cool crutch pads, I'll start walking with them at night when the pain is the worst. Hopefully, crutches will not become a full-time thing for me, but I've read it happens. I'm in pain literally all the time now, and I'm trying to stay upbeat, but sometimes its hard. But I digress.

When I first discovered I was pregnant, I immediately started doing research on natural birth. I read a LOT of stuff, and debated actually taking a class. Ultimately, I decided not to take a class at the hospital, as it will likely focus on the available drugs and hospital policies. Unless it is absolutely necessary, there will be no drugs in my system this time. I already know how they make me feel, and I don't like it.

For a while, I went back and forth between wanting to learn Lamaze or the Bradley Method. I've heard great things about both methods for natural childbirth. A friend of mine studied the Hypnobabies course while she was pregnant, and she said it was the only thing that got her through labor until she needed the spinal for her needed c-section. Hearing her talk about the program, I knew I wanted to at least look into it.

My friend lent me her course materials, and I dived right in. From the beginning of the book, I had a feeling this was the right method for me. Its still pretty weird for me to talk about (or even think about!), because its just SO different than what everyone else does. But I've never been one to just do what everyone else does. ( ;  Since I'm starting the course so early in my pregnancy, I'm focusing 2 weeks on each lesson. There are 5 lessons total, so this plan will get me through week 30. After that, I'll do the maintenance stuff, which I haven't read about in the book yet. My friend says the key is to practice often. So far, that's proven difficult, so I'm glad I'm giving 2 weeks to each lesson.

I started the course a week ago, and since then I've only been able to do 3 hypnosis sessions. They were amazing, though. I was hooked after the first one! I felt wonderful the entire session. I could hear what was going on around me, and knew that if need be, I could quickly "snap out of it," so to speak. (In fact, one time I had to do just that as DH interrupted me.) During the sessions, my body feels extremely heavy, but in a good way. Its almost like I have pain medication in my system, but I can stop it at any time. I think it'll really help during labor. Right now, I'm using it to help me manage my hip pain. If I could practice daily, I think it would be really beneficial. Hopefully, I will get into a routine with it so I can do it daily or at least every other day.

I'll be sure to post updates on the Hypnobabies course throughout the remainder of my pregnancy. It'll be interesting to see how other people react to my decision to use this method, since it is so different. I'm also curious to see if my feelings towards it change over the weeks. Right now, I feel awkward with it and like I should keep it a secret, but who knows, maybe soon I'll be an advocate. Ultimately, if it helps me have the natural birth I so desperately want, I don't care what anyone else thinks. After all, I'm the one who has to go through labor!!


Spam and Potato Casserole

I'm back with another Spam recipe! This stuff is good to me, ya'll. I know its not for everyone. But if you've never tried it, you should give it a try!

Monday night after work I realized that I had forgotten to take any meat out to cook for supper. Since I'm still struggling to actually come up with and follow a meal plan, this happens a lot. Maybe one of these days I'll get my act together and make meal planning work. Hopefully that'll happen before Baby #2 arrives...cause I'm pretty sure once she's here I'm gonna be overwhelmed for a while.

Anyway, back to Monday night. Not having anything ready to cook, I decided to grab a can of Spam and see what I could do with it. No, I didn't come up with this recipe on my own; I'm not creative enough with cooking to be able to successfully do that! I honestly can't say what website I found this recipe on; I just did a Google search for "spam and potato casserole" because we had a full bag of potatoes I could use. After a few minutes of searching, I found a good-sounding recipe and (of course) tweaked it according to my tastes and what we had in the cabinet.

Oh, and since I'm a terrible blogger, I didn't take any pictures. Sorry. But it really doesn't look very appetizing, honestly. Spam is not the most attractive food item, and casseroles usually don't look wonderful anyway. That being said, it IS a delicious casserole! Even my super-picky husband liked it (though he said I used too much onion), and my daughter gobbled it up. Put it this way: between the 3 of us, we devoured a 9x13 dish full of this stuff (well, I took one bowl to work for leftovers). That NEVER happens.

Spam & Potato Casserole

potatoes (I used 5 - ours were small)
1 can Spam
cheese (I used about 1.5 cups of shredded Cheddar)
onion (I used a small one, but DH said it was too much, so next time I'll go with 1/2 an onion)
1 can cheese and broccoli soup (you could also use cheddar cheese or cream of celery soup)
10 3/4 ounces milk (just fill up the empty soup can)
salt, pepper, and paprika to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Slice potatoes thinly (I scalloped mine and made them super thin). Layer into a 9x13 dish.
Slice onion and lay on top of potatoes.
Sprinkle salt, pepper, and paprika over potatoes and onion.
Sprinkle cheese over everything.
In a separate bowl, combine soup and milk. Pour over casserole.
Cover lightly with aluminum foil and make 1 - 1/2 hours or until potatoes are tender (mine took 1 hour, though it might have been ready sooner, I didn't check).

It'll be pretty runny at first, but it sets up and thickens.

The great thing about casseroles is they're hard to screw up, you know? You can change things up according to what you like and/or have on hand and they're almost always delicious. I've never professed to be a great cook (last night we had some chicken legs cooked in BBQ sauce...yeah, not my best work, but that's a story for another day!), but even I can't mess up a casserole. And no, I will not be taking that as a challenge...haha!