Saturday, April 24, 2010

Baby Clothes

How do you go green with your baby's clothes? Just like with everything else, reduce, reuse, and recycle!

Yes, babies need lots of clothes unless you do laundry every day. Sometimes Sweet Pea goes through three or four outfits in a day, depending on whether we play outside, and whether she feeds herself or not. However, there are a several ways to maintain a complete wardrobe while still meeting your goals for living green:
  • Buy used. In my town, there are lots of consignment shops that specialize in childrens clothing and accessories. One of them even has a sale every month with boxes and boxes of clothes that are only $.25 per item. Then there's always Goodwill or whatever sells used in your area. This is a really cheap way to get a lot of clothes, and they often have very little wear, especially in the smallest sizes since kids grow so quickly. I have bought items with the original tags still on them! In addition, check craigslist or your local yard sales.
  • Share with friends/family (hand-me-downs). This can be a fun way to get and share free clothes. We have friends with kids aged on either side of Sweet Pea so we have passed many things back and forth. It's really fun to see a favorite item on another baby! I also remember getting clothes from my older cousins when I was a child, and I always thought it was exciting.
  • Recycle clothes (make new out of old). There are many patterns out there for making kids clothes out of used adult clothing - tee-shirts into pants or dresses, sweaters into diaper covers, dress shirts into dresses or shorts. Really, you can make anything you can think of as long as you have a big enough piece of fabric. Resweater offers 100% wool sweaters and lots of ideas for ways to recycle them.
  • Buy organic or buy local, or both!
How are you reducing consumption or saving money with your kids' clothes?

Links to good  recycled clothes patterns would be welcome in comments!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

2009 Breastfeeding Rates - How Does Your State Compare?

Have you ever wondered how many mothers in your area are breastfeeding? The CDC now has a state-by-state report that shows percentages of mothers breastfeeding at birth, three months, six months, and a year. Oregon, where I live, is in the top ten for every stage, according to my preliminary reading of the report. Only one state, Vermont, has more mothers breastfeeding at one year (38.4%), than Oregon (37%). Of course, breastfeeding is not the only way, or even necessarily the most important, to promote the health of babies, and there are people who have real issues preventing them from successfully breastfeeding, even if they want to. However, we do know that breastfeeding is very healthy for moms and babies and that many people who want to breastfeed don't get adequate support or information to enable them to stick with it.

The CDC explains the purpose of the report:

"Throughout your community, everyone plays a role in fostering breastfeeding. When health care professionals, legislators, employers, business owners, and community and family members work together, their efforts can increase the number of women who are able to start breastfeeding and the length of time they continue to breastfeed.

The 2009 Breastfeeding Report Card shows how breastfeeding is being protected, promoted, and supported in each state* using five “outcome” and nine “process” indicators. This allows you to make comparisons across states and indicators and work to increase breastfeeding nationwide."

You can check out the report by downloading the .pdf file from:
http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/data/report_card.htm

How does your state compare? Were these number a surprise to you?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Day in My Working Life

6:40 wake up, eat breakfast, pack lunch, get dressed
7:15 leave my house
7:40 arrive at school (work)
9:15 begin teaching
12:15 to 12:45 lunch break
3:20 school ends
3:45 leave school
4:10 arrive home (on Monday, Tueday, and Friday) OR 4:25 arrive at Sweet Pea's grandma's house to pick her up (Wednesday and Thursday)
nurse Sweet Pea
check email, bank accounts, appointments, etc. online
unload the dishwasher, start a load of laundry, sweep, etc.
take a walk with Sweet Pea and Glen
6:30 start dinner
7:30ish Average arrives home from work (Tuesday - Thursday) and we eat dinner
8:00 watch a little TV, wash dishes, etc.
9:00 Sweet Pea takes a bath and gets ready for bed
9:30 nursing, rocking, etc.
10:00ish Sweet Pea falls asleep
shower
plan next day's outfit
clean and pack breast pump supplies
fold and put away laundry, etc.
11:15 go to bed
and start it all again in the morning

Average has taken over quite a few of the household duties now that he is home with Sweet Pea on Mondays and Fridays. We are so lucky to only have Sweet Pea with non-family care one day a week. Even though I am getting less sleep and the house is messier during the week, my life actually feels more balanced. After one week (I know this may change), I am feeling like working is a good thing for me right now and enjoying the time being creative and working with other people outside the home. I do miss Sweet Pea and am super excited to see her at the end of each work day, but she is very happy with her babysitters so far, and is on a better sleep schedule right now than she has had since she was 5 months old. I will be working for the next nine weeks, and then have the summer off! Just one of the perks of being a teacher. I had a lot of anxiety about what it would be like to be back and work, wondering if I would hate it and find it very difficult to get up in the morning and be away from my baby all day, but it really feels fine so far. Thank goodness for daylight savings time so that I have lots of daylight in the afternoon to hang out with Sweet Pea, getting household stuff done as well as spending time outside.

If you have made the transition from home to work, what was the hardest part? What helped to make the transition smoother?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Diapering a Newborn

This blog post is for the Cloth Diaper Bloggers Carnival VII, from Cloth Diapering Bloggers (Ning network) and Dirty Diaper Laundry.

We started using cloth diapers on Sweet Pea from day one. She was born at home, and I had all my diapers prepped (you need to pre-wash them a few times) and folded and ready to go. We didn't even buy any disposables, so it was easy to just jump right into cloth! We started out with a stash of about two dozen small Chinese prefolds, four extra-small Thirsties covers, a couple of assorted other covers, two newborn Kissaluvs fitteds, two newborn Little Beetle fitteds, and three extra-small Thirsties all-in-ones. It took less than a week to get confident with the prefolds and they wash and dry so easily compared to other diaper options. We mostly used them with a twist fold and a snappi to hold the diaper together. Thirsties XS have a lower spot in the front rise to accommodate the cord stump, and the Kissaluvs have a snap-down spot in front for the same thing. We had a few others brands of diapers as well, but the ones I listed are the ones that fit the best for us.  If we can afford it, next time I'd like to get more fitteds and all-in-ones just to make the diapering quicker and easier since you change the diapers SO frequently in those first weeks/months. We didn't have any issues with meconium (initial, black tarry baby poop) staining, and I'm glad we started with cloth so we didn't even have to make a transition - cloth was part of our routine from the beginning. We passed our newborn diapers on to another family once Sweet Pea grew out of them, and that family passed them to another, and now they are back to us. They are still in great condition for one or two more babies, so definitely worth the investment even though she didn't wear them for very long. Newborn diapers are so cute and tiny - thinking about them makes me want to have a baby! Is that crazy?

Here is Sweet Pea at just a couple of days old during a diaper change:

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Our Birth Story

Years ago I became obsessed with reading birth stories. I found hundreds online and I would read a few every day. I loved learning about all the different experiences, the different “normals” for people, and getting a peek into one of the most important times in a human life. Reading these birth stories was part of what inspired me to become a doula. After I gave birth to Sweet Pea, I wrote nearly three pages detailing the whole event and my feelings about everything that happened, and I have told my birth story many times. However, for me, the birth was a private event, and I don't think I want to share it with the world wide web in its entirety. I will share that it was a challenging, joyous, and powerful experience for me, and leave you with these facts:

Our baby was born Thursday, February 26, at home in the water.
She weighed 8 pounds, 4.5 ounces, and was 22.5 inches long.
Her heartbeat was checked regularly with a Doppler throughout labor, and I had one blood pressure check but those were the only monitoring methods my midwives used with me besides watching and talking to me.
My birth attendants were: my husband, my sister, my best friend, and my two wonderful midwives, one of whom came straight from another birth to be with me, while pregnant herself.
Labor began with my water breaking a little after 1:00 A.M. Around 3:00 or 4:00, contractions started to get hard. Around 5:30 I got into the tub in our dining room, about two hours later I started feeling “pushy,” and at 8:50 A.M. I pushed her out! It was one of the shortest labors I have been to.