Cloth Diapering: Pre-folds (and other random stuff)

I promised to post pictures of 'before' and 'after' for prepping my cloth diapering prefolds. It's a pretty incredible transformation, actually. Here are my 36 newborn size diapers before: stiff, starchy, and pretty darn thin:

And here are the bad boys after 5 wash/dry cycles: fat, fluffy, and incredibly soft. I seriously think they tripled in size. Just look at that stack now!

They became nice and quilted, ready to absorb poo and pee from our little man!
So a little more information on prefolds in general for you:

There are Chinese and Indian prefolds, which can be either bleached or unbleached. For the record, I chose Indian unbleached organic prefolds:)

Chinese versus Indian: what's the difference?

-Indian prefolds are softer, more absorbent, and made of gauze cotton. They might wear out faster than Chinese pf, but a couple of sites I visited have begun only listing Indian prefolds because they are top of the line. They are a little more expensive than Chinese pfs.

-Chinese prefolds have heavy duty stitching, are made of twill, and would probably stay nicer longer than Indian pfs. However, they may pill more and are much rougher than Indians although they cost a little bit less.

Bleached versus Unbleached: what's the difference?

-bleached prefolds are bright white, from an actual bleaching process of the fibers or perhaps through a more 'natural' peroxide wash. They have been 'degummed' as well and are somewhat cheaper than unbleached. You'll need to wash these about 3-4 cycles before using them.

-unbleached prefolds are light tan in color and have not been processed to make them white. They need to be 'degummed' because they still have some oils in their fibers, so you'll need to do at least 5 washes on them before using.

Then here is a copy from my nine page document on where to buy prefolds. Again, we went with Green Mountain but there are numerous other places out there, too. I just like comparing shipping costs and actual costs before making decisions:)

1. Storkwearhouse (free ship > $75)
⁃ cloth-eez chinese bleached: dozen=$28.80 plus ship ($3 each)

2. Wallypop (will wash for $10 extra first)
⁃ chinese DSQ bleached 'infant': dozen=$20.50 plus ship
⁃ chinese DSQ bleached 'premium': dozen=$24.50 plus ship

3. A Diaper Change (free ship >$50)
⁃ chinese bleached 'infant': dozen=20.50 plus 3 ship
⁃ Chinese bleached 'premium': dozen=28.50
⁃ Indian unbleached 'infant': dozen=21.50
⁃ Indian unbleached 'premium': dozen=29.50

4. Little Lions (free ship > $90, $6.95 flat rate otherwise) **cheapest**
⁃ indian bleached 'infant': dozen=$16.15
⁃ indian unbleached 'infant': dozen=$16.15 (seconds=$13.00)
⁃ indian bleached 'premium': dozen=$18
⁃ indian unbleached 'premium': dozen =$18

5. Cotton Babies (free ship >$75, in STL)
⁃ doesn't do it by the dozen. Chinese 1.50-2.00 each, Indian 1.00-2.00 each

6. Cloth Diaper Outlet (free ship >$50)
⁃ chinese bleached 'infant' dozen=$1.90 each, $22.80
⁃ chinese bleached 'premium' dozen=$2.65 each, $31.80
⁃ indians unbleached 'infant' dozen=$2.15 each, $25.80
⁃ indians unbleached 'premium' dozen=$2.90 each, $34.80

7. Green Mountain
⁃ cloth-eez white/chlorine-free (already degummed) OR unbleached Indian 'newborn orange' $1.75 each, $21.00 dozen. For the 'organic' dozen is $25.
⁃ cloth-eez white/chlorine-free(already degummed) OR unbleached Indian 'medium red' $2.25 each, $27.00 dozen. For the 'organic' dozen is $35

8. Abby's Lane (free shipping!)
⁃ Indian unbleached infant dozen=$27.99
⁃ Indian unbleached premium dozen=$36.50

9. Ebay: Granite Smith (free shipping on covers if > 2 or more dozen prefolds)
-Indian unbleached newborn $18.99 per dozen (ship for 2 doz is $11.99)

Are you absorbing all of this CD information? :)
Onto more fun baby things: the nursery is coming right along! I've been meaning to hang the picture frames in baby's room for a long time now. When I went on my nesting rampage last weekend I broke out the electric drill and attempted to hang a few shelves before Nate returned from his trip. Wouldn't you know it, but I tried to use a dry wall screw anchor for our plaster walls and sure enough--the thing split in two and shot across the room while I tried to secure it into my lovely aqua walls. I could not pull the sucker out and had to wait until my manly husband returned home so he could bail me out. Of course, it took him about two minutes to announce that I was using the wrong type of anchors (who knew?) and he successfully removed the broken one and hung both shelves without problems. Having a man around is pretty handy sometimes:)

And because I have some VERY curious readers out there (ahem, Mom and my family, mostly) I had to be diligent and blur out two of the frames plus the wall letter I painted for the room. But you still get the idea, I'm sure.

I painted that big fatty polka dotted frame myself, using an old one that was pretty plain and boring. The big vertical blue frame will hold one of those nifty 'birth annoucement' type pieces, with his name, weight, birthday, length, etc all crunched together in cool font. And I still have a few other frames to fill but I'm not too worried about it:)
Also, please note baby Carlos' giraffe collection. We do love us some giraffes around here!

And finally, would you look at these two hams?
I just walked into the living room one night to this sight and had to capture it's cuteness on camera.

This weekend my mom is flying in for her last visit with us before baby arrives. We have some fun projects planned but mostly I just want to lounge around with her and have girl time. It's very odd to think that the next time I see my mom will be when they make the 8 hour drive to see us at the hospital. I'm supposed to call when I go into labor and they are going to hop in the car and make the trip up here, meeting us in the hospital. Just thinking about that gives me chills. I seriously cannot wait!

Cloth Diapering: Why?

As I've mentioned before, the number one factor that pushed me towards cloth diapering was the savings you get versus disposables. We are talking hundreds if not thousands of dollars which is enough to give it a go for our family. The 'saving the environment' factor is pretty sweet, as is the notion that diaper rash is much less common in cloth and therefore most say cloth is better for baby's skin. Plus, most cloth diapered babies are potty trained sooner in life than those in disposables because they can actually feel when they are wet instead of having the magical chemical gel balls whisk away the moisture. I mean, the reasons are endless but sometimes it's nice to hear lots of opinions on the subject.

Here are a ton of great websites that review the 'why' of cloth diapering that I found helpful:

1. Diaper Decisions great chart on all types of CD versus disposables.

2. Stork Wearhouse chart on CD versus disposables, low end versus high end comparisons. Also some good background general info.

3. Zany Zebra's take on cloth verses disposables.

4. Better for Babies give their reasons.

5. The Cloth Diaper Whisperer blog: all of their 'cloth vs. disposable' tagged posts.

6. All About Cloth Diapers: focusing on budget options.

And then there are the go to sites to learn the basics of CD. Tons of info out there, ladies, but it just takes time to absorb it all and make decisions that are right for your situation.

1. The Eco-Friendly Family blog: how to CD a newborn.

2. The EFF blog: motherload post. Everything you need to know, pretty much.

3. Pin Stripes and Polka Dots: tons of great info, diapering basics.

4. The Diaper Jungle: what systems work, comparison between styles of CD.

5. The Diaper Jungle: The guide 101 post, great info here.

6. Diaper Daisy: the FAQs

So those links should keep you busy for awhile, huh? :)
More of my research coming soon including traveling with CD, all about prefolds, where to buy, etc.

Thirty-Three Weeks

On to the second to last fruit, my friends. Only one more after this! We have entered the stage of a honeydew melon. Woah!



That's one veiny stomach! No, they aren't stretch marks. My magnifying glass is still failing to notice anything thus far. It's just a little too much contrast in my editing skills, I believe.

According to The Bump's timeline, baby can now blink and dilate his irises while light shines through my stomach. Um, weird?! He can also recognize and react to simple songs so apparently I'm supposed to practice my lullabies now. I feel like a lot of people ask me if I'm regularly talking or reading to the baby, too, which I have to honestly reply: "No, not really." I mean it's great that he can hear me and all but I just find it odd to carry on a conversation (or worse--an out-of-tune chorus) with my stomach. I guess I just feel connected to baby Carlos without directly speaking to him. Hopefully I'm not impairing his intelligence early in the game by forgoing nightly lullabies in the womb. :)

I've started to get used to strangers noticing my bump, even though that just started in the past two weeks, and I'm happy to finally be at the 'obviously pregnant' stage. When people ask when I'm due and I tell them March 14, I tend to get a lot of raised eyebrows in return. They are surprised to hear it's so soon and follow that up with the classic, 'But you are so small!'. Again, I've gotten used to that statement, too. I just inform them that I'm measuring right on for my due date and feel lucky to still be comfortable this late in the game. I'm sure I'll get to be as big as a house in a few more weeks but I still can't complain too much about pregnancy in general. Still loving it and trying to soak in every moment before it's over because time is passing with incredible speed these days.

So this week was certainly a busy one. We had our breastfeeding class on Monday night which was awesome and I'm totally in love with the Lactation Consultant at my hospital. I'm pretty sure Nate enjoyed the class, too, even though he was a little skeptical of a two hour class all about boobs (scratch that, he was probably excited about the topic). I feel like at least we have a little bit of background on how it all works, some common road blocks, time lines to follow, and resources to investigate.

Then on Wednesday, Nate flew out to Oregon to visit his brother while Henry and I held down fort back home. Work was insane this whole week, which lead to me being really grouchy and overly tired, feeling genuinely out of steam by Friday. But it was perfect timing because my prenatal hour-long massage on Friday was TO DIE FOR. It was absolutely the best massage of my life probably because I was so tired and haven't had a massage in over a year. I think I even woke myself up once during the session with a snort. Nothing like a fat pregnant lady snoozing away while her swollen ankles get rubbed down by a stranger!

All weekend long, I went completely nuts with nesting. I deep cleaned our place, did about 8 loads of laundry including prepping our cloth diapers and washing every single piece of baby paraphernalia, packed it all away and put together a some baby gear, made some crafty baby projects, wrote all of my thank you notes, grocery shopped, returned a few things at every store known to mankind, and bought a few odds and ends for the baby/storage in our house. You know nesting is in full force when I purged all of my old holey underwear from my dresser and decided to wash every bra I own--that type of thing just doesn't happen regularly, unfortunately. Oh yeah, and I learned how to use a sewing machine with the help from one awesome mother-in-law and we finally finished the baby bedding. To say that I'm obsessed with the end result is an understatement. Heck, I didn't break 38 threads while spending nearly 6 hours slaving away as a domestic diva for some ugly project. Baby bedding complete! Huge check mark, my friends.
I am in love with how the nursery is coming together. Now I'm working on hanging picture frames and shelves but really it's almost complete!

So 33 weeks: nesting up a storm and feeling truly pregnant. Not a bad place to be!

CD debate part 2

I feel like I haven't posted enough about our decision to cloth diaper. I get a lot of questions about this whole process in real life so I'm sure there are some people in bloggy land that wonder about it, too. While I'm obviously no expert since I don't even have a baby to cloth diaper yet, I have done enough research to earn a degree in 'certifiably insane about cloth diapering information'. I am not joking when I say I made myself a 9 page Word document full of website links, information, and general knowledge. It's a sickness really:)

Hold onto that thought while I tell you the following story about a husband and a wife...

While said husband and wife were in St. Louis for Christmas, they received $50 as a gift from a loving Memaw:) So they decided to hit up the ever-famous Cotton Babies store to make an official start on their CD supply. The wife felt equipped with an obscene amount of knowledge and research and was ready to make her first purchase. She knew they wanted to go the 'prefold with covers' route in order to save the most money in the long run but wasn't sure which accessories they needed. The husband, who had not done any research but heard his wife babble on about different CD options, was just along for the ride as he observed a look of intense concentration on his wife's face while perusing the cloth diapering mecca of Cotton Babies.

Then all of a sudden the husband announced the following:
"Why don't we just buy a butt load of these 'one size/all in ones' and call it a done deal?" He truly believed that purchasing the most expensive, albeit convenient, BumGenius AIO one size diapers for $25 a pop would be the best option for this couple. Never mind that they would need 24-36 of the bad boys. Never mind that the wife had researched the pros and cons of prefolds instead of all-in-ones. Never mind that it would cost them hundreds of dollars more to go this 'luxurious' route of cloth diapering. And they wouldn't know if the baby would even like this type of system. The husband liked the idea of a simple all-in-one system that would always fit the baby.

The wife was not too happy with the husband for doubting her research powers and decision making skills. Sure, an all-in-one and one-size system would be super easy. But weren't they choosing cloth to save money? How would spending $900 on one kind of diaper save a single dime, especially when it isn't guaranteed to work for their unborn babe?

They had a little talk and the wife won this argument. Well, they compromised actually: they decided to stick with prefolds and covers for the beginning stages of diapering. After all, they already have a ridiculous amount of covers on loan for FREE from a friend. So all they need to purchase is the actual prefold (more on that later). But perhaps considering a luxurious, convenient all-in-one system once the baby gets a little older is an option, too. And so they registered for one AIO/one size diaper and plan to use it as an experiment on baby boy, knowing that they will probably get addicted to it:) No harm done, since the covers cost them nothing and the prefolds always make for awesome burp cloths anyway.

So would you like to see our stash thus far? Let me show you my little lovelies:

1. The prefolds themselves. Along with 3 Snappis to hold them in place. No more diaper pins, ladies!

After much debate, I went with Green Mountain Diapers for our company. There are about a billion places out there to buy prefolds but GMD is a heavy favorite in many chat rooms. Plus, they have the option of Cloth-Eez organic Indian cotton, which is reportedly the 'nicest, softest, most durable cotton' out there. And everyone says that the GMD Cloth-Eez brand fits wonderfully. So we splurged just a bit, buying 36 newborn size prefolds for $92.40 including tax and shipping. But my friends, that is ALL we've spent any of our own money on so far. We will need to buy at least one more size of prefolds when he gets bigger, but maybe not 36 of them so it shouldn't cost more than $75 next time. I'm hoping to get by with the newborn size for quite a while, then maybe skip up to the mediums and be done with purchasing prefolds forever. We shall see.

Please observe these beauties.
Now that would be a 'before' picture because they aren't fully prepped yet. Once I wash them about 5-6 times they will be super fluffy, quilted, and will shrink down in size quite a bit. I fully plan on showing you an 'after' picture, too, don't worry:)

2. Covers. Lots and lots of covers. Borrowed from a fellow tree-hugger who has twins, so really we have more than twice as many as we'll actually need. They suggest 4-6 covers in each size. As you can see we are pretty much set in this aspect. We have 16 'newborn' size covers, 12 'small' size covers, and 2 'medium' sized ones so far. The smalls will take us until he is about 18 pounds so I think we'll be fine for quite a while.
Also, in the above picture you will see the other 'accessories' I decided to buy at Cotton Babies with our Christmas gift money. We got a little printed wet bag to take to daycare, two kinds of cloth wipes, and some hemp liners for nighttime protection. Henry is obviously thrilled:)

3. Other fun stuff:
My fabulous St. Louis shower hostesses all went in on an amazing cloth diapering gift for me, by getting every single thing on a little CD registry I set up. I was just making a wish list, really, full of items that we didn't truly NEED but it sure would be nice to have. And poof---because we are so incredibly blessed by wonderful friends and family we now have a nice stash of 'extras' in our possession.
See that solid blue diaper up there? That is the infamous AIO/one size BumGenius that Nate wanted to purchase in bulk. We also have a Dream-Eze orange diaper that's an all-in-one, and an adorable Blueberry coverall that is a 'one size'. Throw in a few more cloth wipes, more diaper doubles for added nighttime absorbency, an awesome diaper sprayer that attaches to the toilet for those solid poops (no more toilet dunking or scraping!), special cloth diapering-friendly detergent, and a little 'odor spray' for the dirties and we are on our way to being a true cloth diapering household. Oh, and the orange bag up there? That is what you use as a pail liner to hold all of the dirty and wet diapers until laundry day. I plan on buying a cheapie trashcan with lid on it and using that for storage. Then the pail liner can be removed and the whole thing gets carried to the washer. Sounds like fun, doesn't it? (It really does to me, I know I'm crazy).

If we bought all of this on our own it would have been close to $200. So that brings us up to $250 worth of gifted items to us, plus the covers which I'm sure would have cost at least $200 by themselves, and another $50 worth of other accessories from Memaw's Christmas money. So $500 worth of supplies for free and $92.70 spent by us so far. Pretty freaking good, wouldn't you say? Especially when you remember that we can use these supplies for multiple babies and we might not have to spend another cent on diapering at all, until we buy the next size up in prefolds. Sure beats spending close to $20 per week, for at least two years on each child if you use disposables, don't you think? Again, all of the charts I've seen say you can save anywhere from $800 to $2000 if you cloth diaper even just one child.

So what are these cover things I speak about? Only the cutest things in the entire world. This one is a favorite:

And my friend who lent us the covers really liked the Thirsties brand. I am obsessed with the bright orange variety, of course:

I'm thinking I'll use the top three drawers in the changing table as a diapering storage system. We're getting ready, folks!

I have more CD posts waiting in the wings, full of some other research and great informational links. But do any of my readers have specific questions about this whole process? Advice for me? And making a statement like 'You are crazy for doing this' won't win you any brownie points, my friends:)

Carlos the kicker

I shall not give up on my quest to capture baby Carlos kicking my innards like a champion soccer player. This video is pretty decent. He's doing more sudden jabs and waves across my tummy, so focus mostly on the lower right side of your screen. Just ignore the obnoxious noise in the background...that is Henry throwing around his Canine Genius, trying to get the treats out of the darn little hole. He's being tortured while his mom films her belly. Classic, really.


Miss Matilda is growing up way too fast if you ask me. Last time I saw her she was 4 weeks old. Now, at 7 weeks, she is getting such a little personality. Of course, she's still an absolute supermodel if you ask me and her future boyfriend in my belly was kicking up a storm the whole time I held her. So he's either in love with Tilly already or he is extremely jealous of her being on the outside.





While I drove to Jeff City on Friday, Nate stayed in St. Louis and baby sat Matilda for two whole hours. I admit, I was a little nervous about the whole thing because Nate has never taken care of a newborn all alone before. But of course, Miss Tilly was an absolute doll. He was bragging later that he got her to fall asleep in his arms by his amazing swaddling skills and then he was too afraid to move once she was down. So he watched TV shows on the laptop while she snoozed. Honestly, I think Nate loves her more than I ever expected. When she whimpered he'd go over and try to soothe her immediately. A few times I caught him staring at her with googly eyes and he kept saying, 'She is SO cute. I hope we get one this good.' I can only imagine how blown away I'll be watching him with our own son. It makes my stomach flutter just thinking about it.

I mean, look at these two buddies:


This is my favorite shot for sure:

That little mouth!

And tiny feet!

We love you, Matilda! Don't go growing up too fast on your Wisconsin 'Aunt J and Uncle N'.

Oh, and for my baby shower I had the honor of getting Matilda dressed. I was so proud of myself (even though those darn tights took FOREVER to get on right) I just had to snap a pic of my handy work:

And we sort of matched! Obviously, Tilly is really excited about this:
Yes, being around this amazing little girl makes me even more excited to have one of my own. And I seriously hope we get one just like her...totally relaxed, able to sleep in loud restaurants, and adorable as can be. The male version of Tilly would be just you hear that, Carlos?

Baby showers #1 and #2

Proof that our weekend was absolutely fabulous: tons of pictures, not a lot of words:)

Baby shower #1: a Friday morning brunch in Jefferson City, held by my Mom's friends back home. I got up early on Friday after we arrived to St. Louis very late on Thursday and drove to JC. I wasn't really sure what to expect from this one but it was so much fun. And who doesn't love egg casserole, fruit salad, and yummy treats like these?

Love all the wrapping papers!

Memaw made the trip up for BOTH showers, so of course we had to grab a 'three generations' shot.

The big hit of this shower? The quilt my mom sewed for the baby! I am absolutely obsessed with it. This is the back:

And this is the front. I helped her select a pattern online and she did the rest. Perfect colors, wonderfully modern, and made with love:) In fact, I am told my very own father helped to meticulously cut these strips of fabric but don't tell anyone.

I drove back to St. Louis Friday night, and on Saturday my girlfriends threw me their shower. It was so 'Julia' it was practically dripping with my style. Loose leaf tea, lemonade, coffee, and all desserts.....I was in heaven of course. Just look at those handmade tablecloths Hannah sewed!


And don't even get me started on the plethora of sweets. How did they know I could live off a sugar block for the rest of my life?


All of the bright colors were gorge, and mimic my nursery for sure.


And these little banners made by Maggie will definitely go up on our door once baby boy arrives. Too cute!

Yours truly with an insane amount of loot. Again, the pretty papers make me happy.

After a few games, lots of chatting, and opening enough gifts to make me teary I forced everyone to take a group photo. Surprisingly, nobody even batted an eye because I'm sure they expected this request from me:) When I count it up, these guests span five different states and at least 6 or 7 different cities. I love these girls!

The hostess with the mostess (and the cutest 7 week old ever).

And remember at Hannah's shower how we did a belly shot like this? Well now we have an extra pregnant lady (Hi, Kristen!) and the weeks are a bit different. It goes from being a mommy of a 7 weeker, to 32 weeks, to 23 weeks, to 16 weeks. Who's next, ladies?

All four of my shower hosts.

And my family (mom, me, Memaw, Aunt Beth, and my cousin Amy). We are pretty short and don't look anything alike, right?

And later that night at dinner with Keri and Allison!

So driving back with all of our loot was highly entertaining.

And unpacking it, although it was already consolidated into very few bags, made me feel overwhelmed by everyone's generosity.


I mean, just look at all of the 'odds and ends', for instance.

And because we've started a family tradition by placing Henry in all of the baby's gifts (ie the crib, the car seat, etc) we had to try it out with our new Bumbo. I think he hated it a lot.
So yeah, there are no words for how loved we feel right now. I'm slowly organizing the nursery and am getting started on my thank you cards but I'm still letting the whole weekend sink into my thick skull. We are extremely blessed, for sure. And the next time we cross into Missouri territory we'll have a brand new baby with us. How crazy is that?
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