Thursday, June 9, 2016

Things to do While Breastfeeding

The first six weeks of having a baby is a lot of feeding. I mean hours and HOURS and HOURS of breastfeeding. Clocking in at around six hours a day, it is quite literally a full-time job just to feed your newborn. It can start to get monotonous really fast, but instead of turning to games on your phone or marathons of daytime television, make the most of the time with these activities...

1. Stare at that Sweet Baby
I could do this forever. Study that sweet face, wrap your finger in her tiny hands, play with those little toes, and look into those precious eyes.

2. Pray over Your Child
Thank God for the incredible blessing and miracle that you are holding in your arms, ask for wisdom to raise them with character and integrity, and pray for the person that they will become under your influence.

3. Read
This is the perfect time to put some ebooks or audio books on your phone. You will be amazed at how fast you fly through them. This is a great time to read some books on raising a baby, but also pick some that have nothing too do with babies. Pick a good fiction that you can get lost in or a nonfiction on a topic that interests you.

4. Overcome Pregnancy/Mommy Brain
At first you will be too exhausted to think clearly but once that phases passes, your body will be busy but your brain will be bored. Find some apps to exercise your mind! With the amount of hours you have to work on this new skill, the possibilities are endless- learn a new language, memorize scripture, learn the basics of acrylic get the idea.

5. Eat
Sleep when baby sleeps and eat when baby eats is my motto! Get a box of healthy (or not so healthy) snacks to put by your breastfeeding spot so that something to munch on is always within arm's reach.

6. Journal
Keep a journal on your phone of all of baby's firsts, funny faces, and quirks that you will want to remember. It doesn't have to be a novel- bullet points are fine. You'll be glad you did!

7. Call a Friend
If you have a slow and quiet eater, this will work for you. If you have a loud eater, skip ahead to the next one... Go ahead and call a friend on speaker phone. Talking to another adult will do wonders for your sanity!

8. Talk to Your Baby
Adult talk time is good and so is baby talk time. Tell your baby how much you love them, how special they are, and the things you love about them. They may not understand what you are saying, but it will create a habit of positive affirmation from you so that it comes naturally later when they do know what you are saying.

9. Indulge in Guilty Pleasures
Finally! It's OK to watch some episodes of your favorite reality show or zone out scrolling through some social media, just let it be one of many things you do rather than getting sucked into hours of mindless time killing activity. Let it be a treat when you really need it!

Have some other ideas? What do you do to fill the time???

What to Register for if you are Cloth Diapering

There are a lot of exhaustive baby registry lists to help make sure that you get everything that you may need for your baby, but one thing that I had trouble finding was a good list of things to register for if you plan on cloth diapering. Many hours of research later I was able to make my list, but I figured I would save you some time and let you know some of the things that will make cloth diapering a lot easier. Don't forget to add these items to your registry!

1. Cloth Diapers
This one is pretty obvious. In the same way that you would register for disposable diapers and wipes, put the diapers of your choosing on your registry. Cloth diapers can be expensive if you plan on buying the whole stash yourself, so put some on your registry in case family and friends want to pitch in. I won't get into all of the different kinds of diapers, but a really good size stash would be 20-30 diapers.

2. Cloth Wipes
When cloth diapering, it is a lot easier to use cloth wipes as well so that you can put the diapers and wipes all into one place to wash instead of having a laundry pail and a trash can. Cloth wipes can be very expensive, so it is a good item to register for. I would recommend at least 2-3 dozen wipes. If you don't want to register for these or if no one gets them for you, these are one of the easiest baby items to make on your own. If you can sew in a straight line, I would definitely encourage you to make some for yourself!

3. Baby Wipe Solution
If you are using cloth wipes, you are probably wondering how a dry wipe will clean a baby's bottom. That is where the baby wipe solution comes in! Once again, you can make your own or buy a concentrated mix that you add water to. If you don't feel comfortable making your own, find a mix that you like and add it to your registry. There are two ways to use the solution- either keep the wipes sitting in the solution (they stay moist) or put the solution in a spray bottle and spray the wipe before you use it. I prefer the second option since everything wet where I live grows mold.

4. Wet Bags
Wet bags are a place to put your dirty diapers until you wash them. They get washed along with the diapers and have a waterproof layer that keeps anything from seeping in or out. Wet bags come in a wide variety of sizes. I would suggest 2-4 smaller ones that hold 2 diapers each for when you are on the go or have someone else watching your baby, and 1-2 large ones that hold the dirty diapers after you change them. The large ones can be used as a liner in a diaper pail and the little ones go in the car, diaper bag, and wherever else you may need them on hand.

5. Cloth Diaper Detergent
Yes, you need a special detergent just for cloth diapers. The most important things to avoid in your detergent are perfumes, dyes, and any kind of soap, which can keep the diapers from being absorbent over time. You can make your own cloth diaper detergent, which is what I did, or you can register for one of the many highly recommended brands available.

6. Wool Dryer Balls
I would actually recommend this to anyone with a baby registry, not just for cloth diapering. Wool dryer balls are exactly that- wool balls that you put in your dryer. They reduce the amount of time needed to dry clothes and take the place of dryer sheets (which should not be used with cloth diapers because it blocks absorbency). I was skeptical when I read about this, but it works wonders! I can run a full load on the energy saver mode and they come out dry every time. With as much laundry as you will be doing with all of those dirty diapers, this small purchase is definitely worth it.

7. Disposable Diaper Liners
These are a life saver when it comes to #2 once you get past the beatnik poop. They look kind of like a dryer sheet that you put inside the diaper when you put it on your baby. If they go #2, the diaper liner catches the solids, so when you you change the diaper, you simply dump the flushable liner into the toilet with all of the solids. This makes the job of cleaning the diapers later a lot less messy.

8. Diaper Sprayer
Here is another great tool for dealing with #2 after your baby starts eating solid foods. A diaper sprayer is basically like the water sprayer you may have on your kitchen sink, except that it attaches to the toilet. If you have a #2 diaper, you simply hold it over the toilet and spray the solids off to be flushed. These can be pretty pricey, but it is worth getting a good one, so put it on your registry!

9. Spray Pal
If you use your diaper sprayer a lot, then you will love your spray pal splatter shield! The spray pal is a plastic cone with a clip on it. You clip the diaper inside the cone and then spray it off with the diaper sprayer. This helps prevent any splattering or messes when using the diaper sprayer. This is super handy to have around!

10. Cloth Diaper Safe Rash Cream
Supposedly with cloth diapers babies are less likely to get diaper rashes, but honestly, every baby's skin is different. If your baby does get a diaper rash, make sure the you are using a cream that will not ruin your expensive diaper stash. All natural is best, and do some research before you choose which one to put on your registry.

11. Diaper Storage/ Organization
There are an infinite number of ways to organize your cloth diapering system. Some people like to hang dry covers and machine dry inserts, some people organize clean diapers by size or color, some want their diapers out of sight, while others stuff them while changing the baby! Figure out what you want your system to be and how you want to organize and store them, and then register for any supplies you may need for that. Whether it is a drying rack or an over-the-door hanging organizer, find what will work for you and put it on your registry.

I hope this helps you as you put together your baby registry with some items that will make the world of cloth diapering just a little bit easier and more affordable!