Tag Archives: baby

Preparing for baby 2

I’m now 29 weeks pregnant, and officially into the third trimester. In the beginning of my pregnancy, everyone told me I would be amazed at how different pregnancy would be the second time. That hasn’t really been the case for me. I’m struggling with the same aches and pains, nausea, and extreme exhaustion (only this time, I’m anemic, too. Ugh.)

The only big difference for me this time? The time and energy I have to devote to preparing for baby. I wasn’t working for most of my pregnancy with Judah. For half of my pregnancy, Tony was in the process of job hunting, so he wasn’t working either, so I didn’t even really have to take care of myself! I napped, relaxed, and researched baby stuff on the Internet all day while Tony waited on me. Sigh. Those were the days.

This time, Tony is gone most of the day, and I’m doing the very physical (and exhausting) work of caring for our active, strong-willed 2-year-old. I’ve continued to teach part-time through most of the pregnancy, and I will do so (online) right up until the baby is born and beyond. I’ve been so busy, I haven’t really had time to think about nesting. There’s no chance I’m getting any cleaning or organizing done while Judah is awake, and I’m face planting on my bed within 10 minutes of his bedtime

Now that I’m in the third trimester, the urge to nest has hit me hard. I look around my house, and all I see are to-do lists. I have plenty of plans — but energy and time and motivation are still limited. I’m trying to be realistic about what I can get done.

Preschool is starting in early August for Judah, so I will have three mornings a week to catch up as long as my pregnancy continues to be free of complication (fingers crossed!). For now, I’m trying to prioritize what needs to get done.


The great thing about a second child who is the same gender as the first with a relatively close birthday (Judah was born in late November; his brother is due in late September) is that we have a ton of clothes that will likely fit him. I saved everything that was in good shape. We won’t need to buy any clothes, but I do have to get the newborn and 0-3 months clothes out of storage, make sure they’re clean and ready to go, and revamp our clothing storage system. I want to replace Judah’s huge dresser with two smaller ones, stain treat and store the clothing Judah has outgrown (he still has winter stuff in his drawers — eep), and of course, stock baby brother’s drawers with hand-me-downs.

Sleeping Arrangements

arm's reach cosleeperI will be using the same Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper bassinet that Judah slept in for the first 6 months. Our house is a 3-bedroom, and I’d like to keep a guest room available for family for as long as possible, so I’m resisting the urge to turn our guest room into a full-blown nursery. That doesn’t mean I don’t have a lot to do in there. I will set up a crib, but I’ll probably just leave the guest bed in there, too, since baby won’t need the room all night for another 6 months. It’s been a while since we had visitors, so the room has become an embarrassing depository for old toys and things that don’t have another place. I need to clear it out, clean out the closet (which has served as random storage since we moved in), and make the room functional as both a place to store the baby things and a guest room. We also need to buy a new crib since Judah’s was manufactured before the crib regulations changed, and he pretty much destroyed it by chewing on it (teething rails are on my to-buy list this time).


We’ll be cloth diapering for at least the first 12 months again. The beauty of cloth diapering is that pretty much everything can be reused. My diapers are clean and ready to go. I couldn’t resist buying some new covers when Cotton Babies had a seconds sale (50% off for diaper covers with minor imperfections!) So we’re hopefully all set. See this post for more information on my cloth diaper recommendations.

Car seat

britax b-safeThis is the biggest purchase we need to make, and I’m dragging my feet about it. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to get an infant seat carrier or skip straight to a convertible car seat. We had the Chicco KeyFit 30 infant seat for Judah, and I loved it, but it’s so pricey! I can’t reuse that seat because it was involved in a minor car accident, and the manufacturer says their seats are unsafe after any collision, so we’ll need a new seat for this baby. I also didn’t need the high weight limit, because Judah moved into the convertible at 9 months and well under 20 pounds. Even as small as he was, I didn’t use the seat as a carrier for longer than a few weeks, because the whole thing was just too heavy and I preferred my Baby K’Tan and later my Ergobaby carrier. Even in the winter, I just jumped in the backseat, secured him in the carrier, and wrapped us both up in my old maternity coat. It was so much easier than hauling that giant seat around.

It sounds like I’m sold on the convertible, but even though newborns technically will fit in those giant seats, I just feel like the snug fit of the infant seat is a safer bet when they’re tiny. So I’m leaning toward getting a more affordable, no frills infant seat and upgrading to the fancy convertible I want when he’s 9-12 months. Unfortunately, I’m not thrilled with the bare bones safety and usability ratings on most of the economy infant seats, so I’m leaning toward a middle-of-the-pack seat with excellent safety ratings that’s short on extra features (the Britax B-Safe seat, which currently sells for about $135). It’s about $50 less expensive than the KeyFit with similar safety and ease-of-use ratings.

britax marathon 70 g3Eventually, I’ll move him into the Britax Marathon 70 G3. Judah has the Britax Roundabout 55, which is a great seat for the price, and I love it. My only big complaint is that the entire seat has to be uninstalled and the straps have to be completely removed to adjust them or wash the seat cover. This is a huge pain if you have a really messy kid (or one who gags and pukes a lot, ahem). The Marathon is similar with a few extra features and upgrades, and an easy-to-remove cover and no rethread harness adjustments. (Like the Roundabout, it will allow baby to rear-face up to 40 pounds, which is very important now that rear-facing is recommended to at least 2 years old! We just turned Judah forward-facing at 2 years and 8 months, and we plan on rear facing as long as possible with his brother, too.)

I’m also considering a few new purchases for items I used heavily with Judah that were given to me secondhand. Most notably, I’d like to replace the swing that was given to me by my sister. It’s a 5- or 6-yearold Graco Cradle n Swing that has been used by four babies including Judah. It’s powered by an AC adapter instead of millions of batteries, so replacing it won’t be cheap, but with so little to buy, I think it might be a good investment. Plus I’ll be able to resell it for a good price when the baby outgrows it.

Beyond that, I just need to clean, clean, clean and organize. I usually run a pretty tight ship when it comes to tidiness, but I’m a crappy housekeeper when I’m pregnant. A lot of clutter and messiness has built up over the past 7 months (almost a year if you include my last pregnancy and miscarriage recovery). Plus, our 1970s ranch is small with very little storage. It’s going to take some serious purging and Tetris-style reorganizing to fit a whole new person and all his stuff into this house.

How did you prepare for your second (or third or fourth) baby?

*All product links are Amazon Associates links, which means I earn a small commission if you purchase a product after following my link.

All photos courtesy of Amazon.com.

Cloth diapers: reconsidering expensive pocket diapers

I’ve raved about inexpensive prefold diapers in the past, and I still think they’re a great entry into cloth diapering. They don’t require a huge financial investment, they’re easy to use, durable, and a snap to keep clean.

However. As many of you seasoned cloth diapering moms warned me, prefolds have become cumbersome as Judah is getting more mobile. I don’t think they’re interfering with his ability to move around (obviously), but I do wonder if they’re as comfortable for him now that he’s moving. And let’s be honest, wrestling a mobile baby into a prefold, Snappi, and cover while he twists and turns and moves is a lot harder than snapping him into a single diaper.

One other slightly TMI confession: I am not as wild about cloth diapers since we introduced solids. Prefolds were simple for an exclusively breastfed baby. Now not so much. I’ve tested some of the pockets I already have on hand, and I was amazed at how much easier it was to deal with solid waste with the fancy microfleece lining compared to the cotton prefolds that are folded to fit him. Let’s just say all those folds and creases make it a lot harder to dispose of the waste before washing. Moving on.

I don’t want to discourage anyone from prefold diapers. They have worked fabulously for me, and I will continue to keep them on hand and probably continue to use them under certain circumstances. I don’t regret buying them. I didn’t want to invest hundreds of dollars into a cloth diaper stash before I knew if it would work for us, and the initial investment to use pocket diapers full-time for a newborn who needs 10-12 diapers changes a day was just too much for me.

I’m just starting to wonder if I should add a few more pocket diapers to my stash to make things a little easier on all of us (and future babysitters). Now that we’re past the newborn phase of 12 diapers a day, I could probably make a dozen diapers last two days, especially if I had some prefolds on hand to fill in the gaps if he needs a few extra diaper changes on some days.

I have a BumGenius 4.0, a FuzziBunz Hemp Organic, a BumGenius all-in-one, and a SmartiPants pocket diaper. I like all of the pocket diapers a lot, but I haven’t used them enough to develop a preference.

I wanted to get opinions from my cloth diapering readers: do you have a preference for a certain pocket diaper? Which works best for toddlers? Judah is slim and small for his age (10th percentile for weight, 50th for height at his last appointment three months ago), so I suspect he will stay that way for the foreseeable future. He’s probably around 18 pounds now, so I don’t think fit will be a problem for a while. We hope to use cloth until he potty trains, so I want to make sure they diapers I buy now will fit a 3-year-old if necessary.

I like the idea of FuzziBunz hemp diapers, because they’re made from organic, natural materials. But they’re more expensive. I’ve also developed some brand loyalty toward Cotton Babies products. My favorite covers are Flips and Econobums, so I’m thinking I’ll be just as happy with the BumGenius. So I’m torn. Tell me what you think!

Things I have seriously considered since my baby started crawling

This new stage of development does not agree with me. I much preferred the days when Judah would sit still, snuggled safely in my arms out of harm’s way.

It’s not that I wanted to keep him that way forever. I’m really looking forward to the fun stuff that comes along with having an older kid — the increased freedom, the family vacations, the conversations with my little person. But I am struggling with this in between time when he wants to go go go, but he’s not yet old enough to understand caution or danger or reason of any kind.

For a while, he was content to crawl around in the playpen if I needed a few minutes to get something done around the house, or you know, use the bathroom. But now he’s suddenly rebelling, and even the playpen is too much containment for his taste. He no longer plays contentedly in there. Now when I put him down, he stands up and screams at me until I take him out again and let him wander the house on all fours.

I realize this stage is crucial to his development, so I baby proof the house as best I can, do my very best to keep him safe, and chase him all day to prevent him from hurting himself. But on days like today when I’m exhausted and longing for the time when he snuggled safely with me, I start thinking crazy thoughts.

What if we converted the spare bedroom into a padded room so I could let him bounce around in there while I fold laundry?

What if we just padded the entire HOUSE? Then he could crawl around bonking into things to his heart’s content, and I wouldn’t have to worry.

Do they make rock climbing helmets and knee and elbow pads in size 6-9 months? They really should consider that for daredevil babies with absolutely no sense of self-preservation or caution.

Why on Earth don’t human babies learn to walk proficiently within hours of birth like colts and deer? Wait. That actually sounds worse. Scratch that. The LAST thing I want is a 1-week-old bonking his head on the coffee table.

I’m trying my hardest to relax and accept that I’m not always going to be able to protect him. The best I can do is prevent serious injury and hope that he’s designed well to withstand a few bumps along the way as he learns to get around. My dad always says, “They’re built low to the ground so they don’t have far to fall,” and I think he’s right. Mobile babies really are built tougher than we think and designed to handle the normal bumps and bruises that go along with learning to walk.

While this attitude helps my fear a little, it does nothing to help the exhaustion that comes with chasing him all day. Pfft. Slow down, baby! Mama needs a break.

5 non-essential baby products I use every day

I remember when I first started shopping for baby things, I was so overwhelmed. There are so many baby products on the market, and sadly, so much of it is totally and completely useless. Almost every expecting mother finds herself asking the question, “What do I really need?”

Aside from the obvious essentials like diapers, clothing, and a car seat, the truth is there isn’t much you really need. But almost four months into motherhood, I’ve discovered a few items that have made my life a whole lot easier. I’d like to share them with you now.

For the record, I’m not being compensated in any way to endorse these products. All of these items I either bought for myself or were gifted to me by generous friends. These reviews are completely unsolicited by the manufacturers, and all opinions are my own.

Baby K’Tan

There are about a million different infant carriers and slings. It may seem like all of them work the same way, but the truth is, they don’t. Some of them aren’t very baby-friendly, and many of them aren’t very mom-friendly. They can be difficult to use, constricting for baby, and a lot of moms abandon them early on.

My friend Kacie loved her Baby K’Tan carrier, and generously gifted me with one of my own before Judah was born. The K’Tan is incredibly simple to use compared to other wraps. It takes me about a minute to get Judah into it, and I can do it while sitting in the backseat of the car. There’s no complicated wrapping involved. It’s made of two loops of fabric, so there aren’t yards and yards of excess fabric to get in your way.

He absolutely loves to be carried in it, and he’s typically fast asleep within 10 minutes. I don’t think either one of us would be a fan of a bulky stroller. The K’Tan keeps him close to me, and it keeps my hands free.

Arms Reach co-sleeper

Before Judah was born, my sister gave me a bedside bassinet that she never used for my nephew. I tried to put Judah in it the first two nights after we came home from the hospital, and it was a nightmare. He hated the thing, and it was too tall for me to comfort him from the bed. I also had to stand up to pick him up every time he woke me to eat. He was using a bili-blanket to treat his jaundice, and keeping him swaddled in it was impossible. I was in and out of bed all night rewrapping the blanket around him.

My mom bought us a Close and Secure Sleeper* that worked great for the first 6 weeks. He was right in bed with us, but I was able to sleep soundly with him in his own space. Even though it was small, fitting it in a queen-sized bed with two adults was a squeeze, so it wasn’t very comfortable for us. He also grew out of it quickly.

I read rave reviews about the Arms Reach Co-Sleeper, a bassinet that attaches to the side of the bed. I ordered the Clear Vue mini bassinet model, and it has worked fabulously. If you’re breastfeeding, I absolutely recommend it. He sleeps right next to me, but he doesn’t take up space in the bed. This particular model has adjustable legs, which allowed us to tilt it a few inches to help with his reflux. Its weight limit is 23 pounds, so it will last longer than the typical bassinet with a 15- or 18-pound limit.

Cloud B Gentle Giraffe sound machine

During our endless struggle for better sleep, we discovered that Judah was soothed into sleep by white noise. My sister recommended the Cloud B Sleep Sheep*, but when I discovered there was an adorable giraffe* that matched his nursery’s jungle theme, I had to have that one. I named him Geoffrey.

There are four different sounds, including some jungle beats, a waterfall, and a sound that’s supposed to mimic mother’s heartbeat from the womb. He doesn’t really like any of the sounds except for the waterfall, but he loves it. A timer turns it off after 23 or 45 minutes, and a velcro strap attaches it to the side of the bassinet or crib. It comes with us where ever we go to help Judah fall asleep.

Snappi diaper fastener

If you’re using prefold cloth diapers, there are all kinds of different ways to fold the diapers to avoid using pins or fasteners. I find that the Snappi fasteners* give me a snugger fit, which is really important in those first months when diapers can be particularly messy. My mom and Tony’s grandmother, who both used cloth diapers with pins, marvel at how easy it is for me to fasten Judah’s diapers without sticking myself or him.

Bumbo seat

I’ve only owned this thing for a day, but Judah already loves it. He’s been insisting on being held in a seated or standing position for the last few weeks, and it’s made it difficult for me to multi-task while holding him. The Bumbo seat* allows him to sit up straight without assistance even though he’s a couple months away from doing that on his own, and I’ve read that it aids in healthy development of the spine and posture.

What baby products have you found helpful?

Disclosure: Asterisks denote affiliate links. If you make a purchase through Amazon using my link, I earn a few cents.

Public Service Announcement: Your child safety seat probably isn’t installed properly

I like to think I’m a pretty intelligent lady. And I know I’m cautious. Especially when it comes to my 3-month-old bundle of adorable, Mr. Judah Michael.

I read manuals. I always follow instructions. I take the rules very. seriously.

So when I installed Judah’s car seat back in November, and I couldn’t find a location in my area that did child safety seat inspections, I was extra careful. I followed all the instructions. I read the warnings and the rules. I felt pretty confident that Judah was safe and snug back there despite the fact that I didn’t get an expert to look things over. The seat we chose was super easy to install, and I didn’t think it was possible to screw it up too much.

When we installed his car seat base in our new car Tuesday, we were pretty frustrated with the thing. Judah’s seat has a handy level indicator built in. You know the seat is level when the bubbles line up between the little lines — like the level keychain everyone’s dad has on his keyring that he never uses, because seriously, how often do you need to level something? Unless you’re a carpenter. Or a professional picture frame hanger. In which case, you probably level things all the time. But I digress.

Anyway, we couldn’t get the bubbles to line up in the right place, and I was fairly certain it wasn’t installed correctly, so I made an appointment today and headed over to AAA, where car safety seat inspections are performed for free.

I discovered the leveling problem was one of many.

She showed me adjustments that I didn’t even know existed on the seat. She informed me that the seat belt securing it in place was WAY too loose. She adjusted the straps securing him, because they were a bit too slack. She reminded me of the dangers of unsecured debris in the car (this wasn’t a problem in my case, because my brand new car was free of any debris, but I know I’ve been guilty of this in the past.) In short, I got schooled on car seat safety.

All of this is to say: Even if you think you’ve been as cautious as possible, even if you followed every direction in your instruction manual, it’s worth it to make an appointment with a car seat safety inspector in your area to double check.

I know what you’re thinking. “Pfft. How hard can it be? This dummy just didn’t read the instructions.”

But guess what? 3 out of 4 safety seats are installed or buckled incorrectly. And the other 1 out of 4 people probably took the thing to an expert for inspection. Because I am telling you, I READ THE INSTRUCTIONS. I have never willfully disregarded a warning in a manual ever in my life. And I still screwed up my car seat installation.

Don’t be stubborn. Just go get it checked out. It takes 15 minutes, and it’s totally worth it.

Cloth diapers 101: Caring for cloth diapers

Yesterday I shared some tips on what kind of cloth diapers I recommend and what to buy. Today I’m going to cover the proper care and maintenance of cloth diapers.

You can use diaper rash creams.

Even though you read everywhere that diaper rash creams are a big no-no when it comes to cloth diapering, the truth is that rule mostly refers to fancy micro-fiber all-in-ones and inserts for pocket diapers. Ingredients in diaper rash creams can interfere with absorbency, and that could be catastrophic for a $20 diaper. But the natural fibers in plain cotton prefold diapers are less likely to repel after using mild diaper rash creams.

If they do start to stink after using a diaper rash cream, it’s easy to strip cotton prefolds. Worst case scenario? You throw out a few diapers that cost you $1-$2. But that’s highly unlikely with tough prefolds. That’s a big reason I prefer cotton prefolds. I don’t want to stress about diapers.

Some creams are more likly to cause issues than others. This chart outlines which diaper rash creams are safe for cloth diapers, and which ones are generally okay for cotton diapers. I use Aveeno Diaper Rash Relief when I notice a little redness, and I haven’t had any issues with my prefolds. And if I do? I paid $1.50 each for them. No biggie.

Detergent really does matter.

Make your life easier — switch to a cloth-friendly detergent for all your clothing and forget about it. It’s not necessary to spend a fortune on specialty “cloth diaper” detergents. This chart gives you a ton of options from fancy specialty detergents to basic powder detergents available at Amazon or your local big box store. I like Rockin’ Green*, but I also buy Ecos at Walmart when I can find it. Both of them work great for cloth diapers. If you’re purchasing from Amazon, make sure you search for Amazon coupon codes to save even more money.

This is one rule that I don’t recommend ignoring. Regular detergents really don’t work well for cloth diapers. Most “free and clear” brands are not cloth friendly because they contain brighteners and other additives that can make your diapers stinky. Your diapers should be free of detergent scent and ammonia smell when they come out of the dryer. If you can smell soap, use less detergent. If you can smell pee, use more.

Laundry doesn’t have to be complicated.

Laundering was the biggest source of confusion for me when I was learning about cloth diapers. Once I started washing the diapers, it made much more sense. Here’s the deal on laundering in as simple terms as possible.

Pre-washing diapers – Diaper covers, pocket diapers, and all-in-ones only need to be washed once before using. Cotton prefolds need to be pre-washed several times to fluff them up and remove natural oils that can deter absorbency. When you receive new prefolds, send them through 5-8 wash and dry cycles. Use hot water and a little detergent. That’s it. It’s time-consuming, but really simple.

Where to keep dirty diapers – I recommend using a hanging wet bag like the FuzziBunz hanging wet bag* because it hangs on a doorknob and has a zipper on the bottom so it’s easy to dump the diapers when it’s time to wash. You could also use an old-fashioned diaper pail with water, but the idea of dumping all that diaper water really kind of grosses me out.

Washing diapers – Separate diapers from waterproof covers and wet bags, and wash them separately. Here’s my washing cycle for my prefolds: Cold wash with no detergent to rinse them out, hot wash with detergent, cold wash/rinse to rinse out the detergent. Then I tumble dry on low. For diaper covers I do a hot wash with detergent, a hot wash to make sure all detergent is rinsed, and an extra cold rinse. With diaper covers I’ve noticed that less soap is better, because they’re usually not as soiled as diapers and excess soap can really mess with the waterproofing. I line dry diaper covers and waterproof accessories (like wet bags).

If you’re exclusively breastfeeding, you don’t have to worry about poopy diapers. They can go into the washer without being rinsed first. That’s because breast milk is so easily digested by baby that the remaining waste is completely water soluble. I don’t rinse my diapers, and they very rarely even stain. If your baby is formula fed or eats solids, you’ll need to shake the waste into the toilet before washing. I don’t have any experience with this yet.

You don’t have to learn fancy folding techniques.

I fasten my diapers with a Snappi. This is the method I use for fastening cloth diapers. There are lots of fastening methods, but so far, this method has worked best for containing my two-month-old’s explosive poo.

In case you can’t tell, I have absolutely loved cloth diapers so far. I’ll be sure to update you on how things are going once Judah switches to solids, because I’m told that will be a totally different ball game. That’s all the more reason to breastfeed if you want to use cloth diapers, though. It really makes things so easy.

I’m pretty sure that covers almost everything. If you have any questions or tips of your own, share them in the comments!

I have not been compensated in any way for the recommendations made in this post. However, I do receive a small affiliate fee for purchases made through Amazon links, which are denoted with this symbol *.

Cloth Diapers 101: Getting started

Before I was even pregnant, I made the decision that I was going to try cloth diapering. I was committed to the idea, but totally overwhelmed. With so many options, laundering methods, and rules, it seems so complicated.

The good news? It’s really NOT as complicated as the Internet makes it seem. Which is actually a pretty good mantra now that I think about it. It’s not as complicated as the Internet makes it seem.

Now that I’ve been cloth diapering for over two months, I’ve gotten into a pretty good groove. I’m going to share some of the things I’ve learned. I have learned a lot, so I’m splitting it up into two posts. I really hope this doesn’t make it seem even more complicated, because I promise, it’s really not.

Cloth diapering is NOT extreme.

The biggest misconception about cloth diapering is that you have to be some kind of intense money-saver or environmental extremist to do it. While those people do cloth diaper, the truth is, it’s really not that much of a hassle compared to disposables, especially if you’re breastfeeding. I’ve used both, and I actually prefer cloth. In fact, I have two packs of disposables left over from my baby shower that I’m going to give away, because Judah will be too big for them soon, and I’d rather use cloth.

Poop is poop, and you’re going to have some gross diaper changes no matter what kind of diaper you use. Changing diapers is a pain in the butt (no pun intended) whether you use cloth or disposables, and nobody includes diaper changes on their list of favorite activities. The only difference between cloth diapers and disposables is two or three extra loads of laundry per week.

I can’t tell you how many disposable diaper users have watched me change diapers and said, “Huh. So those are cloth diapers? That doesn’t seem as hard as I thought it would be.”

You don’t need a huge stash to get started.

If you’re new to cloth diapering, it really doesn’t take much to get started. There are a ton of options, but you really just need a very basic list of essentials.

  • 24-36 diapers
  • 3-4 diaper covers if you’re using prefolds
  • 2-3 Snappies or sets of diaper pins
  • 1 wet bag or diaper pail for storing dirty diapers
  • 1-2 smaller waterproof wet bags for storing dirty diapers in you’re diaper bag when you’re out
  • 24 cloth wipes

It’s not necessary to spend $20 per diaper.

If pocket diapers and all-in-one diapers work for you, then great! I’m glad you’ve found an option that works well for you. I couldn’t bring myself to spend $20 a pop on something my baby was going to poop on. I have a few pocket diapers and all-in-ones, and I may want to buy more to use for overnights or when Judah is resisting diaper changes, but for right now? Prefolds and covers are getting the job done for a fraction of the cost.

Prefolds require a little extra work, but you save the extra time on laundry. They wash quicker and much easier than fancier diapers, dry faster, withstand a lot of abuse, and are so cheap that I really don’t worry too much about messing them up.

I buy the Indian prefolds from Cotton Babies. My covers collection includes some Flips, Thirsties*, Econobums (which I highly recommend for anyone who wants to try cloth diapering on a tight budget — they work well, and they’re cheap), and a couple Bummis Whisper Wraps. Most of my diapers were purchased on clearance, so I have the covers only — no inserts. I use them with regular prefolds. You can see a complete list of my stash here.

You’ll want at least 24 diapers for a baby under four months old. You can probably get away with just 3 or 4 diaper covers, because you don’t change the diaper cover with every diaper change. I only change a diaper cover if a particularly messy diaper leaks through to the cover. Most of the time, that doesn’t happen. I wipe the cover with baby wipe and use it again. Covers may start to stink a little after several changes. When that happens, I change to a fresh one.

Don’t bother with newborn-sized diapers.

Most diapers these days are adjustable, so one size fits most babies from a few weeks after birth to potty training. Manufacturers say diapers fit 7-pound babies and up, but consensus among cloth diapering moms is that the fit generally isn’t great on newborn babies with skinny legs.

You don’t have to buy tiny diapers, though! Unless you have a tiny baby, you probably won’t get much use out of newborn-sized diapers. It can take a week or two for the meconium (yucky black-tar poo that stains) to completely work its way out of baby’s system, and guess what? You’re going to be busy getting to know your baby and recovering from delivery in those first couple weeks.

Do yourself a favor and put a few packs of disposables on your registry and use disposables for the first couple weeks after your baby is born. It’ll make the transition to cloth much easier and cut back on laundry as you recover from birth. If you do have a tiny baby, and you can’t stand the thought of using disposables for a couple months, you can always invest in newborn diapers later. It’s unlikely you’ll need them unless your baby is under 7 pounds, and even a 6-pound baby will only use them for about 2-3 months.

Once your baby is about 10 pounds, one-size cloth diapers should fit fine. The only sized diaper covers I bought were Thirsties size 1s, and they fit Judah great when he was 8-9 pounds. By the time he was 10 pounds, all of my one-size covers fit well enough to avoid leaks.

If you use cloth wipes, you don’t have to make a “wipe solution.”

I had big plans to sew my own flannel baby wipes. But I never got around to it when I was pregnant, and there’s no way Judah is going to give me a solid block of time in front of a sewing machine right now. The good news is these cloth wipes are nicer than anything I could make and pretty affordable. You can also use baby wash cloths, but I found that they’re about the same price and not as soft.

I received a ton of disposable baby wipes at my baby shower, and I only just recently used all of them up. For me, they were a real pain. The instinct is to throw the wipe into the diaper, so I was always fishing disposable wipes out of my laundry. Or setting a soiled wipe aside and throwing it away separately.

I started using cloth wipes last week, and they are SO much easier. Here’s my secret: you don’t have to make a homemade wipe solution. All you need is a little spray bottle of water. I spritz the water on my baby’s butt, wipe him clean, throw the wipe into the laundry with the diaper, and I’m done.

I looked at all kinds of homemade wipe solution recipes and even considered spending the money for a premade wipe solution with all kinds of fancy ingredients. Several people warned me that baby wash based homemade solutions would leave my baby rashy. So I decided to try just water. It’s gentle, it cleans him well, and his skin has actually been less irritated using water than it was using baby wipes.

I bought a small storage container about the size of a disposable baby wipes container. It holds my wipes and my spray bottle and fits easily in my diaper bag. You could also repurpose a disposable wipes container.

Tomorrow I’ll share some tips on how to wash and care for your cloth diapers.

I have not been compensated in any way for the recommendations made in this post. However, I do receive a small affiliate fee for purchases made through Amazon links, which are denoted with this symbol *.

This day.

Spend afternoon in a wretched mood due to sleepless night and crabby baby on nap strike.

Inform husband that 15-minute break is necessary to maintain sanity.

Escape house.

Drive across town to Starbucks, because the only thing that can potentially turn this sour mood around is a decaf soy mocha.

Play Dire Straits as loud as your speakers will go, not because it’s your first choice, but because it’s not a commercial or a country song and it’s better than a screaming baby.

Arrive at Starbucks.

Realize you forgot your wallet at home.

Cry. Because really? Seriously?!

Drive home.

Retrieve wallet.

Escape house again.

Catch perfect song to scream with on the radio.

Procure decaf soy mocha.

Return home to sleeping baby and forgiving husband who endured many minutes of screaming in your absence despite the fact that you’ve been a jerk all evening.

Enjoy beverage and quiet.

Feel guilty and grateful.

Resources for a dairy-free lifestyle

It’s so overwhelming to consider cutting an entire food group out of my diet.

I was already struggling to meet my daily calcium requirements, especially as a nursing mother. This is just going to make things that much harder. Not to mention, I love cheese, you guys. Like seriously love cheese.  This dairy-free thing is going to take some serious commitment, and it’s going to be challenging. I never thought I’d voluntarily give up gouda. Oh, the things we do for our children.

To make things easier on myself, I’ve compiled some resources — many of them shared by my lovely friends and readers and some of them discovered through my own research.

It seems this dairy-free thing is quite common these days, and lots of women have been in my situation with a nursing infant who has a dairy intolerance. If anyone else is able to feel a little less overwhelmed at the idea of a dairy-free diet through these resources then all the better.

First and foremost, I found this list of non-dairy calcium sources to be incredibly helpful. Without milk, cheese, and yogurt, meeting your daily calcium requirement is a little more challenging, but it can be done! And don’t forget to take a daily calcium supplement just to cover your bases.

Kelly Mom also shares some tips on meeting your daily calcium requirements without dairy.

This list of vegan baking substitutions offers suggestions for what to use in place of milk and other dairy products in recipes.

I was absolutely thrilled when I discovered that one of my favorite recipe sites, All Recipes, has a special section for dairy-free recipes. Their search engine makes it easy find dairy-free recipes with ingredients you have on hand, and user reviews make it easy to find meals that actually taste good.

This handy cheat sheet outlines “hidden dairy” ingredients (pdf) that you should avoid on a dairy-free diet (it’s not as simple as avoiding foods with “milk” and “cheese” in the ingredients list.

There’s even a dairy-free diet page at About.com, which is a good place to find the basics if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

After several hours of research, I’m not feeling quite so overwhelmed anymore. I’m even somewhat excited at the prospect of coming up with new meal ideas to fit our new dairy-free lifestyle. I won’t lie; life without cheese and chocolate and the occasional decaf non-fat no-whip mocha will be a struggle, and I’m not convinced that almond milk and rice ice cream will satisfy my dairy cravings. But it’s temporary and it’s best for my baby. So I shall carry on.

All I have to say is, I better start losing this baby weight quick if I’m giving up ice cream, cheese, and chocolate, or I’ll be writing angry letters to the Weight Loss Fairies.

Photo by amuckin77