Monday, January 23, 2012

A belated Christmas Celebration!

Uncle Scott, Aunt Marisa and Cate (Emily wasn't feeling very photogenic...haha)

My very best friend and her wonderful husband came over this past weekend to celebrate Christmas with us! I know, Christmas was a month ago, but we always celebrate a late Christmas since the holidays are always such a blur! It's also fun to spread out the Holiday Cheer! I even kept up 2 Christmas trees (you know, for them, not because I have an unhealthy obsession with Christmas or anything.....). They brought the girls two sweet outfits that I absolutely love, and an awesome bath toy that actually spurts water out of a periscope! It looks like so much fun - tonight is bath night so I can't wait to play with it. I mean, I can't wait for the girls to play with it! :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Cloth Diapering 101 for Twins

I have wanted to sit down and write out this post for a while! There is just so much I want to put in this, so please bear with me as it will most likely turn into a novel! There are lots of resources for cloth diapering on the web, but as far as I know, there aren't many that are specifically dedicated to cloth diapering multiples. When I was pregnant, I had a lot of CD (cloth diaper) related questions that were twins related. Such as) how many do you need for twins? What brand works best? Since I'll need double, what are some brands that are less expensive? What is the washing/care routine?

Twins are obviously more work than having one baby. So you might think that adding in cloth diapers is an unnecessary burden. However, I find it to be just as easy, if not easier, than using disposables. Once you get a good routine down, CDing is easy, fun and a GREAT way to save money!

How many cloth diapers do I need, and what is this going to cost me?

This was a question I asked over and over when I was pregnant. To be honest, I only started with a few, then added to my stash as time went on and I figured out what worked for me the best. In addition, Miss Catherine and Miss Emily were born on the small side (5 lbs and 5 lbs 3 oz) so they couldn't fit into most one-size diapers when they were still tiny newborns. During the first month we used preemie sized prefolds and covers along with disposables (we got a few Linkpacks of disposables as gifts from my showers). But anyways, here is the breakdown of how many diapers I have currently.

2 - Kawaii Goodnight Heavy Wetter (snaps)
4 - Kawaii One Size Fun Prints (snaps)
2 - Blueberry Minky's (velcro)
6 - Sunbaby's (snaps)
2 - Fuzzibuns (snaps)
26 - Kawaii Pure & Natural (velcro)

So that is a total of 42 diapers that I use daily. And, thanks to the internet, I know exactly how much I've spent: $372.57. However, my mother in law graciously bought me 10 diapers for Christmas so if you subtract $73 for those, it equals $299.57.

(I also have some preemie and normal sized prefolds and covers, but my mom bought me those so I didn't count them in my total. Plus I pretty much only use them if all my diapers are in the wash, which is rare, or for burp cloths and rags!)

So let's do the math here, shall we? My girls are 29 weeks old. Let's figure that I use 10 diapers per day, per baby. So a total of 20 diapers a day, 140 diapers per week. That is 4,060 diapers that I would have used since they have been born (and we all know that as newborns, and once you start solids, you use more than 10 diapers per day!). So let's say I was using super cheap disposables - parent's choice from walmart. Online, it states that a pack of 200 diapers is $23.88. That means I would have spent $484.76 by now! So that is a savings of $185.19 AND my girls are only 6 months old! And if I used a more expensive brand, like Pampers for example, I would have spent a total of $922.42 by now!!! That is a savings of $622.85!!! These diapers will get them well into potty training so now every month I use cloth over disposables, I'm saving money. Yes cloth is an initial investment, but over time you easily make back what you would have spent on disposables. Plus, you NEVER have to run out to the store because you're "out of diapers". With cloth, all you have to do is run a load of laundry!

In addition, all of these diapers are "pockets." That means there's a "shell," if you will, that 1 or 2 inserts fit into. The insert absorbs the liquid, and the part of the shell that touches baby's skin stays pretty dry. The outer part of the shell stays dry.

Snaps vs. Velcro

This is really personal preference. I have found from my experience that velcro is wonderful to use during the day. Dadddy's and Grandma's especially like the ease of use that velcro brings. The only downside that I have found, is that the velcro tends to wear over time with washing and drying. Little hairs, loose threads, etc. become stuck in the velcro and you have to pull it out. Diapers with snaps tend to hold up a little better through all the wash cycles, but are a little bit more of a pain to put on the baby. Especially when you are diapering one baby and the other is screaming! So I tend to use velcro during the day, and snaps at night.

Care and Maintenance
I'm going to be honest, I don't do a great job caring for my cloth diapers! Some people use special CD detergent, line dry, do rinse cycles, etc. Here's what I do. I use All Free & Clear detergent, which you can find at any grocery store. I put all the diapers in a rinse cycle first. Then I add the rest of my baby laundry to the washing machine, add the detergent, and do a normal wash cycle on hot. Then EVERYTHING goes in the dryer. To be honest, with twins, I just do not have the time to mess with line drying, etc. In the summer I liked sunning my diapers on the deck because it took all the little stains out and made them bright and new looking, but obviously I can't do that in the winter. So then I take all my laundry out, sort it, stuff my diapers and put them away. I do laundry every other day. I actually do the wash at night, and put them in the dryer right before I go to bed. Then when I wake up in the morning, I have time to sort and fold. Would my diapers, especially the velcro, look a little better if I line dried? Definitely. But we're 6 months in and my diapers are holding up JUST fine!

It's really easy to store cloth diapers! I have a changing table that is more like a dresser, and all my diapers in the top drawer.
As for dirty diapers, my mom got me a great hamper. I think she got it from Bed, Bath, and Beyond. It came with two mesh bags that velcro in. In one of the bags, I used diaper pins to pin in a wet bag. That's where all the dirty diapers go. The other bag I just leave open for the rest of the baby laundry; bibs, clothes, jammies, etc.

Diaper Rash No More
As I said earlier, we used disposables part time when the girls were newborns. Right after we got home, they both got a terrible diaper rash. I tried every cream on the market, let them air out ALL the time, etc. and nothing worked. There were just huge blisters on my poor babies tushes and I felt so bad I couldn't do anything about it. Finally at about 3-4 weeks old, I discovered that the girls finally fit into my pocket diapers! I was so excited, and we switched instantly. Honestly, one day later, their rashes were GONE. Not a trace of it left. 6 months later, they have never had another diaper rash.

Well, I think that's about it! I think I covered everything - but if you have any questions leave a comment and I'll be happy to answer! Happy Diapering!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Catherine's Pearly Whites

Can you see those pearly whites?! Catherine's first two teeth have definitely come in quite a bit! She did pretty well with cutting these teeth. You could tell she was hurting, she didn't sleep well for two nights in a row (completely unheard of for her!), but after that she was back to her old self! I think the teeth just initially cutting through is what hurt the most. But for now, we are A-OK! And poor Emily is still toothless, haha! Catherine is happy about that because Emily tends to enjoy gnawing on Catherine's hands and feet!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

6 month well baby visit

Our 6 month well-baby visit was on Wednesday, and the girls did great! Catherine is 13 lbs 14 oz and 25 1/2" long. Emily is 13 lbs 4 oz and 24 1/2" long. Still little peanuts, but the doctor said their weight gain is just fine considering how little they started. We got a lot of info on new things to start. Namely we should start giving them pureed meat for iron, since their iron stores are about depleted by 6 months old. We can also start giving them yo baby yogurt, which I'm really excited to give them! I hope they love it! Also, we can start giving them sippies of water with their meals. I tried that this morning and this afternoon and they didn't really care for it. Catherine drank about 1/2 oz, but Emily wanted nothing to do with it. They also had some shots, and they did ok. Catherine had a slight fever this morning but after some baby tylenol and some cuddles, she did just fine!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sleeping Babies

I often get asked what my 'secret' is to get my babies to sleep so well. They have been sleeping through the night since 8 weeks and have not once regressed. So I thought I'd write out everything I do during the day and at night to help my girls to sleep through the night.

However, I will preface this by saying that every baby is different and has different needs and wants. I really think that I just got blessed with really good sleepers, but either way here are some things I do.

The first thing is maintaining an iron clad eating schedule. Every 3 hours on the nose, my girls get their bottle (except for their 1st two bottles, which are 2 hours apart). I've been on this schedule since they were born and in the hospital. The nurses encouraged it and I followed it, even when I came home. Now in the very beginning, sometimes they are hungry more than every 3 hours and that's ok. Feed them! What I did in the beginning was give them their "normal" bottle every 3 hours and if they were hungry between scheduled bottles of breastmilk (since I was pumping right away), I'd nurse to "hold them over".

Here is our schedule now, at 6 months. But besides adding in the solids (since last month) and the fact that they sleep through the night instead of waking up for bottles, which obviously all newborns do, it's been exactly the same since they were born.

7am: bottle
7:15: change diaper and back to sleep in the crib
9am: bottle
10am: fruit
12 noon: bottle
2pm: nap
3pm: bottle
4pm: veggie
5pm: nap
6pm: bottle
7:30: bath (every other day, usually)
8pm: nap
9pm: bottle
9:15pm: bedtime

So as you can see, we go by the "eat, awake, sleep" routine, every 3 hours. When your baby is very little, your awake time won't be very long. But usually after a baby eats they are happy, so encourage awake time at that point and play, read a book, etc. then about an hour before their next bottle, encourage a little nap.

Many people also ask when I dropped a feeding. I didn't. They did. One night they went 4 hours after going to bed and their first nighttime feed. They did that for about a week. Then they went 5 hours, etc. This will definitely throw you off your schedule, but you can get it back during the daytime. I always just nursed to hold them over to their next scheduled bottle.

Another thing I always used in the beginning was the miracle blanket for swaddling. They rarely escaped and it kept them snug and secure. We broke from the swaddle at around 5 months by leaving one arm out for a week, then both arms out, then we eliminated it and just put them in the sleep sack, which they sleep in now. They have also never had a paci in their crib. They use a paci during the day for naps, but they never seem to need it at night. Every night is exactly the same: bottle, change into jammies/nighttime diaper (since we cloth diaper), put the sleep sack on, put on their mobiles and sound machine, and it's lights out. They usually fall asleep instantly. Sometimes it takes them a few minutes to settle down, but they always do within minutes.

We also keep a sound machine on "ocean sounds" all night. If you don't have a sound machine that plugs into a wall outlet, get one. Leave it on all night.

And I think that's about it! I hope some of my methods work for you and your baby! Sleep is a wonderful thing for everyone!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Catherine's big news

On December 30th, I was letting Catherine gnaw on my fingers when suddenly, OUCH! I got a pinch on my finger that did not feel good. Could it be?! I peered into her mouth and there they were...two little white nubs poking through her gums. NOOO!!! My little baby turned 6 months, learned how to sit on her own, and now has TWO teeth coming in, all over the course of 3 days! I don't know if I'm ready for all this...I love my babies and love this age, and while I'm excited for their milestones I'm sad that they are growing SO darn quickly!

A new look

Looks a little different around here, huh?! I decided to give my blog a facelift if you will, and start writing in it more. Since I'm doing a terrible job writing in their baby books, and it's easy for me to write on the computer when the girls are napping, I thought I'd start documenting more on this blog. Someday I hope they can look back on it and see how life was like when they were babies!

And because I can't have a blog post without a picture, here's one for fun! The girls were holding hands during tummy time! :)