Category Archives: baby

Dakota: Six Months Old

So Dakota has mastered rolling both ways finally, but luckily she was in a very chill mood during today’s photo shoot and was content to lie there and stare bemusedly at the camera. She’s still not quite crawling, but she’s started to scoot backward on her belly (which generally moves her farther away from her object of interest) so crawling is probably right around the corner.

Here’s the picture!

six months

And previous months:

five months

four months

three months

two months

one month

re-posting this many past photos is getting a little silly… I guess maybe moving forward I’ll just post the most recent 6 months’ worth of photos? Or maybe I’ll only include even photos on the even months and odd photos on the odd months? Decisions, decisions.Β  Anyway, the legwarmers this month are actually themed for once, since I thought the football legwarmers were super cute but it would be weird to use them before football season started.

Maybe at some point I’ll do a collage of all the pictures with the fire lizard/belly sticker all the same size, so her growth is more obvious. I made a deliberate decision to not try to do that separately for each photo though, because I knew it would drive me bonkers. πŸ™‚


Adventures in Cloth Diapering

I started writing this very long and detailed post of all the trial and error I went through figuring out what cloth diapers I wanted to use and how to make it work for me, but it got very long and rambling, so I’m just going to keep things simple. Here is how the whole cloth diapering thing is working for us right now.

I am using colorful waterproof (specifically, polyurethane laminated fabric) covers that snap onto baby, and laying an absorbent pad (known as an “insert”) inside of it. For the absorbent insert, I have some large squares of thin cotton (also known as “flats” in cloth diapering land) that I can fold a bunch of times into the right shape. I also have a bunch of much smaller squares of many-layered cotton (known as “prefolds”, since most of the folding has been done already) that I can just do a quick fold and tuck and then they are in the right shape. Here they are, drying happily in the breeze:

Cloth Diapers

The diaper covers are in front, then you can see some of the flats looking big and loose behind them, then the smaller, more compact prefolds drying in the back. Here’s another shot so you can see the prefolds (on the left):

Cloth Diaper Laundry

The flat inserts are nice because they’re super cheap, they clean easily and dry pretty fast. The prefolds take quite a while to dry, but once I take them off the line (or out of the clothes dryer) I can just toss them in the shelf under the changing table, while with the flats I have to take the time to fold them to the right size. I like having some of both, but if I want to keep hanging them on the line to dry through the fall and winter I’m going to have to start using the flats more.

Here’s how they look folded into a diaper cover and ready to snap onto baby:

Cloth Diaper Padfold

The flat is on the left and the prefold is on the right. Once they’re folded like this they look and function pretty much exactly the same.

I also have a few high tech “stay-dry” inserts that are mostly microfiber with a miscrosuede top layer. The microsuede wicks moisture away, keeping the skin fairly dry. It’s still not as crazy dry as the gel stuff in a disposable diaper, but I use the stay-dry inserts for night time since I have no interest in changing diapers in the middle of the night and I don’t want wet baby skin all night long. I also have some disposable inserts that I keep in the diaper bag and the car, in case I run out or (more likely) forget to refill the diaper bag with cloth inserts.

I feel weird mentioning brand names on my blog, since I don’t feel like I should recommend any specific products unless I’ve exhaustively tested every possible brand. But what I have is working great for me, so I have no interest in trying other stuff. For covers, I’m using Flip one-size covers and Diaper Safari one-size covers. I looove the color options for both, and have mostly stopped putting pants on Dakota and instead have just been letting the diaper be part of her outfit. For prefolds I’m using Cloth-eez size small, which I received second-hand for free from a super-generous local mom. (Lucky me, otherwise I probably would have bought a cheaper and not-as-nice brand.) I’m still testing out the flat inserts, but for now I have Flip daytime inserts, which are a jersey knit, and Ozocozy, which are a birdseye weave.

Enough words, here’s a cloth diaper on my baby!

diaper fit front

I generally alternate between two diaper covers throughout the day; since the polyurethane is on the inside of the cover I can just give a peed-in diaper a quick wipe and lay it out to dry, switching to the other diaper cover and a new insert. The wet/dirty inserts and any pooped-in covers go straight into the diaper pail, which for me is just a trash can lined with a polyurethane laminate pail liner. (I like the Grovia drawstring pail liner, since I’m throwing out brand names left and right anyway.) I’m doing diaper laundry pretty much every other day, so I just grab the whole drawstring liner, empty it into the washing machine, and toss the liner in as well since it’s machine-washable. Since we’re still exclusively breastfeeding the poop is all completely water-soluble (and surprisingly not very smelly at all) so I “soak” the load first by running a quick wash/rinse cycle on cold with no detergent. Once that’s done I run a hot wash cycle with a cold rinse and add an extra rinse just to make sure all the detergent is completely washed out. Then I generally hang everything out to dry, though we’ll see if that continues as the weather gets cooler.

With this routine, and especially since baby is a once-every-other-day pooper, I need about 8 diaper covers and 24 inserts of various sorts. I’m hopeful that this will actually last us all the way through the end of Dakota’s diapering days. I know once she starts eating solids her diapers are going to get considerably more gross, and from what I’ve read the most common way to deal with it is to install a hand-held bidet on the toilet so you can spray the dirty diaper before tossing it in the diaper pail. I also figure that she will start peeing more heavily and less frequently as her bladder gets bigger, but I’m hoping that I can double up on the inserts that I already have if I need to, especially since I won’t need as many for individual changes at that point.Β  The other possibility is of things wearing out. I’m hopeful that since I’m line drying things that the cotton inserts will last for a loooong time. The covers are more questionable, especially from what I hear the leg elastic tends to give out first. For now, if the cover has just been peed in I’m rinsing it out and washing it with our regular clothes on cold, and then hanging to dry. I’m hoping this will help the elastic last longer.

Too many words again! More baby!

Diaper fit back

So how much would all this cost using the brands I’m now familiar with?

  • 8 diaper covers – between $72 and $120. The Flip brand is much more expensive than Diaper Safari, but you can buy a bundle of Flip covers with the stay-dry inserts or the daytime flats and save a little if you so desire…
  • 12 Cloth-eez small prefolds – $28
  • 12 flats – between $20 and $60. The Ozocozy ones are the cheapest that I’ve seen, Cloth-eez makes some highly recommended ones for a little bit more, and if you really want to break the bank you can get a bunch of the (admittedly very nice) organic Flip daytime inserts.
  • 3 Flip stay-dry inserts – $15
  • Grovia pail liner – $15 (Although honestly you should really get two, so you have one in the pail while the other one is in the wash)
  • A whole lot of laundry detergent – ??? hopefully you buy in bulk. πŸ™‚

And since you’re doing all this laundry anyway, you might as well use cloth wipes too, right? cutting up some old T-shirts and wetting them with water from a squirt bottle works awesomely, in my experience. Anyway, a little arithmetic says you can buy all the stuff I listed above for somewhere between $150 and $240, depending on how fancy you want to get. That’s your start-up cost, and then you have the ongoing cost of increased laundry detergent and water/energy usage. All of this to say that I’m not going to try and figure out if I’m actually saving myself money by using cloth diapers instead of disposable. Even if I knew exactly how much my water consumption increased and how much I would have been spending on disposables, I still don’t know if this setup will last all the way until my already very big baby is out of diapers for good. And it took me a while to figure out that this works best for me, so I’ve spent money on other types of cloth diapers here and there until I settled on this system. Again I was lucky, the same lady who gifted me the prefolds gave me a bunch of newborn-sized cloth diapering stuff as well, which gave me a chance to figure out what I liked without breaking the bank.

At the end of the day, I love cloth diapering and I have every intention of continuing if at all possible!


Dakota: Five Months Old

Dakota has mastered unassisted sitting this month, but she can’t get into a seated position by herself yet, and she’s not too eager to roll onto her stomach since she gets stuck there. So it’s still fairly easy to get a picture of her lying on her back and looking up at the camera. We’ll see how things progress… in a few months I may have to change our setup if she won’t stay on her back long enough to get a picture. I finally got a full smile out of her this month (and it’s in focus!) but for some reason her eyes look a little cross-eyed. I promise she doesn’t look cross-eyed in person. πŸ™‚ And there are dinosaurs on the leg warmers, in case you couldn’t tell.

five monthsIt seems a little silly to include the pictures from previous months since I haven’t blogged at all since last month’s photo shoot, but too bad, I’m doing it anyway.

four months

three months

two months

one month

The leg warmers from month 3 are still my favorite, and she gets complimented on them all the time. πŸ™‚

Dakota: Four Months Old

I love this month’s photo. I think it captures the essence of Dakota right now just perfectly. “What’s that on your face? Can I grab it please?” (“Oh it’s your nose. Is it firmly attached? Oh, it is. How about your ear?”)

four months

Past months:

three months

two months

one month

For some reason I still can’t get her laughing smile in these pictures. Probably she still thinks the SLR is a bit weird. Ah well, her smirk is still quite nice. It’s getting more exciting to try and get a staged picture in general as she gets more active. Here are a few other shots from today…

“What are these wiggling things on the end of my feet?”

4 months... toes

“Does this fit in my mouth?”

4 months... omnomShe’s a laughing, wriggling, flailing, BIG (seriously, I’m pretty sure she’s crept past 20 pounds in the past few days) baby, and I’m enjoying being her mom immensely. πŸ™‚

Dakota: Three Months Old

I would say something cliche about how quickly the time flies, but really, it’s felt like about three months. πŸ™‚ Dakota continues to be very big for her age, which leads to awkward conversations with other new moms… Everyone comments on how big she is, but almost everything I say in response makes it sound like I’m bragging, even though I don’t really even see it as something to brag about? Now I mostly just stick with “it’s genetic” and leave it at that. Ah well, on to the picture!

three months

And the first two months:

two months

one month

We probably could have teased a big smile out of her if we had wanted to, but she was super chill and relaxed, so we just went with it. In fact, she fell asleep while we were putting the camera stuff away:

sleepy time

And I finally remembered to get a “behind the scenes” shot, not that there’s too much to see:

photo shoot

This month we opened the front door to add just a bit more ambient light. I think it helped!


Dakota: Two Months Old

I managed to keep up with my master plan and stage Dakota’s monthly photo shoot on schedule, despite several minor photography-related crises. First, one of the light bulbs on my lighting tripod do-hickeys died. Or possibly there’s a loose connection in the base, but regardless, I was down to just one tripod. The ambient light coming through the windows was pretty good though, so I used the remaining tripod mostly to try to minimize the shadows cast by the windows.

Then, the battery died on the DSLR after about 4 pictures! Sigh. And of course we don’t have a backup battery. Dakota was in a good mood though, so I snapped approximately a gazillion shots with my iPhone. She kept kicking her legs which led to lots of blurry pics, and when she scrunched her legs up the iPhone had some trouble focusing on the right spot, but I went with the “quantity over quality” philosophy and ended up with a few decent pictures. Here’s the final official one:

two months

And to refresh your memory, here’s last month:

one month

That’s the same onesie, by the way. I think we’ll be moving to a bigger one next month. I suppose if I want to eventually make a photo book or something I’ll have to figure out how to get these to be the same color… temperature? (Hope that’s the right word… I really need to read a book or take a class on this or something) I tried just the simple “white balance” function in my photo editing software, but that clearly didn’t cut it. But I have the originals and there’s no rush right now anyway. Ah the power of post-processing. πŸ™‚

Dakota kept finding the belly sticker and pulling at it with her hands, so next month may be an adventure in keeping her from destroying the sticker. I always have the backup plan of photoshopping a sticker onto her belly, but that just means even more work. Still, this continues to be fun, so I’ll try to keep it going!

Oh yeah, and Dakota is doing great and is an awesome two month old. I still feel like a clueless new mom, but Dakota doesn’t seem to mind my confused fumbling around too much, so we’re doing just fine.

State of the House, State of the Blog

I want to blog more consistently, because I was really enjoying it when I was trying to stick to a schedule and come up with stuff to write about. But it can be tough… even ignoring the occasional self-conscious feeling of sharing random stuff about my life with the internet, I like having picture-heavy posts, and the house has been a constant mess that I didn’t feel was really picture-worthy. So in the interest of starting to blog more again, I’ve decided to embrace the mess and not worry so much about having each shot be “camera ready”. I’m also going to try talking a bit more about random happenings in my life. For a while this blog was mostly about our (generally amusing) attempts at figuring out this whole home ownership thing, and I’m never sure how much other stuff about my life I’m comfortable publishing on the internet… So I will be trying stuff out to see what works for me. Hopefully no one reading this will be permanently scarred.

So with that in mind, here’s a quick tour of the living room as it generally looks these days. Here’s the couch:

Messy couch

The fitness ball was super useful in the first few weeks after Dakota was born. One of us would sit on it and bounce with Dakota and it would get her to stop crying and go to sleep fairly consistently. It’s a bit hard on the back muscles, but we could watch TV or even read stuff on our iPhones, which made it vastly preferable to pacing in circles to try and settle her. Now that she’s a bit older it doesn’t always work, and we’re discovering different ways to settle her, so the ball may not be dominating the middle of the room for much longer.

The storage ottoman is a new addition; I haven’t even decided what we’ll be storing in it yet. The lap tray (sitting on the couch in the picture) works pretty well as a temporaryΒ  tabletop for the ottoman. The dog toys on the floor are the ones that Loki keeps pulling out to try and entice us to play with him more often. Poor dog. The laundry basket is pretty much a cliche for new parents… clean laundry waiting to be folded… someday… And it’s hard to see, but there are a bunch of reusable grocery bags hanging on the front door knob. And even when I put them there I STILL forget to take them half the time when I go shopping. Sigh.

Here’s the other side of the room:

Messy living room

The recliner is the main nursing station. It’s kind of out in the middle of everything, but too bad, it’s a small house. That recliner is just amazing… I got in in high school, and it traveled to college with me and then across the country when I moved to California. It’s the comfiest thing ever and still looks great. Thanks mom. πŸ™‚ The media center under the TV is a mess and I’m slowly brainstorming how the heck to baby-proof that thing. Ikea sells little cabinet doors that fit in the openings of this unit, so that may be the best option…

The brightly-colored play mat on the floor is on loan from a neighbor. I have to say, every time I see one of these things I think that they’re hideously ugly and way too busy/overstimulating… but darned if Dakota doesn’t love this guy, even without knowing how to reach and grab at things yet. Evidence:

Play mat fun

The thing she’s staring at on the top has a cartoon zebra and two lights that slowly blink red and yellow. She stares at it and grins like a maniac. Dave thinks this sort of setup is just early training for having kids stare at the TV all day, and it does feel a little like she’s staring at a TV screen… Sigh. And she’s just barely starting to bat at the dangling toys with her arms… mostly by accident I think. But really she’s probably just a week or two away from being able to deliberately bat at things. and I’m sure grabbing will soon follow. gulp.

Last but not least, over next to the arm chair is the “baby command center”:

Pack and Play

This particular playard has a bassinet attachment that can be flipped one-handed to switch to a changing pad. So in the middle of the picture we have adorable sleeping baby in the bassinet. To the left in the raised bed of the playard there are all of her “new school” cloth diapers… pockets, “all-in-ones”, and a few fitteds and covers. There are also a bunch of random toys that she’s still not quite ready for. To the right in the bin with the green dragon there are the prefold diapers, which we mostly use as changing pads at this point. That bin also has a bunch of cloth wipes, which get used in conjunction with the blue spray bottle full of water. There’s also a small supply of disposable diapers, which we’re currently putting on her at night time.

I’ve already changed this configuration several times now, and it’ll probably have to change again pretty soon. I’m not sure how much longer she’ll fit in the bassinet/changing table because she’s so very long for her age. We’re still debating what to use as a changing station once this no longer works, so, you know, stay tuned for updates or something… πŸ™‚