Monday, May 28, 2012

Flat Butt: Day 7 - The End

I was not home for most of the day on Day 7 of the 2nd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry. , so I didn't get to write my final entry.

I completed the challenge - 7 days of using nothing but flat diapers and covers and handwashing them. Was it terribly hard? For me, no. I don't think it is something I would ever do everyday unless I really had to. It's handy knowledge to have. I did learn that I really enjoy flat diapers and that they are an extremely economical choice when it comes to cloth diapering. Cloth diapering is already loads cheaper than using disposable diapers, but using only flats in the most economical choice - even more so if you fashion your flat diapers out of found fabric such as receiving blankets or t-shirts. I spent about $40.00 for flats for this challenge. I could have spent way less than that if I wanted to, but I wanted to try a variety of different diapers.

I'm going to leave you to read the other blogs listed at the bottom of this post in order to get a good feel for the variety of ways other families dealt with the challenge. I feel the challenge was a good way to show people that you can definitely get by, if needed, using just flats and handwashing them. I'm also happy that $200.00 will be donated to Giving Diapers, Giving Hope -  which is a program that assists needy family in obtaining cloth diapers so they can save money - in the name of those who participated in this challenge.

Will I do it again next year? Probably. Will I blog about it next year? Probably not. I honestly hated feeling like I NEEDED to come online to blog about how I was folding or washing that day. There are other bloggers who did so much better at writing about it, so please check them out as they have written some wonderful posts.

Check out my previous posts:
The introductory post - Flat Butt
Flat Butt - Day 1 - The Small Print
Flat Butt - Day 2 - The Stash
Flat Butt - Day 3 - Laundry Day
Flat Butt - Day 4 - Folding, Folding, Folding
Flat Butt - Day 5 - Musings 
Flat Butt: Day 6 - The Husband

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Flat Butt: Day 6 - The Husband

Doing the origami fold
Day 6 of the 2nd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry is underway! Today, I am discussing my husband.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know I have a distaste for treating dads and men like they are bumbling idiots who would fail at everything if it wasn't for women. I hated the Huggies commercial than implied that fathers suck at diapering and taking care of babies. Yesterday, I wrote a short paragraph at the end of my blog post regarding the implication that men are morons. My husband is not a moron. He is really on board with the idea of the flats challenge. I could be dismissive of him and say he is obviously too stupid to learn how to do flats, so I'll just pad fold some diapers into covers for him and he can apologize for being a man later. However, he isn't too stupid to learn and I actually hate the pad fold because it's useless against poop. The Jo fold can be done in advance and stuffed into a cover for later and it does a better job of containing poo.

Instead of assuming that my husband's Y chromosome left him with an inability to fold diapers, I decided to actually take 5 minutes to teach him a couple of folds - the diaper bag fold and the origami fold. Just like I had to sit and watch videos a few times, my husband sat while I demonstrated the folds and then he took a moment to try it himself and did a mighty fine job. He prefers the origami fold because he likes the way it's folded in the middle. I gave him Boingos and a Snappi. He chose the Boingos because "they look cool," but eventually took them off because he, too, doesn't think they secure the diaper enough. We keep trying those Boingos because we want to like them.

My husband also helped with the handwashing. He normally lifts heavy loads for work and his hands can take the beating involved in wringing diapers out. He benches over 300lbs, so I figured it would be a lot quicker for him to squeeze the water out of my diapers. I was right. What took me quite a few minutes per diaper, only took my husband about a minute - plus, I think he got more water out than I did. The diapers that he squeezed are currently hanging on my drying rack. I am curious to see if they dry quicker than mine since it seems that he was able to express more water from them.

Again - let's hear it for the man.

P.S. Pictured at the top is my sweaty (back from a jog) husband doing the origami fold with an Ikea "burp cloth." Below that is a picture of his lovely arms squeezing the hell out of a Swaddlebees.

Please check out my previous blog posts for this challenge:

The introductory post - Flat Butt
Flat Butt - Day 1 - The Small Print
Flat Butt - Day 2 - The Stash
Flat Butt - Day 3 - Laundry Day
Flat Butt - Day 4 - Folding, Folding, Folding
Flat Butt - Day 5 - Musings 

Also, please check out what other bloggers have written about the challenge:


Friday, May 25, 2012

Flat Butt - Day 5 - Musings

Jo Fold
Day 5 of the Dirty Diaper Laundry 2nd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge is winding down in our household. What hasn't wound down is my complete "meh" about writing on it.

What have I learned? I've learned that I can most certainly handle washing diapers by hand if I need to. I learned that I can most certainly get by using nothing but flat diapers and covers if needed. I have learned that I will start using flats a lot more, but I will still be using my favorite pockets, fitteds and prefolds. I'm a cloth diaper addict. I like all kinds. I have learned that I still hate Boingo fasteners. I keep trying to make them work for me, but they just do not provide me with enough of a tight diaper install. It makes my already sloppy folds (baby girl does the alligator death roll for diaper changes) even sloppier and quite loose. They are large, so when they shift around they end up rubbing her thigh. Not cool. I'll stick with my snappis and maybe learn how to use pins.

I've done more handwashing loads. I try to wash a little more often so I don't end up with a giant load. We do not pay for the water usage for the apartment washing machines, so I can't compare washing in a machine versus washing by hand. I sometimes feel as if washing  by hand uses more water. I'll have to check our water usage bill next month. We have had a lot of thunderstorms rolling through in the past few days which lends a certain dampness to the air at certain times. Since we live in an apartment, outdoor drying is out of the question and we're using a drying rack in the bedroom. Our first load took nearly twelve hours to dry. Subsequent loads have been put on the rack during the day. I've had drying times between 2 hours and 6 hours. I had originally thought of hanging my covers on dress hangers in the bathroom. I don't recommend it. Our bathroom does not have a window, so the air circulation sucks. It took nearly 24 hours for those covers (Thirsties and Bummis) to dry compared to about 6 to 8 hours of drying time for covers that were placed on the rack. Covers like Thirsties, which are all PUL, dried quicker than Mudshrimps, which have a suede cloth lining. However, the lined Mudshrimps on the rack dried way faster than anything hanging in the bathroom. A lot of parents recommend rolling your covers in a dry towel to help get excess fluid out and facilitate faster drying. That's not happening here. If I use a towel, it's to dry my fabulously naked body after shower. I would probably sing a different tune if I had less covers and truly needed them dry quicker. For now, meh. It's an excellent tip, though, and it will work well if you decide to try it.

I discovered a new fold yesterday. It's known as the Jo fold (who names these things?) and I really love it. If you click on that link, you'll see a video tutorial showing you how to do it. Kim of Dirty Diaper Laundry makes fantastic tutorials. The Jo fold will essentially leave you with some like a prefold. It almost looks like a pad fold in it's final stage, but it allows you room to fan out the back and do an angel wing fold to create poop catching leg gussets. I can do this one without a snappi and just throw a cover over it and it works well.

I do have to make a nit-picky comment. I wasn't pleased to see Kim commenting that, "When a job has to get done leave it to a woman." Sigh. She probably was not coming from a malicious place with that comment and I understand that we women are spectacular and that it's mostly, if not all, women in this little challenge. Still - really? My husband could handle this challenge just fine. In fact, I'll get some pictures of him folding diapers, handwashing and hanging diapers tomorrow. It's funny - I was in the bathroom sloshing away in a bucket full of diapers and while I did that, my husband washed dishes, vacuumed while holding the baby, got my son ready for bed, changed a diaper, rocked the baby to sleep and then came in to help wring out a few wet diapers and hang them. Let's hear it for the boy! 

P.S. Pictured above is a Swaddlebees flat in a Jo fold, fastened with a Snappi and soon to be covered in a custom Mudshrimps David Bowie cover. Bowie is all like, "ooh, I fancy a flat diaper." Maybe. 

Tune in tomorrow for more musings on flat diapers. 

Please visit my other links on this challenge:
The introductory post - Flat Butt
Flat Butt - Day 1 - The Small Print
Flat Butt - Day 2 - The Stash
Flat Butt - Day 3 - Laundry Day
Flat Butt - Day 4 - Folding, Folding, Folding

And please check out these links from other parents in the challenge.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Flat Butt Day 4 - Folding, Folding and Folding.

Origami fold
We are winding down towards the end of Day 4 of the Dirty Diaper Laundry 2nd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge. I have to be honest - I'm over it. I love the flats. I am not giving up on using flats. We've really fallen in love. I don't mind handwashing, especially when my husband is the one to wring out the diapers before we hang them. I have my folds that I like. I'm just...meh. I really just don't feel like writing about it. I don't know that I have 7 days worth of stuff to say about flat diapers. There are already a lot of great videos on how to handwash, how to make a camp style washer and how to do every fold imaginable. I don't know what I have to add to the discussion. Hey guys, I wet the diapers, I put soap on them, I rinsed them, I squeezed them and I hung them. See? Meh. At the same time, I really enjoy reading other blogs about it. I'm loving the fact that so many are discovering a very viable option for diapering that is very frugal, simple and great for the health of our babies and our planet.

With that bit of Debbie Downer whining out of the way, let's talk about folding. There are many folds when it comes to flat diapers. No seriously, there are a lot. You can fold them in varying ways to adjust the trimness and the absorbancy of the diaper. It seems intimidating at first, but you do get the hang of it after a few tries. I'd probably be crying in a heap of unused diapers if it wasn't for YouTube. My pack of Osocozy flats came with an illustration of how to fold the diapers. I have learned that I am not smart enough to learn folding techniques from illustrations. No sir. I need to see it done in front of me either in person or on the screen. There are hundreds of videos dedicated to all sorts of folding techniques for flats.

Ugh. I really just don't feel like writing about this. It's not my style.  If you have read me on a regular basis, you know that these past few blogs have been lacking in my usual flavor. I honestly can't talk to you about folds. I like a few of them - diaper bag, pad, origami and maybe gaynor. To be honest, it's been a real pain in the ass because Squishy doesn't want to be still for more than a minute and I have to let her play with a Snappi just to keep her occupied.

I am sorry for such a bum update. I am doing fabulous with the challenge and loving the flats. I'm just not doing so fabulous with the writing. Maybe it will be better tomorrow.

Diaper shown is a Swaddlebees flat diaper, with a Mudshrimps custom diaper cover. 

My previous entries for the challenge:
Introductory Post
Day 1 - The Small Print
Day 2 - The Stash
Day 3 - Laundry Day

And, please, check out some of the other fabulous bloggers who are writing about their experience with this challenge.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Flat Butt - Day 3 - Laundry Day

Here we are on Day 3 of the 2nd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge. So far, so good. I haven't made any big changes. I'm still primarily using the diaper bag fold. I actually like the idea of the origami fold, but I feel that it leaves a lot of excess fabric and bulk in the front. I still hate boingos.

The topic suggested for day three is "how" you're using your flats, but I will write about that tomorrow. Today is about laundry. 

Last night was my first time handwashing for this challenge. Let me rephrase - I did handwash two in the sink early yesterday morning. They were barely wet from pee and were very easy to clean. Last night, I washed everything that had collected in my diaper pail. I filled the pail with water and swished the diapers around. I drained most of that water, added my detergent - VERY LITTLE, not even a teaspoon - and added more water. I decided to agitate the mix of diapers and friends with my hands. Holy shit. That takes some serious muscle. I drained the soapy water and smooshed all the dipes in the pail to get excess water out before filling it again with cold water for a rinse. More swishing around with my hands and they were fabulously rinsed. I dumped the bucket and then compressed the load of diapers in the pail several times, squeezing a lot of the excess water out. Then came the real work - wringing everything out. One by one, I twisted and squeezed until every last little drop of water was forced off of the diapers, covers, wipes and liners. That is one hell of a workout. A lot of people recommend using those yellow dish gloves for the handwashing portion of the challenge. I hate those things. I have a latex sensitivity and they irritate the crap out of my hands. They make them in nitrile, but those smell funny. I decided to go barehanded just for the experience. Let me tell you, you will develop callouses if you do this on a daily basis. To preserve my delicate little faery hands, I'll ask my husband to do the wringing next time. He works with his hands everyday and he lifts weights often so his hands are tough enough for this. Before hanging, I give everything one last good shake. I was always told that shaking the crap out of something before you hang it to dry will help it from getting stiff. The diapers, wipes and a few of the covers hung on my drying rack overnight. I also hung a few covers from a skirt hanger - the kind that comes with the clips - on the shower rod.

It's currently 11:30 am and my diapers are still damp. I hung them at midnight. Flats supposedly dry very quickly, but that is not the case on humid nights I guess. I have a very busy day full of belly dance (demonstration and classes) and kid stuff, so I won't have time to try out the iron like I had hoped. tomorrow is another day.

Speaking of tomorrow, I'll be discussing my favorite way to use my flats and whether or not I have actually had success with folds other than the diaper bag fold and the pad fold. Stay tuned!

My previous posts on this challenge:

Flat Butt - Introductory post
Flat Butt - Day One - Small Print
Flat Butt - Day Two - The Stash

Be sure to check out my fellow bloggers who are also participating in this challenge!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Flat Butt: Day Two - The Stash

Some of my goodies
We are on day number two of the 2nd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge. All is good so far, but I have a confession to make. I was going to start handwashing last night, but it didn't happen. I'll be handwashing lots of diapers today.  I haven't been too adventurous with folds. I'm mainly stickign to the pad fold or the diaper bag fold. I have used the origami fold a couple of times, but it leaves so much material and isn't a nice tight fit for my taste. I'll have to keep working on it.

Today, I'm discussing everything I am using for this challenge - the diapers, the accessories and the wash gear. Using flats can be pure and simple - just a flat diaper and a cover. Fasteners such as pins, snappis and boingos are optional depending on your fold and your cover. Some parents are opting to make flat diapers out of found things such as t-shirts, flour sack towels, old sheets and receiving blankets. Others are buying new or they're using items they already have. I only owned two flats when I first read about this challenge. They are the craptastic Gerber flats, which aren't even good enough to poop on - ironic since that's their original purpose. I only have 4  flannel receiving blankets and they are rather pretty and we actually use them as blankets. Any t-shirts or sheets in this house are used as actual t-shirts and sheets. That means that any flat diapers were going to be bought. Part of this has to do with the fact that a little fluffy mail makes my heart sing.


IKEA burp cloths - these are sold in packs of two for $2.99. They are marketed as burp cloths, but are actually fantabulous gauzy flat diapers. Each pack contains one plain white diaper and one white diaper with an embroidered animal design. They are cute, soft and function very well. I have 4 of these.

IKEA "burp cloth" - diaper bag fold and fastened with a Snappi.

Swaddlebees - I believe I bought one of the last packs of these flats in the country. They are on back order at every store in America. I bought mine very late one night at one of the last stores to sell them. By the next morning they were all sold out. I've only used them once so far, but I like them. I have 6 of  these.

Gerber Craptastic Flat - I have two of these leftover from when my son was a baby. I am only using these pad folded in conjunction with another flat. These majorly suck by themselves and they are tiny compared to the other diapers.

OsoCozy - I have one dozen of their unbleached flats. I have used these the most so far and I really love them.


I have a ton of covers. I actually have so many that I could go through all of them without washing them. That would defeat the purpose of the challenge, though. Last year, participants were limited to the number of covers they could use. There isn't a limit this year, but I plan on imposing one on myself and I'll wash my covers each night to be fair.  For whatever reason, both my small Proraps and my Bummis Super Whisper Wraps don't work well for me with flats. I use them just fine with prefolds and fitteds, but there seems to be a small gap at the thigh when I'm using flats. Weird. I'll be using Thirsties covers - both the Duo and the regular - as well as my Mudshrimps covers and a few from Econobum. I also have two gorgeous wool covers that were given to me by a generous fan on my Facebook page. They fit her perfectly and I can't wait to try them out at night for this challenge.


I have homemade fleece liners to help deal with poo clean up.


I have some homemade flannel/terry wipes as well as cheapie and super soft baby washcloths. No 'sposie wipes here!  I just wet them with water. If I make a wipes solution it's merely water and baby mild Dr. Bronner's soap.


I am jealous of those who can use pins simply because they are adorable. I haven't been able to use them successfully yet. I have a bunch of Snappis and one set of Boingos. I really dislike the Boingos. I don't feel like I can get a tight enough fit and it seems like they could rub her thigh depending on how she moves around. They also come right off if she does the alligator death roll during a diaper change, which she does quite often.

Wet Bag:

I have three wet bags from PlanetWise - small, medium and large. I only plan to use these for travel and not for storage of diapers at home.

Diaper Pail:

I keep a dry diaper pail most of the time, but it's going to double as my wash bucket. I've been throwing soiled dipes in there and when I'm brave later today, I'll be filling it with water and soap to start beating  my diapers clean. As I mentioned in my previous post, I will not be making a camp style washer. The husband used the brand new plunger that I bought for it and defiled it with his cooties. I'm going to be handwashing bare bones - just my hands.

Laundry detergent:

I had really wanted to make my own detergent before the challenge, but I have not gotten around to it. I have one bottle of Seventh Generation Free and Clear in the new compostable bottle. Seventh Generation is not one of my favorite companies, but I scored this detergent for free so I will probably use it. Or....I may just use Dr.Bronner's with a boost from the Biokleen Oxygen Bleach if things get nasty.

Drying Rack:

I live in an apartment so my dream of freshly laundered diapers billowing in the gentle breeze  will not be realized. It's probably a good thing because the Pine trees are going insane with their pollen this year and there is a fine coating of powdery lime green tree semen all over everything outside. I have a large drying rack that will live next to a window this week.


You can iron damp flat diapers in order to both dry them quicker and sterilize them. I have only ironed once in my life and I was actually wearing a gorgeous dress, high heels and pearls. I kid you not. We were on our way to a wedding and my sweet husband discovered that he had balled his dress pants up when he stored them in the closet. My mom wasn't home to answer my panicked phone call, so I ended up looking at "how to iron" videos online. Isn't that sad? I'm going to give the iron another go for this challenge.


I'm going to be packing these one with all that handwashing, baby!  Damn, I should have done a before picture of my biceps...

Coconut oil:

To soothe my hands after all that hand washing.

There we have it - my Flats Challenge supply list. We're only two days in and things are going well. My first round of handwashing will commence after I am done writing this. I'll update you on that experience tomorrow!

P.S. The picture above of the IKEA diaper is not a perfect diaper bag fold. I hadn't rolled in at the legs to make my little gussetts.

Here are some extra links for this challenge:

My original post about joining the challenge - Flat Butt
Yesterday's Post - Day One: The Small Print
The Original challenge post by Dirty Diaper Laundry that explains this challenge and the rules - The 2nd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge
Today's post by Dirty Diaper Laundry - Day 2.

Below, you will find the linky grouping of all the blogs that are part of this challenge.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Flat Butt: Day One - The Small Print

Swaddlebees Flats. Highly coveted, apparently.
It's here! I announced last month that I planned to take part in The 2nd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge, headed by Kim of Dirty Diaper Laundry. Her goal is to show how easy and economical cloth diapering can be using the most basic cloth diapers out there - flats. Flats have been in use for God knows how long. In fact, Baby God probably wore a flat diaper, unless Mary practiced Elimination Communication. The point is, flat diapers have been the standard since long before your Grandmother was a twinkle in her daddy's eye. As I stated before, my mother used flats on my brothers and on my own funky butt. This was in the late 60's to the late 70's. Disposable diapers were available when I was born, but my mom thought they were crappy and too much fuss. Now, roles are reversed and many people would think cloth diapers of any kind, especially flats, are too much fuss. Part of this challenge is to show that using flats isn't really difficult at all. There are many ways to fold flat diapers in order to maximize absorbancy, fit and comfort. Most folks can find one or two or more folds that work great for them. The link I provided above not only gives details and rules for the challenge, but will also guide you on various folds (videos included!) as well as handwashing techniques.

I started this challenge because I thought it was interesting. I like challenges. As I mentioned last week, I kinda fell off the cloth diaper bandwagon for a little while and I knew that signing up for a challenge and publicly discussing it would help light a fire under my butt and get me rolling back toward cloth diapering full time. Plus, I have a small cloth diapering addiction and flats are something I've never used before. This provides an excuse to get some more fluffy mail as I ordered a few packs of flats just for this challenge.

I have been experimenting over the past couple of weeks. I've tried to use at least one flat diaper each day. I have only tried two folds - the pad fold and the diaper bag fold. The diaper bag fold is my favorite so far, but I'm trying the origami fold shortly after I sign off. Kim has a variety of easy to follow and clear videos on her Dirty Diaper Laundry site that demonstrate how to do the different folds. So far, I am really liking the flats. I almost think that if I had started out with these in the beginning - 5 years ago - I wouldn't have such a varied collection of other types of diapers. I probably would have stuck with flats, prefolds and my Mudshrimps. I have found that using flats is not hard at all. Trust me, if anyone is going to have difficulty with anything, no matter how simple, it's me. I can screw up folding a piece of paper in half. I'm that good.

The handwashing is the scary part for me. Seven days of handwashing these diapers - yikes! Truth be told, I'm going to wing it. I've been following posts in the Facebook group dedicated to this challenge and everyone seems to have their act together when it comes to how they are going to handwash their diapers. Some are going to make camp style washers. Others are just using the sink or the tub and maybe a bucket. Some have fun stuff like washing boards and those cool laundry pods where you turn a crank and it washes your diapers. Originally, I was going to make a camp style washer. I bought a new plunger and was going to buy a bucket as well. Despite already owning a plunger that we use for it' intended purpose, my husband decided to use the brand new plunger in the toilet. So, it has touched man poo and will not be used for the diaper challenge no matter how much hubby cleans it. Jerk. I think I will just use a bucket and soap and water...and my hands. That's it. We live in an apartment, so I have no option for drying things outside. I do have one of those folding racks and plan to use that.

Stayed tuned all this week to see how well I keep up with the challenge. I will be posting once a day with updates about my success and/or failure. You can also check my Facebook Page for any additional comments/musings about the challenge. And listed at the end of this post are all of the other bloggers participating. Give them some love!

How about you? Are you taking the challenge? Have you ever used flats?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Ch-ch-ch-Changing Diapers

Oh dear. Did you read Granola Glam? It's about doing things that might have you arrested by the Crunchy Cops. I do my best to keep the Earth in mind with almost everything I do. Sometimes, I fail. This blog is about one of those times. It involves diapers.

I have been a cloth diaper advocate for nearly a decade before my son was born. My mom used plain old flats on my and my brothers back in the 1960's and 1970's. She worked in maternity care for 3 decades and actually mourned when disposables came out because she thinks they are too much well as a waste. So, cloth diapering was never an odd idea for me. I really began advocating it when I read an article about it in Mothering Magazine. I was absolutely hooked on the idea and it was almost 10 years before I'd have my own children. Back when I read that article, fancy stuff like All  In One diapers (diapers that are just one unit - diaper and cover together - they look like a disposable, only they are cloth) were kinda new and there definitely wasn't a market with 390,845,745,839,054,899,589 cloth diaper companies. Time went on and I would occasionally troll the cloth diaper boards on AOL (remember THAT?) gleaning information for when I did have kids. I remember when a huge controversy erupted over pocket diapers. I don't remember the details - I think the originator of Fuzzi Bunz - which was originally a WAHM company and is now a China-based company - had patented her pocket design and people were up in arms over it. Anyone remember? Anyway, my point is that cloth diapering was just like breastfeeding and natural birth. It was something I knew I would do without question.

I built a stash before my son was born. I bought mostly prefolds and covers and a couple of Kissaluvs contours. I had met my friend, Amber, online through a due date club. Turns out, she loved to make diapers and made me my son's first fitted. Amber is the owner of Mudshrimps, one of the most awesome cloth diaper companies out there, and has kept my babies' bums looking stylish in their cloth diapers. I didn't start him in cloth until he was a few weeks old, but kept at it after starting and used disposables only occasionally for travel, overnight or lazy days. By the time he was potty learned, I had a very large stash. Did I need all the diapers I had? No, I could have made do with probably half my stash, but cloth diapering is addicting. I even experimented with making some. I made one whole diaper with my mom supervising my sewing machine usage because I suck. Other homemade dipes were made by my mom.

My daughter has been here since last August and we have not used cloth anywhere near as much as I planned. I bought a few new diapers in anticipation of her arrival and Mudshrimps sent me some custom goodies. I only bought a couple of packs of disposables to use in the beginning. I had started using the brand Nature BabyCare when David was potty learning. They are far more "eco friendly" (as much as possible for a disposable diaper) than the king of greenwashing, Seventh Generation. We ended up using disposables far more than we ever wanted. When she was initially diagnosed with the hemangioma on her vulva, we had to apply tons of metronidazole gel and lidocaine to the area in order to heal the ulceration that formed. This crap is no where near cloth diaper friendly. I used liners - fleece, flannel and disposable - but found that the gel was able to seep through when she urinated. I didn't want to ruin diapers, so we started back in disposables full time.

Her hemangioma is still there, but it has gone down quite a bit and the ulceration has healed. There is no reason to avoid cloth diapers for now....but, I failed. We've been using way too many disposables on her lately out of completely sheer laziness. It didn't help that I signed myself up for an Amazon Subscribe and Save shipment for the Nature BabyCare dipes, so I ended up getting four packs of them shipped to me each month. It's shameful. I just shudder when I think of all the diapers we've had go out in the trash lately. It's not a pretty thought. So, we're changing all of that. Nature BabyCare has made it really easy for me to make this change. They keep "improving" their diapers these days and have switched manufacturing facilities. I have had problems with almost every pack - missing tabs, leaking and the latest issue has been that fucking SAP gel exploding when her diaper wasn't even wet. Add that to last week when we went out to eat, she pooped and the diaper gave up. It was a brand new diaper and a regular poop. It just repelled it - poop was all over her, all over the seat, all over my new shirt (an awesome nursing top, to boot) and it ended up all over my husband as well. It's one of those things I technically laugh about, but I'm so fed up with the failure from these diapers lately. Now, they have been gracious when I complain. I once got two free packs of diapers. Recently, they sent me a pre-addressed envelope to send them a diaper from one of the defective packs. They have always been easy to work with, but I can't keep using diapers that are going to fail just because their customer service is lovely. I can't keep using disposable diapers, period.

Last week, I cancelled my diaper subscription. I have 1 and a half packs left and I expect that to last quite a while. I joined a challenge to diaper my baby in nothing but flat diapers for one week. Her Squishyness has been nearly 100% cloth-diapered for the past week and I intend to keep it that way from now on. There is already a marked difference in our garbage output since we switched back to full time cloth. I may even try my hand at sewing new diapers this summer. And when I say that, I mean I am going to ask my mom to sew diapers this summer, because I am a sewing machine failure. Maybe I'll sew some wipes.

There you have it. I am re-committing myself to the health of my baby's little butt and to the health of this planet by going back to full time cloth diapering. All I have to do now is temper my addiction to buying adorable diapers and getting fluffy mail. Oh look....a coupon code...

P.S. I know you are drooling at the diaper cover in the picture. I happen to worship David Bowie and Mudshrimps custom made that cover for me. She also did a Bowie diaper for my son. She does custom prints on covers and diapers and I highly recommend her! No, I was not reimbursed in any way to share my Mudshrimps love.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Ex-Stream Parenting

I let my baby touch nature. EXTREME!
Well now, we seem to have a controversy of sorts thanks to TIME Magazine and it's latest issue. To be honest, I have yet to read it. I'm so tired of the mommy wars. I'm tired of all the comparisons. I'm tired of  the media taking advantage of these mommy wars to drive up ratings or sell magazines. Is there room for improvement when it comes to the typical American/Western way of parenting? You bet your burp cloths! We're not going to improve anything, though, if we constantly bicker and fight one another. And that's what I have to say about that.

I wanted to share my own extreme parenting photos from this weekend. Not safe for work. Hide yo wife, hide yo kids, hide yo dog, etc.

Ex-stream nursing. Get it?

I'm obviously trying to make a statement, if you can't tell. I mean, check me out, nursing on some rocks. What else could I be doing? I mean, it's not like I'm simply nursing my baby because she was just plain hungry, right? This is obviously a statement.

Nature has other parenting extremes. Check out this duck and her six ducklings.

Do you think they are ALL hers?

And how about this tadpole?

Some people just let their kids wildly roam the stream. Where are the parents?

And this bee. Look at the bees legs. That's pollen. That pollen can get other flowers pregnant. This bee is participating in flower lovemaking right out there in the open. It's obviously not safe for your children to view. Someone, please think of the children.

Flower porn!

And this doe. Pregnant. Personally, I think it looks like she has at least 4 in there. Is she sure about her dates? Looks a bit big to me.....

I wonder if she'll let me touch her belly.

 I hope this wasn't too traumatizing for you to view. Just pointing out that we can judge anything, no matter how normal and natural it is. And that's just silly.

All photos copyright 2012 JSH/Funky Little EarthChild, not that anyone would want to steal them. All photos were taken with a camera that I don't know how to use properly yet.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Photos in Five (ish) Minutes: May 8th

Just as I did last week, I asked the fabulous folks on my Facebook Page to come up with some suggestions for photos to take within five minutes. And so they did. And then I did.

Here are the suggestions for this week:

From Melinda - turn to your left and take a picture.

Laurel and Hardy have been hanging out on my desk for 9 years.

Kerry asked for "adorable feet."

 Those little piggies belong to one of my cats, Seamus. It is a miracle that he even sat there for the 5 seconds it took to shoot this picture. Such cute little fuzzy toes!

Adrienne wants to see my smile.

That's my smile when I was four. Do you see what I did there? Look close.

Siobhan requested a picture of "something different outside."

This is a glow in the dark lawn decoration that never glows in the dark because our apartment complex insists on keeping fucking LED lights on everywhere. This never gets the chance to shine at night. It's planting among tons of Vinca and some spiderwort. 

Lisa asks for "baby noses n ears."

This is the result when you attempt a picture of a baby nose.

I had to nurse her to get her to slow down for a moment so I could get an ear shot. Yes...she is nursing in this pic. Oh, the scandal!

Rebecca requested I photograph something that represents how I feel this morning.

That's the Virgin Mary being an awesome mom and letting her Kid pet a deer. I chose this because I look to the Virgin as a guide for being a good and gentle mother. I love this statue because, to me, it represents not only offering her Son to the humans of the world, but also to the animals and all of Creation. God is Nature.  I strive to make sure my children see the divinity of nature and allow them to explore all that the Earth has to offer.

Jesser was brave and asked for a photo of the inside of my fridge.

My local Whole Foods stopped selling heavy cream in a glass bottle from a local dairy, which totally bums me out. This one is still semi-local. I photographed this because I intend to make butter today.

All of these photographs were taken with my super sexy GE x500 on the least fancy semi-automatic setting because I have yet to watch the CD-ROM guide on how to use the super duper fancy settings.

Monday, May 7, 2012

You Have Pretty Eyes For An Ugly Girl

"You have pretty eyes....for an ugly girl." I was told that once, just a few years ago, by a complete stranger. Standing in line to buy a bottle of nail polish, Glamour magazine, a flower-shaped hair clip and a pack of socks. I had gone into Target specifically to get a new pack of socks for my husband, who will wear socks down until they are practically invisible. It was a gorgeous Spring day and I decided to get myself some "pretties" just for the hell of it. I found a pretty pink shade of nail polish, a sparkly hair clip shaped like a flower and an issue of Glamour magazine because something - I can't remember what - on the cover had caught my eye. I had my infant son in my arms when I stood in line. The lady in front of me turned around and fussed over my son, remarking on his gorgeous eyes, which were darker than mine. She looked at his eyes and then at mine. I was beaming because I made this beautiful little boy and people loved to see him. And then she uttered those words, "You have pretty eyes...for an ugly girl." It's something I never get used to - being told I'm ugly directly to my face. I deal with it in different ways, depending on my mood. I can laugh it off. I can get really quiet and ignore it. I can come back with something fabulously witty. Or I can get violent. I chose a violent threat that day and said, "I can make your face as ugly as mine if you want to keep talking." She barely looked at me and turned around. What the hell? Who says shit like that to a complete stranger? I put the nail polish, magazine and hair clip down on the shelf next to the register. I was too self conscious to be seen with beauty products and a beauty magazine - as if there was anything my ugly ass could do to make me prettier. I paid for the socks and struggled to keep the tears from flowing as I rushed to my car. My son cooed and gurgled in his carseat as I drove home, sobbing. This was nothing new, I told myself. I ought to get used to it. I'll never know what it's like to be pretty. I'll never know what it's like to be comfortable in my own skin.

These feelings come from the same person who wrote Fossils of My Fertility. It's one of my most popular posts on this little blog. You see, I can easily be proud of my fluffy and saggy stretch-marked belly. I'm fine with my body, whatever shape it takes, and proud of those marks of growth and motherhood. I celebrate that. My face is a completely different story. In a previous post, Skin, I wrote about how I have battled acne since the age of 10. I am now 33, so that's a 23 year battle. Things have calmed down somewhat as I now have a routine using Apple Cider vinegar, essential oils and raw honey as I noted in that post. I also use Witch Hazel. That combo is pretty much the only thing that has really worked on my skin. I treat from the inside as well - trying to keep myself healthy with good old fashioned normal traditional whole foods and not much processed food. My skin is no where near perfect, but it is better than in years past, for the most part. If you read my post about bullying, Look Back in Anger, you know that I was made fun of throughout school due to my skin. Being made fun of for the way I look has been a constant in my life for the past 23 years. Even now, at 33 years of age, I am still made fun of to my face and behind my back because I am ugly.

Acne hasn't just scarred my skin - and badly so - it has scarred my psyche. It has dragged me down a spotted path of intense insecurity. I can give you all the platitudes about beauty you want. Beauty is only skin deep. It's what's on the inside that counts. You have really pretty eyes. Your soul is beautiful. You have a great personality. Blah blah blah. I get it. Superficial beauty isn't important. Your spirit is way more important than your looks. People who judge you based on looks are idiots. That is all fine and good...when you're gorgeous. I can repeat the mantra that my soul is beautiful over and over and over, but that voice inside my head gets drowned out by the group of teenage boys barking at me as they pass by in the mall. When adults tell you to your face that you are straight up fugly, it's hard to see the beauty inside me. Having a private Facebook group dedicated to you and how fucking ugly you are makes it ever so difficult to focus on my personality. It's all been done to me, often. At the end of this past March, someone clued me in to a private Facebook group. A girl I was "friends" with was pissed off that I would not take sides in some stupid fight she was having with another friend. This is all very 4th grade. So, she created this private group to rant about the other girl and then the subject of yours truly came up. Comment after comment about my looks. "Doesn't she know they have cream for that?" "I've seen her husband and he isn't bad looking. He must be cheating on her. I would." "I feel bad for her kids having a mom that ugly." "She looks like my dogs ass with zits." "Someone should teach her how to use some make up and some foundation." "I'd be depressed if I looked like her." Those are some of the nicer samples. Oddly enough, it wasn't the first time I have heard the "dog's ass" comment. Someone said nearly the exact same thing to me in high school.

Because this has been part of my daily life for these past 23 years, I have grown less and less comfortable with myself. I am entirely conscious of people looking at me or talking about me. Whenever I walk into a room, building or any place where there are other humans I immediately feel like everyone is staring at me, even if they are not. I automatically assume that people are looking at me and judging me. I consider it a successful time if I have made it out of a particular scenario without hearing a comment or receiving a look or hearing a group of girls giggle as they look in my direction. I am extremely uncomfortable around attractive people, for obvious reasons. Oddly, one of the things that makes me most uncomfortable is getting compliments. People have complimented me and told me I am pretty and then, as I started to smile and say thank you, have laughed in my face and told me to "dream on." Anytime someone tells me, "but you are pretty," I get this overwhelming fear that they are mocking me and I feel even uglier. Even if they aren't mocking me, they are probably just having pity on the poor ugly girl. It's a horrible state of mind. Then people think I'm a bitch if they compliment me and I don't gush at them with gratitude. It's nothing personal towards them - it's all me.

It makes me fear for my kids. I am so afraid that my son, who has already experienced bullying in school at the tender age of 5, will be made fun of by other kids because of me. I'm afraid they will call him names and tell him that his mom is ugly. I've seen it happen to other people. I fear the day when he realizes that his mom is rather ugly - what if he is afraid to be seen with me? Luckily, my son looks a whole lot like my husband. There is a lot of me in him, but the resemblance to my husband is overwhelming and people don't notice my traits in his face. My daughter, however, is my clone. People ooh and ahh over her everyday because she is gorgeous and then they say, "she looks so much like you." And I will sometimes reply, "poor baby, I hope not." I don't want her growing up looking like her mother. She is a beautiful little baby girl and I don't want her or my son to ever know the pain of people downright hating you for your looks. I don't want my children to be barked at.

You see it in my pictures. You may tell me that you can't tell I'm ugly in my pictures. That's because I rarely take serious pictures. Go ahead - look at some of the pics I've included on posts on my blog. Full face shots usually show me with a hand up to my mouth, trying to be goofy and detract from the fugly.  Often, I am turned away or letting something cover part of my face. A great number of my photos are shot from behind. Most of my face is missing from photos with my children because I don't want them or my grandchildren to look back at them and find them ruined by this ugly chick. There are hardly any photographs of me and my husband together.

It's something I would love to overcome, but I feel like this is a scar on my brain that won't fade. I still battle acne. I can't do my hair (trust me, I've watched YouTube vids) so it always looks like crap. Even if there was a non-toxic and truly organic option for make-up, I still wouldn't know how to use it or apply it. I'm jealous of those who seem so put together. I realize they probably feel like crap on the inside sometimes, but realizing that doesn't change my own reality. It doesn't make people stop barking at me. It's frustrating being this woman who is known for not taking any shit and, yet, is so insecure with her own image. I have prayed, wished and sent tons of positive energy out into the Universe hoping for some sort of change - either to make me prettier or to help me cope with what I've got. I would love to know what it's like to walk through a store and not feel real or imaginary eyes on you. I would love to wake up in the morning, shower, get dressed and leave without obsessing over this pimple or that pimple. Pimples feel like a 1 ton weight on my face. I am always aware of all of them and their exact location. I would love to not feel that anymore. If only the love and respect I had for my body could translate to my face - I would be so happy.

Looking over this, I know how crazy I sound. You may think I am writing this to get people to tell me I am pretty. I assure you, I am not fishing for compliments. It's the furthest thing from my mind. I am opening up and being honest. I know there are others out there who have experienced similar feelings. I may be all sorts of gorgeous on the inside, but I am longing to feel  shiny and attractive on the outside.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Photos in Five Minutes

I asked the kind folks on my Facebook page to tell me what photos to take in the next five minutes. I was bored. Here are the suggestions, along with the photos.

Veggie plants - requested by Jesser

Well, I don't have veggie plants, but I do have herbs, so I hope these will do. Pictured here are rosemary and peppermint:

 Siobhan said to take a picture outside my window and write a short story about it.

There once was a boy named Monkey
Whose mom was pretty Funky
He loved to feed Birds
Since before he spoke Words
The seed we feed is far from Junky.

I'm so sorry for that. It was the best I could do. My husband is the poet, not me, as you can see.  Those are my bird feeders, which were filled last night for Beltaine. As you can see, one is completely empty. A sweet little deer was seen by my neighbor very early this morning. She had her face all up in my bird feeders and was helping herself to some seeds. She was probably raised by Robins...or something.

Adrienne wanted pictures of Spring flowers.

 These are my newest additions. Purple snapdragons and some Verbena. What is that little blue one in the corner?

Lisa wanted to see my toes. Poor gal. Here they are:

Piss poor turn out, but look what I can do. I want you all to imagine the position I was in the get the picture.

Then Lisa decided baby toes would be cuter:

I agree.

Laura suggested baby toes in the dirt.

Little toes among some just-rained-on pansies in the garden. This was a hard photo to get because the little lady insisted on trying to eat the flowers.

So, there we have it. Some lovely photos taken within five minutes and one stellar little poem. All photos were taken with my DROID X2 phone, primarily because my "real" cameras are in the car and I was plain too lazy to go get them.

The Letdown of All Letdowns

I have nursed two babies. I nursed my son until he weaned himself at age three. My daughter, Squishy, is currently 8 months old and we have been happily nursing since she was a few minutes old. I never had issues nursing my son. I was a sucky pumper - I still am - but breastfeeding itself has always been easy. It's been quite easy with my daughter as well. There was one odd bump in the road in the beginning.

In my daughter's first few months of life, I would notice that I would get extremely anxious when I would start nursing her. It would happen almost as soon as she would latch on and would last a few minutes and then stop. What would happen? As she nursed, I would get this overwhelming sense of anxiety and impending doom. All sorts of scenarios would pop into my head. I would start thinking about war, the end of the world, natural disasters, the death of my children, my death - scary, scary stuff. It did not help that we actually ended up with a few natural disasters in the first few weeks of my daughter's life. By the time my daughter was 2 weeks old, she lived through an earthquake, a hurricane and several tornado warnings. Not much help there for quieting my anxious mind.

I couldn't understand why I was having scary thoughts. Here I was, deliriously happy that my daughter was Earthside and healthy, yet I was having these negative feelings whenever I nursed. I had post partum depression after my son was born. I had severe post partum depression and rage after my miscarriage. I had feared post partum depression again, which is why I had dehydrated and encapsulated my beautiful placenta. I also made sure I was eating well and getting some good old vitamin D, sun style. I was determined to fight depression this time. I thought, could these feelings be the start of post partum depression? Dear God, I hope not. I started to wonder why it was happening whenever I nursed. My logic was that nursing forced me to sit down and focus my mind a little bit, so maybe that's what allowed those thoughts to come in. It was frustrating. And as soon as those thoughts started, they would go away. It would only happen for just a few moments after my daughter latched on. I worked hard to clear my mind, to focus on her beautiful face and to think happy thoughts. Even thinking happy thoughts, I would still end up with butterflies in my belly. It was by chance that I came upon a friend's Facebook posting about the same thing happening to her. She had found something online that explained everything.

It turns out, I had Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex, a hormonal reflex that occurs with the letdown of breastmilk. It is also known as D-MER and I will refer to it as such throughout this post. When you are lactating, several hormones are dancing around your body. The hormones involved in D-MER are oxytocin, prolactin and dopamine. Oxytocin will rise as your baby latches on. It tells your body, "hey, we need milk over here." Prolactin is responsible for making milk. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that has many functions, including making you feel a bit happy. When dopamine levels drop, you may feel a bit anxious or bummed out. What does it have to do with breastfeeding? Dopamine has another name - Prolactin Inhibiting Hormone - it functions to control prolactin levels. Obviously, we can't have dopamine getting in the way of prolactin when we need to make milk. Your body, being wonderfully designed, generally has this equation balanced and the dopamine levels know to decrease just a wee bit right before letdown in order to allow prolactin to rise during a nursing session. However, in some women, our bodies failed algebra and don't remember how to balance equations and our dopamine drops a little too low as the prolactin rises. This quick drop of dopamine to a lower than ideal level is what leaves women feeling anxious, scared, negative or depressed just before letdown occurs. Our brains quickly scramble to remember how to balance this equation and eventually get it figured out - usually as letdown is finishing and milk flow is established for that nursing session. Despite the fact that this imbalance stirs up negative feelings, it actually has nothing to do with a woman's true emotional state. It is not linked to postpartum depression, though it may often be mistaken for it. It can be a problem if misdiagnosed because it may lead to a mother receiving improper treatment and it can also risk the breastfeeding relationship if the mother is advised to quit nursing.

There is a wonderful site called that contains a lot of valuable information about this issue. It lists variable treatment options, of which prescription treatment is rarely advised, and resources for getting through it.They note that there is little success with pharmaceuticals, though they have been used in extreme cases, and that many mothers find more success with natural therapies such as herbs, placenta ingestion and diet. Whole fat dairy products and eggs are notably helpful in managing D-MER. The site has a good list of foods and other therapies that are believed to be helpful. I do find it interesting that among the listed food therapies are those whole fat dairy foods and eggs. Good quality dairy and eggs are sources of natural progesterone and it makes me wonder if there is also a low progesterone component in D-MER. As in, perhaps women with lower progesterone are more likely to experience dopamine levels dropping below normal. Things that make you go hmmmm. They also suggest altering things within your life to make the sensation more manageable. I don't want to copy direct from the site, but some of the noted helpers are drinking tons more water, consciously distracting yourself while nursing, self-hypnosis, exercise and allowing yourself some "me time" even if only for a few moments at the end of the day.

I can tell you that distraction worked for me. I would make sure I had my phone with me and I would either text someone or play on Facebook during those first few moments of nursing. The distraction most definitely helped push the negative feelings aside. They were still there, but they were more like a hazy shadow in the background and nothing like I felt before. It made it so much easier to deal with. The thing that made the biggest difference was knowing exactly what was going on. As soon as I heard about and read about D-MER I felt a little better. I knew what I was dealing with. I knew why it was happening and that there was nothing wrong with me. I knew that many women eventually overcome it. I knew it didn't mean I needed psychological help or that I was going to have post partum depression. Having that knowledge was power and made everything less scary for me.

D-MER subsides at different times for all women. In my understanding, many women find relief within the first three to six months after the birth of their baby. Some women do experience it for over a year, but this is not as common. They say that women can experience a relapse now and then. For me, it was over by the time Squishy was about three months old. She is now 8 months old and I have not experienced D-MER again.

I am telling you this because it is something that few know about. Look at me. My mother worked in maternity care for over 30 years and was a lactation consultant. I was doing breastfeeding counseling for Barbie was I was 6. I was doing real breastfeeding counseling as a teenager. I've read just about every breastfeeding book out there from cover to cover, I have been a member of La Leche League for 6 years, I have been a subscriber and a fan of Mothering Magazine since I was a teenager. You would think that I would have come across this information at some point in the past 20 years. Nope. It's not commonly talked about and it's definitely something that is misdiagnosed. I am willing to bet that many obstetricians, pediatricians, midwives and lactation consultants are not aware of this issue. It's actually a bit scary. D-MER is way more common than we realize, yet the majority of women are probably not getting the proper information about it. It's being swept under rugs, it's being mistaken for post partum depression or it's just plain not talked about because the moms experiencing it are feeling ashamed. We need to change this.

Please take a moment to look over Can you relate to this experience? Did you have D-MER without ever knowing it had a name? Please share this information with other mothers and fathers. Women who have D-MER should not have to feel ashamed or alone. The fact that this is not talked about or widely known is probably harming a lot of breastfeeding relationships. I would imagine that many women either stop nursing because they are afraid of these feelings or they are being counseled by health care providers to quit. This doesn't have to happen. Armed with the knowledge about D-MER, women will be able to learn how to work through it and, hopefully, continue nursing successfully.

Remember, if you have D-MER there is nothing wrong with you. This is a small quirk that happens to many women. You are not crazy. You are not a bad mom. You are not a failure. You can overcome this.

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