Growing A Vegan

Raising a vegan family.

I’m Moving…

…to a new cyber home.

I’ve always used WordPress, but there are some limitations. I’m making the jump over to Blogger, so I hope you’ll join me there!

Growing a Vegan’s New Home

How to Choose?

The most overwhelming part of cloth diapering at first was choosing which system we wanted to use. In fact, I can’t really say I’ve made a decision as to which is best. I can share a little info about what’s out there, some pros and cons, and examples of how much I paid for each.

Unknown prefold, Snappi, and Thirsties cover - Paid $12.50

- Prefolds or Flats and Covers – This is probably the cheapest way into cloth diapering. It’s the system your own parents may find familiar with a few updates. Basically, you have a piece of cloth, you fold it into a diaper on your baby, pin it (or don’t), and put on a waterproof cover. You’re unlikely to use those diaper pins your parents probably used on you. Now we have Snappi’s (and Boingo’s, but I’ve never used those). Snappi’s are rubbery three-headed grabbers that hold the diaper in place. Some people just fold their prefolds into thirds and lay them inside the cover. After the baby has soiled the diaper, you take it off, throw it in your wetbag and replace it. As long as the cover didn’t get poop on it or wet anywhere other than the waterproof lining (PUL), you can reuse it a few times, so you don’t need that many. The biggest problem I’ve had with prefolds is finding the right size. The ones I have are just a little too big for my baby right now, so he winds up with giant butt.

Snug to Fit Fitted & Kawaii OS Cover - Paid $12

Fitteds – These diapers are similar to prefolds and covers, but they are already shaped into a diaper which must be snapped or velcroed on. They are not waterproof, though, so you do need a cover. These can be great for nighttime because they’re very absorbent and easy.

Lotus Bumz Pocket Diaper - Paid $7

- Pockets – These are diapers with pockets into which you stuff inserts. Some people also stuff prefolds into their pockets. These are nice for a few reasons. It is really simple, just take off the soiled diaper, throw it in the wetbag, and replace. Also, unlike many other styles, most pockets wick the moisture away from the baby’s skin. You can also increase absorbency by adding more inserts or using natural fiber inserts like hemp or bamboo which is particularly useful at night. Since the parts separate, these diapers dry faster than some other systems too. The issue most people have with pockets is the time it takes to stuff the diaper before use, but really it’s just a few minutes extra. Pockets make up most of my stash.

bumGenius AIO - Free from a friend!

-All In One’s (AIO’s) – These diapers are just what they sound like, all one piece. The diaper has a waterproof outer layer with absorbent strips sewn into the inside. They are super convenient, just like a disposable, remove and replace. They do, however, often take more time to dry since they are all one piece.

Smart Snugs AI2 - Paid $7

Super soft bamboo snap-in liner

All In Two’s (AI2’s) and Hybrids – These are just like the AIO’s, but the liner is removable. That means they dry a little faster, and the cover can be used more than once. Many systems have different kinds of liners to choose from like organic, stay-dry, or even disposable.

Most diapers come with snap or velcro options. One-size diapers (OS) usually fit from about 8 or 10 lbs up to 35! Most of my diapers came from DiaperSwappers, a forum where you can find lots of cheap, sometimes even new diapers!

You will also need some sort of wetbag, maybe two, and a travel one if you do cloth on the go. Cloth wipes are a great idea too because you can just toss it in the diaper when you’re done. Many people just moisten them with water and maybe a little tea tree oil.

Also remember, you don’t have to jump into cloth full-time. I’m currently still using disposables while he sleeps. Some people use disposables when they’re out of the house. Just remember, every little bit helps!

If you’re looking to buy some diapers (or a ton of other great stuff) I found this deal from MamaSource:

$20 for $40 at EcoMom!

I have my eye on that water sling…

Don’t forget, I try to share all the good deals and contest I find on my Baby Contest page!

What’s the Big Deal with Cloth?

There are generally a few well-known reasons to cloth diaper:

1. Better for the Environment
2. Less Expensive
3. Better for Baby

However, any of these points can be debated (just ask my husband).

The amount of disposable diapers used by one baby.

1. Environment – You throw away a lot of diapers using disposables. A LOT. That’s all waste just sitting in a landfill somewhere for possibly 500 years or so. Billions of diapers are thrown away each year, and they’re ALL still out there. Personally, this was a big factor for me once I started changing diapers and watching the pail fill up so quickly.

The other side of this point, though, is the amount of water and energy needed to clean and dry the diapers. Washing cloth is a multi-step process, so a lot of water is used each time. My husband and I both read the article Should My Baby Wear Huggies on Slate and came away with different opinions on the author’s conclusions.

2. Cost – Cloth diapers can save you quite a bit in the long run. This is for several reasons. First, while there is a larger up front investment, it is still smaller than what you will pay for disposables over the course of the diaper-wearing stage. You can use the same diapers for multiple children, and there is even a large market for pre-loved diapers on sites like Diaper Swappers. Almost all of our diapers came pre-owned, but that’s actually not so bad because it saves you both money AND the prep work. Additionally, many people say that children potty train earlier in cloth than in disposables, so you don’t need diapers for quite as long.

The flip side here is that some people forget the cost of washing the diapers on your water and electric bills. It seems unlikely to me though that this cost is higher than cloth considering all the factors mentioned above.

3. Baby – Most cloth advocates say that their babies rarely get diaper rash and as I mentioned before, potty train at a younger age. Also, for our boy babies, cloth diapers maintain a lower temperature which is thought to be better for fertility in the future.

Some of my husbands other concerns were:

- Gross – Some diapers, like prefolds, get very wet, and once babies are eating solids you do have to dunk and swirl the diapers in the toilet to get the poop off. For exclusively breastfed babies, though, the diaper just goes in with the rest of them. Ultimately, it’s not that icky, and you should wash your hands after you change a diaper anyway.

- Too much work – The idea of all the washing can seem daunting at first, but it’s just a little laundry. Plus, in my house, I do most of the laundry anyway, so I knew I was taking on that responsibility from the get go. If you’re really stressed by it, there is probably a diaper service nearby that will do it for you.

These are just a few of the reasons to use cloth. What are your concerns? If you already use cloth, what did you discover that was different from what you anticipated?

It’s Real Diaper Week!

Recently a few people have asked me to blog a little about cloth diapering. I was planning on waiting until my recent order comes in, but it’s Real Diaper Week. What better time than now?

My path into cloth diapers probably isn’t all that unique. I kind of felt before the Vegta Baby was born that cloth diapers were just me. The husband was not quite on the same page, though. He’d tried them with his daughter and didn’t feel like the benefits were worth the trouble. We agreed we would wait until after he was born and we saw how our lives changed.

When he was about a month old, I bought my first cloth diapers. I just hated the way I felt every time I had to throw another diaper in the trash. I got two Alva pockets from another mama for $10. It was so simple: snap on, snap off, wash, dry, stuff, repeat! I wanted to try all of the different systems, though. That’s where Diaper Swappers came in handy. I didn’t spend more than $10 for any diaper, and I got to try prefolds and covers, pockets, fitteds, an AI2s. I haven’t tried an AIO (all-in-one) yet, but I think I still had a pretty good sample.

It’s really not too complicated at all. Even my husband, while still not entirely into it, agrees that it’s not as bad as his first experience. They used prefolds and pins, but now we have Snappis! One of the best things I’ve noticed so far is that I haven’t had a blow out in cloth yet! Every time he pooped in a disposable it went everywhere, but I haven’t seen that in cloth.

There are a few topics I’ll probably cover this week:

- Benefits of cloth
– Choosing a system
– Washing

If there are any other topics you’d like to know more about, let me know! I’m by no means an expert, and I’ll probably pull information from outside sources. I’m also always looking for cloth diaper giveaways for my contest page, so let me know if you’ve found one I haven’t.

At the end of the week is the Great Cloth Diaper Change. We’re working to break the world record for most cloth diapers changed at once. If you live in the Tampa Bay area, come hang out with me at the GCDC Saint Pete at Great Explorations. There will be lots of prizes and a baby expo to follow. I can’t wait!

Ultimate Blog Party 2012

Welcome to my blog!

I’m a 26 year old new mama to Baby Jonah.

I blog about various aspects of motherhood, but I often emphasize our vegan lifestyle and other crunchy parenting topics like babywearing, cloth diapering, and so forth.

I love discovering other like-minded bloggers, so let me know you’re there with a comment or a like!

Beco Gemini vs. Boba 3G

Boba 3G vs. Beco Gemini

I am determined to be a baby wearer. I started with a Moby and loved it. However, the Moby is limited because it’s stretchy, providing less support as Jonah gets heavier. As I pondered my next carrier (soft-structured [SSC], mei tai, or woven wrap) I happened upon an awesome deal: a new Boba 3G for $60 (retails for $120 normally). I snatched it up!

Then Wednesday I was in my favorite baby consignment store, Stellie Bellies, and saw a Beco Gemini for only $45! I left it there knowing it was a good deal, but I wanted to check the resale value on The Baby Wearer. I hurried back the next day to grab it too. Now, I have a dilemma. Which one do I want to keep? They have very different features, lots of pros and cons to weigh. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Boba 3G

Pros:
Sleep Hood
Adjustable Neck Support
Wide Base
Foot Rests for Toddler Stage
Carries Up To 45 lbs
Pockets
Purse Snaps

Cons:
Wide Base is awkward at this stage for Jonah
Limited to Front and Back Carries

Beco Gemini

Pros:
Adjustable Width Base
Head Rest that Folds Down
Front, Back, Hip, AND Forward Facing Carries
Softer
Safety Locks

Cons:
Carries Up To 35 lbs
Some Wear from Previous Owner
Narrower Base
Girly Print/Colors

Both:
Convert to Infant Mode With No Additional Parts

The two major factors for me are the length of time I can use the Boba vs. the multiple carrying options of the Beco. I know forward facing is controversial, but what isn’t? Many babies really enjoy it. The Boba will last us longer, but will I really still want to carry him at 45 lbs? Of course, the Boba is a little nicer too since I got it new.

By the way, Beco is holding a contest to Design and Win a Beco Baby Carrier!

 The one that goes will not leave my hands in vain. It will be put toward a woven wrap!

Don’t forget. Click this photo, and “like” it on Facebook to help Jonah win a $50 Gift Certificate!

And Back to Work Too

Not only did I make my long-awaited return to roller derby, Wednesday I made my way back to work. I had planned on taking a little bit more time off, but a teacher I subbed for a few months ago requested me. I’d had a good time with her class, so we decided to go ahead and accept. I know we’re very lucky that Jonah’s Nana lives nearby. It would be hard to find other reliable care with a substitute teacher’s schedule.

As the day approached, I was definitely nervous. I was completely confident that Jonah would be okay with his Nana. I was more concerned about myself. It’s really hard to wake up one or two times in the middle of the night to breastfeed and not get to go back to sleep after the second one. Then to go deal with a bunch of first graders? Needless to say, I had a long couple of days ahead of me.

The first day wasn’t too bad. A couple of kids asked me if the baby “came out.” :) I realized after that first day, though, that I went into it still in mommy-mode rather than teacher mode. I was a little too soft, and I lost some control as a result. At the end of the day, my class was reprimanded by another teacher for being crazy in the halls at dismissal which kind of made me feel like a failure. A few students were upset that I wasn’t happy with their behavior and marked their planners as such, but I think giving them very honest feedback set us up for a better day to follow.

Thursday I went over my expectations again. I had them tell me what the consequences were for getting out of their seats without permission (negative tally mark), not finishing their work (no recess), talking in the halls (going back and walking again), and so forth. They also knew that if they did well, at the end of the day they would get a treat. And most of them did. A few of the same students went home without, but many were greatly improved. It gave me hope that I can get back into doing my job well.

I haven’t napped much since Jonah was born, but we were both exhausted Wednesday. As soon as he was in my arms when I got home, his little eyes rolled back in his head. I nursed him, and he took a long nap. Even when I woke him up after three hours, he fell right back to sleep AND slept his normal amount. It must have been pretty exciting for him to have such a different routine. His Nana said he did much better with napping Thursday, and when I woke him up he was a very happy little boy.

I was pretty impressed with my pumping that day, about 9.5 oz, but half of that is already gone from derby practice. It’s a little intimidating knowing how much I have to pump to be able to do what I need to do, but I just have to add it to the routine.

I had another request to sub Monday. It’s a good class, and I’m sure we’ll all be fine.

On a different note, I’m trying to cash in on my baby’s cuteness, so if you agree that he’s adorable, please like this photo on Facebook!

Back in Action!

Well, I got the all-clear from the doctor, and last night, Vegta Bully finally made her return to roller derby.

It was awkward to say the least. New skates, 15 extra lbs, seven months off wheels, and general out-of-shapedness made it a challenge, but I had such a good time. Even if my feet need to be reconditioned, it is great to have skates that fit.

The R3’s are one of the cheap Riedell models, BUT they’re all man-made materials. When I upgrade to better skates some day, they can also replace any of their leather models with clarino. I also grabbed a set of vegan toe guards from Sin City Skates. It sucked to pay as much as I did in shipping, but no one seems to carry the vegan ones in stock. Oh well, at least they make them! I fancied up the package with Heartless wheels and Gumball toe stops. It was a great deal from Roller Girl Skates, and I got 10% off!

I fell a lot, but that’s derby. I was able to get one hit in. I’m sure she fell just to make me feel good about myself. You can judge for yourself in this video from Leigh Armstrong.

Deadly Rival Roller Derby Promo Short

(Hopefully that works.)

I’m really hoping that I can lose the baby weight and then some. My current goal is 20 lbs by the end of June. Whatever happens, though, I’m so happy to be back!

First Month of Mommyhood

I’ve been trying to decide what I wanted to write about next. I’ve also been looking for the time. For now, I think I’ll just do a sort of review of being a mommy so far. Unlike other blog reviews, however, I do not have a baby to giveaway to a lucky winner (not yet anyway).

For the first week, everything was pretty grand. I had a beautiful baby doing baby things. Eating, sleeping, and so on. Weeks two and three started to wear on me though. As someone who’s breastfeeding exclusively, I started to despair at night, thinking about how I would never sleep through the night again. Particularly around the two week growth spurt, he would just eat continually for hours and scream if there wasn’t a boob in his mouth for 5 minutes. My nipples stopped aching after about a week thankfully. I couldn’t imagine how I would ever be able to have another baby and do this with another child. I can honestly say that for those two weeks or so, I did not like being a mom.

Thankfully, as I’ve mentioned before, I have a wonderful, supportive husband. I started pumping, and that gave me the freedom to get out of the house for a couple hours. I felt a little bad when I was out at the Tampa Bay Men’s Roller Derby bout with my mom and wife, but it wasn’t because I felt bad for leaving him. I felt bad that I didn’t feel bad about leaving him. I felt bad that I wasn’t worried about him. I needed the break. I needed to have some fun without someone latched on to my chest, and I did! I had so much fun! (By the way, have you ever tried to find a private outlet to pump at a roller skating rink? Next to impossible. I wound up hanging the cord over the edge of the skate rental desk and sitting on the floor behind it between games).

It’s getting better, though. I am incredibly lucky to have a baby who will sleep anywhere from 3-5 hour stretches at night. I even have to wake him up sometimes (which is particularly hard for me). The current struggle is day time naps. He can fall asleep, but staying asleep is another story. Even our daily walk didn’t keep him down for more than 20 minutes.

I can now say that I would do it again. I’ve developed some amnesia over the birth, and I can see that it does get better. I’m going back to work in just over a week, and I’m confident that he will be fine with his Nana. This mommy thing isn’t so bad after all.

4 Weeks Old - 10 lbs 7 oz

In other news, I was nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award by a blog that makes my mouth water with every new post. Thank you Luminous Vegans! You inspire me to get back in the kitchen!

So I’m supposed to share seven things about myself. I don’t know if I can come up with seven new things…

1. I’m so obsessed with cloth diapers right now, I dream about them.
2. I’m also obsessed with babywearing, and even though I have two fully functional carriers, I’m plotting my next purchase (either a Mei Tai or Bali Breeze woven wrap… or maybe a water wrap…)
3. I’m ordering new skates today!
4. I wish I was craftier than I am.
5. I just saw Melancholia. I give it two stars for being super boring.
6. I’m only on 6? Umm…
7. My reading has slowed way down. I want to get a couple more books in before I go back to school though.

I also get to nominate blogs I love, so:

1.  Bella Blogs – I worked with this mama in high school. It’s amazing to read her blog because she has changed so much. She’s still crazy funny though, and her little boy is adorable.
2.  Vegan Derby Girl – I love vegan derby girls (and boys)!
3. Leslie & Pete – I only met Leslie once to talk about veganism, but I love reading about her pregnancy journey. She also has a pretty cool blog called Salvaged Spaces.

The Scariest Moment

I had a really scary moment about a week and a half after Jonah was born, and I thought I would share in case my experience can help anyone else. I’d been feeling better, and I thought I would try out my new Moby Wrap. I was standing there putting it on and blood started flowing out of me, down my leg, and onto the floor.

I hurried to the bathroom to check out the situation, and there was just a puddle. It kept coming too. Mitch grabbed my phone and started getting ready in case we needed to go to the hospital. I called my midwife, and she told me to do two things: 1) Press as hard as I could into my uterus and 2) Get Jonah to latch on.

She said if it wasn’t better after 30 minutes to go to the hospital. Jonah was of course up to the challenge. Breastfeeding helps your uterus contract. After half an hour it was definitely better, and we didn’t have to go to the hospital! Within a day or two my bleeding was back to where it had been before.

So, if you experience something similar, don’t panic. Definitely call your healthcare provider as soon as possible, but let your little one help you out too!

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