Tuesday, December 24, 2013

On Potty Training and Pull Ups

Have you decided it’s time to start potty training your child?  This is a stage in your child’s life and should be undertaken with care and understanding.  Most children between the ages of 2 and 4 start using the toilet either on their own or with some encouragement from mom and dad.  You should be aware, however, that although they will use the toilet sometimes it is perfectly normal for them to still have accidents up until they are four or five years old. Here are some potty training tips and things to remember when starting on this new adventure.

All children are different and do things at their own pace. Some children just aren’t ready to potty train at the same age as other children. We all know someone who swears that their child was potty trained by 1 ½ to 2 years of age. This may be ideal for some parents, but not all children are ready at this age.  Most children are incapable of holding their bladder until they are at least 3 years of age. They will go in the potty if you take them in time, but they could not hold it on their own if there was no restroom near by.

My Own Potty Training Story

My little boy turns 3 years old in January and has already started potty training. We started him earlier, and he did really well, but a few setbacks caused him to stop using the toilet entirely. I was OK with him continuing to use his diapers because I have raised 3 other children, and I know that this is normal for his age and development.

I used cloth diapers with him because I loved the cute styles of pocket diapers and didn’t like spending so much money on disposable diapers. I had planned to keep using them until he was potty trained but as he grew older and bigger, his bladder capacity was larger too. He would wet right through the pocket diapers getting the couch, his clothes and anything else nearby all wet.  I decided it was going to have to be pull ups or nothing because the cloth diapers just weren’t cutting it anymore.

Potty Training Basics:
  • Let them go naked
  • Put them on the potty chair or  the toilet every 30 minutes to an hour
  • Save diapers for overnight use
  • Give them plenty of liquids to encourage them to go
  • Get a potty chair or potty seat
  • Lots of praise and encouragement (it really works)

The first thing we did when we started getting him to start using the toilet was letting him run around naked. This is one technique that is advocated in the book “Potty Train in Three Days” as well as other similar titles. It works because you can watch them more closely for signs that they may need to go, and they are more conscious of the fact that they are not wearing a diaper so sometimes it is easier getting them to the toilet.

Although you may be worried that your child will have an accident (and they will the first few times) this method works to start them using the toilet. Put diapers or pull ups on for overnights because it will be a while before they are able to stay dry all night on their own.

Take them to the potty often during the day and right before bed. Little ones like to use the potty excuse as a way to stay up a little later, but it is good to let them go if you think there is the slightest chance that they will go.

Measure your success by how often your child uses the potty and how long your diapers or pull ups last. We started at a rate of one box of 72 count pull ups lasting one week (we have two children potty training) to them now lasting two weeks and the boys’ beds are staying drier.  I have not had to change his bedding in the middle of the night for some time now. Never compare your child’s progress to another’s because they may be in different developmental stages, and not all kids are ready at the same time.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Buying Cloth Diapers on a Budget

Looking for cheap cloth diaper options?

If you are looking for a cheap way to start cloth diapering you've come to the right place. I was broke and had no money to spend on cloth diapers but found the cheapest method of purchasing diapers that will work for anyone. It is definitely worth switching to cloth, you save so much money not buying disposables. And your trash won't stink from diapers so the person picking up your cans every week will be grateful for that. I use these diapers for two toddlers and have saved a lot of money over buying diapers and pull ups.  Here is a detailed account of how I accomplished it....

When I started cloth diapering I was broke and literally had no money for diapers. I loved the cute bumGenius and Thirsty's pocket diapers, but couldn't afford $20 a piece for them. My first diapers cost me all of $22. I had 4 prefold cloth diapers and 2 covers that I used along with my disposables until I could add to the collection a few diapers at a time.There are lots of good cheap cloth diaper options for moms who are on a tight budget like me.If you want to switch to cloth diapers, but think you can't afford it, think again. I'll show you how to build a diaper stash for any budget.

Building up a Diaper Stash

.....the economical way to buy cloth diapers

The first thing to consider when buying cloth diapers is what kind of diapers you want to use on your baby. The cheapest options for parents on a tight budget like I was are pocket diapers and prefold cloth diapers with covers. For an infant you will need 3-4 dozen diapers and can expect to wash about every other day. For toddlers you will need about 2 to 3 dozen size 2 diapers and will wash every other day as well. This will be your stash of diapers and can be made up of all pocket diapers, pockets plus prefolds or just prefolds and covers. It's up to you, you can use any combination you wish. We'll look at each option and their pros and cons.  

There is no right or wrong way to buy cloth diapers. You can buy a dozen or so at a time or just a few, whatever your budget allows. A little here and there works just as well. Buy what you can afford at the time and add to it each payday. Eventually, you will have a nice little stash built up and can stop buying diapers. They can be saved and used for a 2nd or 3rd child.

Pocket Cloth Diapers

Pocket diapers are made with a waterproof outer layer and a soft absorbent fleece layer on the inside to keep your baby's skin dryer. There is an opening in the back to stuff a microfiber insert or small prefold. When stuffed, the diaper is very easy to use. Just lay baby on the diaper and fold and secure the diaper using the aplix tabs or snaps, whichever your diaper has. When soiled just remove the insert and place both pieces in your diaper pail or straight into the washing machine. The cost for pocket diapers are between $10 and $18 for most budget brands. Kawaii diapers run between $10 and $12 and come in size 2's for older babies and toddlers. 

"Cheapest Diapering Option"

When you have little to no money for diapers...

Prefold diapers used with a snappi and a waterproof cover are one of the best options for saving money when cloth diapering your baby. The diapers are made from unbleached cotton and are super thick. Each prefold is sized to fit your baby, be sure to check the size you want. They come in preemie, infant, regular and toddler sizes ranging from $1 to $2 each. Just buy the amount you can afford each payday until you have two to three dozen diapers. Pair with a waterproof cloth diaper cover for a leak-free diaper that is frugal and eco-friendly. They are very easy to launder as well. Just wash and hang or tumble dry. Do not put covers in the dryer though, shake them out and hang them up to dry.

Econobum Cloth Diaper Starter Kit

Econobum is made by bumGenius and is a lower cost option for cloth diapering. The Econobum cloth diapers are thick, diaper service quality cloth prefolds. They fit perfect inside the waterproof covers for an economic diapering option. When I started my collection I couldn't afford the starter box so I bought the trial kit which is two diapers and a cover. I bought two of them which gave me 4 diapers and 2 covers. This was the start of my diaper stash.

I use these diapers every day and can tell you that they are good quality and recommend them as an affordable brand of cloth diapers.This starter kit has everything you need to start using cloth diapers. It includes 12 cotton prefolds, 3 waterproof covers and a wet bag. Econobum is a product of Bum Genious in the economy line of products. The quality of the diapers is the same as diaper service brands, and they hold up very well.
A very economical way to get your stash quickly would be to purchase two of these kits which would give you 2 dozen prefolds, 6 covers and 2 wet bags for under $100 with free shipping and a featured freebie.

Build a Diaper Stash for Under $100.00

(this will work for any budget)

So If you want to build up a cloth diaper stash but have little money, here's what you do:

Here is how I built my stash for around $100. I wanted to start cloth diapering but could not afford the prices of a new diaper stash. I decided to find the cheapest diapering options I could and use a combination of them to fill my stash.

1. I bought two Econobum trial sets for $22. That is 2 diapers and 2 covers, I tried them out and decided that I could do this everyday. So I started watching diaper shops for clearance sales and bought a few covers and a half dozen cotton prefolds. The covers were seconds, but I didn't notice any flaws in them. I paid $4 each for the covers at clearance, normally they are $8.99 for Econobum cloth diaper covers.The prefolds were $2 each because I needed a size two for toddlers. 

2. The next payday I bought 12 cotton prefolds at $2 each and two more covers at regular price. I spent around $30-$40. I now had a few more diapers to use and was getting the hang of diapering and washing the diapers. I had to wash everyday with just a few diapers, but I knew it wouldn't be for long.

3. I started watching eBay for diaper sales and discovered someone selling cheap pocket diapers from China. The shipping was free so I figured I didn't have much to lose if I didn'tlike them. I bought 5 Babyland pocket diapers at $.99 cents to $4 each. I waited until the last 5 minutes of each auction to make sure I was the last bidder. I got the diapers two weeks later and was a little disappointed because they were small. There was no sizing option despite being called one-size diapers. They fit very snug on my toddler but it gave me a chance to try them out.

4. I discovered Kawaii diapers after reading some good reviews from an AP parenting forum. I found good prices on Kawaii heavy wetter one-size diapers at Sweetbottoms Baby Boutique. I paid $10 each for 3 large, size two pocket diapers. Each one comes with 2 large microfiber inserts and I got free shipping. These fit much better and were more absorbent than the Babyland diapers. I also received my order very quickly, in fact,it shipped the same day I ordered it.

5. The following payday I bought another 12 prefolds and two more covers to add to my growing collection of diapers.  I now had 2 dozen prefolds, 8 pocket diapers and 6 covers. I was able to start washing every other day and have been cloth diapering now for 4 months and continue to add to my stash a little every payday. 

To follow these steps, just decide how much you can afford each week or each month depending on your budget. Watch for sales and just buy what you can afford. Many of the diaper shops offer reward points that can be redeemed for gift certificates when your account reaches $10 or more. This means free diapers or other baby stuff if you save up your points.

Now you see how this method will work for any budget. If you have sewing skills you can also make your own prefolds from old t-shirts and pocket diapers from fleece sweatshirts. There are many sites on the web that offer how-to instructions for making your own. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Keeping Little Ones Cool in the Summer

Summers are a great time for swimming and outdoor fun, but remember to keep little ones hydrated and use plenty of sunblock when they will be out for any length of time. There are a lot of good sun protection products for babies to help keep their delicate skin from getting burnt. With all the products on the market these days  it is hard to know what type of sunscreen is best for children, but this article posted on Baby Center may help you when it comes to choosing sunblock for your child.

When you live in the desert like we do staying hydrated is very important. The past few days it has been in the low 100s here in Las Vegas and staying cool has taken top priority. We run fans, the air conditioner and keep our windows covered during the hottest part of the day. The kids want to go out and play, but we restrict them to going out in the afternoon when it is a little cooler. We try and keep them in between the hours of 10am and 2pm if at all possible. When we have to run errands with them we always try to keep plenty of water and juice on hand and keep them in the shade during the hot time of the day.

Here are a few tips to beat the heat and stay cool in summer:

1. Keep a jug of water in the refrigerator for a cold drink. Kids and adults need water to stay hydrated when the temperatures rise. Restrict sweetened beverages like ice tea, juice and soda to meals because drinking sugary drinks does not help in the heat.

2. Drag out the kid’s wading pool or turn on the sprinkler. A quick way to cool down is to fill up the pool or bathtub with cool water and let the little ones splash around. We just recently bought the kids a new pool and it is big enough that the adults can sit in it after the kids have gone to bed on those nights that it stays hot later. A sprinkler is also good for cooling down and keeping the lawn watered at the same time.

3. Place fans in different rooms facing the windows. If you want to stay cool but don’t want to run the A/C too much put a box fan in one of the windows in the front of the house and one in a window in the back to create a cross breeze and draw cooler air into the house when the sun goes down.

4. Dunk your head under the sink. A quick way to cool off when it’s hot is to get your hair wet. I take Aiden in the stroller when I go the grocery store which is right down the street and to keep him cool, I’ll wet both my hands and run them through his hair and over his face, then when the air hits him it’s like being in front of the air conditioner.

I’m a green mama and we walk just about everywhere, so keeping the kids cool and protected from the sun is a top priority.

Monday, February 25, 2013

My New Parenting Resolutions for 2013

I have implemented my new parenting resolutions and am off to a great start.  I know this is late, but I wanted to post it anyway. Instead of the usual New Year's Resolutions to quit smoking, quit drinking or lose weight I have decided to become a better parent. I always believed that there was a better method of disciplining children besides spanking and now the experts have proved me right. An article written by pediatrician and baby care expert  Dr.William Sears outlines "10 Reasons Not to Hit Your Child." There has been a lot of discussion on this topic in the forums and chat rooms lately.

I admit that with my other children I did use spanking as a method of discipline but decided that I would make better choices with my youngest child. Aiden is two years old now and of course he is doing everything that other toddlers do including climbing on the furniture, touching forbidden objects and chasing the puppy. The terrible two's are trying times for any parent but may be especially trying for parents attempting to introduce new discipline techniques. I want to try using positive discipline techniques to teach and reinforce good behavior and punish less often.

I made the decision not to spank when Aiden was born and followed the principles of AP parenting. We breastfed until he was 10 months old and he weaned himself, we co-slept with a side car sleeper and I wore him in a sling as often as I could to form that nurturing bond. I got this portable sleeper,The First Years Close and Secure Sleeper as a gift and I loved it, until he got too big for it. It is a very safe way to sleep with your baby. No worries about rolling over on the baby, he has his own little bed that can lay right on your bed beside you or in the middle. Dr. Sears also advocates using a side by side sleeper for safe co-sleeping and I agree.

Co-sleeping worked very well for us and we were both able to get sleep and have fewer restless nights. Aidan actually slept more peacefully when he slept with me. As he got older and outgrew the sleeper bed, he would snuggle up right next to mommy and fall asleep.

Now that he is a toddler, we are dealing with biting and hitting issues. Not because we hit him but because he was hit by another child of the same age, so he hits back when the other child takes his toys. We are trying to teach him that biting hurts by getting him to remember being bit and hit by someone else and how it isn't nice to treat your playmates that way. I want him to learn that

Here is a post with suggestions for gentle discipline techniques. I plan to use these and other helpful techniques or tips for disciplining with love and teaching proper behavior rather than punishing bad behavior. I live with 4 children age 2-6 and think that they will all benefit from these techniques as well. The 6 year old has ADHD and oppositional defiant disorder. Punishing his bad behavior just seems to make it worse, we are trying to encourage him to have good behavior by expecting it and telling him what a good job he is doing in school.

My parenting resolutions are to:

  • Choose alternative consequences
  • Use positive discipline techniques
  • View misbehavior as an opportunity to teach, rather than scold
  • Spend more time having fun with my child
  • Have more patience
  • Give him a voice and tell him why certain behaviors aren't acceptable

So these are my parenting resolutions for 2013. Any other parents with experience in raising toddlers with AP or gentle discipline techniques, I would love to hear about how you tackled these issues and the results that came out of it. You can leave a comment or send me a message.