Monday, June 27, 2011

Cloth Diaper Fasteners: Snaps vs. Velcro

Modern cloth diapers has given rise to new options of securing your baby's diaper to their cute little butt.  And with options now comes the question - why would someone choose a snap over a velcro, (aka aplix, aka hook and loop) fastener?  What are the pros and cons? I get this all the time in my workshops, so I tend to address the question before it's even asked.  Today I'll put it in writing.  Let's weigh the pros and cons of both:

The Velcro Fastener
  1. Most closely simulates a disposable diaper fastener
  2. Goes on very easy which is great for a squirmy baby or one who does not like to get their diapers changed.
  3. Wider range for fit at the waist line.
  1.  Wears out eventually... some more quickly than others. 
  2. Once baby gains some dexterity will eventually undo the fastener and walk around with their diaper hanging half off :)
  3. If the velcro strip isn't long or wide enough or not the best quality, once your baby starts toddling the diaper will start coming apart and dropping off your baby.
The Snap Fastener
  1.  Very durable.
  2. Will not come apart, so diaper won't come off of baby when toddling.
  3. Baby won't have the dexterity to pull the diaper off themselves for quite some time, if at all.
  1. Can be more difficult to put on with a squirmy child.
  2. Though most cloth diapers with snaps have a ton of placement options, you are limited to fixed points rather than "as tight as I can get it" at the waist line.
By this comparison it would appear that snaps outweigh the velcro, but, the human variables of preference and  behavior should be accounted for. I've met moms who just prefer the velcro because it makes putting on the diaper so much easier. And some babies are squirmy while others just lay there patiently for diaper changes, so, it's not a problem putting them in a snap diaper. 

So what advice do I give my moms on this topic? For newborns and infants who aren't moving around too much yet, in that first 0-6 months or so when they're growing like weeds, go ahead and get a velcro cover or diaper.  You won't be using it for a very long period of time so it won't wear out on you, and it'll be easier to change your baby's diapers.  Once they start toddling, snaps all the way.  Remember, their weight won't fluctuate as much as it did in those first 6 months, and they'll be in the same size diaper for a much longer time - think another 2 years if they're in a one-size diaper.  So you definitely want something that will last for the long haul.  I should also note that there tends to be more postings online from someone looking for a seamstress to either replace the velcro tabs or for a snap conversion.  Rarely do you see a snap to velcro conversion. If you really do prefer a velcro fastener over a snap one you could always just make sure your baby is wearing a onesie, or pair of shorts to keep it all together if the velcro starts wearing out.  But do you really want to cover up those cute cloth-diapered bums all the time?

I pretty much decided today that I'll definitely maintain some velcro one-size and larger-sized diapers and covers in stock, but, I'll probably be ordering snaps more heavily now.  To me, it just makes sense.

What do you think about velcro vs snap fasteners?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

My kid's lactose intolerant? Now what?

At about 1 yr old I started introducing cow's milk to Becca because, let's face it, formula is expensive. So I'd give her Carnation with cow's milk and at first we had no problems, she liked the Carnation, and all was well with the world.  Until she started getting these horrible diaper rashes.  I mean HORRIBLE.  And it seemed like they were caused by this runny poop she had going on all the time.  I felt like an awful parent.  What was I doing wrong? I started to question the washing of my cloth diapers? Were they getting residue build up? They didn't smell of ammonia.  They weren't leaking.  I just couldn't figure it out.  I even tried some Oxy Boost but nothing seemed to work. Then my mom, who lives with us and takes care of Becca in the days, started to think it might be the milk.  That her sitting in the runny poop for even the shortest time was causing the rash, and that the runny poop was being caused by the milk.  At that time she was drinking most of her meals so it could have been milk overload, I don't know.  So, we stopped giving her Carnation and started her on Pediasure, or the Cottontails equivalent and the frequent runny poop stopped.

After a month or so on the Pediasure/Cottontails, which is lactose-free, she started having the same problem again.  While I was pregnant my husband had heard about and read up on goat's milk.  Apparently, though it isn't lactose-free, it tends to be more easily digested and some people who suffer from lactose intolerance and milk allergies can still drink goat milk without any problems.  It is also a very healthy alternative to cow's milk.  He even went out and found some for us to try.  I know that might sound rather strange to a lot of people, but hey, goat cheese is delicious so the milk couldn't be all that bad.  Plus my mom said she drank goat's milk all the time as a child so I felt pretty comfortable about it. 

So I headed out to my local MOMs and bought me a pint of goat's milk.  The goat's milk seemed to work.  Poop was no longer runny.  No rashes.  We're loving this goat's milk.  Admittedly it's a lot more expensive than cow's milk, and it meant I had to make a special trip to MOMs.  I have since also tried Smart Balance lactose free milk which she had no problems with, and I just picked up some Lactaid Whole milk today at the supermarket for her. Now I know as you're reading this you're thinking, why didn't you try soy milk? Well, there have been all sorts of talk about soy milk and estrogen that really got my husband freaked out... which is why he started researching the goat's milk in the first place.  I asked my pediatrician's opinion, and she said there was no link to this being an issue in children, and it's not something I should be worried about. But, you know, when in doubt... And since there are so many options out there, we thought why take the risk. 

We will try to re-introduce cow's milk in the future. We stopped with the yogurt too, but, I give her a slice of cheese on occasion and she's fine with that. It might be something that will work itself out as she grows. It would suck if she couldn't indulge in a slice of pizza :)  It's just really good to know there are options out there, so, if you're looking for a healthy alternative to cow's milk why not give goat's milk a try?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

From Baby Food to Table Food

I have spent these past few months a little worried about Becca's eating habits... or lack there of. Her introduction to food started off so well, but with the onset of teething came the slippery slope to picky eating habits.  When Becca was about 4 months old I bought Annabel Karmel's book "Top 100 Baby Purees" and started reading up on how to introduce foods to my little one.  I have always been a picky eater and really didn't want my daughter to pick up on that.  I don't eat fruit, except mangoes, and very few vegetables.  I guess it's safe to say I'm not very adventurous when it comes to food.  So, I really wanted her to be exposed to as many different things as possible from early.

The book explains basic nutritional requirements for babies, what they can eat and what they shouldn't be eating.  It starts off with the basic plain rice cereal, and the recipes evolve as baby grows to incorporate fruit, vegetables, and even meat.  The recipes were great and I thoroughly enjoyed making up a batch of pureed veggies for my little one.  It really made me feel good to know that I was making my own fresh baby food rather than store bought stuff that quite frankly didn't look nearly as good as mine.  A friend of mine bought a couple organic ones for Becks to try out and she hated it!  Annabel's book introduced me, and Becca, to a couple of fruits and veggies I had never considered before.  She enjoyed it thoroughly and it gave me great joy to see her just loving mommy's home-made food.

But something funny happened... once she started teething (and she did start relatively late), she just wasn't interested anymore.  We went though a LONG stretch of just being on breast milk (till about month 8) and then formula.  I guess sucking on the nipple soothed her gums, but, the whole thing turned her off from food.  She actually started smelling the food, and then turning up her nose at it.  She just wasn't interested.  And I know every child is different, but, come on, you know you have friends with children the same age and they're talking about how their kid just ate off an entire piece of chicken, meanwhile yours doesn't even want to eat a cookie.  It's a little disconcerting.

We kept on trying though, at her own pace.  The first thing she started to like was Gerber Puffs, which she initially couldn't stand.  And then we got some cereal in her... and then the doctor said to start reducing her formula intake which would make her hungry enough to accept food.  Eek.  That didn't go over so well.  She would throw a tantrum for the formula... and I can't starve my child.  She turned 1 yr old and I decided to do away with the formula and start on cow's milk and Carnation Instant breakfast.  That went over well initially... More on that here..

Becca's now 18 months, and the funniest thing has happened.  In the space of about 2 weeks, she went from not wanting to eat anything, to wanting to eat everything.  It's as if a light bulb just went off for her, and once she sees us sitting down to eat, she's all over it. She's even eating meat now (before she would chew and spit it out).  I'm really elated that we are over that hump, she's eating from the table, loving fruit, and I'm sure her weight gain will get back on track .  Upwards and onwards!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Infant & Toddler Program in MD

I'm always talking about diapers and products on here, and I figured, maybe I should talk a little more about me.  Let people know what's going on in the life of the mommy behind Eco Babies.  So here goes.

About 3 months ago or so when we tried introducing solid foods (not purees, she's been doing that since about month 4 or so) but real "eat from the table" food, my daughter wasn't really interested.  I mentioned this at a scheduled pediatrician visit and my doctor recommended having Becca evaluated by the Infant & Toddler program of PG County.  I had never heard of them before, and my mom was pretty skeptical (note, my mom is a conspiracy theorist so I should have taken her words with a ton of salt :))  But, after going to one of the many play groups that they host during the week here in the Bowie area, I decided to have them come over.

The play groups, by the way, wasn't what I had expected.  I was looking for somewhere to take Becca to play and socialize with other children her age since she isn't in daycare - she stays at home with my mom.  The playgroup was so much more. It was structured play time facilitated by child educators geared at developing certain skills for children under 3 years of age.  They had 5 stations set up with about 10 minutes per station, each station dealing with a developmental ability, such as imitation, gross and fine motor skills.

The day of the evaluation two women came to my home and spent about an hour and a half interviewing me, my mother and evaluating Becca through play.  They asked her to do some specific things while looking for responses that would indicate her proficiency in certain tasks.  To qualify for the program the child has to be at a proficiency 25% less than that of her current age.  So, Becca being 17 months at the time would mean that if she exhibited capabilities of a 13 month old or younger, then she qualified.  She did qualify due to a couple of skill sets.  Nothing alarming - I'm just glad I was able to catch it early.  As a first time mom sometimes you really don't know where your child should be developmentally... what you should or shouldn't be doing.  Eg., I hadn't introduced crayons to her playtime, so when they tested her with that, she scored low.  I hadn't even thought about crayons.  Didn't think she was old enough, but I was wrong.

So what does being in the program mean? It means that they will send a teacher to your home twice/month to play with Becca to enhance those skill sets she is weak in.  They will show you how to play with her to do those things on a daily basis.  They re-evaluate every 6 months to see her progress and determine if she still needs the assistance.  If your child is in daycare or pre-school, they will send the teacher to the facility for the service. 

Did I mention that this is all FREE? State funded assistance to get your child up to speed when it matters so they are ready for school and able to reach their full potential.  I was thoroughly impressed, learned so much, and am so happy that I decided to do the evaluation.  So, if you feel like your child needs some assistance, don't delay.  Find out what programs there are in your neck of the woods and get the help you need.  Thank you PG County Infant & Toddler program.  I'm looking forward to the progress... and I'll let you all know how it goes!