Cauliflower Potato Sausage Collard Soup

Well. I guess I could use a better name for this soup, but that’s not my skill set. It’s finally feeling like Fall here in Baltimore, and thank God, because I hate hot, muggy weather and I was getting depressed. (Aside: Dan and I took our first trip together without Gabriel. We went to Moab for five nights and mountain biked, hiked, and rock climbed. And missed Gabriel. It was 95 degrees in Baltimore the day before we left, but it’s been in the 70s or lower since we got back, thank GOD.) Also, I love soup. And Fall activities. Like all of the Fall activities at Gaver Farm where my mom and I took Gabriel last Saturday. And football games. And camping (which we’re doing this weekend).

I’ve said before that I don’t write recipes, and that’s true, but there wasn’t really any single inspiration for this soup, I kinda just made it. My inspirations were: an abundance of russet potatoes from a large Costco bag that were starting to go bad; a beautiful head of cauliflower from our From the Farmer bag; an equally beautiful bunch of rainbow chard from that same bag, made less beautiful in my eyes by the fact that I didn’t have a plan for it and didn’t know what to do with it; and a little bit this recipe that I had seen several days before and had been thinking about.

I’d baked the potatoes the previous day just to have done something with them (to hopefully delay the going-bad process). For this soup, I partially peeled them (partially rather than fully mostly due to laziness) and cut them up. I roasted the whole head of cauliflower in some olive oil at about 350 for 30 minutes. I chopped up one small onion and the white and light green parts of maybe 6 green onions. I peeled 4 cloves of garlic. I chopped the bunch of chard. And I defrosted my last almost-quart of bone broth.

I sautéed the onions in olive oil, then pressed in the garlic. Then I added the potatoes and roasted cauliflower. I added the broth, but it wasn’t enough to cover the vegetables, so I added water til they were mostly covered. I also added in 3/4 cup coconut milk for some creaminess. I would have used heavy cream if I had it or was going to the store, but I didn’t. I let that come to an almost boil, then I used my immersion blender to get it all pretty smooth. Meanwhile, I also cooked one pound of pork sausage in my cast iron skillet.

After it was smooth, I added salt and pepper til it tasted right, and then I emptied my entire spice cabinet looking for Italian seasoning. Turns out, we’re out. So I put in some pinches of dried tarragon, basil, rosemary, and thyme, and some red pepper flakes. Then I added in the sausage and chard and stirred and stirred. Then I added lemon juice – first just from 1/2, then the other 1/2, then a whole other. It might have a liiiiiitle too much lemon in the end, but maybe not.

I ate what didn’t fit into the four Tupperware dishes I’d gotten out for storage. I garnished with cheese and the green parts of green onions, and I dare say it was quite good.

Roasted Carrots

Sometimes, the most basic of things is the best.

Quite a while ago (definitely weeks, and maybe months), I bought a very large bag of carrots. I don’t dislike carrots, but I don’t really like them either. Even though I gave up peeling them years ago, I still find them a lot of work. I usually scrub, since I don’t peel. They’re so hard, you really have to chew them. They’re annoying in salads (they fall to the bottom, they’re tough to chew, etc.) unless you shred them, and that’s a lot of work. But Dan likes carrots a lot. However, I was overly optimistic about Dan’s ability to go through this huge bag, and four large carrots sat in our drawer for a very long time.

They were still there when my mother, before her arrival from Mexico, asked me to have carrots on hand for her during her visit. I didn’t want to offer her weeks- (or months?-) old carrots, so I wanted to buy new ones for her, but I also didn’t want to throw away food that might still be edible. So I did what I often do with vegetables I don’t otherwise know what to do with or particularly like: I roasted them.

Wow.

I Googled roasted carrots just to get a sense of cooking times and temperature (someday I will trust my gut on these things, but not yet) and found this recipe from Delish. Chopping was chopping. No getting around that part. But super quick toss with olive oil, spread on a pan, bake, and voila. I didn’t stir them partway through or anything.

They were delicious! Have I never had roasted carrots before? Is there something magical about Delish’s time/temperature combination? I ate half with some tahini thinking I would save the other half for later, or for my son, but nope. Ate them too. Yes, that’s four carrots, all eaten very quickly.

That was a couple weeks ago now. I just made a second batch – not because I had carrots laying around, but because I was craving them. I cut them in coins instead of diagonal across as the recipe recommends (and as I did the first time), and I left them in the oven after baking for a while because I was busy with other things, and I admit they are a little overdone. Still tasty, though. This is probably a new every-time-of-year favorite, but definitely a new Fall favorite. 🎃 🥕 🍁

Washington State – with Toddler

Dan, Gabriel, Dan’s mother, and I spent eight days in Washington State. We arrived home Sunday night – which was only five days ago, but already feels like a lifetime. It’s been a bit of a roller coaster of a week so far. Our cat, Penelope, seems to have gotten out of the house Tuesday morning (possibly Monday night, but we think we saw her Tuesday morning, and there was a clear opportunity for her to leave on Tuesday), and we haven’t seen her since. I’ve posted to our community’s facebook group about it and posted a few posters around the neighborhood with a picture and my contact info. I’ve asked at the local vet that everyone around here seems to use, including us (they also posted a picture in their office for us), and I’ve visited and filed a lost pet report at the local shelter. No luck so far. It’s been at least three days since we saw her. She’s gotten out maybe 4 or 5 times in her 13 years and has always come back, but this isn’t looking good.

And then Wednesday morning, I got Clio out the door at 5:45am to go for a run (which had the double purpose of looking for Penelope – slow run!), and two blocks away she suddenly yelped and could no longer walk on her front right foot. Dan thought she’d been limping for a while, but this made it suddenly really bad. I took her to the vet; he thinks she has just a bad sprain and is on pain medication. It seems to be doing better – she can walk on it and some of her steps seem normal… but she won’t move much! Which is understandable… but I took her out at lunchtime yesterday to go pee in front of our house, and she just laid down on the ground! Not usual behavior.

Anyway. We had a lovely time in Washington (and our pets were well-cared for by my good friend who housesat). We spent the first several days near Wenatchee State Park and Lake Wenatchee, about 30 minutes north of Leavenworth, which is a cute, Bavarian-themed town. Dan’s cousin got married near there, which is why we were there.

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The day after the wedding, the wedding guests were invited to hang out at Tierra Retreat Center for the day, and Dan and I got a chance to do a 2-mile burner of a loop hike while Dan’s mother watched Gabriel (side note: traveling with family willing – and excited – to be temporary caretakers = very good idea). Very steep uphill and even steeper downhill.

After that, we drove to the Olympic Peninsula and stayed in a house on Lake Sutherland, just west of Port Angeles and east of Lake Crescent. We took a FERRY as part of our travel, and it was AMAZING.

We visited the Olympic National Park visitors center in Port Angeles on our first half day there and walked the nature trail there. Gabriel was able to walk most of it on his own!

On our first full day, we drove to the Hoh Rainforest Visitors Center and did two hikes/walks. The first was the 1-mile ish Hall of Mosses trail that was a loop near the Visitor’s Center. For the second, we walked along the Hoh River Trail for about a mile, then walked back (in the pouring rain). That trail actually goes about 18 miles and has significant elevation gain if you do the whole thing. Gabriel mostly preferred to be carried in the hiking backpack that day, but did some walking on his own as well.

Instead of driving straight back to our house, we took a detour off Highway 101 near Forks and went to Rialto Beach on the Pacific. It was SUPER windy, and high tide. Gabriel (water baby) wanted to be near the water (that is, crashing waves), and I got soaked once by a particularly large wave right after scooping him up into my arms. We walked along the driftwood for a bit, then returned to our house.

On our second full day there, we went to the Hurricane Ridge area, outside Port Angeles. On the drive up Hurricane Ridge Road, Dan’s mother dropped Dan and me off (but kept Gabriel – have I mentioned that traveling with grandparents is definitely the way to go?!), and we hiked up Switchback Trail (~1.5 miles), past a trail intersection that went toward the Hurricane Ridge Lodge, to Klahhane Ridge. We walked along the Ridge for about 3/4 mile, then returned and hiked from the trail intersection to Hurricane Ridge Lodge where we reunited with Gabriel and Dan’s mom. The view from the top of Klahhane Ridge was amazing. It was a super clear day, and in one direction we could see the Strait of Juan de Fuca (with Mt. Baker rising in the distance!); Victoria, BC across the water; and the valley below us, including Port Angeles. In the other direction, we saw mountains for days, including Mt. Olympus. The hike was about 6 3/4 miles in total with decent elevation gain (especially the Switchback trail – oof).

On our last full day, we went first to Lake Crescent and hiked the 1-ish mile to Marymere Falls. Then we went to the Sol Duc area and hiked the similarly 1-ish mile to Sol Duc Falls and then took Gabriel into the hot springs. They weren’t that great. Sort of crowded and not that hot, especially the pool that kids were allowed in. But I wanted to do it, so we did. The hikes were nice, though! Gabriel did a fair amount himself, but also wanted to be carried a bit.

One of the evenings, we took Gabriel on his first kayak ride on Lake Sutherland using one of the kayaks the house provided! He loved it, and wanted to do all the paddling himself.

On our last partial day, we stopped at the Dungeness Spit for an hour or so and walked along the ‘spit’ (a narrow piece of land jutting out into the strait). We also stopped briefly in Bainbridge Island on our drive back to Seattle to see Dan’s uncle’s family and the town a bit. Then we ferried back to Seattle (!!!) and flew home early the next morning.

 

Smoky Chicken Salad

As evidenced by this post and this post, I am clearly, though begrudgingly, a fan of chicken salad. I also recently made a curried chicken salad from Week 6 of Cook Once, Eat All Week, which I didn’t document. (It was good, but maybe not as good as the curried chicken salad that my friend’s mom made for a post-Frederick-half-marathon picnic we had at Black Ankle Winery in May… yum.) I still think of it as a novelty and something that I don’t really like, but I should probably officially put it in the regular rotation, because I do like it. It’s versatile (Put it on lettuce! On bread! On other vegetables! Eat it fresh, eat it as leftovers, as a main, as a side, etc.) and delicious. And there are so many different ways to make it and flavors! I don’t have a favorite.

Most recently, I made the Smoky Chicken Salad from Diane Sanfilippo’s 21-Day Sugar Detox Daily Guide. I have not done the 21 Day Sugar Detox, but I considered it once. I don’t know, my days of food elimination/reintroduction programs (or food programs in general) may be over. I learned a lot from my various Whole30s and the Fed&Fit project and other programs, but I’m not sure I have much more to learn, and now it just feels like unnecessary deprivation and a head game.

Anyway, the chicken salad! I was poking through the Daily Guide the other day to get some meal inspiration, and this chicken salad was the second day’s recommended lunch. It used Diane’s own recipe for a smoky spice blend, which used both smoky and sweet paprika, among other spices. Which was perfect, because my parents recently did a river cruise in Europe and brought me back both types of paprika. The spice blend also included chili powder, so it was a little spicy! We didn’t give any to Gabriel. He’s realized recently that more-than-very-mildly spicy food makes him cranky. The recipe also included other standards – mayo, red onion, and celery. No fruit.

And it was good! I tripled the recipe from the book (which was only for two servings), so we had it in the fridge for a few days. I ate some on homemade sourdough (yep, doing that again – I finally let my previous starter that I had for 8 years die, but I’ve started another), on lettuce, and by itself. Dan brought it on a sandwich to work several nights – and even praised it. I think he also thinks he doesn’t like chicken salad and is surprised when he finds he does.

 

In other food news, at the top I mentioned Cook Once, Eat All Week, which I’ve been really enjoying! Maybe I’ll do a post on it, but in the meantime, just know that it’s worth it, buy it. #notsponsored, duh, I’m not that cool. It takes the planning/thinking out of what to do for dinner most nights of the week, and I’ve been able to manage most of the prep during nap time on the weekends (was able to do even before I quit my job).

Did I mention, I quit my job?! I’m currently funemployed and going back to a full time job (still with the government, still in health policy,  but now in Baltimore instead of DC!) in November.

Cheers!

Baby Stuff

Once upon a time, I said that I planned to do a post on the items we had on our baby registry. I never got around to it, which is probably better, because what we registered for is not necessarily what we ended finding most useful. So now, fourteen months in, I’m finally sharing our baby stuff, with plenty of commentary. I couldn’t wait too much longer, because there are constantly new products becoming available, and who knows if this will all be outdated soon. Feel free to contact me with any questions or more in-depth information on our experience with any of these.

You’ll notice a theme for a preference for limited chemicals. We have been intentional about this when it made sense, but not religious about it. A few resources I used when determining what to get:

Also – just a plug here to recommend getting stuff used as much as possible. I know, I know. I was that mom. I just wanted the best and the newest for my little kiddo. But now I’ve spent fourteen months trying to figure out what to do with perfectly good stuff. There’s a constant inflow, and in our house where we try to not hoard much stuff, a constant outflow. But what to do with all of it? It’s agonizing knowing that something is in great condition, a ton of resources were put into manufacturing it and distributing it, and it may not ever get used again. I’ll comment below on what I’ve done with some stuff, and where we’ve chosen to get stuff used.

Nursery

  • Crib: Ikea Sniglar – Chose this for the real, natural wood and lack of paint and chemicals
  • Dresser: Ikea Hemnes three drawer, white stain – Low cost, fit in the small space
  • Bookshelf: White Ikea Kallax shelf unit with Ikea Branas Baskets for the bottom two shelves
  • Monitor: Philips AVENT SCD630/37 Video Monitor with FHSS – nothing too fancy (ie, no wifi or remote video watching), but has a video screen and sound. I think it was recommended on some list of high value (ie, lower cost, but decent quality) monitors.
  • White noise machine: I’ve used white noise since I was 13. This was a definite. We registered for the Dohm, which is what we used in our bedroom when Gabriel slept there (even though we’d used a fan before he was born, and a fan was what I’d always used). I liked having a machine instead of a fan so much that once Gabriel moved to his own room, we kept the Dohm in ours and I got a Hatch Rest for Gabriel. I went with the Rest instead of getting another Dohm because it could also double as a light (for bedtime and overnight feedings) and a green light to rise (or whatever those things are called). The light is unfortunately not bright enough for bedtime book reading, so I still have to keep the hall light on for that, but otherwise I’ve liked it. And a word about the Dohm, which may be true of any white noise machine, or maybe this is a word about new mothers: when we first moved Gabriel into his room and were using the Dohm in our room… I swear, it had this subtle pitch that sounded like baby crying. I honestly couldn’t tell sometimes if I was hearing the Dohm or baby crying. I don’t hear it now. I don’t even know what I could possibly have been hearing. But the monitor frequently confirmed there was NO crying baby, and yet I still heard crying baby, unless I turned the damn thing off. WTF.
  • Glider and Ottoman: Used Dutalier glider and ottoman – A dutalier glider came very highly recommended from a friend whose opinion I trust. I hadn’t yet put thought into what sort of chair I would want, so I avoided doing so and just went with her recommendation. I found one used for $100 on Facebook marketplace and drove pretty far out of my way to go pick it up. It’s not much to look at, but it certainly did the trick during all those late night nursing sessions. Now that we’re finished with nursing, though, I’d like to change to something more attractive at some point. Hopefully I can resell this used, because it’s still got life!
  • Small fridge: Any kind would probably do, if at all. Two sets of friends/parents recommended we have a fridge in the closet of our nursery. We even made sure our house builders for our new house put an outlet in the closet so we could do so. In the end… we hardly used it. We just didn’t have to store milk up there very often, if at all. We didn’t do bottles overnight – I always breastfed. When I pumped during my telework days, I would occasionally stash milk in there for a few hours, but I often wanted to freeze it, so I would bring it downstairs soon after anyway. We probably use it a bit more now because we are giving Gabriel a sippy cup with milk at bedtime, which he drinks very little of, so we store it in his fridge over night and offer it to him again in the morning. But we’ll probably stop doing that soon too. We bought this used and will probably keep it for now.

Sleeping

  • Crib – see above
  • Bassinet: Guava Lotus bassinet conversion – This is what Gabriel slept in in our room next to my side of the bed for his first 3.5 months. We’ve passed this on to other friends with a younger son, although they also have a Halo Bassinet, so maybe only use this to travel.
  • Bassinet sheets: Two Lotus Bassinet Organic Cotton Fitted Sheets and one totally adorable other one off Amazon with mountains and foxes that we liked so much we got the same one for our crib… but can’t find it anymore. We probably only needed two sheets total. There may have been once that we (and by we, I mean Gabriel) dirtied two in quick succession requiring a third before laundry was done, but I don’t remember for sure.
  • Mattress:  Naturepedic No Compromise Organic Cotton Classic Crib Mattress – no harmful chemicals including chemical flame retardants. And it is waterproof. Interesting. See mattress pad info below. What is the point of it? I don’t know.
  • Mattress pad: Pure-rest wool moisture protection mattress pad, portacrib size – Hm, doesn’t look like the portacrib size is sold anymore, and Green Mountain Diapers says the company Pure-Rest closed their business! Too bad. But anyway, wool is naturally moisture resistant, while also being breathable. Ours doesn’t fit the whole size of our mattress, but does cover most of the surface area that Gabriel sleeps on. Doubled up, it fit in our bassinet. We’ve never brought this in our travel crib, but it would fit there if we did. Maybe we’ll need to do that when we start potty training, although the travel crib has a waterproof mattress cover, I think. Hm. Not really sure what the point of this is, actually. But it’s been on his mattress since he was born all the same.
  • Crib Sheets – Two Kaydee Baby 100% Organic Jersey Knit Fitted Baby Crib Sheets (fox and bear prints) off Amazon and the one referenced above in bassinet sheets. Again, three is probably too many.
  • Sleeping clothes and other items:
    • SwaddleMe swaddles – we got a bunch of these handed down to us, and they were great. I wouldn’t have thought to register for them, but they were pretty indispensable. I never could effectively swaddle in those big cloth rectangle swaddles (Dan could), but I could get these pretty tight. Until he started breaking out of them around two months or something, and we quit the swaddle (which I feared, but was fairly painless). I’ve since passed these on to another mother in the neighborhood, I think (I think for free, or maybe I sold an entire bag of newborn stuff for some amount of money. Those were the early days. Now I just post bags full of stuff for free – my main concern is it getting used again, not the money. Said the privileged mother.)
    • Aden and Anais muslin swaddles, pack of 3 – As I said, I couldn’t effectively swaddle with these, but these were still nice to have to cover the stroller when Gabriel was sleeping and wrap him in in the stroller bassinet. Once Gabriel reached almost a year old, I started putting one in his crib and covering him with it at night. It has now become his blanket, it seems. This is a recent development. He hadn’t shown attachment to any particular thing til recently, but I think this is it!
    • Sleep sacks – we transitioned from swaddles to sleep sacks pretty quickly. We started with the Swaddle Up 50/50 Transition Bag, which allows the arms to be constrained in like a swaddle or zipped off… but we just kept them zipped off after, like, a day. We also had a couple Halo sleep sack swaddles that we used through the transition, and two Halo sleep sack wearable blankets (one heavier for winter). Before summer fully arrived, we also got a Burts Bees one in a larger size to provide warmth, but now Gabriel sleeps in just shorts/t-shirt two-piece pajamas in his room that is 78-79 degrees overnight. I have sold or given away all of these (except for the Burts Bees, which I think will still be useful in the Fall) to other new mothers, either via Facebook or just directly.

Carrying/Strolling

  • Cloth wrap: Solly baby wrap – This may be the thing I think was most valuable. I used this for the first time when Gabriel was only days old, and I used it probably every day until he was about three months. It was a) the only way I could get stuff done around the house (and I don’t mean housework… I mean feeding myself, and yes, going to the bathroom); and b) an almost fail-proof way to calm down a fussy Gabriel. I think it didn’t work only once. This came everywhere with us, and I freaked out if we didn’t have it, because if Gabriel freaked out and we didn’t have it, what would I do? (Side note – I think back now on all the freaking out I did about the potential for my baby to freak out, and I wonder what all the freaking out was for?! I mean, babies cry. People know that. So what? Was it that crying usually meant hungry and I didn’t want to be put in a position where I unexpectedly had to breastfeed? Was it that I was worried he would start crying and people would think I was a terrible mother? I really don’t know what it was. It seems irrational now.) (More relevant side note – I think any wrap would probably have sufficed. Nothing specific about the Solly, except I want to support the mom-owned company!). I gave this to the same friend who we gave the Guava Lotus bassinet converter to.
  • Structured carrier: Ergobaby 360 ‘with cool air mesh’ – I think I perseverated over this decision quite a bit and don’t recall how we landed here. We like it! My friend let us borrow the infant insert.
  • Regular stroller: Uppababy Vista – This is probably the decision I spent the most time, energy, worry, etc. on. And I went back and forth a lot. I mostly was between the Uppababy Vista and the Nuna Mixx, but also the Vista vs Cruz. I finally landed on Uppababy for a couple reasons: 1) Nuna was in the middle of changing their product and no longer had a bassinet option for the Mixx. I wanted the flat bassinet. I thought it was important for baby to lay actually flat. 2) The Uppababy infant carseat (Mesa) could be purchased in a material (Henry) that does not use chemical flame retardants. Nuna also had an infant carseat at the time that was made without chemical flame retardants, but only the Pipa Lite – which was super light (awesome!), but could not be seat belted into cars. The base was required for installation. The slightly less light (but still lighter than the Mesa) Pipa could be seat belted in, but was not naturally flame retardant. So I went with Uppababy system. As for Cruz vs Vista… I don’t know that we made the best decision here. I don’t think it matters much. We’re not having another kid (the Vista has the option to become a double stroller, the Cruz does not), and the Vista has been great on any terrain we’ve taken it on… but the Cruz would ahve been a little lighter and smaller. But the Vista hasn’t been a problem. Anyway, we love it.
  • Jogging stroller: 2015 Bob revolution – purchased used on Facebook marketplace. We didn’t get this til Gabriel was around 9 months. A couple months before that, my parents brought us an Expedition jogging stroller they’d found for free on the side of the road. It was not in the best shape, but it was useful for determining whether I’d actually be interested in a jogging stroller. Turns out the answer was yes, so we decided to invest in one in better condition.
  • Travel stroller: GB Pockit. Lightweight and folds up small! Which is awesome. However, ours malfunctioned after being used only a handful of times (the handle up/down mechanism stopped catching). I called the company, and after a bit of a runaround, they sent us a new one and had us send the defective one back. Hooray!
  • Hiking carrier: Deuter Kid Comfort. We just bought this! The Ergo was no longer cutting it for hikes. We went on our first hike last weekend, and it worked great! It was comfortable to wear, Gabriel took a nap in it. Perfect!

Feeding

  • Breastfeeding Pillow: Boppy and BrestFriend – preferred the Boppy and sold the BrestFriend before I’d finished breastfeeding. A friend lent me a Boppy (I’d registered for the BrestFriend), but I returned that to her when Gabriel was about six months and bought my own. It’s still upstairs in the closet. Need to get rid of it.)
  • Pump: Spectra S2. It was between this and the Medela one that everyone likes (I forget the name). My insurance covered both. They unfortunately didn’t cover the Spectra S1, which is battery powered rather than corded, but that was never a problem for me anyway. I went with the Spectra because I’d heard it was quieter. I liked it a lot (as much as someone can like something that turns them into a dairy cow). I gave it away to a pregnant colleague in case she wanted one to keep at work. I tried hard to sell it on facebook or find a place to donate it, but no luck. (Facebook kept denying my post… not sure why.) I was happy to give it away. Hopefully she uses it! Places like Goodwill won’t take them. I also used a Medela… Symphony? at work. I just bought the pump pieces for it. I brought those home to wash everyday, but I could have also washed them at work and left them there. That pump is hospital grade. And it was fine, but I actually think I produced more with my Spectra. Or maybe I was just less stressed when I pumped. Pumping at work was stressful.
  • Manual pump: Lansinoh. I brought this to and from work every day in case I ever got stranded at Union Station trying to come home and desperately needed to pump. As it turned out, I didn’t really ever need to use this. I chose to use it a couple times at the very end of breastfeeding when I was weening off the final feeds (I was only doing a couple minutes a day, and this was easier to get out then set my whole pump/pumping bra stuff up). I sold this to a neighborhood mom through Facebook. Even though I didn’t use this much, I am really glad I had it. It could have been bad news if I was ever stuck in DC and didn’t have a way to pump.IMG_5831
  • Bottles: Mostly Dr. Browns plastic bottles, both narrow and wide mouth. We tried the wide-mouth glass ones. They leaked. Also, our glass ones were only 5 oz., and we transitioned to 6 oz bottles very shortly after we got them, so only used them a handful of times. Also, daycare wouldn’t let us provide glass bottles, only plastic. Gabriel started daycare shortly after he was 3 months old. Before then, we did bottles occasionally (even once a day sometimes) and would usually use the 4-oz capacity Dr. Brown’s bottles. But once he started going to daycare, we used the 8-oz capacity ones (I think we started with 5-oz bottles when he started daycare, and shifted soon to 6 oz), and that’s what we used until he stopped using bottles at a year. So, we probably only needed a couple 4-oz ones, and we had 6x 8-oz ones (3 narrow, 3 wide-mouth). We used preemie nipples early on, and once he went to daycare, we used 1s. I think we switched to size 2 around 6 months. I tried a size 3 once, but it seemed silly to do that instead of a sippy (the flow seemed similar), so we just worked on a sippy. I gave all of these away to someone through Facebook.IMG_5836.jpeg
  • Drying rack: OXO Tot Bottle & Brush Cleaning Set. Was this necessary? The brush, yes, absolutely. The drying rack… sure, I guess so. We kept this in the upstairs bathroom next to Gabriel’s room rather than down in the kitchen. We usually fed him his bottles in his room and would then wash the bottles up there and dry the on this rack. So it was nice to have a rack up there. Did we need it? Mm, maybe not. A towel probably could have sufficed.
  • Burp cloths: Burts Bees 5-pack. Since we had a ton of diaper pre-folds, these probably weren’t necessary. But they’d been on our registry, and someone gave them to us, and I am actually so glad. They are so soft. We still use them. We always have one or two with us in the diaper bag to use to wipe hands or faces or whatever. We definitely used them for burping, also. They’re lower profile (thinner) and softer than the pre-folds, so really nice to have.
  • High chair: Stokke Tripp Trapp – this came highy recommended by our friends form the Netherlands, and we love it. We also got the baby seat, tray, and a cloth cover for it. Gabriel’s still not crawling up into it himself and we still have the baby seat in, but he mostly just eats at the table (rather than from the tray) now. One downside is that the tray is not huge like some, so the silicone plates we have that are supposed to suction to their surface don’t fully fit flat on it, and therefore don’t suction. Hasn’t been a big deal.
  • Cups: Nuk, Dr. Browns with weighted straw, Munchkin 360, and now Bobo&Boo bamboo open cups. We switched off trying the Nuk, weighted straw, and 360 cups when we first introduced a sippy around 6 months. He finally got the hang of them maybe around… 8 months? But he associated the 360 with water and didn’t like milk from it, so we’ve always done only water in the 360 and milk in the Nuk and straw cups. We still give Gabriel milk before bedtime in the Nuk or the straw cup, and also when he first wakes up, sitting in the Dutalier rocker with him. Not sure when we’ll stop this. We’re working on the open cups. He can do several sips of water or milk if there’s not too much in the cup. Then he’ll set it down, usually gently without spilling. But then he’ll either put his fist in it, or dump the whole thing down his front or on his plate or on the floor, and then we take it away.
  • Plates: We’ve had an ezpz silicone tray/bowl and another silicone plate whose sections look like a pig. We also got some reusable bamboo plates for Gabriel to use at daycare.

Diapering

  • Changing pad: Leander Matty Changer – Dan got a recommendation from a friend for this. Other friends had recommended the Keekaroo. Both are not cloth and easy to wipe down. We liked the Leander. It’s wide, so the surface needs to be big enough for it. Our Ikea dresser just barely is. But… I have used cloth/foam/whatever ones that friends have, and they seem so comfy and cozy. Maybe Gabriel would like his diaper changes better if we had one of those. (Probably not.)
  • Cloth diapers: See my post on diapering. My favorite are Thirsties naturals. We bought one newborn Bumgenius all in one diaper that was absolutely the cutest thing ever. He grew out of it in like a week or two.
  • Disposable diapers: For disposables, we use mostly Honest. We’ve also used the ones we got for free when he was born, which I think were Pampers?, and Seventh Generation. They all work.
  • Wipes: Water wipes
  • Wipes holder/warmer: Not sure of the brand, but yep, after a week of scream-filled diaper changes, we got this used from one of Dan’s sister’s friends. We didn’t think we would want/need one, but definitely glad we have it.
  • Diaper pail: Ubbi for our cloth diapers, Dekor for our disposable diapers and other trash.
  • Diaper cream: Natural Boudreaux’s butt paste. Also used Primally Pure Baby Balm early on.

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Travel

  • Infant car seat: Uppababy Mesa, discussed above. We transitioned out of this right around 12 months. We’re about to take our first trips without it. Traveling with an infant car seat is logistically so much easier. Sigh.
  • Convertible car seat: Nuna Rava. No chemical flame retardants.
  • Carrier: covered above. For our early trips, we brought the Solly on the plane, and Gabriel stayed in there pretty much the whole time. Then we transitioned to the Ergo. But he gets fussy in there now, so I think we won’t bring it on the plane going forward, but may still bring it on the trips.
  • Backpack carrier: covered above. May travel with this now.
  • Travel stroller: covered above. We haven’t actually taken this on a plane yet, as we’ve traveled with our Vista. But now that we will be traveling without the infant car seat, I think we’ll switch to bringing the travel stroller.
  • Travel crib/pack n play: Guava Lotus – LOVE this.

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Clothes

I’m not going to list out all the clothes we got or used here. But I will say again, for clothes especially, get them used as much as possible. We did not register for any newborn clothes, except to ask for used items. (Oh, except we did register for non-skid socks, which we got, and which we used a ton.) We of course still got a bunch of newborn clothes (mostly onesies), which we expected – and used, and we also got an entire suitcase full of used clothes from Dan’s sister’s friend. It was amazing. I picked out like five different outfits to bring to the hospital for us to choose what to bring Gabriel home in (ha – see the picture of tiny baby Gabriel drowning in his carseat below. That’s what he ended up wearing. Including the non-skid socks!). I don’t even think he got a chance to wear all of the clothes we were given before he grew out of them, but we had plenty to last us the first three months at least. This lot included the SwaddleMe swaddles I mentioned above. Since then, I have had to buy some clothes, we continue to get some as gifts (and my mom often brings new or used ones from Mexico when she comes to visit), but I also posted a plea for used clothes on Facebook and was given an entire bag of 18mo and 2T clothes for free. That’s mostly what he’s wearing now. I wouldn’t have bought a lot of it myself (there are like 3 jumpers I wouldn’t have thought to buy, but they are so cute), but since I have it, he wears it. When I have bought clothes, I’ve opted for sort of fancy stuff because I buy so little of it (and gosh, it’s just so soft), mostly from Monica & Andy and Finn & Emma.

Bath, etc.

  • Wash: Beautycounter Baby Gentle All Over Wash
  • Sunscreen: Beautycounter Countersun Mineral Sunscreen at home and Babo Botanicals Baby Mineral Sheer and Gentle sunscreen for at daycare.
  • Towel: Channing & Yates, and Dan’s sister made us one. Still using these.
  • Baby tub: We didn’t get a baby tub. We bathed Gabriel in the sink for the first several weeks, and it was absolute hell every time. He hated it and was slippery and he screamed, and it was just awful. So we transitioned to the big tub pretty early on. Friends had given us (accidentally, as it turns out – they meant to throw it away) this… thing. It was a very thin pad, maybe 18×24, with a foam pillow and two foam sides that velcroed on to it. It was the most unsophisticated basic thing imaginable, but it was great. We would lay Gabriel on it on his back. The foam things would keep him from rolling over. We’d fill the tub an inch or two with water. And we’d bathe him, and that was that. He totally didn’t mind that at all. I’ve searched Google to find something similar, but haven’t and don’t know what to call it. We stopped using that thing around when he could sit up on his own, or maybe a month or two later, and just sat him in the bath in several inches of water. He loves the bath.
  • Toothbrush and Toothpaste: I bought the Baby Buddy finger toothbrushes and the MAM Learn to Brush brushes early on. Gabriel started drooling a ton around 3 months, but didn’t get any teeth until ten months. He still only has six, and most of his peers have at least 8, if not more. But he still drools like crazy, all the time. Daycare has nicknamed him ‘Juicy.’ Anyway, I bought these in anticipation of those first teeth coming in, but they sat in a drawer for a long time. When he finally got his first bottom teeth, we used the finger brushes every night before bed. But we soon moved on to the Learn to Brush brush with Jack N Jill Natural Toothpaste because daycare required us to send a brush and toothpaste with him at 12 months. We use it every night. He hates it every night. We absolutely are not getting his teeth effectively brushed any night. Please send me your suggestions. (I don’t think daycare is using what we sent.)
  • Nail clipper: Fridababy. I have to say, this has worked great, but I personally still don’t get it. Dan has cut Gabriel’s nails every single time. He used to do it while I was breastfeeding, now he just does it. I have never tried. It has this weird slanted edge that… doesn’t make sense to me. Maybe if I tried once I would understand.
  • Snot sucker: Yes, this is necessary. And yes, we registered for and got the Fridababy one that so many people recommend. And yes, we used it. Once. Every other time, we’ve just used the bulb suction thing we got from the hospital. It only requires one hand! The fridababy requires two – one to hold one end in your mouth, the other to hold it in the baby’s nose… and what hand are you supposed to hold the baby whose nose you’re shoving something up down with? Bulb suction all the way.

Other Items:

  • Boppy Newborn lounger: A friend recommended this. Was it necessary? Nope. But I was glad to have it. I would often place Gabriel in it when I was home alone and needed to shower, or when I was pumping in the morning while still on maternity leave and he was sitting beside me. Sometimes he liked it, sometimes he didn’t. Once he started rolling over, it had to go.
  • Rock n Play: Yep, we had one of these for about six weeks. I got it used through Facebook. Gabriel would occasionally nap in it in the kitchen while it vibrated and while I worked in the kitchen. Once he started to want to flip over, we sold it.
  • Activity Mat: Had this for most of G’s first year, but we didn’t use it much after six months or so. Did a lot of tummy time, but he never loved laying on his back (still doesn’t – he started to sleep better when he learned to flip to his stomach from his back around 12 weeks).

I may add more (or more commentary) to this over time, but that’s what we got for now! Enjoy and let me know if you have any questions!

 

 

Camping with Babies

Having a kiddo changes almost everything. My social life revolves around nap schedules and a 7:30 bedtime, and it generally includes multiple individuals under age two. The books in my living room mostly max out at ten pages and are made of cardboard. ‘Kid’ has taken priority in my fiercely prioritized life over everything else. (If you’ve read my other posts or know me well, you know that ‘ everything else’ includes at the top: 8 hours of sleep, work, working out, eating well, husband, and friends, usually in that order.) Getting outside (that is, getting away from civilization) always fell somewhere on my list of priorities, albeit below all those other things, which is why it only happened a few times a year. And while having a kid has changed my priorities in unexpected ways (for example, it didn’t occur to me before having a kid that I would want to prioritize time with him over other things like working out or sleep, even though I knew I would often need to), it didn’t change that I still want to do all the things I used to do. Like travel. Like trying new restaurants. Like going camping and getting outside.

Those are still priorities, so we’re figuring out how to make them work! As my husband put it, camping with a baby is harder than camping without a baby, but being at home with a baby is also harder than being at home without a baby, and the difference is about the same.

So far, we’ve taken three camping trips, when Gabriel was 7.5 weeks, 5 months, and 12.5 months. Here’s how we did it:

General:

  1. Car camping. So far, we’ve only camped in campgrounds with baby. We used to backpack and backcountry camp, and we are looking forward to getting back to that someday. People do it with young kids, but not us, yet. Car camping, especially if you can find a good campground with reasonably quiet and secluded spots, scratches the itch of being outside, getting dirty, and enjoying nature. It also allows you to be reasonably well prepared for most eventualities. You can bring extra diapers, extra warm clothes, extra food, whatever, in the event that you might need it (but probably won’t). You can leave if you absolutely have to if disaster (or just extreme unhappiness) strikes. You can still rough it… but with a safety blanket.
  2. Length: Just one night. So far, we’ve only camped for one night at a time. We’ve got our confidence now and are considering a two-night trip in the fall. But this has felt manageable and not too intimidating.

Here’s more info about each trip – sleeping arrangements, food, etc.

Trip 1: 7.5 weeks, Cunningham Falls State Park

We went on our first camping adventure with baby in July, which is not normally a time of year in Maryland that I like to go camping. But it was lovely. We stayed in Cunningham Falls State Park.

We arrived in the afternoon, set up camp, and then hiked down to the Hunting Creek Lake and back. The lake was part of the park and had a beach and amenities. I wore Gabriel facing me in the ergo. We put him in a long-sleeve footed onesie outfit, I think because we were worried about bugs and sunshine, but it was a bad idea. Too hot. It was like 90 something degrees out. He was sweating. I was worried about him being dehydrated. But of course, everything ended up fine.

  • Food: I was breastfeeding at the time, so we didn’t have to worry about food for him. He was still up several times over night (I think at least 3 that night). I brought my boppy breastfeeding pillow to use as my sleeping pillow, and then just used it sitting in the tent to breastfeed when the occasion arose.
  • Tent: We only had our two-person backpacking tent that we’d used for years. Clio, our dog, always slept with us as well. So… it was a tight fit.
  • Sleeping place: This one has caused the most consternation. People want to know if we co-slept, but don’t ask directly because they’re worried about sounding judgy or permissive. We did not co-sleep. We brought the Uppababy bassinet attachment, which we’d also been using a lot for naps around the house, and set it at the foot of my sleeping bag. (Note, this picture was taken several months after the camping trip, and no, there was no blanket in the bassinet when G was sleeping in there.)

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  • Crying/fussing/noise: There was a family at a campsite nearby, whom I spoke to upon arrival and told we had a 7.5 week old. I apologized in advance for any noise. They were very impressed we were camping, had kids of their own, and were totally understanding. Gabriel was mostly fine during waking hours. He did have a bit of an extended fit at one point overnight when we had to change his diaper. Well, so. He did. Maybe the neighbors woke up. Maybe they didn’t. I don’t know. I would obviously prefer not to bother them at 3am, but if I did, I’m sure we’re all over it by now. He was a bit fussy the next day, too, but it was during the day, and so what.
  • Diapering: We used our diaper changing pad either on the picnic table or in the tent. We put used diapers in wet bags. We threw them out (we used disposable) when we were at a trash can.

I don’t think Gabriel had a ‘bedtime’ yet then, but we put him to sleep at some point before I went to bed. I wasn’t doing that that often then – staying up past when he went to bed. But I did that night, and I sat in a camp chair and enjoyed the fire and the stars and just thought it was totally worth it. And that’s what I remember, not being tired.

I also remember sneaking out of the tent at 5am, hoping to get some me time. This is a feature of my past camping experiences that I really hope to retain. I’m often the first one up, and I have time to make myself coffee, sit by the fire pit, and just enjoy – alone. I was hoping to get to do that on this camping trip. I think I got far enough to have made coffee before Gabriel woke up. Alas.

We went for another hike from the campground. Gabriel mostly slept, if I recall (again in the ergo, facing me).

Then we drove home, feeling very accomplished. If I remember correctly, though, Gabriel screamed for almost all of the 1.5 hour drive from the backseat. Sigh.

Trip 2: 5 months, Kearneysville, WV

Our second camping trip was at the end of October, when Gabriel was five months old. We stayed at this historic nature preserve that Dan found on airbnb. It was actually totally bizarre. You can rent this whole, huge… space. Overlooking this water-filled quarry. So we did. It wasn’t a traditional campsite near hiking, but we were able to take a 1-2 mile walk around the quarry, which was nice.

Dan’s sister came with us. She slept in our backpacking tent, and we slept in a borrowed four-person tent. The weather was pretty cold and windy. We had to stay pretty bundled up the whole time. In general, I did not enjoy this trip as much. Gabriel was pretty fussy the whole time and was not ever content to not be held. This was generally true at that point in his life, and I also think he may have been cold. I did most of the holding of the fussy baby and didn’t get to do much else.

  • Food: Still breastfeeding. I have no recollection of how many times he woke up over night, though I do know he’d only slept through the night once in his life by that point, so I know that didn’t happen.
  • Tent: We borrowed a four-person Kelty tent-mansion from friends for the occasion. It worked great! Much more space than our previous tent.
  • Sleeping place and clothes: We brought our Guava Lotus travel crib, which fit perfectly well in the tent-mansion. But it was pretty cold. We bundled Gabriel into a onesie, footed pajamas, a footed fleece thing (the orange one in the pictures below), and then another footed and hooded fleece thing (the blue one in the pictures below). Plus a hat. He seemed okay, and slept. I can’t remember if we had to change his diaper overnight. I think we did! Oof, that must have been a task (though I don’t have a clear memory of it, obviously). You can see I left his right hand uncovered, though, since he likes to suck his fingers. Seemed to be the best choice, though I did perseverate over it.
  • Other items: The plastic-y picnic blanket you see in the pictures below is nice to have for floor time.
  • Crying/fussing/noise: No one was around, so nothing to worry about here.
  • Diapering: Same as before. We use disposable diapers and threw them away when we could.

Trip 3: 12.5 months, Wolf Gap Recreation Area

Our final trip with a baby (he hadn’t started toddling yet, so I think ‘baby’ is still appropriate) was to Wolf Gap in the George Washington and Jefferson Forests. It is in West Virginia, but right on the Virginia state line. It was about 2.5 hours driving time for us, and I was nervous about that. At the time, that would be the longest car trip we’d taken with Gabriel to date, and he’d been increasingly mobile and discontent to sit still (still true). But it actually went fine. We timed it well with naps, and he mostly slept. Our trip there took a total of about four hours, which included a detour into Shenandoah because we were there and also lunch in… Woodstock, VA, I think. Wolf Gap only has 9 sites, and I was a little worried about getting one, but there were a couple left when we arrived. We stayed in #8, I think.

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A friend we’ve often camped with (both since being in Maryland and when we lived in Atlanta) drove up from Knoxville to join us. He brought his small dog, so Clio had a friend as well.

Before this trip, we purchased our own tent mansion, and this was our first use. It worked great. We also brought what I lovingly call ‘the cage’ – one of those six-sided plastic gate play pen things. We didn’t use it a ton, but Gabriel was occasionally content to be in there for a few minutes at a time when we all needed our eyes and hands to put up the tent, wrangle the dogs, or whatever else. The dogs got more use out of it, though.

After setting up camp, we went for a hike from the campground up to Big Schloss peak. I think it was two miles each way. I wore Gabriel in the ergo on my back. It was my second time doing so, and it works okay, but it definitely convinced me that I want a real child carrier for hiking (just ordered, arriving this week, hooray!). He tolerated it okay, but couldn’t really see over my shoulder. He was pretty fussy by the end and wanted to get out.

  • Food and accessories: First, we bring a structured silicone bib with the pouch that catches things whenever we eat out with Gabriel. One lives in the diaper bag. Brought that. We also bring one of his silicone placemats with attached compartments or bowl. Brought one of those. Gabriel mostly eats what we eat, so he had a (cut up) hot dog and bun for dinner like we did. For breakfast, he had packaged oatmeal like we did. We also had lots of snacks. String cheese, apple wheels (these Gerber teething things), pouches (at least to get in some fruits and veggies!), bananas. I think we were still feeding G pouches with a spoon then, but we have since moved on to letting him feed himself pouches. We had just transitioned to cow’s milk, so we brought milk in the cooler and his sippy cup. And we brought one of his 360 cups that he drinks water out of.
  • Tent: We used our newly-purchased REI Base Camp 4. Perfect. Plenty of space, easy to set up, nice vestibule, good windows.
  • Sleeping place and clothes: Again, the Guava Lotus. I think I had footed pajamas and a sleep sack for him. It was pretty warm but cooled off a bit at night. Nothing crazy, though. OH. We also have a portable white noise machine. I turned it on when G went to bed (before us, at 7:30), but turned it off when we came to bed because my husband (rightly so) wanted to hear the nature. I can’t remember if we used this for the earlier camping trips. But it always comes on other trips with us.
  • Other items: The same plastic picnic blanket was useful, especially in the cage thing.

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  • Crying/fussing/noise: Gabriel was sleeping through the night by this point and doesn’t have major meltdowns during the day, though I’m sure he cried at points.
  • Diapering: Same as before. We use disposable diapers and threw them away when we could.

 

So. That’s how we’ve made camping work, so far.

I also still want to do the things I used to want to do, but never made time for. Like… kayaking. Like… a lot of mountain biking. Like… a daily yoga practice. But if I never (or rarely) made time for them before, I’m definitely not making time for them now. But I will keep finding a way to do the things at the top of my priority list. Next camping adventure: October.

She Uses Cloth Diapers

It was never really a question of whether we would cloth diaper or not. Of course we would. I knew my husband would insist on it, even if I didn’t. And really (as someone who had maybe changed one diaper in my entire life and so had no idea how to deal with ANY kind of diaper), I felt more familiar with cloth diapers than disposables because most of my friends who’d had kids in the recent past used cloth diapers.

Still, I didn’t quite get it. I did research, I learned terms like ‘pockets’ and ‘prefolds’ (and thought WTF), and I tried to figure it out. But finally, Dan and I just asked a couple of our friends if we could visit their houses and view their ‘system,’ which really demystified everything.

I’ve been asked a few times about our routine, and in response to one of those questions, I recently wrote up the information below in an email. Sharing here as a resource for anyone interested – with pictures!

Diaper Types:

There are three types of diapers:

  • Prefolds with covers (ie, a cloth square that you fold three times and then a waterproof cover that you put over it. There are a few variations on the inner part that absorbs the moisture – it’s not always a trifold.)
  • Pocket diapers (a cloth insert goes into a pocket in a cover)
  • All-in-ones (ie, the cloth insert and cover are all connected in one piece).

We use pockets and AIOs. The AIOs are generally the least fuss and what we usually send to daycare. We used prefolds with covers when Gabriel was a newborn because a friend donated a bunch to us. The prefolds are useful as rags/burp cloths/etc. also. We still have some, even though we don’t use them as diapers.

Brands:

My favorite brand is Thirsties natural All in Ones. We also have some Charlie Banana pocket diapers (note, the link is confusing b/c it calls these AIOs, but they aren’t), some SmartBottom AIOs, and some BumGenius AIOs. They all get the job done. The covers we had when we did prefolds/covers were also Thirsties. (Note – most resources will tell you you have to wash diapers 6-10 times before using them the first time because they’ll leak if you don’t. I thought this was hogwash, but it was actually true. A lot of diapers leaked at first, and I thought it was just the brand or we sucked at putting them on. But now they all work fine, so I think it just required washing and re-washing.)

Number:

Don’t get many newborn diapers, but you will need some. Or just use/supplement with disposables for that period. They grow out of them quickly. We had one BumGenius AIO newborn size, and then maybe 24 prefolds and 6 covers.

Now we have about 20 cloth diapers that we rotate through. Most resources will tell you you ned 24-36, depending on how often you want to do laundry. We do laundry every 1-2 days.

Washing:

FluffLove University provides a ton of resources on washing diapers (and cloth diapering in general). Their top recommendation is to use Tide detergent (we use free and clear). Wash just the diapers once on hot, but just the quick wash. (The purpose of that cycle is to get all the yucky stuff off the diapers and out of the water/wash before introducing other items and before doing the more cleansing wash.) Then wash them a second time with other items to have a full load on the heavy duty wash setting (any temperature). Especially in high efficiency washers, it’s important to wash with other clothes to ensure they get enough agitation to clean them. Then either dry outside in the sun (which also bleaches them) or use dryer. The dryer of course will wear them down more over time, but so far ours have worked fine for a year with no sign of wearing out soon.

Poop:

When exclusively breastfeeding, the poop is water soluble and usually not chunky and it’s fine to go in the washing machine. Once they start eating solids (or formula, I think), it’s more important to try and NOT have the poop go in the washer. We use GroVia liners that mostly capture the poop, and we throw away the liner with the poop. We’re a little lazy with cleaning the rest of the diaper if it’s not all captured in the liner, so sometimes (probably often), some poop goes into the wash. The diapers come out clean anyway, as does the wash. Side note, not sure where this belongs: You don’t want to use petroleum-based diaper paste with cloth diapers, I think because it won’t fully wash off and will affect their absorbency. I’ve also heard you don’t want to use zinc-based, as it might stain them. We use a zinc-based one (Boudreaux’s natural butt paste), and it’s fine.

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Diaper Pails:

We only had one diaper pail at first, which we used for the cloth diapers. We have two reusable liners/wet bags. The bag goes into the wash along with the diapers. For all other trash (Q-tips to smear on diaper cream, wet wipes) we just used a normal open trash can. Once we started having to throw away poop, we got another diaper pail. The one we use for cloth diapers is Ubbi. The other one is Decor. We were thoughtful about the Ubbi one (it’s what we registered for). I can’t remember how we decided on the Decor one.

Process:

Lay baby down. Unsnap diaper. Remove GroVia liner, throw away in trash pail. Wipe butt with either wet wipes (we use water wipes) or reusable wipes (we have Bumkins and use Baby Bits dissolvable cubes that you dissolve in water to spray on the reusable to make them wet). Throw disposable wipes in trash or reusable in cloth diaper pail. Remove cloth diaper, put in diaper pail. (If it’s a pocket diaper, remove the cloth insert before putting in diaper pail because you don’t want to wash it with it in. This step is annoying and you may touch pee or poop, which is a reason AIOs are nice.) Put a liner in the new diaper, and snap it on. Voila.

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Overnight:

We were getting a lot of leaks overnight, especially when Gabriel started sleeping longer stretches. (Actually, the truth is that we went through a period of a month or so where he leaked through his diaper every time he slept, including naps – he’s always slept on his stomach, and his stomach would be wet upon waking. I don’t know what changed… maybe he was just a weird size at that time and the diapers didn’t fit him well.) We tried a few options, including adding extra inserts to the diapers for overnight and a new type of diaper (Cloth-eez workhorse fitted diaper) with cover (we again used Thirsties). Those didn’t work. We finally switched to overnight disposables (Honest brand). Now that Gabriel eats and drinks more like a normal person, I bet we could switch back to cloth and it would be fine. The disposables aren’t as full in the morning as they used to be.

Daycare:

We send 5-6 diapers to daycare prepared with a liner in them. We also send wet bags and have a trash can there. Daycare just takes the diaper off and throws it in the wet bag, liner and all, so we have to remove pocket liners (if daycare got a pocket diaper) and poop liners before putting the diapers in our diaper pail for washing at home. We also usually keep a small stash of disposables there just in case… but not too many, because otherwise daycare will just use those.

Travel:

We usually use disposables for traveling due to lack of access to a washing machine and our small supply. And they take up less room.

So that’s that!