Saturday, June 27, 2009

Boiling Update

First, thank you to so many of you who responded positively to my post on natural birth control via the Fertility Awareness Method. I am so overwhelmed (in a good way) by the positive support and many questions I received here, in my private email, and on facebook. You guys are awesome! Let me encourage you to continue reading and researching - get the book, ask some questions, maybe even find a class at a hospital or women's health center that teaches the method.

Second, and the big news for today, is an update on my PUL post-diaper boiling. (drum roll, please)...............


I'm so excited that boiling all our stash got the diapers so clean that they could pass for new, and the PUL was entirely unaffected by the process. I'm sure that repeat boilings would not be good for it, but hopefully I won't have to go through that again. I have a post coming up about our new wash routine and WHY we have a new wash routine. (All you Charlie's Soap users will definitely need to tune in for that one.) But for now, Hubby has the kids at a family reunion, and I have a quiet house and lots of sewing to get through.

Happy weekend, my friends!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Natural Birth Control, the TCOYF Way

Shifting gears a little bit right now. I'm excited that today is the day that I finally get my little one back in her fluff after a month in sposies; this month has been riddled with bacterial infections, fungal rashes, and more painful procedures than I care to recount. I have an upcoming post planned about my NEW system for caring for cloth, but today I want to talk about something that's really important to me.

Since birds of a feather tend to flock together, as it were, I think that it's a pretty safe bet that a lot of us cloth parents may be concerned about choosing natural alternatives to the things that most of us do anyway. From using cloth diapers to changing the products we use to clean our birth control.

There is just so much about the scientific mechanics of birth control that I do not know the ins and outs of, and I will be quite honest with you. I won't pretend to know things that I do not know. But I DO know that taking hormonal birth control pumps your body with artificial, synthetic hormones day in and day out, often for years (depending on personal usage). How could we ever have thought that this was good for us?

Let me give you a little background, and then I'll get back to what I do know about hormonal birth control methods (e.g., the pill, the patch, nuva-ring, mirena IUD, etc.).

If you have never figured out from my references here, or checked out our family blog that I also author, I am a "soul'ed out," through and through Christian, and unwaveringly pro-life. When my husband and I were engaged and I began considering the prospect of employing birth control, I simply felt uneasy in my spirit at the thought of taking "the pill," but didn't really know why. Against my better intuition, I took it anyway, starting a few months before our wedding and continued to do so through the first 6 months of our marriage.

Let me just say it would be an understatement to say it made me crazy. In case you didn't know, Ob/Gyn nurses call Ortho-Tricyclen "Ortho-Try-Psycho" for a reason.

So I began reading and researching about Natural Family Planning. I was just looking for a better and more natural way, but the things I now KNOW about birth control really disturb me. This is the one thing that convinced me, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that I will never pursue hormonal birth control methods again:

The birth control pill works in 1 primary way and 2 secondary ways: (1) prevents ovulation; (2) thickens cervical mucus to prevent sperm from passing through; and (3) alters the endometrium, aka the uterine lining, to prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg in case the first 2 methods fail.

(Go read this information firsthand from the Ortho-Tricyclen-Lo website, or the Ortho-Evra (patch) website. It's right there in the "how it works" sections.)

I believe that life begins at conception. If I am taking a birth control pill that could possibly "prevent the implantation of" (aka "abort") a fertilized egg, then this medication is in serious conflict with my beliefs on the sanctity of life.

Now, Dr. Husband's position on this issue is that you could never, ever verify that a "period" is a result of a failed implantation of a fertilized egg. But my position is that you could never verify that it wasn't, and I do not believe that it's worth the risk.

So, let's just get the most well-known NFP joke out of the way, shall we?

What do you call people who practice natural family planning? Parents.

Ha. Ha. Ha. ;o)

Seriously guys, there's a better way. It's not the archaic, ineffective rhythm method, and it's not a lot of work. It's called the Fertility Awareness Method, and you can learn all about it in this wonderful, easy-to-read, and often humorous book, Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler.

The Fertility Awareness Method is an easy to learn system of charting both physical symptoms, such as cervical fluid and position (if you're so inclined, haha, pun very much intended), and your waking temperature.

Through utilizing FAM, you will learn how your body actually works, and no longer be mystified by the changes your hormonal fluctuations render on your body each month (and the resultant fluid variations most women undoubtedly already notice).

FAM, when practiced and applied correctly is around 98% effective at preventing or prolonging pregnancy, so it's comparable to most birth control pills, and actually MORE effective than barrier methods (such as condoms, diaphragms, etc.).

And when you're ready to begin or expand your family, FAM will help you to optimize the time in your cycle in which you are able to conceive, which will likely help to reduce the stress many couples feel when they trust in the erroneous notion that all women are supposed to have 28 day cycles and ovulate on day 14, when so many of us don't!! (And if you're trying and trying on days 12, 13, and 14, and then getting frustrated for the rest of the month...and you actually ovulate on day 19 or 20, what do you think your odds are of getting pregnant?)

In addition to shedding light on common issues, charting your symptoms may also help you to work alongside your Ob/Gyn to discover and diagnose problems, like a too-short luteal phase or even endometriosis. (I, for one, cried and cried when I read this book, and discovered that I don't have endo as I had feared; the biggest symptom that gave me great concern is actually so common that it happens to over half of women!)

Charting isn't a tremendous chore, but if you think you won't want to keep up with it, there's a free online help: Fertility Friend. There you can log all your information in, and it keeps track of it for you. Then, if you ever need or want to, you could just print out your charts and carry them into your Ob/Gyn's office for a consultation.

So, in addition to the issues that I encourage you to soberly consider regarding sanctity of life, let's recap on birth control pills vs. Fertility Awareness Method:

Birth Control: headaches, weight gain, nausea, depression, mood swings, chronic migraines, blood clots, heart attacks, breakthrough bleeding, and negative changes in sexual desire. For all this you pay between $2000 and $4000 out of pocket (after insurance, if you have any) over a 10-year span, and possibly face months of waiting to conceive after stopping the pill while you wait for your body to begin "working" again. And its efficacy of around 98% is only guaranteed if you take it at the exact same time every day.

Fertility Awareness Method: take about 1 minute each morning to take and record temperature, 5 to 10 seconds to check cervical fluid before using the restroom 2 or 3 times a day, 5 minutes to write everything down each day. For this you spend about $10 on a good basal body temperature thermometer, and incalculably negligible pennies a year on pencils and paper to keep track of your charts (or use the free Fertility Friend). Its efficacy of around 98% is guaranteed when you follow all rules and principles, and you are free from the "Am I?" worry and anxiety that panics women daily.

Hope this gives some new folks something to think about. I'd love to hear from you guys on this issue, but please, let's keep the comment discussions friendly!

**Update July 2010: Husband and I no longer personally employ the use of barrier methods of prevention during my fertile times. I am happy to talk to people about why if they are curious - just shoot me an email through my family blog. :)

** Updated: Friends, I am loving reading your comments and questions! Several have asked and wondered if FAM would be a good fit for them due to irregular cycles, or not seeing temp shifts after temping for one month. If you have a similar question, please read through the comments; both my friend Jessica and I have responded to these queries. FAM is an excellent tool for those of us with irregular cycles, and the book explains why so much more perfectly than I can, so I also encourage you to find this book! It's a really quick read, and it will truly open your eyes! :o)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sale at MonkeyBuns!

Hey fluff family!

I just got an email from Elissa over at MonkeyBuns letting me know that she's having a SURPRISE sale today and tomorrow: 10% off of everything, no coupon code required!

If you remember my reviews, my MonkeyBuns fitteds diapers and covers were some of my favorite diapers for my daughter's first 8 or 9 months. (At that point, my son was potty trained, and my daughter was able to start wearing her big brother's diapers, which is why I didn't order more MB in bigger sizes.)

If you've been wanting to try out some fitted diapers, and love the idea of supporting a WAHM, please take advantage of this weekend's MonkeyBuns sale!!

(You can also find Elissa at her eBay shop for MonkeyBuns diapers.)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Sale at Cotton Babies! (and update on my daughter)

I meant to get this out yesterday, but between all the laying around and not getting dressed until 5 minutes before my daughter's appointment (for UTI and rash-related issues once again, sigh), I just couldn't seem to get on the computer. As a result, there's not much left.

BUT, if you have a girly girl, and you love pink diapers, and you love bumGenius, Cotton Babies has them on sale for only $14.95!!

Happy shopping!


I haven't written on here in a while, because I kind of feel like a cloth impostor: my sweet little girl has been in paper diapers (sposies) for almost a month, because she's had the most heinous and unbelievable diaper rash for about the same length of time. We'll get it marginally cleared up, and then her bottom breaks out all over again. Fiery red, lumpy, bumpy, scaly, weeping, bleeding, pin-prick dotted, and pustules. We have tried literally everything under the sun, including letting her go diaper free during her waking hours (and just cleaning up after her, oh how I wish I had had an EC-friendly baby potty while at my in-law's) for 2 or 3 days.

Finally, yesterday, Dr. Husband recommended that we take her back in to let her own pediatrician take a look at her. Dr. M took a urine sample and decided to put the Little Lady on oral antibiotics and a topical antifungal (nystatin powder, because we already tried the nystatin ointment and it made literally no impact on the rash in 3 days). So we'll see how this goes. If it doesn't clear up pretty quickly, the ped is sending us to a pediatric dermatologist.

Anyway, because of all the ointments and creams and oils we've been applying, and because I've been concerned about contaminating her diapers with an infection on her skin, I've kept her in paper for the past few weeks. My precious mother-in-law is always so generous and bought us a big box at Sam's, so we still have plenty left to ride out this trial.

It's been sort of nice to have a rest from fluff washing and folding, but I really am ready to get her back in cloth, so hopefully this issue will be behind (haha) us soon!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Demos and Stash Shots

Earlier this week, I had some friends over for a diaper demo. Now, I love to do diaper demos! What a helpful thing it would have been for me to pursue a demo from a cloth-diapering parent when I was doing my research. I really love to talk to other parents who are curious, interested, researching, or preparing for the plunge of changing to cloth, because to read about this stuff online and to see it in person are 2 totally separate things. And, it seems like a lot of parents talk about cloth diapering in really vague terms, and say things like, "Oh, I don't really know. We just decided that we wanted to use cloth and so we did." And I was left thinking, "What?!? That's all there was to it? What about styles of diapering? Brands? How do you take care of them? What do you do with the dirty diapers until you wash them??" and a million other questions. For those who are reading who are currently cloth users, I really encourage you to spread the word! Talk to other parents about cloth diapering, and offer to do a home demo for them. You might be surprised how interested people become.

(A cloth demo is just having someone over - or going to their home, or a neutral location if there's a big crowd - to talk them through the fundamentals of cloth diapering. The basic ways to do it, how to care for them, what a day in the life of a fluffy parent is like, etc. There's no exact science, as one of my friends can tell you; this poor soul was subjected to my first attempt at a demo, and I'm afraid I confused more than I helped. But it's not hard, folks. And you're welcome to use any material I've typed up here, because I'm not here for me - I'm here for YOU! :o)

Anyway, partly in preparation to do my demo, and partly because I had to boil all of our diapers when my daughter had an awful rash, I was able to get my entire stash in one place. MY ENTIRE STASH. I have all the diapers split up into newborn/small stuff that my daughter wore in the beginning (because remember, I didn't switch until my son was 18 months), and the diapers that she wears and that my son wears at night now. Hoo boy.

I want to share my stashes with you, but please remember to do as I say, and not as I do. I have a lot more diapers than I realized I did. And really, we have more than we need, but I have a hard time letting go of things, so nothing is up for sale at this time. YOU DO NOT NEED AS LARGE A STASH AS I HAVE IN ORDER TO CLOTH DIAPER YOUR KIDS! But if you're a little nuts, like I am, then you might want to. ;o) I am not going to link each product, because that would take me forEVER. If you use the customized google search box on this page, you can find most of these products. If you try that, and can't locate something, contact me and I'll get you hooked up with where you can find that particular product.

So here's the newborn to about 8 or 9 months stash:

1 - Bummis Super Whisper Wrap
2 - WAHM cover
3 - Imse-Vimse organic cotton cover
4 - MonkeyBuns newborn/small covers (2)
5 - Proraps newborn covers (2)
6 - Bummis Super Brite cover
7 - Imse Vimse cover
8 - Proraps small covers (4)
9 - MonkeyBuns small/medium covers (2)
10 - Newborn Indian Prefolds (10)
11 - Standard Infant Chinese Prefolds (10)
12 - Kissaluvs fitteds size 1 (3)
13 - Thirsties Fab Fitted, size small
14 - MonkeyBuns small/medium fitteds (5)
15 - MonkeyBuns all-in-one
16 - DryBees AIO
17 - Thirsties AIO pocket
18 - FuzziBunz perfect size pocket
19 - MonkeyBuns nb/small fitteds (8)
20 - Kissaluvs fitted size 0 (12)

(So in total: 20 prefolds, 29 fitteds, 15 covers, 4 AIO/pockets.)

And here's the stash we currently live on, since she has outgrown everything above:

1 - Proraps cover, medium (2)
2 - WonderWraps one-size cover
3 - Thirsties covers, medium and large (3)
4 - Regular CPF (6)
5 - Premium CPF (6)
6 - Infant premium CPF (12)
7-9 - Assorted pocket diapers, all empty in this photo; bumGenius, Happy Heinys, Mommy's Touch (12)
10 - DryBees Fleece nighttime diaper (2, only 1 pictured)
11 - Toddler CPF (4, only 2 pictured)
12 - BubuBebe multi-size fitted (2)
13 - KiwiPie one-size fitted (2)
14 - CuddleBuns one-size fitted (2)
15 - Crickett's Diapers Hemp fitted (4)

(In total: 28 prefolds, 10 fitteds, 14 pockets.)

And that's not to mention all our various and sundry inserts, doublers, microfiber towels, and cloth wipes. Which were not folded. But I took a picture anyway. There's quite a lot. When it's all folded, all the stuffin' material completely fills up one drawer in a nursery-sized chest of drawers.

So there we go! Our diaper stash. Now go find someone to do a diaper demo for!