So everyone knows that all babies do is eat, sleep, and poop. Well, for the first few months anyways. So lets dive right in to the basics of babyhood: diapers, food, and sleep.
When I told people we were cloth diapering, everyone thought we were CRAZY. I think a lot of that stems from people picturing the old school cloth diapers; with safety pins and rubber pants and boiling them clean on the stove….
BUT THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY!
Cloth diapers have come a long way. We use 22 bumGenius diapers for Jude, which we had to wash every other day when he was little, but can now stretch into washing only every 3 days. We recently acquired some used Charlie Banana diapers from a friend to buff up our supply for the new baby, but I don’t like them as much as my bumGenius…..
So why in the world would we choose to cloth diaper? Well of course there is the environment. It is estimated that 20 billion diapers go into landfills each year. Twenty. Billion. Whats worse is that those diapers take over 500 years to decompose. Which means that poop that’s wrapped up in there? It’s still going be in exactly the same state as you left it; perfectly preserved inside that diaper. EWW. Besides all that, disposable diapers use 20 times more raw materials, two times more water and three times more energy to make than cloth diapers. So cloth is definitely the better choice for the environment.
Now lets talk cost. Between birth and the average age of potty training (2.5 years), the average family spend about $2500 on diapers, or $1000 a year, per kid. Lets compare with the cost of cloth. We got most of our diapers as gifts, but for this analysis I’ll say we purchased all of them, which would be $440 ($20 a piece). We have averaged that washing cloth diapers increased our utility bills by a total of $10 a month. We also spend $15 on diaper detergent every other month, making our diapering total for Jude’s first year $650! That’s $350 bucks in the bank. Now what about the second year? We already have the diapers, so the only cost is utilities and detergent: $210. Which means that in 2 years, cloth diapers are $1140 dollars cheaper then disposables. Not to mention we can use the same diapers on baby number 2! (and 3…. and 4…. ) Even if we bought 10 more diapers at retail price for baby number 2, and add more detergent and utilities, we would only be spending about 600 for that year, with 2 babies in diapers. That’s $1400 in savings! I think you get my point.
I’m pretty sure everyone on the planet is aware that I am extremely pro breastfeeding. I do understand that everyone has a different experience with breastfeeding, and it doesn’t work out all the time. But I do believe in exhausting EVERY other possible option before turning to commercial formula. Many moms are willing to share milk for FREE. Please don’t ever buy breast milk, that just seems shady. But a mom who is willing to give you milk selflessly? She has nothing to hide. And please don’t say “But I don’t know her! What if she isn’t eating right? What if she’s taking meds and lies about it?” 1. Ask her straight up. Again. She has nothing to hide. And 2. Where do you think formula comes from? Do you know that cow? Do you know what kind of drugs and hormones shes been given? Do you know what she eats? yeah… not so great. There are some great networks including Human milk 4 human babies and Eats on Feets that can help you connect with a donating mom in your area. :D Another option is homemade formula. There are tons of recipes out there, and of course, check with a pediatrician before starting one. Next option would be organic formulas. Or a mixture of any and all of these options. Breastfeeding doesn’t have to be all or nothing. :D
So, I know, breastfeeding isn’t a “weird choice”, but I’m getting there:
I breastfed Jude exclusively for 6 months. Some people find this extreme, some find it normal. Research supports the 6 month mark as it decreases risk of allergies, helps increase healthy gut flora, and strengthens immune system function. At 6 months Jude tried a banana. An actual banana, not the pureed junk. I believe that if a baby is ready for food, the poor guy should actually get food, not a liquefied version of it! Anyways, Jude hated it. He still doesn’t like bananas that much…. but we kept trying. We tried softened carrots, apples, and avocados and nothing. Jude pretty much stayed exclusively breastfed until 8 months, when I came across this. Feeding baby egg yolks? Who knew? But we gave it a shot. And he loved it! After a few weeks he became more open with more foods, and the weirder the better. Even to this day the kid prefers mushrooms, olives, stinky cheeses or grilled onions over bananas or apples. He’s a weirdy. But at least he’s eating.
Lastly, on the subject of food, I want to talk about full term breast feeding. There is nothing magical that happens on a child’s first birthday that makes breast milk any less valuable. I’m not sure where the 1 year old mark even came from. The world average weaning age is 4. So to me, 1 seems extremely early. I also don’t understand why you would replace something perfectly designed for a baby, human milk, with something less fitted, like cow milk, if you didn’t have to. And trust me, I understand that breastfeeding a toddler is tough. Seriously. The teeth, the wiggling. Ugh. But too me it’s worth it. It boosts his immune system, gives him much needed nutrition, and gives us a few minutes to connect. My goal when I had Jude was to reach at least 2 with breastfeeding, although a second pregnancy wasn’t really in that picture. Since I’ve been prego, Jude has begun self weaning, which is bittersweet. But I think weaning deserves it’s own post.
Jude sleeps in our bed. He has since day 1. There are lots of safe (and unsafe) methods of cosleeping. When done correctly, it actually can mean a lot more sleep for all parties involved. I’ve never had to get up out of bed in order to take care of my baby at night time. Never. Just let that sink in :) I actually find the criticism on this one funny, but I will answer all the concerns/questions I get anyways, although I may sound a bit sarcastic….
- “How do you have sex?” hmm. Not that it’s any of your business, but there is a WHOLE HUGE HOUSE that we live in. Do you only have sex in bed? How boring for you :(
- “Aren’t you afraid you’ll roll over him?” No. How about tonight, you lay a 10lb bag of rice in the middle of your bed and tell me if you don’t notice it there all night?
- “He’s never going to leave your bed if you don’t force him to” Yes. I’m sure when Jude is 18 years old and goes off to college he’ll still come home every night to cuddle with his mom. Sounds about right.
In all seriousness, just do your research. Make a decision that is best for your family, not the decision that will get the least amount of criticism. I think that about wraps up all of my weird choices, at least the ones we’ve made so far. :D