On the other hand, the internet age that makes it possible to feel judged in everything you do also makes it possible to find new methods for things that may or may not work better than the way "everyone else" around you does it.
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Here are some of the resources and products that we like. What worked for our kids may not work for yours. But we think some of these things are worth the try.
On this page you'll find:
- General Parenting Information
- General Baby/Kid Products
- Diapering and Potty Training
- Online Communities Where I Like to Hang Out and Get Advice.
General Parenting Information
Minimalist Parenting by Asha Dornfest and Christine Koh
The Wonder Weeks by Frans Plooij This book is SO AWESOME. It talks about the major developmental leaps that your baby goes through in the first year+ of life. Before they go through a leap, they go through a fussy period while their brain is growing. This book tells you when to expect these fussy periods and makes them SO much easier to deal with. It also has checklists of developmental milestones that may occur with each leap. I love it!
We vaccinate. We believe in herd immunity. We travel a lot and so we do it on the recommended schedule, otherwise we might consider a delayed schedule.
General Baby/Kid Products
BOB Revolution Stroller and Duallie: Inflated wheels, fingertip handling, turns on a dime, converts to jogging stroller, takes every kind of abuse, carries luggage through the airport at 3 times its rated capacity - what's not to love? Ours have been all over the world. Disclaimer: we bought both of ours used off of Craigslist at a significant discount.
Baby carriers: Moby Wrap and Ergo Performance. I like a wrap carrier for the newborn and small infant phases. From older baby through toddlerhood, the Ergo is our go-to. We also have a Deuter KidComfort II frame backpack. Now that we are doing a little more hiking, I can really see the benefits - very comfortable for both parent and kid.
Radian R120 - In general I ascribe to the theory that all car seats must meet safety standards, and you probably shouldn't spend too much of your precious focus and concentration trying to wheedle out the fine points. Affordable and functional is a good way to go. BUT we fly a lot. Many car seats have pretty huge footprints and are a beast to carry around and/or install. The Radian series has the narrowest footprint on the market so that it fits in all airplane seats, it folds up and you can wear it like a backpack for ease of transport, and the thing has a reinforced steel frame which makes it built like a tank.
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League - If you are interested in breastfeeding, this book talks about the benefits, the how-tos and troubleshooting the common issues.
KellyMom The best website for breastfeeding information, hands down.
Breastflow bottles - This was the brand that my Lactation Consultant recommended as being most breastlike. More importantly, both my kids (eventually) took them. If your kid happens to not like them, move on to the next bottle style!
Baby Led Weaning - This is an amazing approach to introducing solids where you - get this - give your baby actual food to eat. No separate adult/baby mealtimes, nothing special to prepare because baby eats what you eat. Totally easy. Yes, it's a little messy, but when is having a baby not messy? Highly recommended. You can also check out a website on the subject here.
Diapering and Potty Training
Here is everything I know about cloth diapering:
We use BumGenius 4.0 One Size Cloth Diapers. They were super easy to get started with, and one set will be good for the entire diapering timeframe. Generally we love them, but in hindsight, I think basic prefolds with covers may have been just as easy and probably cheaper. I recommend getting snaps - NOT velcro. Velcro wears out too fast!! You can check craigslist to pick up some used ones. You can also get cheaper Chinese knockoffs on ebay, but I don't vouch for the quality.
We use disposables at night and for travel.
How many should you get? It depends how often you want to do laundry. :) For one child, two dozen is a good number - doing the wash every 3-4 days. When we had two in diapers, I picked up about a dozen additional and went to doing diaper laundry every other day.
Some people say that you should use special soap and not detergent. We use Kirkland Free And Clear detergent and it works great. We changed to All for a minute and the diapers retained some stink, so it really does matter what soap/detergent you use. If you don't like how clean they are, try something different.
For liquid-diet poops, you don't need to pre-spray them. Just put the dipes in a wet bag and the poop washes out in the washer. Once she starts solids, you'll need to put the poop chunks in the toilet before you wash. We have a BumGenius diaper sprayer for this application which works amazing, but you can use a regular sprayer attachment or just swish the diaper around in the toilet. No need to pre-soak either way - we store the dipes waiting for wash dry in a can. If you put the poop in the toilet it doesn't smell for a good several days.
We put them through the washing machine on a "heavy" cycle, hot wash. They should get an extra rinse, whether that's embedded in your washer cycle or you run it yourself after the fact. Use about half the "recommended" soap/detergent for the load size. Detergent can cause a build up that affects the absorbancy of your diapers, so you don't want to overdo it.
In the summer, the dipes get hung on the line - the sun will bleach out stains and the fresh air will remove any of that last tinge of stink. In the winter, we hang the covers on a drying rack in the laundry room (they shouldn't go through the dryer) and the dry the liners in the dryer with no fabric softener (because of that residue thing). In the winter, they may need help with the stains/stink thing, so about once a month I throw in a 1/2 c bleach and a 1/2 c white vinegar to help with those issues.
You are "supposed" to do a strip about once every 1-3 months where you run rinse cycles until you stop seeing bubbles to get rid of any detergent buildup/residue. I was fairly faithful about doing that when Andrew was little, but gave up on it with two in diapers and haven't seen any reduced performance. But if I start having absorbancy issues, the first thing I do is a strip.
Oh, and you want to try to avoid using butt creams or powders with cloth dipes - again for the residue issue. In cloth, she'll have less diaper rash anyway. For the times when they have really bad diaper rash (teething), I cream them and put them in a disposable for a day. That, combined with some diaper free time, clears it right up. If you want to cream her and still use cloth, you may need to do a more significant strip - Google "dawn diaper strip." I've never had to do that.
Oh Crap! Potty Training - This is how we potty trained Andrew at 22 months. Jamie posits that there's a window for potty training between 21 and 30 months.
WhisperClose Seat and Lid in Regular and Elongated These were splurge purchases on the recommendation of OCPT. Turns out I love them. Andrew loves them. They work. It's amazing how happy a good toilet seat can make you.
Oh, sleep. The crux of parenting strife, especially during the infant year. Here's my take: little babies aren't meant to sleep through the night. The vast majority of them will eventually get it - the trouble is you have no idea when that will be. For my babies, they pretty consistently wake every 2 hours at night until the magic age of 10.5 months, when it gets better. (Sample size = 2.) I know that it's frustrating. You are not alone. But anything that anyone has ever written in a book will tell you what has worked for their babies or what has worked for a small subset of babies they knew once, and there's no guarantee that it will work for your baby. There is no silver bullet. I recommend you either read a lot of sleep books and glean little bits that work for you from all of them, or read none and go with your gut instinct. And hang out with people who encourage you instead of people who make you feel like you are doing something wrong if you can't seem to get your baby to sleep. And survive the first year.
That said, here are a few books that made more sense to me than not. YMMV.
Online Communities where I like Hang Out and Get Advice
AskMoxie Moxie is just a mom. She posts questions from other moms, gives her answer, and then opens up the comments for commiseration. Her catch phrase is “It Gets Better.” GREAT resource for breastfeeding or sleep frustrations, especially sleep regressions.
TCOYF This is the forum that goes along with my “symptothermal method” of birth control and/or trying to conceive. But I learned about a lot of natural childbirth and natural parenting stuff here. The book for this natural, non-hormonal method of birth control is Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler, which is a must read for any woman who wants to understand her body. The forums tend to be pretty low-drama and you can get some balanced information.
Mothering This is on the crunchy-hippie-granola side of the spectrum, and they restrict the discussions to methods that are consistent with that lifestyle. But there is some good information on basic natural birth and parenting stuff.