Friday, February 26, 2010

And my baby turns 1! How time flies ...

Happy Birthday Gabriel! xox

These last couple of weeks have been super crazy for me between getting oral surgery, keeping up with the business, getting ready to go back to work (yes I do have another job) and introducing my little one to daycare.

Today my youngest turned 1 and I can't help but to feel sad when I think of how quickly time goes by. Exactly one year ago I was in the hospital holding my newborn baby in my arms and tonight I sit at my computer writing about his first birthday. I really wish we could slow down and enjoy every moment of life more :( We take so many things for granted and we forget to savour those little everyday moments (at least I know I often do).

On Monday morning I return to work (for those of you who did not know I have been a neonatal nurse for the last 12 years at our Children's Hospital). Don't get me wrong, I love my job but what I feel sad about is leaving both my children at a daycare all day while I go and care for other families' babies. I adore the NICU, the babies and the families, always have, but since I have had my own kids, my priorities have shifted a little and part of me wishes I could stay home with them all the time (except for when my 2 year old acts up, which is quite often lately ! :)

If all goes well, I will be able to work part time at the hospital and continue on with Ottawa Cloth Diapers, which I also love. The challenge is finding enough time to spend "quality moments" with my family and taking care of all the rest. If I could survive on 2 hours of sleep, I would!

When I started Ottawa Cloth Diapers 2 years ago, I knew it was going to be busy but I could never have imagined the amount of time and work it was going to be. I am proud of where the business is at so far and hopefully it will continue to grow slowly as I start this new chapter in my life.

I just wanted to thank everyone for all of their support and encouragement. Without all of you, there would be no Ottawa Cloth Diapers.

To finish, I just wanted to tell of all of you to enjoy every little moment with your family as time flies by so fast. Children are so precious ... everyday I try to teach them things but it is me who learns the most from them :)

I'd love to read your comments or personal experiences about balancing family and work and how to appreciate every little moments in life.

Have a great weekend!


Monday, February 15, 2010

Photo Contest 2010 Winners ...

And the 3 winning photos for our 2010 Photo contest on Facebook are (drum roll please ...)

#1 Mila (Mommy Julie) - wins a $25 gift certificate

#2 Seth (Mommy Rebecca) - wins a $15 gift certificate

#3 Damien (Mommy Karine) - wins a $10 gift certificate

Congratulations to all 3 of you! I will be sending your gift certificates via e-mail this week. Thank you to everyone who participated by submitting photos and by voting! I love all the photos and all the babies are winners to my eyes :) I have enjoyed doing the photo contest and will certainly be doing another one sometime this year. Thank you also for bringing new faces to my fanpage, it is truly appreciated!


Friday, February 12, 2010

Why is choosing cloth diapers such a difficult decision anyways?

Super Whisper Wrap (Froggy Pond) by: Bummis

OK so lately I have been thinking about what to write for my next blog post and although I have lots of ideas, lately I have been feeling as though I need to vent about the whole concept of choosing cloth diapers. Why is it such a difficult decision? I hope no one will be offended as these are just my own opinions and are not meant towards anyone in particular :) Please feel free to add any of your own comments to the discussion.

I often do information sessions at my showroom which I love doing as I love giving information to people about the different options and how easy cloth diapering really is and how much it has changed over the last few years. For me now that I have been using cloth diapers for approx. 2.5 years, it is a no brainer why using cloth diapers is the right decision to make. But unfortunately it is not that obvious for everyone?

Too much work ??
what is hard about doing an extra load of laundry every 2-3 days? Is it easier to throw away and forget about it? I suppose. Imagine 5000-7000 soiled disposable diapers in a landfill rotting for hundreds of years per child! Can you really forget about that and sleep soundly at night?

What about all the water we use to wash the diapers ... Instead think about the amount of water used to make 5000-7000 disposable per child compared to the amount of water used for washing diapers every 2-3 days (which is comparable to the amount of water you use to flush your toilet everyday).

But there is still water and chemicals used to manufacture cloth diapers someone might mention. You're right. But you may use approx. 24-36 diapers for 1 or more children and then these may even be reused as seconds for another family. Prefolds can be reused as rags when you are done. This is still not comparable to the amount of water and chemicals used to make thousands of disposables per child!

I always compare it to this ... do you use disposable dishes every day? No. But what about the water you use to clean your dishes? :) What costs more, disposable dishes or a set of reusable dishes? Disposables are cheaper at first but not in the long run of course. Same for cloth. You can buy a set of dishes for pretty cheap or you can splurge for a more expensive set of dishes like Denby tableware. The same goes for cloth. You can get all set up for approx. $200-300 or you can splurge and spend $800-1000. In the end you will still be saving money and the environment. The sooner you start with cloth, the better for the environment and the more you will save.

Let's do a bit of both. Why?? I guess it is whatever suits your lifestyle but why is using disposable diapers easier when you go out?? Just use cloth and instead of throwing it in the garbage just place it in you wetbag and bring it home. Not too hard. I suppose it's like disposable dishes. There are certain occasions where it might be handy. Maybe once a year (not every time you have company over!).

We'll do disposables at night. Again, why??
There are so many great products out there that will work great for night. In fact, in my household using a disposable diaper overnight means wet sheets in the morning for my oldest son as opposed to using our cloth diapers. But night time diapers can be expensive ... sure you might splurge a few more dollars on a wool cover or a deluxe bamboo fitted diaper but you only need a total of 2-3 night time diapers as you are washing every 2-3 days. It will still be considerably less expensive than doing disposable diapers.
I don't want to touch pee and poop, yuk! Well I have got news for you ... whether you use disposable or cloth diapers you will eventually get dirty hands. For those who use disposable diapers, think of up the back explosions. Does this ring a bell? I know for me when I switched to cloth, the back explosion ended thankfully.

... nothing is 100% guaranteed. Leaks happen with disposables too you know. If you have a good fitting diaper with enough absorption leaks are a rare occasion, very similar to disposables. Of course during daytime we recommend you change your baby every 2-3 hours. Why would you want to keep your baby longer in a dirty diaper anyways? If you do, you are much more likely to have skin rashes.

Money, money and money

OK, so do you wear disposable clothing every day? No. But what about the water you use to wash them with? :) Think about how much money you spend on clothing for your baby/child? Do you need everything you have in the closet?

Most couples who find out they are expecting a baby start preparing before the baby arrives. They purchase a bassinet, crib, stroller, carseat, toys, linen, clothes, etc. Cloth diapers should just
be part of that list in my opinion. Most people don't think twice in spending hundreds and even thousands of dollars on clothing and baby needs. In fact the booming baby industry has us believing that we need lots of baby gear when in fact a baby does not need much more than breastmilk, a small layette, a place to sleep, diapers and lots of love. So all this to say that you should think of cloth diapers as part of your baby's wardrobe need.

One-size and wear and tear

This brings me to the popular one-size diapers. One-size diapers are very appealing to customers since in theory you only need one set of diapers from birth to potty training. However what people sometimes don't think of is that one-size diapers are usually quite bulky and leak more often on newborns and will fit much better once the baby is 10-12lbs. So what do you do with your 7lb baby until he/she fits in his new one-size diapers? We'll do disposables until the baby gets bigger! Sure but no. I think the best solution is to get set with some newborn size diapers. You can get many that go from approx. 6-12lbs. Then when your baby is out of these you can go to your next size up or use one-size diapers. Sure it will cost more money but you would have spent it on disposable diapers anyways and this way you will have less wear and tear on your diapers. This is the second downfall of one-size diapers. They get a lot more wear and tear and these often need to be replaced for the next child (there goes your investment of saving money by buying one-size). I always say ... do you shop for one-size clothing? No. Most people will purchase a few newborn size outfits and then will go to the 3-6mos size and then on. Do you have clothing that wear and tear with one child and never lasts for 2-3 kids? I know I do. I have 2 boys and so far a lot of my 2.5yr old son's clothing is not good for my second son (i.e. holes in pants, holes in socks, stains, etc). Not to mention that they were both born in totally different seasons!

And for my last point, trying it out diapers before purchasing ...

Sure I offer a diaper trial program like a lot of other stores and it is very popular. But truly I don't think it is something that is necessary. I do it more for those who are afraid so they can find out that cloth diapers are so easy! The trial might help you decide which brand you like best but you should not need a triel to decide whether cloth is for you or not. Cloth should just be a done deal if you ask me. And as far as deciding which one you want to invest in, I think it should be like most other things we purchase. You don't ask to trial a crib for a couple of weeks before making a decision whether or not to purchase it. Same goes for most other baby items we purchase (i.e. stroller, highchair, clothing, etc).

Shop around, get some information, look at your options, look at reviews and decide what will suit your needs. I'm not one to invest in only one brand, as I like variety and this way if there are acouple of diapers I purchased that don't work as well for my kids than at least I have others to choose from. If you are one who does only want one kind, then either you are able to find what you are looking for by doing research and getting information or the diaper trial might be a good option. Most people know what they will like before even doing the trial just by getting information and browsing at the different options. I think of it this way, how many times do you purchase a piece of clothing that end up in your closet and rarely worn? This might happen with a couple of other things you purchase for your baby (i.e. bumbo seat or a cute fluffy diaper you fell in love with that just doesn't work for your baby). You can always sell it as a gently used item on kijiji or used ottawa.

And don't worry, your husband will come on board and it is possible to find a daycare who accepts cloth diapers.

OK so now I feel much better :)

All that said, I am very sincere when I say that I love helping my customers find the right options for them whether it is through a visit to my showroom, answering questions by phone or e-mail or by offering them my diaper trial. If not, I would not be in this business. All of the above comments are normal questions to ask and hopefully once you get the right information you will think like me and decide that choosing cloth diapers is a no brainer for you, your baby and the environment.

OK, enough said!

I would love to hear your comments.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

How do I organize my cloth diapers?

Wow how time flies by. I make myself little notes to write out a blogpost at least every week but the note just keeps being pushed back to a later time and next thing I know I have not posted for almost a month :(

So today (on my 34th birthday - time does fly by!!!) I decided I absolutely needed to write a little something.

Yesterday I went out and bought a wipes warmer (I finally caved in after 2.5 years!) and as I was re-organizing my laundry room (which is where I store my cloth diapers), I thought maybe I could take pictures and share a blogpost on how I organize my cloth diapers. I always like seeing how other people store their cloth diapers and I often get asked how I do it when customers come to my home showroom. So here it is ...

We live in a 2 story home. Both my sons' rooms are upstairs and the baby's room is where I have a changing table. However the only time I use this table is after bath time when I am putting on night time diapers and pj's so I don't actually store any cloth diapers upstairs, I just bring the night time diapers upstairs before bath time and I bring the dirty ones downstairs after bath time. Since our common living area is downstairs, I have created my self a changing table and diaper area right in my laundry room (which is adjacent to my kitchen).

We have a front loading washer so my husband was kind enough to build me a counter over top of my machines so I could fold my laundry. Little did I know at that time that this counter would become my changing table :) I just purchased a changing mattress and put it over top the machines and was able to organize all of my cloth diapers and accessories in this area.

For us it is the perfect area as I can store my clean diapers and dirty diapers in the same place and when laundry day comes the diapers are ready to be dumped in the washer. We also have a laundry tub so I can wash my hands there as well as rinse anything as needed. This is also where I wash my wool covers and longies.

We also attached a diaper sprayer onto our toilet but we rarely need it as both our kids have pretty solid poop that don't need rinsing. Lucky for us :)

The only downfall of our setup is that as we are changing our youngest one he loves to grab all of the diapers around him! One day when we find the time (and money) my husband will build some cupboards/shelves overtop of our washer/dryer so I could place the diapers higher. By the time this happens we probably won't have any kids in diapers :(

Lastly, we have a smaller space in our laundry room that we use for storage and to hang dry anything that can't go outside due to weather. We purchased a drying rack from Canadian Tire that can be mounted on the wall which I love!

This is the counter top that is on top of my washer and dryer with the changing pad where I change my boys and store my diapers.

Here is my new wipe warmer where I store my cloth wipes and beside it I do have a disposable wipes container (for those very big messes :)

Beside my changing table I have a garbage and my Wahmies pail liner that I store in a wicker basket. This permits the diapers to still breathe and decreases the smell considerably (compared to using a plastic pail).

(LEFT) On the back of our door I purchased a cloth caddy (Toys R Us) where I store my rags and in the bottom I place all of my wetbags.
(RIGHT) This is my drying rack for when I can't hang things outside on my clothesline.

(LEFT) My laundry tub. Very handy for handwashing and any rinsing. This is also where I soak my wool covers and longies.
(RIGHT) My diaper sprayer which we use when needed.

I would love to hear (or see) how other people organize their cloth diapers. I'd love to read your comments. You can also send me pictures that I will post onto my facebook fanpage.

Have a great weekend!