Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Battle of Stinky Cloth Diapers - How to Solve Ammonia Issues

Cloth diapers are better for your baby, right? Right? A few weeks ago I was changing my daughter and noticed a foul ammonia smell coming from her diaper. Honestly, my first thought was that the kitty saw an opening for the 2 minutes I was gathering dirties and decided the girl's pile of dirty laundry looked like a litter box so I threw it back in the wash. The next day my other daughter's diaper smelled the same way. This was a strong cleaning product smell that burned your nose! I tried taking all the diapers at once into the laundry and ran the water super hot with an extra rinse cycle. The next day my daughters developed ammonia burns and the cloth diapers, for now, had to go! I temporarily switched to paper Nature Babycare diapers. 

I went online and discovered that cloth diapers, even when washed properly, can build up stink. When the urine mixes with what the diaper is holding it creates ammonia. Different sites had different tricks, here are some that I came across and tried...

1. Soak overnight in Bac-Out. This product is by Biokleen and is a natural safe stain and stink remover. Good product but it didn't work.
2. Sun dry. Ya, like I have time with twins to wait for the sun to appear in my coastal beach town! However, did try it and it failed.
3. Boil for 30 minutes then wash with a special detergent for my very hard water. This sort of worked but I had to do it after every use...also will not work with twins!

After trying all these and finding no solution that was manageable with twin 5 month old babies I started asking locally for advice. I finally found a diaper guru who explained that the hemp in my gDiaper inserts holds on to stink strongly and suggested changing to an all cotton or a cotton/wool combo. Finally I did not feel crazy anymore!

So here is what I learned...

1. Cloth diapers are great but make sure you always start with a diaper detergent that is formulated for your type of water. Our hard water here hastened the process of developing a stink problem. In this process I tried 3 different brands and fell in love with Hard Rock by Rockin Green. The have formulas for soft water and middle of the road water as well as an Ammonia Bouncer (which I wanted to try but everyone was sold out, it must work!)

2. Hemp = Bad! For cloth diapering stay away from hemp. Anything that holds on to stink is your worst enemy! 

3. It may be a good idea to "strip" your diapers clean every now and then, that means boil for 30 minutes. Sometimes detergent becomes lodged in the fabric causing diaper rash and ammonia issues. A good test is to take a diaper and immerse in water, if it does not absorb evenly right away or has patches that do not seem to absorb then you need to strip it clean. 

4. When laundering your diapers pick the hot water setting, add an extra rinse cycle and only use half of the amount of detergent you would normally unless you have the Rockin Green, they got it down so follow their directions. 

5. Pick cloth diapers that are "All in Ones". When I became frustrated and thought it might be the gDiapers I started to check out other systems. I fell in love with the Grovia hybrid system for a few reasons. First I love that you can still "cheat" with flushable inserts when needed. Second, they are all organic cotton with NO hemp! And third, their shells fit from infancy to potty training with a series of Velcro and snaps. They fit my little ones really well and I am very happy with that system and prefer it over the gDiapers. We were already growing out of our small sized gDiapers and had to upgrade anyway so I chose to upgrade now to Grovia so we do not have to buy a whole other set of larger diapers later!

Rockin Green:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Safe Way to Seed a Pomegranate!

Do you love pomegranates but hate seeding the fruit? I have a fool proof method for getting those amazing pink seeds out of the shell with out ruining your shirt. 

Step #1 - make a shallow cut down half of the fruit.
Step #2 - get a large bowl, big enough for you to immerse both hands, then fill with water.
Step #3 - place the fruit in the water and pull the sides apart. Slowly pull at each bunch of seeds under water, they will come off the peel and sink to the bottom. The peel is light and will float in the water.
Step #4 - hand scoop the peelings off the top of the water and drain the seeds.

I hope this helps you enjoy one of my favorite fall fruits!

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Importance of Momma Care

Before I begin let me just say that I am one of the worst people ever at taking care of myself, this was a hard lesson to learn. It took a really wicked flu for me to realize I had to take better care of myself. I felt compelled to share my experience in momma care.
Finding Time to Eat
I am constantly feeding the twins. They eat a total of about 30 ounces of momma milk a day but divided into feedings every 2-3 hours. It feels like as soon as a feeding ends you are prepping for the next one. They eat so much but finding the time for myself to eat is hard. Some days I have a single cup of coffee until 2 or 3 in the afternoon when I finally get to eat. This is not good. Our bodies need food to create energy. Even though I joke with people that having twins is the best diet plan out there I did need to find time to eat. So my solution? Force myself to take a few minutes when I am feeding the girls to eat something myself. They are now getting so close to being ready for solids that they watch me with wide eyed wonder as I eat often making smacking noises. The day they can finally sit in a high chair and eat at the same time I will say a prayer of thanks!
Pretty Momma
I read a blog post not to long ago about how a mom of two kids rarely gets the time to shower, get dressed and make herself pretty. She and other commenter's talked about how they will wear their pj's all day and when their husbands come home they look the same as when they left. My first thought was "how sad". Even with twins taking 20 minutes to shower, dress, run a brush through my hair and put on a little make-up is possible. I just bring them into the bathroom with me in bouncy chairs and sing them loud goofy songs while I get ready. I want to teach my girls through my actions that taking care of yourself is important. I refuse to be "that mom" at Target in her pj's who has not showered and looks frazzled, what is that teaching my daughters?
Guilt Free Exercise
The girls are too young to be left in the day care at the gym but even if they were old enough I would think that I may end up feeling guilty during my work out for leaving them in care. In the end I decided to join Stroller Strides. All the mommas bring the babes bundled up in their strollers with bottles, snacks and toys. We all work out while tickling babies and singing goofy songs to keep them happy and engaged. It is a really intense work out, this is no walking momma group! We are running suicides, working out arms with resistance tubes and hopping up and down stairs. We joke that you know you have been to Stroller Strides when it is hard to stand up off the toilet!
Hubby Time
After baby comes home you switch into a momma role and the hot sex-pot your husband fell in love with is snoring in bed at 9pm while holding a nursing baby! Daddy goes through many changes just like mom. It is important that we find the time to just be husband and wife again. About 1 or 2 times a month my mom comes over to have baby time and my husband and I run away like goofy teenagers. It is essential to find time for just us so we can reconnect. On a daily basis we let the girls fall asleep early and spend some time each night just enjoying each others company.
Connecting With Other Mommas
During the first few years it is SO important that we normalize our situation. Having time to talk with other mommas helps us feel like our lives have a sense of normalcy. Even though I have Stroller Strides I find that we can only talk so much, most of the time we are trying to catch our breath! So one day a week the girls and I go to a parent's group at Parent's Place in PG. In this group mommas sit in a warm quiet room, nurse their babies and have a guided conversation. It really helps me feel sane!
A Few Concluding Thoughts
As with all my advice and sharing remember that the best thing to do is what works for your family! Now go forth and continue to be SuperMom!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What Not to Say to a Parent of Preemie Multiples - Funny Post

Oh boy do I get attention! Not only are my girls adorable, I have two of them and I dress them in super cute clothes so naturally I get a ton of smiles and stares from others everywhere we go. The smiles I love but the comments that follow sometimes annoy me or just plain make me laugh! Here is a list I put together (with humor in my heart) of all the things we hear on a daily basis that you should just not say!

1. "Wow, you must have your hands full!" - okay seriously? Duh! Of course I do, but that was the 2 seconds when I forgot and was enjoying life. 
2. "Awe, a boy and a girl!" - nope wrong! Why do you assume I have one of each when both my girls are dressed in pink? One time I had giant bows on their heads too, I turned to the woman and said, "Yes, I put a orange bow on my son's head!"
3. "They are SO small!" - if you only knew how small they were before you would never say that!
4. "My baby can..." - that's nice but my babies are preemies so I am giving them more time to meet those milestones.
5. "I know, I am SO tired from parenting a newborn." - unless you also have twins, have more then 3 kids or are in a wheel chair I really do not want to hear how tired you are with one baby. Honestly, you have no idea!
6. "You are so brave to be out." - why? I have babies not little monsters!

On the other hand, here are the comments that really make my day.
1. "Wow, you are a supermom!" - yes I am, thanks for noticing.
2. "I don't know how you do it, you are amazing" - thank you for recognizing that my two babies are harder then your singleton.
3.  "A double blessing!" - that is exactly how I see it!