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Written by Mama Monday

Blog posts written by mamas on cloth diapering, green living, natural parenting.

I recently discovered the term (and accompanying book) “fifth trimester” to describe the transition of returning to work after having a baby. While the fourth trimester, or “lying in” period, is the time you’re able to bond with the baby and focus on healing yourself, the fifth trimester is all about returning to relative normalcy.

Every trimester brings with it its own challenges, but the fifth is arguably the most challenging. The physical exhaustion that a newborn brings along with the return to a faster pace can take a huge toll. However, this is nothing compared to the emotional challenges of leaving one’s baby behind, oftentimes with a stranger.

I just returned from maternity leave, myself, this past week. While it’s my third child, it doesn’t get any easier. One of the only things that helps ease the pain – as with many of the challenges of each of having kids – is the realization that it is a phase and it will get easier.

I’ve also recognized that my saving grace this time around, especially when we have to juggle it with the normal day-to-day stresses of having older kids – making meals, school drop-offs, sitter drop-offs, groceries and errands, household chores, etc etc etc – is self care.

Self care sounds like a cliche catch phrase (and, to an extent, it is) these days, but a couple of articles gave me a new view on it. The article I prefer most is this one, which talks about the fact that “self care” is just as much about doing things that are good for us, whether they’re enjoyable or not. (It’s kind of like eating broccoli…with the occasional ice cream treat for dessert.) Combine this with the gentle views of this article, which are about self-advocating, giving yourself the time you need and deserve, and taking care of yourself as much as you do your family, and you get to the heart and the good of self care.

So, here are some self care tips that have helped my mindset when returning to work that will hopefully help you if you’re entering your “fifth trimester”, as well:

Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize. When it comes to my actual workload, I’m easing back into it by prioritizing the “needs” versus the “can be done later” tasks. At home, dishes come before laundry, a clean table comes before vacuuming, and family time comes before social media time. Important doctor appointments get scheduled, less important appointments that can wait are pushed to the back burner. It’s helpful to boil things down to their essence and let the rest rise as steam.

Pick and choose your favorites. Guilty pleasures are no longer guilty, but there’s not time for all the “that fills my cup” activities I’d like to do. So, while I may not have time to get to a yoga class, I can try to fit one in at home here and there using YouTube. I have a list of podcasts I’d like to listen to or YouTubers I’d like to watch, but I pick my favorites to pack more of an enjoyable punch. There are only so many hours in the day, so make the time count by picking your absolute FAVORITE self care activity to best rejuvenate YOUR spirit (not the hip ones just because others seem to cherish them).

Be your own advocate. In most (if not all) states, there are rules and laws in place to help us in our journey back into the workplace – namely, regarding expressing breastmilk. If you hit a wall with your work, be politely firm that this is a necessity. Luckily, I didn’t come up against any issues, but I have in the past and I know that the views of fellow workers or bosses (whether female or male) are a bit…antiquated. So, read up on your state’s laws and inform your workplace administrator, as well.

Schedule and make the most of your time. Much as picking only your favorite self care activities helps use your time wisely, creating a daily schedule and making the most of your time helps alleviate the mental stress of the constant fluttering in your brain. I’m getting up earlier (ugh) and using every minute until I finally sit down and nurse the baby one more time before bed. My time after bringing my son home from school is taken up with getting his homework done, checking his folder, getting his snack, water bottle, and some of the kids’ lunches set up for the next day, making dinner, showering, and setting out the next day’s outfit. In the morning (when, let’s admit it, we’re often still in too sleepy a fog to actually make decisions), it’s much easier to ASSEMBLE lunches than it is to start from scratch or decide what I’m going to make or wear that day. This may be a pain, but it’s SO helpful to my state of mind.

Allow yourself downtime. It’s hard for people who don’t have kids (or who are from a different generation) to understand this. My husband returned from his two-week “paternity leave” and had messages that said, “Hope you had a nice vacation!” and “Hope you’re feeling well-rested!” Seriously. So, when you tell friends you need some downtime or opt out of a family event to have some quiet(-ish) time at home, people may scoff that you’ve HAD “all this time off.” Don’t fall victim. For all the mental and physical stress you deal with during work days, you need the solitude and peace of your own time to decompress. Consider this your permission slip!

Find the joy during the day. This is another taboo topic, especially since it’s hard to admit that there’s ANY joy when you’re missing your baby, but our emotions don’t live in a vacuum; we’re allowed to be melancholy with a twinge of fun or happiness now and then. For example, simply being able to get into the car without the added heft of a carseat, anxiety of a fussy baby, and worry that goes along with bringing another human being along with you can be so freeing. So, while I may miss the heck out of that little squish, that one action of leaving the house is SO MUCH EASIER and I take a moment to appreciate both things: the love and yearning I feel for my baby but the caretaker who allows me that moment of independence. It’s okay to have a tear in your eye when you leave but to recognize the exhilaration of freedom. It’s. Okay.

If you’re heading back to work, I shared some additional tips my last time around that might be helpful. Be sure to chime in down below as to how you handle leaving your little one or vent about any fears you may have. We’re all here to listen and hold each other up, in good times and in bad!


When you have more than one child, it’s practically a given that you’ll hand down clothing from one kiddo to the next. One of the awesome things about cloth diapering is that you can do the exact same thing with your diaper stash, depending on how hard a baby is on them.

The trick here is to master how to make your cloth go the distance. This is where we check in with our #ThirstiesLive Guru, Laura, with some great tips and tricks to extend your CD’s life.

While, officially, Thirsties Cloth Diapers are designed to diaper babies from birth to potty (we’re hesitant to give a specific life expectancy for our cloth diapers because, like clothing hand-me-downs, each household’s diaper care and use is unique), we have a lot of customer feedback about their Thirsties diapers really going the distance.

On Instagram, some of the Thirsties family weighed in with their experiences: @naturallythriftymom shared that her diapers are “On baby #4 now!” @kristinajura said, “Some of my covers are being used for baby 3 now. And the NAIO are on baby 2. It’s so sweet to see the little one wearing the same diapers her brothers did.” @crystamh shared that she’s “Currently using on my 2nd child. Many of my covers are hand me downs from my sister, who used them on both her kids! Some are a little worn, but still work!” That’s some staying power right there!

There are a handful of things we can do to get the most out of our cloth diapers. Firstly, consider your stash size.

If you’re able to rotate your diapers, it spreads the daily wear and tear across your whole stash, lengthening its life span on the whole. By using the Duo Wrap System, you’ll inherently spread out the use over two stashes of diapers, as well.

The recommended stash size from thirstiesbaby.com outlines minimum stash numbers as the following:

  • Newborn: 20-24 diapers
  • 6-12 months: 14-18 diapers
  • 12-24 months: 12-16 diapers
  • Potty Learning: 4-8 diapers

The next thing to consider is each diaper’s components. Be aware of what will break down first and what can you do to preserve them. Remember that all is not lost when something breaks or wears down on a diaper!

Elastics will most likely fail first. Storing diapers properly between babies will help prevent elastics from rotting. Also, do not stretch elastics when they are hot.

Line dry heavy AIO diapers with the weight on the soaker and not the elastic. Avoid sanitize cycles and bleach as these are rough on elastics. And if it comes time to replace an elastic, know that Thirsties can recommend some repair shops.

Current hook and loop fasteners should stay strong and sticky for the entire life of the diaper. However, Thirsties offers replacement Aplix tabs to customers if they ever want to replace them, and snaps can also be replaced by the company (although snaps should not break or weaken).

Waterproof TPU may eventually break down, as well. Occasionally drying waterproof items on high for 10 minutes can help reseal TPU. Unfortunately, there is no fix for cracked TPU.

Excellent overall care is the third thing to take into account. Follow a basic wash routine for the best care: do a prewash, a hot wash with detergent, and an extra rinse, always using a recommended detergent.

Hard water can be rough on diapers and impedes your detergent from working well, so be sure to add a water softener if your water tests at or above 180ppm. Also, be sure your water heater does not exceed 130 °F. Use the laundry tabs with your hook & loop diapers, as well.

The way you dry your diapers can also greatly affect their longevity. Just remember that heat wears down and can damage all of the components of your diapers (especially the elastics and PUL), so regular line drying or machine drying on low works best.

Hopefully, these tips from Laura help you maintain a great stash for years to come. For more amazing CD tips and tricks, check out #ThirstiesLive every Friday at 1:00PM MST on Facebook and 1:45PM MST on Instagram!

And we’d love to hear from you in the comments: is your stash brand new with Baby #1, holding strong for Baby #2, or beyond? (Ours is heading into #3, but being part-timers definitely helps with its longevity!)

Happy 2018, everybody!

The word “resolution” has gotten a bad rap lately. This year it seems that people are either fiercely against making a new year’s resolution or passionately jumping headlong into their lofty goal for 2018; not much wiggle room. While I set some meaningful intentions for the year, I felt too much negative pressure to set one in particular.

What did get me excited was the idea of creating a resolution with our family in mind. This time of year, I think to lift my mindset up from the downer of saying goodbye to the holidays, so looking forward to what this year can bring for us as a whole family is actually fun.

Here are the things I take into account when making a family resolution:

Think about what your family needs more (or less) of. Have you gotten into a rut, only leaving the house for necessities? Have you gotten into eating too much junk? Do you get outside frequently? Are you itching to share more of the world with your kids? This will probably be a pretty quick and obvious thing for you and your family to figure out.

If possible, don’t do it alone. Depending on the age of your child, get them involved in the process (which is obviously irrelevant if you’ve just got a little baby at home). Either way, if you have a partner, pick their brain so that you’re not doing a resolution that only feels right for you.

Whatever you resolve, make sure it’s fun! If you want your family to eat better, don’t be as strict as you might be on yourself; try saying you’ll try a new recipe or food once a week and have your family help pick some to try. If you want everyone to get more exercise, try playing outside or going for walks. If you want to travel more, make sure there are a good mix of kid-friendly spots mixed in for good measure.

Keep it simple. Adult resolutions sometimes get complicated in their explanations. For example, I was watching a show recently where one of the hosts was describing her resolution and it took several minutes before you could figure out what she was resolving to do. Whether for kids or adults, it’s best to keep these things simple and cut-and-dry.

Don’t forget to include a “how.” It doesn’t need to be part of the resolution itself, but discuss ways to achieve the goal.

Post it somewhere in your house. A piece of art that reflects the change? Written on a dry erase board on the fridge? Scrolled on a chalkboard in the playroom? Anything goes, but seeing it will be a good reminder to stick to it.
If you’re not sure where to get started, here are some sample Family Resolutions:

– Spend more time outdoors.
– Take more road trips.
– Start a family game night.
– Eat one vegetarian dinner a week.
– Go camping more.
– Go to the library once a week.
– Get out of the house once a day.
– Start doing family yoga.
– Start a class together. (Kindermusik, swimming, dance, art, etc.)
– Learn something new together. (How to knit or sew, play piano, learn how to ski or play tennis, etc.)
– Have a weekly movie night.

My family goal is to get outside more together. When things are a bit (or A LOT) warmer, I’m hoping to start slowly with just walks and nature exploration in the backyard, but to work up to hikes and nature walks. Another goal within this goal is that anytime we have a road trip this year to be sure to add one stop for fresh air – whether a park, playground, beach, or camping.


Have you created a Family Resolution this year? If so, we’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!

“The more things change, the more things stay the same.” – Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr

Motherhood is hard. There, I said it. Not only is the actual act of caring for and raising tiny humans difficult on so many levels, but there’s the criticism that comes with it. We deal with enough Mom Guilt (the guilt and criticism we thrust upon ourselves), but even more challenging is the nit-picking from the rest of society. Whether social media, the folks at the grocery store, or our very own relatives, opinions fly from every which direction.

I recently realized that we sometimes unknowingly criticize each other for a particularly ridiculous reason: the size of our broods.

It’s as if a parent with only one child isn’t the same ilk as one with two, and a parent with two has it “easy” compared to a parent of three, and so on and so on. And haven’t we all heard “just you wait!” from a parent with teens when we complain about a tough time with a two-year-old? On the same token, people with multiple kids are called crazy for wanting a wonderfully large family.

We all know that it’s not a competition. No one wants to intentionally make another person feel inadequate or less intelligent. But, it can hurt other parents to their core – and when adding in additional differences like a child with a developmental disability or a family made through adoption or miscarriages/the death of a child or any number of other challenges to face, these comments can be downright devastating.

So, as we greet another new year, I thought I’d point out some of the similarities – the common threads – that we all share as parents (of one or more), and encourage everyone to help hold each other up in 2018.

 

WE ALL TRY OUR BEST – While I’m sure we’ve raised an eyebrow at someone who makes a decision for their child that we might not agree on, we can all pretty much say that nobody makes a decision with the intent to harm a child. In other words, 99% of parents are doing the best they can for their children, right? Sure, the number of kids you have may change your parenting style or decision making, but just as each child is an individual, we’re all doing our personal best job.

 

WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES – As much as we all try our best, it’s inevitable that we’ll mess up. Sometimes we’ll admit it to our child and apologize (if we, say, lost our cool or misunderstood or yelled); other times we’ll beat ourselves up and vow not to let it happen again. Regardless of what the mistake is, the fact is that parenting has a steep learning curve – but it’s called a learning curve, nonetheless. It’s like taking classes everyday for 18+ years (okay, a lifetime) without a book or grades but with much greater consequences. We should allow ourselves the fails, as long as no one is seriously hurt, emotionally or physically.

 

WE ALL GET REPLENISHED BY THE SIMPLE, MAGICAL MOMENTS – For all those mistakes or exhausted mishaps, there are those moments – sometimes once-in-a-lifetime, sometimes common – that help lift us up and fill our hearts. The first step, the first time a child says “mama” or “dada”, the first sentence he read on his own. Even small things, like a new sideways glance that cracks you up or a sweet hug and “I love you, Mama” after a rough day can fill your bucket. And we all so badly need those moments.

 

WE ALL GET OVERWHELMED – Whether from exhaustion or dealing with temper tantrums and miscommunication, everyday stresses can wear us down and, when repeated day over day seem insurmountable. Googling the heck out of an issue can only make it worse and sometimes it feels like a high wire act without a net. One kid or six kids, the overwhelm is real and valid.

 

WE ALL GET EMBARRASSED – As adults, we have a general understanding of appropriate public behavior, right! Well, most of us do. Kids are an entirely different animal. Questioning a woman on her upper lip hair. Asking loudly about the tampons in the shopping cart. Or simply having a gigantic, very public meltdown. It’s all embarrassing…and we’ve all been there.

 

WE ALL END THE DAY TOTALLY WIPED – I’m not sure many of us sit down after the kids are down for the night feeling completely refreshed and ready to attack the to-do list. Sure, we may do some chores or watch a show (okay, fall asleep to a show), but it doesn’t mean we’re not exhausted. It means that we want to feel like we got something, anything done aside from mere survival.

 

WE ALL CRY – Even the toughest of us has a moment when we feel the tears coming. Maybe it’s hormones, maybe it’s the exhaustion, maybe it’s the piling up of responsibilities…or maybe it’s one of those proud, joy-filled moments mentioned above. No matter the reason, it happens.

 

WE ALL LAUGH (SOMETIMES IRONICALLY) – Along with the tears, we all get some giggles out of this crazy gig. Kids can be funny as they discover language, appropriateness, and generally the world around them. So, we sometimes laugh along with them…and, at other times, when the craziness has passed the point of anger and headed straight into crazy town.

 

WE ALL DEAL WITH GROCERY STORE MELTDOWNS – Let me take a moment to specifically give a shout out to the parents at the grocery store. The place itself is a strange microcosm of society, with unspoken rules (and people who unapologetically break them…I’m looking at you, aisle hoggers)…and parents wearing guilt, frustration and exhaustion upon their faces. The necessary stress of keeping the family fed is the only thing that could possibly get us to drag kids – equally unhappy to be there – into this war zone.

 

WE ARE ALL AMAZING…BUT DON’T RECOGNIZE IT – For all the stresses, tears, and meltdowns, we ROCK. The fact that we’re often on autopilot means that we hardly take the time to pat ourselves on the backs after handling a boo-boo, stirring the sauce before it burns, and diffusing a near-meltdown all at the same time and without a second thought. The kids don’t notice it and we often don’t, either.

 

There’s no such thing as a perfect child, a perfect parent, or a perfect family – just what works for you and your unique situation. Parenting is parenting, one child or twenty, and at its heart is ultimately love.

We hope that your new year is filled with all the love, grace, laughter, and joy that you need to help keep you going on your parenting journey. All the best to you and your family, no matter its size!

Basics of Newborn Cloth

For some, it’s a tough decision to figure out if is worth it to cloth diaper your newborn child. There are lots of pros and cons to consider, for sure. Is it more financially viable to do disposables or cloth diapers? Will I need to get a set of cloth diapers just for tiny newborn legs in addition to one for when she grows a bit? And one of the very most often asked questions: how many diapers will I need??

Today, we’re sharing some great information from a recent #ThirstiesLive that will help in your decision-making.

So, how is cloth diapering a newborn different from diapering an older baby?

If you’ve cloth diapered an older baby or are just looking into cloth diapering, odds are you’ve been doing some research. But, while a lot of the information out there about cloth diapering is relevant to all ages, there are some facts that will help you understand a bit more about the differences in cloth diapering a newborn.

For example, there’s sizing to consider. One-size diapers typically don’t fit well until a baby reaches the 10 pound mark. Along these lines, with how skinny a newborn’s legs generally are, you’ll probably need to pull the wings of the diaper up to baby’s waist to get rid of any leg gaps. Also, it’s important to remember to allow room for baby’s umbilical cord to heal.

Then there’s the number of diaper changes you can expect. Since newborns go to the bathroom quite frequently, some consider cloth diapers a big plus – it means that there won’t be any middle of the night runs to the store for diapers when you unexpectedly run out. If you’re exclusively breastfeeding, your newborn’s poo is considered water soluble so there’s no need to worry about spraying newborn cloth before tossing it in the wash.

Speaking of poo, newborns are notoriously runny in this department, so many can expect blowouts…except in cloth! (Of course, if you’re still figuring out how to fit the diapers, you may have some leaks, but once it’s figured out this shouldn’t be an issue.) You may never have to experience one of those up-the-back poop explosions. A good tip is to consider prefolds that you can fasten since the jelly roll fold is GREAT paired with Thirsties’ amazing double gussets (or the awesome AIO leg elastics if you’re considering these) are all great at containing newborn poo.

 

What will you need to cloth diaper your newborn? (Washing every other day)

Since, as mentioned above, newborns eliminate A LOT, you’ll want enough diapers for at least 24 changes and two wet bags (or a combination wet bag and pail liner) for storing your cloth diaper laundry. Here’s what this may look like:

Covers + Absorbent Interior: 8 Covers + 24 Prefolds or Stay-Dry Duo Inserts
All-in-Ones: 24 AIOs
Covers for Day/AIO at Night: 5 Covers + 15 Prefolds + 9 AIOs

Is a newborn stash worth the investment?

Budget is hugely important when welcoming a new baby, and it’s also important to consider both the investment of money but also time and energy. As with many parenting decisions you’ll make, this is totally about personal preference.

When it comes to the investment of money, if you plan on using your diapers on more than one child or you hope to resell your newborn stash, a newborn set of cloth diapers is worth the cost. Here are a few financial scenarios:

    • Stash of 8 Duo Wraps + 24 inserts + 1 Wet Bag + Pail Liner = $306.50
    • 24 Newborn All in One + 1 Wet Bag + 1 Pail Liner = $404.50
    • Two months of “green” newborn diapers, figuring 10 diapers a day will cost $215 and there is no resale value or potential for using on a second kid.

When considering your investment of time and energy, many focus on the extra laundry, but if it becomes a part of your routine it really isn’t as scary or hard as you might expect. It may even sound weird, but many people find that stuffing diapers or folding their cloth is actually kind of a “zen” experience. Also consider that cloth diapering simply WORKS. There are little to no blowouts.

Of course, it’s important to remember your reasons for cloth diapering overall. You don’t have to worry about what is touching your baby’s skin, you can feel good about making a green choice, and you’re ultimately saving money in the long run over using disposables.

As we’ve mentioned here on this blog before, remember that cloth diapering doesn’t have to be all or nothing, either! I, myself, am a part-time cloth user and can still count myself proud knowing that every time I put a cloth diaper on my daughter’s bum, it’s one less disposable diaper that a) I have to buy and b) will end up in the landfill.

 

Are you a successful newborn cloth diaper parent? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments. Was it easier or harder than you expected?