Cloth Diapering 101: Why we love it!

Cloth diapering seems like such an old fashioned notion.  Something that our grandmothers used to do.  Big white cloths that had to be folded and pinned with a safety pin and the whole thing would be covered in diaper cover in hopes of making it look a little more attractive.  These days cloth diapers have gone from being something that’s incredibly inconvenient to amazingly aesthetically  pleasing.  Its not just all about looks though, cloth diapers have come a long way and now is a pretty, convenient option that’s way easier on the planet, but also easier on baby’s bum.

When I first found out about  Arren making a little home in my body, I knew that I wanted to cloth diaper.  I wanted to have a lighter footprint on the planet and Carl loved all the money we would be saving.  As my due date approached and I started thinking about how tired and love struck I was going to be in the first couple of weeks I started getting a little scared.  No one wants to wash a crap load (pun intended) of laundry when you’ve got a fresh little poop monster on your hands.  That’s why we also got a bunch of bio degradable disposable diapers to go along with the cloth diapers.  I’m really happy that we had them on hand they were great!  They fit Arren really well and we got to throw away the gross black poop stage diapers!

As soon as we started on the cloth diapers I was sad that we didn’t start sooner! First of all he looks so cute in all the different colours.  He’s got a colour for every mood.  We even have a cute little pink diaper that he looks so punk rock in.  He seems so excited every time he sees pink!  He also seems happier in his cloth diapers, he doesn’t mind peeing in his diapers, doesn’t get diaper rash in them because it never really leaves him wet and he sleeps in longer stretches at night because he’s never that wet.

CLOTH DIAPER 101 TIPS AND TRICKS

  1. Find a brand you like: We  have two sets of diapers.  The one batch we got second hand and the other is a cloth diaper brand called biddykins.  The second hand brand is terrible! they fit a bit strangely and the insert doesn’t really do anything.  We double up on these diapers and that took away the problem,but they still fit a bit weird.  The second brand Biddykins, is just AMAZING.  We just love them so much, the quality, the inserts, the cute prints and the price is just the best.  Always read the reviews of a cloth diaper brand, that’s the best way to find a good brand and have an idea of what people think of them.
  2. Washing:  I wash the diapers with all Arren’s clothes. I’ve even used a 30 minute cycle without having a stain problem.  If it seems a bit discoloured I hang them up outside to get naturally bleached by the sun.  It works perfectly! It also works on white clothes.
  3. Tea tree essential oil:  I don’t think the diapers smell that bad in a diaper bin, but we throw tea tree oil in the bucket to prevent odour.  This also works great for any bin.
  4. Make sure it fits everywhere and doesn’t have any escape holes for bodily fluids.  Its easy to clip these diapers on, but taking the time to see if its tighter is for your best interest.
  5. The booster pad matters! Having a good booster pad makes  your diaper experience that much better.
  6. Don’t be freaked out at the cost: Cloth diapering saves money! When you buy your first pack it doesn’t seem that way, but this is a once off cost and that once you have them you have them.  If you’re planning on having more than one child you wont have to buy more for your next baby.
  7. Cloth diapers can become an obsession.  With all the cute prints its hard to stop buying new ones.  I don’t see a good reason to stop because they are just that great, so I shall continue to shop until I drop.  Or until I have no house left at all, and all my furniture is just covered in cloth diapers.

I’m just loving cloth diapering, seeing a happy baby is just the best and he just looks so cute how can I deny him of those things!

 

an unexpected Lotus Birth

One thing that was not in my birth plan or after birth plan was a lotus birth.  The idea of carting around a placenta was just a little too much for me, but its strange how things change as soon as that baby is out of you.  How I thought things were going to be and how they actually turned out in reality is way different.  I didn’t think our baby would hate a bassinet so much, or scratch his dad right in the face,  while screaming bloody murder just because he’s not mommy.  Apparently Arren doesn’t care about Carl’s feelings.

After I birthed the placenta our midwife convinced us to do a lotus birth, at that point of time I was just so grateful that they were there that I would have done anything they said.   Our midwife explained the whole process of caring for the placenta to us and off we set to an unplanned lotus birth.

I’m not going to lie the first day with the placenta was rough, we had to figure out how to manoeuvre with the placenta and being the typical new parents we were completely paranoid and didn’t know what to do.  At one point I felt like crying because I didn’t feel like I could console Arren fast enough, but at the end I was completely happy we did it and gave it a try.

 

“We need to relearn what a birth can be like when it is not disturbed by the cultural milieu. We need a reference point from which we should try not to deviate too much. Lotus Birth is such a reference point.” Michel Odent

When I was speaking to my sister about our lotus birth I was quite shocked to find out that she didn’t even know what the placenta looked like, it was strange to me that during her birth it was taken away like it was something dirty and that shouldn’t be seen.  This was your baby’s lifeline for so many months, when my midwife showed me all the healthy veins, the sack where Arren called home for so long, I was completely mesmerised.  It was such an amazing thing to see and I was so happy my midwife showed me everything and explained it to me.

A lot of lotus birth posts talks about baby’s being friends with their placenta, but to us it seemed like Arren hated his placenta.  He acted like the only reason he came out of the womb was to escape from his evil placenta girlfriend, and like he just couldn’t figure out why were keeping it around.

REASONS I LOVED OUR LOTUS BIRTH

  1. It reminded me to take things slower and be more aware of my surroundings.
  2. It was a perfect uninterrupted bonding time with our new little family without having to deal with guests.
  3. It gave us time to get to know each other and figure out breastfeeding without having the stress of having to entertain people.
  4. It made Carl feel more involved.  He helped me move Arren around or helped move the placenta.
  5. It forced me to take it easy and let my body heal.
  6. The placenta and cord fell off after 3 days and he was left with the cutest little belly button.
  7. Being connected with his lifeline for so many months, until it was ready to fall off was amazing.
  8. Delays cord clamping letting baby get all the last bits of blood

HOW WE CARED FOR THE CORD AND PLACENTA

It wasn’t that difficult caring for the placenta or cord.  Carl made a little placenta bag to make the placenta look a bit festive and easier to transport.   We dropped a couple of drops of lavender essential oil on the placenta every day and we used wecesin powder to dry up the cord.  Wecesin powder is just the best thing to use for the cord, its all natural and helped speed up healing.  Once the placenta fell off we used a drop of lavender oil and a cotton bud to clean and disinfected the belly button and that’s it!  We buried the placenta under a tree in our garden in hopes that the nutrients would help give the tree some life in this drought filled times we’re having in Cape Town.

 

My home birth story : The Fast Birth of Arren Yuki

The birth of Arren sure will be a memorable one.  This little guy has had spunk since inside the womb.  From taking his sweet time to get out of the breech position, making his mommy crawl around on a carpet every day, doing obscene poses to nudge him into the right position.  He eventually decided to flip into the right position for birth after that it was all smooth sailing until my due date and he decided  that he was just so comfy in the womb that he just did not want to come meet us! This little guy has some serious attitude and we just love him for it.

My due date came and went, and I started realising, that baby will come when baby is ready! I tried all the little labour inducing tricks, with no luck at all and decided to just be patient.  Until….the new year came rolling in and I still had no baby?! Even my midwife was getting worried and asked if it was time we tried the castor oil method.  I was really apprehensive of taking castor oil, because I just wanted baby to be completely ready to meet us and not have any problems once he was out.  The night before we saw and felt the baby doing his practice breathing, and I just felt like taking the castor oil would just not be right.  We scheduled an appointment with the midwife for the next day, but I just knew that baby would be here soon.

On 2 January 2017 we watched a show in bed and fell asleep.  I was actually having such a lovely sleep dreaming about essential oils when at 2:05 am 3 January,  I woke up to my water having broken.  Man, it was such a weird feeling.  I just remember getting woken up and saying “oooh”.  Carl woke up ( hes been on high alert for weeks and every sound I made would put him in “It’s  go time” mode) and asked me whats wrong, as I walked to the loo,  I say walk, but it was more of a weird wobble, trying not to dirty everything in the beginning…I told him my water broke, we both could just not stop smiling as we knew it was baby time soon.  I decided to take a shower and get myself cleaned up as I prepared for what I thought would be a marathon labour.

We went downstairs had some tea, while I prepared snacks and treats for the midwives and Carl.  At this point I had no contractions…..As we talked, while drinking tea, I kept bouncing on my exercise ball and then….my water broke again……….this time with even more force…..I was so shocked, firstly because I just changed my clothes and secondly because my water broke again?!

I went upstairs to go change again and ran down only to have MORE water come out…..at this point I just couldn’t believe how much water was in my body…. and how much clothes I’ve gone through without any contractions.  At 3:15 am contractions started.  I downloaded this contraction timer app and it was just the best thing ever! It gave Carl something to do, without me hating on him for asking stupid questions.  We called our midwife and we all decided she could wait a little bit before coming over..I could still easily talk through contractions and we were all preparing for the long haul.

I asked Carl to bring me two blocks of ice I ate one without a problem and threw the other one at Carl because it wasn’t a good size…..Yeah, labour brings out the monster in you.

The contractions were getting more and more intense. so I decided to get some relief from the pain in the shower….at one point I wanted to live in the shower, we called our midwife and told her its time to start heading over.  I still didn’t feel like I was going to have the baby any time soon.

Soon after that everything started feeling way more intense, I remember thinking if I still have 5 – 12 hours left of this labour I’m just not going to make it, the sweet, sweet release of painkillers were looking pretty good to me right then.  I kept thinking transition would be way more intense. so I didn’t even realise I was in the transition stage at that point.

Carl called the midwife again at that point because he was getting freaked out by my intense labour grunts……..I felt an insane need to push and felt down only to feel baby’s head.

I felt my entire body felt relieved and I just had this natural instinct that washed over me.  As I shouted at Carl that the baby is here.  He decided it was time to phone the midwife again to tell her what I said.  I rushed out of the shower and felt like I needed to push.  I pushed down once and felt the baby’s head coming out, I kept thinking I’m not stopping until his head is out.  I screamed at a shocked Carl to get a towel as he ran the wrong way,  I shouted again that its behind him.  I told him to get ready for the baby as I gave one more push.  Carl caught baby Arren at 4:20 am.

 

We were both so shocked at what just happened that we just sat there looking at our perfect baby that had a good cry and stopped as soon as he was in my arms.  We just sat there crying saying how beautiful he is for what felt like an eternity……after the shock wore off I realised I was in a squat position not knowing what to do now…..we were both trying to figure out the placenta cord and if I could sit on it or not.  We decided that staying in that position was safer.

Carl went to open the door for the midwives and a whole wave of relieve washed over me they instantly made me feel calm and relaxed.  I was so happy to see them because I just didn’t know what to do next….I mean you plan for your baby not the placenta?

They helped me get up, made the bed extra comfy for me and baby and got us settled.  They gave me angelica drops to help get the placenta out, but I was just so done with pushing.  I was on one chilled out boat that would have ripped out the placenta at this time just so I wouldn’t have to push anymore.

I got into the squatting position and the placenta just dropped out.

 

He came out a whopping 3.89kg/8 pounds! 55 cm /21 inches tall and a head size that felt way bigger of 35 cm.  He also got a 10/10 on his apgar score! Our healthy little chub monkey.

Hes just been pure bliss to have around.  Its been hard at times, but everything is just worth it to see his little face.

We decided on the name Arren Yuki, before we ever started trying to have a baby.  We actually have names ready for all our future children.  Yeah we are those people!  Arren means mountain warrior and Yuki means snow in Japanese.  Our little baby was conceived in Ireland and the mountains that surround this beautiful city made our hearts race, and finally made us feel like we found the perfect home for us, in the most beautiful country to us.  We chose Yuki as his second name because we were looking for snow all over Dublin and finally found it walking through Tick Knock forest, it was around that time we conceived little Arren. Japanese people also believe that your name reveals a part of your soul so our little snowflake will always be something special to us.

I never want to forget the day my heart grew so much bigger and that’s why I’m sharing it here.

P.S eating 6 dates a day really did give me a fast labour.

P.P.S If you’re looking for the most amazing midwife and assistant in Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa, the world.  You should definitely contact Marianne at spiritual birth! From the beginning she made me feel at ease and helped me have an amazing pregnancy and birth.  From what she suggests you eat during pregnancy to all her helpful tips on supplements she was just amazing.  Check out her website here.