Before Aiden was born, we decided to purchase a stroller that would eventually work for two kids. We fell in love with the UPPAbaby Vista and haven’t regretted the decision. My only beef with the stroller was that the seat doesn’t come forward enough, but models 2010 onward have additional seat positions (ours is a 2009).
When we were expecting Damien, Aiden was still enjoying the stroller (funny, since he hated it as a baby!), so we opted to get the second seat to start with. The UPPAbaby RumbleSeat is a second seat for the stroller that works for children up to a certain weight limit and can be used with the main seat or the infant car seat – we used both. Aiden had no problem getting in the back seat, though we did find the rain shield slipped back more than we would have liked. The stroller was still manoeuvrable, but it wasn’t as easy.
Since I really didn’t need to be pushing around an extra 35-40lbs (child plus seat), we told Aiden not long after he turned 3 that he had to start walking everywhere. Given Damien also doesn’t love the stroller, our walks are not very long and this has worked out.
A couple of months ago, anticipating the warmer weather and knowing that Damien can now snack in the stroller, we bought the PiggyBack to accommodate longer walks. Walking to the library from our house is possible with Aiden, but it’s very very slow and Damien only has *so* much patience, so we’ll do a combination of walking and riding to get there now. The introduction of the PiggyBack made for a lot of tantrums to begin with, since Aiden wanted to ride it all the time, but it has become a powerful tool to get him to leave the park when it’s time to go home. He loves having a chance to “rest” with Damien and having him there really keeps Damien from getting too fussy when he’s tired.
If you have a child who loves to walk, you may not need either accessory. If you do, I would probably go for the PiggyBack. Although it can be annoying to push (I tend to kick it), it is definitely the most compact option to choose from and gives you a little more flexibility.
If your car looks anything like ours, it’s strewn with Cherrios and other snacks, toys, blankets and stuffed animals, plus packages of snacks, wipes and other kid-necessities. It drives me crazy and makes for taking on extra passengers embarrassing.
In my first attempt to organize the clutter, I bought a backseat organizer like this one but soon found that the angle of our seat meant the toys fell out of the pouches and the big stuff still ended up on the seat. Last week, I bought a new organizer bag that fits in the centre seat of our car and it’s been perfect!!
Although the bag can double as a cooler, with a strap to remove from the car, for us it’s an organizational dream. I can stash away toys, books, water bottles, snacks and all sorts of other goodies. I put Aiden’s two “car loveys” at the top of the bin, so he can easily reach them when he wants them. Having to reach around to give or take things away was driving me crazy.
Aiden seems pretty content with being able to reach what he wants from the box and knows to put it back there now, instead of throwing it on the floor. Success!
A couple of weeks ago, I learned of the Wishbone Bike from a friend and immediately went out to buy one. I’ve always intended to buy Aiden a balance bike, but those are marketed to kids 2+. Tricycles are also aimed at that age, since the ability to pedal is not something kids at Aiden’s age can figure out yet.
However, the Wishbone Bike is aimed at kids 12+ months!!
The Wishbone Bike starts with 3 wheels – a stable and light base for kids to push themselves along. Later on, it converts to a 2-wheel balance bike. Not to be outdone, the frame flips over when the child is 4-5 and becomes a taller balance bike – one of the tallest on the market.
Aiden can successfully get on and off the tricycle and push himself forward. He doesn’t get much speed yet, just barely reaching the ground, but I figure that, with regular practice, he’ll be flying along by summer time.
Also, he may get a little upgrade on his birthday – the temptation to pimp out his ride is just too much!
When people discover that we use cloth diapers, we get one of two reactions. If they are a cloth diapering family too, we will usually start comparing diaper brands and talking about how much we love cloth diapering. If they don’t use cloth, we usually get inundated with questions. So for those out there who are curious about cloth, here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions:
Is it really cheaper to use cloth?
Not at first. You have to buy everything you will need for diapering up front, so the initial outlay can seem a bit pricey, but in the long run we are saving. The savings will go up exponentially when we have a second child and can reuse everything we bought for Zayden. We will likely spend $0 to diaper our second kid.
What do you do when you’re out of the house?
While some cloth diapering parents find it more convenient to use disposables when they’re out of the house, we use cloth when we’re out-and-about as well. The diaper bag really doesn’t look that different in the end. We pack the same number of diapers, but also bring a wet bag for dirty diapers. We also have a zippered pouch of cloth wipes and a small spray bottle with diaper wipes solution (a cup of water mixed with 5 drops of tea tree oil) instead of disposable wipes.
Doesn’t it make diaper rash worse?
Sometimes. It depends on how sensitive your baby’s skin is and how often you change your baby’s diaper. There are a lot of causes of diaper rash, but prolonged exposure to moisture is one of them. Cloth diapers don’t contain gel, so they don’t have the same “stay dry” properties as disposables. The easiest way to avoid diaper rashes if you use cloth diapers is to change your baby’s diaper as soon as you realize it’s wet. A good diaper cream can also help in situations where you won’t be able to change the diaper frequently (e.g. overnight). We have been known to switch to disposables temporarily in order to clear up a particularly persistent diaper rash.
If I wanted to use cloth diapers, how many would I need? What else would I need?
Depends on how often you want to do laundry and how old your child is. New and Green has a helpful article on what you need to get started along with other helpful resources for first time cloth diaperers.
Don’t you hate doing all that extra laundry?
Not really. It’s not as much extra laundry as you would think. I probably only do 2 more loads per week than I did pre-baby. And I would way rather do a load of laundry in the comfort of my own home than have to head out in the pouring rain and cold to buy a box of diapers when our supply runs out.
Cloth diapers seem so complicated. How did you figure out how to use them?
Not all cloth diapers are like origami with safety pins. We weren’t interested in a lot of fussing and folding ourselves, so we use pocket diapers. They look just like a disposable, no folding required. All you have to do is stuff an absorbent cloth pad inside them.
Aren’t cloth diapers much bulkier than disposables?
Yes. That is probably the one downside for me. Zayden tends to grow out of his pants a little sooner because of it. But the extra padding does come in handy with all the falls he’s been taking since learning to pull up.
Ew! Don’t you hate cleaning up a poopy diaper?
Don’t you? All babies poop the last time I checked. Even those who use disposables are supposed to knock the solids off a dirty diaper into the toilet so that the waste can be properly treated.
What do you do when you’re on vacation?
We use disposables and then switch back to cloth when we get home.
Is it true that kids who wear cloth diapers are potty trained faster than kids who don’t?
I’ll let you know in a few years when we actually tackle potty training, but that is the rumour. The theory is that because cloth diapered kids know what it feels like to have a wet diaper, they make the connection between the sensation that they need to go and using the potty faster.
I’m sure you know how to use them properly, but don’t you have issues with babysitters and daycare?
Because we use pocket diapers (see above), they are pretty straightforward and all our caregivers have caught on pretty quickly. There are some daycare centres out there that refuse to use cloth diapers; we won’t consider those types of centres when it comes time to put Zayden in pre-school.
Are cloth diapers less absorbent than disposables?
The gel in a disposable can absorb a freakishly large amount of liquid, but so can a lot of natural fibres. The hemp inserts we use for overnight are particularly absorbent.
So what are you, a big tree hugging hippie?
Sorry to disappoint you, but you won’t find any Birkenstocks or organic ancient grains granola in our house. Cloth diapering is not just for hippies and environmentalists. Concern for the environment is part of the reason we chose to go with cloth, but we also did it for our son’s health (we wanted to reduce his exposure to unnecessary chemicals as much as possible) and to save a bit of money. And to be honest, I did it because I think cloth diapers are cute. There are different colours and designs to choose from that make diapering a little more fun for me. In my view, when it comes to style, the difference between disposables and cloth is like the difference between a paper gown you get at the doctor’s office and a really cute sweater.
Yaarrrr! Diaper rash can be a real problem for me pirate booty.
Diaper rash is just a fact of life when it comes to babies. I’ve yet to meet a baby who makes it to his first birthday without mom and dad battling at least one bout. Babies who are cloth diapered, like Zayden, tend to get rashes a little more easily than babies who wear disposables because more moisture sits next to the skin.
Diaper rashes can be caused by a wide variety of things. In a cloth diapered baby, the most common causes are: being changed too infrequently and sensitivity to the detergent used to clean the diapers. Some babies who wear disposables will get a rash because the materials used to make the diaper irritate the skin; in these cases switching brands or switching to cloth diapers may help. Regardless of what type of diapers you use, a baby can get a rash from wearing a poopy diaper for too long, from changes in their diet (rashes become more common after starting solid food), and from general irritation from wearing the same diaper for too long or from wearing a diaper in hot weather.
We have tried a few diaper creams since Zayden was born and Dimpleskin’s Bum Bum Balm is our favourite by far. It’s locally made and all-natural, so it’s perfect for babes with sensitive skin. As cloth diapering parents, we also like it because it’s the only diaper cream we’ve discovered that you can use with cloth diapers without using fleece liners–it’s zinc free, so there’s no waterproofing build up on the diapers. Minor rashes clear up in a few days with Bum Bum Balm. If the rash is more severe, we temporarily switch to disposables until it clears up.
For a persistent diaper rash, the HealthLink BC offers some good advice for home treatment. If the rash becomes infected, you may need to see you family doctor for a prescription ointment.