Cloth Diaper Chat

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Cloth Diaper Chat

Cloth Diaper Chat

As a doula, I frequently get asked by expectant parents about cloth diapering.  Is it hard? Is it gross? Does it really save money? As an experienced parent who cloth diapered exclusively for 4-5 years, I have some thoughts.

The answers to the aforementioned questions are: No. No. Yes.

 My eldest in his fluff (non-professional snapshot, but still a fave!)

My eldest in his fluff (non-professional snapshot, but still a fave!)

From the day I learned that I was pregnant for the first time, I knew that I would cloth diaper.  My main motivator: Finances. While my husband and I have been fortunate enough to never struggle financially, we have always needed to maintain a relatively tight budget and strive to save money whenever possible.  Cloth diapering saved us an enormous amount of money.

Nearly thirty years ago when I was in my own set of cotton prefolds, there were only one or two options for cloth diapering.  Today, there is a wide variety of cloth diapers which come in countless adorable patterns (my cloth diapering addiction stemmed from the particularly cute fluffs).  As a new parent, I experimented with a lot of different styles of diapers and eventually decided that diaper covers and prefolds were the most economical way to diaper.

When I first started diapering, I needed a minimum of four diaper covers.  For beginning cloth diaperers, I recommend starting with only a handful of covers and then adding to your stash as you find necessary.  Ultimately, I ended up with more than four covers, but mostly because I loved the fun prints. I made it work with only four covers, but had more freedom by having 5-6 available. If you go the diaper cover route, you’ll need prefolds to put inside them. I was able to successfully cloth one child with eighteen prefolds (I added a few more when I had my second child and had two in diapers).  Now let’s do some math:

My favorite covers are about $15.  Doula Pro Tip: add them to your baby registry and watch for sales! I only paid full price for specialty print covers and got all I needed at my baby shower.   Six infant sized prefolds are about $14 and a set of six large prefolds are about $19 (I started with that combination).

Diaper covers: $15 x 4 = $60  + Infant prefolds: $14 x 3 = $42   + Large prefolds: $19 x 3 = $57

Grand total: $159

 Another non-professional snapshot of my youngest loving her cloth!

Another non-professional snapshot of my youngest loving her cloth!

As a first time parent, I was able to diaper my child for the upfront cost of $159. Our diaper covers and prefolds lasted at least one year and many for nearly two years.  I have well water at my home and did not need to factor in washing expenses. Those who have city water should take into account their utility charge, doing one extra load every other day.  Further save money by line drying (which also preserves the integrity of the diapers). Homes without access to outdoor laundry lines can use mini drying racks or put a line up inside (we did the latter).

Families who cannot afford the relatively hefty upfront cost should contact cloth diaper banks such as The Rebecca’s Foundation or CottonBabies’ Share the Love program.

Doula Pro Tip II: there is a HUGE cloth diapering buy/sell/trade community online.  At one point, I belonged to at least five separate groups on Facebook. After figuring out what brands of diapers did not work for us, I sold those diapers and made back the money that I had initially invested in them.  Once I was finished diapering, I was able to resell the bulk of my stash.

I went the least expensive route for cloth diapering.  There are many other cloth diapering options available that cost more initially, but will ultimately cost less than disposables in the long run.

I chose to cloth diaper.  It saved my family a lot of money.  I felt good about not adding diapers to landfills. And my darlings’ little bottoms were irresistibly cute when dressed in fluff!

Buy your fluff locally at Green Baby Boutique!  Or rent some (and have them laundered) at The Stork Diaper Services.

 

If you are interested in learning more about cloth diapering and balancing life with a newborn, let’s talk!

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A Partner's Perspective on Birth Photography

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A Partner's Perspective on Birth Photography

A Partner's Perspective on Birth Photography

I've seen a lot of lovely articles floating around about why you should hire a birth photographer (Like this one! Or this one! And this one!).  Yet I have also been hearing from fellow birth photographers that they are frequently almost hired for a birth when, last minute, the client walks away due to discomfort of their partner...who is usually of the male persuasion.  I, too, have come across several men who have exclaimed, "why would anyone want that?!" while sharing about my occupation.

In light of these reactions, I thought it might be helpful to share my partner's thoughts on having a photographer at our daughter's birth. Full disclosure: My partner, Jesse, is male and we are married.  Our first child was born in a hospital and we did not even have newborn pictures taken (which I deeply regret).  Our second child was born at home and I knew even before conception that I wanted a photographer at my next birth.  The birth occurred a year before I started working as a doula and three years before I became a birth photographer myself--in other words, when we hired a birth photographer, it was well before our family was so regularly immersed in birth. 

I gave my husband the headings that you will see below and asked him to share his thoughts.  Hopefully, if you are a birth partner who is on the fence about having a photographer at your child's birth, Jesse's words will calm your fears.

 Jesse and our daughter Aselin shortly after her birth.        Photograph by  Lindsey Zovko Photography . 

Jesse and our daughter Aselin shortly after her birth.        Photograph by Lindsey Zovko Photography

When My Wife Told Me She Wanted to Hire a Birth Photographer

When my wife initially proposed the idea of hiring a birth photographer, I was skeptical and hesitant to jump on board.  Having a photographer at a birth was a new concept to me even though I had been exposed to birth photography in the past (Maggie: that's what happens when your partner is a birth junkie!). Eventually I worked past my own discomfort around the idea and came to an understanding that hiring a photographer could be a way for us to capture the priceless moments during our daughter's birth.  Not to mention that hiring a photographer was incredibly important to Maggie and I wanted to support her decisions in birth. 

The Birth Photographer’s Presence

Honestly, I barely noticed that there was birth photographer in the room. I was so caught up in the moment of experiencing my wife's labor that the photographer just blended into the background. There were times when I had an awareness of her taking pictures but she was subtle even then.  Her presence added to the positive energy in the room.

Viewing the Birth Photographs for the First Time

When I saw the pictures from the birth for the first time I started to cry (Maggie: and my husband is a man of few tears). They were beautiful. Looking at them brought me back to those moments of the labor and birth. The pictures were so intimate and powerful. They gave me a sense of the strength my wife had to labor and give birth to our daughter.  

Reliving the Birth Years Later

Our daughter is now 3.5 years old and I still well up with emotions when I look through the birth pictures. They bring me back to the moment when our daughter was born and allow me to relive the joy and the intensity of that morning. They are priceless to me. 

Was Hiring a Birth Photographer Worth the Investment?

Having a birth photographer document our daughter's birth was priceless.  It was one of the best investments we have ever made. Looking through those pictures will never get old.  It is incredible to look at them with both our children and to be able to illustrate the story of how our daughter was born.

Here's one last post written by a fellow birth photographer on why partners should hire a birth photographer.

If you would like for me to photograph your birth, use the space below to send a note to me!  Partners, if you have additional questions, I would be happy to speak with you or to connect you with other partners for whom I have photographed.

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