September 29, 2009

A strong immune system - not built in a day - or in a shot

There has been a lot of discussion, information and panic circulating with regard to H1N1 (swine flu) . The media generates a lot of it with their "if it bleeds, it leads" manner of reporting but the AMA (American Medical Association) is leading the way with recommendations of early vaccinations for the new virus. But, as usual, we're not hearing the valuable reminder of the need for a healthy immune system in those of us who aren't in the high risk categories (young, old, immune diseased).

I'd like to offer another thought - with respect to those who disagree with me and have already vaccinated their young.

SLEEP, whole fresh foods, exercise and common sense choices like frequent hand washing are the best defense against illness.When that fails, there are also great herbal immune boosters that will help most people get through flu like illnesses.

When we start to get sick in our family, we immediately take fresh garlic cloves in a honey base and Echinacea tincture. That usually prevents illness from spreading any further. But, if we don't catch it in time, depending on the illness, we move on to a stronger herbal preparation. I also make my special homemade chicken soup, loaded with delicious and nutrient filled ingredients and the sickie GOES TO BED until he or she is well. We work hard to keep everything clean so we don't pass it around but we always hug and love our patient back to health.

A culture of fear that scares people into getting a vaccine which has the potential to make a TON of money for the manufacturer is not a good way to build health. Encouraging people to slow down and make wise choices with regard to nutrition, stress reduction and sleep would go a lot further to preventing the spread of something like H1N1. But that wouldn't make money for anyone would it...?

What I'm offering here isn't meant to replace care from a trusted health care adviser. But I do mean to offer an reasonable alternative to a subject that's been given a lot of panicked air time.

Be well.

September 27, 2009

Trading kids...for this!

This week, my husband and I got to go on a day trip together - ALONE! It was almost surreal to drive alone, hike alone and eat alone. We had a wonderful time and returned to our house totally refreshed and full of secret smiles for each other. We felt rather giddy - like we were dating again! Best of all, when we returned, our girls were racing around having a great time with their friends and hadn't even missed us. :)

How did we accomplish this miracle? Well...a friend of mine recently moved down the street from me and we've decided to trade babysitting. She and her husband love hiking too so we're gong to switch days with each other. So, we can both get free babysitting for a long day out with our guys. Friday was our first time trading. Our girls had a fabulous time and so did we. It's nice to find someone we can trust with our children (besides our family) for a significant stretch of time.

We'll definitely be doing this again!

September 26, 2009

Birth Choices

We all have to make choices about the way we give birth – up to a point. I’ve made two distinctly different choices in my two birthing experiences and have to say, I vastly preferred the home version. Both were a learning experience and of course, I wouldn’t trade the little person I gained in each situation!

The first time I chose to birth in the hospital because my husband wanted it. Knowing I could birth “naturally” no matter where I was, I agreed. We created a simple birth plan letting the hospital staff know we’d like the birth to be as free of interventions as possible. Twenty-four hours after my water broke with no discernible progress, I chose pitocin and an epidural though my baby wasn’t in distress and I had no fever. My doc gave me the option of continuing naturally but I was so tired after having had labor for a few nights I was afraid I wouldn’t be strong enough to push. At my suggestion, my husband was asleep on the couch!

Four hours after choosing the drugs, I gave birth at the complete direction of the doctor (since I had no feeling in my legs). I suffered a deep tear since my daughter weighed almost ten pounds and I was lying down to birth. The tear took weeks to heal and the codeine I took for the pain had strong side effects on me as well as the baby.

By far, the deepest hurt I felt came from the narcotics in the cocktail I chose to take. They left me feeling ambivalent about the birth experience, disconnected from my daughter and a little like clawing the ceiling. It was weeks before I felt the connection I expected to have with my daughter. Also, I seriously struggled with post-partum depression after this baby.

I don’t live in regret over this experience. But I knew after this delivery that next time, I would make some different decisions.

September 24, 2009

Lighter moments...

Sometimes as a mom, it's easy to think of days as good or bad. When you have a preschooler and baby crying or tugging on you (or maybe four at once as some of my friends have!) while you're trying to accomplish something that seems imperative, it's almost overwhelming. I find myself exhausted at the end of the day, trying to remember those happy moments we had - and often failing.

From now on, I'm going to try to focus on the happier moments of my days - while they're happening - and think of them as little lights that out-glow the more challenging times.

For instance, today we had a bit of a rocky start at my house as I dropped my husband off at work and then started off to run an essential errand. I was immediately reminded of the following equation!

One sleep deprived preschooler who doesn't want to go anywhere
+ baby who HATES her car seat on her best days (this wasn't one of them)
= two grumpy girls using their lungs to express their displeasure to the fullest capacity

They were so loud that to maintain my sanity I actually got out of the car and called my husband. Those of you who know me - just imagine two of me - screaming at the top of my lungs. ACK!

After everyone calmed down, my preschooler apologized ON HER OWN for her behavior (YAY!), the baby fell asleep and we ran our errands without incident. We had a great time laughing and talking together and when we arrived at the store, both girls spent time delighting other shoppers with their winsome ways.

At home, my oldest decided to take a little shower and her baby sister joined her. I had a great time watching them laugh at each other and splash around together. There will be other happy moments this afternoon (they don't know it but a neighbor has kittens!) and I'll do my best to enjoy them as they come rather than thinking of all the things I should be doing or haven't done. These moments are the reason I do what I do and I refuse to miss out on them!!

September 23, 2009

Embarrassing stories...of me

My daughter is really into story telling. She loves to hear stories of princesses, knights and dragons but she also loves for us to tell her stories about us.

Lately, she’s been on a kick where she asks me to tell her stories about me. Today, I realized that all my stories of the kind you would share for your “most embarrassing moment” at some cheesy mixer.

“Mom, tell me about the time you were riding the horse and it bucked you off.” (More like slid me over her head onto my bum. So humiliating for a wannabe cowgirl!)


“Mom, tell me about the time you thought that girl was playing with your hair but she was putting gum in it.” (the reason I hate gum to this day!)


“Mom, tell me about that story when you were in college and wearing your funny shoes and a backpack and you fell over backwards like a turtle right in front of everyone!.” (This happened in slow motion with my arms flaying wildly and my friend shouting, “NOOOooooo” with the weirdest delayed sound effect. Another student came over to me as soon as it happened - ostensibly to help me up. But, when he noticed me laughing hysterically on the ground (I really couldn’t get up!), he WALKED away and left me there.

Wait till she hears about the time I fainted in the middle of a gig - and I was the gig...

*Sigh.* She's going to think I'm so cool.


Tonight, I left my daughter calling to me from the front window as I left for my “night out”. Not only was she crying heart-brokenly, she’d jumped out of her bath to chase me down – she was also naked. I pulled her little octopus-like arms and legs off me trying to convince her I wouldn’t be gone long, I loved her, to please not cry. My husband shooed me out of the house and I walked away wondering, “Am I a terrible mom for leaving her like that?”

The truth is, I haven’t been getting time away lately and I’m beginning to feel it. My humor, mental acuity and patience (not to mention romantic inclinations) all suffer without time away. We women have an incredible capacity to care for our families but we need to remember that if we don’t nurture ourselves first, we will have nothing left to nurture those around us. I find the more time I take for myself, the more I recognize the need to carve out multiple little spaces in my day to remind me that I’m more than just a mom.

The bonus for my efforts? I ran into a sister (easy to do when you have so many!), another friend - and met someone new. I returned after only two hours - feeling refreshed and ready to face motherhood again. Pretty good for a night that started with such sad drama!

So, to answer my earlier question…I’ll be a better mom to that crying girl in the window if I take the time to find the human, woman, friend, reader, lover etc. hiding somewhere inside me…

Too much Disney Princess!

Here are some of the things my three year old has been saying lately that have me questioning just how old she REALLY is...

Out of the blue - "Mom, I'll NEVER find my prince!" (said with a sigh)

As I was trimming her nails... "Mom, NOT my wonderful nails!!"
To which I replied, "They're too long, honey. They'll get dirty."
She answered, "No, they're BEAUTIFUL!!" (emphasis hers)

Finally, overheard while we were driving in the car,
"And when see him, I will touch his face with my hands and kiss him"


September 7, 2009

"Altar-ing" my space...

After spending some time writing and relaxing in a local coffee shop today, part of my “mom” time before cleaning like the Tasmanian devil (well, the opposite of the TD), I picked up a book on decorating. The title said something like, “Altar Your Space”. Yes, as in make it an “Altar” (though I’m really needing to alt-ER my space). Anyway, the whole book was filled with these lovely spiritual thoughts about making your space sacred and feng shui, blah, blah, blah. It was beautiful, of course.

Often when I read these things, I feel frustrated because I can never quite keep my space as “altar” like or “Zen” as I would like. But today it occurred to me that there are no toys in any of these pictures. If there are, they are neatly tucked away somewhere in a single solitary room, presumably along with kids dressed in beautiful, clean, pressed organic clothing that matches their surroundings. I’ve yet to see a small townhouse organized in such a way so the little girls who live there can carry their box of treasures around and dump them on the floor (tiny dolls, tiny shoes, tiny everything) so they can play with or be near mom no matter what she’s doing (usually pumping or cleaning).

I guess my house would be totally different if I outlawed toys in the downstairs “altar-like” spaces. But I WANT to see my little girl play while I’m working on other things. I WANT to be able to stop what I’m doing and join her. As long as she’s little and playing here, I’ll do my best to keep things organized in their place (and I CAN do better at that) but for now, she’s free to roam around, dumping her little treasures at my feet so we can share them together. I think for now, that IS my altar. I feel so much better.

Not so indefatigable after all…

Today, I accomplished something amazing! I completely wore out my un-wear-outable three year old daughter. We started the day in Grandma’s back yard, despite the heat. Soon, we left to get some lunch and rather than driving to the mountains (which I could hardly resist given my recent return to hiking) we headed to the mall for some more fun. She and her little sister had so much fun there. We stayed a whole hour and she even made some little girlfriends who shared their dolls.

After the mall, we went by the store to buy some eggs and she talked happily about the cookies we planned to bake that afternoon. As we headed home, she fell fast asleep in the car. When we got home, I carried her inside and she didn’t even stir when I put her on the couch. She slept for two and a half hours and was happy the whole evening before bed.

Maybe this seems funny but I feel such a sense of accomplishment at figuring this out and implementing it! It’s nice to know when you’ve done something right.

Not a domestic diva

August 2009

For those of you who are domestic divas, this one isn’t for you.
For all of you who struggle to keep the house picked up, dishes clean, floor swept…for those whose laundry ends up thrown on the couch, or the bed, or the only open chair in the room. For those of you who, coming or going, use the chair by the front door as a holding place for whatever you don’t need to take or whatever extras you brought home, this is for you.

I have a dirty secret. My house is dirty – a lot of the time. I hate to admit it because in my heart, I despise dirt. I’m actually a bit of a germaphobe. My husband accused me of being the next Howard Hughes and he didn’t mean the brilliant part. Well, he actually said Hugh Hefner – but I knew what he meant. I digress...

I’m not sure why I turned out this way. *Sigh* My family is very spatially organized. I like organization but the small size of my house and my slightly half hazard approach to housekeeping isn’t doing me any favors. It takes me forever to settle on an organizing system but once I get there, I’m pretty good at keeping it. If only I could finish the organizing!

However, I think I may have found my redemption. Recently, I stumbled across a website called She posts cleaning tips and even cleaning schedules online along with a good dose of encouragement for those of us who are less than domestic divas. I love her reminder that my house didn’t get this way overnight so I have to be patient as I learn to organize my space, my time and keep it that way. I’m really getting better at this thanks to her! If you really need help, you can even sign up for email updates or RSS feeds.

A new lease on life - from a simple cup of coffee

August 30, 2009

I’m sitting in my local coffee shop this morning, my last week of sabbatical from work, with a feeling of excitement and hope in my heart. It’s been about a month since I committed to a time of solitude every week and it's the best decision I’ve made in a long time.

This time to myself has brought about a change in me I really didn’t anticipate. It’s rejuvenated me spiritually and mentally and helped me to remember who I am. I recognize areas of my life that need attention and improvement. It allows me to be more efficient in my daily tasks so that I can spend more time with my girls. It’s given me the drive to get out during the week to see friends and create play dates for my kids. It’s even helped me to lose weight. I’ve come up with a new business idea and the courage to actually pursue it past the initial stage. As I spent this time alone, I found other pockets of time in my day that allow me brief respites which recharge me and help me to be a better mom, partner and person.

Thank you to me! :) – for realizing I needed this. Thank you to my coffee shop for providing the space and thank you to the babysitter for helping me to get out of the house. I am grateful and promise to keep doing it. Now that I’ve started I can never go back.

"Shine your sink" - courtesy of the Flylady

August 24, 2009

Today I woke up to a not-so-clean house. After a full weekend of being gone and not getting our regular “straightening” done, I had quite a mess to clean up! My DH, bless him, loaded and ran the dishwasher last night but there were already more dishes on the counter, toys on the floor (along with dirt), a messy dining room table and clothes strewn about the small downstairs space (frequent costume changes by my daughter).

When I wake up to a mess this large, my mind feels so cluttered I don’t know where to start – SO…I hop on Facebook to see what other people are doing. Of course, I’ve turned off the newsfeed of actual domestic divas who just annoy me by announcing they’ve got not only a clean house but also hold down a full time job, home school their kids and knit afghans for poor children in Africa while baking 6 dozen cookies. Like I really need to feel any worse about myself!! Usually when I choose this course of action, I either don’t get anything done or if I do accomplish much, I don’t spend much time enjoying my daughters.

But, recognizing my tendency to extreme avoidance when I feel overwhelmed by housework, I vowed not to spend my time on the internet or phone today. Instead, I channeled one of my favorite organizing/cleaning gurus, the Flylady. Her mantra is “shine your sink”. So, not knowing where to start, I emptied out my kitchen sink and shined it. It looked amazing so I did all the dishes. Feeling energized, I kept going.

This is the plan I followed:

1. Shine the sink
2. Finish cleaning the zone I started (kitchen/dining)
3. Pick up the floor, table and counters
4. Wipe the same
5. Sweep the floor
6. Clean the floor with home made cleaning solution and my deck brush (this is my super-duper cleaning tool) and wipe with a clean towel
7. STOP to eat and play with the kids.

I cleaned with a zealous vigor while my youngest took a nap and my oldest played with her toys and then watched a little educational TV (a great use of TV!). It took about two hours for me to do all this, mainly because I’m a little psychotic about my floors but it felt great to have a clean space to play and have lunch with my kids. I’m really proud of what I accomplished today.

Organizing my life

In my ongoing effort to organize my life, I’ve made some great changes. I’ve added some regularity to my schedule, like creating certain days for things and not being out too late at night so our kids don’t go insane. Every week, we spend Saturday morning together as a family, going to the farmer’s market and running various errands. Then, we come home, unpack our groceries and attempt to create some order in our space so I don’t go crazy the rest of the week. We try to leave to Saturdays only those activities I just can’t get done with two children in tow.

I also made it my goal to make time for myself – like an hour each Sunday morning – when I write or do other things I enjoy. So far, I’ve made it to the coffee shop and spent time writing on my laptop. A few days ago, my dh informed me that I WILL be taking more time for myself, (like it or not) one more day a week. He thinks unhealthy for me and us not to have have some time off from the kids. I know he’s right and I actually cried with relief when he told me his plan. Every Tuesday, as soon as he gets home, I have to be ready to walk out the door and spend time alone for two hours. I just need to get back in time for dinner (which he'll cook!). What an amazing idea!!! I can’t wait to start.


July 14, 2009
Apparently, despite my carefully considered plan, I’m not ready to wean. One of my pro-weaning points haunted me. “If I weren’t pumping exclusively, I wouldn’t even be considering weaning. But I’m not.” My mind kept answering, “So what if I have to pump? She’s still getting something, isn’t she?”

I cried heart-brokenly for three days. After asking my husband through sobs Sunday night what he thought I should do (I only had a short window to rebuild my supply), he said, “Quit.” I went to bed after my last tiny pump and got some sleep. The next morning I woke to a 5 oz. pump (good for me!) and determined to keep going. My dh told me later he knew I would start again in defiance if he gave me the opposite answer. He really does know me.

For now, I’ll go two more months and follow a little less strenuous pumping schedule. If my baby needs to be held and it’s time to pump, I’ll hold her. It will be a more balanced approach.

Don't touch my baby!!!

Ok, I have to mention a pet peeve of mine...well-meaning strangers who touch my baby before I can carefully navigate my way around them! I don't mind talking with someone new or letting them coo and talk to my babies but people,

DON'T TOUCH someone else's children without permission!!!!

I don't know you. I don't know your personal hygiene habits or if you have some kind of communicable disease.

I know people who do this mean well but why can't they keep their hands to themselves?!! Anybody else have this problem? If so, what do you say/do? I don't want to be rude or hurt someone's feelings but but I am genuinely bothered by this.

Weaning with low supply...

July 11, 2009

**SPOILER ALERT - squeamish men who don't think of women's breasts as anything other than sexual objects may wish to skip this post.

Deciding to wean after 6 months of exclusive pumping is a decision that leaves me with very mixed emotions. I first discovered I had low milk supply with my oldest daughter, though I hoped it was the stress of my situation at the time. My mother was diagnosed with stage four cancer the same week I discovered I was pregnant so I went through my whole pregnancy feeling a mixture of great joy and terrible grief. I figured the stress might have contributed significantly to my inability to nurse. I also had pretty bad PPD (big surprise!). I nursed, pumped and supplemented with an SNS for 6 months, hoping the supply would kick in at some point. My milk dried up completely the week my mom died.

During my second pregnancy, I tried to be very positive about my chances of exclusively breastfeeding my new baby but soon discovered I truly had a low supply issue. With both girls, I used herbs, fluids and galactagogues (foods to increase supply). The second time I tried a drug that increases supply in some women. The drug did the most to increase my supply but it was never a full one. My daughter didn't enjoy breastfeeding but was constantly frustrated with the low flow. I still had to supplement a 3rd of her daily intake. She couldn't transfer a full ounce of milk in a 45 minute feeding. The latter fact was still true after 2 months of trying to nurse, pump (to increase supply) and use a supplemental nursing system to deliver pumped milk and supplement. I decided at this point, for my own sanity, to pump exclusively.

Thanks to the MOBI yahoo group, my wonderful lactation consultant, loving husband and the encouragement of a few friends who truly understood my situation, I have pumped exclusively for 6 months. Now, I have decided to wean for a few reasons.
1. My daughter is starting to eat solids and trying to walk (OMG - so soon??!).
2. She drinks a wonderful, nutritive goat milk formula as a supplement and can transition to it as her main milk.
3. Her activity level has increased so much I need more time to keep up with her.
4. I want to get off the drug because I don't want to be on it long term.
5. I am TIRED of lugging my pump everywhere and pumping 6 or 7 times a day to get a less-than full supply.

Making this decision has truly been difficult for me because I so desperately wanted to nurse my children. If I were nursing, this wouldn't even be an issue right now. Even though I know in my head it's ok for me to let this go, when I look at my little one, my heart grieves. I grieve the nursing relationship we never had and I grieve the hours I didn't hold her because I was pumping. I grieve the nutrients she won't be getting because I just cannot do this for another six months. I grieve because I worked so hard to get this much milk and now I'm choosing to let it go for my own sanity. I have shed a lot of tears over the last 6 weeks as I've considered this decision.

As I ignore the ache in my breasts that reminds me it's time to pump, I am grateful was able to rent a killer pump that allowed me to feed my child when I probably wouldn't have been able to do so 100 years ago. I will remind myself that I am NOT a failure for quitting but that I did a good job. I will remember my lactation consultant's encouragement that the quality of my experience as a mother is more than just breast feeding her. Now I will focus my energy on nurturing my baby with my time and my arms. I am thankful she got the milk that she got and I'm especially thankful for the wonderful people who encouraged me to keep going when so many others made comments that didn't encourage so much. I know she will be ok.

Packing a diaper bag for success :)

One thing I really need to change in my life (small steps) is planning better for outings. This morning I was late – again – dropping the girls off at the babysitter because I didn’t pack the diaper bag last night. Since we switched to cloth diapers, it gets a little tricky to always have clean diapers on hand that the babysitter will use (the kind that look like disposables with either snaps or Velcro).

From now on, I'll pack my diaper bag as soon as I empty it or at least pack it every night before bed. So, if I'm packing my diaper bag every night, these are the things I need:

8 clean diapers (fitted or flat)
15 cloth wipes (I like having a lot of these)
Dirty Diaper bag
water squirt bottle – for bum rinses.
2 changes of clothes –
1 or 2 pairs of leggings – I’m addicted to these. They’re SO much easier and cooler than pants and necessary to keep her from getting rug burn while crawling
2 snappies – for flat folds
3 covers
Burt’s Bees zinc oxide cream
Sunblock – I only use this if we’re going to be outside more than 15-20 minutes

Ok, I’m going home to print this on a card and keep it in the bag so I’ll remember to do it every night!!

Good friends, good food...

Today we spent time with some lovely people. I had the good fortune of meeting them through my parents, who knew them first, and have the honor of continuing that friendship now that my parents are no longer with us.

They are the kind of people who invite you over to relax, eat good food and enjoy good conversation. They are the kind of people who offer to hold the baby so you can eat while the food is still hot. They are the kind of friends who encourage you to continue to spend your energy raising and enjoying your children while they are small. They have the benefit of experience - they raised their children while starting a business - and are honest enough to share what they would have done differently.

I appreciate their hospitality, their advice and their love. We are so fortunate to be blessed with their friendship.

September 6, 2009

A funny car story

Yesterday, I noticed my gas pedal in my car was not responding with its normal alacrity. With a sinking heart, I feared the worst. Would the money I JUST received from my tax return have to be spent on yet another car repair? As I drove it, I realized that the brake pedal seemed stiff as well – but the symptom came and went. I called our mechanic and he said to bring it in to the shop if I felt there was a problem.

This afternoon, I enlisted my mother-in-law's help in taking the car over to the repair shop. As we made our way there, I pondered a technical question. What would cause both pedals to behave so strangely all of a sudden? If it were only the brake, a master cylinder could be the culprit. However, clearly this was not the case. Suddenly, the thought came to me. What if the pedals were obstructed in some way? I looked down toward my feet and began to laugh. All my worry was for naught. The pedals were not broken, they were simply blocked by the FLOOR MAT which had become bunched underneath them. LOL! I was greatly relieved. It was a good laugh in the midst of a stressful day.

Recapturing - me

I’m sitting here at the coffee shop next to a Gourmet magazine. It’s beautiful. There are ice cream sandwiches stacked on the front cover, lemon ice cream sandwiches with blueberry swirl. I think the cookies are actually graham crackers.

I’m enjoying these moments of solitude and the bright, cheery atmosphere of this shop. I really like the people. The coffee is ok but it’s really the room I like. It's open with windows instead of walls. Most of all, both the baristas and the customers are really friendly here. Nice. It’s not pretentious.

I’m spending this time alone at some point every week trying to recapture the part of me that isn’t a housekeeper, wife, mom. In doing that, I am hoping to find out what I’m really good at. After my babies are a little bigger, I’ll need to find some kind of gainful employment and I don’t really know what to do. Maybe if I just list a few of the things I enjoy, I’ll get some ideas.

Here goes…

I love hiking. I love the solitude (I hike alone), I love nature, I love the chance to connect with God or the creative force that surely binds us all together.

I love to garden. I’ve never really been able to do this regularly but it’s my goal. I love touching the earth. I have a passion for sustainability, for nurturing something green and growing. It feeds my soul.

I love to read. I love information. I love novels.

I love to research women’s health topics; physical, emotional, spiritual.

I would love to be more involved in helping women to succeed both in our culture and those around the world - to have lives they enjoy.

I love my children – so much. I know this is supposed to be about me – but they are the light of my eyes. I love to figure out what they need, how to help them be the best version of themselves. I know to do that, I have to be the best version of me.

Paper vs. Cloth Diapers

I’ve been thinking about the subject of diapering for a while now. I’ve used both paper and cloth diapers so I know the pros and cons of both. What is the most ecological choice? People have done studies weighing the cost of diapering on the environment. Do cloth or paper diapers do more damage? While some people argue that cloth diapering wastes water and electricity so it’s better to do paper, I disagree.

Paper diapers are big contributors to landfill waste and take tons of time to break down. I recently heard that the manufacture of paper diapers also uses a large amount of water though I have not taken the time to verify that info. If anyone knows more about that, I'd love to see the research. Most importantly, non-natural paper diapers are a chemical filled product. Is that what we should be putting on our babies’ bums?

My personal opinion is that cloth diapering is a much better choice for the environment, particularly if you use a soap that breaks down easily in the water. It’s also a better choice for your baby’s bum, if they are prone to diaper rashes.

Of course, if you want to be really ecological, you can let your baby go diaper free. See my blog on the subject.

Diaper free baby

Recently, when reviewing the Diaper rash section of “The Baby Book” by Dr. Sears, I read a line which disturbed me. Dr. Sears said that diaper rashes are just a common problem in a civilized society which diapers its babies. I don’t disagree with him. I just think it is ironic that as “civilized people”, we teach our babies it’s normal to sit in a urine-soaked diaper or a pile of poo. Then, we wonder why they resist toilet training later in life.

Shouldn’t people in a civilized society be able to do better than to teach their kids to sit in their own excrement? Of course, the answer is yes. There is actually a movement of people in “civilized” society to eliminate the use of diapers on small babies. Now, before you “poopoo” the idea, hear me out.

The concept is simple. Babies can be taught (from birth) to eliminate into a sink or toilet and thus, greatly reduce or eliminate the need for diapers. This cuts down on landfill waste if you’re using plastic diapers and on water usage if you use cloth. Parents learn to pay attention to their baby’s cues and make a little sound (like Pssst) when he or she starts to eliminate. Soon, the cue sound actually helps the baby to “go”. Families can choose to do diaper free full time or part time, whichever works for them.

I was a little skeptical of the idea at first, though I’d read that this is what people in third world countries do. After all, they don’t have the money to buy Pampers. But, driven to desperation by a daughter plagued by a bad diaper rash and wanting to avoid having to wash a million cloth diapers, I tried it.

AMAZING. Going diaper free with a baby WORKS! Now, she regularly uses the toilet several times a day. We haven’t figured out all her cues because she’s a little sneaky in the number two department but it really does work!! She still wears a cloth diaper in between trips to the toilet in case I miss one but I’m washing a lot fewer diapers.

It’s funny how people respond to this idea. The director of a large, prestigious preschool near my house had never heard of it but loved the idea. She wanted to see it but, of course, my daughter didn’t oblige her at the time. Another friend laughed at me and said she believes this practice just trains the parent, not the child. ??? I’m not sure what she meant by that. When given the choice between wiping up and discarding a poopy diaper in your trash (which smells GROSS all day), and training your baby to use the toilet early, what would you pick?

I’m convinced that the whole idea of “civilized” people teaching their babies to sit in their own waste is pretty gross. I’m going to keep working with my baby on this and maybe we’ll even be able to toilet train early!!

If you’re interested in learning more about Diaper Free living, check out or join the groups on Facebook and Yahoo.

Transfering posts from another source.

I'm adding previously written blogs from another source and had trouble importing them so it looks like I wrote a bunch today. Although I'm a pretty prolific writer, I'm not that good. :)

Diaper rash remedies

Recently, we switched our youngest daughter back to cloth diapers after fighting a terrible diaper rash that lasted several weeks. The rash broke out while she was wearing a well known brand of plastic diapers and no matter what we did, we couldn’t get rid of it. We’d use a common remedy and it would start to look better, then come right back. We used a lot of different remedies but finally realized yeast had crept in so we used an antifungal cream and coated her bum with a zinc oxide cream made by Burt’s Bees. This finally did the trick.

This got me thinking about different diaper rash remedies I’ve heard. While I often hear of all the mainstream ones that include Butt Paste, Desitin and other petroleum based products, I haven’t heard a lot of options for natural methods of dealing with diaper rash.

We used the following:
1. Water rinse only – no wipes
2. Diaper free bum
3. Hairdryer on low to really dry her bum before putting cream on
4. Garden salve (sold by
5. Lotrimin (not natural but it worked)
6. Burt’s Bees zinc oxide cream – though I didn’t think it created the barrier I was hoping for, at least it didn’t clog her already tortured skin with mineral oils.
7. One remedy I discovered after her rash healed is diluted apple cider vinegar in a water spray bottle. Yeast does NOT like vinegar. It works like a charm.

I’d love to hear other natural, herbal, homeopathic options for dealing with this problem. Please share!
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