Ten Practical Ways to Put Your Faith into Action

February 7th, 2017 | Posted by Bryn in Catholic | Faith | SF - (Comments Off on Ten Practical Ways to Put Your Faith into Action)

I wrote this article five years ago, and it was previously published at RealLifeatHome.com. Enjoy it again here!


Putting faith into action isn’t as hard as it may seem. We are all called to be holy and to live lives of grace, but how do we put our faith in Jesus Christ into action on a daily basis? Here are some ideas that may help you get started:

1. Receive the Sacraments. As Catholics, we are so blessed to be able to have guaranteed ways to receive grace. That is the gift of the sacraments. Attend Mass and go to confession. These acts not only bring grace, but tend to lighten any burdens you may be carrying.

2. Limit your TV/screen time. Don’t watch TV that portrays the marriage relationship–or any relationship–in a negative light. When you stop to really think about it, most sitcoms, dramas, and reality TV show sin as normal and even preferable to living a holy life. Ask yourself: Does watching this TV show bring glory to God? If it doesn’t, consider giving it up.

3. Pray for someone who has wronged you. And forgive them. It doesn’t really matter if they are sorry for what they did to you or if they even know they hurt you. God shows mercy to us every single minute of our lives, and it is our duty to pray for and forgive others.

4. Don’t gossip, and stand up for someone. When the conversation with your friends starts veering toward bashing others, sharing juicy details of someone else’s troubles, or anything of the sort, either stop the conversation by standing up for the person or just walk away. I know I have friends in my life who tend to gossip and not listen even when I try to defend someone, so sometimes the best option is to just walk away from the conversation.

5. Donate used clothes, toys, kitchen items, canned food, whatever to charity, and do so with a heart for Christ. We live in a world of constant surplus. I know I have a constant need to de-clutter, and “things” can take over if I don’t keep them in check. Our local Ladies of Charity and food pantries are in desperate need and always looking for donated items. Check to see if your church has a food pantry or a recommendation on where to donate. If you don’t have extra stuff to donate, maybe you can serve God by giving of your time and volunteering at church or at a charity.

6. Read the Bible. This one may seem kind of obvious, but many Catholics are not as familiar with the bible as most Protestants I know. A good place to start is Proverbs. There are 31, so you can read one each day for a whole month.

7. Stop complaining and start thanking God for your blessings. If you are reading this (on a computer or smartphone, with an internet connection), chances are you are in the top 10% of the world’s wealthiest people. Many people in the world today don’t know where they are getting their next meal, don’t have a bed to sleep in or an extra set of clothes. You are blessed physically and spiritually. Be sure to recognize those blessings and thank God for them.

8. Hold your tongue. A big part of being patient is just shutting up. I get along with my husband and am kinder to my children when I take time to really think before I speak instead of just spouting out whatever comes to mind.

9. Organize your house and your mind so that your family receives the best you. I know when my house is a mess and I have a million things on my to-do list, I get stressed and tend to take it out on my family. They don’t deserve that. If I keep the house clean and organized, keep close track of the calendar, and don’t wait till the last minute to get things done, the entire household seems more peaceful.

10. Pray without ceasing. This one’s from the bible. Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians, “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” As you may have heard before, prayer has four general parts:

  • Adoration – Praising God
  • Contrition – Confessing your sins
  • Thanksgiving – Thanking God for blessings
  • Supplication – Asking for things

Adoration is the first because it’s the most important. God is our creator, our savior, our healer, our everything and He deserves to be praised all the time. So don’t just ask, adore Him.

What are some practical ways you have found to put your faith into action?

 

Nine – and halfway there

August 3rd, 2016 | Posted by Bryn in Faith | Kids | SF - (Comments Off on Nine – and halfway there)

I recently came across the Huffington Post article titled “To My Daughter, At Halftime.”

While the author here is giving her 9-year-old child advice and wondering how the next nine years would go, it left me struggling for breath because my boy is nine today, and I’m kind of in disbelief.

Nine, as in halfway to eighteen.

Half of his years under my roof gone in a blink.006_19

Like all parents (I assume), after the shock of imagining my baby in college, I start to wonder:

Have I taught him enough? Did I read to him enough? Have I hugged him enough? Have I loved him enough? Have i prayed with him and for him enough? Have I shown him enough grace? Enough to sustain him when I’m not with him every second?

I’ve lost my temper, yelled when I should have explained calmly, lost patience when I’m interrupted, had too great of expectations since he’s the oldest, and once or twice may have even said, “go play or I’ll make you clean something!”

But one thing I do know for sure. I love that boy fiercely. My heart grew bigger the day he was born.DSC_0656

Sometimes the burden of motherhood seems like too much pressure to be perfect all the time, and I’m not even close.

I may never  be “enough” for my kids, but God is. He’s there every step of the way, even when I can’t be with them. He loves them even more than I do. So I can choose to worry, or I can choose to trust.

When I asked him the other day how he wanted to celebrate, if he wanted a party with all his school friends, he simply said, “I want to go on a date with just you and me, Mom.”

I’ll take that while I can! Pretty soon he won’t want to be seen with me in public.

Pretty soon he will be listening to music I don’t understand and reading books I’ve never read and making me prouder than I ever thought possible and more disappointed than I ever thought he could.

He will have great joy and great heartache in these next nine years, and I’ll be there as much as he’ll let me. I’ll be learning even more about letting go and letting him spread his wings and fall on his face and take responsibility for himself, all while being close enough to guide him when he really needs it.

Oldest of five, surrounded by siblings on his birthday

Oldest of five, surrounded by siblings on his 9th birthday

Although I’m still praying the the next nine years don’t pass by quite so quickly, it feels like kind of a big accomplishment that we’ve made it this far. I’m praying I can trust more and worry less.

Oooh were halfway there… and livin’ on a prayer.

—————————————-

*(We try once a month or so to spend time with each of our kids individually, and call it a “date” – I’ll explain more later!)

YOU can help save a life. Literally.

January 22nd, 2016 | Posted by Bryn in Faith | SF - (Comments Off on YOU can help save a life. Literally.)

HammerFam

A few years ago, I wrote about the beautiful children of Reece’s Rainbow, an outreach program that helps people from the United States and other countries raise money to adopt children with special needs from all over the world.

My friends Beth and Mike Hammer are working with Reece’s Rainbow to adopt a baby girl who has Down Syndrome from eastern Europe. Her quality of life is next to nothing over there, and she likely won’t survive past age 5 if she isn’t rescued. The Hammers are literally saving her life.

They are doing everything they can to bring her home as soon as possible, and they can care for her and provide a loving home for her once she’s here, but they need help paying the outrageous costs ($35k or more) involved with international adoption.

That’s where YOU come in. We are looking for 1,000 generous individuals to donate just $20 each to help ease the financial burden on this wonderful family. Your small donation will literally be helping to save a life.

They say it takes a village to raise a child, but the Hammers need a village to help bring their baby girl home.  Will you help?

For more information and to donate, visit http://www.heartshammerhome.com/ OR click the Reece’s Rainbow button on the sidebar of this page (may have to scroll down if you’re on a mobile device) to donate via PayPal.

The Hammers appreciate each and every donation more than words can say. Help bring baby Hammer home! Donate today!

An Open Letter to Teenage Christian Women on the Lies of this World

January 20th, 2016 | Posted by Bryn in Faith | SF - (Comments Off on An Open Letter to Teenage Christian Women on the Lies of this World)

 

theworldsthyship

To my beautiful, young gal pal:

Never forget: “The world’s thy ship, but not thy home.”
–St. Thérèse of Lisieux

It’s harder than ever to be a Christian young woman in the world we live in. You are living in a world that you aren’t actually a part of because you are a member of the body of Christ, the kingdom to come.

The thing is, this world is telling you lies.

The world here on Earth is so skewed from what God wants for you in your life, especially when it comes to relationships. God wants only the best for you. He loves you, no matter what you’ve done or how far you’ve fallen away from Him.

He loves you for YOU. And you’re never alone.

The world tells you that this is all there is, that “You Only Live Once!” so take advantage of every crazy opportunity to do something exciting and… well, stupid. I can remember always worrying about missing out on something fun or thinking that when I’m older, I would want to have fun memories of being crazy when I was young. That kind of thinking can lead to bad decisions.
What about eternal life with Him?

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” -John 3:16

You don’t “only live once.” We are here on this Earth only for a short time, but for what purpose? To do whatever we want? Or to serve Christ and others?

The world tells you to avoid pain at all costs. The truth is: there is such thing as pain with a purpose. Just ask any woman who has ever given birth to a miracle. What gold-medal athlete has ever gotten there without some pain? What about the pain of studying and studying and then seeing the benefits with a good grade on the test? You may be in pain (from a fight or a break-up, from loneliness, from stress, etc.) right now, but trust me, God has a purpose for that pain. He’s moving your heart and molding you into your truest self, into the person He wants you to become.

The world tells you that love is all about the romance and that it should always lead to sex, even if you’re not married to the person. What’s real love? Love isn’t a romantic comedy. It’s the person who is there for you, even if you’ve done the unthinkable. It’s the one who always forgives, always hopes, always cares about you because you are you, not with any conditions. Guard your heart. Don’t give your heart away to the next boy who says you’re cute. Keep it focused on Christ. There’s no need to rush into a romantic relationship. Don’t date just to date. If you are truly embracing Christ and His teachings, the right man for you will too. Relationships when you’re young have a definite impact on your future relationships and marriage, and emotional wounds can follow you into adulthood. Guard your heart, sweet girl.

The world tells you that it’s a normal and natural have sex (or do “other” things, you know what I mean) and experiment with alcohol/drugs when you are young. I tell my children all the time that “God is in your heart.” He’s in your heart too, young friend, and my hope is that you realize the sacredness of your own body, this beautiful temple of the Holy Spirit. God created your body and misusing it by having sex before marriage or by getting drunk or any of those other unhealthy behaviors is desecrating this holy structure and the Holy Spirit that lives in you.

The world tells you that you’re being responsible if you get on the Pill. Really? Wouldn’t the “responsible” thing be to control yourself and not have sex until after marriage – when you are ready to accept the full responsibility of the actions (a baby)? Here’s the truth about sex: it’s good. (And not in the way you’re thinking… I mean yes it is, in that way too, but stick with me here!) God created everything to be good, sex included. As a young person, it’s easy to see sex as just something you do, a purely physical thing, but it’s so much more than that. In the Theology of the Body, Pope St. John Paul II tells us that sex is a free, total, faithful, and fruitful gift of self.

Can you really give yourself this way and expect your partner to give himself totally, freely, faithfully, and fruitfully outside of the covenant of marriage? (Hint: NO!) I encourage you to read Christopher West’s Basic Theology of Marriage for more information on the subjects of sex and marriage as created by God. This could be a days long conversation, but start here!

When the bible talks about a good wife, it says, “She does him good and not evil all the days of her life. ALL THE DAYS OF HER LIFE!
***All the days, not just the days after she meets him.***
How cool would it be to meet your husband and be able to say with confidence, “I’ve been waiting for you.” I read When God Writes Your Love Story by Eric & Leslie Ludy when I was a teenager and started writing letters in a journal “to my future husband” way before we even started dating. Pray for your future husband, and pray for discernment on the vocation God has chosen for you.

The world tells you that once you’ve done something wrong, you’re a bad person. This year is the year of MERCY in our church. Mercy means receiving God’s loving kindness and forgiveness even though we surely don’t deserve it. And none of us do. If you’ve made mistakes in your life, you’re just like everyone else. You are a forgiven child of God because you won’t just shake hands with your sin, you won’t accept that this is just the way you are, and you are always striving to lead a holier life by following the gospel on a daily basis. You are His daughter because He’s already done all the work on the cross. His mercy is everlasting, and it’s there for you every time you turn back to Him. So run to Him!

——————-

This post was inspired by conversations with the young women of the Hands and Feet of Christ youth group at our local high school. Although this post is just a teeny tiny glimpse of the wonderful conversations to be had between Catholic women, I encourage you as a young woman to talk to your mom or to find a mentor. It may seem like us moms are just old farts, but we remember exactly what it feels like to be going through high school and college years, and our greatest wish is for you to learn from our mistakes and not have to make the same ones. Tweet me or contact me on Facebook if you’d like to talk more. I’m praying for all of you!

First Day of Kindergarten – Letting Go

August 22nd, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in SF - (Comments Off on First Day of Kindergarten – Letting Go)

There are sadder things than dropping your beloved child off at Kindergarten for the very first time. Right? 🙂

Today is the day I have been dreading for five years. Yes, it’s only a half day today. And yes, it’s JUST Kindergarten, but this momma’s heart is feeling more than a little sad this morning. I waited until I got out into the parking lot to make my ugly cry face (you know you all have it), so only a few other moms had to endure it.

TT did absolutely wonderful all morning. He was so pumped up when he was getting ready, and he called his dad and said with a smile, “Today’s my first day of Kindergarten, Dad. Can you believe it?”  We took pictures, he rode his bike for a few minutes, then it was time to pack everybody in the van and get to school.

I asked TT on the way there if he was nervous, and he wasn’t. We still had a little talk about how sometimes it’s hard trying new things, but we have to be brave. I drew a little heart on the palm of his hand before we left so if he gets sad at school, he can look at it and know that Daddy and I love him, and that God is in his heart so he doesn’t need to be sad or scared.

The girls and I walked him into his classroom, and after an initial hesitation, he breezed in and hung up his backpack like he’d been doing it his whole life. I took a few more pictures (yes, I’m THAT mom), and then we had to go. Thankfully, there are little windows outside his classroom so I peeked in a couple times to see that he was already playing and laughing with some new friends. Sigh. What a little man.

My girls think I’m crazy because as soon as we were in the parking lot, a little sob I’d been holding in all morning escaped and my ugly cry-face made its appearance. I didn’t see any other moms crying – somebody tell me I’m not the only one…

Anyway, after crying the whole way home and even after we got here, I’m feeling a little dazed.

One thing I can tell you for sure about the first day of Kindergarten:

Letting go is hard. Really hard. I’m forever grateful that God gave me a healthy, smart boy who wants to go to school, but a little piece of my heart is broken because Kindergarten means he’s not my little baby boy anymore. It took everything in me not to turn the van around and say, “Screw this. I’ll just homeschool you.” Letting go has completely filled me with mixed emotions: excitement, joy, sorrow, and nervousness.

It seems like just one minute ago we brought him home from the hospital and he was up all night and slept all day, and everyone said, “It gets easier.” Now I think that’s a lie all moms tell themselves. It doesn’t really get easier, parenting is still difficult in a different way.

Even through all of this brokenheartedness of letting go, there’s definitely still joy.

Funny Friday: Let’s Go to the Mall Everybody!

June 15th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in SF - (Comments Off on Funny Friday: Let’s Go to the Mall Everybody!)

The TV show How I Met Your Mother showed this during one episode when it’s revealed Robin, a.k.a. Robin Sparkles, was a teen pop star in Canada in the mid-nineties.

Marshall: [Looking at Computer] This is the 90s, why does it look like 1986?

Robin Scherbatsky: The 80s didn’t come to Canada til like ’93.

This is the full original video from the show:

And this is the lovely, amazing “Just Dance” version for Wii:

My most radical friend Mandy and I may have danced this in front of a large group of people… complete with open-mouthed smile the whole time.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Let’s Talk about Cloth, Baby: The Wash Routine

May 24th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in SF - (Comments Off on Let’s Talk about Cloth, Baby: The Wash Routine)

Before I was a mother, few things scared me more than having to change a #2 diaper. My gross-out threshold has gone way up since having children, even more so since I started cloth diapering. More on that later.

Probably the most important thing about using cloth diapers is being able to get them clean. REALLY clean. If you don’t, your baby can end up with rashes or infections or just general smelliness.

When I first started with cloth, I thought that any old “free & clear” detergent would be fine — like Dreft, because that’s what we use for newborn babies’ clothes, right? WRONG!

I washed my first set of pocket diapers in Greenworks free & clear detergent from Wal-Mart, and my daughter proceeded to get horrendous rashes after only a few hours. So I researched. And researched. And researched. (This is something I’m good at… or I just waste a lot of time reading the same stuff over and over. Whatever.)

I came across Rockin’ Green detergent at the suggestion of a friend (Thanks Amber!). First I had to strip all the old detergent buildup out of the diapers by washing them on hot several times with some dawn dish soap. After “rockin’ a soak” or two, diaper rash was no longer an issue for my little gal. Phew!

That was my experience, but what are the “rules” for washing cloth diapers? There are more than you think.

Choosing the Right Detergent

As you can tell from my story above, it is extremely important to choose the right detergent for your cloth diapers. You can avoid diaper rashes and help your diapers last as long as possible.

So far, I’ve only tried two different cloth diaper detergents (besides the horrible Wal-Mart one):

  1. Rockin’ Green – This is a dry detergent (most liquid detergents aren’t good for cloth diapers) that is made from only biodegradable ingredients and are scented naturally. They have several different types to choose from depending on where you live and what type of water you have–Hard Rock for hard water, Soft Rock for soft water, and Classic Rock for in-between water. They also have a product called Funk Rock that is supposed to battle ammonia smells (which happen sometimes after you’ve used your diapers for awhile – it’s a result storing urine soaked diapers in too tight of a container for too long… or at least that’s what happened to me!).
  2. Soap Nuts– Yes, that’s right – soap nuts. There are a few different brands, but they are all the same thing. These “nuts” are from the Chinese soapberry tree and are completely natural and biodegradable. They have worked extremely well on my stinky ammonia diapers and get all of the stink and stains out every time. “But Bryn, really? You put nuts in your washing machine?” Yes! They look kind of like giant raisins except with a bit harder texture and you put them in the included canvas bag and throw it in with your wash cycle. It doesn’t have any suds, but it works!

Other cloth diaper detergents that friend have recommended include:

  • Bac-out
  • Country Save
  • Charlie’s Soap
  • Powdered Tide

The other good news is that you can use your cloth diaper detergent on regular clothes as well. They are especially great for getting super soft newborn clothes super clean with a natural detergent that won’t irritate that teeny baby velvety skin.

The Wash Routine

Now that you have your cloth diapers and your detergent, the first step is prepping (pre-washing)–which may consist of one hot wash or boiling your cotton diapers. Click here for more info on prepping.

I have a top load washing machine, which is much easier to get diapers clean than a front loader. If you already have a front loader, you can still use and wash cloth diapers in your own machine, but you may have to follow a slightly different routine. If you are thinking of purchasing a new washing machine and want to cloth diaper, a top loader is the way to go. My high efficiency top loader is still able to soak diapers when needed and use the Super size even with only a few items, but a low H2O washer may have trouble with this. But don’t take my word for it, do your research and figure out what’s best for you!

Here is my regular wash routine:

  1. Rinse out #2 diapers in the toilet as needed before putting in the wet bag (You DO NOT need to rinse out #2 diapers of babies who are exclusively breastfed, it will all come out in the washing machine.)
  2. Put all diapers, covers, inserts, and the wet bag in the washer.
  3. Full wash cycle on COLD with no detergent on largest load size possible so that there is a LOT of water (this gets out any remaining particles from soiled diapers)
  4. Add detergent and do another full wash cycle on HOT with a cold rinse and an extra cold rinse.
  5. Now that it’s summer time, I do ANOTHER quick rinse with no detergent (I take out the Soap Nuts bag) just to make sure they are good and clean. This really seems to help with any stinkiness going on.
  6. Dry microfiber inserts and cotton flats in the dryer on medium for an hour.
  7. Hang dry covers, pocket diapers, and wet bag. Drying PUL (the waterproof material) in the dryer on a regular basis will wear them out quickly.

From time to time (like once every two months), I “strip” my diapers, meaning scrubbing clean diapers with a drop or two of dawn dish soap and washing and rinsing on the hottest setting possible over and over and over until there are no more bubbles.

An alternative to stripping is doing an overnight soak with Rockin’ Green. See the instructions here.

See? It’s not so bad! You can do it!

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Stay tuned for more posts on cloth diapers. There is so much to know, and any cloth diapering mom loves talking about it! If you have any questions that you’d like to see answered in future posts, please contact me.

For more information on which diaper is right for you, see Let’s Talk about Cloth, Baby: Getting Started
For information on prepping your new cloth diapers, see Let’s Talk about Cloth, Baby: Prepping

Let’s Talk about Cloth, Baby: Prepping your Cloth Diapers

May 24th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in SF - (Comments Off on Let’s Talk about Cloth, Baby: Prepping your Cloth Diapers)

No matter what type of diapers you chose, it’s a good idea to pre-wash them because you want only the cleanest fabric possible next to your baby’s sensitive areas.

What is prepping?

Depending on which type of diapers you purchase, you may need to “prep” (pre-wash or boil) your diapers to achieve maximum absorbancy.

Why?

  • Unbleached flat and prefold diapers are made of natural cotton, and this cotton contains natural wax, which needs to be stripped off before the diapers will be really absorbent.
  • When many flat or prefold diapers are brand new, they are pretty stiff in texture, and they will continually get softer and fluffier with each wash.
  • These diapers will also shrink in the wash–flats look like tablecloths when they arrive, but they shrink to a manageable size after a few washes.
  • Any type of diaper you purchase may have been sitting in a warehouse awhile and may have a little dust in the fabric.

How?

Synthetic fibers–such as microfiber inserts–just need one hot wash with a cloth-friendly detergent, and you’re good to go!

Natural fibers–such as cotton flats or prefolds–will need to be washed at least 3-5 times on the hottest setting possible.

An alternative to all those wash cycles is to boil them, like this:

This method also works for stripping diapers after they’ve been used for awhile and are retaining smells.

Pocket diapers, All-in-One diapers, and diaper covers–follow the manufacturers instructions, usually just one hot wash.

For more information on which diaper is right for you, see Let’s Talk about Cloth, Baby: Getting Started

Let’s Talk about Cloth, Baby: Getting Started

May 16th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in SF - (Comments Off on Let’s Talk about Cloth, Baby: Getting Started)

In the past few months, I have had several friends ask about cloth diapering. I have been cloth diapering off and on for about the last two years, so I’m no expert, but with all the crazy cloth diapering websites out there, it may be helpful to at least one of my 24 pregnant friends (yes! 24!) to read about cloth diapering in plain old English.

The first question to ask when thinking about cloth is:

Which type of diaper is right for me?

This is different for everyone. Cloth diapering has come a long, LONG way since our mothers cloth diapered us with diaper pins and rubber pants. Today, the options are adorable, easy, and so soft! Today I’ll talk about four main types of cloth.*

All-in-One {AIO}

 

BumGenius Elemental AIO diaper. Photo credit: http://www.clothandcarry.com

This is exactly what you think. It actually looks like a regular disposable except made of an outer layer of soft waterproof material (PUL), several inner layers of absorbent microfiber, and a layer of super soft microfleece or suedecloth (which is a polyester fabric that feels like a very fine fleece) – this inner layer is designed to keep baby’s skin dry. Instead of a sticky tab like disposables have to fasten, these use either snaps or hook & loop (like Velcro, but softer). Newer versions of AIOs are a bit easier to clean with absorbent layers that flip out but are still attached (like BumGenius Elemental, shown at right).

Pros:

  • Ease of use (as easy as disposables)
  • Quick on and off
  • Daddy and babysitter friendly
  • No stuffing or folding

Cons:

  • One of the more expensive options
  • Harder to get inner layers clean (lots and lots of rinsing required!)
  • May retain smells
  • Outer layer of PUL can “delaminate” (become less waterproof) over a long period of use (not really a huge concern for most people)
  • Long drying time

 

Pocket Diapers

 

V’s first day in cloth at two months old. This is a one-size pocket diaper snapped to the smallest setting.

Pocket diapers look like AIOs at first glance, but they are actually just the outer waterproof layer and the stay-dry inner (microfleece, suedecloth, or velour) with a pocket for stuffing absorbent material. These also use hook & loop or snaps as fasteners.

Pros:

  • Ease of use
  • Can adjust absorbancy
  • Daddy and babysitter friendly
  • Easier to get clean than AIOs because of removable absorbent layers
  • Dry fairly quickly
  • Can stuff with microfiber or natural cotton flat or prefold diapers
  • Can replace inner absorbent material when it gets worn out or retains too many smells

Cons:

  • Can be nearly as expensive as AIOs
  • Outer layer can delaminate over a long period of use

Many pocket diapers and AIOs are “one-size” meaning they are advertised to fit your baby from birth until potty training. I find that they don’t quite fit right at birth for my babies when they have those skinny chicken legs. They started fitting well at about two months through potty training.

 

Fitted Diapers

 

Kissaluvs brand fitted diaper with snaps. Photo credit: http://www.jilliansdrawers.com/

Fitted diapers are diapers that are shaped the same as disposables, except they are only the absorbent material and need a waterproof cover (see below). Many people use fitteds full time or just for overnights because they are very very absorbent.

Pros:

  • Extremely absorbent
  • Great for overnight use
  • Still pretty easy to use if they have snaps or hook & loop
  • Pretty affordable

Cons:

  • Bulky, hard to fit under jeans or tight fitting clothes
  • Slow drying time
  • Can build up smells over time
  • Require a waterproof cover

Prefold, Flat, and Contour Diapers

 

Unbleached indian prefold diapers. Photo credit: http://www.bumritediapers.com

Prefold, flat, and contour diapers all look different from one another, but they all work in mostly the same way.

Prefold diapers are usually either Indian or Chinese cotton (read about the difference between these two here). This type of diaper is also sold as a “burp cloth” and is a rectangle with more layers in the center third and fewer layers on the outer thirds. Prefold diapers must be used with a waterproof cover (see below) and can be trifolded and laid in a tight cover or pinned or “snappied” on. So what is a Snappi? See below for more information.

Flat diapers are large squares of Indian or Chinese cotton that can be folded in several different ways to achieve optimal absorbancy where your baby needs it. Because they are only one layer of cotton, they dry quickly.

Contour diapers are shaped like a disposable except they don’t have elastic or snaps or hook & loop and are also not as fluffy as fitteds. They can be laid in a tight waterproof cover or pinned or snappied on with a waterproof cover over top.

Pros:

  • All natural fibers are good for babies with sensitive skin
  • Line dry time is extremely quick for flat diapers
  • Last forever
  • Can use flats from birth until potty training
  • Most affordable option

Cons:

  • Requires a waterproof cover and pins or snappies in some cases
  • Requires some folding (flats and prefolds)
  • More difficult for those unfamiliar with cloth
  • Takes a bit longer – a bit harder for wiggly toddlers

Covers and Accessories

Diaper Covers

 

Thirsties Duo Wrap PUL diaper cover. Photo credit: http://www.clothandcarry.com

Waterproof diaper covers are necessary when using fitteds, prefolds, flats, or contour diapers. There are several very reliable brands such as Bummis, Flip, and Woolybottoms. They come in all sorts of super cute fabrics and patterns, so you can use the diaper as part of your child’s outfit. You can also reuse them throughout the day as long as they don’t get too soiled by changing the inner absorbent diaper.

Diaper covers must be waterproof, and there are several options in materials for waterproof covers. A very common material for covers is polyurethane laminated fabric (PUL) which is a soft fabric with a laminated waterproof backing. The only drawback to this type of fabric is that after years of use (maybe through one or more children) they can “delaminate” — when the waterproof backing starts to deteriorate and the diaper cover is no longer waterproof. You can prevent delamination by line drying pocket and plain diaper covers and only drying them in the dryer occasionally (sometimes the dryer can melt the polyurethane back together a little bit too).

Another material for diaper covers is wool. I know you are thinking of the scratchy wool sweater you had when you were a kid, but these soft wool covers are amazingly breathable and perfect for summer months in the heat. Many wool covers are made to put in the washing machine, but they don’t need to be washed unless they get really dirty. Read more about wool here.

Fleece is also a good option for summer months because it’s breathable. Both wool and fleece tend to be MORE waterproof than PUL because PUL just keeps the moisture in while wool and fleece absorb moisture too. I only have a few diapers with fleece, but they are overnight diapers when PUL won’t cut it.

Diaper covers can be the pull-on style (pull on like underwear) or wrap style (like disposables) that use snaps or hook & loop (aka Velcro) to fasten.

Snappi

 

 

The Snappi is THE modern day alternative to diaper pins. It’s a flexible plastic fastener with three arms that have little teeth on the end to grip the diaper. They won’t poke baby’s skin and are very easy to use. See the picture at right. Read more about the Snappi here.

Wet Bag

The wet bag is a must have for cloth diapering moms. If you are cloth diapering on the go, you will want a wet bag for your diaper bag so the soiled diaper doesn’t get everything wet and stink up your bag.

I also use a large wet bag at home. It contains the smells and is a great place to keep wet diapers between washes.

Diaper Sprayer

This is not a necessity, but I’m sure it’d be nice to have, especially as your baby gets older. This is a sprayer that attaches to your toilet and sprays a strong stream of water to get excess poo off your cloth diaper so you don’t have to swish it in the toilet. We don’t actually have one of these, but like I said, it’d be nice!

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I hope this was a good introduction to cloth diapering. It all seemed overwhelming to me at first. Once I got started, it was not as bad as it sounds. I’ll be discussing laundry routines, expenses, terms used in cloth diapering, and other frequently asked questions about cloth diapers in future posts over the next couple weeks. Stay tuned.

Moms who already cloth diaper their children: what info am I forgetting? What else should I be sure to include in future posts?

Moms thinking about cloth diapering: what questions do you have?

 *Please note: The pros and cons are all my own personal opinion or experiences. A lot of people purchase several different types of diapers and see what works best for their baby.

Make-A-List Monday: Faith in Action

May 14th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in SF - (Comments Off on Make-A-List Monday: Faith in Action)

Today’s Make-A-List Monday isn’t actually on this site. I am a contributing writer for Catholic Mothers Online, and I wrote a list of ten practical ways to put your faith into action.