Beginners' Guide to Cloth Diapers

Beginners Guide to Cloth Diapers
Modern cloth diapering is not your grandma's safety pins and some wash cloths...or those ugly plastic pants at Wal Mart. Reusable diapers have come a long way, with a plethora of options. This is great, except it leaves parents feeling overwhelmed.

Cloth diapering can be a wonderful experience with the right information and tools. I have compiled some info to get you started.

Different Cloth Diaper Types

There are different types of cloth diapering options, because we love to make it overwhelming, right? No, really, it's just like there's a variety of disposable diapers. Every parent, baby, and lifestyle is unique and that's why there are so many options of cloth diapers. What's perfect for you might not be the right fit for your neighbor.

Overwhelmed by Cloth NappysAll In Ones

Also called AIOs.  AIOs are cloth diapers considered to share the most similarity to disposables. They're all one piece and most are somewhat customization because of a pocket option to add extra absorbency.

Pockets

Pocket diapers are basically a "shell" of a diaper that has a pocket to put whatever inserts/absorbency you want in them.

Covers

Covers are PUL, waterproof diaper shells that you can use with folded prefolds or flats laid in them or with fitted underneath. You can typically reuse covers multiple times in one day by simply wiping out the shell and allowing it to dry.

Hybrids/All in Twos

Hybrid systems and AI2s are combination systems. The most popular are cover-like systems with snap in inserts, but there are other kinds that combine multiple cloth diaper options.

Related Post: 4 Reasons to Cloth Diaper

Washing Cloth Diapers

When it comes to cloth diapers, this is probably one of the biggest reasons we lose parents. People are often 'grossed out' by the thought of washing poopy diapers or completely overwhelmed with the often contradicting advice.

I wholeheartedly recommend Fluff Love University as a resource for washing cloth diapers. The website also has a plethora of other information and a facebook group where you can live feedback!

For a beginner, here are some important and relevant cloth diaper washing facts:
  • You do not need to rinse out diapers of exclusively breastfed babies. Breastmilk poo is water soluble.
  • Older toddler poo often rolls right off into the toilet without you having to rinse the diaper.
  • Fabric softener is not cloth diaper friendly.
  • Homemade detergent is a no go.
Related Post: 6 Ways Babies Benefit from Babywearing

Start Cloth Diapering

Buying Cloth

You can buy cloth diapers used on facebook buy, sell, trade groups like Cloth Diaper Swap or on DiaperSwappers.com. You can buy new cloth diapers from a variety of places online and, if you're lucky, a local retailer. Places like Kelly's Closet and Diaper Junction are good starting places.

So, now you have some info to get you started. I hope you're not feeling too overwhelmed. Feel free to drop a comment or question and I'll do my best to answer!


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18 Ways to Know You're a Homeschool Parent

Homeschool Parent
This post is brought to you by people who are not me because I'm not homeschooling (yet). I simply have observed lots of these funnies while researching and learning about homeschooling. I'm hoping you can enjoy them as much as I have!

We plan on homeschooling next year and I've even already started buying curriculum and books! We're all very excited!

Related Post: Surviving College as a Mom

You Know You're a Homeschool Parent When...

  1. Your kids don't believe you when you say you don't know the answer to something.
  2. Your kids choose to ask Google, instead of you, so they can skip the 45 minute, relevant lecture.
  3. Planners get you excited.
  4. The kids ask where we're going when you put on jeans and/or make up.
  5. The dogs kennel themselves when you put jeans on.
  6. Booking vacations, you check to make sure public schools are in session.
  7. Ink has its own line in your budget.
  8. Your kids sleep until they're fully rested everyday.
  9. Your living room is now a classroom.
  10. You're out shopping and people ask your children (not you) why they aren't in school.
  11. Clearance school supplies get you excited.
  12. You can school at the beach, on the trampoline, in the backyard, etc.
  13. When you spend all of your Christmas break reading books that aren't related to your kids school work!
  14. It's Christmas break and you're working on schoolwork.
  15. Your family can enjoy matinee movies in near empty theaters.
  16. You get asked about "socializing" your kids.  ALL. THE. TIME.
  17. Someone asks what grade your child is in and you say, "1st through 4th...depends on the subject."
  18. Recess lasts more than two hours.

Related Post: Today, I was a bad parent.

What would you add to this list?

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Surrogacy: Compensation

Surrogacy Compensation
One of the most talked about parts of surrogacy is compensation. I have seen quite a few heated conversations about the matter. However, it is an important part of the process, whether you're an altruistic surrogate or paid surrogate.

What your compensation is, is reimbursement for your time, energy, pain, suffering, etc. Sometimes it's all inclusive, but more often it does not include "extras" such as maternity clothes or post-partum recovery time.

Standard Compensation

In my personal opinion, the standard range for surrogacy compensation is between $20-35,000. Of course, I've seen drastically different numbers and this number is influenced by whether or not your insurance is surrogacy friendly and if you've successfully been a surrogate previously, among other factors.

Related Post: Getting Started with Surrogacy

Extras

The so-called "extras" part of compensation is widely varied in what it covers and how much. It is also separate from your regular compensation. Some things you might commonly see are monthly allowance, maternity clothes, c-section fee, multiples fee, etc.

Surrogacy Reimbursements

Here's a mock up of surrogacy fees and extras (not made by me). It's a fill in the blank PDF but also has an example page. This might be especially useful to independent surrogates.


Altruistic Surrogates

An altruistic surrogate volunteers herself and her womb without compensation. These surrogates typically still receive reimbursements for out of pocket costs. At the end of a surrogacy journey for an altruistic surrogate, the assumption is that her out of pocket cost is $0, but she's also not financially benefited from the surrogacy in any way.

Altruistic surrogates might receive gifts, but this isn't written into their contracts and the parents aren't obligated to do so.

Low Comp Surrogates

You might see the term "low comp" thrown around some while researching surrogacy, especially if you get involved in any chat communities. Surrogates usually consider themselves low comp if their compensation is less that $15,000. However, $15,000 is an imaginary bar I'm setting. It's not a standard, by any means, for low vs standard compensation. It just fits the trends I've seen.

Related Post: Becoming a Surrogate

Don't Stress

Choosing

As far as compensation goes, figuring out what's right for you may be difficult. If you plan to match independently (without an agency), you should definitely have this all figured out before seeking out intended parents. While everyone's "right" compensation (or lackthereof) is different, the amount that intended parents can afford greatly varies. Costs associated with surrogacy are high! Think upwards of $100,000 or more. If what you're expecting is high, you will be turned away by intended parents and so agencies.

As with all parts of surrogacy, do your research. Agencies often have a publicly posted fee/compensation page, such as this one by Circle Surrogates agency.

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Planning a Shared, Unisex Birthday

Shared, Unisex Birthday
Have I mentioned that two out of three of my children were born on the same day? There's exactly four years age difference and they're different genders. So, my middle and youngest share a May 2nd birthday.

I'm always pretty stumped when birthdays roll around (especially when it's two for one). What should I buy? Should we have a theme? Here I've shared some of the ideas I've either used or am considering using in the future!

IMAGE HERE

Silly (Not Scary) Monster Party

This is what I think we're doing this year! It's fun and quirky and pretty easy (most important) and affordable (second most important) to pull together! I found these silly monster balloons, monster head suckers, and some silly monster invites all for less than $20 total!

Cakes always stress me out but one time I thought cupcakes was a better idea. Wrong! Either way, there's really affordable monster cupcake toppers and monster cake toppers to finish off the theme.

Related Post: 20 DIY Baby Shower Gifts

Lego Party

We did a lego themed party last year. Actually, I spent most of the party budget on awesome cakes, so there wasn't a whole lot of other lego stuff. These lego gift bags would have been cool!

They also have cool, edible cake or cupcake toppers and lego party masks. So, I basically failed at our lego party last year. No one seemed to notice and here's picture of the kids' awesome cakes!
A photo posted by momingabout (@momingabout) on


Related Post: A Minecraft Birthday


Mad Scientist Party

Since my youngest is only turning two, I think we might save this idea for another year or two. However, I look forward to this fun theme. I'm just imagining the kids in these adorable safety glasses, examining the world with magnifying glasses.

No Theme

Seriously, you can skip the themes. Kids are totally okay with a cake you baked at home and simply celebrating their birthday with loved ones. They won't miss the themes much.

What's your favorite way to celebrate double birthdays?

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Surrogacy: Becoming a Surrogate

Become a Surrogate
Now that you've done some research, as directed in the last post, and have decided to move forward to become a surrogate (or are just curious to learn more about this process), we'll discuss how to get started.

Related Post: Surrogacy: Getting Started

Independent versus Agency

There are two different ways to become a surrogate. One way is to choose a surrogacy agency and they will match you with a couple.

Taking this route, the agency will have you fill out an application and typically do some pre-screening (psych/social work evaluations). Then they match you with a couple of similar values and interests; someone they think is a good "fit" for you and your expectations and vice versa.

When using an agency, the intended parents are paying a premium that is not present in independent matches. This is because agencies typically handle screening surrogates, matching surrogates and parents, assign legal reps, handle payments and reimbursements, etc. Basically, they do all the management and back end stuff...grunt work, if you will.

The alternative is to independently seek out an intended parent or parents and then match yourselves. This is more cost effective on the intended parents end, but requires more grunt work all around. Also, if there's any issues (payment, person disagreements, etc) then you have to work them out yourselves and/or involve your legal rep if it's very serious!

You'll see preferences on either side, so just do some more research on the pros and cons and decide which is best for you and then proceed from there!


Becoming a Surrogate

Evaluations and Screenings

While there's some variations, after you've signed up with and agency or matched independently, it's time for you to under the microscope while other people dissect your health and life. This was, honestly, my least favorite part. I was confident I'd pass all "tests" but I hated feeling like I was being tested and examined. Otherwise, it's a painless process that may include a social worker, psychologist, and other medical professionals.

You'll give your personal history, your medical history (including records), your blood, and a doctor will examine your uterus. Depending on the doctor, clinic, and/or agency other requirements, such as some evaluations of your significant other, may be required.

Sometimes part or all of this process happens while also matching with and getting to know the intended parents. Other times, some or all of this happens before you are matched.

Related Post: What is a surrogate mother?


Meeting the Parents

Of course, this list is not in order, because if you are going to be a independent surrogate (that is, without an agency), the matching process happens in the beginning stages. During or before the evaluations and screenings processes, you'll "meet up" with a couple or single person who wants you to carry for them.

Whether you have an agency you gives you a profile of intended parents or you find some yourself, it's basically like a blind date. If they're local, you'll be one of some lucky few who are able to meet their intended parents face to face and possibly have more frequent face to face contact with them.

I don't think that's as common as long distance surrogates and intended parents, though. In these cases, skype is a very common means of communication.

Once you found a couple or person who you feel comfortable with and want to carry for, you can move forward from wherever you are in your process. If you're with an agency, you usually privately communicate with them
after the first "meet" with the parents to let the agency know if it's a go or no go. The parents have the same opportunity to green or red light you.

Becoming a Surrogate Mother

Surrogacy Contracts (Legal Work)

Once your intended parents and you have chosen each other, the work can start on the legal contract (one of the most important parts of the journey). The legal contract will cover compensation and reimbursement, termination, travel, and more.

Read your contract verbatim when you get it and take notes to discuss with your legal rep.

This part sometimes makes people uncomfortable but it's important to make sure you're getting fair treatment and everything is in order for you. That's what your legal rep is for. The parents should have their own, separate rep, to keep their best interest in mind.

There may be some negotiating, but neither party should take it personally and eventually compromise and the signing of the contracts will lead to the next step!

Baby Time!

If all screenings are passed and you found the perfect person or couple to carry for and all legal work in finished; it's time to move on to the best part...the baby! Or babies, as the case may be!


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