Monday, March 15, 2010

Why "Feed Me, Cloth Me"?

I have been thinking about writing a blog for a while now. Since my son was born in May of 2009, I've had little time to spend on my first love - writing. I started writing recreationally when I was fairly young, perhaps about 9 or 10 years old, and in high school I found that poetry spoke to me and soon after that, discovered a genre I wouldn't know the name for for years to come.

In college, I took my first creative writing class in Creative Non-Fiction. It was the only class open for a transfer student late to the registration process. On the first day, I fell in love with writing all over again. I had been writing CNF for years without knowing it had a name. Blogging is not unlike CNF in may ways - at least, I believe that this blog will not be unlike it.

Over the last 10 months, I have learned so much about myself that it almost overrides the first 26 years of my life experience. Having a baby truly changes everything.

Feed Me!

I have always wanted to make my own baby food. I loved the idea of little ice cubes of carrots and peas in my freezer, a veritable rainbow of veggies and fruit. I had no idea that I could make baby cereal myself. I never expected I would feed my son tofu regularly. I certainly never realized I could make beans or lentils in batches and freeze them in ice cube trays. I bought cottage cheese for the first time in my life (and I was apparently avoiding it for good reason, but Boogie loves it) And I had no idea I would be buying so much yogurt.
But once I got started, I found it was incredibly easy to make healthy, organic, fresh meals for him. I love thinking up new ways to make simple delicious food that my husband and I can enjoy with him. It almost makes me sad to see that my son is outgrowing purees, even thick chunky ones, and wanting more and more to feed himself. In addition to loving the process, I love the outcome. Boogie eats anything (almost - see below) and loves everything he tries, including foods I don't care for like kale, cottage cheese, and lentils.
In the last 4 months, I have made a lot of baby food. It amazes me when I pass the baby jar section in the grocery store how incredibly expensive it is to feed your child what amounts to canned veggies. To some degree, I wanted to save money by making it myself. But the overriding thought was that I could make sure my son learned to love a variety of veggies, fruits, grains, and more in the first few years of his life if I made everything he eats from fresh, whole foods. Then maybe, just maybe, when he does eventually find himself at a fast food restaurant with friends, he'll take a bite and wonder what it is because it won't taste like food.
I think many parents share at least one of those goals. Making baby food really is easy. And, done in batches all in one day a month, it can be pretty fast and just as convienient as those little jars...and I can tell you from experience that it tastes better. We once tried to offer organic jarred food to my little Boogie at a restaurant and no only did he refuse to eat it (the FIRST time he ever refused to eat anything!), but he cried as though we had tried to feed him thumbtacks. I tasted it myself and I had to agree. Jarred string beans do not taste like string beans. Jarred carrots do not taste like carrots. I can handle that kind of picky eater.
Making your own baby food doesn't stop with purees, even when that phase starts to end (tear!). I'm changing the way my family eats so that we can all eat together and have healthy, nutritious meals that taste great!
Cloth Me!
I knew in my very early 20's that I would use cloth diapers for my children. A family friend used them and I was intrigued. Once night I spent hours on the internet researching cloth diapers and was amazed at all there was to learn. Years later, married and expecting my first child, I revisited the world of cloth diapers and found that even in those 5 or so years, the options have exploded into a phenomenon many people believe is just a trend.
Trendy or not, cloth diapers have been around for as long as...well...babies. Or at least as long as there has been cloth, it has been used for diapering babies.
The first disposable diaper appeared on the scene in 1949, and according to 1980's diapering authority My Mom, disposable diapers were hardly an option for full-time diapering unless you wanted to do even more laundry than you were already doing washing diapers. She said most of them still required a cover (which she called "rubber pants" so you can already see things have changed!) Besides, she used a diaper service and didn't have to wash them herself anyway. My point is that disposable diapers have only been a viable alternative to cloth as a full-time diapering option for about 25 or maybe 30 years. Since then, technology has boomed and a popular diaper brand is now offering a product they claim will keep your baby dry for up to 12 hours.
Which, in my opinion, is a technology we do not need. The longer you leave a diaper on a baby, the longer their skin is in direct contact with urine. They may not feel wet, but they will certainly be in cotact with urine. Think about it. And if you use a disposable diaper, it isn't just urine. We're talking chemicals, fragrances, dyes, dioxin (by-product of bleaching process), etc.
Do our babies really need to be wrapped in technology from the moment they arrive into the world? I think if I had the choice, I'd rather be wrapped in soft cotton than heavily scented, bleached, and dyed paper full of SAP.
This is why I diaper my son in cloth.


  1. Hi from a new reader! I've got an 8 month old, and I make her food (and I love it!). I will be so sad when she outgrows eating those cute little cubes of food!

    I'm SLOWLY dipping my toes into cloth diapering, too. I'm looking forward to reading your blog!

  2. @ Stuff Parents Need - I love your blog! I just read your post about starting to use cloth diapers and I'm excited for you! Please feel free to email me with any questions if I can help. I remember being overwhelmed with all the options at first and now its all second nature.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Just commenting to say Nice Blog!