Monday, February 25, 2013

Review and GIVEAWAY: Kissaluvs fitteds and Jack Be Natural (GIVEAWAY ENDED)

A few weeks ago, I bought a size M/L cotton fleece kissaluvs fitted diaper from Jack Be Natural for 14.95$.  I chose the natural, unbleached color because I had a gift certificate for 15$ and the colors are 1$ more ;)  They shipped the day after I placed my order (free shipping, I might add) and I received it a few days later.  Jack Be Natural shipped my diaper in eco-friendly packaging, which was a bonus.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Do you Twitter?

Is that how it's said?  Twit?  Tweet?  'The' Twitter?

However you want to put it, Blogs From a Single Mom is now doing it.  I have never Twitted before, so it might not be set up just right but it will work.  I'm only doing this for YOU guys, to keep you up to date and give you more ways to get entries for giveaways.  Follow me on Twitter here:
and like me on facebook here:
if you haven't already.  I post hints about upcoming posts and giveaways, so you'll be the first to know.  And have a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Things you shouldn't say to a single mother

When it comes to pregnancy and parenting, many people lack a filter.  Unsolicited advice seems to start flying out of everyone’s mouth the second people find out you are carrying a baby or have a child.  Most of the time, the advice is merely annoying and easy to ignore, if it isn’t actually helpful.  Sometimes, those questions asked and advice given can feel like a kick in the teeth.

I’ve been a single mother since the day my daughter was born, and I was a single mother-to-be for the majority of my pregnancy.  I’ve heard my share of unfair, rude, and just plain mean comments and questions.  I’ve spent a lot of time doubting myself because of something I was told by someone I barely know.  No one should have to go through that. 

While some people just don’t care or are trying to be mean, there’s also a good portion of people who are simply uninformed that it isn’t socially acceptable to ask certain things or give advice on certain subjects.  This post is for everyone, from married families to other single moms who can relate, to people who fall into the category of ‘uninformed.’

Things you should NOT say to a single mother.

  “You should stay with him for the good of your child.  In many cases, an unhappy (or worse, abusive) relationship is much more harmful to a child than having divorced or separated parents. 

“Do you know who the father is?”  Um…what?  In what world is it alright to ask anyone this question?  This one just leaves me speechless. 

“Are you going to/why didn’t you marry the baby’s father?”  I get this one a lot.  This is very personal, and it isn’t something I feel comfortable sharing with a stranger I met in Walmart who asks where my husband is. 

“But a child needs his/her father.”  I am baffled by the number of people who think a child can’t grow up to be a normal human being unless they have a ‘normal’ household.  Most people picture the typical American family as being white, middle-class, and involving two married parents.  Not all families look like this!  Some families have two parents, some families have one, some families involve a step parent and some families adopt their children.  But they are all families.  The easiest way to bring a single mother down is to insinuate that she will raise her child wrong if a man isn’t guiding her in the right direction.

“But who will teach him how to pee standing up?”  This one comes from a friend of mine with a son and no father in the picture.  I can’t even comprehend what brought someone to ask her this question.  Standing up to pee is not an important life skill, and I imagine it isn’t that hard to learn.
  Did your parents not teach you it’s incredibly rude to ask someone else about money?  This is no one else’s business.

One thing you SHOULD say to a single mother (or any mother)

“I’m here for you if you ever need to talk.”  There is nothing that could help me more than having someone to spill to when I need to get it all out.  If you want to help a single mother, tell them THIS instead of anything else you have read in this post.  And please, think before you speak.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Are you on facebook?

Well, I am!  Blogs From a Single Mom now has a facebook.  I'll be adding a 'like' button shortly, but my computer is running very slow today so it will have to wait.  You can 'like' BFASM here.  Eventually, I will also enter the technological age and we'll be a Twitter, too. That will also have to wait, because I have no idea how to work a Twitter and it won't be pretty while I'm learning.  Let's just stick to facebook for now, shall we?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

My newborn is an 8 month old; a letter to my daughter.

  Today is your 8 month birthday.  8 months ago, at 8:33 in the morning, I held you for the first time after 26 hours of labor.  That minute was the best 60 seconds of my entire life, and I remember each one.  I'll never forget the way you looked when that doctor put you on my stomach.  I looked at you, wet, slightly purple, and perfect.  Then I said, "It's a baby.  It's sticky.  Is she still a girl?  Thank God, she's still a girl."  It was the most shocking, confusing, exciting moment of my life thus far.

  I will always see you that way when I look at you, no matter how old you get.  It has not been an easy journey so far, but it's been wonderful and rewarding every day.  You will always be my 7 pound, sticky baby girl.  Today, my 8 month old newborn is growing and thriving.  You can stand, you can crawl faster than I can keep up with you, and you can walk with a little help.  Every day, you smile and laugh.  You touch my face, sometimes poking me in the eye and sticking your fingers up my nose.  Daily, you fall down, get into things, and wedge yourself into awkward spaces.  You get older every time I blink but you still look like a newborn to me.

  I know you're getting older.  You're growing, and one day you'll want to grow up completely.  I won't try to stop you or hold you back.  But no matter how old you get or how much you grow, you'll always be my newborn.  I'll always call you Midge, and hold you, and stroke your hair when you're sad.  I'll always cry when you do, even if I don't show it.  I will never stop you from cuddling with me and stroking my face, even when we're both old and grey.  (But you will eventually have to stop sticking your fingers up my nose.)

  Today my newborn turns 8 months old, and I can't believe it.  I love you, and today I'll hold you a little tighter while I still can.

Breastfeeding FAQ

Breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed a baby.  It can also be confusing, especially if you were not raised around it or have never breastfed a child before.  I have been breastfeeding my daughter for exactly 8 months today, and have never had to supplement with formula.  I often get asked questions from both nursing and non-nursing mothers, who had trouble finding answers to certain questions on the internet or got mixed answers.  There answers are all based on my own research, personal experience, and the experiences of the other breastfeeders in my family.  Some of these answers may be controversial, so I urge you to do your own research and trust YOUR body and baby!

Does breast feeding hurt?
After the first few weeks when your nipples are adjusting, no, breast feeding should not hurt.  During the first few weeks, some women(myself included) experience some pain or discomfort.  Lanolin works miracles on dry or cracked nipples, or just expressing some milk onto them and letting it dry.  If the pain persists past the first few weeks or is extreme, contact a lactation consultant.  Your baby might have a bad latch.

Why is breast best?
Breast milk is the perfect human food, in every way.  It is easy to digest, customized for your baby, and contains everything your baby needs to grow and thrive.  Formula can’t mimic all the enzymes and good bacteria in breast milk.  Formula is also not as easy to digest, leaving many babies constipated and/or causing tummy troubles. While it is certainly the next best thing to breast milk, formula can’t compare to human milk.

How do I know my baby is getting enough milk?
If you baby is having at least 5-6 wet diapers a day after the first day, and is gaining some weight, he or she is getting enough milk.  Keep in mind that most babies lose some weight after birth.  This is completely normal and does not mean your baby is not eating enough.  It is also normal for a newborn to be drowsy the first few days, and not very interested in eating.  This is also normal, and does NOT mean you need to give your baby formula!

Do I need to wake at night to feed?
Unless your baby is not gaining weight/having enough wet diapers and needs to eat more, then no, you do not need to wake your baby to feed him/her.  This is a controversial subject for some people, but when it comes down to it, your baby will let you know when she/he is hungry in most cases.

Do I need to give my baby vitamins?
As long as you are eating a healthy diet and/or taking prenatal vitamins, no, there is no reason to give a breastfed baby vitamins.  Breast milk is the perfect food and will give your baby everything he/she needs in most cases.

This post is NOT meant to shame, attack or otherwise offend mothers who cannot or do not breastfeed their children.  This was written purely to help mothers who have trouble finding answers to their questions and/or would like to hear their questions answered from a breastfeeding mother.

Do you have any questions about breastfeeding?  Leave them in the comments and I'll include them in another post in the coming months!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Cloth diapers vs. Disposables

  Parents come from all walks of life.  Some parents are married, some are not.  Some work, some don't.  Some parents are gay, some are straight.  Some parents adopt their children.  There is one thing that all parents have in common: we all want to do what is best for our children.

  When my daughter was a few months old, I found myself at a point where I decided to change what I was doing for the good of my child.  Disposables were giving her a rash, and as a single mother, I could not afford to spend 100$ a month on poop catchers.  We made the switch to cloth when Midge was 3-4 months old, and have never looked back.  It was best choice for my family, but what about yours?  As a cloth diapering mother, I often get asked about the benefits of cloth diapering.  There are a ton of pros and cons on both sides.  Here are some key points.

Cloth diapering saves money.  For a 'premium' stash of cloth diapers, one would spend almost 500$ on diapers.  Yes, the up front cost is larger than disposables.  But once you spend that money, you're done! There are also cheaper options for a family on a budget.  Using disposables, a family usually spends around 2000$!
Cloth diapers have to be washed.  This can be an inconvenience for some families who do not have a washer, are on a tight schedule, or for any other number of reasons.  It can be done without a washer, but this may not be right for some families.
Disposables create a lot of waste.  This is a fact we cannot ignore.  While cloth diapers use water, disposables have a much harsher impact on our environment.
Disposables contain chemicals.  This was the main reason for my switch from sposies to cloth.  If you haven't look up the chemicals in disposable diapers, I suggest you do it.  Chemicals are everywhere, and we all want to protect are kids.  This is one area that some families find is an important one to limit chemical exposure.
Many rash creams can't be used on cloth diapers.  The ingredients will not always wash clean, causing your diapers to repel.  There are lots of cloth safe options, but my daughter doesn't respond to them as well as she did to good ol' Desitin.
Cloth is cute!  It may be bulky, but it's cute.  There is no downside to cute.

What diapers do you use?  Do you use cloth full time, part time, or not at all?  Tell me what caused you to come to this decision in the comments!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Cloth diaper review: AlvaBaby

Welcome!  This is my first review, so bare with me.  I am not a writer, just a mom with a computer and a lot of opinions :)

This review is a completely unsolicited review of AlvaBaby diapers.  I bought these diapers on my own, without the intent to review them.  I was not asked nor paid to review them; these are just my opinion on these diapers.
  I have nine Alva diapers.  Three are your regular average PUL-lined fabric, and the other 6 have a minky outer(bonus!)  They have an adjustable snap rise with three settings, and cross-over tabs.  The inner fabric is suede cloth, and though I have never tried the bamboo diapers, it is my understanding that Alva does make a diaper with a bamboo inner. These are a pocket style diaper.  Here are mine:

The website boast that Alvas, like most OS diapers, fit from 8 to 35 pounds.  We all know that most of the time this is not true, and Alvas are no exception.  Here, the diaper is on the largest rise and waist settings.

And here, on the smallest setting without crossing the tabs.

With the tabs crossed.

Please excuse the way my thumbnail looks.  We had a small mishap involving a high chair and my thumbnail bending backwards 90 degrees, leaving it to sensitive to paint.  Moving on, lets take a look at the tag!  How cute!

I'd have to say these are my favorite diapers. For this price, you can't go wrong.  They fit my daughter from around 4 months on, when she was somewhere between 10 and 12 pounds(bad mommy for not remembering!) on the smallest rise setting and smallest waist setting.  There were no gaps in the legs or waist, but there was room to grow on these settings.  I don't have any pictures of the fit at that age, but I DO have pictures of the fit on her today, at almost 8 months old.  She chose to model the yellow diaper.  She is quite squirmy, so we had to make due with what pictures we could get.

In this particular diaper, she still wears it on the smallest waist setting without crossing the tabs, and the shortest rise setting.

I got her to lay still, for about ten seconds.

Yes, we are battling a slight rash.  Midge has sensitive skin and is prone to them.  Please ignore the small red bumps.

Then, she was done laying down and decided to run away.  I snapped a few more shots as she pulled things out of the laundry basket and played with her walker.

I don't have any complaints about the fit.  At 17 pounds, most of our diapers still fit her on the smallest rise setting, but not all of them.  This is one of the few cons of Alva diapers. So far, two of our nine diapers have been moved to the middle rise setting.  There are some inconsistencies.  Some are slightly larger or stretch more than others.  Differences are usually found between new and old prints, and minky vs. PUL fabric. but Because of the translation of the website, it can be a little difficult to figure out what prints are new, minky, and PUL.

Overall, I'd say our Alvas have held up very well so far over our 4-ish months of use.  The elastic in the legs and waist is almost in like-new condition.  The PUL has not delaminated or cracked, and the suede cloth has only pilled a moderate amount on a few of our diapers.   The diaper on the left does not seem to have any pilling, while the diaper on the right does.

 I even throw them in the dryer on low or medium heat most days, and it doesn't seem to have affected them at all.

To sum things up, I made you a handy list of pros and cons.

Pros-(1)Very inexpensive, starting at less than 5$ a diaper and going up to 10$ a diaper for bamboo with bamboo inserts.  They can be bought for even less if you're willing to buy through a co-op on facebook.
(2)Cross-over waist tabs.  Available in both single-row of snaps AND double-row with hip snaps.
(3)Lots and lots of cute colors/prints, with some available in minky.
(4)Held up well after 4 months of use(I'll review the quality again in a few months)
(5)Durable snaps.  I have not had any chip, break or come off in 4 months of washing and being put in the dryer.
(6)'Custom' diapers, with velcro, colored snaps, different printed wings, etc are available.  However, the best way to do this is through a co-op, because you need 50 or more of each style for a custom order.

Cons-(1)Made in China.  Though I personally do not see this as a con, some of you may.  This also means it can take a little while to receive your diapers when ordering directly from the website.
(2)The website may be difficult to navigate for some.  If this is a problem for you, order through a co-op!  You'll save money, too.
(3)Some inconsistencies between individual diapers.

I would recommend these diapers to anyone, especially someone looking to save money.  We all love saving money, right?