the real deal

Diapers currently make up about 2 percent of municipal waste, whereas in 1970 they made up 0.3 percent. (Source: Mother Jones)

Cloth diapering is one way to save a lot of waste. And real diaper week, sponsored by the Real Diaper Association, promotes this cause. The great cloth diaper change on Saturday, April 21 serves as the grand finale of the week. The goal is to break the world record for the most cloth diapers changed at the same time. (Set last year, the current record is just over 5,000 diapers changed simultaneously.) There are several event locations in the Twin Cities including PeaPods in St. Paul, Colonial Church of Edina, and DaVinci Academy of Arts and Sciences, Blaine.

The event aims to promote awareness of cloth diapering and its benefits, among them saving money and reducing landfill waste. Cloth diaper wearers tend to transition out of diapers at an earlier age as well. Part of the reason, as I’ve heard it explained, is because children can feel when they’re wet.

We use simple cotton prefolds and LiteWrap diaper covers (with velcro closures). I like ’em. We’ve used the same diapers with both boys and have only had to replace a few of the wraps.

What is your experience with cloth diapers?

Crying it out

All the things I’ve heard and read suggest that by the time babies are four months old, they don’t need to eat at night. Our little one had never been informed. In fact, at seven months he was getting up more frequently than at three months. Partly because he figured out we would pick him up if he insisted. My husband was convinced that he was hungry and needed to eat.

As baby was approaching eight months, I decided it was time. I tried to persuade and finally ordered my husband not to pick him up after we put him down for the night–and then I had to follow my own instructions too. We did a modified Ferber method, I guess you could call it, with fewer reassuring visits. This was because they just seemed to make our little guy angrier. When we were there talking to him, patting him gently but not picking him up, he would cry louder.

It only took about three nights of this sleep training before he figured out that crying only yielded a brief visit at best. And by night five, we only heard a brief whimper now and then before he went back to sleep on his own. Enduring those few nights with a lot of crying means that we all get more uninterrupted sleep now.

What my seven-month-old has taught me

There’s something about being around a child that helps put some of the wonder and mystery back into life. Children—when they’re young enough—also seem to have their priorities right. Here are just a few of things we can learn from a child.

Sing when you’re happy.
Sleep when you’re tired.
Enjoy the simple things. Let a warm bath, a simple song, or a hug be reason enough to smile.
Make people most important.