Sunday, August 26, 2007

More from the Swiss Family

Everyone's making funny faces!

With Tonton Philippe and cousin Maël

Enjoying one last hug from Megâne until we make it to Switzerland again!

More on being Cheap: Cloth Diapers

Long before Angelina was born, I told Fredo I wanted to use cloth diapers. He was a little hesitant at first, not being familiar with them, but he was easily swayed. The morning I went into labor, he was online for awhile. He stopped and said "Ok, I found out how to fold cloth diapers, now we can have a baby!" Not only are they great for the cost savings, but the environmental savings. Yes, you use more water and energy to wash, but since we have a high efficiency washing machine (8 loads in ours = 1 load in a standard US washer) and we hang dry all our clothes (no dryer), we use very little water or energy. After a year I have yet to see any change in our water/electric/gas consumption.

Compare Disposables:
0-3 Months:
8-10 diapers/day = 60+ diapers/week (I'll round down for ease).
Pack of 60 Size 1 diapers = ~$16
$16/week x 12 weeks = $196

4-6-12 Months:
6-8 diapers/day
50 diapers/week x 32 weeks = 1600 diapers = 40 packs
$16/pack of 40 Size 2 or 3 Diapers
40 packs for 32 weeks diapers @$16/pack = $640

Minimum $836 for the first year. We won't even start with the second year.

Cloth Diapers
One time expense of cloth diapers: ~$300
Can be done for much less, I bought a few different types to see what worked best. With what we have, we're set at least until she's 2 yrs old. And we have diapers for kid #2. And we can use the pre-folds for many many things.

We were using prefolds with Bummis or Prowrap covers (which ones depends on her size, at different times d ifferent wraps worked better). I scoffed at the fancy new All-In-One (AIO) diapers. Ridiculously expensive and did we really need them? For the unintiated, AIOs are just like disposables only they're not - they have an absorbent inner layer and a waterproof outer layer, so no wrap/cover needed.

Then our friend came over and showed us the AIO diapers she made herself. Hmmm, I can sew. Sort of. Well enough for a diaper, right? So I found a website that sells the fabric pre-cut (since I can't cut to save my life) for a fraction of the cost. Then I can sew them myself. I decided to try just a few to see how we liked them. Now we're sold. I still love our prefolds and they're useful, but the AIOs - hand sewn by yours truly - are great!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Sometimes she's a little confused about where Mommy's Milk comes from

One of the Many Benefits of Breastfeeding

It's Cheap!

Enfamil w/iron, a pretty standard formula. Nothing especially fancy. One 28.5 oz can powder = 209 fluid oz. Though it varies by age, by 3 months an infant is expected to consume 25-35 ozs per day total. Let's take the midrange of 28 oz/day. That means that 28.5 oz can would last 7.5 days. For one year, that would be at least 47 cans per year. At $27/can (the price on Enfamil's website), that would be $1269 for one year, minimum.

Costs for breastfeeding (for me, not all women need this):
Rented hospital grade pump for first 3 weeks of NICU: $100 (incl. kit)
Purchase Ameda Purely Yours double electric pump: $200 (I could have borrowed one for free from WIC since I worked for the Health Dept, but I felt bad doing that...I did have to borrow for a week when mine broke* which was wonderful!)
Nursing bras $100
Nursing tops $100
Freezer bags for expressed breastmilk $50
breastpads $16 (reusable)
breastpads $20 (disposable - which I stopped using after the first 2 months and went to reusable)

That comes to $586. Let's round up and say $600. All except the freezer bags can be used for years, with multiple kids and the bras/tops can be used even when not nursing. Plenty of people don't have to pump, and many women don't bother with the nursing bras/tops. I won't count the bottles I had to buy, as I did have to get a lot at first to try to get Angelina to take a bottle. But if she was exclusively bottle fed, I'd have had to buy more. So that's a savings of $600, only all of the expenses incurred with breastfeeding can be used for more than one kid. Say we have 2 kids, and I spend another $100 on misc. items (e.g. new parts for the pump), that's another $1100 saved....

Of course, the other costs - no chocolate, no caffeine.....
And Fredo said I needed to add the cost of beer, for everytime I said I was having a Guiness "for my milk production." But I am sure I would have had that Guiness anyway....

In Sum:

Formula: $1269/year
Breastmilk: $600/life
Boobs: Priceless

>Insert really beautiful artistic picture of Angelina lovingly nursing. Except I have no beautiful artistic photos.<

*One day my pump made weird noises. So I called Ameda Customer Service, who immediately said they'd send me a new pump, no questions asked. Alas it was late in the day, and though they'd overnight it, it wouldn't go out til the next day, in the end leaving me three days with no pump. WIC lent me one of theirs and it was excellent. And thanks to Ameda's excellent Customer Service, I got my new pump.

Monday, August 20, 2007


Not of the child variety, although Angelina is sometimes her own little hurricane, but I'm talking about Dean. Category 5.

Until last night it was expected to hit the Texas coast. Since I work for the state, we have to prepare for an emergency response. We're much better prepared than we were for Katrina and Rita in 2005. So we're on the plus side there. Teams have been working frantically for the past few days and I was preparing for a long week of many long days and nights, on the heels of another work crisis with long nights (and another urgent situation which had to take 2nd priority to Dean). Today we learn it's heading south instead, straight at Mexico. On the one hand I'm personally glad I now can breathe a bit and sleep more this week, not to mention get started on the other issue. San Antonio is still digging out from Tropical Storm Erin's flooding. But I feel for Mexico and Belize. Right now it's aimed at Chetumal and the Belize/Mexico border. I'm reminded of some lazy days spent in Xcalak, a tiny town just south of Chetumal on the border (no pics, that was pre-digital days for me). With 150-200mph winds, not much will be left standing. In a place where the people have so little to begin with.

So a short prayer and many thoughts for the people in Dean's path.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Brilliant but Lazy Still and a Proud Mommy Moment

We finally got around to our one year old appointment, a month late. We also had the visit to the specialist. Verdict? She's perfect!
height: 76cm (75-95th percentile) 29.9 in
weight: 8.8kg (25-50th percentile) 19.5lbs
head: 46cm (50-75th percentile) 18in

No, she doesn't walk. She doesn't even crawl. She scoots on her bum. She can pull herself up, but then looks around and if someone is watching, quickly sits back down. Why get up when someone can do it for you?

She's a thinker though. The specialist was doing all sorts of 'games' to test her skill level, and she's 6+ months beyond what she 'should' be doing. It's so fun to watch her try to figure something out, she's a real problem solver. So the conclusion was she's super smart, just lazy - or maybe that's smart, she knows she can get us to do something for her, so she can't be bothered to do it herself. ;)

On a pround Mommy note, we make all her food. She's not keen on the jar stuff anyway, so for 6ish months now we've been pureeing foods and freezing, and more recently giving her stuff off our own plates. Knowing the nutritionist would ask what she eats, I made a list beforehand. She took one look at said "WOW!" and then WOW a few more times adding "If I had to create the perfect menu for a baby, this would be it!" That was a great pat on the back!

So what does she eat? Everything....Some combination of any of the following:
beets, carrots, spinach, mustard greens, kale, squash: acorn, butternut, crookneck, zucchini, and assorted other types in season, eggplant, peas, broccoli, cauliflower,
beans (pinto, red, white), asparagus, tofu (occasionally)

breads/grains: whole grain, french bread, whole wheat cheerios, museli, multi-grain cereal, pasta

peaches, pears, plums, prunes, pineapple, papaya, mango, blueberries, blackberries

yoghurt (sometimes Papa's homemade stuff, otherwise organic full fat yoghurt), cheese (she's partial to gruyere), Breastmilk (yes, she still nurses all the time), some cow's milk, goat's milk, soy milk although she's not fond of any of those non-human milks.

And probably some other stuff I'm forgetting. She doesn't like bananas and avocados have been hit or miss (more for me!). She basically eats everything that is on our plate, minus the hot peppers....The best part for her? Feeding herself!

A month of relatives

Angelina has been having so much fun lately. First her Atlanta soon to be Indianapolis cousins Richard, Grace, and James, along with Aunt Theresa came to celebrate her birthday party. She got to spend a whole day just hanging out with them.

The next week her Swiss family came for 2 whole weeks, after a quick side trip to NYC. Fredo has all the pics so I can't post them til he gets done with his crisis-mode work hours. Cousines Megâne, Maël, and Gilles had so much fun with her. Megâne took care of her as much as possible and just loves her to pieces. What surprised me a bit was Maël and Gilles. Being boys I didn't expect them to be too interested in a baby girl. But I was wrong. 4 year old Gilles saw her as an equal playmate and other times as a toy, evidenced by Maël saying "Gilles, she's not a toy! Stop doing that!"
Maël was her little protector and entertainer. He was always either taking care of her or making her laugh. She got spoiled with so much attention. Then of course there's Tonton Philippe and Taunte Sophie whom she adored.

No sooner did they leave and a few days later Nanny came to visit! Now she has Nanny's undivided attention every day for a week. Lucky little girl. She's going to be bored with just Mommy and Papa.

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