“Cloth Diapers? I’m just not gonna be that kind of mom…”

I said this over three years ago when I was pregnant with my daughter and my mom suggested cloth diapers to help save money.  Extra laundry?  Putting poop in my washing machine?  Extra laundry?  No. No, I’m just not gonna be that kind of mom that has it all together and has time to deal with cloth diapers.  It’s gross and time consuming.

Fast forward to 2012 when I actually took the time to read about using cloth diapers; I learned about the different styles, brands, how to clean them and how it could potentially save my family thousands of dollars…yes thousands of dollars.

Then I opened Wild Orchid Baby just before the start of 2013 and started selling cloth diapers.  I saw firsthand just how many people didn’t just tolerate doing extra laundry, but they actually swooned over the diapers.  They freaking loved them.  The colors, the patterns, the adjustable fit, the customizable solutions they created with inserts of different sizes and textures – each customer created their own individual diapering system that worked perfectly to contain their baby’s peeing and pooping.  Some swore by prefolds and flats.  Some preferred pockets and all in ones.  And many were looking for advice…from me.

By this point I was pregnant with my second child and I had to give cloth diapering a try – not because I was completely sold on the concept, but because I had to be able to troubleshoot with my customers and offer valid solutions for their heavy wetters and stinky microfiber.  See, even when I first attempted cloth diapers, I was still having those “I’m not this kind of mom” feelings.

I also must admit that my first attempt at cloth diapering was not love at first sight.  Prefolds, flats, the snappi – I just was not loving the folding, positioning or overall fit.  My prefolds quickly became burp cloths and I moved onto my all in ones (AIO).  The AIO’s went on easy, like a disposable.  And they were much trimmer, kinda like a disposable.  And they are flipping ADORABLE, unlike disposables.  After I washed and dried them, they were clean and fresh smelling.  I did it – I got it on the baby, the baby pooped, it didn’t leak, I put the poopy diapers in my washing machine and they came out clean.  And then my family’s laundry came out clean right afterwards – no permanent poop residue in my washer.

My son Vinni is five months old now and I’d say he wears cloth diapers about 75-80% of the time.  He wears disposables at daycare, when daddy doesn’t know which insert goes with which diaper and when we’re travelling.  As parents, we make our own rules and we choose to keep a few disposables on hand.  I may cloth diaper now, but I’m definitely still not one of those organized moms who always remembers to take the wet laundry out of the washer and put it in the dryer.

I’ve even figured out my own custom diapering solutions – Vinni’s best overnight diaper, how to put the insert in the pocket so he doesn’t pee through it and which brands fit my little chunka man the best.  I never expected this, but I actually feel a sense of pride when I retrieve my freshly laundered cloth diapers from the dryer.  My son’s bum has never been cuter.  I’m doing something that reduces my family’s waste and I’m saving us money by not buying disposables every week.  I hate folding regular laundry, but somehow stuffing pockets and putting away my diapers somehow feels satisfying.

If you’re still reading this and still feeling like cloth diapers are gross and time consuming, I just want to remind you of a few facts:

  • Baby poop is gross and it gets on everything…so it will make its way to your washing machine even if it’s not on a cloth diaper…and your washer will not be tainted.
  • The more cloth diapers you have, the less extra laundry you have to do.
  • Babies are in diapers for years and the average parent spends over $2,500 or more on disposable diapers vs. $500 on cloth diapers.
  • Not having to leave home when we encounter an artic freeze (like last week) to grab a pack of diapers is amazing because cloth diapers don’t run out.

Want to learn more about cloth diapers?  Stop by Wild Orchid Baby.

NIP without showing too much nip…

I never had the confidence to NIP (nurse in public) when my daughter was born.  In fact, I don’t think I nursed her in front of anyone besides my husband.  As a result, I spent many family functions alone in another room and hours of pumping and prepping each time I ventured out of the house.  This time is different though.  I’ve nursed Vinni at Davis Farmland, at Old Navy, at Reliant Medical Group and of course at Wild Orchid Baby.  I’ve nursed Vinni while making my daughter a sandwich and while discussing my personal property tax liability with the guy from the assessor’s office.

nursing vin in ktan

People don’t usually notice I’m nursing at first as I’ve learned a few tricks to remain discreet.  I want to feed my baby when he’s hungry, but I don’t want to feel too exposed.

1.) I plan my outfit accordingly.  Nursing tanks are great and allow you nurse without pulling your shirt up, but I only have a few of these.  When these are in the laundry I wear a stretchy tank top underneath a tee shirt so I can pull the top shirt up and the underneath tank top down without exposing my whole torso.

2.) I keep a light blanket handy during latching and unlatching.  Once Vinni is latched, my breast isn’t really exposed at all, but while I’m getting him latched and unlatched is a different story.  I like to hold up a light blanket to cover me and him until he’s properly latched on.  Once he starts feeding, I take the blanket down.

3.) I also like to nurse him in my Baby K’tan.  This comes in handy when I need to use my arms to tend to my daughter or ring out a customer in my store and it also makes nursing quite discreet.  Did you notice I’m nursing Vinni in the picture above?

Breastfeeding for the first time mom can be overwhelming and stressful – this is exactly how I felt when my daughter was born.  If you’re worried about feeding your baby in public, try these techniques and practice in front of a mirror until you get the hang of it.  Do what makes you feel comfortable and feed your baby with confidence!

Get your own Baby K’tan at Wild Orchid Baby!

Vinni’s Arrival: 32 hours of pain and frustration, 1 moment of triumph

It was 5:30 on a Saturday morning.  I thought my water had broken, but I wasn’t quite sure because instead of a huge gush of fluid, it was a slight trickle, but the contractions that soon followed confirmed that I was most likely in labor.  The contractions weren’t very strong and they were pretty inconsistent so I knew it would be a while until Vinni arrived.  So I went about my day.

I didn’t have anyone to open Wild Orchid Baby for me that day so I decided I would labor at work for a few hours and then head up the street to Memorial after coverage arrived.  I wasn’t nervous or scared, I was excited.  I was going to meet my baby soon!

Labor and delivery with daughter Olivia was a breeze.  I got to the hospital around 9am, was 6cm dilated by noon and she came right out after literally three pushes at 2:41pm.  No drugs, no interventions, 3 pushes and my beautiful little girl was here.

“You’re gonna deliver faster with number 2,” people told me.  “Labor with number two is much easier,” they said.  So that Saturday morning I did my hair and make-up to look presentable in those first baby photos and confidently prepared myself for a second natural birth.

When I arrived at the hospital around 1:30pm, it was confirmed that my water had in fact broken.  They did not check my dilation at that time as they typically don’t to avoid infection.  One of the residents told me she wanted to start Pitocin because my baby should be delivered within 24 hours.

I stubbornly protested.  They didn’t know how dilated I was.  I progressed very quickly with baby number one.  Why would I need Pitocin at this stage of the game?  Can’t I try and labor naturally?  My nurse, Michelle, listened to my points and agreed that I could make my own decision and avoid Pitocin, so I did.  Her shift ended at 3pm and another nurse took over.

I was finally checked at 4pm and I was 4cm dilated.  I was a little disappointed with this.  I thought I would have progressed further by this point.  My contractions were really starting to hurt and were becoming more intense.  I carried on, laboring naturally, focusing on my breathing, walking, rocking, changing positions to get through each contraction.  This nurse’s shift ended at 11pm and another nurse took over.

I had been laboring for 8 long hours since my last check.  My feet were sore from standing and walking, but laying down made my contractions unbearable.  I asked to be checked again thinking I was getting close, but to my dismay I was still 4cm.  I burst out crying.  All of that pain and exhaustion had gotten me nowhere.  I hadn’t made any progress.

My nurse was very comforting and she suggested I try to get some rest.  I asked for some pain meds and got a little sleep.  At 4am I heard the word Pitocin once again and I surrendered.  I also ordered an Epidural.  I couldn’t take any more pain.

My nurse turned the Pitocin off around 6am because my baby’s heart rate was dropping.  I was still sleeping.  At 7am, Nurse Michelle was back on and I was once again her patient.  She was surprised to see I was still in labor and could tell how upset I was to still be in labor too.

Her first act of duty was to help me brush my teeth.  Then she emptied my bladder – a very extremely full bladder.  So full, in fact that once she finished, my baby shifted position and his heart rate dropped drastically.  She called for my husband.  “Felipe, I need you to pull that blue cord out of the wall.  Don’t panic, but a hundred people are going to run in here.  I need help repositioning Erin to take the pressure off the cord and get the baby’s heart rate back up.”

I lay on the bed terrified and Felipe did exactly as instructed.  Several nurses and doctors ran in and quickly flipped me over onto all fours.  A heart rate monitor was stuck onto my baby’s head.  Slowly, his heart rate improved.  My doctor then suggested an Amnio Infusion.  Because my water had broken and all of the amniotic fluid had escaped, my baby didn’t have a pool to float in.  He was either compressing his cord or it was wrapped around his neck causing his heart rate to drop.  The Amnio Infusion pumped fluid back into my uterus to give him a pool to float around in and keep the pressure off the cord.

I lay on the bed crying while the resident doctor inserted the Amnio Infusion.  It was painful and I was tired of being poked and prodded with medical interventions, but I knew I had to do whatever it took to keep my baby safe.  After the Amnio Infusion was in place, my baby’s heart rate improved and my doctor suggested we start the Pitocin one more time.  I was only about 6cm dilated at this point.  I agreed to the Pitocin and prayed my baby would be ok and would be out of me soon.

With the Pitocin, my contractions got closer and closer together and felt more and more powerful.  I could feel my baby moving further down and I knew it was time to push.  I waited a little while before I said anything though.  His heart rate was stable and I didn’t want to change that.  I remembered reading about a woman who gave birth to a baby while she was in a comer.  Her contractions delivered the baby without her having to push.  “Can I please be like that lady?” I thought.  “Can my body just deliver my baby without pushing?”

Nurse Michelle came back into my room around 1:00pm and she asked how I was feeling.  At this point I was so exhausted from pain, labor and crying that my right eye was swollen shut.  Looking like Popeye with one eye closed, I told her I was ready to push.  My doctor came and checked me.  I was 10cm dilated.  Finally.

“Ok Erin, it’s time for you to push.  I do want to tell you though that if the baby’s heart rate isn’t tolerating the pushing, we’ll have to do an emergency Cesarean.”  I nodded to show I understood and with my next contraction began pushing.  I pushed again and I heard the monitors beeping, signaling baby’s heart rate drop.  Nurses and doctors surrounded me, flipped me over onto all fours, pulled tubes out of me and my bed was rolling.  They were running my bed to the OR.

I remember feeling defeated.  This wasn’t supposed to happen.  I was supposed to birth my baby naturally with strength and confidence like I had done before.  And then I thought, what if I had agreed to the Pitocin when I was first admitted, before my amniotic fluid had drained completely, would my outcome have been different?  Did my assertiveness to birth MY way ultimately make things horribly difficult for me and my baby?  Did my efforts to avoid medical intervention ultimately lead me to major surgery?

I was transferred to a narrow bed in the OR.  The anesthesiologist gave me a half dose of the C section medication.  I felt loopy and delirious.  I didn’t know where my husband was.  I turned my head and looked at the monitor.  My baby’s heart rate was back up to 120.  My doctor looked at me and said “Ok Erin.  You need to push that baby out right now or we need to do the C Section.”

Then I realized that this was my moment to birth my baby with confidence and strength like I had set out to do.  I took a deep breath, leaned forward, with one eye open and pushed as hard as I could.  I pushed again.  And again.  Nurses and doctors were yelling “You can do this Erin.  One more push!”

I pushed again and he was here.  The cord was wrapped tightly around his neck and he was whisked away to be examined.  I looked to my right and saw my husband fully suited up in scrubs head to toe.  Then I heard my little Vinni cry.  The nurse held him up and I saw him for the first time.  He looked exactly like my daughter had – perfect, with a full head of dark brown hair.

I on the other hand looked like a train wreck.  32 hours of pain and frustration will do that.  But that one moment of triumph when I pushed Vinni out made everything ok.  Vinni is here and he’s healthy and he’s ours <3Image

Vinni 9-19-13

My dryer has balls, does yours?

What’s so special about a dryer with balls?  Adding 4-6 wool dryer balls to your laundry load can significantly shorten drying time, cut down on static cling, reduce wrinkles and soften your clothes.  In turn, you will save money on fabric softener, dryer sheets and hopefully, your utility bill!

How do the balls work?  During the drying cycle, the wool dryer balls bounce around and separate clothing so warm air can circulate more efficiently, which speeds up drying time.  As the wool fibers rub against the clothing, it softens the fabric and reduces static cling and wrinkles.  Wool also has the unique ability of absorbing toxins like formaldehyde, which is commonly found in brand new clothing.

Do the balls smell?  The wool dryer balls that we have don’t have a scent to them, however you can easily add a drop or two of your favorite essential oil if you enjoy scented laundry.

How long do the balls last?  The wool dryer balls are simply made of felted wool and nothing happens to them during each drying cycle.  You may notice some wear and tear or shrinkage, but it’s safe to say that your balls will last you for several years.

How much do the balls cost?  Wool dryer balls cost between $6-8 per ball.  This may seem expensive for a ball of wool, but if you think of how much money it will save you in the long run by not needing to buy fabric softener or dryer sheets ever again, a small investment of $24-36 on a couple sets of balls that will last for years, really isn’t a bad deal at all.  You’re also reducing your chemical exposure and preventing toxic build-up in your dryer.

Save money and energy and get your some balls for your dryer!



Amber Teething Necklace?

What’s it like having a teething baby?  For many, it’s miserable.  Drooling, red cheeks, upset stomach, sore gums and endless fussiness.  There are countless remedies to soothe your irritable baby – cold facecloths, teething rings, topical numbing gels, infant pain relievers, teething tablets, etc.  If you’re at your wits end, why not try an amber teething necklace?  No artificial dyes, non-invasive and no side effects.

The baby doesn’t actually chew on the necklace itself, he wears it.  True amber isn’t a stone, it’s a fossilized resin that contains succinic acid – a powerful antioxidant that relieves pain, reduces stress and boosts the immune system.  When the necklace is worn, the beads are warmed by the body, releasing its powerful natural oils, which are absorbed through the skin and circulated throughout the body.

Amber teething necklaces have been used for centuries in Baltic countries, where the most effective form of amber originates.  It has the highest concentration of succinic acid.  I did a lot of research on amber teething necklaces and found www.amberteethingnecklace.org to be very informative.  They recommend the following when selecting an amber teething necklace:

1.)    The highest content of succinic acid is found in the external layer of resign so look for a necklace with raw amber beads that have not been highly polished.

2.)    Lighter shades of amber are also said to contain higher levels of succinic acid.

3.)    For safety reasons, choose a necklace that has knots in between each bead.  This way, if the necklace breaks, all of the beads won’t go flying everywhere.

4.)    For babies 2 and under, necklace length should be about 12” so it doesn’t fall below the shirt collar and stays in contact with the skin.

Looking to try a raw Baltic Amber Teething necklace?  We have plenty in stock at Wild Orchid Baby! $17.99

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Citrus Lane Review

Citrus Lane was started by a mom who wanted to provide parents with a care package each month to help them on their parenting journey.  Each product is reviewed and recommended by Citrus Lane’s advisory board and each monthly package is tailored to fit your child’s needs based on their age and costs $25.  We received “Animal Parade” for my two year old daughter, Olivia.

It included:

Green Sprouts Aqua Bottle, Green Sprouts Cool Calm Press, Begin Again Animal Buddy Blocks & Dolphin Organics Lotion

Aqua Bottlecool calm press turtle imagiplay_buddyblocks_jungledolphin lotion

I left the unopened box at my store and presented it to my daughter the next day when she came to work with me.  I asked her to tell me what each item was in the box.  She said “A blue juice. Squishy turtle. Fishy lotion. Monkey blocks.”

“Blue Juice” (Green Sprouts Aqua Bottle)  I really liked this sippy cup.  The top can be opened and closed to prevent spilling and Olivia is able to open and close it herself.  It’s also BPA-free and dishwasher safe.  Olivia thinks of it as a top rate sippy cup too.  It’s right up there with Car Juice, Elmo Juice, Princess Juice and Ball Juice (my mother in law bought her a sippy cup with a soccer ball on it, hence the unappealing name Olivia has given it, Ball Juice.)

“Squishy Turtle” (Green Sprouts Cool Calm Press)  Olivia didn’t understand how this was to be used at first, but I put it in the fridge to give her the full effect.  I told her it was for boo boos and she excitedly put it on her doll’s head for comfort.  Later on that week Olivia hit her head at my mom’s house and got a pretty good bump from it.  Her inconsolable tears quickly stopped when I reminded her we had that squishy turtle to help her boo boo feel better.  I have a feeling this is going to come in handy quite often!

“Fishy Lotion” (Dolphin Organics Lotion)  Olivia absolutely loves putting lotion on her hands, face, legs – everywhere!  She loved the pictures of fish and dolphins on the label and I was thrilled to see that it’s rated a 1 on the Cosmetic Database – no parabens, synthetic fragrances or petroleum derived ingredients.  I have to admit, I kept this at work and I’ve been using it as hand lotion.  I love how it absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave a greasy residue.

“Monkey Blocks” (Begin Again Animal Buddy Blocks)  These blocks are really fun!  Each side has an animal part on it.  I asked Olivia to find all the zebra sides and she delighted at the challenge.  She wasn’t quite able to replicate the animal in the correct order, but had a great time matching the different pieces of each animal.  And when I stacked them on top of the wooden crate they came in, she excitedly yelled “It’s a monkey house!”  A great toy you can take anywhere that teaches your toddler about animals, shapes, colors and puzzles.  This was by far Olivia’s favorite item that came in the Citrus Lane box.

We really enjoyed this care package and we’re eager to see what next month’s will hold.  Would you like to receive a monthly package from Citrus Lane?  Go to https://www.citruslane.com/invitedby/citrus.lane and save $10!

Parenting Resolutions?

We’re all familiar with New Year’s Resolutions – a promise we make to ourselves at the start of a new year.  We say “This year is going to be different.  I’m going to quit smoking.” or “I’m going to lose 20lbs.”  But what about parenting resolutions?  Can we make new parenting resolutions after each new addition to the family?  We’re expecting our second child this summer and I’ve made some promises to myself to do a few things a little bit differently.

Olivia – I hope you’re not offended, but you are and will continue to be my “learner baby.”  I’ve never raised a child before so I might some mistakes on you and learn from them by the time your sibling arrives.  In fact I already have.

Here are my Parenting Resolutions for baby #2:

1.) I’m going to use cloth diapers…because the more laundry, the better!  Ok, not really.  But I know a lot more now than I did 2 years ago.  I know that disposable diapers are made of plastic, bleached with chlorine and expose my precious little infant to 1,4 dioxane and phthalates…among other toxic substances.  I just don’t feel right about exposing my children to harmful chemicals if I can avoid it.  So that’s why I’m going to try cloth diapering.  I’m realistic though…and as a working mom, I’ll also have a supply of plastic-free, chlorine-free Naty diapers on hand.

2.) I will never rely on a thermos of hot water to warm a bottle again!  Like most breastfed babies, when Olivia was fed a bottle, it had to be the perfect temperature.  Warming a bottle using this technique takes quite a few minutes.  A few minutes of listening to a screaming hungry baby feels like an eternity, and it’s heart wrenching.  I’m sorry Olivia.  I just didn’t know about the magical Self Warming Yoomi bottle when you were an infant.  It instantly warms expressed breast milk or formula to the perfect temperature in just sixty seconds.

3.) I’m going to wear this baby.  I held Olivia all the time and quickly learned how to do pretty much everything one handed.  That of course came with its own set of risks, however.  I almost dropped Olivia ALL the time.  ALMOST though.  I never actually dropped my baby.  So this time around I will have my Baby K’tan carrier to the rescue!

Well Olivia, as my first child, you may have suffered the brunt of parenting inexperience, but your beautiful shining face is proof that we must have done something right.  When you say “I’m sorry” to the cat when you accidentally bump her, I see empathy.  When your little face lights up and you say “thank you” without prompting, I see your genuine appreciation.  And when you giggle and say “you’re welcome” after you pass gas instead of ‘excuse me’, I see your sense of humor and I could not be prouder!

So I may have learned some tips along the way to help make things a little safer and easier with baby number two, but nothing could ever replace the feeling of unconditional love I experienced for the first time with my first born.



So, how’s the potty training going?

So, how’s the potty training going?  I get asked this question all the time.  Many days I proudly proclaim “It’s going well!  Olivia did pee pee on the potty this morning and wore her big girl undies without any accidents!”  Other days it’s more of a “Well you know, potty training is sometimes a ‘one step forward, two steps back’ kind of thing.”  These are the days when we have accidents in the big girl undies…or she flat out refuses to use the potty at all.

I’m trying really hard to be patient and gentle and encouraging.  Olivia’s a very smart two year old and is definitely ready to be embarking on this potty training journey, but she’s also stubborn.  I know exactly where she gets it from…she get it from her mama.

Most days, she wakes up in the morning with a dry diaper so I put her right on the potty and she goes!  And I couldn’t be happier!  She proudly asks to wear her big girl undies and I let her.  I remind her often to tell Mummy if she needs to use the potty because we don’t want to pee pee or poopy in our big girl undies.  I also take her to the potty frequently and encourage her to try to go.  But depending on her mood, this sometimes pisses her off.  This is where the stubborn comes into play.  She will go 3 hours wearing her undies without peeing or pooping.  Usually by this time we need to leave the house for something and I put her in a diaper to avoid an accident in her car seat.  She then immediately pees in it, takes it off, hands it to me and says “Here Mumma I peed in this.”  This is when I take a deep breath and remember that I need to stay patient and gentle and encouraging.  Maybe it’s time for a potty training time out so we can all refocus.

And just when I feel as though I’ve had enough potty training drama for the week and I’m ready to take a break and resume it in a few days, I’ll get a call from Olivia’s daycare – a proud message from her babysitter Mary saying “I just wanted to let you know that Olivia peed on the potty like a big girl and hasn’t wet any diapers yet today!”  And just like that, it’s game on with the potty training!

But what happened today completely shocked me.  It came without warning.  Well, here it goes…

I had just stepped out of the shower and found Olivia’s clothing strewn about the hallway floor.  My butt naked child then came trotting over singing “Poopy pooopy poopy poooopy!”  I knew right then and there what kind of situation I was dealing with.  And the evidence was smeared on her leg.

I cleaned up my daughter and dressed her in a diaper.  “Can you please tell Mommy where you did poopies?”  She led me into the living room and pointed to a tiny little plop of poop on the hardwood floor.  I quickly cleaned it up and thought “That really wasn’t bad at all.”  I was expecting a disaster – an all over the carpet and couch poop catastrophe, but it was just one tiny plop on a hard surface.  Phew!

I then went to my bedroom to finish getting dressed.  Olivia came prancing in and said “Mummy I poopy on stickers too.”

“Wait, what?  Show Mummy.”  She grabbed my hand and led me into the dining room.  I was speechless.  My sweet little lady pooped a giant log on a sheet of stickers.  At least this made for easy clean up.  So anyone who’s wondering how the potty training is going can read this blog and form their own opinion.

I peed on baking soda and it did not fizzle…

I peed on baking soda this morning and it didn’t fizzle.  What does that even mean?  Let’s rewind a couple months…

November 2012 was one of the most exciting months of my life!  I was approved for a business loan, signed the lease for my store and found out I was pregnant with our second child.  December 2012 quickly became the most hectic month of my life preparing for the holidays, renovating and setting up the store and eagerly awaiting my first doctor’s appointment to confirm the heartbeat.  I braced myself as I lay on the ultrasound table.  I had miscarried before and I was dreading having to go through that again.

“And that right there is your baby.  Heart rate looks great!”  I didn’t feel like I was out of the woods yet, but I breathed a sigh of relief and shared the happy news with my husband and close friends.  And now that I’ve entered my second trimester, I’m ready to share this exciting news with you! 

So why did I pee on baking soda?  A friend of mine told me about this Old Wive’s Tale.  Put a spoonful of baking soda in a paper cup and pee on it.  If it fizzles, that means it’s a boy and if it doesn’t, that means it’s a girl.  Supposedly boys make your urine more acidic.  Well mine didn’t fizzle…so does that mean it’s going to be another girl?  We’ll have to wait and see :)

Expecting in Worcester, MA area?

Hello everyone!  I haven’t written a blog in quite a while!  We’ve spent the last couple of months planning for our store opening in Worcester, MA!  If you live in the area, please stop by and check out our store!

Wild Orchid Baby

490 Shrewsbury St.

Worcester, MA 01604

Expecting?  Register on our website to receive a postcard for a free gift to be redeemed at our store!