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Showing posts with label Linens. Show all posts

Sheets and Things - or - how many layers can your child pee through?

Everybody pees...

But babies and kids have special abilities to pee on (and through) everything. So what is a good parent to do other than be prepared (or, pee-pared... ahem).

Consequently, the method here is to treat your child's sleeping arrangements like the many layers of the earth, all working in concert to protect the inner core, i.e. the mattress.

Wait, Wait, Mr. Earth Science - Isn't this why we use diapers?

Yeah, modern diapers are pretty amazing, aren't they? They swell to many times their original size, super gels absorb even the humidity in the air, and you get a nice snug fit. Alas, every child in every diaper type will have a blowout from time to time. Maybe the diaper wasn't on quite right, maybe they learned to open it, maybe they're too big or too small for the current size, maybe they ate something funny. Whatever the cause, it happens, and when it happens, you don't want to be unprepared.

But even if diapers were perfect, all this pee-proofing is necessary for two more reasons:

  1. 1. It won't always be pee. While diapers may catch other bodily fluids, it'll be no help for spit-up, vomit, nosebleeds, or whatever other foul things may (and will) emanate from your precious angel.

  2. 2. Hard is it may be to believe, someday the child will be learning not to use diapers and when that day (or, indeed, many days) comes, nap time and bedtime are likely to result in a frequent changing of the linens. So if something keeps you sane with your baby also and a toddler, that's a "go for it" in our book.

 The Inner Core - Mattress

So at some point we'll have a big write-up on mattresses, but for what we are discussing here, the key is preventing any liquid from getting INTO the mattress where Very Bad Things can happen (mostly mold, followed closely by breathing problems). And because mattresses are pricey, this is the last thing you want to replace.

Many mattresses out there are waterproof but check and double-check. There are some weasel-words describing, particularly, "natural" mattresses that may mention "protecting against leaks," but don't actually claim to be waterproof.

Because liquids will move to find the lowest point we also recommend finding a mattress without seams.  A seamless mattress doesn't give a place for liquid to pool and also doesn't provide an easy-opening to seep through.

Finally, remember that accidents are going to happen for years and you may find yourself changing the bed at 3am solo, so a lightweight mattress will be your friend.

We went with the Lullaby Earth Healthy Support Crib Mattress because it is waterproof, seamless, and only weighs 7 pounds. 

The Outer Core - Mattress Pad

So the mattress is waterproof, mission accomplished, right? No.

Let's say your kid pees through to the mattress. You strip the bed and wipe the mattress up to the best of your ability. But where does the kid sleep until everything dries? This is doubly an issue if you find yourself needing to disinfect something worse than pee. So, to the rescue is a mattress cover.

The mattress cover, aside from being another layer to absorb and stop whatever is thrown at it, is machine washable. Now the mess you have can be easily stripped from the bed and thrown into the wash (pre-treated with spray, as needed) without much additional thought. This is much better than dealing with a wet mattress.

We bought the American Baby Company Organic Waterproof Natural Quilted Fitted Crib Mattress Pad Cover but no matter what you get, be sure to get more pads than you have mattresses (we own three between the two kids) as this allows the quick change without waiting for the washing machine.

The Mantle - Piddle Pad

And now we get to the first line of defense... the lap/piddle/bassinet pad. These are bits of waterproof fabric you can lay down right under the sheets to sop up most (or all) if your mess. 95% of the time, when we've had to change things, we've only needed to change the sheets and the piddle pad.

Wonderful things about piddle pads:
  1. 1. They come in lots of shapes/sizes so you can put them in whatever orientation makes sense and you can use them for a bassinet, a play yard, a bed, or whatever else you need.  The mattresses in these things often have no waterproofing at all so these babies may very well be your only defense.

  2. 2. You can use them as a changing pad on-the-go or in some other pinch. (We've had a couple instances when ALL of our changing pad covers had been soiled.  We just plopped one of these down and used in the interim).

Consequently, it's worth having a few sets of these handy. We have a few hand-me-downs from other families, but when we needed more, we bought the MyKazoe Waterproof Bassinet Play Yard Pad & Lap Pads.  These are available in a variety of colors/patterns. Note that three pads come in the set.  

The Crust - Sheets

From a waterproofing perspective, these don't matter much. We have a bunch of sheets from Skip Hop.  That said at the moment of this writing they appeared to be discontinued. The reason we bought these is that they were soft the touch and very cute from the side of the crib, even if you didn't have a bumper on (which are no longer recommended).  For the record we also own some Summer Infant Printed Crib Sheets that we use for day care and they are much rougher to the touch.  Given that babies and kids spend a lot of time in their cribs, getting some comfy sheets seems like a good investment.

Photo credit: Earth Layers by NASA [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Sleep like a baby? You mean terribly?

Anyone who's ever used the expression "sleep like a baby" has clearly never met a baby.  Human newborns, due to a quirk of biology, are all born premature compared to other mammals.  In particular, when it comes to sleep, newborns have underdeveloped nervous systems which is why they have trouble settling themselves.   For a more in depth discussion of this check out the sleep chapter of Baby 411. However that is not the topic of this post.  The topic of this post is how to set up a great sleep environment for your child to help stack the odds of everyone in the house getting some shut eye. 

Black out curtains

Once you've read up on sleep, you'll notice that almost everyone recommends that the room where the baby sleeps be dark.  Often this means acquiring some black out curtains.  However, most people have the baby sleep in the same room as themselves for at least the first 6 weeks if not longer (this is both for SIDS prevention reasons and convenience of night time feedings).   As such, you've probably already acquired whatever curtains you're using for your room.  You may not want to mess with the decor of your room to accommodate its temporary occupant. Likewise, you may have found the perfect cute curtains for your children's room, only to realize they do nothing to shield the room from any light (cough cough... I may or may not have done this...).  Have no fear, this is not a trade off you have to make. You just need to get yourself some Thermalogic Ultimate Window Liners. The great thing about these guys is that they get attached behind your existing curtains. This means you get to keep your decor and have a pitch black room - score!  Additionally, if you've had to get some for your room, you can use the same set for the kid's room once you're ready for them to be on their own.

White noise

Turning on white noise for the baby is another super common (and excellent) recommendation. Not only will this help mask the sound of you shuffling around your apartment while the baby sleeps (and any street noise as well) , but it will also help build some sleep associations for him or her to signal that it's time for sleeping.  For this many people use things like the Sleep Sheep or myBaby SoundSpa.  We, on the other hand, have decided to go in another direction.  We've taken an old, no longer used, cell phone and downloaded a white noise app on it (we use the airplane noise setting but there are many options).  We prefer this solution for a number of reasons.

  1. 1.  You don't have to buy anything new - woot!

  2. 2.  Cell phones are much easier to pack than sleep sheep. (If you're going to stay at someone's house you may not have to pack anything at all if they have an old phone lying around).

  3. 3.  If you forget to pack the spare old phone you normally use for the kids, it's easily replaced with your cell phone. Sure it sucks to have to give it up for the night, probably starting at 7pm (most children's bedtime), but it sucks a lot less than no one sleeping.

  4. 4.  You can also use the old cell phone to play music to your baby (any music you want, not just whatever, if anything, came with the thing you bought). We've found for some reason that our second child naps better with lullabies playing than white noise (though we still use the white noise at night).  This was a trivial accommodation to make using the phone.
And one more bonus suggestion. If your old phone's speakers aren't great, you can always hook it up to a speaker in the kid's room.  We found an adorable GOgroove Portable Stereo Speaker Panda (other animals available) that we've been using for the past 2+ years when we're home (on the road we just use the phone as is).

Good luck, and may the sleep gods be on your side!