Sunday, January 22, 2012

Babylegs

Babylegs are one the greatest inventions for the cloth diapering mommy. If you haven't noticed already, ghetto diaper booties can be a problem with cloth diaps. It's always a problem to find pants that aren't too big, while at the same time can fit over the little baby derrieres. Babylegs are actually a brand name, but I'm using it here as a catch all. Okay, so here is a pic of my little Lucy Lou in some red and white ones for her Christmas photo shoot.

She is also wearing a Bum Genius hook and loop one sized diaper.

And today she is sporting some I bought on Etsy.


The great thing about babylegs is you can protect their knees while they are learning to crawl, they make diaper changes a synch, and they will last through their potty training years as leg warmers.  After that you can use them as arm warmers or keep them for the next baby!

Everything you need (and some things you might want) to start cloth diapering your baby

If you're anything like me, you're probably thinking to yourself, "I want to use cloth diapers (insert reason here), but I'm so overwhelmed with all of the choices and options. I understand completely. There is really every kind of diaper option and combination imaginable on the market right now. You have anything from AIOs to a prefold pinned with a wool soaker(Mine is in the mail right now!Yay!) Then there are all the extra supplies you need, like wetbags, dry bags, pails, sprayers, oh my! You can barely get dressed in the morning, let alone venture off into the great unknown of "cloth diapering." It really is overwhelming. However, once you get over that overwhelmed feeling, a stage begins, which is where I am at now. Diaper mania sets in and you are so in love with using and buying and blogging about cloth diapers, that you find that that's all you talk about anymore. This experience is truly one of the most fun parts about being a mom to a little baby girl. I suspect some people loath diaper changing time. I on the other hand can't get enough. I love planning which diap she is going to wear next and how I can coordinate it with her latest outfit and babylegs.*

First thing you need to do is sit down and have a serious discussion with your partner about cloth diapers and if they are willing to be open to trying them. If you get past this stage, I think your next order of business is to work out a budget. How much are you willing to spend upfront to get you started and what kind of a diapering mommy do you think you will be?

Do you want all of the same brand?
Sized diapers for each stage?
Gender neutral colors so you can use the diapers on more than one baby?
Just prefolds and covers?
AIOs so you never have to touch the dirty part of the diaper?
Fitted diaps and a wool cover? Are you overwhelmed yet? No?
Snappies and Chinese prefolds with a cover and then AI2s at night time?
Are you going to have a separate daddy stash?
What about when you travel? Do you want to keep it up then?

There are a million questions you can ask yourself about what kind of cloth diapers you will want to buy. Companies feed on this insecurity by laying out all the benefits to their diapers and a million and one reasons why their diapers are better than all the rest. In my experience, which isn't as vast as a lot of other cloth diapering mommies, basically all the diapers have their pros and cons. It's really just a question of what kind of system YOU want.

I think the first step is just to go into a cloth diaper store and/or order some diaps online. Maybe put up a status on Facebook and see if any of your friends are using cloth diapers. I think that cding is similar to breastfeeding. It really takes a good cloth diapering mentor to help you through the initial buying stage. After you get over the fear and trepidation that come with starting something so foreign, you'll fall in love. So many people choose cloth diapering for so many different reasons. Whatever your reason is, don't worry about if you're not buying the "perfect" diaper for you baby. There are a ton of great diapers out there, and all of them do a great job of keeping your babies pee and poo contained. Ultimately it's turned into a hobby for me. I enjoy buying new diapers and trying them out. I look forward to diaper changes and knowing that I'm saving the family money.

Here's a checklist of diaper accessories you'll need to get you started.

-Pail liner or wet pail to keep the dirty diapers
-Wet bag for outings
-Some sort of bin system to keep your diapers
-Cloth wipes (I highly recommend these.) I'm currently trying two different kinds which I'll be blogging about later.
-Approved cloth diaper detergent
-Some sort of stripping agent like Blue dawn or RLR
-At least 12-18 diapers. The more you have, the less often you have to do laundry :)
-A sprayer you can hook up to your toilet to spray off poo once the baby starts solids. (This is optional. You can also use liners and just flush the liner and the poo.


*My next favorite cloth diapering accessory. I will post a future blog about how adorable and handy they are.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Bottombumpers AI2-One Size

When I first started on this cloth diapering experience, I had no idea that there were so many brands out there to choose from. You usually hear about Bum Genius or G diapers from a lot of moms who start cloth diapering. The problem is, you usually buy a stash of diapers, that are usually the same brand, that you think you are going to use exclusively. Then one day you start looking at other ones and before you know it, you have a million different kinds! Honestly, I look up new diapers that I'm going to buy and want to try everyday. This has literally become my hobby. Poop catching devices are now my hobby. Is that sad? I hope not because I love doing this so much! One of the first recommendations I got from one of friends who also cloth diapers was this brand Bottombumpers. Her children are both heavy wetters, and so she bought these and recommended them to me. I have to say, I absolutely love love love these diapers! They come in several limited edition prints that change every season. You can even get custom embroidery done on them too! How awesome is that! I'm thinking of getting a custom diaper with Lucy and or Lucy Camille embroidered on a hot pink or gray diaper. I'm not sure yet. I'm still mulling it over.




So here are the pros and cons to this adorable diaper. (Just remember, they all have their pluses and minuses. You just have to decide what's right for you, and the best fit for your little babies bum.) Pros
  • They are made in the USA.
  • The soaker is made of 100% organic material and the top soaker is really really soft. If you line dry the soaker and or the diaper I would throw it in the dryer for a second just to take the "crunchy" feeling out.
  •  The sizing in the one size is done on the inside so you don't have any unattractive buttons on the front to look at.
  • The look is very streamlined and slimmer than a lot of cloth diapers.
  • The rise is high, so your baby is unlikely to grow out of this one sized diap!
  • Tons of cute colors and limited edition prints! They also do custom embroidery, which really makes these one of my favorite diaps on the market right now.
Cons
  • The snaps on the side are a little annoying to snap sometimes. Once you get the hang of it, it's not so bad.
  • They take a very specific soaker since it's an AI2, so if you have your husband and or sitter using the diaper, you probably should set it up beforehand. With pocket diapers you can change around the inserts without a problem. Bottombumpers require a little more forethought, but in my opinion it's well worth it!


  • Front view



All my diapers are snap diapers, but you can also get them in hook and loop.




The snaps to adjust the size are hidden on the inside of the diaper.




The different rise settings on the inside at the back of the diaper.




Here is the snap in soaker that is made from 100% organic bamboo. It's almost as soft as velvet.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Drying your cloth diapers and a few washing no nos

Drying your diaps is as easy as one, two, three...then wait until your dryer is finished doing all the work. I know, I know. You're worried about using the dryer, but trust me it's fine to use and super convenient. So you're always "supposed" to read the instructions that come along with each diaper so that you don't wear out the material too quickly or in some cases dye the insides and hook and loop material blue.* But honestly, who reads the washing instructions anymore? Not me, and I paid the price! Depending on how many diaps you have washed, you might want to add some dryer balls to help cut down on the drying time and your energy bill.




Another option that you can use is hanging your diapers to dry inside your house. I have this great octopus hanger that I bought from Ikea. I usually dry the diapers on this and then put the inserts into the dryer.




Seeing as it's winter now, this next option won't be that easy to use, but sun drying your diapers is really the best option. If you have a stain, you can just sun it out. I've done this several times and it really works! Your diaper has to be wet before you put it out in the sun for it to be effective.

No nos

-Only used approved detergent for cloth diapers. Google searches and friends experience are good sources too. There are a lot of detergent options out there. Just be careful not to use one that could give you tons of problems later on with buildup. You want to make things simple!

-Fabric softer and dryer sheets are out of the question. If you use these you are automatically decreasing the diapers absorbency.

-Diaper rash creams that are not cloth diaper friendly. If you need to use a diaper rash cream, invest in some liners to help shield the diaper. Here is an exhaustive list of diaper creams that do and don't work with cloth.
http://pinstripesandpolkadots.com/diaperrashcreams.htm

*This will be in a later blog about what not to do. I had a little accident in the wash with some homemade wipes that I bought on Etsy.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, January 16, 2012

Almost everything you'll ever need to know about washing your cloth diapers

Laundry laundry laundry. One of the first annoyances I had when I started cloth diapering was that I hadn't bought enough diapers, and thus was at a panic every evening to get diapers washed and dried in time to use that night or the next morning. I had a similar experience with bottles and my pumping equipment, but soon after took a trip down to good ol' Babies R'Us and rectified that! I have a newborn, and the last thing I want to do every evening while she is wailing is a frantic load of laundry and dishes. So, after a couple of weeks of pandemonium, I decided to buy some more diapers from various cloth diapering sites which I will talk about in my next post. The influx of new diapers made laundry a little less of a burden and I quickly fell into a nice rhythm.

ABC's of diap laundry

A-Always use cloth diaper detergent
B-Beware of stink. Stripping your diaps regularly will combat the build up of ammonia and/or detergent.
C-Cold wash, hot wash, cold rinse. Repeat.
D-Doody in the diaps needs to be knocked out in the toilet or sprayed off with your handy dandy diaper sprayer. (Bum Genius makes a great model, but there are others out there.)
E-Even if you have a ton of diapers, you have to wash them regularly or you will get stink that won't come out.
F-Follow these instructions and you'll have great smelling diaps and a happy hiney to boot!
....Z-Z'ns't it lame that I used a pnuenomic device?

Detergents

One of the first things you'll learn when you buy a cloth diaper and read the instructions is that you MUST only use a certain kind of detergent that is approved for cloth diapers. This is because cloth diapers can quickly get a buildup of detergent, thus rendering them non-absorbent.  Since the whole point of cloth diapers is to be just that, you might want to take this one piece of advice seriously.

Cloth diaper detergents are prolific on the Internet. Everywhere I look it seems like another one is popping up. I hope it's due to the fact that people are starting to use cloth diapers more. So far I have used two detergents with great success. Here are a list of the most popular detergents and the pro's and con's to each of them.

Rockin' Green
 This is by far the most popular type of cloth diaper detergent on the market today. This was my first detergent. The great thing about Rockin' Green is that it is formulated for different types of water. One of the biggest reoccuring problems with cloth diapers is build up in the diapers and thus reduced absorbency. Here is the map the company has made to help you determine what kind of water you have in your area.
Dallasites use Hard Rock. If you live outside of the US then check with your local google search to find out what kind of water you have.
The other great thing about Rockin' Green is the website is so helpful. If you have questions or problems with stink or ammonia build up, there is a wealth of information on their website to help you will all of your problems. If you don't find what you're looking for you can also ask! They have their employees regularly respond to questions on the forum part of the website. Here is a link to a good overview of what a good washing routine looks like for cloth diaps.

http://rockingreensoap.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/How-to-Wash-Cloth-Diapers.pdf

******Kelly's closet is having a 10% sale on Rockin Green detergent with the code 2012ROCKS if you are interested! I'm going to buy some right now!******

http://www.kellyscloset.com/Rockin-Green_bymfg_85-0-1.html

Bum Genius Cloth Diaper Detergent

This is another popular brand, which I have not personally tried, but that is frequently used by cloth diapering families. The price is very reasonable, but the amount of loads that it washes 66, is less than most cloth diaper detergents, usually around 90-100. If anyone has used this with success can you comment and let us know how long you've used it, how often you had to strip, and what type of water you have.


Country Save
I personally haven't used this kind, but it's supposedly supposed to work well with HE front loading machines. In case you haven't heard, top loaders are better for cloth diapering because you have more power over the cycle, they use more water in the wash, and they are better at agitating your diaps clean.

Lulu's in the fluff
 This is the detergent I am currently using and I find it comparable to Rockin' Green. It also has a formula for Hard Water, so it helps keep build up at bay for those of you who have to worry about that.

Ruby Moon
I haven't used this yet, but I'm very excited to try it out. One big cloth diapering no no is using scented detergents because they supposedly cause buildup. I have a cloth diapering friend right now whose son has a very sensitive bum and she said that this detergent has been the best as keeping his bum clean and sans rash. I think I'm going to buy a bag, strip all of my diapers, and then see how it works. I'll keep you updated!

Eco Nuts
I've heard several people talk about these as a great way to wash diapers and clothes, but I have no personal experience with them. I'd love to hear reviews of them myself as I'm nervous to try washing my dirty diaps with nuts. It seems a little ludicrous, but some people swear by them!

Wool options
Here my expertise drops off completly. I know that wool doesn't need to be washed on a regular basis, but instead needs to be lanolized. I am currently researching this option and I'm going to do some review on wool covers and maintenance as I become more familiar with this facet of cloth diapering.

That's all for now blogging family! Next post I'll talk about cloth diapers for babies past the newborn stage and all the options you have.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Diapering on the go go

Now that you've got your cloth diapering system set up at home, you're probably thinking to yourself, when I'm out or on vacation, I'm just going to use disposables. I don't want to be walking around town hauling a giant bag of dirty diapers. Besides, my husband is really not that on board with me doing this anyway. If I tell him we are going to use them outside of the house he might divorce me!

Fear not cloth diapering women, I am here to calm your fears and tell you that it can be done and it's not any more of a hassle to do cloth when you are out. It actually becomes more of a hassle if you don't have a stock of disposables on hand. And, if you are anything like my husband, a naysayer at the beginning, you will prefer the cloth to the disposables after a few weeks.

Out on the town

Taking a couple of cloth diapers out for the day is just the same as taking out disposables. All you need is a wetbag. There are several options when it comes to wetbags. You can small, medium, or large sized wetbags, as well as one or two sided, depending on your needs. I personally have three different kinds. I have a white draw string wetbag that is just as waterproof bag that can be used to put two to three diapers in. I have a small wetbag that I use to put cloth wipes in, but it is also big enough to fit one diaper, and then I have one extra large wetbag that can fit upwards of five or six diapers on each side.


This one has two sections with colored zippers. A white zippered side for the clean diapers and a black zippered side for the dirty diapers.

It also has a snap on strap so I can hang it from my stroller.
You can really see the size of the wetbag compared to the height of the stroller.

When I use this, I put my clean wipes in the white zippered side so I don't have to take the entire diaper bag with me into the bathroom when I do a diaper change. This is the main wetbag we use. We also send this bag with her to daycare and our provider has had no trouble using it. She actually told me the other day that it's easier for her to use because she doesn't have to leave the baby to go throw the diaper away! Convenient and green, I love it!

Traveling

Travelling can take a little bit more planning and patience if you want to continue cloth diapering on the road. There are a few options for the super green mom. First off, you have to determine what kind of trip it will be, and thus what kind of diapering system you can take with you. If you have a couple of covers in your stash, you can always go the biodegradable liner route and not have to bother with doing wash. I would recommend this if you are staying at a friends house, moving from place to place, or just feel like the hassle of laundry every night is too much. If you want to go this route, any cover will do. The g diapers insert is a great option for this.

http://www.gdiapers.com/shop/diaper-inserts/biodegradable-grefills

However, if you're visiting somewhere for an extended period of time and you have a washing machine available, I recommend trying to keep up the cloth diapering. I've already visited my parents twice in Houston, both for a weekend and for a week while continuing to cloth diaper. It really wasn't that big of a hassle. I just packed my diaper bag for the drive down with three double stuffed diapers. Then I took one pail liner, my detergent bag, and my two bins from downstairs with twelve diapers. Every evening I did a load of laundry and I had enough diapers for the day and night without any problems. Of course, it depends on how many diaper changes you normally give your baby as to how many you are going to pack for the trip. I recommend double stuffing your diapers for the car trip. My little one does not like being wet, so we usually stop twice on the five hour trip down to feed her and change her.

Whatever you choose to do, whether it's full cloth diapering or a melange of cloth and disposables, just remember it's supposed to be fun! Don't feel pressure to take your stash with you on trips. If you are on the fence about it, in my experience I've found that it has become a great conversation starter. Most people haven't seen the new cloth diapers and usually have tons of questions which I love answering!  

Friday, January 13, 2012

Diapering system at home

Okay, so you like cloth diapers, and you might be thinking to yourself, I don't mind putting them on the baby, but what do I do with them after they are dirty? And what about when I'm away from home? At the babysitters?And what about my husband?!? I can barely get him to change diapers now! All of these things are valid concerns with easy solutions. Even daddy will be able to get the hang of it after reading this step by step guide. First things first, the changing table. Wherever you've decided to set up your diaper station, these are the essentials you will need to cloth diaper.   
1.) Wet bag
2.) A bin to keep your diapers in
3.) Wipes (I will talk about cloth wipes in another post and all of the fun possibilities that come with them, including making your own wipes and solution!)
4.) Trash can if you don't use cloth wipes

At home
Diapering at home is a cinch. Since we live in a two story townhouse, I have two areas set up as diaper stations. The one downstairs is in the kitchen on our kitchen island, which is massive, so I don't recommend this unless you have the space.


I have laid out a travel changing pad and next to it I have two navy bins that hold our diapers. Since we use mostly pocket diapers, I have one bin where I keep all of the inserts, and the other bin holds all of the actual diapers. If the diaper is an AIO (all in one) or a shell, I just keep it in the second bin with all the diapers. If it's a prefold, I put it in the bin with all of the inserts.



At the top of the mat I keep the wipes, which are soaking in homemade wipes solution. I've folded them so that they pop out of the box just like the disposable wipes do. They are really convenient, and they smell so much better than regular wipes! This is especially helpful when she has an extra stinky poo.


Our laundry room is right next to that part of the island, so I have hanging on the door knob a pail liner so after I have changed her diaper, I just throw the wipe and the diap into the bag.

Wahmies diaper pail liner (This bag is great because it has an extra piece of fabric inside that you can dot a little essential oil on to keep the bag smelling fresh.)
Upstairs
My upstairs system is a little more traditional, and this is probably the system you will want to follow. Here is a photo of the baby room and changing table.

Right next to the table on the left I have a white trash can that has a Wahmies diaper pail liner in, that I change out with the one downstairs next to the laundry room. I'm thinking about buying another one, so that I will always have one on the door downstairs, in the pail upstairs and one in the wash. I've made things a bit more complicated with the two changing areas. You would do fine to have one, but I recommend two. By doing this, you will always have one in the wash with your diapers, and one that you use while the other one is washing.

Diaper Doody
So now this leads me to our first problem. What do you do with the diaper exactly? Do you just put it in the bag poo and all? What about when she pees? This can get a little complicated, but don't worry, after two or three times you'll be a pro. So the answer is, it depends. The kind of diaper you are using at the time needs a few things done to it before it goes into the bag.  You want to empty the contents into the bag without touching the diapers again, so you need to prep them for wash beforehand. Here are the rules for all the possibilities.

AIOS with Snap closures
Babies before solids
Just put it in the bag, you don't have to rinse it out or do anything.

Babies after solids
If it's a poo diaper, you will need to knock out the poo into the toilet, or if you are using diaper liners, you'll need to dispose of it in the toilet. After you've gotten rid of the poo, just put it into the bag!

AIOS with Hook and Loop (Velcro closures)
Babies before solids
You will need to put the Velcro tabs down on the handy laundry tabs on the inside of the diaper. This prevents the Velcro from attaching to other diapers that are also hook and loop and wearing out the Velcro faster. After you do this just toss it in the bag!

Babies after solids
Again you will need to dispose of the poop if it's a poopy diaper. Afterwards you put down the Velcro tabs on the laundry tabs located inside of the diaper to prolong the life of the Velcro. After you do this just toss it in the bag!

AI2s with Snap closures
Same as AIOs!

Pocket Diapers
It's the same as AIOs regarding the poop and the laundry tabs, but there is one more step you need to take before leaving it in the bag. You need to pull out the liner that you've stuffed into the back and drop it in separately. I usually put the laundry tabs down first if it's a hook and loop diaper and then I pull out the insert.

Wipes


In my next blog I will talk about diapering on the go. Whether you're going out to the store, taking a walk, or traveling to visit family, I've got some tips to help you streamline the process and take out the guesswork!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, January 8, 2012

So where do I start?

The first thing you will run across when deciding to use cloth diapers is what kind of diapering system you will want to use. This decision can be daunting and often leads people to give up because it feels like such a large financial commitment. I was once in your shoes. At first I thought, of course I want to use cloth. It can't be that difficult, right? I mean, I did some google searches and found a cloth diaper service that seemed really great, but when it came towards the end of my pregnancy, I still hadn't called them or approached my husband. Luckily I had a couple of friends who had started trying cloth and one of them brought me to a store in Allen that she had just discovered. If any of you live in Dallas, I highly recommend going over to The Nappy Shoppe. They were very helpful. Just being in the store and having everything explained to me by one of the workers convinced me that I was up for the task. So after one of the workers explained all the possibilities to me, I decided in order to save the most money I was going to go with prefolds and covers. I then preceded to load myself up with 25 infant prefolds and a couple of covers. Prefolds are the kind of diapers our mothers used to use, before disposables were around. They have an extra absorbent layer in the center and were fastened with diaper pins and then covered with plastic pants. http://sweetpeascloth.com/item_208/Sweet-Pea-Indian-Cotton-Prefolds.htm Now you can skip the diaper pins and the plastic pants. All you have to do is fold the prefold lengthwise and lay it in the center of the cover. Covers are plastic diaper shaped covers used with prefolds and fitted diapers. Here is a picture of a diaper cover with a sweet pea prefold inside of it.



Seeing all the cute diapers at the store made me want to buy some, but they seemed so expensive! I decided to do some bargain shopping and found a lot of 12 used Bum Genius infant diapers on eBay for about $100. I figured I might as well give them a try and if I liked them we could move on from there. Needless to say I loved them, and I'll explain in my next post all the pros and cons of cloth diapering an infant and what diapers I've found work, which ones didn't work for my baby, and the diapers I've found since that I'm stocking up on for babies number 2...and 3...and...? - Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Starting cloth diapering

Over the past couple weeks, I've had several friends ask me about cloth diapering and how it all works. It can be very daunting task just to even google cloth diapers. Since starting down this road, I've become a little obsessed with it, and love to talk about the latest diapers I've found to add to my ever growing stash or the newest detergent I want to try. This has all inspired me to write about my experiences, give you little tips that I have, and to lay out my diapering system. For those of you who are my friends who've asked questions, you can use this as a late night reference. I still want you to text me though! I love talking about all things diapers! Each post I will review a different type of diaper, go through all the diaper possibilities (and there are quite a few), talk to you about washing diapers, storing them, traveling with cloth, or show you some of the fun and cute fashion accessories that can complement your babies bum. So, whatever reason has brought you to consider cloth diapers, be it budget, fashion, curiosity, or that you want to be a green mommy, I hope this blog can help you navigate through all the possibilities and help start you on your own adventure into the land of cloth diapers. - Posted using BlogPress from my iPad