Changing Diapers: the Hip Mom's Guide to Modern Cloth Diapering

Friday, May 27, 2011

Wool What?!

When I started looking into cloth diapers over a year ago, I read about wool covers, but had no interest in them what-so-ever!  They were $$, and I didn't really get it.  I read about people's addictions to wool, and how they couldn't get enough.  I understood that (to a point) about cloth diapers, but not the wool.  I did eventually try prefolds, contours, flats, and fitteds -- all of which require a cover to be waterproof.  I just used a regular PUL cover, though, and was not impressed.  I still felt no need to try wool.  No big deal, I loved my pockets, wahm AI2's, and AIO's!  Easy to use and quick changes.  I sold the few fitteds I had (including my favorite doggie pirate BSRB).  No regrets.

Until now.  In January, I decided to try a fitted diaper with PUL cover for overnight.  I was tired of overly stuffed pockets, which worked fine, but sometimes they did leak.  I have heard for over a year (and even recommended) fitteds with wool for a bulletproof overnight solution.  However, I was still intimidated by wool (I hate handwashing!), so I just went with the covers I had.

I first tried the Thirsties Duo Fab Fitted with a Thirsties Duo Wrap.  However, after a month I dealt with horrible ammonia issues in only these diapers, which I tried for a month to overcome before admitting defeat.  The Fab Fitteds have microfiber, which was the cause of such stink.  Not a good material choice for all night toddler pee.  I finally went back to pockets, but was determined to find a better, natural fitted that wouldn't give me such stink.  You can read about my battle here.

Tiny Tush Trim fitted with a gFlapper laid inside.
This is great for overnight!!

I bought a Tiny Tush Trim fitted diaper and a Tiny Tush Organic Wool Soaker at Babies Bottoms and More in Farmer's Branch.  After washing and lanolizing the wool (using samples of wool wash) and waiting 3 days for it to dry (the downside to wool -- it takes forever to dry!) and prepping the fitted, E had his first overnight in wool.  Well, not exactly.  I had to wait until after my 2 week hospital/rehab stay following my motorcyle accident.  I had it all ready to try, then we had our accident. But once I came home, he finally had his first night in a fitted and wool!  I added a bamboo/hemp gFlapper from the Nappy Shoppe in Allen to the fitted so he had enough absorbancy.

After one night I was hooked!  I finally understood what all the hype was about.  A leakproof, all night, breathable solution.  And they're cute.  Why did I resist so long?  If only I had caved in and tried wool sooner, I would not have sold my favorite print -- a doggie pirate BSRB (Bagshot Raw Bamboo).  And now BSRB isn't even in business anymore: super sad face.  She probably didn't have that print anymore, anyway.  I loved that diaper (well, not then, but I did love the print!).  I would especially love the diaper now.  I love fitteds under wool, but not under PUL.  

The doggie pirate BSRB that I regretfully sold last year.
So my hunt began.  Since I'm unable to walk (temporarily, a result of my accident), I do a lot of sitting, which means a lot of computer time.  I bought a Sustainablebabyish/Sloomb Organic Bamboo fitted, a Sustainablebabyish/Sloomb Snapless Multi fitted, and a Sustainablebabyish/Sloomb Knit Wool Cover from Baby Rear Gear in Arlington.  She brought them to the May CD meetup, and I couldn't wait to get home to prep the fitteds and lanolize the wool!

4 of my 5 wool covers (counterclockewise starting at top left:
Wild Child Woolies, Sustainablebabyish, Tiny Tush, Fluffabebe)

I started buying more fitteds, and also wool!  So far, I have 5 wool covers: 1 Tiny Tush Organic Wool cover in brown, 1 Sloomb cover in squash, 1 Wild Child Woolies with an adorable dinosaur, 1 Fluffabebe cover, and 1 Just Peachy Knits shorties.  I want 1-2 more wool covers, the problem is deciding what!

Some of the fitteds, a flat, and a contour diaper.

The fitteds I now have are:  3 Sloomb w/snaps, 1 Sloomb snapless, 1 Organic Caboose, 1 Little Fancy Pants, 1 Little Comforts bamboo, 1 secret tester (that I love and want more of!), and 1 that I can't remember the name of (and is in the wash).  I also have some flats that I sometimes use under the wool, and one Tiny Tush Contour

I mentioned I hate to handwash.  Here's the great thing about wool:  You only need to wash it about once every 3-4 weeks!  It is antimicrobial and actaully stays pretty clean, and NO it doesn't stink (unless it has been a few weeks and it's time to wash).  Of course, if poop gets on it, wash it right away.  but other wise, just let it airdry between uses.  It needs to be lanolized to be waterproof (lanolin is a natural sheep by-product that keeps the wool waterproof  I can deal with once every 3-4 weeks, and it's actually very simple!  Hands on time is less than 5 minutes. 

Here's how I wash:

Put 1 tsp per gallon of wool wash in lukewarm water, in either the sink or a small bucket.  I only put enough water to cover the wool, so it depends on how many I am washing at a time (usually 1-2).  Then add wool (turned inside out) and gently swish.  Then let sit for 15-20 minutes (or just go back when I think about it;).  Roll the wool and gently squeeze out excess water (do NOT ring or twist it!).  No need to rinse (according to my wool wash instructions).  Lay on towel while I pour out the dirty water.

The dirty water after soaking for 20 minutes.
I used 1 capful of wool wash, seemed too much.

Rinse sink or bucket, then fill with lukewarm water.  Melt 1 tsp of lanolin in HOT water (boiling water works best but I'm lazy, you may also briefly microwave the lanolin to soften it).  Make sure it is fully melted before adding to the rest of the water, so clumps of lanolin do not stick to one spot on the wool.  Stir and mix well.  Then add wool, ensuring that it is fully submerged (still inside out).  Let sit for 20-30 minutes (or until I remember to get it).  Roll wool and gently sqeeze out excess water (again, do NOT ring or twist!).

Soaking in lanolized water.
Lay wool flat on a towel, then roll it together to gently squeeze out excess water into the towel.  Then lay wool flat to dry, indoors and out of direct sunlight.  I sometimes hang them on the shower curtain rod.  It takes about 3 days for our wool to dry completely.

After gently squeezing excess water, I rolled them in the same towel (one is already rolled up at top of picture).
I have started off using Eucalan wool wash, which I picked up at the Nappy Shoppe.  I am currently using Lansinoh brand lanolin, since that's what I could quickly and easily find at a trip to Target.  There are many brands of wool wash and lanolin, which I plan on trying!  Once I'm out of Eucalan, I will try something else.  Same with the lanolin.  I want lanolin that smells yummy!! 

Overall, wool has been an amazing choice!  If you are looking for a new night time option, or just want something more breathable for your LO's bum, I definitely suggest making the switch!  Or do what I did, and just add it to your stash.  I still like pockets/AIO's for out of the house and under his clothes.  But for a great breathable option in this Texas heat, while at home and at night, E will wear wool!

The newsest addition to the stash:
a Little Fancy Pants fitted and Just Peachy Knits shorties.

 Brenda is mommy to Riley (almost 4) and Eli (18 months).  She started CDing when her yougest was 2 months and they were tired of the high cost of disposable diapering 2 kids!  Her oldest is now potty trained, and she is planning on CDing their next baby (whenever that may be) from birth.  She is the founder of the DFW Cloth Diaper Group and the author of Adventure's of a Crispy Mama.

Monday, May 23, 2011

It’s Just a Matter of Conviction

Our Cloth Diapering Community is made up of all sorts of different families with different backgrounds, believes and customs, but we all have a common conviction: Cloth Diapering is best for our babies, the planet and helps out on the family economy.

I’ll tell you a little about myself.

I’m the typical corporate career woman, I work from 9 am to 6 pm on regular days, but can log as much as 60 hours a week when there is a project deadline. I have to dress up, put make up on, style my hair and wear high heels to go to work every day. I have a degree in Civil Engineering and practice as a Licensed Professional Engineer designing and managing highway and levee projects for the second largest engineering firm in the US. I really love my job, it is very rewarding to see a project you worked on being built and used by the public.

When I got pregnant and started researching what brand of diaper to use with my baby I realized how damaging to our environment disposable diapers are just by its production cycle, material waste and waste to our landfills. I was looking for a less damaging diaper to use on my baby and found 7th Generation (they don’t bleach the diapers, therefore don’t release chlorine and dioxins into water streams) and then I found g-Diapers (no landfill waste, compostable), which I thought was the way to go, even though it was going to be more expensive to diaper a baby. I did not think of using cloth insert at that time.

One day while pregnant, I visited a dear friend who had just had a baby, I made a comment about diapers and my environmental concerns, she surprised me by saying that she used cloth diapers…I followed her to the baby’s room to change a diaper and I was instantaneously amazed with them. She used a fitted Kissuluv with a Thirsties cover; she also showed me the BumGenious AIOs and Fuzzi Bunz pockets. I was sold, I wanted to know more!! She explained to me the basics and her washing routine and as soon as I got home that night I researched in the internet and became obsessed with learning more about them…the rest is history.

Before going back to work after maternity leave I interviewed several daycares in my neighborhood, one of the requirements I had was that they accept using cloth diapers. After several rejections, and comments like “That is not sanitary”, or “It’s against our policy to use cloth diapers”, I found a wonderful place that said, “Sure, no problem, we’ve done it before”. It was interesting when I took the diapers to show to the caretakers, and they had no problem on using them, it was mainly the directors that would comment against them.

When baby began day care I took several brands that I had of pockets and AIOs, and let the care takers test which ones worked best for them. After a couple of months of using them they told me that the Fuzzi Bunz were their favorites, even though they were not my favorites and would have loved to test even more brands, I got all Fuzzi Bunz for my stash to accommodate their preference.

So the daily routine goes like this: I take 8 diapers in a clean wetbag at drop-off in the morning, in the afternoon at pick up I take all soiled diapers in the dirty wetbag back home. At home I get my alone peaceful moment with my diapers, I even call it my meditation moment, where I spray the poopy diapers in the toilet and rinse them all in the tub, I also hand scrub every poopy diaper to avoid any chance of stains in the wash, then I transfer them back to the wetbag if it is not wash day. I have a strict wash day schedule, every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday no matter what, even if it means washing at 11 pm at night after coming back from the office tired after a huge deadline and drying first thing in the morning so they are ready to stuff before leaving to daycare at 8:00 am. I might not be disciplined on many things, but my cloth kept me disciplined on this. I really don’t like doing regular laundry but I enjoy doing diaper laundry, I don’t know why…I guess it is just conviction.

In the 2 and a half years of cloth diapering my son at day care I never missed a day; according to them he has never worn a disposable (but have to admit that I always kept a pack of 7th generation disposables at home for “just in case”, and there were several “just in case” moments at home). Only once DH forgot to pick up the dirty wetbag from day care but it was no problem. I’m glad I found such a supportive day care for our family, where they respect my preference.

At this point I am working on a newborn stash and have a variety of new cloth diapers that I can’t wait to try with the new baby. I am amazed with the amount of support and new brands that are available now compared to 3 years ago.

Hello, my name is Carla and I am a cloth diaper addict, and if they tell me I got to go to rehab, I say no, no, no.

Carla and her husband have been married for 10 years, they have a 3-year old son (day and night potty trained for 3 months already) and they are expecting their second bundle of joy, a girl due in July. They both work full time in the corporate world. Carla cannot wait to get back to her meditation time scrubbing cloth diapers.

Monday, May 16, 2011

"I can't use cloth, my caregiver won't be able to use them"

One of the main reasons some families don't do cloth is that they think once mom and dad are back to work, the baby's daytime caregiver won't be able to use them. Fortunately, we haven't found that to be a problem. 

My husband and I both work full-time so my mother-in-law watches our son during the day. We did sposies for the first few weeks while she was learning the ropes, but then showed her how to CD. We started out with Thirsties duo diapers, which with their hook and loop (aka Velcro) closures are just as easy as disposables. From there we've expanded to bumGenius elementals with snap closure and bumGenius 4.0 with hook and loop. She prefers the h&l but can do snaps too. 

Ironically, she had a harder time with disposables!  She wasn't getting them high or tight enough. With the snaps or Velcro she can more easily see where to go.  I've even made guidance lines with marker so she knows how tight to make them. 

After I went back to work, after 12 weeks, my hubby took 10 weeks of paternity leave to stay home with our son too. He used CDs too, with no problem. 

I don't use prefolds, and only use my Flips hybrids at home, as I think those might be too complicated for someone else.  Once we started solid foods and the accompanying solid poos came along, we started using flushable disposable liners inside the diapers. Cleanup is a breeze, we just flush the liner with the BM inside. Can't get much easier than that, and it ensures solid waste goes in the toilet where it should rather than in the landfill where it shouldn't. 

We've had great luck with our caregiver using the Thirsties and bumGenius diapers, and I love that we're saving some green while being green.

Ellen works full time as a goverment lawyer, her husband also works full time.  They live in Las Colinas with their adorable son.  They are first time parents and loving every crazy minute of it! 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

“I don’t need a washer and dryer for my fluff, I have the Laundromat”

My name is Danae and I am a cloth diaper addict. I love fluff. I love deals on fluff and I love having my kiddo in fluff.  I also do not have a washer or dryer. That’s right! I am a Laundromat gal! I live in small apartment with NO connections. So it's not like I don’t want them, (I like to go to sears and drool over all the HE washers) it is just not possible.  Like any other cloth diapering mommy, I have worked out my routine to fit our family. And I pretty much do it like everyone else.  YES! It IS possible to do it! And it is NOT a lot of work like some mama’s may think. It does take a bit to get into a routine and know your Laundromat.

What is my routine like? I have a step on diaper pail that gets full about every 3 days.  So every 3 days I do a quick soak in our bath tub (this is just personal preference) and I walk to my Laundromat and wash once on hot and once on cold (also a personal preference). Easy Peasy.  A couple of reasons I love this.  Reason #1 – It gives me an excuse to clean the bathroom/tub. We all share one bathtub so I need to clean it often anyway. Reason #2 – I get some good exercise and fresh air walking to and from the LM (Laundromat).  I can’t say it has taken an extreme amount of effort. 

Something’s you should know:

Do not use the front loading washers at your LM.  Lots of people will put powder in them and it builds up. Def not good for cloth. It has never bothered me because the top loaders are cheaper, don’t have residue and clean them better anyway.

$1-2 every 3 days is still cheaper (WAY cheaper) than $100/month for disposable diapers.  I don’t always dry my diapers in the dryer because I prefer to save that extra dollar. When I do, it is mainly to get the diapers softer.  I will usually wash some other load of laundry so I can throw everything together since I don’t need the diapers in the dryer for a whole 45 mins.

You don’t normally have to worry about someone stealing your diapers.  Unless you live in some sort of cloth diaper addicted area, your fellow laundromatey’s probably don’t know what they are anyway.

Don’t let funny looks deter you. Most people are just curious. I’ve had a couple of people ask and be surprised and kind of in awe. I have never had anyone complain :)

How do I make my washes easy and fast? I have a “cloth diaper bag”. It contains a container of detergent, more than I need, but not enough to weigh me down. Anything I might use for my cloth, Tea Tree oil, Bac-out, Funk Rock, and Dryer Balls. I always keep it in the same bag so when I am ready to wash, I just grab it and go. I don’t always use everything, but I know I won’t look for anything like crazy if I do.  Wool dryer balls. Some Laundromats will have you pay .25 for every certain amount of time. I usually do this when I just want to soften my diapers. Wool dryer balls help speed the process and I don’t have to waste a lot of moneyDrying rack. This is especially handy if you have a patio or balcony.  You can sun your diapers outside this way without hanging them off of the fence.  A good baby carrier. Sometimes I wash during the day and I usually have Lily B with me. I just put her in the Boba in a back carry and go on with my washing routine.

So for those of you moms who have wanted to cloth diaper but are afraid of the Laundromat, don’t be! You CAN do it! It IS easy and once you get your routine down, you won’t even think twice about it. Not having a washer and dryer is no excuse!  Happy washing!

Danae is the proud mommy to beautiful Lily B!  She is the owner of Lily Baby, and makes custom blankets, lovey's, hooded towels, and more.  You can also follow her on Facebook, with her helpful page, Fluff Addict at the Laundromat.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

YOU Cloth Diaper?!?!

The typical response that I receive once a person has figured out that we use cloth diapers.  Most people who picture cloth diapering moms see a woman either trapped in the 1950s or a hippie wild child.  I of course fit neither of these stereotypes. A little background about myself; I’m Shyana, a single mom by circumstance (DP is deployed) who works full time nights as an RN.   Our quest into cloth diapering started long before I was pregnant with our son.  I stumbled into the world of attachment/natural parenting when I was 19 or 20.  I was looking up parenting styles in a child development class and before I knew it I was sucked into the world of natural birthing, babywearing and cloth diapering.  Initially, like most people, I was very skeptical.  When I thought of cloth diapers I thought of a mom hanging big white flats and plastic pants on a clothing line outdoors.  There was NO way that people actually still did this (seriously?).  I laugh when I think of my initial reactions now.  I had no idea of the world that existed.  After researching the different types of cloth diapers, I knew that would be something I’d do with my own children. 

Fast forward 6 years later to my pregnancy with our son.  The first thing I purchased was 2 dozen unbleached prefolds and several size small and x-small Thirsties covers (excited much?).  By the time I’d given birth to ds our stash consisted of mainly prefolds, Thirsties and Bummis covers and fitteds.  Not wanting to overwhelm myself I decided I would use the first 2 weeks to get breastfeeding established and then we’d dive into cloth diapers.  At this point I was still slightly skeptical but thought I’d seriously give it a try.  We started with prefolds and covers and though I’d heard nothing but amazing things about using them (not to mention they are cheaper), I hated them.  No matter what I did I couldn’t keep that breastfed baby poop from leaking out of the prefolds.  It didn’t deter me but it did frustrate me a bit.  I decided to focus mainly on using fitteds (which I LOVED for the first 6 months!).  DS never leaked and they were super easy to use.  At this point I was still not confident enough to cloth diaper out and about so I continued to buy our monthly pack of disposables.  By the time ds was around 4 months we were cloth diapering full time except at night.  For the life of me I could not figure out how to keep ds from having a red tush in the morning so we continued with our one and only disposable at night.  We finally figured this out after about 14 months and a trip to the Nappy Shoppe in Allen, TX (thank you G-flappers!). 

Today ds is 22 months old and still happily cloth diapered.   I went back to work when ds was 4 months old and we’ve pretty much been on the same hectic and sleepless schedule since.  I will be the first to admit that my life is about pure survival and what’s convenient.   I would never do something that would be time consuming or cause me to exert too much energy (I need sleep for that!!!).  A typical work day while cloth diapering consists of us waking up and me changing ds’ nightly diaper.  He goes about 2-3 hours between diaper changes these days and if I work that night I will go ahead and do a load of diapers, even if there aren’t many.  I pack up 8-10 diapers to take to my parents’ house (yes we have cloth diapering grandparents!) and then I’ll bring those home in the morning.   I typically do diaper laundry once every 2-3 days depending on how many diapers we go through.  We have several waterproof/stink proof bags that we put the dirty diapers in until laundry day.  I throw the diapers in our front loading washer and set it for a cold rinse, hot wash, and cold rinse cycle.  Sometime later in the day when I remember I have laundry in the washer I’ll move them to the dryer or hang dry the covers in the laundry room.  The whole amount of time I spend tending to diaper laundry is about 5-10 minutes, including stuffing diapers after they are clean and dry. 

These days our stash mainly consists of Bum Genius one-size 3.0 pocket diapers, Softbums, Happy Heinys and covers with Sweet Pea hemp inserts.  We’ve saved more money on diapers than I can imagine, though I will warn that cloth diapering is addictive.  We also have a complete diaper stash for our next baby….and the one after that.  DS has NEVER had a diaper rash and it makes me happy to know that I’m helping the planet and not allowing him to sit in chemicals.  I know most people worry about the poop factor.  I will be honest and say that I did have a bit of a poop aversion when ds started eating food.  I am not a fan of big kid poop…….all.  But you’re a nurse!!  That’s right….and I hate big kid poop (the secret is out).  Blood I can handle…..poop, you’re pushing it!!  With that said, it’s really not that bad.  You dump out the waste and throw your diaper in your dirty diaper bag until laundry day and that’s it.  If I can manage to cloth diaper full time with my aversion to big kid poop, while shuffling ds to and fro on little or no sleep while working full time nights and dealing with the stress of a deployed spouse, you too can do it!!  PROMISE!!!


Shy-the poop averting (gag!) cloth diapering mama  J