Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Diapers!

I ordered these back in November from a co-op, and they finally came in today.  I really, really, REALLY don't need any more diapers but these were so cheap ($3 each, I think) that I couldn't resist.  They're Alva Baby pockets, and despite their low price they're actually really good quality diapers.  I have um... a lot of them.

Friday, December 23, 2011

An update on yesterday

The fleece pants instead of PUL covers has done wonders for Arthur's skin so it looks like this is something that we will be sticking with for a while.  We are using these pants from Old Navy, and they're working great!  And adding the bamboo insert for a little bit of extra absorption has made the diapers absorbent enough so that no moisture is wicking out to the outside of the fleece :)  When using fleece, it's important to make sure that it is 100% polyester, because if there is any cotton blended in then the pants will get soaked.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Frustrations For The Day

First of all, this is what my washer looks like, thanks to my detergent switch.

I usually use Gain, but the store closest to me doesn't carry Apple Mango Tango.  I've used original Tide in the past and it worked fine, so I picked up some of the "Free and Gentle". BIG MISTAKE.  You see, when you wash cloth diapers it's important for all of the detergent to get rinsed out, or it can irritate your baby's skin.  This usually involves doing at least one extra rinse, sometimes two.  Ideally, the water in your final rinse will look pretty close to this-

Nice and clear!  No bubbles!  Colors enhanced!  This stuff is getting demoted to clothes detergent, and I guess that I'm going to have to suck it up and choose a new Gain scent.  And spend the rest of my day resetting my washer to "rinse".  Fun fun.  Please, learn from my mistake and once you figure out what kind of detergent works for your diapers, DON'T CHANGE IT.  EVER.

Another thing that is going on and driving me nuts right now is chafing.  For the past few weeks, Arthur has been getting a little red and rough on his thighs.  As far as I can tell it wasn't bothering him, but I didn't like seeing it.  He would be fine when he woke up in the morning, but it would get progressively worse as the day went on.  I was starting to wonder if his legs were getting chafed from rubbing against the material that the diaper covers are made out of (PUL), so this morning I put him in a prefold and fleece pants to see if that would keep his legs clear.  After 2 changes, his legs were not chafed and he also didn't have any red marks that he usually gets from the elastic in the PUL covers.  This is honestly kind of a pain in the butt.  Fleece is not a waterproof material, but as long as the diaper underneath is not completely soaked then it won't leak.  The outside does get damp sometimes though, which is my issue with it.  Arthur is a moderate/heavy wetter, so unless I change him very often, the fleece usually gets damp.  I've been adding a bamboo insert inside of his prefolds today and they seem to be helping.  My husband will still use pockets on him while I'm at work, so he might still get some irritation on his skin, but it won't be as bad anymore.  Hopefully this is just a temporary thing due to try cold, dry air.  Plus, he is very active and gets around by scooting on his butt, so that has got to make the diaper rub his legs quite a bit throughout the day.  I guess sometimes it's a good thing that I have a bunch of different types of diapers to use, because you never know when you're going to have to switch it up a bit.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"But... what do you do with the poop?"

I think that this is the #1 concern for people when it comes to cloth diapers. The thought of having to actually dispose of baby poop properly rather than just throwing it in the trash can be really daunting at first, but it's really not a big deal! First, consider this- human waste does not belong in the garbage can, and just because it's "gone" from your house doesn't mean that it is "gone" from the environment. I'm not a "green" person by any stretch, but even I can see that adding diapers full of poop to a landfill is just not healthy for the planet or for us. All of that human waste leeches into our water supply, which is just disgusting no matter how you look at it.

So what are we supposed to do with baby poop? When your baby is a newborn and is eating only breastmilk, just throw the cloth diaper- poop and all- into the washing machine. That's it! Breastmilk poop is completely water soluble, so it will dissolve and wash away with no effort whatsoever. This is also true for formula poop. With formula fed babies, the consistency might be a little bit thicker than breastmilk, but I never had any problems with it rinsing clean. Formula poop also stains less than breastmilk poop.

Once your baby starts solids, it takes a little bit more effort. For the first few weeks after starting solids, look at the sides of your washing machine after you do your initial rinse cycle. Once you notice that the first rinse is leaving, to put it gently, remnants in your machine, that is when you need to start taking extra steps to get rid of the poop. Poop now goes in the toilet, just like yours. If you have modern plumbing, you can use flushable liners for your diapers. These are kind of like rolls of paper towels. You put a sheet in the diaper, and when your baby poops you just flush the whole thing down the toilet. Another option for liners is fleece fabric. You don't flush the fleece, just shake it out over the toilet. Poop doesn't grip to synthetic fabrics as strongly as natural ones so the poop will come off easily. Again, please don't flush fleece liners and don't use flushable liners unless you consult with a plumber who gives you the ok- your pipes may not be able to handle it.

Another option is purchasing a diaper sprayer that hooks up to your toilet. These have a learning curve. Your best bet is to start off with low pressure until you figure out how to use it. I've never used one because I think that I would probably make a huge mess with it. You can also buy a plastic spatula and scrape the poop off into the toilet with it. Rinse it and store it with your toilet brush caddy. My super lazy method now that my son is on full time solids is to plop off what I can or pick off what I can with toilet paper, then just put it in the wetbag and not worry about it. If it's a big mess, I will spray it with our showerhead in the bathroom sink (and then wipe the sink down with a bleach wipe).

The best part is that there is no need to soak or dunk diapers in the toilet like they used to back in the old days. I've done it a few times because sometimes you will get a really terrible diaper mess and you have this "Oh dear lord, what do I do with THIS??" and I just wanted to get it done as quickly as possible. Rubber gloves will be your friend sometimes. But the way that I see it is first of all, if you have a kid you're going to be dealing with poop and getting poop on your hands no matter what kinds of diapers you use. It just happens, it's the way life works when you have a baby so get used to it. Second of all, you're going to wash your hands after you're done changing a poopy diaper, so does it really matter?

I don't think that I've ever typed the word "poop" so many times in one document before in my life. Motherhood.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Storing Dirty Diapers

There are a couple of different ways to store your dirty diapers until it's time to wash them. If you listen to the older people in your life, they're going to tell you that you have to soak everything in a bucket of water or bleach. Don't listen to them, you really don't want to do that. Can you imagine lugging around a huge bucket full of gross diaper water? This is where we take advantage of our modern conveniences. The method that I recommend is the wetbag method. Despite how it sounds, wetbags are not "wet." A wetbag is a bag made of waterproof fabric (usually PUL) that you put your dirty diapers into, and when it's time to wash everything you dump it all into the washer and throw the bag in with it. They usually have a zipper to hold everything in, but I've found that it's better to leave it unzipped so that everything can breathe and odors do not build up. They come in different sizes for different needs. You will want 2 "large" sized ones for use at home (one to use, one to wash) and a medium/travel sized one for when you're out of the house. My favorite brands are Diaper Palz and Rumparooz. Planetwise are also a good option, but I've found that they take longer to dry because they have cotton on the outside, and the cotton also tends to fade and look worn fairly quickly.

You can also use a trash can (with or without a swinging lid) with a liner, but the airflow would be limited so it might end up being smellier than a hanging wetbag. I have also heard of people just using a laundry basket, but that probably wouldn't be a good idea if you have curious pets or children. As with anything in life, try out a few different options and see what works best.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Why We Use Cloth

I don't want this to be a run of the mill "cloth diapers are so awesome! Disposable diapers are terrible!" post. I don't hate disposables, and I don't begrudge anyone who decides to use them on their kids. When Arthur was brand new, we used disposables in the hospital because he came early and our cloth diapers weren't ready. Then in the beginning, my husband wasn't 100% confident with using cloth, so he went through a pack or two of disposables in the first month or so until he got used to it. Last night, he wore a disposable diaper to bed. Nobody died, and the world didn't end. That being said, even though I don't mind using a disposable diaper every once in a while, I definitely prefer using cloth.

1. There is no smell.
Disposable diapers just smell terrible. First, you have the overwhelmingly gag inducing chemical perfume smell that floods into your face as soon as you open up the package. Then, once the baby soils the diaper, you get to smell that weird smell AND human waste combined together. The smell seeps into the actual fabric of your kid's pants. Then you put the dirty diaper in the trash can, and there it sits along with all of the other smelly ones until someone takes the trash out. With cloth, on the other hand, the diaper will only have an odor to it if it's poopy. If your baby is on solid foods, the poop gets flushed down in the toilet- it's GONE. The dirty diaper goes into your wetbag which contains the odor and they all get washed within the next 2 days.

Money Savings.
I don't have any actual mathematical figures to base this off of. You can find a ton of different articles online that go into those specifics, and because I really don't keep track of how many diapers my baby uses in a day I can't do the math. But I do know this: We never have to choose between buying gas for the car or buying diapers. We never have to let him wear the same diaper for hours at a time because we have to try to make each pack of diapers last for as long as possible. A fully functional stash of cloth diapers can be bought for $100 or less, and then either sold after you're done or reused on other children. Go ahead and try to sell a previously worn disposable diaper and let me know how that works out for you.

Cloth diapers are just cute. They come in every color you can imagine, beautiful prints, and different fabrics. Changing diapers really isn't the highlight of my day, but seeing a nice colorful diaper with stars on it makes it just a little bit more fun.

I'm Lazy.
I would much rather just dump a bag of cloth diapers into the washing machine than drag my butt (and my baby's butt) to the store for disposables. Cloth also eliminates the "we have 2 diapers left and every store is closed... and I think that I smell poop..." scenario. Diapers in the trashcan means that the trash needs to be emptied more often, which means we need to go to the dump more often. Honestly, anything that involves leaving the house more often than I absolutely have to is just way too much work for me. Believe me, if cloth diapers were difficult or inconvenient in any way shape or form, I wouldn't be using them.

Those are just a few of the reasons that we love using cloth diapers. What are your reasons?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Stash pictures

I think that a good way to start out this blog is with some pictures.  When I was pregnant and learning about cloth diapers, it was all about the visuals.  Descriptions and lists are nice, but it's really important to actually *SEE* these kinds of things.

This is the top of my diaper organizer.  In the left corner, you will see cloth wipes.  Going clockwise, next are my Thirsties hemp prefolds, a stack of stay dry and bamboo inserts, Boingo diaper fasteners, a Thirsties fitted, and most of my PUL covers and fleece soakers.

That's a lot of jargon, and I apologize for that.  As time goes on, I'm going to go into a detailed description of everything and I will update this post and add links.

The top drawer contains all of our pocket diapers.

The second drawer has our cotton prefolds.  

We have a little bit of variety, and that works for us.  Some people like to have all of one type of diaper, but that would drive me a little bit crazy.  I'm definitely a "variety is the spice of life" type of person.  I've found that different diapers work in different situations- fitteds are a must for overnights, prefolds are super versatile and can be used many different ways, pockets are Daddy proof and are easy to have in the diaper bag.  


I'm so awkward when it comes to introductions and first posts.  What to say?

My name is Meghan.  I'm 23, and I live in northern Maine with my husband and our one year old son.  I work full time, and I'm going back to school- for the second time- to finish my degree in social work.  Sometimes I'm a photographer, sometimes I'm a writer, sometimes I'm just a big ball of stress :]

We use cloth diapers on our son.  I guess that the main reason that I started this blog was to emphasize that "normal" people can use cloth diapers.  You don't have to be "crunchy", a hippie, an environmentalist, a stay at home mom, a breastfeeder, or any other "label"  if you want to cloth diaper.  Trust me, I'm none of those things.  I'm just an ordinary, moderate parent who is trying to do the best for her child.  This blog will contain my trials and tribulations, reviews, tips, rants, about cloth diapering and parenting and life in general.    I hope that I can show that cloth diapering can be an (easy!  really easy!) option for anyone who is interested in taking the plunge.