Friday, July 20, 2012

Selling Diapers

I just got back from the library. Yesterday afternoon I listed a few diapers that Arthur just outgrew on Craigslist, and within a few hours I had two people interested. I got back to the first woman, and we agreed to meet at the library for the exchange. I loaded Arthur into the stroller with a sippy cup and his sunglasses and we took our time walking there, enjoying the sunshine. It was an older woman who was buying the diapers, so we chatted for a bit about modern cloth vs. what she used on her kids, then she gave me money and took the diapers and we parted ways. Just TRY making $15 off of 3 used disposable diapers, and let me know how it goes.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Easy Peasy Super Cheap Cloth Diapering

I wish that I had discovered this method of diapering sooner.  I read about it online, sure, but I scoffed.  I wasn't interested.  It wasn't modern or flashy or anything like that and I wanted nothing to do with it.  But, on a whim, I gave it a try and I was surprised!  Ok, think about it- what did you get a TON of at your baby shower?  Flannel receiving blankets.  I bet your got a boatload of them, and they're sitting around taking up a ton of space and you have no idea what to do with them, right?  Ok.. this might sound crazy... but use them as diapers.  Fold them in half a few times (this is called padfolding), lay them inside of a PUL cover or stuff them into a pocket diaper shell, and voila.  A diaper!  This combination is crazy trim and is probably the absolute cheapest way to diaper.  Right now, most diaper stores are running a Buy 2/Get 1 Free special on Flip diaper covers.  $27.90 for 3 diaper covers is a steal, and 6 covers is a good amount to have.  Combine these with the blankets that you already own (or cost like, a buck at Goodwill) and you're good to go!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Cloth Diapering With a Portable Washing Machine

When we moved into our new place, we left a lot of things behind.  Most notably (for me anyway) was our washer and dryer and our nice long clothesline.  We live in the city now, so there is no clothesline and our apartment doesn't have washer/dryer hookups.  I looked really hard for one that did, but they were very rare and when I did find one, it was way out of our price range.  We settled on a place that has a laundromat on the premises, but I was still uneasy.  Cloth diapering was going to cost a lot of money this way, and it was going to be really inconvenient.  I did the math out, and it was actually going to be cheaper to switch to disposables.  The wash cycles cost $1.50 each, times that by 3 cycles to get the diapers clean (one as a pre wash, then a wash with detergent, then another one as a rinse to get all of the detergent out) so $4.50 every other day just for the washing.  I could still hang dry on a drying rack in the apartment, but if I chose to use the dryers then it would probably take 2 cycles to get everything dried, so bump that up to $6.50.  $6.50x3 times a week = $19.50, $19.50x4= $78 a month.  And that's just diaper laundry, nevermind our regular clothes, towels, and sheets on top of that!  Ouch.  Ouch ouch ouch OUCH.

I did some digging around, and I heard of people using apartment sized washing machines to get their diapers clean.  They seemed to run for around $200, which was a lot to me- that is what our brand new full sized washer cost.  But, factoring in how much money we'd be spending every week washing all of our laundry, I figured that it would pay for itself very quickly.  I ordered a Haier model from wal mart and picked it up from the store a few days before the move.  We used disposables for 4 or 5 days before, during, and after the move so that we could get settled in.  My dad was kind enough to get the machine set up for us.  My original plan was to put it in the bathroom, but we don't have the right kind of faucet in there so we had to put it in the kitchen.  Our kitchen is roughly the size of a gerbil cage, but we cozied it in next to the oven.  I used the coin operated washers for a few days because I was intimidated, but it sucked.  It really just sucked.  I decided to start using our machine.

It was a disaster.  Huge disaster.  The drain hose comes with this little clip on type thing which is supposed to  keep the hose anchored, but it doesn't.  Water went EVERYWHERE.  Twice.  I ended up standing next to the sink the entire time, holding the hose in place.  Then, I didn't think to turn the sink off before disconnecting the water hose, so my kitchen got sprayed with water yet again.  I was wet, frustrated, and seriously hating everything.  I was going to just put it on Craigslist and get rid of it and switch to disposables, but I decided to stick with it.

I went to Target in search of some plastic zip ties to use to anchor the drain hose, but found something way better.  They're called Gear Ties, and they're basically extra super strong twist ties!  I got a two pack of the longest ones there, and they worked perfectly.  They kept the hose attached to the faucet so that when poopy water came shooting out, it went right into the sink and not all over the floor and walls.  Perfect.  I remembered to turn the water off before taking the hose off.  Like cake.  After a few times I got our cycle down, and it really isn't much different than it was with our old washer.  The main difference is that I use hot water for all of the cycles now, even the pre wash.  No real reason, I just like to leave it alone and not mess with it more than I have to.

1. "quick wash" with no detergent
2. "regular wash" with detergent ("2" line of liquid Gain)
3. another plain "quick wash"
4. "quick wash" for my natural fiber stuff with 7th Generation softener

There is a "heavy" cycle which includes a long soak and agitates longer, but I don't use that cycle.  For one, it washes the items in the dirty soak water rather than refilling the machine with fresh water.  Ew.  Plus, the cycle is close to 90 minutes long.  The regular cycle is 40 minutes, and I didn't notice a difference in cleanliness between the two so I opt for the shorter cycle.

Then I usually hang my pocket shells and Flip covers up on the drying rack and bring my prefolds and inserts down to the dryer. It's been really humid, so that combined with the thickness of the diapers means that they would hang for days even with a fan pointed at them and still not be dry.  I didn't want to promote any kind of mold or mildew, so I spend $1 and use the dryer.  It also keeps the prefolds soft, which I'm all about.

There are some cons to the machine, but I think that they're pretty minor.  It's hooked up to my kitchen sink, so I need to disinfect the sink after every load of diapers.  The hoses aren't quite long enough, so I have to drag the machine over closer to the sink.  It's not really heavy or anything, it's just a pain.  And because our kitchen is so small, once the machine is in place it's pretty much impossible to get into the dining room where the trash can is, and if you need to wash your hands or make coffee or get water for the cats, you have to use the bathroom sink.  But these things are so minor that you get used to them after a week or two.

And the machine WORKS.  My diapers get super clean every time that I wash them, and so do our clothes. I have noticed more staining in the diapers, but I think that's because we don't have a showerhead to spray the diapers with before they're washed, so that's causing the stains.  I haven't had time to yet, but I know that a day out in the sunlight with some lemon juice will erase all of those stains.

Overall, I love this machine and I'm so glad that I stuck with it.  I named him Bertram, and he's awesome.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Major Slacking

Except not really slacking!  We moved!  Last month, the three of us packed up and headed down to start our newest adventure in Augusta, Maine.  Not only did we move from a very rural area to the middle of the state capitol, but I went from being a full time working mom to a stay at home mom.  I have to say, transitioning to being a stay at home mom is way more challenging than any geographical changes.  So, I have a whole lot to write about and just about zero time to do it, that's the way that it goes :)  We finally got the internet hooked up today, so I'll be able to start posting again and hopefully get back into the swing of things soon, AND I am going to be hosting a pretty cool giveaway, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Let's Set Things Straight

I'm just going to come right out and say this, in a large bolded font.

You do not need to rinse formula poop off of a diaper before you put it in the wetbag.  There are no extra steps.  It is just as easy as breastmilk poop- maybe even easier*.

I've been wanting to write this entry for a few days, and I've been having a hard time coming up with an introduction.  How do I start this entry?  Why am I even writing it?  I'm writing it because 16 months ago, I was wishing that someone had.  I had just made the decision to stop pumping for my 4 week old and switch to formula.  Every single website that you find about cloth diapering tells you about how magical breastmilk poop is- it dissolves in water!  You don't have to rinse the poop off!  The diapers clean themselves!  RAINBOWS!  This was all fine and very reassuring to pregnant me, and pumping me.  But when I decided that my lactating days were over, I realized that I had no idea what I was going to do re: poop.

I looked around, and I saw a few vague mentions of having to rinse the poop off beforehand, or scrape it off, but then the author would reassure you DON'T WORRY, BREASTMILK POOP WILL WASH RIGHT OUT!  Honestly, it seemed to me like the cloth diapering community just doesn't acknowledge that parents who choose to formula feed are just as willing and capable to choose cloth diapers.  Not cool.  I made a post on Livejournal asking about what I was going to have to do when we made the switch (he was already getting maybe 3 bottles of formula per day) and a few women kindly told me that they didn't change anything.  It is the same as breastmilk poop.  They were right.  My son's poop definitely got a whole lot smellier, and it looked different- thicker, mostly.  But I didn't waste any time trying to remove the poop from the diaper before I washed it and just threw it all in the washing machine, and what do you know?  It all washed out- just like the breastmilk poop did.  

So, this post is for the pregnant woman who is not interested in breastfeeding at all and is going to feed her child formula right from the start.  This post is for the mother who breastfed at first, but for whatever reason is choosing not to continue any more.  This post is for someone who breastfeeds, but is trying to help a friend or relative who doesn't.  It's ok to formula feed, and don't let anyone try to tell you that it will lead to more work with your cloth diapers.  That is not true, not even a little bit.  Every time that I see a post on a messageboard where someone is wondering about what to do with formula fed poop, I will always respond.  I want to make this knowledge abundantly clear, because I wasn't able to find any of it when I needed it and I don't want anyone else to have to be stressed about it like I was.

*  In my experience, that crazy yellow breastmilk poop stains like CRAZY.  Formula poop, on the other hand, never left a stain on the diapers here.  Your milage may vary ;)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The End of Bedsharing

When it comes to parenting, I exist in this weird middle ground between "mainstream" and "crunchy."  I am sort of too weird for the mainstream- my husband and I cloth diaper, cosleep/bedshare, babywear (until he got too heavy), our son wasn't circumcised, I planned a homebirth.  On the other hand, the crunchy group doesn't want me either- my son only latched onto my breasts maybe 5 times in his life and I returned the hospital grade breast pump before he was a month old so that what little milk that I did make was good and dried up by the time I went back to work when he was 6 weeks old.  Any future children will go straight to formula.  We also vaccinate on schedule, don't care about eating organically in the slightest, used (non organic!) jarred baby food, the list goes on.  Sometimes when my kid is just completely overwhelming and demonic, even though I know it's awful, I'm tempted to just let him cry it out.  So, so SO SOOOO tempted!

Cosleeping is defined as sleeping in the same room as your baby, and bedsharing is when your baby sleeps in bed with you.  Cosleeping just made sense to us- we wanted to be close to our baby, for convenience when it came to late night feeding and just because we love him and want to be around him.  We didn't buy a crib, but we had a pack and play set up beside the bed and the plan was for him to sleep there.  I really wasn't too keen on the idea of him sleeping in bed with us, but I decided to just roll with whatever happened.  It didn't take long to see that he slept better when he was in bed with us, so we made our bed as safe as possible and welcomed him.  It turned out that when he was little, bedsharing was great.  He stayed in one spot and was very snuggly and adorable.  Once he began to gain the ability to move, however, he took full advantage of this.  Somehow this teeny little person was taking up more room in our queen sized bed than my husband and I combined.  My husband was crammed against the wall, I was hanging off the edge, and there was Arthur- sprawled out horizontally across the middle and usually kicking me in the face.  But, the convenience factor was a strong one so we continued despite being uncomfortable.  Plus, he wouldn't sleep by himself at all.  We heard horror stories about how hard it was going to be to move him into his own bed, and that itself was enough to keep us from even trying.

This carried on until 2 nights ago.  Enough is enough, we said.  17 months is old enough.  Plus, he's finally starting to get mobile enough to be unsafe in our bed.  Twice in the past week I came to get him after a nap and found him dangerously close to scooting backwards off of the edge.  We bought a twin sized mattress and put it on the floor in the corner of our bedroom, put some Spiderman sheets on it, and laid him down for the night.  He fell asleep just fine, but that first night was awful.  He woke up crying every 45 minutes.  He slept better as a newborn!  Finally at 5 am, my husband crawled onto the teeny mattress with him and we managed to get a 3 hour stretch in before he woke up for the day.  I was horrified.  Was this going to be our new normal?  He had been sleeping more or less through the night since he was a few months old with the exception of a cup of milk at around 3-4 A.M. and that was a pattern that I was totally fine with.  We talked about what we were going to do, and we decided to be consistent.  Even though we thought about letting him cry, and we thought about just bringing him back into our bed, neither of those actions were consistent with what we wanted.  We didn't want him to sleep in his own bed out of fear, and we really really just don't want him hogging our bed anymore.  Last night, we repeated his bedtime routine and settled him in to his new bed.  I braced myself for another night from hell, but he woke up at 3:30, had a cup of milk, and went back to sleep until 7.  Seriously??  Really??

I thought that I was going to be more emotional about moving him into his own bed, but I'm actually really happy, relieved, and proud.  I can sleep with my entire body on the bed, I don't have to worry about potential diaper leaks, there are no little feet in my face or my stomach, and my super clingy little boy is starting to show a little bit of independence.  I think that it's a win-win situation for everyone in the family.