Archive for March, 2010

Making hard water ‘play nice’ with cloth diapers

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

Bright white prefolds after washing with Iron Out* & prefolds browned by rust deposits

*NOTE: Before following this or any wash routine, please remember to check with the manufacturer of your diapers to determine if the product you are using has been approved and will not VOID your warranty. Here are the generally accepted washing procedures and detergents.*

About a year ago, before I had even tried it out, I almost gave up cloth diapering. While prepping our stash of cloth diapers, something went wrong. I had followed all the instructions I’d been given by manufacturers and other mamas I’d met on “green” message boards – wash with no soap, dry, wash with a bit of soap, repeat, repeat, repeat – and was so excited to join the legions of others who were bringing cloth diapering back to mainstream America. Imagine my horror when I flung the washer lid open and saw that chocolate milk looking mess. Two dozen brand new infant prefolds had gone from bright white to a dingy brown. I was heartbroken, confused, and steaming mad. What had I done wrong?

It turns out I hadn’t done anything wrong – but my hard water had.

Hard water is defined by Princeton as water containing mineral salts such as calcium and magnesium ions that limit the formation of lather with soap. It can be a cloth diapering nightmare. You might recognize your hard water by its metallic or earthy taste; having to use lots of soap to get a lather; or white or brownish deposits in your sinks and bathtubs.

Thanks to the varying quality of water coming from wells and even cisterns, cloth diapering mamas and dads who pull their home’s water from these sources need to do some additional homework before the first load of fluffy laundry is done.

You should have your water tested. It’s not a bad idea to do this periodically anyhow, since it’s free! and especially before bringing home a new baby. Our local water treatment company does this for free, and I’ve seen similar test kits, also free, at our local Home Depot. You just collect some water in a little vial and mail it in. The “Culligan Man” or someone from your local water company will call and go over the results with you. It’s valuable to find out whether your water has any contaminants in it, is extra-hard, or is A-OK for the whole family to drink or bathe in. We just did this recently, and found our water is extra-hard and has high concentrations of iron. Knowing this lets us choose detergents that are best for our water, and reminds us to watch our laundry carefully. Even if your water isn’t as bad as ours, your hard water can lead to mineral deposits on your diapers, which can result in repelling or smells horrible enough to peel paint off walls. Trust me on this.

If your water turns out to be hard, don’t despair – there are tips and tricks to get around this.

1. Use care with bleach or any oxygen-based cleaning additives!

If your water test shows you have high concentrations of iron, like mine, never never use bleach or oxygen-based cleaning additives. This goes for all your household laundry, not just diapers. Dig back to your high school chemistry days – when metal (or metal ions in water) oxidize, what do you get? RUST! Adding OxyClean or bleach to high-iron water will cause the rust to precipitate from the water and settle on whatever you are washing. The day my diapers turned brown, I had used a tablespoon of OxyClean to get the manufacturer’s oily residue out of my prefolds. Lesson learned!

2. Know your detergent & how much to use.
Before you choose a detergent, check with your manufacturer and make sure it isn’t going to void your warranty. Then, a good rule of thumb is to use half to one-quarter of the recommended amount on the label. Sometimes this is only a couple teaspoons. Start with a small amount of detergent and build until you feel your diapers are clean. Hard water does call for more detergent than soft water, so experiment.

There are several detergents out there formulated as clean-rinsing specifically for cloth diapers – they’re developed for a reason, so use them! Some I have heard of or used myself include CrunchyClean, Rockin’ Green, Charlie’s, Planet, and ones made specifically by diaper makers like BumGenius or Thirsties.

Of the “non-diaper” detergents, I have heard some mamas have success with very small amounts of Purex Free and Clear (F&C) and Tide Free powder. We’re currently using Tide Free powder in our laundry with great success.

3. CALGON, take me away!
Use Calgon water softener additive in your laundry. You can buy this in the detergent aisle at your grocery or big-box retailer. Follow label directions. This product helps suspend any minerals in your water instead of letting them settle onto your diapers or clothes, and lets them rinse away.

4. Strip.
If you get mineral buildup on your diapers – they hold onto ammonia smells or even start repelling, and sometimes you can even see or feel that the diapers aren’t the same as they used to be – strip them. You can strip with several products including Rockin’ Green, RLR, OxyClean(see above before use!), or Tiny Bubbles.

To strip with Tiny Bubbles or RLR, follow the label directions and use the hottest water you’ve got. Turn up your hot water heater about an hour before filling the washer, or add a pot of boiling water to the wash tub for best results.

To get rid of funk with Rockin’ Green, or OxyClean, fill the wash tub with hot water and add about ¼ to ½ cup of Oxy or a few Tablespoons of Rockin’ Green to the water. Agitate slightly, then add the diapers and let soak. This works best if you can soak overnight. Then rinse, re-wash and double rinse.

We have also found that a product call Iron Out works wonders for us to make our diapers bright white again. However, I do not know if this voids any diaper warranties with manufacturers, and would encourage you to research that before using the product. I do not wash covers or pockets in it, as I don’t know how Iron Out can affect PUL long-term

5. Keep a close eye on your diapers. If you notice a problem, fix it sooner rather than later.

Hard water can be a real headache for cloth diapering families, but it doesn’t have to. Experiment to find the detergent and washing routine that works best for you – and keeps your fluff clean and hardworking!

For more information on hard water, check out:

By Andrea Zippay, guest contributor

@andreazippay on Twitter

GIVEAWAY!! We are giving away a BAG OF HARD Rockin’ Green. Please comment below to enter by  telling us about your laundry concerns and solutions!! Entries close at midnight on 3/31/10. Contest open to North American residents only.


GIVEAWAY winner – “Becky” who commented on March 31, 2010 at 3:14 pm

Hospital Stay Tips from an Attachment Parent

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

When I first heard that my daughter, Madilynn, had spina bifida, and would need surgery just one day after birth, I started to panic. We are a natural family that avoids the doctor whenever possible. We practice attachment parenting, and had no experience with prolonged hospital stays. We were planning a home birth and seeing a midwife for care.

My son, Conner, was not two yet, still nursing, and co-sleeping. My mind started to fill with questions. Would they let me breastfeed Madi? Would I be able to have her on my chest after birth? How would Conner do with mommy gone? I had never been away from Conner for more than a few hours, let alone a few days!

To make matters worse, they wanted me to have a c-section. I know this does not sound like the end of the world to many people, but it was to me. A c-section would mean I was stuck in one hospital recovering while my baby was in another undergoing major surgery without me.

I had to do something. I decided to go straight to the top, the neurosurgeon. He would call the shots, and if I could get him to agree, everyone else would go along with it. I told Madi’s neurosurgeon that they wanted me to have a c-section, to pump/bottle feed for a while, and that I would not be able to have Madi on my chest after birth. I told him that I did not agree with these choices and felt that they were not in Madi’s best interest. Thankfully, he agreed. Had he not, I would have been stuck trying to find another neurosurgeon that did. He told me that there is no research showing a c-section was any better for baby/mother than a natural birth, even with Madi’s open back and hydrocephalus. He felt there was no reason for her not to be placed on my chest after birth and to make sure that they knew he cleared it. He also supported my decision to immediately breastfeed. I would have to hold her in different positions and get help from the nurses, but breastfeeding her after surgery would be an awesome way to help her little body heal.

The big day came and my natural birth went smoothly. My husband David and I stayed with Madi in the NICU that night, which was not customary as most mothers stay in their rooms to recover. David went with her in the ambulance the next morning and I followed shortly after. The surgery went well and just two hours afterward, I had my little girl in my arms, nursing like a champ. To put that in perspective, many other babies with spina bifida are not even “allowed” to be held until a week or so after birth. It may not have been customary for them to allow me to hold her and feed her so soon, but I honestly feel that it is what made all the difference. I also stayed with Madi day and night which I think helped tremendously. To make a long story short, we were released in 5 days, a hospital record. Many nurses and doctors came by to tell us that they were amazed we were leaving so quickly. Most babies do not leave until 12 days after surgery, and two weeks is pretty common.

We have a lot of experience with extended hospital stays. We have been back to the hospital with shunt complications three times. One stay was just short of three weeks, one was about four days, and one was just a night. Though I was very worried about being able to practice attachment parenting, I found it to be a smooth transition.

Here are some of my tips, just in case you should ever face extended hospital time with your little one.

1. Stay with your child. This is something I tell every parent who will have a child in the hospital. No one loves your child like you, and no one will fight for them like you will. They need you there with them, advocating for them, day and night. They need someone telling the nurses to feed them when they are hungry, to turn down the lights so they can sleep comfortably, to pick them up when they need physical touch, and to respond to their needs right away, not when they get time. If you cannot stay with your child, make Child Life your new best friend. Ask them to have volunteers in your child’s room as much as possible. Ask friends and church members to sit with your child.

2. Write a care plan. The nurses that cared for Madi said they had never seen a care plan before and were shocked I took the time to write it. Because of that plan they all knew our goal was breastfeeding, that I wanted testing done during the day (not at night), that Madi would be fed on demand (not on a schedule), and that I would be staying day and night and would appreciate the accommodation.

3. Request a private room. This makes caring for your child so much nicer. Bring a radio with classical music along to drown out those yucky hospital noises.

4. Breastfeeding is possible after many surgeries. If for some reason you are unable to breastfeed, you can pump and bottle feed, or even pump and use the breastmilk in a feeding tube. I was told that no matter what, they would make sure that my breastmilk got in to my child. If you have to supplement, you can request donor milk instead of formula. You can also request a hospital-grade pump to have in your room. I always request one just to ease the pain of engorgement when Madi is in surgery. Nurses will default to schedule feeding your child, but that does not mean they will not allow you to feed on demand. If you let them know that is important to you, they are pretty accommodating.

5. Breastfeeding = shorter NPO times. If your child has to go NPO (nothing by mouth) before surgery, they will take in to account that you are breastfeeding. Most hospitals will say six hours of no food or formula, but only four hours of no breastmilk. Some will even say just two or three hours with no breastmilk is sufficient.

6. You can co-sleep in the hospital. Your baby does not have to sleep in a crib. There is a waiver you will have to sign saying that if they fall out of bed you will not hold them accountable, but it can be done. I co-slept with Madi every hospital stay. One thing that helped was asking for extra blankets. I rolled them up and shoved them in the openings on both sides of the hospital bed. This gave us plenty of room on the bed, but also closed the gaps so that Madi could not slip out. I also asked for extra pillows so that I could prop up my arms when I was laying down so they did not fall asleep when Madi was sleeping on my chest.

7. Cloth diapering in the hospital is possible. They may want to weigh your baby’s diapers, so it is helpful to have all the same brand/size. Then they can measure urine and fecal output, just as they would with a disposable. You should be able to wash your diapers at the hospital. Most hospitals have a family center with a washer and dryer. I will admit, I just used disposables because it was easier, but for some babies with allergies to disposable diapers they are not an option. My friend, Mary, has used cloth successfully with her daughter in the hospital.

8. Babywearing in the hospital is very beneficial. Many babies and children need lots of extra touch time because they go through so much during their stays. Babywearing is a great way to give them what they need. Some carriers are easier to use than others, though. A ring sling, a soft carrier, or a structured carrier is a better option. These carriers allow room for cords and other medical devices. A wrap is a little tougher because there is less open area to string all the cords through.

10. Do not be afraid to ask questions! Doctors and nurses have their own opinions, but no one cares for your child as much as you. If you can, bring a laptop so that you can research about what they are telling you. You can also research alternative treatments and ideas.

You can read more about my daughter at If you ever have any questions you can also contact me through her blog. Just remember, trust your instincts, they are there for a reason!

Shop through Amazon? Please use our link! Madi gets 6%!

by Jaime Veprek, guest contributor


I Only Have Eyes for Fluff!

Friday, March 19th, 2010

“Do I have too many diapers?”

Kellista's StashIf you have a shopping habit and use cloth diapers, there has probably been a time when you have asked yourself that question. We have all read the articles telling us to be prepared with at least 24-36 diapers and seen the packages sold in sets of 12 or 24. So why is it that many cloth diapering moms have a stash in excess of 50 cloth diapers? Why do so many of us continue to shop for new diapers when we have enough to last at least two days? Are we obsessed?

These are questions I often ask myself when I’m stuffing my pockets or folding my pretty fitteds after a night of dreaming about cloth diapers. Yes, I do dream about cloth diapers. Can buying diapers become an addiction?

Here’s a short quiz to find out if you’re diaper obsessed.

1. Do you have any cloth diaper stores bookmarked on your browser?
2. Do you think, if only I had “fill in the blank” diaper, I’d be happy?
3. Do you fantasize about winning the lottery and spending a chunk of your funds on diapers?
4. Have you thought of opening a cloth diaper store just so you can be surrounded by pretty, new fluff?
5. Have you thought of or planned a vacation just to use a new diaper system?
6. Have you considered having another child to be able to buy more diapers?
7. Does the thought of your child potty training make you sad (not because thPackage Deliveryey’re growing up, but because there will be no more use for your fluff)?
8. Are you fans of more than one cloth diaper company or store on facebook? More than 2? 3?
9. Do you stalk your postman?
10.When a birthday or holiday approaches and someone asks you what you want, do diapers pop in your head?

If you answered yes to any of these questions you could be a diaper addict. If you answered yes to all of them, we could be best friends.

So here’s my best advice for those of you who are diaper obsessed. First, make sure you are buying diapers you will actually use. There is nothing worse than diapers that just sit on a shelf. Even with a huge stash, make sure you are rotating through all your diapers. If there are diapers that you don’t reach for often, resell them on sites like Diaper Swappers or Mom’s Milk Boutique’s Diaper Buy Back program. Then you will have more funds for new fluff, which we all know you’ll buy!

Second, spread your love of fluffy shopping to other items. Do you have a niece with a birthday coming up? Could your little one use another teething toy? You would be surprised how much our obsession with buying diapers just comes from the excitement at getting something fun in the mail. I have noticed if I buy something online that I need anyway, it keeps me from buying fluff I really don’t need.

Finally, don’t break the bank. Chances are there are things around your house you are not using. Sell these things and use the funds to support your habit. You don’t want your significant other coming after you for spending the grocery money on fluffy. Shop smart, look for sales and happy diapering!

by Kellista Keaton, guest contributor


Baby Carriers, Babywearing and the CPSC

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

For an item that doesn’t get many mentions in the public media, baby carriers are all over the news these days. Unfortunately, it seems they have come out in a negative light.

Safety warnings and recalls are nothing new. Cribs are recalled. Strollers. Toys. Cars. Occasionally a part malfunctions, something sticks, something breaks. People get outraged. Yet many babies still sleep in cribs, ride in strollers, play with toys and ride in cars…and it’s ok. Just because one brand/type is bad, doesn’t make them all bad.

Yet when we are talking about an item that doesn’t get much publicity in the first place, bad publicity can destroy it.

Babywearing has been around for hundreds, probably thousands of years. After spending 9 months in the womb, babies need to be held. The benefits to babies who are worn are numerous – they cry less and learn more. Babywearing allows mamas (or daddies) to have their hands free to take care of other little ones, make dinner, write their thesis, email their boss back and a mirage of other tasks.

Being educated when you buy a baby carrier is as important as which stroller or car seat to buy. Just because a brand is on the shelf at a popular big box store doesn’t make it the safest, or the right carrier for you.

The first carrier I purchased over 6 years ago was a bag sling I found at Target – the Infantino Sling Rider, the carrier that prompted the CSPC to issue a safety warning. Graeme was just a few months only, and I had only read a little about babywearing. Even so, something just felt wrong – he would bang into my legs and swing when I walked. I couldn’t figure out how to adjust it, and I felt like I couldn’t see him. He looked uncomfortable, and my lack of knowledge about how to wear him scared me. It wasn’t a good fit for me, so I took it back.

ERGObaby Carrier - Galaxy PrintAnother baby later, I decided to give babywearing another shot. My husband thought I was crazy to spend $100 on a carrier, but I did it. I purchased an ERGOBaby Carrier. It was a structured carrier and it was so easy to use.  It was versatile and felt very safe. Plus, I was able to use this carrier with Graeme and with my second baby. Front, back and side – 40 lbs. or 14 lbs….I had found my perfect carrier. That was fortunate, because I probably would have given up had I not had a good experience with this carrier. Plus, after wearing it, my husband loved it too.

But, as many of you carrier mamas know, once you start you can’t stop. I had found the babyweMoby Wrap - Forestaring love! I had to try them all. I bought a Mei Tai – it was so easy to nurse in. A good friend made me a fabulous summer ring sling – loved its adjustability!  Then another good friend lent me a Moby Wrap. Oh, to have a newborn and put them in a Moby Wrap…it’s heaven!!

If you are a babywearer or want to be a babywearer, don’t let the CPSC warnings stop you. Get online and do some research. Join Get involved with a local babywearing or attachment parenting group (even if you aren’t completely AP). Visit a local boutique that carries a variety of slings, carriers and wraps and try them all on. Take a babywearing class. If none of those are available to you, you may be a little overwhelmed and get frustrated with it, but you can jump on board and start trying anyway! Sometimes you just need the confidence that you can do it. You can safely carry your baby!

It’s St. Patty’s Day and I love the Moby! So, we are giving away a Forest Moby Wrap to one lucky winner! Please comment below and tell us your babywearing experience or why you want to try! Contest will run through 10 am MST on 3/20/10. Giveaway open to US residents only (sorry my International mamas!) Winner will be announced Saturday – it is the winners responsibility to contact us to claim their Moby! 🙂

WINNER IS ANNE – post #34. Please email me at to claim your prize!

by Abbie


Welcome to MMB’s new blog…

Friday, March 5th, 2010

Well, the time has finally arrived for us mamas at Mom’s Milk Boutique to start blogging! We will be featuring some amazing mamas’ stories and contributions here over the next year and we look forward to spreading the word about breastfeeding, babywearing and cloth diapering!

At Mom’s Milk Boutique we are committed to bringing you and your family the very best in natural parenting products including cloth diapers, baby carriers, nursing bras, laundry detergent, and a variety of baby care products. Along with our free standard shipping, we offer the best everyday prices and biggest sales on the most respected brands such as Aden + Anais, BabyLegs, Beco Baby Carriers, Ergo Baby Carriers, Moby Wraps, Blueberry Diapers, bumGenius, GroBaby Diapers, FuzziBunz, Happy Heiny, Imse Vimse, Kissaluvs, Little Beetles, Rump-a-Rooz, Thirsties, Rockin’ Green Cloth Diaper Detergent, Charlie’s Soap and so much more! We love the products we carry, and we hope you do too! If you have any questions, please email us!

When we reach 500 followers, we are going to give away 2 – “Create your own 3 PACK of diapers” valued up to $65! So, follow us and leave a comment about what you love about the blog or our main web site for your chance to WIN!!! To comment click the flower with the number below. 🙂

WINNERS – Per – Karen B (comment March 16 @ 7:25pm) & Tamara SZ (comment March 17 @ 12:30 am). Contact to claim your winnings!

To follow the blog – click on the “Natural Mamas” box and sign in!