Archive for the ‘Washing Cloth Diapers’ Category

Why Should We Have to “Have it All”

Monday, December 19th, 2016

have it allSocial media did it again. Another mama went and did something that has a lot of people armed and ready with all their judgments. A mom, ten weeks post-partum, videotaped herself working out as she went about folding cloth diaper laundry from the dryer. Diary of a Fit Mommy is known for her videos incorporating workouts into daily routines and inspires a number of other people, mostly women, to do the same.

I want to be very clear. I have nothing but love for this mama. You get yours! I work out most days of the week and have my own strategies for fitting it in. My routine is a work in progress but I think I get the sentiment behind the idea that we all have time and can find said time if we get creative and honest with ourselves and our day. I also wonder if people would have a strong response to my laundry multi-tasking—folding while talking to my hubby about our day. We are all multi-tasking.

But my first thought upon viewing this video was more of a question: Why must everything be so complex? Can we make single-tasking a fad that sticks? Perhaps the response is doing squats while stuffing cloth diapers is not a complex task. That’s true—it appears relatively easy. I just tried it myself and, yes, it’s simple enough. I’m just wondering what’s so wrong with single-tasking?

All day I’m doing five things at a time. I just want to sit and do the laundry with a show on the TV or even just in the still silence of children in bed. In some ways sitting in the quiet or watching TV still isn’t singular in focus. I might be reflecting on the day or catching up with hubby. Still, can’t I just not always be thinking and acting on the idea of “having it all?”

Lots of women all over the world don’t have it all—they don’t even have the time or resources to play around with the idea of having it all. Sometimes I think what many of us want is just a little simplicity. I am okay with a single focus even if it means I don’t have a “perfectly” slim tummy. For my own sanity I need to not always be doing, fitting everything in, and getting the most out of the day. That just feels like unnecessary pressure and anxiety.

Yet again, that’s what I’ll have to come down to, my own sanity and my own experience. We are all battling different demons; we all have different places we’re coming from and ideas of whom and how we want to be. If you’re in the mood to multi-task your way to a perkier tush while preparing diapers for your baby’s fluffy bum I’m happy you’re finding ways to make your goals reality. I’ll be over here folding laundry and little else, except perhaps taking a sip or two of wine.

Lynette is a mom of three children from 8 months to age four. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

Cloth Diapering a Solid Food Eater

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

CLoth diapering a solid food eaterThe days of only bottle/breast feeding come to an end eventually. Perhaps this is a time of joy if you are tired of washing bottles or you are feeling like a 24-hour drive thru window lately. With solid food comes a whole new world of diaper changes.

If your baby nursed up until this point you may have rarely dealt with cleaning bowel movements as exclusively breast-fed poop tends to be water soluble and can go straight into the wash.

The change might take time. When introducing solids, your child may take in so little that you don’t notice a difference. At some point between 6 months and a year, most kids undergo a change in the consistency of their bowel movements. It may be more marked for breast-fed children. You will know it when you see it. A child’s poop may look different than others’, some more plop-able and others more peanut-butter yucky. If you are unsure of your babe’s bowel movement tendencies and patterns always check with your pediatrician to ensure your babe’s health is in order.

Otherwise, consider these tips in dealing with the new poo:

  • Liners are your friend, especially for out and about if you don’t want to dunk and swish your diapers in public toilets or carry a very dirty diaper with you until you return home. Liners often catch everything or at least limit the mess. Some are cut wider or longer than others. We like GroVia liners best. Though they are wide enough to stick out of the diaper slightly, that means they also generally keep poop from getting into the elastic areas of the diaper.
  • Diaper sprayers add a level of intensity to your arsenal of diaper cleaning tools. Most attach to your toilet, though there are options that can attach to your sink. You can also use a shower head if it stretches to your toilet. The power of water helps to almost all remnants of poop removed from the diaper, but the power of spray can also cause messes.
  • Solutions for messy spraying. Get to know your sprayer. I find I can manage the water pressure with how tightly I squeeze the handle on my sprayer. You may be able to negotiate water pressure by turning the nozzle directly on your toilet, lowering the amount of water the pipe allows through. Or there is always the Spray Pal if you’d like another gadget where you can clip in your diaper and spray with all your might without fear of poop on your toes. Diaper Dawg also has a few accessories that can help with preventing messes.
  • Know your child. Maybe your kiddo is a morning pooper or napping pooper. The sooner you get that diaper off, the easier the poop usually comes off (and the happier your kiddo’s skin will be too!). Or use liners only at those times you know your kiddo often has a bowel movement so you don’t waste liners. (Some people reuse liners once washed if they were only urinated on.)
  • Likewise, spray/scrape/swish as you go if possible. Some prefer to wait and do all the poopy diapers at once. As they sit though they often dry, often making the poop harder to remove. If you are going to let them sit, do not leave out in the open where little hands can get to them. Wrap them shut and place them out of your child’s reach.

Lynette Moran shares her life with her husband and two sons, ages 1 and 3 years. She has cloth diapered both since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living. 

Blue Poop and Other Surprises

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

Blue poop and other surprisesLet’s talk poop.

When babies start solids—either whenever your mom starts bugging you to, or around 8 to 10 months if you’re starting baby led weaning—get ready for a fun surprise.

If you’ve been breastfeeding up until now, you have been enjoying fairly odorless diapers. Not always pleasant, but it’s nothing compared to what’s coming. Because after baby starts solids, you’re in for a real treat!

When baby starts solids, you’ll discover that poop comes in every color of the rainbow. And many different textures. This can be really alarming if you’re not expecting it, however. Many colors and textures are totally normal depending on what baby has eaten.

Here are a few discoveries I have made over the years.

Foods with more fiber than I ever thought possible: Carrots, corn, peas, tomato skins, raisins, bananas. These foods may appear in original form in your baby’s poop. Super fun if you are cloth diapering. I found tomato skins the most alarming, since they may look like blood at first glance. Carrots, corn, peas, raisins, and other bite-sized foods may appear unchanged. Bananas leave weird, black  strings. As your baby’s digestive system gets used to solids, the diapers won’t look as much like last night’s dinner plate.

Foods that make everything change color: Berries, carrots, spinach. The first time my kids discovered blueberries, they gorged themselves. My kids love every kind of berry. Blueberries won’t stain your cloth diapers, but they will create a hue of poop that will cause you to pause and take stock of all the blue crayons in the house. This is normal. Foods with a lot of pigment will turn your baby’s poop that color. The good news is that weird-colored poop is almost never an indication of a digestive problem; it’s just gross.

Also super fun: Hair. If you, your spouse, or other children have long hair, you’ll likely find yourself pulling a single, long hair out of baby’s butt at least once during a diaper change. I don’t know why or how any of my kids ate my hair, but it’s happened with all three around the crawling/mouthing stage. All you can do to prevent this is to sweep or vacuum frequently in areas where baby is crawling, or wear a ponytail/bun/topknot when you are in these areas. A single hair here and there won’t be a problem, but keep baby away from large amounts, such as after a home haircut or if you have pets with thick fur that shed.

Poop should generally be the consistency of hummus. It’s not always possible to ID a poop problem in a diapered baby since the specimen has often been jumped on, sat on and fallen on by the time you get to it. Poop should be soft, whatever color it is, and not watery or mucousy. Hard pellets are a sign of constipation. Diarrhea is always a sign of problems, but can usually be treated with breastfeeding as long as there are no other symptoms, like fever or vomiting, and it doesn’t last more than a day or so.

If the changes in your baby’s diaper alarm you, or if you want to be sure that any changes are food-related, keep a food diary as you feed baby that you can refer to after any alarming diapers. As always, consult your doctor or naturopath if you notice anything consistent that worries you or if baby is in pain or uncomfortable.

Erin Burt is a freelance writer and mom of three. She lives and writes in Oklahoma City.



Harsh Chemicals in Your Laundry

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

When my daughter, Hailey, was 2 years old, we spent many nights listening to her cough so hard she started to sound out of breath.  It was the winter so we thought it was a bad virus at first, but when it persisted we became concerned.  We brought her to her pediatrician and described her nightly coughing fits, and he told us she had asthma. She was put on a medication for allergies and asthma, and we were given steroids to be used in a nebulizer. Wow. What just happened?

My daughter is very sensitive and tends to experience every side effect possible, so I was a little alarmed by this new and sudden medication regimen.  I respect the use of medicine in health care, but I am always cautious when it’s not addressing the root cause of the issue, and I felt like this was one of those times.

I started to research and read that there are many household toxins that can be inducing and/or contributing to a child’s respiratory ailments.  I was a bit skeptical when I found that the most basic household products, such as my laundry detergent, could be causing my daughters respiratory problems.  It’s not sprayed in the air, so how could this be such an irritant that it could cause my daughter to cough so bad that she needed steroids to open her airways? Then I was horrified when I read about the ingredients in such products and the dangers associated.  Common sense told me that Clorox bleach is a potentially dangerous irritant, but I never would have thought the same of my basic laundry soap.

You know those pretty scents you love to smell coming from your laundry room? Well the artificial fragrances are made from petroleum and are linked to allergies and irritation.  Many laundry detergents also use Ethanol, which is linked to damage to the lungs, amongst other health problems–absolutely horrifying. You can find anything you want on the internet, good or bad, so I made sure my research was always through valid sources, including a government website—the Environmental Protection Agency. It doesn’t get anymore legit than that. If the EPA is telling me that bleach is a registered pesticide, and I keep my children away from that when outdoors, I know I don’t want it introduced inside my home.

That very day I went and bought an organic laundry detergent free of artificial fragrances and dangerous irritants. I used a little drop of lavender essential oil to get that nice scent I can’t go without. I started washing everyone’s clothes and linens in it until everything was safe.  At the same time, my daughter had already been on her steroid and anti-histamine regimen.  While we did see a drastic decrease in her coughing fits/breathing episodes, behavior changes including hyperactivity, anxiety and restlessness came with it. Now it was time to put it to the test. I slowly weaned her off all of her medications, and we still had a cough-free Hailey. If she caught a cold, we would see a few breathing episodes, but they were few and far between and nothing compared to the nightly hacking she had been enduring.

As a bonus, as soon as she got off all of those medications that were merely putting a Band-Aid on the problem, she resumed her typical demeanor as well.  As a second unintentional test, upon accidental re-exposure to a basic laundry product, she immediately began coughing at night again.  I never thought about the impact of what chemicals she was exposed to at night when she was sleeping, but it made sense, since she always pulls her blankets up to her face and buries her face in her pillow.

I had so much guilt for what I had caused her, but it was not my fault.  Cleaning products have changed drastically from the baking soda using days of our grandmas.  And now with all the large conglomerates in competition with one another, a quick, inexpensive way to make a cleaning product is to pack a bunch of harsh chemicals into the recipe. They work, they clean, but they also work on our systems to break them down.  I used to feel a certain amount of guilt in passing this information on to the unsuspecting mom, but not anymore.  As moms, we should support each other by sharing our knowledge.  Not one of us knows everything, but if we all unite to exchange information we are a wealth of knowledge amongst us. I don’t judge moms for the products they use, because I was once there. I didn’t know. But now I do, and my children’s health is much better off because of it.

How do your products stack up?

Visit the Environmental Working Group to get a score based on toxicity. They tested more than 600 brands of laundry detergents and additives, and give an easy-to-digest score of A through F to rank them. You can also search for products by name, if you want to see how the items in your laundry room add up, or by ranking if you need to find an alternative product to what you are using now.

You can also find a range of green, eco-friendly and non-toxic laundry alternatives at Mom’s Milk Boutique.

Michele Ogniewski is a part-time social worker and full-time mom to 3 children.  She lives and writes in Saratoga Springs, NY.

The Lazy Mom’s Guide to Washing Wool Diapers

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

The Lazy Mom's Guide to Washing Wool DiapersBefore I started using wool, I was very intimidated by the care instructions. Once I actually started using wool and washing it myself, I found that it really isn’t as hard or time consuming as it sounds. I’ve found ways to make wool care fit into my busy life and I am happy to share my Lazy Mama tips for washing wool diapers.

Before you get started with wool make sure you have an excellent care resource as a starting point. This way you have an overview of what needs to happen. Essentially, you have a series of steps that you need to follow: rinse, spot clean, wash, lanolin, dry. Here’s how those play out in real life for a lazy mama like me.

Most manufacturers recommended washing wool every 2 to 4 weeks. This varies greatly in our house because we only use wool at night so it doesn’t get enough use to justify my time every two weeks. I generally wash every 4 to 6 weeks because we have a lot of wool to rotate through. In between uses I refresh the covers with CJ’s Woolie Revitalizer Spray. I can’t say enough good things about CJ’s Woolie Spray! I love that it gives a boost of lanolin without all the hassle of lanolinizing and I love that it makes the covers smell great.

When it is time to wash my covers, I make sure I have enough for a decent sized batch to make it worth my time. I like to wash mine in either the baby bathtub or in my 5-gallon bucket camp washer. I rinse the covers as I fill the bucket, and if anything needs spot treating I just plop a drop of Eucalan on the spot and rub gently, then toss it in the bucket. I add Eucalan to the camp washer and gently use my plunger agitator to slowly and carefully swish the covers around. You don’t want them to agitate so much that they felt, but you do want them to get clean. Then I let them soak until I remember to get back to them. (This IS a lazy mama guide, after all!)

Once I remember the covers, it has usually been at least half hour to an hour. I drain off the water in the bucket, add a bit more to rinse, and drain again. If the water seems especially dirty I add more Eucalan and repeat the wash step. If the “rinse” water is clear then I move on to lanolinizing. I take out all my covers while I get the lanolin water ready in the bucket, then I throw them all back in, agitate gently with the camp washer plunger again, and then let them soak again until I remember them.

To dry the covers, I gently squeeze out the excess water and lay them out on a towel. Then I roll the towel up with the covers inside and walk on the rolled up towel to force out even more moisture. All of the covers then go on the line to dry fully. Many people lay their wool flat to dry, but I hang mine from the waistline so that they stretch longer and thinner to fit my tall, skinny kids.

This might sound like a lot of work, but really the actual hands-on time is minimal. I probably only have to spend about 15 minutes of active time on the covers when I wash them. The rest is just forgetting about them while they soak! So if you have ever felt intimidated by the wool washing process, be encouraged that anyone can be successful at wool!

Becca Schwartz is a cloth diapering, baby wearing, semi-crunchy mama to a toddler girl and baby boy. She and her husband have a small mini-farm with a flock of chickens, a few goats, and rabbits, and are making plans to move out west to start a homesteading adventure together!