Posts Tagged ‘cloth diapering’

A Newborn Diapers Primer

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

newborn diapersIn addition to adding a new baby to the routine, many parents consider adding cloth diapers to the mix from the very first days after birth. Here are a few things to think about as you begin to cloth diaper your newborn:

Baby’s size.
If you absolutely know you’ll have a smaller child (planning a delivery earlier rather than later, for example) you might want to invest more in newborn cloth. Many more established brands have newborn-specific diapers. Some go down to four pounds. If you are like my extended family where no baby was ever born smaller than 8 pounds then investing in extra small cloth may look a little different. Consider 2-size systems like Apple Cheeks, Blueberry, Bummis, and Thirsties that offer a 7ish to 18ish pound size range. You’ll get the more trim fit of a newborn diaper but with the longevity up to 18 pounds.

If the cloth diaper lingo is overwhelming, join a cloth diaper group that can aid and support you in your many questions along the way. They may even become online friends in those early morning hours while you are up, yet again, bleary-eyed and feeling alone. If you are really nervous about all the possibilities consider something simple like an all-in-one diaper or prefolds with covers. Pocket diapers are fairly simple as well with only stuffing required. If you’re very comfortable and open then the possibilities are endless. I began with mostly pockets but now have a variety and love flats just as much now.

Consider parents, grandparents, daycare, and anyone else who will change your babe’s diaper. If already ambivalent then Velcro/aplix diaper closures might work best. Snaps have a minor learning curve for the willing but may be intimidating for those less excited about cloth. Also, while trying a wide variety of diapers can help you find what you like best, sticking with one or two specific diapers (same brand, same style) can help. Within each style (all-in-one, pocket, covers, etc.) every brand tweaks the diaper in small ways. Snaps may be placed slightly differently, the cut of each brands diaper may vary from one to the next, and so on. This can be confusing to someone unfamiliar or less interested in cloth diapering.

If you begin from day one with cloth you may need to address meconium, the umbilical cord, or circumcision.  Meconium, your baby’s first stool passings, is dark and sticky and tarlike. If you’re concerned with staining you can use a liner. I have not found it to be an issue. For the umbilical cord some brands offer a snap down or cut the diaper to give space for the umbilical cord. I’ve found that some diapers can simply be tucked under in order to give way for the umbilical cord.

Washing expectations.
If you can only wash every 3 days you’ll need to have more diapers than if you’re willing to wash every 1-2 days. If you want the diapers to last through multiple children you may need a larger stash (though newborn diapers are used for a shorter period of time so they may last several children even if used daily). A newborn goes through 8-12 diapers per day, so 16-24 diapers for two days, and 24-36 diapers for three days’ worth of washing.

Flats or prefolds and covers are generally the biggest bang for your buck. They also wash very easily and can grow with baby. A newborn prefold can become a toddler doubler down the road. You can also use them as burp cloths or wash/cleaning rags one day down the road. A YouTube search can offer you many demonstrations on a variety of fancy folds (origami is our favorite) but almost anyone can master a simple pad fold. Consider used cloth diapers if you really want diapers you can’t afford. Often people sell nearly new diapers for deeply discounted prices on B/S/T (buy/sell/trade) Facebook groups. You can also vary the size of your stash to accommodate your preferences and budget. If you really want the more expensive diaper brand then buy fewer of them and wash more often.

Lynette is a mom of three children from 3 months to age four. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

When Your Daycare Doesn’t Do Cloth Diapers

Friday, June 26th, 2015

When Your Daycare Doesn't Do ClothOur children are attending childcare for one year. For the first 9 months, the infant class teachers were happy to participate in using cloth diapers. We started the conversation kindly, and all three teachers were onboard immediately.

Not every journey is so easy. When our youngest son transitioned to the toddler class, his teachers were not as keen on the idea. If you’re considering cloth at a childcare facility that isn’t interested or just doesn’t know what cloth is about, here are a few things to consider in approaching the issue:

  • Know your state’s policies: Almost every state either specifically allows or does not prohibit the use of cloth diapers. You may have to sift through the policies of your state or you can google as cloth diaper state policies to find some lists already compiled. Verify that their information is still current and accurate. If your childcare facility is large or part of a larger entity, they may already have policy in place.
  • Consider friendly engagement: Begin the conversation, but there’s no need to go in cloth diapers blazing. Ask if they’ve ever used cloth, considered it, and would be willing to talk more about it. Be kind. For example, if they say your state doesn’t allow it and you know your state does, offer the information kindly. “Oh, that’s funny. I thought I was reading the other day that Texas did allow cloth in daycare. I’ll look into that more. If they do, I’d love to show you how easy it is!”  If there are other families at the facility that use cloth, work together when approaching the staff.
  • Demonstrate: Showing is a great way of them seeing that their worst fears aren’t likely. Take time outside of class time—when it is convenient for them, not in the rush of drop-off or pick-up times— to show them how the diapers work. Keep it very simple and to the point. I love to talk about pockets and flats and brands and styles, but that is not necessary when you are convincing someone about the ease of cloth diapers. Let them try out a few and then offer a trial run so they don’t have to have an absolute answer immediately.
  • Make it easy: We used Blueberry and bumGenius snap pockets as they are cut somewhat similarly. The other half of our daycare stash was Thirsties size 2 AIOS (no longer made) aplix. Each teacher had different preferences. We always had them ready to go, with a liner. They always had a few extra on hand. We sent a wet bag with a handle every day. I also took time to ask on a monthly basis how it was going and if there was anything we could do to keep it going well. Don’t expect them to take the effort to clean them as thoroughly as you might at home.
  • Find another facility: I know, it sounds like defeat. Instead, I encourage you to think of it as finding a more congruent fit with your parenting style.

If you end up using disposables at your childcare facility, use cloth at home! Especially over the weekend, we can get a small load of diapers and, after a prewash, I add a few towels in to get a full load that washes really well. Also, even if you don’t use cloth at the school, leave the situation positive for the next mama who comes along.

The diaper seeds you sow may harvest with another child in the coming years. The transition to cloth may prove especially difficult at a place where numerous people need to be on the same page (director, multiple teachers, possibly multiple classrooms for your family). Recognize that you are laying the groundwork that other advocates, perhaps some of the staff or another parent down the road, can build on. The road where all baby bums are fluffy!

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.

DIY Cloth Diaper Repair

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

IMG_1965We like to think a cloth diaper is forever, but after months or years of regular use, diapers will wear. Think if you wore your favorite t-shirt once every day or two… for several years. When a diaper breaks down, don’t fret! Most any cloth diaper repair can be done with scissors, a seam ripper, and a few basic supplies you can find at a craft or fabric store locally or online. You can also look for a local seamstress to do almost all of these repairs for a nominal fee per diaper.

Consider the type of repair and if it matters to you. For example, we have a fitted that has a few worn holes in it. They are essentially cosmetic, as the diaper retains its function. Our large hanging wetbag, after three years of heavy duty use, has TPU that stretched and delaminated. As those spots were at the top of the bag, it did not harm the function and the bag is still going strong.

A small hole, even in the TPU/PUL of a diaper or wet bag, may not cause issue depending on its size and placement. You can sew on a patch, purchasing TPU/PUL fabric at a craft or fabric store for less than a dollar. Likewise, a hole in an insert, pre-fold, or fitted may be fixed with just some stitching or a small patch of absorbent material. Repurposing the material as a cleaning rag in your home or garage may prove the most useful way to utilize an insert at the end of its life.

Elastic is one thing that really does need attention for proper use of the diaper. You can stretch your luck (literally!) by tightening the hip or waist snaps more tightly to compensate for the loose elastic; eventually you may need to replace it. Some brands sell repair kits, or you can find elastic at almost any store with a craft isle. A cotton blend of elastic usually holds up best but most any can work. Google online for a pattern, video tutorial, or just eye ball it yourself if you feel adventurous. The new piece of elastic will be shorter than the one you are removing. A seam ripper and sewing machine are helpful to best care for your diaper but not necessary. Consider looking at your specific diaper brand’s website for information or contacting them to see if they have particular tips or suggestions to best care for your diaper.

Replacing aplix/Velcro also involves very little expertise. Again, your craft store for a seam ripper and materials will suffice. You can remove the old aplix yourself (carefully!), and then use a friend’s sewing machine or ask a seamstress to finish the job. Replacing/Converting to snaps requires some familiarity with a snap presser. Again, borrow to save cost or purchase one for yourself if you are converting a large quantity of snaps.

If you don’t want to repair a diaper but it still has life, consider donating to The Rebecca Foundation, which takes diapers even in need of repairs. You could ask on a buy, sell, and trade page if another family would like your diapers. You can also consider second uses for your diapers. They fit baby dolls or are great for use in pretend play. A delaminated diaper can still make a great swim diaper too, so a diaper can go on living long after it finishes the most functional time of its life.

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.

Sunning Your Cloth Diapers

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

Sunning Your DiapersDaylight savings? Check! Warmer temps? Check! Sunny skies? CHECK! None of these things are necessary elements of diaper sunning success, but doesn’t it just feel like it’s time to open those windows, pull out your clothes pins, and get those cloth diapers in the sun?

Generally, I am a big-bang-little-buck kind of mama, minimal if you will. I’m not against oxygen bleach, chlorine bleach, or other additives, but I am cautious as they may cause wear and tear and void some warranties.

Prevent stains first by never letting them set. Use a disposable or fleece liner to catch most or all of the stain. Hopefully you are able to change poopy diapers as soon as possible, mostly for the sake of your kiddo’s comfort and cleanliness. Quick changes will allow you to address the stain before it sets. Water is also your friend, whether you spray, dunk-and-swish, or rinse.

Enter the sun. Allow it to work for you most by setting out your washed, damp diapers in direct sunlight on a bright, shiny day; Know that even a cloudy, rainy, or cold day will prove effective. If it’s chilly or you can’t leave your diapers outside due to housing rules or safety, lay them out by a sunny window inside. If a stain proves unruly, try adding a squirt of lemon juice to it for another sunning session immediately or when you next have time to sun. You can also try a natural stain stick like buncha farmers to aid the process.

Beware of excessive heat if you live in a climate that reaches excess of 120+ degrees in the sun. Though unlikely, your TPU/PUL waterproof materials and elastic may also experience unneeded wear and tear if you leave your diapers out for hours on end. Speaking of which, don’t forget to bring your diapers in when you’re done! Yes, I’ve been there and done that! Line drying in the sun not only saves energy and adds freshness to your load of laundry, it also serves as a cost-effective, natural, and non-toxic bleaching agent. Enjoy your fresh fluff!

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.

Cloth Diapers and Your Circumcised Baby

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

Cloth Diapers and Your Circumcised babyThose first weeks after baby’s birth are filled with interesting things happening in and around the diaper. There is meconium; the umbilical cord stump also needs a little attention. For some families, their newborn’s care needs include aftercare for circumcision. Whatever brought you to the need to diaper your circumcised son is not my interest here.  You may choose to use disposables until the site is healed. Instead of (or addition to) that option, below are a few helpful hints that doctors and nurses may not know when dealing with circumcision and cloth diapers. To be clear, please follow your doctor’s instructions for aftercare as it can vary by procedure, individual baby needs, and physician preferences.

The major obstacle is the petroleum jelly that most physicians suggest to aid in the healing process. Petroleum jelly sticks to diapers and can cause them to repel (not soak in) moisture.  Ask your doctor if unscented CJ’s BUTTer is an appropriate alternative. Some pediatricians give it the green light while others are hesitant due to lack of research to ensure its safety in caring for a circumcision. Talk with your physician. Be prepared with a sample and ingredient list if possible.

To care for your child’s incision site, you likely need a dollop of your ointment loosely covered with a barrier. Gauze is the go-to in the hospital, but a fleece liner, cotton make-up pad, or cut-up cotton shirt, or receiving blanket are all great options. If you want additional protection for your diaper, add a disposable liner in the diaper (though a disposable liner offers minimal protection).

If you are particularly cautious, you could diaper using flats for those first few days. Flats, with just one thin layer, wash most easily. They don’t have PUL or TPU (the waterproof material that a pocket, AIO, or AI2 have), so you can wash them in very, very hot water without concern of causing damage to your diapers. In the end, if a smudge of Vaseline winds up on your diaper, add a dab of blue Dawn to very hot water and scrub with a toothbrush. Do this before washing the diaper with others so that they are not also inflicted with the jelly.

If you are still considering leaving your son intact or are unsure about the concerns, consider this information on the circumcision decision. If you have your babe here already, enjoy your new squish and look forward to this stage lasting just a few more days. Congratulations!

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.