Monday, June 25, 2012

A Hot Summer's Day

So I go outside because the Schwan's guy is here and as I come back to the house in to grab my wallet I notice my son has mud on him and is naked.

He tells me (without being asked) that he left his clothes next to the door.

So like any mother I ASSUME they are covered in mud like the child and tell him to go put them in the washer. And he informs me they're still clean.


 I raise an eyebrow.

"Well, I knew I only had one clean pair of clothes left so I took my clothes off before I went outside to go play in the mud."

 In my yard with a see through fence across the street from the biggest gossip in town and the only place to purchase groceries for 25 miles in each direction.

Gee....thank you.

I was trying so hard not to laugh I was purple. I sent him to take a shower.

This is what happens when you take tv and computers away from children....they make their own entertainment....entirely at your expense....

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

2 Weeks In

Okay - we're now officially two weeks in. I've done lots of laundry, accidentally stripped my diapers, and had a love/hate relationship with my Thirsties Duo Wraps.

Here is where I stand on the products I currently own:

Thirsties Duo Wraps: Maybe they have improved over time. Maybe I'm just now figuring out how to get them to fit. Maybe he just needed to get a few more pounds before the size 1 fit my skinny mini dude. Regardless, the last few times with them have been leakless, and for that I am grateful. I'm still not 100% sold on this cover, but it's not performing horribly enough for me to throw it out the window either.

Flip Covers: Holy I'm in love. 100% no leaks in 2 weeks of use. NONE. At all. No matter WHAT I put in there. No matter how wet it got. I've thrown in prefolds, pocket inserts, and just for fun some doublers with nothing else just to see what would happen. NO LEAKS. Also no red marks or other issues with fit. Loving these!!!! I will also say that even with "just" a trifolded prefold I rarely get poop on the cover. Maybe 1-2 times a week. That's pretty impressive. I've never run out of covers diapering now almost completely full time minus 1 disposable at night. That's impressive when you only have 5 and an EBF baby!

OsoCozy Better Fit Prefolds: Once these were prepped they have been a FANTASTIC addition to my collection. Their absorbancy is exceptional and I have never had a leak that was justified while using them. On average these prefolds last between 2-4 hours with just 1 prefold trifolded in the cover and no doubler at 6 weeks old. This is, of course, providing it didn't get pooped on within the first 5 minutes. :)

Gaia's Nappy's on Etsy: I purchased two products from my friend Elizabeth here: her Organic Hemp Fleece Zorb Cloth Diaper Doubler and her Super Zorb Minky Cloth Diaper Doubler. Let me first say her shipping was excellent and her advice is flawless. Beyond that, her products arrived beautiful and ready to WORK. They've been through a few washings and are holding up well. Their absorbancy is exceptional. I've used them to stuff my pocket diapers. I've used them behind and in front of a prefold. I've used them with no prefold!!! They have become my "uh...I don't have time to change a diaper for x..." solution. Tonight I'm trying the hemp doubler with a prefold for nighttime. So excited to see how well it works! :) Thanks Elizabeth for your EXCELLENT products!!!! (The ONLY problem I've had with these is no fault of Elizabeth - my son just does NOT like wet hemp against his skin. Lesson learned, put it behind something else!)

Kawaii Baby Snazzy Minky One Size Pocket: I love this diaper. The lining isn't very trim, but it's entirely too adorable and it still fits very well. The extra hip snaps do a great job at providing an exceptional fit, especially for the price of this diaper. I'm really blown away with how well it has performed! Though this comes with 2 inserts, it's just too much bulk right now for our little guy to be comfortable so we usually use this with just 1 insert. On average it lasts about 3 hours before it needs to be changed but we've only gotten to that once because for some reason the adorable camo diaper says "please poop in me". :)

BumGenius 4.0: I added this diaper after Week 1 so it hasn't gotten quite as much rotation time as the others listed above. That said, it's done an AMAZING job. I was astounded at how well it has functioned, how well it fits, and how amazingly TRIM it is. This has become our "go to town diaper. For the record, I live 45-60 minutes depending on whether or not you get caught in construction from town. So a "quick trip" consisting of a run through fast food, filling the gas tank, a quick run through the store, and maybe flying through the doc's office and then running home usually takes about 4 hours. I didn't have to change him and he STILL had plenty of room left for liquid to absorb. TOTALLY impressed. I need more of these - bottom line!

You will also note that all of these links go to Sweetbottoms Baby Boutique. I have found in ordering recently that this is my favorite cloth diaper store, hands down. Their customer service is exceptional, they ship on time and for FREE, and every package arrives like a present. Over and above that they also provide free repairs of hook and loop diapers for 2 months if there's any problems and warranty all snaps for the lifetime of the ownership! Ya gotta love Sweetbottoms!!!!

Which is why I decided to treat myself. I've been using these diapers for 2 weeks. Tonight I'm even trying my very first overnight solution because I do laundry tomorrow morning anyway and strip the sheets so I figured why not? LOL For the record, the initial run of diapers (minus the BG 4.0) was $89.84. Since we started cloth diapering, I have been counting the number of diaper changes I have done and the $$ saved by doing them and laundering the diapers. Thus far, I have saved $33.75 worth of disposables - not counting the nasty stuff going into the environment if that's what bothers you. I would have used approximately 135 disposables during that time. Instead, I have used less than 40. To recoup my initial cost, I still need to save another $56.09 plus the cost of the BG 4.0. That said, I'm VERY proud of myself and also have decided if I want to do this full time, I need a few more diapers. Sure, I can do laundry almost daily, but let's be honest, it wears on me after awhile and a large part of that 40 diapers was me throwing my hands up in the air and saying "I can't do this - I need a break" for a few days.

So, I have purchased 2 more diapers to try out. They are scheduled to arrive tomorrow from Sweetbottoms. I promise to take pictures of the box when it arrives so you can see just how cute their packaging really is. I'm seriously in love with boxes from Sweetbottoms. :)

The new members to the Diaper Drawer Club will be relatives of the two pocket diapers I already own. I will be getting the Kawaii Baby One Size Snap Closure Pocket (in a jean print - how cute!!!) and a BumGenius Freetime. SOOO excited to play with these and see where we're going with the future of our stash. I think somewhere in here is the long term solution - I'm just not wanting to have buyer's remorse down the road so I want to make 100% certain what I purchase will lead to happiness for all of us. :)

I'm still debating how many more diapers I need. I'm torn between purchasing them in larger numbers to get bulk discounts or purchasing them in smaller numbers so I can slowly add to the stash until I feel it's adequate. Truthfully I'm sure I'll be adding here and there for many months to come, but I would definitely like to increase our "holdings" in the near future without losing my mind in the process. :)

(Please note I have been in NO way compensated for any of these products or retailers. These aren't affiliate links. This is just my honest opinion about what I have received, how it has really worked, and what I think. If I wanted to sell you a bunch of junk, I would gladly write positive reviews about everything on earth here just to get free stuff, but the bottom line is I care far more about ethics than I do about getting a bunch of things I may or may not need. I don't ever plan to be one of those places that will let people "purchase" good reviews with free products. Sorry - not buying. In fact, I would much rather you know you're going to get a REAL opinion here from a real mom rather than a pack of questionable lies.)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A 12 Step Program for New Cloth Diaperers

In case anyone needs a tutorial on how to accidentally strip diapers that are only a week old, I felt I should be kind enough to enlighten you.

Step 1: Purchase a new laundry detergent (Rockin' Green in my case).

Step 2: Put regular diapers that don't need stripping in the washing machine. Run through a rinse cycle.

Step 3: Add the minimum recommended amount of detergent.

Step 4: Wash as a 1/2 load on hot.

Step 5: Run extra rinse on full size and notice bubbles.

Step 6: Rinse again. Notice just as many bubbles.

Step 7-10: Continue to repeat Step 6. Keep noticing bubbles.

Step 11: Email detergent company and end up on the phone with customer service rep.

Step 12: Laugh at yourself with her and realize eventually the bubbles will end. Continue to rinse until clear. Use 1/2 the recommended detergent until you own more diapers.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Our First Leak

We had our first leak today. For the record it was a prefold in a Thirsties Duo Wrap with aplix (velcro). Kind of disappointed because it was in the front on my tummy sleeper.

I'm really starting to fall out of love with these Thirsties.

The wet came up and over the top of the cover and soaked the whole front of it. Sadly the prefold inside really wasn't all THAT I'm confused about how that happened, especially with Thirsties having the gathering at the front.

So now I am perplexed and confused, and scared to let him nap in a Thirsties. If I keep having these issues I might put the Thirsties up for sale and invest in more Flips - I'm just not that thrilled. They aren't fitting that well and he's dead smack on in size. I've had to let the whole rise out but he's on the smallest waist setting. I'm just not impressed. I'm really starting to believe there are better options out there.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Cloth Diapers 4 Days Later...

Okay - We are now 4 days into our cloth diapering journey. I now know that I made a few errors for long term cloth diapering, but am still immensely pleased with my overall choices.

Everything is still working swimmingly. We've now washed covers and changed our "covers" routine. We're now throwing them in with everything else since all but 1 is "authorized" for hot water and according to other moms it does just fine in hot water anyway. So for covers we washed with everything else and pulled them out after the last rinse and hung them up to dry overnight. First thing in the AM they were ready to rock and roll since it's been raining/snowing here for the past 3 days. Yes, that said snowing. Yes, I know it's May.

A few more lessons learned:

1. If you want to leave the house in cloth diapers, you need a small traveling wetbag for on the go. I ordered one on Friday when that dawned on me and we had to don a disposable to go to town. Ordered a PlanetWise Small WetBag from Cotton Babies for $9.50.

2. Cloth diapers are highly addictive. You're going to need a system to manage your expenditures vs. your budget. I know I might want more pocket diapers so I ordered a BumGenius 4.0 to try ($17.95 @ Cotton Babies). IF I like them I will order half a dozen to play with. If I don't, I'm going to wait to purchase anything else. Here's the deal - until I've made back the amount spent on diapers and covers, I'm not allowing myself to purchase more diapers. I do, however, have plans to purchase a few more items.

3. I'm short 1 more thing I need - a diaper sprayer. Do I NEED it? No. Will it pay for itself? Yes. So it's now on my "wishlist". I've decided if I'm going to invest in one, I want the best darn one I can find and the recently released FLO Diaper Sprayer from Swaddlebees/Blueberry is my pick. I'm allowing myself that, a Snappi, and one more PlanetWise Wet/Dry Bag as budget allows prior to meeting requirement #2. :)

4. I'm still loving this, but I can DEFINITELY see down the road that there will be times when I'm ready to throw in the towel. I had a talk with myself and for every $1 I save by using cloth after reimbursing myself for the cost of the diapers and covers I have purchased I will put that $1 towards something special for ME that I want. :) Looking forward to picking out my reward soon!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Washing Cloth Diapers

Okay, I had a few friends ask what we're doing so I figured I'd post it here and stay with the "keeping everyone informed" thing. We're officially on Day 3 of cloth diapers. I'm not brave enough to be at full time yet, but I did have to wash almost all of my prefolds after yesterday so I feel like I've done a pretty good job. I left out 2 and only changed 4 diapers yesterday during the approximately 12 hours we've been cloth diapering in our home (from when I'm 100% conscious in the AM until I go to bed at night).

Here is what we have learned thus far:

1. Wetbags ROCK!!! Okay - I'm dead serious here!!! I'm in LOVE with my wetbag!!!
2. This is definitely long term doable.
3. I was changing WAY too often!! Apparently 2 hours (unless poopy!) is the beginning of my changing window, not the end. YAY for less changes!
4. Cloth diapers are addictive. I've already placed another order.

And MOST importantly 5. We FINALLY have a good use for that washer no one uses in the basement because it doesn't have all the fancy schmancy stuff the other one does. It's PERFECT for washing cloth diapers!!!

As of right now I'm favoring the Flips over the Thirsties. I'm not sure if I just have the rise set wrong on them, but they're really cutting into my little guy's thin thighs. It doesn't seem to bother him, but I'm reminded of that feeling when you take off a bra that's a bit too tight and you take it off and it's itchy and at the same time you feel so relieved. I don't like that feeling and I don't imagine he does either.

The Flips also have the advantage of their little flaps in the front and back. For trifolding prefolds that's PERFECT because it keeps the diaper in place which means I don't have to keep trying to adjust it while I'm trying to put it on a squirming infant. Definitely a perk. Kind of thinking maybe I should try a few other covers with that feature like AppleCheeks. Hmmm.....

So....first day of washing. I have studied washing routines like a madwoman prior to making this choice. If I'm putting something my child pooped on BACK on his rear you had better BET it needs to be CLEAN. After PILES of extensive research and worrying endlessly about my VERY hard water I settled on starting with this because it made the most sense and my mother decided it was a good that's what we went with. :) LOL

1. If poopy use a baby wipe to remove the poop on top. Yeah, I know - he's EBF and this is not "necessary" but I don't want yellow/orange diapers and I definitely felt better about step 2 when I'd done this first.

2. Swish in toilet - even if it's just urine. Again, NOT necessary but the bottom line is it makes ME feel better. And apparently a few people I know have had some problems with super acidic urine eating a few seconds to swish is better than a trashed stash. :)

3. Ring out thoroughly and place in wetbag hanging on bathroom door. Rather than using a pail and pail liner I'm just using medium sized wetbags. This made WAY more sense to me than trying to fit a pail in my bathroom (so not happening) and gives me the chance to display my pretty wetbags because the one I have really is that cute!

4. On wash day bring the wetbag(s) downstairs. This is where that extra washer is coming in REALLY handy because I did my homework! Empty wetbag into washer, turn wetbag INSIDE OUT, throw wetbag into the washer, and run a full "extra large" load on cold without detergent. I washed 10 prefolds and my wetbag. Note, this does NOT look like a full load for a REASON!!! Why "extra large"? Because we want to rinse the SNOT out of everything icky in there to give the detergent the chance to do it's best work on what it really NEEDS to work on rather than cleaning stuff that's just going to get swished out anyway!

5. After the "extended rinse", add detergent and run a SMALL cycle on hot/cold. This is why no one uses this machine. It has "small" and "extra large" - useless for us most of the time but PERFECT for cloth diaper laundry! For the record, it's "small" fills the basin ALMOST to halfway, so it's really a "1/2 load". Cutting the wash cycle to a 1/2 load size was recommended by a few websites and the more I thought about it, the more it made sense so I figured we'll start with this.

6. Do one more "just rinse and spin" on cold but turn the knob back to "extra large". Maximum amount of rinsing is good. Get that detergent which is SO often the stinky guilty party OUT!

7. Transfer prefolds to the dryer and hang wetbag inside out to dry. Last time it took 1 1/2 cycles on the dryer to get the prefolds completely dry just for reference. As they continue to fluff up I'm completely expecting it to take 2 full cycles to get them all the way there.

Now to talk covers.

I don't have to wash any yet!! LOL Each cover has only been used twice and only one would need a washing. Each time I take them off I wipe off with a disposable wipe (since I don't have non-disposables yet) and that freshens them and gets them ready for their next run. Then I hang them up to air out and every single one (except the one that got poopy) smells sweet and looks perfectly clean. I plan to wash them specially the next time I do laundry. I've read that hot washes can damage the PUL on covers and since they aren't absorbent it made sense to me to wash those in cold rather than hot. I'm also reading that TPU covers/pockets should never be washed above warm to protect them but other cding mommies are telling me that's total bunk. So now I'm debating what temp to wash them at. I'm accepting kind guidance below. :)

So, for the record, we've made it through 2 whole days (and are on our third). I have one dirty cover and 4 "clean" ones (for those wondering, my dirty cover was a Thirsties - both of them seem slightly less good at holding the mess directly ON the prefold vs. the Flips...I'll let you know if this trend continues since I find it noteworthy). I have survived washing my first cloth diapers and they came out beautifully.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Our First Day of Cloth Diapers!

As our family has grown we decided to take a journey down the road of cloth diapering. After MUCH research and tons of bugging friends we settled on beginning with slightly more than the "bare basics". Our journey began yesterday when the diapers began to arrive and I have to say I wanted to write this up to share with all of you how we began this road we hope to travel until our newest addition is potty trained and for any future children.

We chose to wait on cloth diapering until our son was big enough to fit in "one size" diapers. I'm pleased with this choice even after beginning our journey. Our family's decision to cloth diaper was driven primarily by price, not "being green" or being fashionable so the $250+ investment in cloth diapers for a newborn that would have only fit until maybe 2 weeks from now would have been ridiculous vs. the $50 we have spent TOTAL on disposable diapers for his first 4 weeks of life.

Our journey begins on the day after his one month birthday.

The beginning "I want to try this but don't want to waste my $$" stash is:

3 Flip Covers: $27.90 @ Cotton Babies (on a buy 2, get 1 free sale) - 2 snap, 1 aplix
2 Thirsties Covers (size 1): $25.10 @ Amazon (supporting FOV!) - 1 snap, 1 aplix
12 Osocozy Better Fit Prefolds (infant): $27.99 @ Sweet Bottoms Baby
1 Kawaii Snazzy Minky: $10.25 @ Sweet Bottoms Baby
1 Planetwise Wet/Dry Bag: $21.00 @ Amazon
1 Rockin' Green Hard Rock 45/90 Load Bag: $16.80 @ Amazon

Total Shipping Cost: $0.00 :)

Total Cloth Diaper Investment: $129.04

Please note if you're using this blog to research cloth diapers (apparently far into the future because this is the only post right now! LOL) this is NOT enough to diaper full time. We are planning to diaper part time while we figure out what we like before we purchase the rest of our stash. Initially we had planned on doing the trial from Jillian's Drawers. However losing $20 of deposit and getting some diapers we weren't interested in trying didn't seem wise for OUR needs. We would have still needed to purchase cloth diaper detergent (due to extremely hard water where we live) and at least one wetbag so the total cost to try would have been $192.34 and would have been out $57.80 if we decided cloth diapering wasn't for us. This just made more sense and since I have friends using everything I have listed here I can pass it on to someone I know will use it if we decide this isn't for us.

Now let's talk diaper prepping. If you're new to this you may not know that cloth diapers need to be prepped. I chose to prep the prefolds using the "boiling" method. The dozen prefolds were done in 2 "loads" in my pressure cooker pot I use for canning. I used the same water for all of them and boiled for 30 minutes. Then I threw them in the washer and ran a rinse cycle. Then I added all the covers and Kawaii inserts and ran a wash cycle on warm. Then I pulled out the covers and pocket diaper and put them in the dryer on hot (to "seal" any mini holes) while I ran the prefolds and inserts on another cold rinse. Once the rinse was done I took out the covers and pocket and put in the prefolds and inserts to the dryer and dried for 2 cycles. I hung the covers and pocket to finish drying while the others were in the dryer. Voila - prepped diapers! (all were wonderfully absorbent and performed well when used.)

Okay - that disclaimer aside, let's get down to the meat and potatoes of how today went.

Our son, as of today, is approximately 10 lbs and 22 inches long. He's 1 month old.

Our FIRST foray was a Flip with snaps stuffed with an Osocozy BF Prefold.

We did 3 of these back to back. Here is what I learned:

1. Set up your covers with prefolds ready to rock and roll in advance to make diaper changes fly by. A squirming screaming 1 month old is NOT fun to try and corral - hence the one sock, we'd dunked the missing one in a messy diaper! :)

2. If you have leftover disposable diaper wipes, they're excellent for wiping out the covers and giving them a nice "scent" after they've been used but are still able to go another few rounds.

3. Hang covers to dry and air out after use. Don't plan on reusing the same cover right away to avoid stench.

4. Set a timer. If you're new to cloth diapers, set it for 1 hour until you know how long your baby can wait between diaper changes so you don't end up with unnecessary unpleasant surprises.

5. Preset multi-setting covers to the right size. Not something you want to be attempting either!

6. Leave velcro attached to laundry tabs until you're going to put it on the baby to prevent snagging your prefolds or covers.

The good news is I did all of this in advance! :) I can say after going through 6 cloth diapers today changing roughly every 1 1/2 to 2 hours we have not had a single leak or blowout despite having an EBF baby! :) I'm so pleased by this there aren't words!!!! Not a single problem with the Flips with a prefold. I'm thrilled - really! When putting on the 4th diaper of the day I honestly had the thought of "I can DO this!!!" That's pretty impressive for someone with post-partum depression. :)

And now for the Thirsties:

Worked just as wonderfully and despite the purple protesting baby looked MUCH better on. That said this cover was just as functional but will not fit above 18 lbs. - a definite consideration.

Overall I'm pleased with how the experiment went. No leaks, no blowouts, and it was VERY easy to just swish the diapers ad toss in the wetbag. For day 1 and 6 changes I feel like we did awesome!!!!