cloth overload

Sorry about bombarding your RSS readers. The cloth diaper posts should probably be editted and also I should go back and add the hyperlinks back in, but for now at least the basic info is there. Hopefully in the next little while I will get a post about our overall experience (I know I did one a while ago, but I could do an updated one, since we are using some different diapers these days). If anyone has questions or needs anything clarified let me know. Remember I did write these over a year ago, so all of the information is not totally up to date. The cloth diapering world is really exploding and there are new diapers out there every day. Really, it is all about finding out what works for you and your baby and what you like.

Now I must go clean up this room that Greta has trashed while I was doing computer work. Oops, and I better get the potatoes boiling since dinner should be ready in oh about 15 minutes.

cloth diapers – part 5 – buying and washing

You can find the previous cloth diaper segments here:
Part 1 – Prefolds
Part 2 – Contours, Prefitteds, and Fitteds
Part 3 – Covers
Part 4 – Pockets & All-in-Ones

Ok, so now we know all about the kinds of cloth diapers that are out there these days, now we need to know where to buy them and how to take care of them. In most major cities there is at least one store that carries some cloth diapers. Here in San Antonio it is Eden’s Baby. There is also a lady who makes house calls with the stuff she sells at Go, Baby, Go. I have bought stuff from both of them are they are both very nice. Most places are very limited in the brands they offer and do not offer the entire range of diapers available, mainly because there are so many brands and styles out there. There are numerous online stores that sell every kind of cloth diaper. Some popular stores that offer a good range of products are Nicki’s Diapers and Jillians’s Drawers.

If you are looking for homemade diapers made by work at home moms, Hyena Cart is a great place to start. Hyena Cart offers work at home folks a place to sell their products. It is quite similar to Etsy. Etsy is another place you can find custom cloth diapers. Hyena Cart offers sellers the option to start selling their items at a certain time. This means that some of the more popular diaper places are stalked as people try and get the diaper they want when it is listed for sale.

A great resource for learning more about diapers and also for buying used diapers is Diaper Swappers. It is set up as a forum where users can ask questions, post things for sale, etc. If you have any question either someone has already asked it or someone will know the answer. It is very, very useful and where I learned pretty much all that I know about cloth diapers. It can take a little getting used to with all the fancy lingo and abbreviations, but I know you will get the hang of it.

How many diapers should you buy? Well that all depends on if you want to cloth diaper full-time or part-time and how often you want to wash them. Cloth diapering full-time for a newborn usually requires 12-18 diapers a day. As baby gets older you will need few per day. If you want to wash your diapers every other day (which is what I do) then you need 24-36. I would recommend somewhere around 30 so you don’t run out when they are in the washer. Of course you can always have more. If you plan on washing your diapers every day then you probably need at least 15 in the beginning. If you want to cloth diaper part-time then buy as many as you want and use them as long as they last and then wash them. Really quite simple.

How do I wash my diapers? After baby dirities the diaper place it in a diaper pail. There is no need to rinse the diaper if the baby is exclusively breastfed. If the baby is formula fed or eating baby food then you need to rinse the solids out in the toilet (more on this later). Breastfed baby poop is water soluble and will disappear in the washer. When it is time to wash the diapers, pull out any inserts that are in your pocket diapers and throw everything in the washer. Most diaper manufacturers recommend rinsing them and then washing them. I run an express wash with cold water with no detergent on my washer. If you have a top loading washer you can probably just turn it to rinse with cold water. I can’t do that, so I do the express wash. Then run a hot wash/cold rinse wash cycle with detergent. It is very important not to use any fabric softener or bleach on your diapers. Bleach with break down the fibers and cause the diaper to not last very long and fabric softener will cause the diaper to repel, which is not what you want, you want your diapers to absorb! Only use detergent. Typically you want to use a very small amount of detergent compared to what you use for normal clothes. Otherwise you will get build up on your diapers and they won’t be as absorbent. Pinstripes and Polkadots has a great directory of detergents and how well they work for cloth diapers (top loading and high efficiency). They also have a lot of great information. Most diapers can go in the dryer on low heat (or maybe medium, but I never dry anything on anything other than low). However, I recommend hanging them in the sun to dry. It allows the stains to get bleached by the sun and also saves energy! After lots and lots of drying time the elastic in the diapers can also start to dry out and not work as well, so I am trying to preserve my diapers so they will last through more than one child.

Ok, back to the rinsing of poop. There are two basic things you can do. One is to buy a diaper sprayer. The diaper sprayer attaches to the water supply of the toilet and then you just spray the diaper off into the toilet and flush the toilet. Easy enough. We have one of these but haven’t installed it yet as we don’t need it until Greta starts on solids. Another option is to get these flushable liners. Basically it is like a piece of tissue paper that you lay in the diaper. The poop then sits on top of it. You just remove the liner and flush it down the toilet. Again pretty easy.

So is everyone ready to jump head first into cloth diapering now? If you aren’t ready to totally commit but want to try it out there are several places that offer trial packages. This one at Jillian’s Drawers is for 21 days and it costs only $10 if you decide you don’t want to keep the diapers. If you know you want to cloth diaper but aren’t sure which diapers to buy, Cotton Babies offers a sampler package where you can try a variety of diapers.

Any final questions? If not, I’m done. Finally.

cloth diapers – part 4 – pockets and all-in-ones

You can find the previous cloth diaper segments here:
Part 1 – Prefolds
Part 2 – Contours, Prefitteds, and Fitteds
Part 3 – Covers

Pockets
Pocket diapers are what they sound like, diapers with pockets. Fun huh? Pocket diapers contain an outer waterproof layer, usually made of PUL. Again there are oodles of brands and tons of homemade ones as well. The flexibility of the pocket diaper allows you to stuff a varied amount of absorbent material into the pocket depending on your child’s needs. For example, if your child sleeps through the night you may need extra stuffing to hold all of the nighttime pee. Or if you are going on a outing, you may want an extra layer or two so you don’t have to change the diaper while you are out and about. The stuffing is made of a variety of stuff: microfiber, hemp, cotton, bamboo or a mix. Different materials have different benefits, so sometimes an insert (or stuffing) is made of several materials. I believe that microfiber can hold lots of pee, while hemp absorbs the pee faster and are trim. Most pocket diapers come with an insert, but you can always order or make additional ones. Pocket diapers come in a variety of sizes from newborn to x-large or toddler. Many companies also make a very popular one-size diaper. Pocket diapers tend to be a little more expensive than fitted diapers because the cover is already included. All you need is the pocket diaper and you are good to go. They range from about $13 (on sale) to $35, depending on the brand and materials used to make the diaper. Pocket diapers come in a variety of patterns and colors, just like all the other diapers. They also have snaps or aplix closures, like the fitted diapers and covers. Some popular brands are Fuzzi Bunz, BumGenius, Happy Heiny, Blueberry.

We have a bunch of one-size BumGenius diapers because they get pretty good reviews and will be useable for most of the baby’s diapering life. My mom also sells these kind, so if you are interested in any let me know! I really want some of the one-size Blueberry minky diapers, they just look so soft and I love the patterns! We also bought a package of microfiber towels from Costco that we will use as doublers. I have heard that they should work just as good as some of the more expensive microfiber inserts that you can buy.

All-in-Ones
All-in-One diapers are the simplest kind of cloth diaper. They are essentially like a disposable diaper except that you wash it and reuse it. There is an outer waterproof layer and then a variety of sewn together inner layers for absorbency. Like all the other diapers, the inner layers vary from cotton to microfiber to hemp to terry, etc. These are commonly referred to as daddy or babysitter proof because they are that easy. Not that the other kinds are that difficult, but with all-in-one diapers more people are willing to try cloth diapers (and trust me many dads will use any diaper, some are just pickier than others). BumGenius makes all-in-one diapers as does Thirsties (both of which my mom sells). The Thirsties are called pocket all-in-one diapers because they can be used by themselves or stuffed for extra absorbency. All-in-one diapers come in a variety of of colors and patterns and can close with either snaps or aplix. There are oodles of other companies that make all-in-one diapers. These diapers tend to be in the $15-$30 range, depending on the maker. The main negative that people site for the all-in-one diapers is that they take a long time to dry.

We have some of the Thirsties as well as the BumGenius, plus a few random all-in-one diapers we picked up along the way when they were on sale.

There will be one more installment talking about where to buy, how many to buy and how to care for your diapers. Then I shall write about our experiences so far.

cloth diapers – part 3 – covers

You can find the previous cloth diaper segments here:
Part 1 – Prefolds
Part 2 – Contours, Prefitteds, and Fitteds

Covers
So we have discussed all the types of diapers that need covers in order to be waterproof: prefolds, contours, prefitteds, and fitteds. Covers can be made of a variety of materials. Many are made of PUL or some other kind of polyester laminate. People also use fleece diaper covers, such as these or these. Another popular material to use for diaper covers is wool. These are typically called shorties and longies, depending on the length. Many people either knit their own wool diaper covers or sew some out of old sweaters. Everyone claims that both the fleece and wool are very breathable and cool in the summertime and warm in the wintertime. I’m not totally sure I believe them. My big question about wool is: isn’t it itchy? I know anytime wool touches my skin it makes me itch. Doesn’t it bother the little babies? Maybe I am just allergic to wool or something. I have not bought and wool or fleece diaper covers, but some of them are definitely adorable.

As you can see diaper covers can close in many ways, some are just pull-ons, others have snaps or aplix (the velcro material). It really depends on the brand. Many people prefer snaps for closing any type of diaper because the baby has a more difficult time getting the diaper off. Covers can typically be used more than once, unless the poop gets all over the cover. Most of the poop should be contained by the diaper inside, so you should be able to just replace the prefold or fitted or whatever type of diaper you have inside. Diaper covers can vary a great deal in price. There are some cheap, but good ones called proraps that are about $7 or $8 a piece (I got a few at a Junior League Rummage Sale for 50 cents!), and also some custom wool or fleece stuff that can cost up to $40 or $50.

I have a couple of the proraps that I got at the Junior League sale (they were used) and a bunch of Thirsties covers that my mom sells.

cloth diapers – part 2 – contours, prefitteds, fitteds

Alright, on to the next type of cloth diaper. Are you excited? Here is part 1 – prefolds for those who missed it.

Contours
Contour diapers are very similar to prefolds. You need to use either pins or a snappi to keep them closed. You can also just place them in a cover and the cover will keep them closed. Contour diapers are basically what they sound like, contours. They are are cut out to look like a diaper but have no elastic or way of keeping them closed. There are a couple of name brand contour diapers, like Kissaluvs and Imse Vimse. They are usually made of cotton of sorts, whether that is flannel or terry or regular old cotton. I think these must be purchased in specific sizes (S, M, L), but there may be someone out there who makes a one-size contour diaper. I was just looking at the Imse Vimse contours, and some of them do have elastic at the legs. These are also pretty affordable starting at around $5 or $6 each, but going up to $10-$15, depending on the material and company. I’m sure there are probably some bamboo or hemp contour diapers out there somewhere as well. You can also make your own contour diapers from prefold diapers in the case that you aren’t into folding your diapers and want them to go on easier or something.

Pre-fitteds
Pre-fitted diapers are pretty much the same as contour diapers. However I think that most pre-fitted diapers do have elastic in the legs and often at the back as well. These diapers and the contours are not nearly as popular as other types of diapers. Again these are made mostly of cotton or prefold diapers. There are a couple of companies that make them, but for the most part I think these are homemade.

Fitteds
Fitted diapers are very popular. They are the next step from the pre-fitted diapers. They contain elastic at the legs and waist. Fitted diapers require a cover as well, although many moms just let their babies roam around without one as long as they are at home and not wearing clothes over top of the diaper. These diapers all have some sort of closing mechanism built in, such as aplix (higher quality velcro) or snaps. There are oodles of companies that make fitted diapers. These are made in tons of materials, such as cotton, hemp, bamboo, cotton velour, bamboo velour, really most anything you can imagine. There are many diapers with cute patterns. Fitted diapers come in multiple sizes from newborn to large. They also come in one-size. These diapers can range in price from $5 up to $30 or $40. I would say most are in the $10-$20 range. There are some extremely popular brands, such as Goodmama and Muttaqins, which are on the expensive end to begin with, but will also fetch much more at an online auction. These diapers are also very hard to get a hold of, and must be ‘stalked’ online at the places they are sold. I have yet to get one of either of them. They both are supposedly very nice, well fitting diapers and the most prized ones are the one size diapers that they make.

We have a whole collection of fitted diapers for the newborn stage. Some of the ones we have are Thristies, Nanipoos, Kissaluvs, Swaddlebees, Spooky Kitty Collective, and Righteous Baby.

One thing to remember with fitted diapers is that each diaper will fit differently (or so I am told). So depending on if your baby is short and fat or tall and skinny or any combination in between depends on what diaper will fit best. This is why I have so many different diapers for the beginning. I don’t have that many actual diapers, just lots of different brands and styles to see what will fit the little munchkin. Many of the newborn size diapers will only fit up to about 10 or 11 pounds, so if you tend to give birth to large babies it might be best to just skip the newborn size diapers. I have no idea what size kid I will have, but I hope it will be 7 or 8 pounds. Another thing with the newborn size diapers is that many of them offer a fold down thing in the front to help avoid the cord stump in the beginning. Some of the diapers are cut with a little dip in them, others have snaps that hold them into position.

Fitted diapers are made in a variety of ways. Some have lay-in soakers, some have sewn-in or snap-in soakers, and others the layers are all sewn together. The lay-in and sewn-in soakers are better because they dry much faster. Soakers are basically extra layers of fabric that are sewn together to provide extra protection in the wet/poop area, kind of like a pad would provide for a mother. Some soakers are oval shaped, others have a little contour to them. Fitted diapers will also have a lot of different layers and all the makers will tell you what the different layers are made of. Many use a variety of materials to provide better absorbency.

Ok, I think that about wraps it up for this segment of Cloth Diapers 101. Everyone getting all this? Up next is covers, since I have now discussed all the types of cloth diapers that require a cover in order to be waterproof.

cloth diapers – part 1 – prefolds

I have had quite a few questions about cloth diapers lately, so I figured I would answer some questions. If you have specific questions leave a comment or send an email to matt at macyfron.com (yes this is really lucy posting, but I shut down the lucy account due to spam issues). I will probably also do this is several parts since there is a ton of stuff to learn about.

First there are many different kinds of cloth diapers, from the old fashioned but still very popular prefolds to the all-in-ones that are most like disposables. I will start with the most basic and go up from there. Just remember I don’t have any actual experience using any of these diapers just yet, so I am not an expert, but I will teach you what I have learned.

Prefolds
Prefolds are the traditional cloth diaper that our parents or grandparents used. They are basically big rectangles of cotton. These require a diaper cover to be used. There are two main types of cotton prefold diapers, Chinese and Indian. I don’t really know much about the differences, other than where they are manufactured. Apparently the Indian ones are softer and more absorbent. There also are some new bamboo prefold diapers out there, but they are much harder to find and more expensive. There are lots of people who dye their prefold diapers or embellish them with fun fabrics. These diapers are usually secured with either diaper pins or a snappi. A snappi is made of plastic and looks like a ‘Y’. Some people also just lay the prefold diaper inside a cover and the cover holds the diaper in place. There are several different ways to fold a prefold diaper. I don’t really know much about the different ways, but there is a bikini twist, which allows for more absorbency in the key region. There are tons of people out there who just love their prefold diapers and wouldn’t use anything else. These diapers are definitely the most economical, especially if you don’t buy the dyed or embellished ones. You can usually find prefolds for about $2 each, sometimes a little less if you buy in bulk.

Gerber apparently makes prefold diapers that are sold at most stores, but apparently they are not of very good quality. So be cautious as to where you buy your diapers. Prefold diapers must be prepped before being used. Basically this involves washing and drying them about 5 times. This causes the fabric to be the most absorbent and soft. If you use a prefold diaper without washing it enough, the diaper apparently will not hold much of anything at all. There is a short cut to washing and drying 5 times (which would use lots of water and energy). You can boil them for 30 minutes (I think) and then wash them once or twice (with drying in between). Prefolds come in a couple of sizes, preemie, infant and regular. Sometimes there are more sizes offered, but these are the typical sizes available. The infant is supposed to last until about 6 months and the regular from then until the baby is potty trained. You could probably get away with using regular sized the whole time if you don’t mind having a little bit more bulk in the diaper, but really I have no idea. Prefold diapers also come in bleached and unbleached. Bleached are bright white, while unbleached are off white.

Up next…contours, pre-fitted, and fitted diapers.

Don’t worry I will talk about covers later…

terrible blogger

Boy, I am a terrible blogger these days. I think about blogging often, but never get around to sitting down at the computer. I have all sorts of ideas of things I want to write about, but often if I do sit down at the computer I can’t actually write, mainly because I’m a terrible writer. My sisters clearly got the little bit of writing gene that existed in the family.

So since I last posted we have had some visitors. I’ll have to post pictures later since I haven’t even downloaded pictures in forever. My baby sister came to visit for a few days. Our good friend from college stopped by for a visit while she was visiting some family in the area. Then Greta and I drove with my baby sister to Houston to visit my other sister and aunt and cousin. We had a great time visiting with everyone.

We have a pretty busy fall coming up, with at least a trip a month planned. So far we have:
August – PA to visit Matt’s family
September – FL to visit my family
October – GA for my dad’s 60th birthday celebration and possibly a trip to FL to meet up with some college friends
November – Thanksgiving in FL
December – Christmas in PA

Greta is growing by leaps and bounds, her legs are really thinning down, although to most people they are still quite chubby. Greta can run and dance and say a few words, although she still pretty much refuses to say mama. One day. This past month has seen Greta finally show a real interest in eating solid foods. Some babies walk later than others, our child just ate solid foods later than others.

I’m starting a playgroup at our church and we have our first get together next Tuesday! Only about 5 people showed interest, so let’s hope they are nice and fun. Maybe more people will join once they see us having fun 🙂

Well I guess that is about it for now. Hopefully in the coming days I’ll get a few more posts up. A friend asked me to repost the original cloth diapering posts, so I need to go and find those since they were originally posted before I switched to wordpress.

Anything anyone is dying to know?

the rest of the trip

We did quite a few other things with Matt’s family. We went to the mall and Greta got to ride down the slide with her big cousin.

sliding

She loved playing at the playground. If it wasn’t so darn hot, we might visit the park more often. Hopefully one day it will cool down and we can start going.

playground

We went to the Japanese Tea Garden, which is really quite a lovely place. I took some family portraits there a while ago. Here are some pictures from our trip there.

IMG_7446-1

japanese gardens

japanese gardens

IMG_7504-1

We went on a train ride around the big park near downtown.

train ride

train ride

train ride

sea world

While Matt’s family was here we went to Sea World. We saw the Shamu show, which everyone enjoyed. Matt and nephew sat in the soak zone, but the rest of us sat up higher. We also saw some dolphins and J got to feed and pet them. After that Greta, Matt’s dad and I headed home for naps and cooling off. We got season passes so once it isn’t a zillion degrees outside we will be heading back.

IMG_7334-1

IMG_7371-1

IMG_7375-1

IMG_7384-1

downtown

The first day that Matt’s parents were here we headed downtown. First we went to the Alamo. I didn’t take any pictures there, but I know Matt’s mom did, so maybe one day I will have some to share. Then we headed to the riverwalk. We decided to take a little boat cruise around the riverwalk, which was really great. I had never been on it and it was well worth it. Greta liked it alright. The last 10 minutes she screamed her head off, which was not so great for the other passengers, but not much I could do about it.

IMG_7241-1

IMG_7242-1

IMG_7244-1