Monday, April 30, 2012

Flat Out Less Expensive

In the world of cloth diapering, it's easy to get caught up in the fancy fabrics and cute prints. Pretty soon, some of us forget we started down this road to actually SAVE money and not just kick starting the economy.

Flats, in general, can be the least expensive option. This is what your grandmother used. It's a single layer of fabric that you fold to fit your little one. When most people talk about "real flats" they're talking about a square piece of 100% Birdseye cotton, usually about 28"x28". Some popular brands are Osocozy, Diaper Rite, Swaddlebees, and GMD. These all generally run somewhere around $2-3 each. Ikea actually carries a burp cloth (Vandring) that is the perfect size and weight for use as a flat, as well. If you're interested in higher end materials for overnight or a heavy wetter (or just because you like nice things), Hemp Babies offers Hemp Flats for $7.50. If you're lucky enough to come by one, the Orange Diaper Co. also carries Bamboo Terry Squares (flats) for $12 each plus shipping.

So what did I choose? Call me cheap, but I went with Walmart flour sack towels. At $1.97 for a set of two, I ended up with a dozen flats and I'll be throwing in a few flannel receiving blankets. I already have some micro fleece liners for naps and nighttime, and a couple sets of snappis. I just ordered some Dritz Locking Head Diaper Pins, and my husband is picking up supplies for a camp washer... I'm weirdly excited.

Friday, April 27, 2012


These are the pictures my husband told me not to post on Facebook. He specifically does not want me to announce to the world that N needs hearing aids. I specifically do not want her to feel she should ever be ashamed or embarrassed because of it.

My older brother had hip surgery in the summer before starting the third grade. When school began, he had a tutor come to the house until his full body cast was removed. He then rode "the short bus" with the mentally disabled children until he was cleared from his braces (think something along the lines of what Forest Gump wore). During recess, he stood on the sidelines while the other kids played. If he was able to participate, the aids wouldn't let him, in case he'd hurt himself. Kids made fun of him in the hall, waiting for the bus, in the lunchroom. By the end of the school year, he was walking without his braces again, but the experience definitely changed him as a person as well.

We all want our children to feel "normal" - to be accepted and fit in. I just want to establish from the start for N that she is "good enough." I want her to know her worth, whatever challenges come in her life. Even now, she is amazing and a force to be reckoned with.

Look out world - Miss N can hear you now...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hear This

When you're expecting a baby, you always hope for the best - a happy, HEALTHY baby. For the most part, that's exactly what N is. (Although, I definitely do NOT think that for the four straight hours she keeps me up, screaming and hitting me in the middle of the night because of the four top front teeth all deciding to try to make their appearance at once... But that's another story.) Before being released from the hospital where N was born, she managed to fail her hearing screening three times. We returned later that week where she failed again.

The nurses didn't seem overly concerned, so I wasn't. They said the testing can often return a false reading this early on because of the excess fluids in a newborn's ear canal. About a month or so later, we received a letter from DHS (Department of Human Services). The hospital had been required to report the failed hearing test and we were now being asked to take N to a bigger city for an ABR - a type of hearing test that measures brainstem activity in response to sound. This test literally took hours. Imagine trying to keep a baby asleep while hooked up to monitors and having various tones and frequencies blasted directly into their ears. We had to make multiple trips to complete the testing.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Bursting with... Water

The other day, the hose to my beloved diaper sprayer burst. Thank goodness we were home, because it created a HUGE mess. (Pretty much every towel we own was on that bathroom floor, soaking wet, within 5 minutes of the disaster.) More importantly, I've been living without a diaper sprayer. I am back to shaking and scraping poop off Miss N's diapers. Buying a diaper sprayer is an investment - one which I wholeheartedly encourage others to do. Not only is it easier, it keeps the smell down in the nursery. Like, noticeably.

Monday, April 23, 2012

I Did It!

It took me all week to get up the nerve, but I signed up to do the Second Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge. My husband pretty much thinks I'm crazy for wanting to do it. Every time I tell him something about it, he becomes the most confused man on the planet. "Why would you WANT to do that?"

Honestly, I don't know. It seems fun, in some weird way. It really is a challenge, and I feel like it will prove something about ME as well as cloth diapers. Maybe I can become a real cloth diaper advocate because of this. It's definitely a real conversation starter just using cloth diapers in general instead of disposables.

Plus, we plan on camping this summer... and it's not like N plans on potty training herself before her first birthday. Unfortunately.

Friday, April 20, 2012

In the Still of the Night: night time diapering

Once I got a little further into my cloth diaper research, all I heard were horror stories about nighttime diapering. It seemed like a lot of people who were using cloth full time during the day were using disposables at night. A good nighttime solution for cloth diapers seemed elusive like the end of a rainbow. Not a problem - we'd just continue using disposables at night.

Then N woke up wet one night. And the next night. And by wet I mean - wet diaper, wet jammies, wet blanket, wet sheets. This was the point at which I realized I had nothing to lose by taking a stab at cloth for nighttime.

We've done pockets stuffed with inserts and doublers, prefolds with snappis and stay dry inserts, and (my personal favorite) fitteds. I never had any issues with any of those options, but I now only use fitteds with covers at night. As N has gotten older, it's become harder to stuff her pocket diapers with enough absorbency without also creating gapping at the legs. As she's become less tolerant of diaper changes, trying to fasten a prefold has become more work for me than (I think) it's worth.

Fitted diapers are amazing. Every bit of a fitted is absorbent, and the fit is so much more secure than what I was getting in the end with prefolds. My favorite fitted right now is the Thirsties Fab Fitted (I also LOVE their Duo Wraps). It's soft, the fit is fantastic, AND IT HAS A STAY DRY LINING. A stay dry lining is a synthetic fabric that actually wicks the moisture away. Some babies don't mind a wet diaper. N doesn't during the day. When she's trying to sleep, she demands a dry (feeling) diaper.

In the end, I guess the moral of the story is that using cloth at night wasn't nearly as complicated as I'd made it out in my mind to be, )and we're all better off for it.

Click here to visit Sweetbottoms Baby Boutique to buy a Fab Fitted or anything else you might need to help you get through the night. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Rash Decision

I don't feel comfortable speaking to the technical health advantages of cloth over disposables, but I'll tell you my experience. With G, who was diapered exclusively with disposables, I didn't feel like there was a problem with the diapers. We generously slathered on diaper ointment at every diaper change, assuming that was par for the course. When he got diaper rashes that the ointment (which failed in prevention) failed to heal, we resorted to naked time and/or chamomile tea baths (which, incidentally, also did wonders for his eczema). It's not that he had a constant diaper rash - it just wasn't so much a surprise when he did.

When N was born, I was already stocked up on (cloth diaper safe) diaper ointments. For the first three weeks of her life, we used only disposables and applied the ointment at every diaper change. Her diaper area was pretty red most of the time. Once we started throwing cloth into the mix, I continued on with the ointment the same as always. A funny thing happened, she wasn't red or irritated when she'd been wearing cloth. As my cloth diaper stash grew, my ointment vigilance lessened. Now that we use cloth full time, she never has a rash unless she's been left in a dirty diaper too long (like if she manages a BM in her sleep), and those are pretty much the only times we bother using the ointment anymore.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Diapering on the Cheap

Especially when someone has chosen to use cloth for financial reasons, there can be a bit of sticker shock at the upfront costs. A good modern cloth diaper can cost anywhere from $10 to as much as $35 EACH. When you're looking at creating a stash of 18-24 diapers from scratch, that is a huge investment.

There are options. For our family, we chose to use cloth only part time until we had enough that we didn't need to use disposables anymore. I would start a load of diaper laundry as soon as N was down for the night and hope they would be ready first thing in the morning.

Prefolds and flats are a great option for rounding out your stash without breaking the bank. As described in the Cloth Diaper Dictionary on Padded Tush Stats, a prefold is "A kind of diaper that is a square that has multiple layers sewn down the middle. It is usually fastened on using a Snappi or pins and requires that you put some kind of waterproof cover on it." A flat is a single layer of material that is then folded into layers before being fastened onto the baby. And if pins and Snappis aren't your cup of tea, you can simply fold these diapers into a pad, lay it directly into the cover, put the cover on, and you're done!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

5,000 Diapers

5,000 Disposable Diapers unknown image source

 For some reason, the environment is a hot topic. Why there is any debate over whether or not to take care of this place we all live seems a little ridiculous to me, but there it is. A political firestorm. Recently, there's been a lot of debate over a study conducted in the UK over the difference in environmental impact between reusable diapers (cloth diapers) and disposable diapers. Their claim is that there is NO difference. Seriously? All the chemicals and waste just in CREATING the disposable diapers, let alone the actual diapers sitting around in a landfill sans oxygen enough for breaking down if they could.... It's a hot topic fueled by the disposable diaper industry that sees its profit margin steadily (albeit slowly) decreasing as more and more parents are choosing cloth.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Real Diaper Week

This week is Real Diaper Week. I've been using cloth diapers since my second child (N) was about 3 weeks old. Pretty much, I became obsessed with researching cloth and wanting to try all different kinds. To be honest, I never even considered using cloth with my son (G). That is, until we started potty training. I think I handled more poop at that point than I had the entire time he was in diapers. One day, as I was rinsing his underwear I had the thought come to me, "I could do cloth diapers." While preparing for my second pregnancy, I came across this post on Young House Love and MY EYES WERE OPENED. As my pregnancy progressed, I found this post by Katie at Bower Power. It was all downhill from there. I was asking everyone I knew who used cloth diapers for advice and recommendations. It was overwhelming and sometimes conflicting. A woman on a Baby Bump forum recommended Dirty Diaper Laundry as a good resource -- and trust me, Kim has provided a wealth of information.

Along the way, I would send texts (MASSIVE texts) to my sister-in-law. Everything I learned, every brand, closure, type I tried. Finally, she encouraged me to start my own cloth diaper blog. This week, a week dedicated to cloth diaper advocacy, seemed like a perfect opportunity for jump-starting things. So, let's see where this takes us...