Thursday, January 27, 2011

Back In Cloth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am just knocking things off of my 2011 list of goals left and right!!!  One of them was to have my kids back in cloth diapers rather than disposables!  We have accomplished this goal as of Monday!  Hooray!  You have no idea how excited I am about this!  I dislike paying for disposables, they aren't cute or fun, and they aren't good for my babies!  We are baby-stepping to our goal of cloth full time, right now I still use throw-aways for naps and night and my son will be in cloth again this weekend.  We were out of cloth temporarily after my son was born.  I used cloth full time for both of my kids as soon as my son's little butt was big enough at about 2 weeks old.  (He was kinda scrawny!)  Then things went a little crazy!  My daughter was having terrible poops 5 times a day and that gave her an awful rash.  She screamed every time she had to go or needed her diaper changed because she was in so much pain and the poops were very messy!  (She's a toddler btw)  On top of that, I had started to feel sick again and couldn't figure it out until recently ~again with the gluten!  All of this added to the fact that I had a newborn and some serious laundry to do meant that I just could NOT keep up.  I felt defeated and thoroughly annoyed by this realization, but I just couldn't do it.  So I talked to my husband about it and he agreed that we could buy disposables until I felt like I could handle cloth again without being so overwhelmed.  We finally figured out that gluten was the main culprit behind my daughter's messy and painful bowel movements and my feeling sick all the time.  We eliminated gluten from our lives and the world has been a MUCH better place!  The little lady has perfectly normal toddler poop these days and I am feeling ridiculously great so I decided that it was time to get back into cloth!  I didn't want to feel overwhelmed again so I am taking it in doses and backing off if I feel the need.  It's been great so far though!


My cloth cuties!

Silly girl!

This one is much bigger now!  He was only about 8lbs here!

 Now, I know what you're thinking!  I thought cloth was crazy too!  I never thought I'd be able to do it and dealing with the poop ~no thanks!  I had to be 'ready' to try it and once I decided it was time....there was no turning back!  It's actually a lot of fun!  The colors and patterns are so cute!  The price is a winner in my book!  I don't have to run to the store to buy diapers in the middle of the night or get home and realize I bought the wrong size and they are FUN to wash!  I love washing cloth diapers!  I know I sound like a total weirdo, but it's true!  They go in all smelly and gross and they come out all clean and sparkly and fresh!  I just love it!  It was a nice excuse to go outside when the weather was warm too, hanging cloth dipes in the sun gets rid of stains!  I will not lie, the poop grossed me out at first.  It's much easier to throw it away all wrapped up in a disposable and sometimes I still do.  My daughter always has a ginormous poop when she wakes up in the morning and from naps, so I have been using overnight disposables at those times.  Newborn breastfed poop is a breeze though!  You just throw it in the washer, no pre-rinsing required!  I typed up a pretty extensive review of cloth back in August and I am going to attach it to this post!  The information still rings true for us so hopefully it will help some of you on your cloth journey!  The only difference is that I had only one baby then and she was 15 months when we started cloth so there are not any newborn diapers listed in the review!  I will help you with that now!

The most raved about newborn cloth dipes are kissaluvs size zero with thirsties covers in extra small.  They are great diapers so I have to agree with everyone when they suggest these except I like the organic kissaluvs better....but they are not the best for really tiny babies even though they say 5-15 lbs.  Both of my babies were less than 7lbs and the kissas just didn't fit for quite some time.  Truthfully, the GroVia covers (pictured in orange above) size down the smallest as far as covers go and Organic Caboose fitteds are much smaller compared to the other newborn fitteds!  I also really enjoyed Swaddlebees which didn't even need a cover because they were so thick and fluffy!  You can also put any prefold or insert in a newborn cover and be fine!  I would encourage you to start reading this blog if you are interested in cloth diapers.  They really have great stories and helpful tips daily and they list coupons for their buying site, Kelly's Closet!  Here is the review I was telling you about earlier!  It's a long read, but hopefully helpful!

Well, we have finally figured out which cloth diapers and what fabrics we like the best!  After some extensive trial and error research, lots of review reading and many helpful tips from fellow cloth mamas I decided it might be helpful to post a review of our findings for any of those interested in starting with cloth or just interested in general!  I always enjoy reading reviews, it saves me money, time and effort in the long run and I like that!!! SO here it goes!

   Our cloth diaper goals were to save money, be without harsh chemicals, find a perfect fabric for our sensitive skinned baby, and have maximum absorbency without added bulk!  We have thankfully been able to achieve all of these goals!  The cost of cloth is far cheaper than continually buying disposable diapers especially if you plan on using them for multiple children.  Even with extensive coupon and sale searching disposables are just expensive and, at least for us, far less absorbant therefore we use more per day/night.  Even if you buy some cloth diapers you don't particularly like, you have the option of selling them for near the same price you paid!  How awesome is that?!  I can't tell you how many times I have been out money because a particular brand or size of disposables just didn't work for us!
   There are lots of crazy chemicals in disposables and most of them are known carcinogens (scary).  They also have added fragrances and are toxic if ingested.  A lot of kids have rash problems from disposables and the chemicals are most of the problem in that area.  They are also made of unbreathable materials which allow for bacteria and skin irritations to develop.  If your child already has sensitive skin, this is a major problem!  Our child does, in fact, have sensitive skin!  We changed Evie's diaper every 2 hours or less during the day to keep her dry and rash free.  This method worked great but we used more diapers because of frequent changes and that was costing us a bundle, even with coupons.  We also ran into a serious night leakage problem that even the 'overnight' diapers couldn't handle.  This left Evie with a terrible rash all over her belly and had me washing sheets and jammies constantly!  I should also say that it is a good thing to change diapers frequently regardless of what age your baby is or what method of diapering you choose.  I mean, would you want to sit in that? Yuck!  However, we all know that sometimes you need a couple if not a few more hours out of your diaper than 1 or 2, especially while out and about!  Genevieve is also a very heavy wetter even during the day.  She eats lots of fruits and veggies which contain lots of water and she drinks a significant amount of almond milk throughout the day.  Some kids don't wet that often especially as they get older, but she does so this review will reflect that!  So, with all of that in mind I set out to find the perfect diaper for my baby with sensitive skin!  In my extensive research I found that organic cotton, bamboo and hemp are the best fabrics for children with sensitive skin.  They are all natural and generally very soft and cozy!  I also found that these fabrics are the most absorbent, so yay....2 birds, 1 stone!  The diapers made of these fabrics generally cost a bit more up front but are known to last longer and increase (awesome) in absorbency with each wash than the cotton blend and microfleece dipes!  They, according to my review reading research, also stink less!  Bonus!  So even though you are paying a bit more up front, the outcome is a fantastic investment!  The difference between these fabrics and the blends/microfiber/fleece are that they don't wick away the moisture so the baby can still feel the wetness.  If that does not appeal to you, I would suggest the fleece diapers or add your own fleece layer to the natural fabrics.  However, when a child is continually exposed to the diapers that keep the moisture from touching the tush they can become less aware of their elimination processes which could make toilet training a little longer.  Not really a big deal, but I just thought I'd pass on the info!

   The 'less bulk' part was a bit more tricky but we were able to find the diapers that worked best for us in that area as well.  Here are all of the diapers that we have tried, including those that did NOT work for us and why we liked or didn't like them!  I knew I was not interested in prefolds or All-in-One diapers.  The prefolds would never stay put with my active child (and I am assuming the next one will be the same, why be surprised right ;-)  and the AIO dipes take far too long to dry and, according to reviews, get pretty smelly!  Also, if you are new to cloth diapers and their terms check here for a good breakdown, http://www.kellyscloset.com/Cloth-Diaper-Information_ep_34-1.html  I wanted something inbetween so I first looked at the pocket diapers.  These diapers fit just like disposables with either velcro or snaps and can be 'sized to fit' or 'one size fits all'.  They contain a pocket that can hold a cloth insert without it moving around all over the place.  Most of these diapers have microfleece that actually touch the baby's skin and wick moisture away from the baby regardless of what fabric your insert is.  The first diapers we ordered were Fuzzibunz one size (http://www.kellyscloset.com/FuzziBunzreg_bymfg_36-0-1.html)  They received rave reviews and are some of the most popular dipes out there, so I ordered a few.  The inserts are microterry and one diaper usually comes with two inserts, a small one and a larger one.  The inserts were great.  They were very absorbant and not too thick but it was important to me to have the natural fibers, so that was strike one!  Strikes two and three came all at once when no matter what I did, the diaper leaked all over!!!  I think this problem was due to the fact that these diapers are quite narrow.  Evie was never able to have a narrow diaper, even the disposable kind.  She is too wide in the hip area and way too active for them.  I thought I would like the snaps that Fuzzibunz have as opposed to the velcro (it tends to wear faster) but I had a hard time getting the fit right and it took longer than velcro would have.  This was not cool with my 'get up and go' girl!  So I ordered some Bum Genius 3.0 diapers.  They are another one size pocket diaper with a microfleece layer that touches the baby's skin.  (http://www.kellyscloset.com/bumGenius_bymfg_4-0-1.html)  They are a best seller across the board and again, got fantastic reviews!  BumGenius also has an organic cotton pocket diaper but they are very expensive.  The inserts that come with them are microterry.  I did not love these diapers either.  They were wider at the base so that was good, but the velcro is already wearing on our diapers!  I do know some mamas who have had their BG's for a long time without the velcro being a problem, but it was a problem for us!  We do have extremely hard water though, which probably did not help the situation!  The inserts that came with the covers were waaaaayyy wimpy as well.  I found that they were not as absorbent and were more of a pain to use.  You can purchase separate inserts for any of your diapers, but at the time I was just using the ones that came with the BG's.  I did find that I liked the idea of velcro better however, I just needed to find a better velcro!  I was a bit frustrated at this point because 2 of the bestselling brands had not worked for us.  So I called the customer service line at Kelly's Closet ( I thoroughly recommend them btw) and they were very helpful.  They put me in touch with one of their diaper experts and I asked lots of questions, all of them answered, and felt better about what to try next!  I was informed of the diapers with a wider base and those were researched next!
   Happy Heiny's turned out to be our magic brand!  http://www.kellyscloset.com/Happy-Heinys_bymfg_14-0-1.html  I really cannot say enough about them!  I first ordered a one size dipe and it came with 2 microfiber inserts.  I LOVED the wider base of the diaper, it is fantastic and HH are made so that the soft fleece touches the baby's legs instead of the elastic which makes them more cozy!  The one size does have a LOT of extra bulk though, so I did not like that and the inserts are not very absorbent either (at least not the microfiber).  However, we were on our way to the right diaper!  Continuing with Happy Heiny's we ordered some sized pocket diapers and they are fantastic!  The velcro on HH is superior in every way to the BumGenius diapers (also I don't know if I mentioned that BG now has a snap diaper, so if that appeals to you then BG is a great find) and the fit of the sized dipes is right on!  They are actually a bit generous so don't size up!  They even have different inserts made of hemp and cotton if you dislike the regular inserts, as I did.  Happy Heiny's also has a 'fitted' diaper made of hemp.  *A fitted diaper is a diaper that is made to fit the same way a disposable is but the whole thing is made of fabric and therefore can get wet all over(as opposed to the pocket dipes that only allow the insert to get wet).  They require a cover but are great for long trips or night time*  The Happy Hempy as they call it is also a pocket diaper!  We have found it to be fantastic for overnight!  It is pretty bulky if you add an insert to it but it absorbs like crazy!  I don't usually use them for day time because of the bulk and if I do I don't add an insert.  It is just too difficult for Evie to run around with this one on!  So, Happy Heiny's get our vote BIG TIME!
   I also love fitted diapers.  They are the best for overnight and since she is not moving around as much as during the day, can have an insert added regardless of whether or not they have a pocket.  Though the pocket fitted mentioned above is very nice!  In keeping with my search for natural fibers, I ordered some organic cotton/hemp Kissaluvs fitteds (http://www.kellyscloset.com/Kissaluvs-Organic-CottonHemp-Fitted-Diapers_p_3410.html) and some Tots Bots Bamboozles which are a bamboo fitted.  These can be found at Abby's Lane, a website I also recommend for your diapering needs! http://www.abbyslane.com/catalog.php?category=699  The organic cotton/hemp Kissas are wonderful!  Unfortunately they only come in 2 sizes....newborn and 10-40 pounds!  This makes for some bulk, but it is less bulk than the Happy Hempy!  They are very, very absorbent and we do frequently use them overnight with a cover or while we are out and about!  They come with a snap-in insert that is very thin and trim and even doubled adds lots of absorbancy and not a lot of bulk to the diaper, though the bulk is already there somewhat! :-(  Also, I have tried two different brands of wipe clean covers and I prefer Thirsties covers over Bummis!  I do like that all of my pocket diapers can double as covers for fitteds but that does add more fabric!  Anyhow, the bamboozles are sooooooo soft and fuzzy!  I love them.  They are great for day or night, but need an extra insert for night, which makes them quite bulky.  So generally I use them during the day!  I can tell Evie thinks they are soft and likes that about them.  She just learned the meaning of the word fluffy and how to say it, so I expect that will be her word for these dipes before too long! LOL  They are a bit more narrow but not so much that we can't use them, which again makes them great for day!  I like having the options of these three brands of natural fitteds!  They work well! (Happy Hempy's, Organic Kissaluvs, and Tots Bots Bamboozles)
   This next diaper is my favorite for daytime, especially around the house or when the grand-parents are over!  They are extremely easy to use, pretty absorbent, trim (good for running), and the cover is fantastic!  GroVia!  http://www.kellyscloset.com/GroVia-Gro-Baby_bymfg_94-0-1.html  They are seriously a fantastic diaper!!!!!  The inserts are organic cotton and snap in!  You can usually get through 2 or 3 diaper changes with just one cover because they snap in instead of slide in a pocket!  GREAT!  The velcro is absolutely amazing, even better than the Happy Heiny brand!  They also make great covers for fitted dipes during the day because they are not bulky and have a mesh layer that dries very quickly and can be wiped off if it gets wet!  These are the easiest for daddy to use as well!  They also have an organic cotton 'booster' that I use as an insert for every diaper we have!  That little thing can hold so much and is not bulky at all!  They (at least for us) are not good for travel though because they are more narrow than I'd like and I usually don't go more than a couple of hours without changing the snap-in, I am not sure it could handle my heavy wetter otherwise!  They also have some really strong elastic that irritates Evie's legs if we use them too often, probably not a problem for those without sensitive skin though!
   NOW let me get to the inserts!!!  I have expressed previously my distaste for the microterry and microfiber inserts.  I don't like them, not at all!  So I searched and searched and found 2 of the BEST inserts and both are made of natural fibers!  HOORAY!  We love, love the SuperDo from Knickerknappies http://www.kellyscloset.com/Knickernappies-Super-Do-Pre-washed-Inserts_p_3365.html  They are made from hemp, cotton and microfiber (just a small layer for keeping the baby dry purposes so this didn't bother me too much) and last 12 hours at night!  They are very thick and pretty bulky, so unless we are traveling or I know Evie won't be running around much I don't use them during the day.  They are sooooo absorbent though and fit great in all of my pocket diapers.  They have 3 different sizes and we only use the small and medium ones.  Sometimes I add a GroVia booster to them but it isn't always necessary.  My absolute favorite insert is the BabyKicks Hemparoo Joey Bunz!!!!!  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!  We use the premium mostly but they are both fantasmic!  http://www.kellyscloset.com/BabyKicks_bymfg_3-0-1.html  They are so very thin and so very absorbent that I can use them when I know we will be out for a while and not have to worry about a leak at all!!!!  They allow Evie to run around like crazy without bulk also, which is great!  They also have 3 sizes and we only use the small and medium.  They fit wonderfully in my Happy Heiny pockets and also stuff into the fitteds well!  They are the main inserts we use and I could even get away with using them at night.  I would have to double or maybe triple them for 12+ hours, but they still wouldn't be that thick!!!  I like the premiums the best because they are designed to dry quickly (which they do) and allow me to add extra absorbency where I need it.  For instance, Evie sleeps on her tummy so any wetness ends up inthe front of the diaper.  I can fold it to add the absorbency just in front if I want which makes the diaper even less bulky and therefore more comfy!
   I have also found a great washing regimen and a way to combat the smellies before washing!  I had lots of questions in this area at first so let me tell you what I have found works best!  Again, we have terribly hard water which gives us problems.  I use a basic trash can with a lid and put a drawstring wet bag in the can.  I use 1 to 2 lemons a day so I save the peels and put them in a bowl which goes on the bottom of the pail.  Then I put the wet bag in and voila....NO STINKIES!  The peels need to be changed at least every other day but that is not a problem since I use so many, and then they aren't wasted!  If you don't use lemons as we do though, you can get any essential oil and put a few drops on some cloth at the bottom of your wetbag and some bags even contain a little fabric swatch for this purpose.  I have also used lemon oil for this!  When it is time to wash the diapers I take out the entire bag (it is best to have 2 so that I can still use cloth on my laundry day) and dump the contents into the washer, then in goes the bag (inside out).  I do one cold rinse with a capful of Calgon to remove gunk, one long hot wash with Calgon and 3Tbs Rockin Green Hard Rock detergent (found at Abby's Lane) and an extra warm rinse!  Works great every time, even for the poops!  Drying is simple also!  I don't dry my covers even though you can.  I find they wear easier if dried.  I always hang them and if it's sunny outside I will hang them out to dry in the sun, which also gets rid of stains like you wouldn't believe!  The inserts go in the drier if the weather is gross and I have never had a problem with them.  If the weather is nice though, I will hang them out to dry as well and again....sunshine is great for stains!
     WHEW!  I believe that's it and though we are still learning we have done some serious research and found what works the best for us!  So if any of you have any questions at all please don't hesitate to ask, I needed lots of help from my cloth mama friends and would love to be able to help other new to cloth moms with their research!  Have a fantabulous day!





2 comments:

  1. How crazy, that you and I are dealing with such similar struggles. We also went to 'posies for a time while I was getting Caspian off of gluten. I couldn't keep up! One or two of those terrible messy diapers, and he would have a rip raging rash. Poor things...I am familiar with what you are going through.I'm so glad you're getting it all figured out! What a blessing! And as a response to your question the other day...Yes. It makes me want to cry. Every time I have to call ahead to a playdate to make sure they aren't playing with Playdoh and to tell people I'm bringing our own food :D. It's getting easier though.

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  2. I know, so weird! I am thankful to have a friend who understands and with whom I can share recipes though!!! I am glad I am not the only one wanting to cry sometimes! I mean, there are worse things....it's just frustrating and the understanding isn't always there from other people. :-( You have been a really big help with our gluten free journey, thank you!!!

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