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An Insert for You and Some Diaper Tips Too

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So I finally made the decision. We were just talking liners, doublers, inserts, and their fabrics today. I was thinking about it and fabric choice here can be not only daunting, but overwhelming in and of itself. I’m going to try to keep it simple and to the point, but we’ll see how that goes.

Inserts, Doublers, and Liners

Doublers are thick pads you can use for extra absorbency in your diapers. You can use them on top of a diaper if you are already using pockets.

Liners are usually thin rectangular pads that go between a baby’s rear and the diaper. Some parents use them to make cleaning the poo out a little easier. They’re nice. You can make them for cheap out of a soft cotton and they are washable. Or you can get the flushable variety. It adds a bit to your cost, but can make it easier depending on your preference. Liners are also convenient when you use diaper cream as they can cause buildup and extra washing on your diapers.

This is a good time to note that you should read the instructions that come with your diapers before using any creams. There are some fabrics that rash cream can ruin. I haven’t personally run into this, but according to most of the books it is a thing.

Inserts are a layer of absorbency that is put inside of a pocket diaper.  These are also called soakers.  They can be made out of several different types of fabrics….which is our next topic.

Fabrics

So you’re going to hear a lot of fabric terms tossed around when looking at diapers and their soakers, inserts, doublers, liners, etc. Here are the ones you’ll run across most often.

Synthetic fabrics: They are excellent at keeping baby dry.

Organic: These are fabrics that are not treated with chemicals.

Bamboo: This soft and luxurious feeling fabric is both breathable and absorbent.  It’s considered eco friendly due to the quick growing plant it is harvested from and doesn’t involve many (if any) insecticides to grow.

Cotton: It is a soft comfy fabric but some eco friendly moms take issue with the way it is grown and processed.  It gets a bad rap, but honestly, we all have cotton in our lives and it’s still not as toxic as some of the stuff in our disposable diapers.

Organic Cotton:  This cotton is grown with a lesser eco impact than regular cotton, but essentially feels the same. If you are worried about your baby being exposed to anything from regular cotton, but still want cotton, this is your choice.

PUL: Polyurethane laminated fabric. Essentially it is a fabric with waterproof backing. This is what you would want to make your wet bags out of.  PUL is what is on the outside of many decorative cloth diapers (though not all). Essentially, the water doesn’t go through the fabric to get you wet, unless your wee one is leaking out around her legs at the elastic.

Wool: Wool is used in inserts, covers, and liners. Some parents like it some don’t. It will keep a baby warm and dry, but you have to be careful on the type you buy and some babies have trouble with reactions to the skin with wool.  Not to mention that you have to be far more careful when washing this fabric.

Hemp: This durable fabric is known for being ultra absorbent and antimicrobial.  Some parents swear that it can protect your child’s rear from fungus and bacteria.  It’s also eco friendly and does not require pesticides to produce.  It can both breathe and keep a baby’s bum warm in the winter.  It’s not cute, but it is one of the fabrics with the most function. It only comes in its natural color. Definitely great for inserts though.

Micro Terry: You’ll see this a lot. It’s cheap and absorbent without the bulk of cotton (it takes a ton of layers of cotton to absorb pee).   Most pocket diapers come with these so this is what we’ve been using though I do have some homemade wool inserts and liners.  You just can’t use it as a liner.  It’s so absorbent that it will pull out the skin’s natural oils. This will lead to chafing and irritation.

Polar Fleece: Most internal layers of diapers are made of this. It wicks away moisture from the skin. this means that it lets the urine through to the pad while keeping baby’s bum dry.  This is part of the reason why we love our cloth diapers. With disposables we were changing diapers every time Freya got the tiniest bit wet (because it would irritate the rash caused by the same issue). Now we don’t have to change her right away and we get more out of each diaper before she even feels wet. And trust me….she lets us know when she’s wet.

Sherpa Terry: This is the fabric you find in linens and towels. You’ll also occasionally hear this word with cloth diapers though mostly in inserts.
Honestly, the best thing to do is test out a few types in the store and see what works best for you.  Personally we’ve found that the One Size pockets works best for us. We have occasionally used a liner though it doesn’t really seem to make poopies any easier.  Our inserts are micro fiber. My liners are cheap flannel.  But take a look and figure out what will work best for you. Please don’t assume. I did that which led to making six diapers that not only cost me more to make, but that we only use as backups.  I love that I did it myself, but they still aren’t as functional for us as what we later bought.

I’ll leave you with this poem from a Mom who wrote in to Changing Diapers….my book source for this post.

C-Chemical Free

L- Leakpoof (mostly)

O One Size

T- Tender

H- Handy

D- Dependable

I- Ideal

A- Adorable

P- Penny Pinching

E- Eco Friendly

R- Rash Free

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The Pooper Scooper on Cloth Diapers

I hope you all are having a great week so far and I hope you’ve been thinking more about the cloth diaper revolution and the choices that are best for your family. From that starting point, I would like to talk more about this money saving phenomenon that is also super eco friendly.

So we talked Money on Monday.  But let’s talk about what else makes cloth diapering awesome.

1. It’s less toxic for baby. Disposables are made from a variety of chemicals and bleaches. We have enough toxins in our lives without placing them directly on our child’s tooshies.  If you read Changing Diapers by Kelly Wells, you’ll find out that there are studies that some of the chemicals used in these diapers are harmful with long term exposure.  The gel inside of it was removed from tampons for being linked to toxic shock syndrome in the 80s.  Not to mention all the artificial crap that could cause allergies and skin reactions.  I don’t know what it was about disposables, but Freya always had a nasty rash when she wore them and now we rarely even get a diaper rash at all.

2. Money, which we talked about last time….so go back a post if you didn’t read Monday’s post. The point is that cloth diapers will save you thousands despite start up costs, between birth and the age of potty training. If you look up diaperpin.com’s calculator you can find out how much cloth diapering will cost you in comparison to disposables.  In just the six months we’ve been doing it we’ve saved around $120-$130 per month.  .

3, Eco Friendly.  As pagan parents it is our job to protect this planet as much as our children. With estimates saying that a diaper could be sitting in a landfill for over a hundred years….what harm do we do to mother Earth when we use disposables. Also, how many natural resources are being wasted to create a product that is “convenient”

4. Convenience. People are going to disagree with me here. I think that it’s more convenient to never have to shop for diapers. I think that it’s neat that I can just wash them and go. I don’t find it a hassle to take an extra bag with me and more diapers. I think it’s neat and convenient that I can customize freya’s look with her neat patterns or even simple colors (your preference).

5. Fun.  This goes back to the colors and the patterns. I love seeing Freya in her spidey diaper or her minky polka dots. I love being able to pick the pattern I’m in the mood in for the moment.

Types of Cloth Diapers

So now that you know the reasons we cloth diaper let’s get down to the dirty dukes of cloth diapering.  There are so many different terms that get flung around with cloth diapering.  Snappies, Doublers, AIO’s, pockets; what does it all mean.

I mean today’s cloth diapers are so different from what our grandparents, even our parents knew.  Long gone are the days of boiling and folding. That’s just not what most people do when they cloth diaper anymore.  Quite frankly, there are so many choices it can be hard to decide. What worked out best for me was going to a store that sold them and sitting through a tutorial where I could try it out. The owners at Mama’s HIp and Diaper Fairy Cottage on Bardstown Road in Louisville were great in presenting me with all of my options. By the time I was done I knew what would work best for me.

So here we go again

1. AIO stands for all in one. These are the closest to disposables except that they are made of cloth.  They are the most convenient, but the longest and hardest to dry.  The pro here is that you don’t have to stuff them with more inserts, but they can feel heavy and add weight to your baby’s rear, which I feel can make it harder for them to walk properly when the time comes.

2. Pockets have three layers. The inner layer lets water through to the pad, but not back out.  The inner layer is insertable. It is what absorbs the liquid. The good thing about a pocket is that you can choose your padding based on your child’s needs.  Then the outer layer is waterproof.  This is what we have for Freya.

3. One Size. While our diapers are pockets they are also one size.  I can adjust her diapers to fit her from birth to potty training thanks to a series of snaps on the front and around the waist. Some use velcro around the waist, but I’ve found the snaps to be preferable as Freya scratched herself on one of my homemade ones that had the velcro.

4. All in two diapers.  These are like pockets where you can choose the material, but they snap on top. My homemade diapers are All in Twos.  You don’t insert them like in pockets. Which some find easier and others don’t like as much. I’m torn. Honestly the only reason I ended up using more pockets is because that is what I could get at the best price.

5, Flats. These are the ones you fold. I don’t like them. I can’t remember how to fold them….and they are inconvenient for me at least. If you want the cheapest option though…you can get a pack of three of these at Walmart for 9 dollars or so.  They are the most cost effective, but I don’t have the patience for them…so I invested just a little more into something that was easier for my family, but if you can master folding them then I say power to you new mom or dad.

6. Prefolds are folding diapers as well. They are a bit easier however as you just fold it in thirds and then widen one edge. However most of the folding ones don’t have velcro or snaps of any kind. You’re going to need safety pins or the plastic latch connectors that some baby stores buy for cloth diapers.  I think they are called snappies

7. Fitted. These are cloth diapers that have two parts. The inner diaper that is absorbent and a cover to contain the wet. I know some parents online who use these as swimsuits for baby…but beyond that I really don’t know much about them. Personally, they seem less convenient, but that’s just me.

8 The Hybrid. These are part cloth part disposable franken-diapers.  They are generally the most expensive as well.  You can use a disposable insert with them so that you can just chuck that poo into the toilet.

Friday I’ll get to the inserts, liners and types of fabrics. I also may get to talk about washing. I haven’t decided if that will work better as a separate post as there are a variety of methods.

Thanks for tuning in and I hope to see you all again Friday

Blessed. Be.

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Going Green With Diapers

This month has just not been it for me. Now we’ve added two emergency room visits in a few days and a scary eye problem. We’ve had the eye issue going on in my right eye for a while now, but this is the first time its gotten so bad that I just couldn’t function at all.  So where the ENT, Allergiest, Optomitrist, and GP have failed to come up with an answer….the doc in the ER visit (a hospital that is generally known as a worthless bandaid station….but only place I could get a ride to) may have come up with an answer….cluster headaches/migraines in or around my eye. I’ll be going to a Neurologist on the 3rd of Aug and hopefully we’ll get a confirmation and a method of treatment that doesn’t make me feel high and trippy as all get out (like I feel today after all the meds my GP put me on to make it to that appointment).

So if you’lre following me or reading for the first time, please send me all the positive energy/prayers you can muster.  I’m hoping to kick this and finally be out of the woods with all the problems we’ve had this month.

Also, I apologize in advance if thinks are a little messy. I’m still not seeing very well…so please forgive a comma for a period or silly things like that. I did my best to catch them all, but I’m not making any promises.

Anyway lets get to it.

So, today I want to talk with you about diapering. Now there are two options. First there are disposables and then there are cloth. Granted there are a ton of options in each camp, but first let’s compare and contrast.

Disposable diapers

With  disposable diapers, first, they aren’t biodegradable. Aka they are bad for the environment. So that is a negative. Second, they really aren’t as absorbent as most cloth diapers (provided you choose your best choices and get the right inserts). There’s a second negative. Third, they cost around $120 per month if you’re in size one or two….and from the jump in price between size one and two….it only gets more expensive as you go.  A third negative. Finally, they are convenient and don’t require washing. So two positives veres three negatives. Not too bad in terms of a pros and cons list.

Now lets look at the other side.

Cloth diapers

First, you only need thirty of them total for a child from birth to potty training and a kid can go further between changes the older they get. So you’re looking at a base investment of somewhere between $150 and $300 (depending on where you get your diapers) for thirty. That’s about two months of buying disposables. Note here that with a smaller baby…a lot of time the one size adjustables won’t fit till month three or four so you may have to buy some disposables. But the one size adjustables are the way to go if you want to save money. They will grow with your child.

I would call that a big positive over $100-$150 in disposables per month. I would call those savings a definite positive.

There is the cost of water and detergent, but I really can’t call that a negative….because we’re still saving more paying that (even in a private community where we pay twice as much for water as anyone else in the county) than we were when we bought disposables those first two or three months.

You have to scoop the poop out of a diaper into the toilet. Yes, it’s a negative, but honestly, it’s not a big deal. Not to mention the fact that technically you’re supposed to do this before you throw away a disposable anyway. You can get a diaper sprayer or liners (if you want to lose a bit of your savings here) to avoid this.  But, if you have kids, you’re going to be dealing with far worse than a poopy in their lives. I can barely count this as a negative.

The only downfalls I see on this side of the fence are start up costs and having to wash the diapers every two or three days. I personally think that cloth diapers are still better than wasting all that money and the environmental damage done by non-degradable diapers.

There is a visual at http://www.chetramos.com/how-to-start-cloth-diapering/ that really puts it into perspective.  Now they say that they spent $500 on cloth diapers, but if you look around you can find the one size adjustable ones online (and in cute prints) for around $6 each. I’m betting these people bought the first ones that they found or had to buy the ones that cost $20 a pop. We ordered ours online and only spent around 150 dollars including shipping and handling.  And others have found them used for less…but that’s easier to do in a larger area….and we don’t live in a metro area anymore.  Also look for swaps and such for cloth diapers online. You’ll save and get some name brands if that is your thing.

They show the average number of diapers used in a year with disposables (3800) and they have it costing around $1000. Now I did the math on my end based on what I spent for 144 diapers (so 3800 divided by 144 times $30 a pop per box of diapers) and it came out to around $750….so it apparently does vary greatly depending on brand and where you live I would guess, but I bought the cheapest thing worth buying and that’s what it would have cost me (provided I stayed at size one the whole year).  Still, we’ve only spent around $300-$400 with all the home supplies I DIY’d.

So what do you need?

1. You need around 30 diapers to keep up with a newborn washing every two days. Right now at. nearly a year we probably wash ours every three days on average still.

2. A pad for each diaper (usually included with diaper). The only way this will cost you more is if your diaper comes with a cheap pad. If it says its microfiber though….it should be fine especially if it’s a pocket diaper. That’s what we use.

3. POWDER detergent: the liquid can build up and make your diapers less absorbent and then you have to strip them, which equals more money lost.

4. Oxyclean powder: We use this to combat stains. So technically this is optional, but I find it really good for fighting stains. Just DO NOT get anything with baking soda because that can cause build up as well.

5. Diaper sprayer: This is another optional. If you don’t want to pull out poopies with a wipe then you want a sprayer. If you don’t want to have to rinse them out in your sink or tub…you want a sprayer. Now you can buy a diaper sprayer, but they are overpriced. you can build one yourself….but I can tell you it’s far simpler to just buy a bidet sprayer and set it up in your house. I honestly wish at this point that we had done this instead of making our own (which only works in the one correctly plumbed toilet in the house…another issue with making your own if you live in a trailer.)

6. Wet bags: You need at least one big one for the house and one smaller one with a zipper for travel. We have four (one big three small). I figure I can use them later when we go swimming or what have you.  You can make these on your own for cheaper than you can buy them. Babyville fabric at JoAnn’s (or bought online there) runs around $15 per yard on a regular basis. You need a yard or two to make the ones we have. And if you just look up quick zip wet bag tutorial you’ll find all the video and blog tutorial options that you could ever want. Pick the one that best suits your family. And as a final note here…we actually carry two bags with us sometimes when we travel….one for poopie and one for wet…so we don’t have to worry about messing up a public bathroom.

I think that’s about it.  Anything else is really just extra. If you really do your research and look for the best buys you’re looking at $150-$200 for 30 cloth diapers, $40 for a bidet sprayer (optional), and around $30-$50 for the supplies to make the wet bags. That’s around $300 if you DIY and trust me the wet bag is easy to make (and otherwise costs $20-$30 per bag).

If you add incidentals per year I think I’ve spent (on estimate) around $200-$300 on water and cleaning supplies for the diapers. So total around $600 maybe $700…which would still be cheaper than my cost for one year of cloth diapers. If you look at the fact that next year (already having the start up supplies) you’ll only spend up to $400 or so on water and cleaning supplies (and that’s an overestimate still). You’re saving even more that next year provided you aren’t doing your laundry at a laundromat.

A final thought

I’m adding this here so I can put in my personal experience. Yes, you can make cloth diapers as well…but let me give you a warning. I spent $120 and that only made me six diapers. Also….if you struggle with elastic….don’t make your own. There really aren’t any good patterns without spending yet another $20-$30. I can do the sewing, but it wasn’t as economical as buying the cloth diapers I bought. Not to mention that they were huge on Freya. I doubt that they would fit her even now at one year.  So, unless you can modify patterns. I suggest not doing it and if you insist….do a test run with cheap fabric first.

So that’s my intro to cloth diapers. If any of you have other relevant experience please share. I’m going to continue this topic Wednesday with more tips and tricks on Cloth Diapers.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a second post for the week.

Blessed Be.