Cloth Diapering Twins

It frequently seems that cloth diapering twins or higher orders of multiples would be so, so much harder than cloth diapering one… or even having two in cloth of different ages.  However, Brooke, a local Prince George mummy, is cloth diapering twins with style.  She shows that it really IS doable!  Here’s Brooke’s story:

When we first found out we were expecting twins so many things went through my head. The first was “thank goodness I don’t have to do this again” (extreme morning/day/night sickness). Then the thought of we are going to need TWO of everything and it’s going to cost TWICE as much. TWO! [Read more…]

Barnyard Stink and My Crazy Attempts at Killing It

When it comes to cloth diapering, I’m an experimentalist.  Trying new things is an adventure.  (And it’s blog fodder.)  While most of the time, the suggestions I gave in my cloth diaper stripping post work well, sometimes an issue will be so pervasive that it will take multiple attempts.  We had really bad nasty barnyard stink inserts.  Specifically, it was three microfiber inserts that I loved for their absorbing power.  Not coincidentally enough, they were only the inserts that Norton used overnight.

Barnyard Stink and My Crazy Attempts at Killing It (Cloth Diaper Addicts)

With barnyard stink like that, sometimes one of these would be helpful.

I swear, my son has toxic pee.  Marinating those diapers in that toxic waste took a toll.

I’d been regularly doing some sort of strip on my diapers just because of those three inserts and the wretched barnyard stink diapers.  It was crazy.  And it was not working.  Then it dawned on me: why on earth was I treating all of my diapers because of three lousy inserts?  I considered just buying new inserts… but for me to purchase those new inserts from the company in the States would have cost me as much as buying two new diapers from them from a Canadian store.  No.  Just… no.  Besides, that would have been admitting defeat and letting barnyard stink beat me.  And it was at the point that I had to do something about it: just sniffing them would give me a headache.

Boiling for Barnyard Stink

The first thing that I decided to do was boil an insert as a test.  I knew that boiling was a method of dealing with barnyard stink diapers.  I knew that it was a smelly process.  However, I underestimated the stench: the smell was so awful that (even with open windows), I ended up with a migraine that put me down for the count for two days.

As for the barnyard stink… it wasn’t fixed, but it was better.  However, a week later, it was just as bad.  I bought a ginormous pot, borrowed a friend’s hot plate, and tried it in the bathroom with the exhaust fan running.  No dice: the hot plate wouldn’t get warm enough to boil a stock pot.  Sure, the smell was reduced, but still not completely cleared up.  Had I owned a barbeque grill with a side burner and done it outside, that might have taken care of it.  However, I don’t.  So boiling barnyard stink diapers wasn’t a resolution for Norton’s stinky pee.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

Neither baking soda nor vinegar are always recommended for cloth diapers.  Both can cause build up issues… but at this point, I figured the barnyard stink was bad enough that I’d try anything.  Besides, watching the foaming chemical reaction is just too much fun to pass up.  I liberally doused my offending barnyard inserts with baking soda and put enough water in to sort of make a paste… and then poured vinegar on top.  I scrubbed them together to increase the “scrubbing bubbles” power.  I threw in some peroxide, too.  End result?  The barnyard stinky diapers were less barnyardy.  They were significantly whiter.  It helped, but not enough.  This time, it was two weeks before the diapers were obscenely fragrant.

“Rock a Soak”

I love my Rockin Green detergent.  It’s how I’ve managed to beat back the ammonia stink I had early on that nearly caused me to quit cloth diapering.  (And the only reason I didn’t give up was because I was stubborn and didn’t want to hear any “I told you so” type comments.)  Out of frustration, I took those three barnyard stink inserts (which has, once again, become so strong that sniffing them gave me a wicked headache) and put them in my cloth diaper dish pan.  I added a tablespoon of Rockin’ Green, a sprinkle of RLR (maybe half a teaspoon), a steaming kettle of water, and hot water from the tap… so about a gallon and a half of water.  I used my hands to agitate and build up a huge lather.  Then I left it to soak overnight… and agitated it again in the morning.  I meant to rinse then, but life got busy with making breakfast.  In the end, they soaked for about twelve hours.  Then I rinsed and washed them with the rest of my dirty diaper laundry.

Amazing.  They smelled perfect.  They smelled clean.  They smelled like nothing.  I was thrilled.

It’s been three weeks and the stink is starting to come back again… and only on my son’s overnight inserts.  Maybe at the top of every month, I’ll treat those inserts.  I’ll keep experimenting with something that will get them smelling cleaner longer.  And I’ve also gotten more rigorous in how I rinse his overnight diapers.  Now I’m starting to ring them out after rinsing and give them a second rinse before throwing them in the wet bag.

Have you ever had pervasive barnyard stink on only a couple of pieces of diaper laundry?

 

Your Cloth Diapers Are Not Ruined – Relax

A lot of us have some levels of crazy regarding our cloth diapers ruinedcloth diapers. We have our cloth diaper routines and rituals.  We have our storage systems.  There are diapers that are worn at certain times, certain holidays, with certain outfits, etc.  Heck, there are folks that buy diapers and never take them out of the package.  With all that in mind, there are times that someone stresses out over something not going according to ritual.  All that I can say to that is this: your cloth diapers are not ruined.  Seriously.

Your Cloth Diapers Went Through the Wrong Wash

It happens.  Your cloth diapers have just been laundered.  You’ve emptied the washer, hung your shells, thrown your inserts to the dryer, done the Hokey Pokey backwards, and all parts of your particular cloth diaper laundry ritual.  All is right with the world.  You throw your husband’s stinky socks and underwear in the washer with a triple helping of Gain because they smell really funky and he smells much nicer when his socks don’t.  And then gasp, horror, you discover that you left a microfiber insert in the wash.

I frequently see things like this happening.  And I always have the exact same answer: Calm down.  Your cloth diapers are not ruined.  You don’t have to strip them or use Dawn.  You don’t have to flog your husband for forcing you to use such potent smelling detergent to cope with his man stink.  It’s okay.  One time will not make a difference.

Your Cloth Diapers Were Left in the Wetbag

Okay, it’s gross, but it happens.  You went out, had to change your kid because when you’re out and about is the best time ever to have a vile smelling poop that makes you wonder if you need an old priest and a young priest, or at least a gas mask.  You quickly pull over on the side of the road, change your fighting, squirming baby and manage to not get poop all over the front passenger seat of your mini van.  Since you’re in the middle of nowhere (not even cell service?!),  you throw everything in your wetbag, close it all up, wipe down your own hands with a baby wipe, and clean them off with Purell.  And then… you forgot them.  Maybe it was because you didn’t want to think about the vile stench that your cloth diapers are housing in that wetbag.  Maybe you just got busy.  Whatever.  The next thing you know, you’ve forgotten that awful bag in your van for three days.  On the one hand, you’re amazed: your wetbag kept that smell from stinking out your family van.  On the other… your cloth diapers have been left dirty and disgusting for three days.

It happens.  Your cloth diapers are still not going to be ruined.  Just hold your nose, turn on the exhaust fan in the bathroom, and rinse them out before tossing them in with the rest of your cloth diaper laundry.  Even if it’s mildewed, it’s still not ruined.

Your Neighbor Helped You Out

Your dryer broke.  Your cloth diapers were sunned out, nearly dry, and then the skies burst and torrential rain fell.  You were ready to cry when your neighbor took pity and offered to throw your cloth diapers in the dryer for you.  You were so grateful… but your gratitude was replaced with horror when he handed you a basket of fresh smelling diapers.  Your eyes fill with tears when he says, “I used four Bounce sheets so they’ll smell super nice and be really soft for your baby!”

Your cloth diapers are not ruined.  Really.  Heck, chances are good you won’t even have to strip them.  Just use them, wash them as usual, and go about your business.

The chances are very good that if your cloth diapers have gone through something strange that you would never (deliberately) do, they’re still fine.  They won’t need to be stripped or burned.  It’s not a one-off that causes most cloth diapering problems: it’s the systemic use of things that cause problems over time.

Even so, everything but delamination is fixable.

Have you have a moment when you thought your cloth diapers were wrecked?

Why Use Cloth Diapers?

I love cloth diapers.  I do.  I love talking about them, using them, buying more of them, and educating others about them.  There’s nothing more fun than explaining to another mom who is on the fence why I use cloth diapers.  Sometimes she decides that she wants to use cloth diapers too.

The other day, I found a question on a message board I hang out on.  This mom was thinking about using cloth diapers but wanted to know why those of us who use cloth diapers use them instead of disposables.

I was more than happy to answer that question.

We use cloth diapers for a number of reasons.  The first thing that attracted me to cloth diapers was that it would be a cheaper method of diapering.  And one set of diapers can be used on multiple children and then sold as used diapers when finished.

Another reason for using cloth diapers is for environmental reasons.  Really, it doesn’t matter how biodegradable whatever you throw in the landfills might be… it still doesn’t decompose because it’s just not a friendly environment for decomposition.  It just sits there in ever growing heaps and smells.  I loved the idea of putting less in the landfill.

I found the reduction of diaper rashes and the faster potty training to be a pretty good selling point, too.  In the last year of cloth diapering, I’ve found that it’s also just plain fun to buy new cloth diapers and try new things, too.

What other reasons do I have for using cloth diapers?  Well, the simple fact is that they are just wicked cute.  Really, disposable diapers aren’t fun or cute at all.  They’re just… well, the infant equivalent to plain white granny panties.  Sure, they do the job, but they don’t do the job with any fashion or flair.  In order to have a put-together looking child, you’ve got to cover those things up!

Why Use Cloth Diapers? (Cloth Diaper Addicts)

You don’t find this kind of cute in a disposable.

I love cloth diapers for the variety.  Cloth diapers come in pretty darn near every color of the rainbow, and there are some amazing prints and colors that you won’t find in the rainbow, too.  This actually makes me feel a little better about the fact that I don’t like to put pants on Norton at home; it’s easier to put him on the potty in a hurry if he’s just wearing a diaper.  And I don’t feel like I’m letting my kid run around unkempt if he’s in a colorful diaper that matches his shirt.  I feel like the occasional disposable diaper that we do use needs to be covered up so that my kid doesn’t look like a neglected walking disaster.  (Yes, I know it’s weird, and no, I’m not suggesting that anyone who lets their kid wander in just a disposable diaper has committed some kind of failing.)

Do you use cloth diapers?  What was your reasoning for going cloth?

Originally written July 11, 2011 for What to Expect.

Updated: In the two years since I’ve written this, the occasional disposable diaper no longer happens.  We’ve gone exclusively cloth and love it!

Buying Used Cloth Diapers – A Definitive Guide

Recently, I wrote a post about how to sell used cloth diapers.  It’s great tips… for the seller.  But what if you’re interested in buying used cloth diapers?  Aren’t there some things that you need to know to protect yourself?  There are so many different venues for buying used cloth diapers that it’s hard to know where to start.  First, though, it depends on where you want to start.  Are you interested in buying a particular brand?  Do you have a local cloth diapering community to start with?

Buying Used Cloth Diapers Locally

Buying Used Cloth Diapers (Cloth Diaper Addicts)I know, I know.  I’m forever harping about how absolutely amazing the Prince George cloth diapering community is.  We’re social.  We’re friendly.  We’re accepting.  Blah, blah, blah, you get it.  But, really, at the end of the day, I’d prefer buying used cloth diapers locally as a first option.  (And, yeah, I do periodically buy used cloth diapers.  It’s often how I try a new brand before deciding that I love it and I absolutely need it.  My first AppleCheeks diaper was used.)

Facebook.  If I’m buying used cloth diapers locally, the best place that I can honestly recommend is Facebook.  If your town or city doesn’t have a local cloth diapering group, there’s probably one for your region, or at least your state.  Sometimes, even the general B/S/T pages for your region will know where to direct you.

Why is Facebook awesome for buying locally?  It can lead to other things like meet ups and making friends.  It can also protect you with the public shame factor.  If someone knowingly sells crappy, delaminated diapers, the others will talk.  They’ll PM newbies to try to keep her from getting scammed.  If nothing else, if you notice that someone has some diapers that seem like a really great price and condition, and no one else is jumping on it or pointing it out to someone else who wants it… there’s probably a reason for it.

Kijiji/Craig’s List/eBay Classifieds.  These little local classified sites are a great place to find used merchandise.  However, because there’s no public shame factor involved, be very careful and look your diapers over carefully.  A friend of mine once had someone try to sell her delaminated diapers that had every bit of the PUL removed.  The seller tried to tell my friend that the diapers were fine, it was just the way the material was.  Fortunately, my friend (who was very new at cloth diapering back then) knew enough to back out of the sale.  Had she been taken, because it was through Kijiji, that public shame factor would have been nonexistent.

Buying Cloth Diapers Nationally or Internationally

Facebook.  Even if I’m not buying cloth diapers locally, I still like Facebook for used diapers.  These groups often end up being a great source of friendship and entertainment.  There’s also a sort of social protection aspect of buying from moms on Facebook that I love: if someone sells crap, they’re risking their own reputation.  Sure, they might pass something lousy off to me… but they’ll only do it once because I have zero problems with outing that person.  It’s not just because I want to be mean or whatever, but because I feel that I have a responsibility to prevent others from being ripped off by inaccurate representation of product whenever possible.  Of course, I’d also be filing a PayPal dispute in effort to get a refund.

Cloth Diaper Trader.  I love the way this site is set up.  It’s searchable so that you can look by diaper or by region.  It’s super fast and super easy.  And Agnes, the owner, is also pretty awesome.

Diaper Swappers.  This is an old style forum.  It’s got social factors and it has selling boards.  The “shame” factor could be useful here, too.

Keep Yourself Safe

If you’re buying locally, decide if you are more comfortable with meeting at someone’s house or if you’d rather meet publicly.  Because Prince George is a smallish city and enough people know each other, I generally prefer to do pick ups or drop offs at homes.  While, yes, it’s safer from crazy people to meet publicly, I’ve found that people who don’t want you to know where they live when they are trying to sell you something are often trying to pass off crap in a hurry.  And always inspect your merchandise.  If it’s a local sale and it doesn’t meet expectations, then you’re perfectly justified in passing on the item.  However, it’s very poor form to show up at someone’s house after agreeing upon a price and trying to negotiate them down lower.

If you’re buying from someone far off, make sure that you are paying them via PayPal.  Pay it as a purchase.  Never, ever gift it because then if the seller doesn’t send it to you, you have absolutely zero protection.

Keep Your Baby Safe

I also advise stripping your diapers as soon as you get them.  There are some exceptions, of course: if a good friend of mine gives me some of her diapers, I won’t worry about stripping because I know her routine and how she keeps her diapers.  But by and large, stripping is a very good thing.  Some recommend bleach, but I’m not one of them.  Strip your diapers with OxiClean to kill anything that you don’t want and with RLR to get out build up issues.

What tips do you have for buying used cloth diapers?

 

 

Destashing Cloth Diapers – Selling Your Used Diapers

When you have an excess amount of diapers or are just done and decide to “cash out,” using cloth diapers has a distinct advantage over disposables.  You can sell your stash, either all or in part, whenever you want.  Destashing cloth diapers, or selling your cloth diaper stash, comes with its own rules.

Destashing Cloth Diapers Online

Destashing Cloth Diapers - Selling Your Used DiapersWhen you are destashing cloth diapers online, there are plenty of opportunities.  Social networking, forums, sale sites…. The opportunities are endless!  Likewise, there are endless opportunities for buying used cloth diapers, too.

Facebook.  Facebook gives you plenty of ways to sell.  If you want to sell your diapers locally so that you don’t have to fool around with shipping, there are frequently regional cloth diaper groups.  I’m part of a buy/sell/trade group for my town, my province, and for all of Canada.  So far, I do most of my selling locally because I’d rather avoid the post office whenever possible.  There are also buy/sell/trade (or BSTs) for specific diaper brands or even hard to find (HTF) diapers. [Read more…]

Fitted Diapers – Pros and Cons

I’ve never been a huge user of fitted diapers.  For the longest time, I thought that the negatives outweighed the positives.  Lately, though, I’ve been rethinking my anti-fitted bias.

Why Fitted Diapers Are Awesome

Fitted diapers have an amazing ability to absorb.  Because the entire diaper is made of absorbent materials (often bamboo, organic cotton, or hemp), they have a remarkable ability to hold moisture.  When you’re dealing with a child who pees through everything, a diaper that can hold very nearly two cups of liquid is a good thing.

Why Fitted Diapers Are Not Awesome

Fitted Diapers - Pros and Cons (Cloth Diaper Addicts)So, fitted diapers can absorb like nobody’s business.  While it’s true that they can hold a lot, they don’t wick moisture away from the skin.  That’s far from awesome to me, as it doesn’t take much for Eudora to get a rash or for Norton to smell like he’s been marinating in his own urine.  I’m also not keen on diapers that require a cover: it’s like diapering twice.  When they’re small or when they’re nearly ready for housebreaking, it’s not too bad… but then there’s that awful, wrestling phase that often ends up with one or both participants crying or experiencing some sort of physical pain.  At that point, the last thing I want to do is have to do the diapering process twice.

Cute fitted diapers really make me sad because there’s the gorgeousness… and then it gets hidden.

Working Around the Not Awesome

As much as there are those “not awesome” aspects of fitted diapers (which, really, put me off of using them for a very long time), there are ways to get around it.  Don’t like the non-wicking part?  I put a Best Bottom stay dry insert layer between my baby and the fitted.  This makes it possible for me to get some extra absorption to go along with the wicking quality, too.  Another friend of mine likes to do the same thing, except she puts a Funky Fluff insert between her baby and the fitted.  More reasonable people would just put a stay dry microfleece liner in between.

Are you a fan of fitted diapers?  How many are in your stash?

Wet Diaper Pail? Gross. (Storing Dirty Diaper Laundry)

Every now and again, I see a post on Facebook where someone asks about using a wet diaper pail for their dirty diaper laundry.  I always tell them that it’s no good.  Sure, my mom used a wet diaper pail for my cloth diapers back when I was in cloth.  But my mom wasn’t using modern cloth diapers.  I was in the best cloth diapers that technology had at that time: flats with pins.

So why is a wet diaper pail so awful?

A Wet Diaper Pail is a Safety Hazard

Did you know that children can drown in as little as two inches of water?  And babies have little melon heads?  It’s quite simple for one to pull up and get that massive head in a position that the little one can’t get out of.  Really, anything that requires standing water shouldn’t be kept in the home.  (And if you keep it outside, it’ll freeze in the winter and be a mosquito hazard in the summer.)  A wet diaper pail should absolutely not be used just because it’s a drowning hazard.  Isn’t that reason enough?

Some Gross Things Grow in Damp Places

Wet Diaper Pail?  Gross.  (Storing Dirty Diaper Laundry)

Do you really want this stuff growing on your diapers? Image courtesy of Photokanoc / FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

 

 

 

Mold.  Mildew.  Various bacteria.  They all love wet places.  A moldy diaper is a disgusting diaper that can present a health issue, particularly if your child has mold allergies.  A mildewy diaper is a stinky diaper.  Either way, it’s just gross.  It’s far more disgusting that poo.

Won’t Someone Please Think of the Diapers?

Leaving your diapers to soak in a wet pail can actually break down aspects of your diaper.  Constant soaking isn’t great for elastics.  Soaking in some of my mother’s favorite treatments for flat cloth diapers are guaranteed to void your warranty with modern diapers.  There is absolutely zero benefit to using a wet diaper pail for modern cloth diapers.

So now that I’ve told you how not to store your dirty cloth diapers, here’s a break down of the best ways to keep your cloth diaper laundry.

Pocket Cloth Diapers – My Passion

I love pocket cloth diapers.  It seems that I’m not alone: Prince George seems to be a pocket cloth diapers town.  Most of the local moms that use cloth diapers are particularly fond of them.

Why do I love pocket cloth diapers?  (And what do I think makes them so popular?)

Pocket Cloth Diapers are Easy

My husband has ginormous hands.  He has never stuffed any of my pocket cloth diapers and refuses to do so.  For him, pocket cloth diapers are no more difficult than disposables.  Some pocket diapers are easier than others for him, though: he has stated point blank that he prefers FuzziBunz diapers.  He knows how those go on.  The snap placement is 100% consistent.

Pocket Diapers are Versatile

Are you going to be going out for a while?  No problem.  Add a booster and call it done.  If you’re tired of microfiber for whatever reason, just buy new inserts in whatever fiber you prefer.  You can bulk it up for an overnight cloth diapering solution.  Really, you can stuff whatever you want into the pockets to get the level of absorbency that you need.  (Within reason, of course.  Some pockets have more generous space to stuff things than others.)  That versatility also includes the dizzying array of prints and colors available.  There’s also a wide variety of inner fabric, too.

Pocket Cloth Diapers Exist in a Variety of Price Points

My first pocket cloth diapers were FuzziBunz one size diapers.  They were $25 each, which was pretty on-par for those diapers back then.  You can get premium brand pocket diapers for up to $28 each or China Cheapies for $3 each if you use a co-op.  You can also find pocket diapers in all price points and quality levels in between.

Are you a fan of pocket diapers?  What’s your favorite?

Pocket Cloth Diapers - My Passion (Cloth Diaper Addicts)

Pocket cloth diapers are the bulk of my stash.



Cloth Diapering Misconceptions

Cloth Diapering Misconceptions (Cloth Diaper Addicts)I’ve been going through an old blog that I started when I was pregnant with Norton.  Since the state of that site is uncertain, I grabbed all of my old posts so I wouldn’t lose them.  My blogs are like my pregnancy and baby books rolled into a public format.  Sometimes I re-read them and smile about where I was back then.  Today I found one that I wrote almost four years ago when I was first considering cloth diapering.

If we’re doing EC, then that gets me on another subject. This is somewhere that I thought that I would never, ever go. On the car ride home from the doctor yesterday, I was discussing the idea of EC with my husband. If we do that, then why not go with cloth diapering? You can get a flushable insert to catch some of the mess, right? And it’s cheaper than using disposable diapers all the time, right?

So my husband asked a question that seemed perfectly reasonable to him. “You mean you’ve already checked with services in town?” Services? What? Then it dawned on me that he was referring to those companies that pick up your soiled cloth diapers and leave you a set of laundered ones.

You know, that never occurred to me. I grew up in the middle of nowhere. I was a mile from the nearest newspaper box, three miles from the nearest payphone, and public transit was a fantasy. The only reliable delivery service out there was the local paper, and even then, sometimes the paper ended up in a puddle.

Honestly, if EC works out, there won’t be that many nasty icky diapers. And if the inserts that I’m thinking of really exist, then there will be even less nasty icky diapers. So, seems to me that with a little diaper pail and a bit of bleach, it won’t be a problem.

My husband then promptly informed me that he will not be entering the laundry room, then. (Not, mind you, that he ever really goes in it now anyway!)

This is too funny.  It’s amazing to me that I thought that cloth diapering was such a freakish thing.  Not only do I now use cloth diapers exclusively, I’ve become a passionate advocate for using cloth diapers.  However, the “cheaper” part kind of went to the wayside for me because I am a cloth diaper addict.  The fact that cloth diapering is actually my hobby adds to it.  In spite of my desire to do elimination communication, I ultimately failed.  We never did research cloth diapering services, but I don’t actually think that there’s one in my city anyway.  I didn’t use flushable inserts for very long (and the most certainly do exist).  And I’ve become militantly anti-bleach on cloth diapers.

As for my husband’s refusal to enter the laundry room, that was also wrong.  Not only does he frequently enter the laundry room (mainly because I haven’t put away his underwear), but he also will actually help me with washing cloth diapers.

Did you have any misconceptions about cloth diapering?