Monday, February 28, 2011

The Great Debate

So you’re probably thinking I’m talking Cloth or Disposable. But really we know you’re here because you’ve made that choice, and now your just trying to decide Wet Bag or Pail Liner. At some point you have to decide how you’re going to store those dirty diapers until wash day. Let’s face it, leaving them lie around on the floor isn’t really an option.

So let’s get some basic facts about each.

Wet Bags are a convenient on-the-go solution for storing diapers. They come in a variety of sizes from small (for your diaper bag) to large bag (for extended daily or daycare use).

Pail Liners are generally intended for at-home use, and have been designed to fit most 13 gallon sized trash cans.

But why would you choose one over the other?

Wet Bag : Many are now with hanging styles and some people prefer them because they don’t have the space for a 13 gallon trash can in their changing area. Also they are easy to just grab if you’re headed on a small day trip, and don’t want to soil two bags.

Pail Liners: Many people prefer them for every day use because then they don’t have to zip/unzip when putting soiled diapers in them. Also some people find they have less stink if they leave the lid off the trash can.

Whichever you choose, you’ll find a routine that works best for your family and household. Like starting out diapering it all takes a little practice and trial and error.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cloth Diapering a Newborn – Final Chapter

Violet is two months old. I think I have to admit that the newborn stage is over. She is officially an infant. *sniff sniff*

At her two month check she weighed in at a healthy 11 lbs 7 oz. Sooooooo...the Rumparooz Lil' Joeys don't quite fit the best anymore. Technically, they say they will fit up to twelve pounds. I still use them, but only when she won't be in them long. They are just a little too snug. The bummer is that the very last setting of snaps is too large for her, but the other setting is too tight. That's just one of the cons of using snaps, I guess. Anyway, I do feel like I got my money's worth. By my calculation, if I used them for only six weeks, they would've paid for themselves. (In comparison to the cost of disposables.) Since they fit for eight weeks, and I can still use them in a pinch, I feel really good about the purchase. Overall, they were awesome.

Here's the sum up of what I really ended up using during the newborn stage: An easy all-in-one cloth diaper and disposable wipes. I never got the hang of using cloth wipes. I'm sure it's a cinch, I just never got a good system down, and in the middle of recovery and sleep depravity it was just too much for me. But it doesn't really matter if you have a newborn or a two year old, cloth wipes are cloth wipes. So I won't go into my lack of cloth wipe commitment in this post. :)

I'm not sure I would've stayed the course with newborn cloth if I hadn't used the awesome all-in-one diapers. Even as a cloth veteran, I still get overwhelmed with snappis, prefolds, and covers. Maybe it's the layers that make me feel cluttered. The simplicity of an all-in-one is more my cup of tea. Although, I will say that I had a couple of fitted diapers that I used occasionally with a cover and that seemed pretty easy. A fitted size 0 Kissaluvs fits great under the size 1 Thirsties duo wrap. My only problem is that my babies seem to have slightly sensitive skin. Both girls have trouble without a stay dry layer between their tiny bunzies and the absorbent diaper.

The Rumparooz Lil' Joeys that I used do have a stay dry layer on top. But around the four week mark, I did notice that if I left them on Violet too long she would get a rash. I was able to leave her in them overnight the first few weeks, but then I noticed she was waking up with a very red bottom. At first, I just had to make sure I changed her halfway through the night. But then that wasn't even enough anymore. I noticed that if I didn't change her as soon as she pooped, or if I left her in a wet diaper more than a couple hours, her bottom was very irritated. I decided to pull out the BumGenius one size diapers. Voila! A couple of days using those exclusively and her bottom cleared right up. I started using these as her overnight diaper. They fit her well on the smallest setting when she was about four weeks old, and probably 8 or 9 pounds.

The rash issue is not necessarily a flaw in the Lil' Joeys diaper. It could be that I needed to give them a super good rinse to get  left over soap out (although I do use Rockin' Green exclusively and it's pretty awesome) or it could be that she was simply out growing them and the absorbency wasn't enough to keep the wetness away from the top of the diaper. I still use them when I know she will be in them less than an hour. This is usually while I nurse her because I know I'll be taking her potty when she's finished. (I'm a freak and take my babies potty. I take Violet right when she wakes up, and then again a few minutes after nursing. Believe it or not, she frequently pees and occasionally poops at this time. You can read about this crazy process on my blog.)

So is cloth diapering a newborn with all-in-one diapers worth the expense? Yes! I feel so good about the amount of disposable diapers that are NOT in a landfill because of my decision to use cloth. Evidently, I don't love the planet enough to fold and pin and cover. But I do love it enough to spend a little money on a convenient way to cloth diaper my newborns. I'm a lazy earth mama.

Check out Charity’s other posts on Newborn Diapering.
Part 1
Part 2

Monday, February 21, 2011

Why Mama Cloth

We know mamas don't often think of cloth for themselves and can often be intimidated by the concept. Despite this, we really wanted to get some mama cloth into our store. We are so excited to add WeeEssentials mama cloth to our lineup and, to kick things off, we wanted Candice--the brains behind WeeEssentials--to tell you why YOU should consider cloth for yourself--not just for your babies bums, help ease your fears, and show you why so many mamas love it!

By Guest Blogger Candice from WeeEssentials:

So you love cloth – diapers, that is. Maybe you’ve switched to cloth kitchen towels, and cloth wipes, too. And now you’ve been thinking: if it’s good enough for my baby, maybe it’s good enough for me?

I’ve been asked a lot of questions about cloth pads since I started selling Wee Essentials cloth menstrual pads on Etsy in 2008. Women worry a lot about how well they work, if they smell, and how to wash them. Many remember their grandmothers talking about wearing “rags” that leaked and were difficult and embarrassing to wash. And a surprising number confide in me that when their periods are over, they are left raw, red, and irritated in their most sensitive areas.

But there is a reason why most women who try cloth pads never go back: cloth is comfortable, easy, and actually a little fun! (Hey, you need something that will cheer you up when Aunt Flo comes!)

I’d like to answer some of the questions women have asked me, and explain some of the best benefits to using mama cloth!

· It’s comfortable. Disposable pads are made of paper and dehydrated cellulose (ie. Wood fibers!) That’s why they chafe and itch. It’s like wearing cardboard! Cloth pads are generally topped with natural fibers like cotton – just like your underwear.

· It’s pretty – okay, this probably isn’t the best reason, but I like it! It sounds silly, but it makes me smile a little when I choose a pretty pad. I need that when I get my period. It’s a whole lot better than bleached white paper!

· Yes, they are absorbent. And, yes, they will leak – only if you wear them too long. Just like any pad. But I can tell you this – in my memory, I’ve only had a cloth menstrual pad leak on me once, and it was because I didn’t want to get up to change.

Look for pads that contain a bamboo or hemp core – they are some of the most absorbent natural fibers available. Bamboo and hemp hold a great deal more than a cotton core, so they are worth the additional cost. You can also buy menstrual pads with or without a waterproof layer. Wee Essentials pads typically use PUL, which is the same waterproof barrier used in many cloth diapers. I’ve also made my pads with polyester fleece or with no waterproof barrier at all for customers.

· No, they don’t usually smell. That menstrual blood smell comes from bacteria from your body multiplying in your pad. I don’t honestly know why cloth pads smell less, but I do theorize that the plastic in the disposable pads raises the temperature of the blood more than cloth pads does and allows the germs to multiply faster.

· They are easy to care for: if you don’t like stains, rinse them after you use them with cold water. (Hot water will set the stain – it literally cooks the proteins in your blood and removing that is kind of like removing last night’s burned lasagna from the pan…)

If you are like me and don’t care too much about stains, you can throw them in a dry pail until you are ready to wash. They wash best when you wash them like diapers – a cold rinse, a hot wash, and another rinse. If you don’t use cloth diapers, just throw them in with your towels and add a cold rinse beforehand. Most washers allow you to preset that now, so you don’t even have to come back after the rinse! You can tumble dry them on low in the dryer.

· They are designed by women, for women. Granted, the disposable pad companies have figured this out, too. Things like wings and easy-to-place designs help make your period a little easier. I also like that I don’t feel like I’m wearing a huge diaper!

· They save you money. Yes, the initial cost is much higher. $8 for a pack of disposables sounds a lot better than $8 for one cloth pad! But when you start to think about the cost per disposable, you’ll begin to see what I’m saying.

I went to today and looked at the cost-per-unit for Always and Kotex brand regular maxi pads with wings. I found that prices ranged from 17 cents to 26 cents a pad. (For reference, that’s about what a brand-name disposable diaper costs!)

When you realize that you can use the same cloth pad several times during a cycle, you can see how quickly the cloth pads will begin to pay for themselves. And that doesn’t even include the costs spent on medications…

· Anecdotal evidence suggests that cloth pads may actually reduce or stop yeast infections, vaginitis, and other irritations of your private areas. On several occasions I’ve had new customers complain of redness, soreness, or even raw skin after a week of using disposable menstrual pads. When they switched to cloth, they no longer had those symptoms – the disposables irritated their sensitive skin. Many people have told me they have had fewer yeast infections since changing to cloth (myself included – I don’t think I’ve had one since I switched, and I used to have one nearly every month!)

· Oh, and the most obvious one: Cloth pads are more environmentally friendly than disposables. All but the waterproof or water resistant layer and any plastic snaps can be composted or burned, rather than wrapped in a plastic wrapper, thrown into a plastic trash bag, and then into a landfill. Also, cloth pads don’t require a separate wash, and they are small, so they can be thrown in with any load of laundry – no extra water or soap is required!

I would love to answer any other questions you may have about cloth pads. Please feel free to post questions or comments here, or to email me at with your questions if you aren’t comfortable asking them here. Don’t worry – I am not easily embarrassed!

Although I am a cloth pad maker and seller, my main goal is to introduce women to cloth – even if you buy elsewhere! (Though, of course, I do hope you will buy the Wee Essentials brand!) I’m delighted to be able to work with Top to Bottom Baby Boutique to pamper the mamas with cloth just as much as the babies!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Types of Diapers

Here is just a quick run down of the different types of diapers out there. We thought it might be helpful for those out there just starting out, and for those who would like to try a different type of diapering. Let us know if there is anything we missed or need to add. We’re all learning together!

Flats: Your cheapest option. Not waterproof (requires a cover). Flats are a large, single-ply sheets of cotton that you fold up into different configurations to diaper your baby with. Secure them with a Snappi or pins.
Pros: Easy to clean and they dry very quickly.
Cons: Require a tiny bit more effort than some other options. Can be bulky.
Suggested Brands:
OsoCozy Flats

Prefolds: Next-cheapest option. Not waterproof. Probably what your mom thinks of when she hears "cloth diaper." They are rectangular diapers with more layers in the middle and fewer on the sides. Typically folded around your baby and secured with a Snappi or pins, though you can lay them into a wrap style cover and use that way.
Pros and cons: About the same as flats, except they don't require as much folding as flats.
Suggested Brands:
Green Earth Prefolds, Bummis Organic Prefolds 

Fitteds: The next step up in the world of cloth. Usually having elastic gatherings in the legs and waist. This makes them the perfect fit for any baby. Looking like a disposable diaper, they usually have velcro or snaps to close, but sometimes require pins or a snappi. Not waterproof. Excellent nighttime option when paired with a wool cover (more about that below). Usually made predominantly from natural fibers; sometimes have microfiber or something else sewn into the core for absorbency.
Pros: Less work than flats or prefolds.
Cons: Still requires a cover, can sometimes take a long time to dry, bulky.
Suggested Brands:
Monkey Snuggles, Bunky Fluff, Kissaluvs, Tiny Tush, Thirsties Duo Fitted

Pockets: Looks like a sposie, comes in two pieces: A shell, which has a waterproof outer layer and usually a synthetic stay-dry inner layer; and the insert, which can be made of microfiber, cotton, bamboo, hemp, etc. The insert is stuffed into an opening in the shell (the pocket, hence the name) for absorbency.
Pros: Dries quickly because the shell and insert come apart. Waterproof. Customizable - you can add inserts if you need more absorbency. Trimmer than other options.
Cons: Some people report wicking around the legs and waist. More expensive than other options. Synthetic fabrics. 
Suggested Brands:
Thirsties Duo, Fuzzi Bunz One Size, Rump-a-Rooz, Knickernappies OS, Bum Genius 4.0, Apple Cheeks

All-in-Ones (AIOs): The most akin to disposables, these diapers have a waterproof outer layer and are all one piece. Just slap it on and go.
Pros: Easy, trimmer than other options.
Cons: Takes a long time to dry, not customizable, more expensive than other options.
Suggested Brands:
Bummis AIO Easy Fit, Bum Genius AIO

Hybrids: These are diapers that consist of two pieces - an outer, waterproof shell, and an insert for the inside. They're kind of like pockets except there usually isn't a pocket to put the insert in - you just lay it in. The idea is that you just change the inserts and don't have to change the covers except once a day. They can also include disposable inserts for those who do not want to fully use cloth.
Pros: Easy.
Cons: I've not used them myself, but I understand that the way they work, poop will still get on the cover, so you generally use several covers a day. They're also on the pricey side.
Suggested Brands:


These are waterproof, usually have snaps or velcro, and are pretty trim. Mainly close with Velcro or Snaps.
Suggested Brands:
Thirsties Duo Wraps, Bummis Super Whisper Wrap, Flip Cover

Wool: Popular for use at night with fitteds, though many also use it during the day. Natural fiber, breathable. Expensive, though, if you don't know how to knit your own. If properly lanolized, they don't require frequent washing.
Suggested Brands:
Monkey Snuggles Wool Longies

Fleece: A cheaper alternative to wool and be easily sewn yourself. They have to be washed after every use, though and can be washed with normal laundry.
Suggested Brands: You can find many WAHM brands on