Tag Archives: eco-friendly

Backyard chickens and basketball

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Yesterday I took the kids to the park for a bit and overheard the following while passing by the basketball courts where two very basketball looking dudes were playing a game…

P1: Oh yeah, we got more chickens, six little ones.
P2: What’s the deal with that anyway, do you guys eat eggs every morning or what?
P1: Yep. Every morning. Sometimes for lunch. Plus, we treat ours better than the hens that lay eggs for the stores. They get to run around in our backyard and eat what they’re supposed to.

I mean, if two basketball dudes are talking about this sort of thing, I hope we’re on the cusp of major change.

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Tutorial: Turning BumGenius 3.0 diaper cover to training pant (PullUp)

I feel like we have been potty training with Bean for forever. I know it hasn’t been that long though. It started with what was essentially a little EC (elimination communication) where she would make a certain face or tell us when she was going and we would take her to the potty to do her business.

At some point she started really wanting to use the potty rather than go in her diaper. Then at another point she hated using the potty. At another point she was too distracted to use the potty regularly. Then she was mostly accident free so long as I prompted her to go. Lately she has been telling me she has to go while running to the bathroom and she is mostly accident free.

However, that is only with me. Lately she only wants me to help her with potty stuff and throws a huge fit if I am busy and Stephen has to take her instead. She wants nothing to do with help from her preschool or Sunday school teachers. So I usually just have her try before and after and she wears a PullUp to class. We also use PullUps for trips, days where we are out of the house all day doing errands or activities and for naps and at night.

My original plan was to use a cloth version of PullUps. I searched out a few different options and eventually settled on the Happy Heiny trainers. The reviews said these were trim and I liked that you could order them with snaps on each side so that if there was a poop accident it would be much easier to clean up and deal with. Besides, the actual PullUps brand training pants also open at the sides, so that is what I expected and was used to. No one wants to drag a training pant full of poop down their toddler’s leg and then try to have them navigate their feet out of that training pant without making a mess.

When my order got here though I was so disappointed. They are so bulky. When we stuff them with even just one insert, it is like she has a balloon between her legs. People always made fun of me because of our kids’ giant cloth diaper bums, but believe me there is worse out there than the BumGenius. BumGenius and now our Flip diapers are actually really trim comparatively.

So anyway we’ve been going through a lot of PullUps lately, especially since Bean started preschool. And I hate buying them. I hate worrying about if we have enough to get us through this or that. I hate throwing them away and creating so much trash. I hate that Bean gets rashes from them all the time. I hate that they are plastered with Disney Princess crap (I know, slightly silly of me). I just hate them. Period.

I have asked around though and there really doesn’t seem to be a much better alternative in the cloth diapering world that matches up to an actual PullUp.

So, I have been getting crafty the last couple days. I have all the BumGenius covers that we are no longer using. I also have something like 300 snaps that I ordered for when my plan was to replace the velcro on them. I figured the worst that could happen is that I could wind up permanently ruining something that we are probably going to wind up throwing away anyway, right?

I did a search to see if there were any tutorials on how to go about converting a BumGenius cover to a PullUp or training pant. One blog had a picture, but her training pant did not open at the sides. She basically just removed the tabs and sewed them shut.

So I had to come up with my own plan.

The first thing I did was take an actual PullUp and lay it down open and flat against one of my diaper covers to figure out where I needed to make alterations.

Pretty much other than the fact that the BumGenius is more bikini cut than the PullUp (which actually we usually wind up folding the PullUps down a bit because Bean is her mother’s very sensitive daughter and if it touches her wrong she is uncomfortable and whines), the only difference is that the elastic and Velcro tabs extend beyond the PullUp.

So yesterday I made my first one. I used a seam ripper to remove the Velcro from the front, the elastic tabs and the laundry tabs.

Then I flipped the back part where the elastic tabs used to be inside out and made a seam there.

The result pretty much lines up with the PullUp.

Then I used my snap pliers to attach some snaps on the sides and I had a cloth PullUp. So I had Bean try it on and model it for me. She wasn’t super cooperative. First she didn’t want to put it on at all because, “No, I’m a big girl now! I don’t wear diapers anymore!” And then she didn’t want to hold still for the picture.

We used the prototype last night with a pre-fold and had no leaks or issues. However, though it fits, it is a little snug. There is no way she’d be able to get it on and off by herself.

So I made another today and instead of completely removing the elastic tab, I cut just before the velcro tabs and then repeated the process.

Bean is napping right now so I haven’t actually tried this one on her, but I think it should be a slightly better fit and easier to get on and off. Also, success at nap today, when presented with a disposable PullUp, “I don’t want to wear a sposable, Mama, I want to wear a cloth PullUp.” She was very disappointed I didn’t have more. I told her I had to make more.

Edited to add: The second attempt seems just a tad too big. It stays on, but starts to sag. I will have to adjust again. Overall I have it mostly figured out though.

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An update on my cloth diapering adventures

We made some recent changes in the cloth diapering department, so I decided an update post was in order since I’ve blogged so extensively about the subject and I know I have many followers that have been converted to cloth from reading my posts (Haha, funny moment this weekend at our cousin’s baby shower, one of her friends came up to me and said, “Hi Lisa. You don’t know me, but I read your blog. And I started cloth diapering because of you. It’s been so great for us.”).

Well, after 2.5 years, and 2 kids worth of use, the microfiber inserts that came with my BumGenius 3.0 diapers had had it. They were still intact, they were still absorbent, but they stunk. And they stunk bad. Much of the “hook and loop” (Velcro) closures were also pretty worn (you may remember I’d started converting my diapers to snaps, but I only got a handful of them done). Changing diapers was an olfactory experience that I could not really deal with anymore. Then washing and drying them, P. U. It would stink up our whole house!

I tried so many things. Soaking. Bleaching. More soaking. Anti bacterials. Oxi Clean. Baking soda and vinegar. I scoured the Internet for “microfiber stink solutions,” “stinky BumGenius solution,” you name it I probably Googled it and tried it on my diapers. Nothing worked.

I had pretty much resolved to get rid of the inserts and either make or buy my own cotton inserts. Until I could get around to it, I had started using Huggies Pure & Natural Diapers or Seventh Generation diapers for Sprout and Pull-Ups or the Seventh Generation brand training pants for Bean. Stephen and I both noticed quite a spike in our budget during this period. So he started trying to be more proactive about the diaper laundry and using cloth. It was nice, but I was still sick of our microfiber.

Then my aunt called out of the blue one day and said for a combined Mother’s Day, birthday and new baby present this year she wanted to get us a cloth diapering service. She had researched it out, found three companies that serve our area and was surprised it wasn’t as expensive as she’d thought.

So I called up the companies next to find out a little more. I had a nice chat with one of owners of a Santa Clarita based company about cloth diapering and my cloth diapering problems. She told me that microfiber can only be guaranteed a year or a certain number of washes which is why diapering services can’t use them. She was surprised I made it 2.5 years with mine. She said they use cotton pre-folds because they can get the stink out and they last longer. This is basically what I had read on the Internet too, but it made more sense hearing it from someone who’s entire business revolves around cloth diapering.

After looking into it a little more though, I was disappointed to find that the diapering service only takes care of washing the pre-fold inserts and not the covers. To me, this didn’t really seem all that helpful. I’d have to keep two separate pails for the covers and inserts (which cloth diapering stuff already takes up enough room in our place), and I’d still be doing some diapering laundry.

So I talked to my aunt a little more about it and she said she would replace our old diapers instead.

Overall I still felt that my BumGenius diapers were a good investment and a good quality product. But I knew I wanted to go with cotton and not microfiber this time. I also had fairly good experiences with the distributor/parent company (I think that’s what they are?), Cotton Babies, so I did not hesitate to go back to them.

BumGenius does make an organic cotton version of their diapers, but they are all one piece. Plus, the new ones come in your choice of snaps or hook and loop. I actually liked that we could stuff our other diapers because I could control how much we needed to add or subtract for absorbency. I still wanted the flexibility of a pocket diaper or just a cover. I knew I would also go with snaps over hook and loop this time.

Since I bought/was gifted my BG 3.0s over 2.5 years ago, Cotton Babies has come out with two other kinds of diapers, the Flip System and the EconoBum.

The Flip diapers are pretty similar to G Diapers in that they have cloth or disposable inserts depending on your need. You can reuse the covers until they get gross, so you just keep replacing the inserts otherwise. They also have two cloth options, microfiber and cotton. Another good difference between the Flip and G Diapers is that like the BumGenius diapers they are one size and you can get them in snaps or hook and loop closure. They also come in all the fun colors that the BumGenius diapers do. And from what I could tell of the pictures, they looked like they fit just like the BumGenius diapers do, which is one of the things I really liked about those diapers.

So after a little contemplation and calculating, I decided to go with Flip covers. However, the Flip cotton insert pretty much looked like a cotton pre-fold to me and since I knew from my conversation with the diapering service that pre-folds last the longest, I decided to go with unbleached cotton pre-folds instead of the official Flip insert. Besides, the pre-folds were much cheaper!

The hardest part for me was trying to figure out how many inserts and covers to get. With the BumGenius I had 40+ diapers that I just ordered all together and all their pieces got worn and tossed in the diaper pail together. With these I knew I wouldn’t need as many of the covers since I’d be using them for more than one diaper change. I was slightly concerned about the absorbability of the cotton versus microfiber and whether I’d be doing more changes or doubling up to get that same level of absorbency that I was used to. So in the end, I decided to go with 20 covers and 60 pre-folds.

I know it sounds like a lot, but now that we are using them (well, we have been since Sunday anyway), I think I made the right decision for two kids in diapers. It is a little much for mostly just Sprout though (I had to plan ahead, Bean is pretty much in undies except for naps she wears a cloth diaper, but for preschool and at night we put a disposable training pant on her because she needs the extra absorbency). So a person with one kid in diapers could probably get away with a lot less.

I am also pleased to report that the cotton pre-folds are really absorbent and stand up to what we were used to with the microfiber just fine. I haven’t really noticed any extra diaper changes and we haven’t had any leaks, even overnight. The diapers fit pretty much the same as our BumGenius diapers did. The snaps work great and are easy to use.

I know it may be a bit premature since we are only a few days in, but I am really happy with the change.


My new diapers arrived in the mail last week along with a new Ergo carrier. I was so excited!


A Flip cover and a pre-fold insert after I had pre-washed everything. My initial excitement over the diapers was kind of put on hold when I read that the new Cotton Babies recommendation for diaper prep was SEVEN washes and dries! With our BG 3.0s I distinctly remember that we only had to do three.


Open Flip cover with the pre-fold in place.


Closed up Flip diaper all ready to go.


Bean wearing a Flip diaper with cotton pre-fold for nap today. I love the snaps and the fact that I can put my kids down for a nap sans pants and not worry that they will get bored and take off their diaper. This will be great during the summer when their rooms get a little warm even with the air on because of where they are positioned, getting the afternoon sun and being upstairs where heat rises.

Anyway, that about sums things up. Special thanks to my auntie for the new diapers. I am so happy with them!

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The ramblings of a very frustrated person

I am frustrated about a ton of stuff right now.

And it all feels completely overwhelming. Like there is nothing that can be done. No good choices. All compromises. Hard compromises. Imperfection.

Historically, personally speaking, this has been the worst time for me to write a post. But it is so maddening that I can think of nothing better than writing it all out.

Where to begin?

I guess I will start at the food industry. It pretty much sucks. Alternatives are not always affordable. I already feel like our grocery budget is completely outrageous compared to most people. And then we are supposed to afford all this other stuff, like preschool.

Which brings me to that topic. And how it is completely agreed upon that every child should go to preschool, that it has many benefits and children who go thru it are more successful. And how Kindergarten teachers I know that see on a child’s history that they didn’t go to preschool and automatically label them from the beginning as a problem child. But it is, in many cases, prohibitively expensive. So in our case we are settling for something mediocre, but barely affordable and even then my husband is making a big deal about the cost.

And the housing market and how we bought at the worst time ever and our house is now worth 45% less than when we bought it. And we don’t even get to live in it. Or how we’ll never be able to afford to live in a house in this city.

Or how PETA is complaining about how makeup brushes are made with animal fur and bad for animal welfare and skin so here use these other kinds made with taklon which is a polyester synthetic petroleum product and petroleum is bad for the environment too.

And how this city is too close to LA and everyone is so driven and aggressive and I find it highly annoying trying to compete with it.

And how I basically want to drop out of life and live in the middle of nowhere and just have a farm and barely make out an existence, but who cares because then at least I would have complete control over all the inputs into my family’s diet.

Or how everyone goes on these nice vacations to foreign countries and Disneyland and we don’t even have passports or the ability to go anywhere pretty much ever and every time we do go on vacation it results in arguments about money stuff for the next several months afterwards which completely negates any relaxing or fun effects of a vacation.

Or how vacations are just exhausting and means you usually have to deal with a lot of annoying people at airports or on the road or at Disneyland or at a children’s museum. Which is just annoying because life is already full of enough of that.

Or how my cloth diapers that are supposed to be environmentally friendly by reducing the amount of trash in our landfills (1 ton per kid per year) are made out of petroleum products and probably caused more harm to the environment while they were being made than if I just used disposables all along. But then how disposables are super expensive and we’ve already invested in cloth. And how the diapers won’t let go of their funk and it has been frustrating me for about a year now.

Or how I have made converts out of people with regards to cloth or food or homebirth, but what does that say about my ability to evangelize “the things that have eternal importance” and how most people just see me as another angry environmentalist wacko with too much time for research on my hands who’s faith is secondary?

And speaking of faith, how just when you think you’ve found what you are looking for the Church fails you again and you realize that no matter what there are really hard compromises to be made and how you believe in Jesus and all that but pretty much have started to hate church in general. Because it is sucky people making sucky mistakes and being generally sucky and I just want to be a hermit on my farm in the middle of nowhere.

The end.

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The October Daily, 10/18

I pulled out our next batch of handmedowns last night. We have been so blessed by friends and family in that we have hardly had to buy any clothes for our kids. I spent the day doing laundry and going through the closet to make room for all the “new” fall stuff.

Bean obviously has a mountain of clothes as usual (right) and Sprout has a pretty good pile too (left).

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My paperless kitchen

Aside from pregnancy updates, you may have noticed that blog content around here is a little low lately. Well, I got a little inspiration this morning thanks to Morgan sharing this little gem in my Google Reader: How to Create a Paperless Kitchen.

Stephen and I (Actually, he was the main proponent behind it. What? My formerly registered Republican husband an environmentalist? Huh?), just implemented this in our kitchen not too long ago. I was so excited that I was about to leave the longest comment ever on Morgan’s shared items and then I decided that it would probably just be better if I wrote up a post.

Now the original poster does a very good job of explaining the whys and hows (so you should really go check that out), but I just wanted to talk about how we make this work for us so if any of you are thinking about doing this you can maybe get some more ideas.

When we first started feeding Bean solid foods I set out to just use washcloths to clean her up after meals. This was easy when we lived in a one story house and getting a washcloth just meant a quick trip down the hall to her bedroom. When we moved to TO, however, I got in a really bad habit of using disposable wipes after her meals because going upstairs to get a clean washcloth after a meal (or remembering to bring some down beforehand) and then taking it back up to dispose of in the diaper pail seemed like such a pain, especially after I got pregnant again. I also kept running out of washcloths before it was time to do a load of diapers.

When we sat down to talk about creating a paperless kitchen in our house the solutions to this problem were obvious and simple. I bought a few more packs of washcloths so we wouldn’t run out all the time and started keeping a stack of clean cloths in the drawer where we keep Bean’s bibs. So now I always have some clean cloths handy to clean up with after meal time.


Burp cloths, bibs and wash cloths. This is Bean’s drawer. Sprout has a similar drawer next to it with his stuff.

We were also really bad about using paper for meal times and cleanup. The thing is, we already had plenty of kitchen towels, napkins and other cloth cleaning products, but we were just really bad about using them when a paper towel was right there and so handy. So not having a roll of paper towels out all the time has also help force us to grab the cloth stuff.


My kitchen towel and hot pad drawer.


Microfiber cleaning cloths for heavy duty stuff.


I found these super absorbant cloths at Trader Joe’s. I haven’t really found a use for them yet, but they are there.


These are my somewhat boring collection of cloth napkins that we’ve had ever since we got married. I wish I had some in much more fun prints. I’ll hopefully make/buy some more eventually, but these work for now.

I guess the other big key for us in creating a paperless kitchen was designating a space to put the dirty stuff. Maybe this isn’t such a big deal when you live in a place that is only one story, but it was a big deal in our two story apartment. I did not want to be going up and down the stairs several times a day with dirty dish towels, wash cloths, napkins, etc. Nor did I want these items piled on my small amount of kitchen counter space to be taken up in one big load. I actually stole the solution to this problem from my sister-in-law. When we watched her girls during their Norway vacation I noticed she kept a little laundry basket under the sink for kitchen laundry. Brilliant! I already had a perfect sized basket. It was just a matter of organizing under the sink a little to make room.

I usually grab whatever is in the basket when I am getting ready to do a load of Bean’s diapers and wash it all together. I guess it might seem gross to some people that I’m washing kitchen laundry with diaper laundry, but it IS clean in the end and I don’t really see it as a big deal. So that’s what we do. Plus, I don’t want greasy and food covered laundry getting washed in with the rest of my stuff.

One thing we still use paper for is the occasional big Saturday morning breakfast in order to drain the grease off meat, but other than that I’m proud to say we’ve been happily paper free in our kitchen for a few months now. Hopefully this inspires some of you to do the same.

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Obesity in America

This weekend when we got our box of AH produce, I was once again intrigued by the newsletter that accompanied it. This happens to me almost every week even though I will admit to not agreeing 100 percent with everything he has to say. In light of this headline I saw this morning on my iGoogle page, I think the following excerpt from the newsletter is really interesting:

We talked a few weeks back about the necessity of soil microbes to digest and make available to crop roots the various natural minerals our bodies need for proper functioning and how 60lbs of synthetic fertilizer (most growers would use 80-120lbs at a time) is a lethal dose to most of the more efficient microbes. Well, this sterilizing of the soil with commercial “N” (nitrogen) is responsible for the major reduction in nutritional value in conventionally grown whole fruits and vegetables over the past 60 years. When soil ceases to be a thriving, living organism, it ceases to give us the nurtrition we need to thrive! Some would say conventional produce has lost 40-60% of its nutritional value, but for arguments sake, what if we took a really safe number like 20%. Now stay with me here. If our body needs just 20% more food until it’s nutritionally satisfied and turns off the “feed me” switch; that all by itself explains the obesity problem we’re “suddenly” confronted with as a nation. Okay, so we buy energy from people who don’t much like us. Not sustainable! We turn it into synthetic fertilizer to feed us and our livestock nutritionally inferior crops. NOT SUSTAINABLE!! Then we overload the medical folks with all kinds of nutritionally preventable maladies. REALLY NOT SUSTAINABLE!!! The solution is so simple and so sustainable that man’s employed it throughout history. Biological fertility gives us everything we need to produce delicious, nutritious exciting food. We’re not elitists or snobs and we wouldn’t force others to do it our way, we’re just sustainably healthy and happy and anyone who’d like to quit being sick and grumpy is welcome to join us.

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I love cloth diapering, part 5: From changing table to laundry room

For cloth diapering you use many of the same accessories that go with diapering in general. You just have to plan for extra storage (because the diapers are much more bulky), odor control, and there is the laundry factor that everyone who considers cloth diapering freaks out about.

So I’ll start in the nursery and work our way through the life of a cloth diaper.

This is my changing table:

Looks pretty typical, right? That’s because it is. Now if I were using disposables, probably only one or two of those baskets would be used for diaper storage. The rest we’d use for clothes or toys or whatever. Since cloth diapers are so much more bulky than disposables, every single one of those baskets contains diapers.

To ensure that my diapers get even wear and tear I do sort of have a system to the baskets. I work left to right, top to bottom. So I’ll go through the top row from left to right. When those three baskets are empty it is usually time to do a load of laundry. I also move the bottom row of baskets to the top and then work from left to right again. When I finish washing my load, those diapers go back in the bottom row of empty baskets.

Just to the right of the changing pad I have some typical and some not-so-typical items that you might find on a changing table. What you see are: wash cloths which are my cloth wipes, a tube of diaper rash cream with a tube of yeastie cream under it, a pump bottle of Method baby lotion, a pump bottle of hand sanitizer (which is never used, I personally prefer old fashioned hand washing), a bottle of baby oil, and a storage container with liquid in it.

When changing a diaper I pick up one washcloth from the pile, dunk it in the storage container, squeeze it out and then use just like a regular wipe. I also have a system for my wipes to ensure they get even wear and tear. When I’m folding the diaper laundry, I make a pile of my washcloths. I simply stick this pile under the existing pile on top of the changing table.

I must admit I’m a bit addicted to buying washcloths. Every four months or so Circo comes out with new patterns of washcloths. Since a five pack is only $3 I get a new pack if I notice they’ve changed their pattern and I’m at Target.

Just like most moms, I use wipes for everything: cleanup after a meal, quick cleanup of dirty hands and feet and of course, diaper cleanup. If you are going to use cloth wipes you definitely need more of them than diapers because you will use more than one per diaper change and you will probably use them for other stuff like I do. I have no idea how many I have, but it’s a lot.

So what’s in the liquid solution in the storage container, you ask? That is my homemade wipes solution. It is really easy: 1 squirt baby shampoo, 4 drops Tea Tree Oil (a natural antibacterial), and then water filled to the top of the container which I think is probably about 8oz. There are TONS of different solutions that you can find recipes online for though. Just do a Google search for “DIY baby wipes recipe” and you will find them.

So when I am changing a dirty diaper, as I am taking the diaper off I fasten the velcro tabs to the laundry tabs on the back of the diaper. This prevents them from sticking to everything else in the laundry.

I finish cleaning Bean up with some wipes and place them in the middle of the diaper. I pull the diaper out from under her bottom and then fold it in half and toss it in our diaper pail.

My diaper pail is a simplehuman step trashcan. I really like these trash cans and I am a bit fanatical about them. We went through several step cans early on in our marriage before we got one of these as part of the welcoming package for our new home. It was instant love: the lid does a great job of keeping the smells in, the plastic liner is easy to clean and keeps yucky stuff from leaking all over the rest of the trash can, the step mechanism doesn’t break after 10 uses and they look nice. We immediately went out and bought another for our recyclables and then when I got pregnant with Bean I knew I wanted one to use as our diaper pail. They are more pricey than most other trash cans, but we decided it was worth it to have a step can that actually works and continues to work in the long term.

Most diaper pails you can find at a baby store will work with cloth diapers so long as they are not the kind that have a plastic bag in them that twists, separates and seals off each diaper. So if you don’t want to spend $60-$100 on a trashcan you can look into one of those. Just make sure it says that it works with cloth diapers.

Once my diaper pail is full I pull out the liner and cart it over to the laundry room next door to Bean’s room. Then I put on my laundry gloves, which are just a regular pair of rubber kitchen gloves, and begin loading the dryer. I seperate the wipes from the diaper and toss them in and then I remove the inserts from the pocket and toss them in before tossing in the shell.

If the thought of touching soggy or poopy diapers really bothers you, I really recommend getting a pair of rubber kitchen gloves for your laundry room. It has made doing diaper laundry so much easier for me, especially on days when I am feeling particularly squimish.

Since our laundry room is in our guest bathroom, I take care of my poopy diapers all at once. Now that Bean is eating solid foods she has solid poops. So, if I come across a poopy diaper while I am loading the washer I take it over to the toilet, shake off any solids into the toilet and then resume pulling it apart and sticking it in the washer. Sometimes I have to use a little toilet paper to get the solids off, but for the most part they just shake off. Actually, it is technically illegal to dispose of human waste in landfills. So even those of you that use disposables are supposed to do this!

To wash this is what I do: one cold wash with detergent, one hot wash with detergent and one cold wash without detergent to rinse. It is important to use a detergent free of dyes, perfumes, brighteners, and any other additives because these will build up on your diapers and cause them to start repelling the moisture instead of absorbing it.

Even with additive free detergent though you still may get some buildup and you will need to strip them if that is the case. You can tell if you need to strip your diapers if they smell funny even after you’ve washed them or if they suddenly start leaking. I’ve seen a bunch of different ways online to go about doing this, but what I do is just 1 tbsp of regular blue Dawn in place of my detergent.

To dry you can either line dry or sun your diapers or you can dry them in the dryer. I don’t have much space for hang drying so I do it in the dryer, plus the dryer refreshes the velcro (or so I’ve been told). Since the inserts are so absorbant it usually takes two dry cycles for them, but only one for the shells. I will admit that I’m usually lazy though and just restart the dryer without removing the shells.

Another thing that has come up with the solid food/poop is stains. Arg! The perfectionist in me really has a hard time with this. I have tried a lot of things, but was told that sun is best for this. I have to admit I was quite skeptical, but it does help. However, it didn’t completely get rid of all the stains. I think another round in the sun probably would have done the trick though. I did take before and after pictures of my experiment. I am going to assume that most of you reading this are moms and have had to deal with many disgusting things before, including stains. So hopefully you don’t get grossed out by these pictures!

The worst ones prior to drying in the sun:

Same diapers after drying in the sun:

I am so glad I took pictures because I’ll admit when I went out there and still saw some stains I was a bit disappointed, but the pictures really show how much of a difference the sun made!

After the diapers are dry I “fold” them. Basically I just stuff all the inserts back in the diapers and then put them in stacks in the baskets. I also make a stack of the washcloths and put them where they belong.

That about covers the laundry and the life of a diaper. My last installment will talk about the logistics of doing cloth when you are not at home.

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I love cloth diapering, part 4: Building a stash

When I started looking into cloth diapers, I went to the two friends I knew that were doing it: Emily and Tiffany. Both of them had a ton of advice for me, just like I have for anyone that asks me about it now. I was also trying to research lots of other stuff at the time. So, I was completely overwhelmed by the length and the amount of information in both of their e-mails, just as I am sure the friends that have asked me have felt.

Both had a list of recommendations for a stash of diapers to get me started. There were a lot of different kinds of diapers in this list. Then, when I looked online it seemed that every single kind of diaper had different washing instructions. “Oh great,” I thought, “I’m going to be washing three diapers this way, two this way and I’ll have to keep track of the covers and this just seems way too complicated!”

Well, as I said in the last posts, the diapers we decided to go with are the BumGenius 3.0 one-size pocket diapers. Both girls had said that these diapers were their go-to, Daddy-friendly, workhorse diaper (though I will note that Tiffany’s feelings on this brand have changed). Instead of getting a varied stash as they both recommended, I just wanted to deal with one kind of diaper that we could use through the entirety of Bean’s diapering process. Plus, these looked like they were really easy to use (and they are).

I have 42 of them, which is a crazy amount to have. You don’t need that many. I originally intended to have somewhere around 30, but we got a good deal from Cotton Babies by ordering them in bulk and it was cheaper so we wound up with that many. One of the common complaints that you will see in reviews of these diapers is problems with the velcro tabs or the elastic in the leg opening going out. Since my stash is so huge, my diapers get less wear and tear and I have not had any of these problems. People with much smaller stashes tend to see these problems more often.

If I was starting over from scratch, now that I know what I know about cloth diapering — which is that it isn’t as overwhelming as I made it out to be — I would probably have followed both my friends’ advice and ordered a variety of different diapers to build my stash.

I also would not have any diapers with velcro now that I know the type of kid Bean is. She tends to be a bit meticulous and notices even the tiniest of details. She also likes to pick at things, including the velcro tabs on her cloth diapers. I cannot leave her in just a diaper for a long period of time because she will take the thing off. I have actually heard this is a very common problem that a lot of parents face with their kids. I have had friends that resorted to making duct tape belts on their kids’ diapers so they couldn’t get them off. Snaps are much more difficult for babies to figure out and pull apart, so I would have picked diapers with only snap closures.

Finally, I would have only purchased gender neutral colors/patterns for my cloth diapers. I seriously worry about the number of pink diapers we currently own if baby #2 is a boy.

The recommendations I have seen online usually say you should start out with 12-18 diapers. Most of the people I’ve talked to about cloth diapering recommended 20-24 diapers just so you have a little breather room with the laundry. The sites also say to plan for up to 14 diaper changes a day for a newborn (Yikes! I don’t think we ever went through THAT many), and 6-8 for an older baby. So that might help you figure out how many you need as well.

Anyway, this is what I would get if I were to start over on the journey today:

-8 Fuzzi Bunz one-size diapers
-8 bumGenius organic one-size diapers with the snap closures
-4 Swaddlebees ECONAPPI diapers
-4 Mommy’s Touch one-size pocket diapers

I know that it isn’t like I made a huge deviation from my current stash, as all my picks were still AIOs and one-size diapers. Those just seem to be the most economical to me. I don’t have any huge problems with my current diapers, I am just much more willing to try out different brands now that I’ve been doing this a little longer and it isn’t so scary.

If the up front cost of getting the diapers you want to use seems a little pricey, there are a number of ways that you can build your stash slowly. You could go the cheap route first, that is prefolds and simple covers, just to get yourself going. Then, you can slowly add the diapers you think you will like best or want to try one at a time as you can afford it. Another way is to buy a few now, use them when you can and continue using disposables in between until you can slowly build up your stash. This will also slowly break you into the idea of cloth diapering.

For those of you that are expecting, now is a great time to consider cloth. If it is something you decide to do I would really encourage you to register for cloth. Many of the cloth diapering sites offer gift registries and as I said before Target and Babies R Us also have an OK selection of cloth diapering options on their websites. Plus, there are many independent wish list and registry sites (insert shameless plug for onebabyregistry.com) where you can have a registry independent of any one particular store. I think this is really smart since most people wind up having more than one registry at more than one store. As I said before, we got almost half of our cloth diaper stash from our friends and family as shower gifts. You may be thinking that you don’t want to waste your registry on small stuff like the diapers. Trust me, the only people who are going to buy the “big” stuff like the travel system and the crib are going to be you, your parents and maybe an aunt or two. A nice $20 cloth diaper plus a pack of washcloths for you to use as wipes can be a great gift from a single friend that really only has $25 to spend on a shower gift for you.

The remainder of my posts on the subject (I am thinking there will be 1-2 more), are going to specifically deal with the brand of diapers we have and what we do with them. I think some of the stuff can still be applied across the board with the various brands, so stick with me!

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I love cloth diapering, part 3: Potty training and swimming

Just because your child is just getting out of the diaper phase, doesn’t mean you have to forsake cloth. There are several different options for training pants in cloth. Plus, I’m fairly certain that the concerns I brought up in part one of this series are probably still relevant with disposable training pants.

There are different training pants to consider for various situations in potty training. Some of them are meant for during the day to only catch little dribbles and encourage the child to make it to a potty, while others are meant for overnight when you would need much more absorbancy. There are a bunch of different brands to choose from as well.

From what I can tell, basically the training pants come in three varieties:
-There are pockets, which just like pocket diapers, have a pocket you can stuff inserts into. These are great because you can control how much absorbancy you want the training pant to have. So, if it is night and you know your child is going to wet a bunch, you’ll probably want to stick 1-2 super absorbant microfiber inserts into the diaper. If it is during the day and you want your child to feel the wetness or you just want to catch little dribbles, then you might stuff it with a thin cotton prefold. Some have snaps for easy accident accessibility, others just go on like underwear.

Happy Heinys Pocket Trainer

Happy Heiny's Pocket Trainer

-There are really thick cotton underwear. These obviously would not be good for overnight and don’t have a waterproof cover. They are just extra thick so that if there is an accident your child can run to the bathroom. I don’t know much about potty training since we’re no where near there yet, but I’d probably only use these if I knew we were going to be home all day and really working on potty training.

Under the Nile organic cotton training underwear

Under the Nile organic cotton training underwear

-There are all-in-ones. Just like the all-in-one diapers, these have everything in one piece — no inserts to stuff. They range from overnight to trickle catchers among the various brands. So, you might have to go with more than one brand to meet your various potty training situations. They have waterproof material on the outside. Some have snaps for easy accident accessability, others do not.

Imse Vimse Bumpy Training Pants

Imse Vimse Bumpy Training Pants

Now I know most of my friends who read this live in climates where swimming during the summer months is a must. So you may think that you have to give up on cloth for this as well, but you don’t! The My Swim Baby site, the sister site to the very popular cloth diapering site, Nicki’s Diapers, pretty much sums up the reusable swim diaper subject perfectly:

Swim diapers have a waterproof layer on the outside and a soft absorbent layer on the inside. Swim diapers should fit snugly. They are designed to be worn alone but may be worn over a disposable diaper or under a regular swimming suit.

Why use swim diapers?

Many states require swim diapers when diaper-aged children use a public pool. When a swim diaper fits properly, most bacteria including E.coli are prevented from entering the water. So prevent messy pool accidents by using a swim diaper!

Swim diapers won’t fall apart in the water and therefore won’t clog pool filters. Because they don’t absorb water, they don’t become waterlogged and heavy. Therefore, they do not absorb urine (so please beware so you don’t get a wet lap!). If swim diapers would absorb urine they would also absorb water, potentially pulling baby under water. This is also true for disposable swim diapers.

Some like to use pocket cloth diapers or diaper covers as swim diapers. Please be aware that water can get trapped in the cover not only causing a mess but could potentially be unsafe to your baby.

Reusable swim diapers can be washed and reused all season! There are many different styles, colors, and prints to choose from.

We actually found some great swim diaper options at our local Toys R Us. I got a tankini swimsuit for her there that had a swim diaper, matching top and hat that all have SPF protection built in. If she’s not actually in the water, we just use a regular diaper on the bottom and then when she gets in we put on the swim diaper. I want to get 1-2 more of these though to have as backup. I’ll probably just order some individual swim diapers online though since I don’t need three tankini tops for her.


With the swim diaper, in the water at the beach.


With a regular diaper, playing in the sand.

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