Author Archives: Melissa

How to Pack Away Your Cloth Diapers for Long-Term Storage

One of the best perks to cloth diapering is the money you save by using reusable diapers instead of disposable ones.

When you can use all those diapers for a second child, your savings are multiplied – not to mention you get to keep using all your favorites!

Here are four tips for packing your diapers away to keep them fresh and protecting your investment.

Wash them with plain ol’ hot water

Wash all the diapers to store away in a hot wash cycle without any detergent. This will make sure to remove any detergent residue that may be lingering on the fibres that can eat away at elastics and synthetic fabrics over time. It will also make sure you start without any residue when you unpack them again. Also, if you decide not to use them with another child, it makes them all the more ready to donate or sell!

Put the diapers through an extra dryer cycle

You want to make sure your diapers get packed into their storage containers completely dry so that no mold can grow. Put the diapers through an extra dryer cycle or outside for a full day on a hot, sunny day to make sure they are thoroughly dry all the way through, especially for fitteds and AIO’s.

Use sturdy, dry storage containers

Rubbermaid-style totes are ideal for this situation, as they offer dry storage, keep insects and dust out, and protect the diapers in case of unforeseen circumstances, such as leaking pipes and flooding. Large garbage bags can also work, but be sure to store them off the floor and set them in a place where they won’t get ripped open. Avoid cardboard boxes or baskets that can facilitate mold and mildew growth. In our moist BC climate, spores and fungi grow easily!

Store them in a temperature consistent place

Put your storage containers in a place that won’t vary considerably through the seasons – that is, avoid damp garages, storage sheds that get super-hot and humid, and basement suite closets that have no air circulation. This will make sure moisture can’t infest your lovely fibres to grow molds and mildew.

Taking care of your diapers will ensure that they last you for years, saving you time and money. Do you have other tips for storing cloth diapers for long-term?

Photo credit – Robert S. Donovan

Cloth Diapering Milestones: Moving On to Cloth Trainers

It’s summertime and it’s that wonderful time of year when many parents choose to potty train. Reaching the milestone when your child is ready to understand and (dare we say) celebrate using the toilet is a monumental one – if you’re at that time, congratulations!

In that spirit, we thought we’d offer a few pointers for making the switch from using diapers (be they reusable or disposable) to using cloth trainers.

(You can also read a few of our previous blog posts and tips on cloth training pants, along with visiting our Toilet Training page.)

An introduction to trainers

Cloth trainers exist for the same reason that disposable ones do – to provide “support” for your little one when he or she is ready to move out of diapers but not yet ready to be full-time in underwear. They catch the dribbles and small messes that are inevitable during this time and they provide a bit of extra time to get to the potty.

The biggest difference with cloth training pants, however, is the immediate feedback your child gets when the trainer gets wet. Disposables are so well designed these days that they lock moisture away from your child’s skin, and thus there’s very little bio-feedback for your child when they’ve eliminated. With cloth, however, there is the sensation of being wet, which often translates into a child more quickly learning his or her body’s urges and the sensations that accompany them.

Cloth trainers also save you beaucoups bucks. If your child uses training pants for six months, the cost for disposable pants is easily well over $300. If you invest in cloth trainers, the cost is approximately $78, regardless of how long your child needs them.

A potty training tool

Training pants are a wonderful, helpful tool in whatever method you choose to use in helping your child learn to use the toilet. However, they are not substitutes for diapers – trainers are designed to catch a few dribbles here and there, but not as much as a diaper. Also, to anyone who has ever had to take off a poopy trainer (since trainers are designed to pull on and off like underwear), you know that that’s only something you want to do if you really have to – diapers make dealing with poo nice and simple, while trainers….. not so much.

Bummis makes bums cute!

Bummis training pants are one of the best-crafted, most reliable training pants on the cloth diaper market. Even better, they’re Canadian made and super-kid (and parent!) friendly.

Kids can pull these on and off easily by themselves, which boosts their confidence and doesn’t rely as heavily on you in the later stages of potty training (always a plus).

We’ve raved about them on our product page, so be sure to read all about them!

Your Turn

So, mamas (and papas) – what tips and tricks did you use when you were potty training? How did training pants help (or hinder) your endeavors? Leave a comment!

Laundry Science: Some Like It Hot, Some Like It Cold – The Role of Water Temperature

hotcoldIf the topic of laundry fascinates you as much as it does us, make sure you check out our other Laundry Science posts!

C’mon, Baby, Do the Swish
Water Quality – Soft, Hard, or Somewhere In Between
Length of the Wash Cycle (Sometimes a Quickie Isn’t Enough)
The Role of Water in Washing Cloth Diapers

Today’s post in our Laundry Science series is about the temperature of your wash water.

Some may argue that cold water is best for environmental reasons, while others declare that hot water is required for diapers. And a common question at our Cloth Diapering 101 workshops is whether or not it’s required to use the extra-hot sanitizing cycle for diapers. What’s the real scoop? How does temperature affect the cleanliness of the load – and getting out stains?

First off, we should make sure we’re all familiar with the basic wash routine for cloth diapers – a rinse on cold, wash on hot, and rinse on cold. (We know, we know – for most readers, this is de rigueur, but we just like to make sure everyone’s on the same page…. 🙂 )

Of the three temperature settings available on most washing machines – cold, warm, and hot – each has its particular role and effect on your diapers. For example, cold is great for just getting plenty of water through your diapers while offering good environmental and budgetary savings, but if you’re wanting to get a fresh batch of stains out, you might want to change the first rinse to warm. Why? Because it’s recommended to remove a stain at the same temperature at which it was set, so for ice cream stains on a shirt, you’d want to use a cold rinse, but for diapers, you’d want to use warm, since they were created at body temp!

Also, keep in mind the temperature at which your water heater is set, as your hot wash will be at that temperature. (Although also keep in mind that the water may come out 2-4° Celsius cooler than what your water heater dial says, depending on how much pipe the water has to go through in its travel between the water heater and the washing machine.) Many detergents activate most efficiently between 55-60° C (130°-140°F), including Rockin’ Green, which is also the range at which most bacterias are killed, which is why it’s recommended to use a hot wash to clean your diapers.

But what about the sanitize cycle, which super-heats the water above 65°C (150°F)?  There are a few factors that come into play here. One, this high temperature tends to weaken synthetic fabrics, including PUL and elastics, so it’s definitely not recommended on a regular basis and may even void your warranty. (Check out the BumGenius site as an example.) It also adds a significant amount to your energy usage for washing diapers, which adds up on your monthly bill.

The only time we recommend a one-time extra-hot sanitize wash is if your child has had a serious bacterial diarrheal illness, such as rotavirus, or a severe, prolonged yeast infection. Even then, check with the manufacturers of your diapers before you do a super-hot wash if you’re worried about your warranty, as there are other ways to deal with lingering spores as well.

If you’re interested in finding the right balance between getting a good hot wash and not scalding yourself (and your children) at the sink, check out these tips from the City of Vancouver and BCHydro for saving money and making your heater more efficient.

Photo Credit – HunterxColleen

A Day in the Life: Pamela – Bootcamp and Cute Cloth Diapers

Today our featured mom is Pamela.

How old are you?
28

What did you do (from a working perspective) before your baby arrived?
I work as a medical/surgical LPN.

Are you currently at home with your baby/children or working in/out of the home?
Home with my daughter

How old is your baby?
3 months

When did you decide to cloth diaper?
Many, many years ago. As long as I can remember I have planned to cloth diaper my children.

When did you start cloth diapering?
2 weeks after Claire was born

What is/are your favourite diaper(s)?
Right now I love my Micro Doodlez. Very trim on my 10-lber, nice and absorbent. The only downfall is that they take sooo long to dry! (Hey Pamela – have you considered Easy Fits – they offer that same great trimness AND a much reduced dry time!)

My day in a nutshell

8:30 am – Claire starts fussing, I roll over and nurse her trying to get her to go back to sleep…I’m not much of a morning person, so this is how most mornings start. She starts kicking and cooing after she is done eating, so I know I’m done for….Time to get up! We head into the nursery to change and dress her for the day. Today is BootCamp day, so I get dressed in my workout clothes and brush my teeth while she plays on the bed.

9:10 am – Alright Monkey, your turn! Diaper change…EEK! Guess I didn’t get the new diaper on quick enough and she peed everywhere. She thinks it’s hilarious when she does that, full of smiles! Clean her up, new diaper on. Reach for the clothes, and hear the unmistakable sound of a full diaper….I turn to her, and with my cutest baby voice “You’ve GOT to be kidding!” I don’t mind though…It’s moments like this that I’m glad I use cloth, so I don’t care if a diaper is only worn for a minute….Just get to pick another cute one!

9:30 am – We go downstairs, Claire spends a bit of time in her swing while I have breakfast and get us packed for the day.

9:50 am – We head out the door for some Stroller bootcamp. Time to work off the babyweight!

11:30 am – Home from bootcamp, thank goodness it wasn’t raining today, and Claire napped through! Feed & change Claire, and then she spends some quality time with her bouncy chair while I take a shower. 🙂

12:15 pm – put Claire in the Ring Sling and start the laundry. Diapers go into the wash for a quick wash on cold, extra rinse, heavy soil, with one scoop Funk Rock

12:30 pm – Claire isn’t liking the sling today, so she goes into her exersaucer/jolly jumper while I put on the coffee and make some lunch.

1:15 pm – Nap time! Nurse Claire to sleep in the sling, and turn the diapers on for their wash load.  Heavy duty, Heavy soil, Hot/cold, extra rinse, with two scoops Rockin Green Classic. Sit and enjoy coffee while Claire naps.

3:20 pm – Claire starts fussing, nurses a little, and then dozes off again.

3:40 pm – Yay, DH is home!! He puts the diapers in the dryer for me, low heat, sensor dry.

4:00 pm – Claire is up for good….Hand her over to DH for some Daddy-Daughter time while I make supper.

5:00 pm – she’s hungry again….Nurse her, then feed myself!

6:00 pm – DH is going to be out for the evening, so they enjoy a bit more quality time while I have some quality Mommy time and fix her bibs! I spend some time sewing some snaps onto them, as they are all too big for her skinny neck and the drool just skips them altogether!

7:00 pm – Back on Mommy Duty. Claire feels warm, and has been pretty snotty and fussy all day….Temp of 101, bit of tylenol, nurse her to sleep, wrap her up in the Woven Wrap for a  nice cozy cuddly Mommy nap.

7:30 pm – Take the diapers out of the dryer, and realize they’re kind of smelly….Ick! I’ve never had this problem before, so I do a bit of reading. Toss them all in the laundry sink with 4tTbls Rockin’ Green…..we’ll be rockin’ a soak overnight.

8:30 pm – Up to bed, Nurse Claire to sleep while I read a bit, then doze off myself.

Next morning….
Wow, I can’t believe the water the diapers are soaking in is still warm! Toss them in the wash on Quick Wash, Hot/Cold to rinse out the yuckies. Half hour later, I do another hot/cold quick wash cycle with 4Tbsp. funk rock, and let them soak for an hour. Another quick wash, hot/cold, extra rinse, and into the dryer they go! Finally, 20 minutes later, they come out smelling fresh, cleaner than they’ve ever been!

This interview was submitted February 17, 2011.

Organizing Your Line Drying System

As the days are getting warmer and we enjoy the long summer days, it’s easy to get inspired to line dry your diapers rather than rely on the dryer to do the work. The sunshine is great for your diapers, you can save money, and there are many ways to make the task work for you.

Inside or Outside?

Whether you choose to dry your diapers inside or outside doesn’t matter – they dry equally well. When you dry your diapers outside, they get the benefit of the UV “bleaching,” but they also can become stiff if they are dried in the direct sun. Drying inside minimizes the “stiffness” factor, but can be slower to dry. Basically, the slower the drying time, the softer the diapers will be (not to mention fresh!), so if you’re drying outside and don’t need to benefit of the sunbleaching, either stick the diapers in the shade or double them up.

A Rack to Fit Every Family

A drying rack – There are many varieties of drying racks, which you can find at pretty much any retailer from IKEA to Amazon.com to your local hardware store. Some offer multiple rods on which to hang your diapers, while others offer “shelves” of a sort on which to lay items flat.

The advantage of a drying rack is that they are completely foldable, making them a “must” in small spaces and very versatile for where you can use them.

Here are just a few varieties to give you some ideas:
(Please note, New & Green does not
have any connection with any of the companies or individuals listed nor do we endorse any of these products specifically. These links are provided for the sake of illustration only.)

Tall adjustable rack with folding shelves
Metal folding rack
Wood and vinyl folding rack
Metal and vinyl folding rack with “wings”
Sandwich-board style folding rack
Upside-down “double-V” folding rack

A clothesline -This very traditional way to dry clothes outside is a perennial favorite among line-drying enthusiasts. The plus is that there is nothing to store, but you do need to have sufficient space to string a line.

A clothesline can be as simple as a heavy rope tied between two trees or two chairs or as complex as a pulley system with heavy-gauge wire. A stationary, swiveling clothes rack outside can also be useful, especially if you don’t have many places to afix a line. Whichever system you choose will only be dictated by the space you have available and your personal preferences.

And of course, creativity is the name of the game. Sometimes, especially when traveling, you just have to use whatever is available! (Click through to see how one clever mama made do in her family’s hotel room – thanks to Flickr user medigerati for the wonderful photo.)

 

Line Drying Accessories That Make the Job Easy

Clothespins – Clothespins (also known as clothes pegs) are extremely useful, especially on a clothesline. If you make sure you have them ready and handy, say in an old handbag hung on a hanger or in an empty coffee can you can move along with your feet, hanging your diapers will be a breeze (not to mention they won’t blow away in a breeze!). Clothespins come in various materials – metal, wood, bamboo, etc. – and in a variety of styles – slide on, clip on, pinch-grip, etc. They’re generally quite cheap – $5-6 for a couple of dozen, though obviously that will vary according to material.

Spray bottle – a spray bottle is useful too when line drying. If your diapers are getting too “crunchy” while they dry or are drying too fast, spritz the diapers with a fine mist. This will soften the outside while the middle continues to dry.

What are your preferences when it comes to drying your diapers “au naturel”? What has worked well for you?

Photo Credit – simplyla

Cloth Diapering Milestones: When to Move Up a Snap Setting on Your One-Size Diapers

 

As your baby moves from those tiny infant days to the big run-around toddler days, different size cloth diapers take care of all your cloth diapering needs. If you’ve chosen to use one-size diapers,  obviously you’ll need to decide when to change the snap settings to get the best sizing at every step of the way. If you’re at one of times, congratulations on this milestone in your baby’s growth!

Here are few things to watch out for to know it’s time to change to the next snap setting:

When the rise falls below the top of the hips, you know the diaper no longer comes up high enough to provide adequate coverage on the front of the diaper. The “rise” is the height of the diaper in the front – this often indicates the the back of the diaper is a bit short as well, so it’s definitely helpful to extend the rise at this point by moving up one snap setting.

When the leg openings become tight, that can also be an indication that the diaper is on the small side. Leg openings should be somewhat snug in order to keep messes where they belong, but if you can no longer fit one finger in between the leg elastic and your baby’s leg or if the elastic is leaving significant indentations in your baby’s skin, then it’s time to re-evaluate.

It should be noted, however, that tight leg openings can occur for other reasons, as well, so you should check out other fit issues before changing your snap settings. If you have a wonderfully chubby baby, the legs will probably become tight before the rise becomes too short, while if you have a long legged, lanky babe, the leg openings may never become too tight before it’s time to switch. Tight leg openings are merely a companion symptom. (Leg openings should never gap, however, so look for a different culprit if changing the snap setting results in gaps around

the legs!)

However, if the diaper is tight around the waist and difficult to get on, that’s a good sign that your baby is ready to move to the next snap setting.

bumgeniusonesize

bumGenius One-Size Guide

If pee regularly starts leaking over the top of the diaper, regardless of the rise, it may be time to change the snap setting. This can be due to a boy who tends to point upward or a girl who sleeps on her front – however, before you decide that changing snap settings is the best way to solve this problem, consider doing some “problem solving” by making sure to tuck your boy downward when you change him or by adding extra absorbancy to the front of your girl’s diaper.

The makers of BumGenius, one of the most popular one-size diapers on the market today, offer a helpful comment to keep in mind as well:
Remember, babies change shape frequently as they grow up. You may have times when your relatively young baby is using their one-size diapers on the largest setting. The same child may be on the medium setting several months later due to increased mobility.

FuzziBunz One-Size Guide

Also, one extra note for those of you who use Fuzzi Bunz One-Size diapers:

Even though Fuzzi Bunz’s version of the one-size diaper uses elastic instead of snaps to change sizing, these guidelines still apply. However, the elastics allow more settings than snaps do, so you may choose to adjust them more or less often, according to what works best for you and your child. If you ever find yourself trying to find the “right” adjustment for your child, use this handy chart to find suggestions that may work for you.

Here’s the best to all you fantastic mamas as your child grows and hits many milestones in the first few years of life!

Special Considerations: Newborns

Whether you decide to cloth diaper your newborn while you’re still at the hospital or whether you start in the first few days, there are few things to keep in mind that will make those early weeks a breeze.

Containment

Since young infants take in only liquid and their little tummies and colons are still developing, their stools tends to be quite runny and are part of every diaper change. Also, since their bladders are quite small at this stage of life, their amount of pee is not copious. Thus, containment is more important for this stage of diapering than absorbancy is.

For containment success, choose well-fitting diapers and covers with good leg and back elastics, such as prefolds inside a Bummis Super Brite or the small AMP Duo pocket diaper.

Umbilical Stump

Until the umbilical stump falls off (somewhere between 4-16 days), it’s important to make sure nothing rubs against it to aggravate it and that there’s enough air flow to keep it dry.

Covers and diapers created with newborns in mind are designed with a notch to fit around the umbilical stump – perennial parent favorites are the Kissaluvs Size O fitted diaper and the Bummis Super Brite cover. The all-new GroVia Newborn AIO is shaping up to be a fave as well.

The Joys of Meconium

Meconium is the blackish-green tar-like substance that your baby cleans out of his or her system in the first day or two of life. It is sticky and stains diapers easily, so we definitely recommend investing in a few liners with which to line your diapers. There are flushable options, natural fibre options, and fleece options – so every parent’s diapering objectives can easily be met. Liners are also great through the first few weeks as the baby’s stools go through various phases (not to mention colors and consistencies!) These make clean-up easy and minimize staining.

And of course, if you do get any stains on your diapers, setting them in the sunshine for a few hours will do wonders for whitening your diapers and erasing stains.

Skinny Legs

Babies come in all shapes and sizes – some have lovely rolls of baby fat while others tend to be long and skinny. What to do to keep the diapers fitting if you’ve got a lanky child?

You can either have a few teeny-tiny diapers on hand, such as the extra-small Fuzzi Bunz pocket diaper or the TiniFit All-in-One (one of our all-time best-selling diapers), or have on hand a few extra newborn covers. The overlapping velcro tabs and extra gussets on the Bummis Super Brite newborn cover do a superb job of adjusting to your baby’s smaller size.

Fit

One issue that often frustrates new parents is that the small diapers they so carefully researched and purchased before their baby was born don’t seem to fit. And it’s often true – there is something about newborns that makes an 8-pound newborn fit differently in a diaper than an 8-pound, 6-week-old infant.

Despite the intent of various diaper manufacturers to have larger diapers “fit from birth,” more and more leaders in the cloth diaper industry, New & Green included, are recommending that parents set aside their one-size and sized diapers until about 6-8 weeks of age and use newborn-sized diapers at birth. There are some great options that will allow you to keep using those newborn prefolds long past the newborn stage, and avoiding all that extra bulk definitely makes the extra investment worth it.

And as always, if you don’t want to purchase extra diapers, you can always rent them. Easy!

But now, we want to hear from you – how did you successfully get through those early days? What made the difference in your family?

 

Photo Credit – SCA Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget

5 Tips for Organizing Your Cloth Diapers for Traveling

(Image credit ChristArt.com)

As many of us hit the road for summer travel, there’s a common question raised by cloth diapering parents: can I travel with cloth? How do I make it easy?

Along with stories from three veteran N&G moms, Amber, Kelly, and Anne, of how they cloth diapered while on the road (and in the air), here are five tips to make it a trip to (not) remember.

Know What You Like

Being in unfamiliar places and in cramped spaces is not the time to try out the cutest new diaper out there. Bring what you know and what you’re comfortable with so that changes go quickly and easily. If you do want to try out a new style or combo, purchase your diapers far enough ahead of time that you’ve got time to try them at home a few times first.

And knowing what you like doesn’t just apply to the diapers themselves – if it’s possible, pack your diapering supplies in baskets or pretty bags that will make you smile each time you see them. The comforts of home and feeling organized and stylish go a long way to the sense of satisfaction and relaxed-ness that should accompany a good trip.

Know Your Storage

No matter how you’re traveling – car, train, boat, RV, or airplane – you want to be judicious with your use of space. Pocket diapers, such as the AMP Duo, with microfiber inserts or the BumGenius One-Size Microfiber insert are a great inexpensive thin-yet-absorbent option. Covers with prefolds are also very trim. Plus, prefolds can be rolled up like socks and stuffed in between other items, making for very efficient packing!

The FLIP diaper is also one that excels in a travel situation, because it was created with versatility in mind – it’s a trim cover with your choice of three inserts: organic cotton, microfiber, or a disposable biodegradable insert. For example, if you have a 14-hour plane ride to Australia in your near future, the flexibility of the biodegradable disposable insert may be just for you.

Know How Often You Can Wash

If you won’t have access to laundry facilities and will be hauling a week’s worth of diapers home, you’ll obviously pack differently than if you’ll be staying in someone’s home and can plan to wash every day or two. Be sure to think through your trip and then plan for the longest stretch you’ll have to go between washes. If you’re camping, you can wash in the campsite and save space on the number of diapers you have to haul around.

If it’s going to be more than 3-4 days between washes, be sure you have a large, zippered wetbag to haul the dirties, plenty of diapers and wipes, and some Rockin’ Green Shake It Up! pail fresherner if you’re worried about stink. (Stink really only becomes an issue if there’s lots of solids left on the diapers or if diapers are left for several days in a hot location.  However, in close quarters, like a car, adding a deodorizer to your wetbag can be a way to feel extra-secure that no one will be able to complain as you cross the miles – at least about stink, that is.)

Be Prepared

In French cooking, it’s called mise en place (“everything set in place”), but in everything else, it’s merely “preparation is everything.” Before you hit the road or head to the airport, have all your diapers and accessories ready to grab – pocket diapers stuffed, prefolds folded and placed inside their covers, all diapers prelined with flushable diaper liners (for especially easy poop management), water bottles filled, and wetbags packed. That way, no matter where you end up doing diaper changes, you can change quickly and neatly. (Other parents will marvel at your calm demeanor and obvious skill….)

Prepare for the Worst

There’s nothing worse than not having diapers when you need them, say, if the airlines lose your luggage (the ones where you packed all your diapers) or you run out of diapers in your carry-on – that makes a normally stressful situation hit Level 5 in no time flat. Be prepared for the worst by having diapers available in multiple bags and locations, with wipes and small wetbags too of course, so that should stressful events happen, figuring out how to Get Diapers Right Now won’t elevate the stress level.

If you’re still leery of traveling with cloth, be sure to check out our whole series on Cloth Diapers on Vacation. There you’ll find more tips and strategies on cloth diapering away from home, including Cloth Diapers on Vacation :: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, Cloth Diaper Laundry on Vacation, and Cloth Diapers on Vacation :: Camping.

We’d love to hear from you too – what ways have you made traveling easy with cloth diapers?

 

Laundry Science: Length of the Wash Cycle (Sometimes a Quickie Isn’t Enough)

eggtimerIn our on-going laundry science series here at the N&G blog, we’ve looked at “the swish factor,” water quality, and how important it is to use plenty of water, but does it matter how long your wash cycle is?

Absolutely.

As you’ll remember from our discussion about why using plenty of water is important, part of what makes washing diapers different than washing any other type of laundry is that most of the dirtiness is on the inside, rather than just sitting on the surface. Obviously, it’s going to take extra time to get all that water through the diaper rather than just dealing with the dirt and grime on the surface.

Let’s take a look at the washing routine recommended by many diaper manufacturers and then discuss why they even make these recommendations:
*Rinse on cold
*Long wash on warm or hot
*Double rinse

Why Take the Time?

“Rinse on cold” – You need to have sufficient time to loosen and drain away any lingering nasties – you know, like the uric acid that’s been sitting on the diaper for two days and those little pieces of poo that remain after dumping the solids in the toilet. It’s sort of the same reason as why you scrape your dishes before you put them in the dishwasher – the more gunk the washer has to deal with, the more cycles you’re going to have to do in order to get them truly clean.

“Long wash on warm or hot” – You need time to activate and fully dissolve the detergent and give it time to do its work. Different detergents require different amounts of time to become fully activated. The length of time required for this will depend on the type of detergent, the temperature of your water, the amount of water, as well as the water quality.  Once it’s fully activated and doing its work, it needs sufficient time to fully bond with the grime so the grime can be lifted from the fabric and washed away.

“Double rinse” – You need to allow time for the detergent to be completely washed away too. If you skip this part of the cycle, it’s easy for detergent residue to be left on your lovely fluffy fibres, which can cause leaks, diaper rash, and possibly even extra-stinky diapers because of a chemical reaction that happens when urine hits that detergent residue the next time the diaper is used.

These recommendations certainly apply no matter what type of washing machine you have, but they are even more important if you have an HE machine. Since you have to trick your machine into using enough water and there’s not much swish to have sufficient cleaning action, allowing enough time is absolutely crucial.

And of course, when you’re done washing, you’ve got lots of options for drying your diapershanging them on a line, drying them on a rack, or tossing them in the dryer. Just like the wash needs plenty of time to restore them to their glorious fluffy state, we hope whatever method you use to dry them will give YOU plenty of time to rejuvenate yourself as well!

A Day in the Life: Caroline – Persistent, Happy, Cloth Diapering Mama

Today our featured mom is Caroline.

How old are you?
30

What did you do (from a working perspective) before your baby arrived?
Previous occupation: Member Accounts Manager at Hollyburn Country Club. BBA majoring in Human Resources and Strategic Management. Administrative and financial background.

Are you currently at home with your baby/children or working in/out of the home?
Current occupation: happy housewife & mom of two  =)

How old is your baby?
Evan, 2 ½, 100% toilet trained
Rhyan, 11 months, 100% cloth diapered

When did you decide to cloth diaper?
I first thought I would try cloth diapering when I was still pregnant, despite my mother’s discouragement, friends’ shrugs, and blank stares.

When did you start cloth diapering?
When Evan was a few weeks old. I truly had no idea what I was doing, not having a single friend that used cloth diapers with their kids, but I really wanted to make it work. I went to The Bay (the only baby store I could think of) and bought three 5-packs of Kushies diapers. I brought them home and immediately put one on Evan. Within minutes the diaper was soaked and so was his outfit. I tried another couple diapers with the same result. I drove back to The Bay and bought two Kushies diaper covers – maybe he’s supposed to be wearing plastic pants over these cloth diapers? More tries, more leaks, and the diapers were HUGE. After about 15 tries I returned the unopened pack of Kushies, posted the used diapers and covers on craigslist, and went back to disposables.

It bugged me that I failed at cloth diapers. I looked into diaper services, gDiapers, and finally cloth diapers. I bought my first cloth diapers (little g pants & bumGenius pockets) secondhand off craigslist to keep costs down in case I really couldn’t make it work. Once I got the hang of it, I searched for a local company to buy new bumGenius pocket diapers from, and found New & Green.

What is your favourite diaper(s)?

As I mentioned, I’ve tried Kushies, gDiapers, and bumGenius pockets. I’ve also tried cotton prefolds and Bummis covers, hemp prefolds, Fuzzi Bunz pockets, Monkey Doodlez AIO’s, Thirsties pockets, and Babykicks Bumboo pockets. My favourite by far are bumGenius pockets – I use them during the day for a nearly foolproof staple. For overnights, nothing works better than two prefolds and a Bummis cover. I almost always use BioSoft flushable liners.

Tell us about your day

Sometime around 6:30 am –  Evan climbs into bed with my husband and me. We tell him it’s too early and try to convince him to sleep for another 45 minutes. Sometimes (like this morning) he does; other times he refuses and we put Sesame Street on while we groan and rub our eyes. Morning always comes too early. One of us pads into the kitchen to make tea and get Evan a sippy of juice and water.

7:45 am – Rhyan wakes up. I go to her room, turn her little heater off, and pull up her blinds while she giggles and claps her hands. I change her soaked, heavy (but never leaking!) prefolds-n-cover diaper and put her in a bumGenius pocket diaper. We go back to bed for one of my favourite activities of the day: nursing belly to belly in bed.

8:30 am – After Daddy goes to work, we all go into the living room for breakfast. (Our dining room has been turned into a playroom, so the dining table is in the living room – we’re in somewhat cramped quarters!) If I’m lucky, I get breakfast too, and if I remember I make myself some coffee.

9 am-10 am – The kids and I get dressed, brush our teeth, and generally get ready for the day. I guzzle a cup of coffee before I forget and it’s left somewhere to get cold. If it’s a diaper laundry day, I collect all the diapers from Rhyan’s room (there are two diaper pails to hold them all) and take them downstairs to the laundry room. I run a rinse cycle on warm-cold. Then, 20 minutes later, I run a full cycle on hot/cold using a tablespoon of Rockin Green detergent.

10:00 am – I change Rhyan’s diaper. We venture out of the house, usually to Maplewood Farm, the Aquarium, Nonna’s house, or a “libby ride” (bike ride on Evan’s little run bike) around the neighborhood.

12:15 pm – We return home for lunch. I run downstairs to the laundry room, hang dry all the diaper covers, and toss the inserts into the dryer for 50 minutes on warm. I make lunch and we eat lunch together.

1:00 pm – Evan goes to the bathroom and I change Rhyan’s diaper. Then we go into Evan’s room for two stories and one song. Evan then falls asleep for his nap in his bed while I take Rhyan out to the living room. I put on Snatam Kaur’s “Grace” (her sleepytime music) and nurse her until she’s drowsy, then put her in her crib for her nap (usually by 1:30 pm).

1:30 pm – 3:00 pm – A blissful, blissful break for Mommy. Time to check email, Facebook, clean up the morning’s mess, and put my feet up. I might take the diaper inserts out of the dryer and fold them if I’m feeling energetic, and leave them on the dining table for stuffing later. It takes about three minutes to sort and snap a load of inserts and I do it while watching The People’s Court (my secret weakness).

3:00 pm – Rhyan usually wakes up from her nap first. I change her diaper, we nurse again, then play quietly until Evan wakes up.

4:00 pm – If Evan hasn’t woken up by 4pm, I wake him up, usually by climbing into bed with him and drawing on his back. Sometimes he’s grumpy, but sometimes he wakes up with a giggle because I’m tickling his back.

4:15 pm – 6:30 pm – Playtime at home if it’s lousy outside, or a trip to the bike park or playground, often with Daddy. A diaper change for Rhyan happens sometime in there.

6:30 pm – I make dinner and by 7:00 pm we’re eating. We usually watch TV or a movie. Lately it’s been Garfield, day after day … sigh.

7:45 pm – I start running a bath and make a nighttime bottle for Rhyan. I let it stand in the kitchen while we’re in the bath so that all the bubbles in the formula rise to the top, otherwise she wakes up gassy and uncomfortable around 9:30 pm.

8:00 pm – I get in the bath with both kids. They love it and it’s a bit of a break for me too. Paul gets 15 minutes of blissful quiet to check his email and Facebook.

8:15 pm – We all get out of the bath. I go into the living room with a jammied, cloth-diapered Rhyan and give her her nighttime bottle. Paul reads Evan two books in his bedroom and sings him a song.

8:30 pm – Rhyan finishes her bottle and has a good burp. I nurse her until she’s drowsy, then put her in her crib.

8:45 pm – Both kids are in bed. Paul and I quickly clean up the kitchen and tidy up the living room and playroom.

9:00 pm – I head down to the laundry room and check the diaper covers. In the wintertime they’re usually still wet (the room is unheated), but in the summertime by evening they’re dry. If it’s winter I bring up just the inserts from the dryer, and if it’s summer I bring up all the diaper gear. My husband and I settle in the living room for an episode or two of How I Met Your Mother (we love PVR!) while we sort and stuff the diapers. Within five minutes or so, I’ve got a three-day supply of diapers for Rhyan.

Sometime around 10-10:30 pm we head to bed to do it all over again!

 

This interview was submitted February 2, 2011.