Category Archives: Workshop Questions

These are the best and most common questions and answers we hear from our workshops.

Cloth Diaper Workshops in Vancouver

workshopThese workshops are a practical hands-on experience to learn the “how to’s” of cloth diapering. You will learn how to use cloth diapers, diapering options, what you need to get started and have all your questions answered by an expert.

There are 3-4 workshops a month at different locations in Vancouver (only). The cost is $15/person and receive a $10 coupon for use with your first purchase of $95 or more.

For all the details and dates for upcoming workshops, please visit our website.

Stripping (Your Diapers): When, Why, and How

happybabyIf you’ve ever hunted for information about cloth diapering, you’ve likely run across the instruction to “strip your diapers.” Some sources make this sound like a dire emergency, while other sources ignore it completely. So we thought we’d take a quick look at what stripping is and when it’s useful.

What is Stripping?

“Stripping” merely refers to an easy process that strips any lingering residues from the surface of your diapers.  Residues can build up if you use a detergent that has additives or fabric softeners, if diapers aren’t fully rinsed after each wash, or if you have hard water in your area.

Why Should I Strip? (And How Often?)

Stripping isn’t a routine maintenance sort of thing – it’s only something you need to do if your normally soft and absorbent diapers are suddenly leaking or if there’s an undesirable odor that lingers in your diapers even after they’ve been washed and dried.

So, HOW Do I Strip?

There are various methods for stripping your diapers depending on your type of machine. And obviously, regardless of method, start with non-dirty diapers or you’ll have a whole new set of problems to deal with!

HOT water with no detergent (top-loader): Wash your diapers in the longest cycle your machine will allow using the HOT wash cycle and either HOT or WARM rinse. Lift the lid every once in a while to check for soap bubbles –  you need to rinse until you no longer see soap bubbles or a film on top of the water during the rinse, which may take as many as 3-4 rinses. But once the soap bubbles no longer appear, your diapers are fresh and fully stripped!

Rock-a-Soak (top-loader & HE): This is a super-super-effective way to get rid of lingering funk and residues. In a top-loader, fill the tub with hot water, add 3-4 tablespoons of Funk Rock Ammonia Bouncer, toss in your diapers, and let them sit for an hour or so. After the soak, run them through a hot wash and rinse cycle 2-3 times.

In a front-loader, add your diapers to the basket and put 3-4 tablespoons of Funk Rock in the detergent area of the detergent drawer. Start a quick wash cycle and hit “stop” or “pause” as soon as you notice that the Funk Rock has been washed into the basket and the water has been added in the cycle. Let this sit for an hour or so, then start a long, hot wash and rinse without adding anything else. You will likely need to wash and rinse 2-3 times.

Vinegar (top-loader & HE): You can also add 1/4 – 1/2 cup of vinegar to one of the rinse cycles. This is a gentle way to neutralize the acids and odors lingering on your diapers and it will help lift away the residues. You can add this via the detergent drawer or if you have a Downy ball, just place the vinegar inside and toss it in on top of the diapers.

Dawn dishwashing liquid (top-loader only): In a top-loader, you may also add one squirt of Original Dawn dishwashing liquid to the wash cycle. Dawn has been formulated as a degreaser, so it does very well in lifting off oily residues. (If your child has recently discovered Vaseline or petroleum-based diaper creams and smeared them all over his or her diapers, Dawn is also a very effective way to deal with that laundry issue!) Dawn creates lots of suds, however, so if you want to use this method with a front-loader, you’ll need to scrub the diapers with Dawn by hand and rinse them out before putting them into the washer. As with all the other methods, once the diapers are in the machine, wash on hot and – you guessed it – rinse, rinse, rinse.

So, as you can see, stripping your diapers doesn’t take much more effort than a regular load of laundry and doesn’t need to happen often. The best way to prevent needing to strip in the first place is just to make sure you’re using a long rinse in your normal wash routine or by occasionally adding a second rinse to your routine.

Happy diapering!

Photo Credit – iandeth

Cloth Diapering Milestones: Moving from Liquids to Solids

It may seem from our title that we’re talking about food today, but as is inevitable in any conversation about diapers, today we’re actually discussing poo. (Sorry if we got your hopes up….) As any pediatrician or naturopath will tell you, watching your infant’s stools change from liquid to solid is an important, significant transition, and sometimes that can mean changing your diaper selection as well.

The Newborn Days

In the early days of life, your baby’s gut is immature. For the first few days, it’s excreting all the lovely, tarry meconium that is a by-product of life in the womb, and for the first few weeks is incapable of holding food for long. And obviously, the only food intake is in liquid form, so with all these factors together, you can count on a liquid-y, poopy diaper after every meal. (Diaper liners are a welcome accessory during this period!)

As for color and texture, due to the colonization of the gut with all the good bacteria it needs for nutrient absorption, you can watch the stool go from black to various shades of yellow and green. Your doctor or midwife will likely ask you at some point about the stool’s color and consistency as an indication of the baby’s health, especially if the baby has been jaundiced.

In terms of diapering, all of this liquid stool in the early days means that the most important factor to consider in choosing diapers is containment. You need a diaper or a cover that has good, snug elastic around the legs and waist to keep all the poo exactly where it belongs. Popular choices from New & Green parents tend to be a prefold, Snappi, and cover combo, a Kissaluvs size 0 + cover combo, and the (super cute) TiniFit All-in-One.

Regularity

At about 6-8 weeks of age, your baby’s stools will begin to change. While at the beginning poo tends to be runny, at this point it will begin to hold together and take on a firmer, more tacky texture. The upside to this is that the stool can be easier to shake off into the toilet, as well as that food is now moving more slowly through the gut, so it’s entirely possible that your baby will only move his or her bowels once or twice a day, sometimes at the same time each day. (Wahoo!) And as the months go by and as your baby begins to eat solid food, the poo will continue to solidify.

So as poo becomes more – shall we say, regular – containment is no longer the highest priority for a diaper, but absorbancy. Poo may not be as frequent, but the baby’s bladder is getting bigger and he or she is eating more.

Thus, parents’ favorite diapers tend to change: many still love the prefold + cover combo and the EasyFit All-in-One, but other favorites for this period include the Bamboozle bamboo fitted, the AMP hemp fitted, and BumGenius pocket diapers.

Watching your baby grow and change can be an incredible, joyful experience. We certainly hope that cloth diapering on that journey helps you celebrate the joy of watching your child grow and seeing the miracle of all the changes that your baby’s body goes through, including the myriad type of messy diapers.

And care to share your experiences? We welcome hearing your stories about how you have dealt with your “poo problems,” as questions about how to deal with poop are among our most frequent at our Cloth Diapering 101 workshops and here on the blog. Real-life stories are fantastic!

Cloth Diapers in November – What New & Green is Up To

November 6 – Cloth Diaper 101 Workshop at Gymboree North Van- Register Here

November 14 – Cloth Diaper 101 Workshop at Pomegranate Midwives in East Van- Register Here

November 15- Pregnant in East Van Open House at Pomegranate Midwives in East Van- More Info

November 22 – Cloth Diaper PlayDate at Gymboree North Van – RSVP Here

November 30 – Cloth Diaper 101 Workshop at Optimum Chiropractic in SuterBrook Village, Port Moody – Register Here

A sneak peek into our workshops:

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

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!

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?

 

Cloth Diaper Fabrics: Microfibre

Up until now in our series on cloth diaper fabrics, we’ve covered the most common natural fibre fabrics – cotton, bamboo, and hemp.

But there are some very popular synthetic fabrics used as well within the cloth diaper industry – today we’ll look at microfibre.

Microfibre is popular due to its very absorbent nature (it can absorb up to 8x its own weight) and the fact that it dries very quickly. It’s usually made of a blend of polyester and nylon and is spun into ultra-thin threads, thus the name “micro-fiber.”

While microfibre is not biodegradable, it is considered an eco-friendly fabric because of its extreme durability and the fact that it’s designed for repeated use. And, of course, since that’s the whole premise of cloth diapering, it’s a “natural” fit.

There are very few diapers that are made completely of microfibre, however. Since it is so absorbent, it can dry out a baby’s skin if left in contact for extended periods of time. Thus, it’s usually used as a absorbent core inside an all-in-one diaper, such as the Easy Fit (where it’s paired with bamboo – talk about a no-leak combo!) and the AMP AIO, or as an insert in a pocket diaper, as in the Bum Genius and Fuzzi Bunz diapers. If it is designed to be directly against the baby’s skin, it’s usually topped with a layer of suede fleece to provide a soft, stay-dry barrier between the fabric and the skin, such as with the Flip diaper microfibre insert.

Microfibre is certainly versatile and diapers are only one of its many applications. Do you use microfibre in your home for cleaning or in diapers? Do you like it in diapers? What’s your opinion of diapers using synthetic components – is it the best of modern technology or should diapers only contain natural, renewable fabrics? We’d love to hear what you think!

http://blog.newandgreen.com/blog/cloth-diaper-fabrics-organic-cotton

Ask New & Green: Is it Hard to Use Cloth Diapers When I Am Out of My House?

So, you’ve decided to use cloth and you’ve gotten used to using them at home. But now you’re headed out to run errands or to visit friends who will inevitably comment on the fact that you’re using cloth (yay!) How easy is it to schlep cloth around and be comfortable and successful at each diaper change? Easy!
Comfort is the first rule for going out and about, meaning make sure you take with you whatever diapers you’re already comfortable using. This isn’t the time to try anything you haven’t used before, unless you’re feeling especially adventurous. Regardless of how many different types of diapers you use at home (prefolds with covers, all-in-ones, a hybrid system…) choose whichever ones you enjoy using the most to throw in the diaper bag. For most parents, this is an AIO – simple to put on, simple to take off, and easy to show off to various onlookers.
Ease of use is also important when going out. You never know where you’ll be changing your baby and you need to have a diaper that can be put on quickly  or one-handed according to the situation. Public washroom change tables, the back of a car, the front seat of a car, on a hill in the park, behind a row of pumpkins at the pumpkin patch, or on the floor of a store’s teeny-tiny washroom may all have to suffice as a change area – you never know!
Be prepared. As with most things, being prepared will make all the difference in having a successful, enjoyable outing. You needn’t take much, but make sure you have enough diapers for the amount of time you’ll be away from home, a wetbag to carry home the dirties, and several wipes – about two per diaper. (Remember to prewet the wipes if you like them that way.) A change pad can come in handy too.
And a word about having enough diapers – make note of how many diapers you use at home in any given period of time and translate that into the the number of diapers to take with you. Does your little one tend to be changed about every two hours? Three? Then calculate the number of diapers you’ll need accordingly.
And that’s it! When you get home, all you have to do is dump the dirty diapers from the wetbag into your diaper pail so they’re ready to wash, toss in the wetbag so it gets a wash too, and remember to restock your diaper bag with a clean wetbag so it will be ready to grab-and-go the next time you want to head out.

Cloth Diaper Fabrics: Organic Bamboo

Today is the third installment in our series looking at the fabrics commonly used in cloth diapering. You can see other posts in this series by clicking here.

Bamboo is one of the most popular fabrics for cloth diapers and definitely one of the most chic. It’s luxuriously soft, eco-friendly, and very absorbent. In fact, tests have shown that rayon from bamboo absorbs moisture on contact 70% more quickly than cotton and dries 20% faster. And for softness, it’s known for mimicking silk, cashmere, or french terry fleece.

It’s also with good reason that bamboo has such an eco-friendly rap:

Bamboo retains water, thus requiring very little irrigation.

It puts down deep roots, thereby supporting riverbanks and hillsides and avoiding erosion.

It is naturally anti-microbial, thus needing no pesticides or fertilizers.

It absorbs five times more carbon dioxide and releases 35% more oxygen into the environment than a stand of trees covering the same acreage.

It’s a very sustainable crop, as it doesn’t need replanting for years at a time and it grows very quickly. Once a mother clump of bamboo has taken root – generally about three years – it only takes one growing season of 3-4 months for the shoots to be ready for harvest. In fact, if the growing conditions are just right, bamboo can even grow more than a metre in one day!

When it comes to making bamboo into a textile, there’s a vast difference between conventional and sustainable practices, however. The fibres in a bamboo stalk are very short and cannot be knit directly into a yarn as with most other textiles, so they must be softened, pulped, and stretched like taffy to create the fibres. In the conventional process of turning bamboo cellulose into the silky-soft rayon we know and love, several caustic chemicals are used to soften and break down the fibres, which has a severe environmental impact and destroys the antimicrobial properties of the bamboo itself.

However, sustainable companies, such as the ones whose products we carry here at New & Green, are committed to creating their rayon in environmentally responsible ways. For example, Tots Bots, the makers of the Stretch Bamboozle and the Easy Fit, make sure their processing is done within the strict international environmental standards of ISO 9000 & 14000. The finished product also falls under the coveted European Oeko-Tex standard. And as an added bonus, viscose rayon made from bamboo is more biodegradable than other similar fabrics, including organic cotton.

In the end, organic, sustainably produced bamboo diapers are one of the best choices you can make. Make sure you check out the Bamboozle, the Easy Fit, the BabyKicks 3G, and the AMP bamboo flats!

Photo credit
http://www.totsbots.com/