Category Archives: Chatter

When we just feel like talking cloth diapers. A mixed bag of news, tidbits and opinions found here.

Cloth Diaper Spotlight: Sometimes Simple is Beautiful {Prefolds}

snappibabyLast month, we asked our Parent Review Panel to get cozy with prefolds.  Many people love prefolds, but many shy away from them perceiving them to be difficult, messy or slow to get on a fast moving baby.  After hearing from our Parent Review Panel on Facebook and some of their responses and observations about prefolds, we hope that you now have a different view of these simple beauties!

What are prefolds you ask?  Here is the short & sweet 411.

  1. Prefolds are made from several layers of unbleached organic cotton twill.  They are sewn into rectangles which have three panels – a thicker panel down the middle and thinner panels on the edges.  They are flat so often folks want to know what’s up with the “pre-folded” name?  Those panels, they are pre-folded for you into thinner and thicker sections.  That’s the pre-folded part.
  2. They are very versatile and to some this can be overwhelming – too many options can cause fear.  We teach parents how to use prefolds at our Cloth Diaper Workshops Snappi them on or Fold & Lay.  Simple, simple, simple.  The Snappi Method requires a bit of practice at the outset but the fold and lay system is very easy and fast.  To get a good visual of how it all works, check out our tutorial in our Video Learning Series.

Based on our experiences as parents and “Diaper Therapists”, these are some recommendations about prefolds:

  • Newborn prefolds are tiny.  They don’t often Snappi on well as they are too small but they are great for keeping a trim bottom and fit perfectly under the newborn Super Brites.  Once they are outgrown, they can be used as extra absorbency inside of infant or baby sized prefolds or if you want to upcycle them into another use all together, the owner at Bummis told us they make great pads for moms going the reusable menstrual pad route.
  • For younger babies with runny poop, parents often love Snappi’ing them on.  These babies are often not yet mobile and are patient with parents as they get on their Snappi Groove.
  • For the ultimate in ease, the fold & lay method wins for older babies that have less runny poop and are on the go.
  • For younger babies we recommend having 3-4 covers per day, more with the fold & lay method, less with the Snappi method.
  • For older babies, we recommend having 2 covers per day.

Here is a picture tutorial on how to fold prefolds in many different ways addressing different wetting and functional needs of babies.

It seems that everyone is decluttering, downsizing, simplifying.  Why not try the same with your diapering collection.  Start or boost your collection with prefolds – they are beautifully functional and wonderfully inexpensive.

Check out Newborn, Infant or Baby Prefolds now.

Check out the infamous Snappi Cloth Diaper Fastener now.

N&G Expert Panel – Learning About Newborn Sleep Patterns

We are continuing with our N&G Expert Panel and addressing an issue that is in the forefront of many new parent’s minds – SLEEP!

Jennifer Garden the founder of Sleepdreams, an unsurpassed team of professional sleep consultants.  We highly value Jennifer’s expertise and asked her for advice to share with our New & Green families.

N&G: When working with parents to be, what are the top 3 things that you tell them to expect about their newborns’ sleep in the first few months?

Jennifer: 

1. Go with the flow, it’s important to establish breastfeeding and so feed often and sleep when your baby sleeps.

2. Keep the temperature in a sleeping environment cool (research suggests between 18-19 degrees Celsius). In order for us to get to sleep our body temperature needs to drop slightly, a cool room will help with getting a baby to sleep.

3. Based on sensory information we know about how the body interprets information, one very good ‘trick’ to getting a baby into a crib drowsy is to put them bum down first and head down last (tipping them the other way alerts the brain and wakes them up!)

N&G: Often “newborn” families want to establish a rhythm in their day with respect to sleep. Do you have any tips about establishing a rhythm for babies in the first months?

Jennifer:

1. Help your baby get to know the difference between daytime and night time by keeping their environment quiet and dark at night (even when feeding) and stimulating (except at nap time) and bright during the day.

2. Language skills won’t come for some time (at 10 months they understand 20 – 30 words). A consistent routine before bed/naps will help children understand when bedtime is.

N&G:  We get asked a lot about wet diapers interrupting a baby’s sleep.  Can you help us understand if a baby will lose sleep over a wet diaper?

Jennifer:  Sometimes babies interpret touch differently. Some children may excessively register a ‘wet’ sensation from a diaper and are always aware of the feeling of wetness against their skin, they are said to be hyper-sensitive to touch. Other children are hypo-sensitive to touch and do not register when their diaper is dirty or wet. If you have a baby who is very aware of a wet diaper they may be much happier if you change it frequently.

*Note from N&G – To decrease a wet feeling/sensation to a touch sensitive baby, you may want to consider using a diaper that has a stay dry interior or lay a stay-dry microfleece liner inside your natural fiber diapers at night.

About Jennifer Garden: Jennifer is a paediatric occupational therapist (OT) specializing in sleep for infants and children.  Jennifer is a mother of twins and a university instructor who has presented at several national conferences on sleep and is actively involved with a sleep research team in Vancouver.

Find out more:  www.sleepdreams.ca

Why I Chose Cloth Diapers: Mama K

We are always interested in finding out why families choose cloth diapers.  We think Mama K summed it up nicely:

“Cloth diapers blend my two favorite things- form and function! They contain everything that my two heavy wetters have thrown at them and they are absolutely adorable. Modern and they work.”

Thank you Mama K for your insight. We agree, not only do cloth diapers excel in terms of function, but they look pretty darn cute as well!

Baby C. is checking out his Bamboozle Stretch fitted diaper. These diapers are trim, absorbent and super soft. They pair up nicely with any of our waterproof diaper covers.

Photo Credit:  Vairdy Photography.  Vairdy is a Vancouver Photographer who works with newborns, children & families.

Why I love New & Green: Mama L

We asked our customers why they love working with New & Green and this is just one of our very kind reviews:

 “I was first introduced to New and Green when my sister enrolled me in a cloth diaper workshop. The workshop turned out to be the most informative prenatal class I took. The woman who ran the course was so knowledgeable! I was totally convinced cloth diapers would be the way for us to go. I was also convinced that there could be no better service in the lower mainland. I also appreciated the fact that when I would go to pick up the diapers, I was able to ask questions and get great explanations. New and Green has the best customer service!”

Thank you L.  We are happy to help and to provide you with all the information you need to put little D into cloth diapers! 

Baby E. is wearing one of our favourite night time choices – the Aristocrats Wool diaper cover.  These 100% wool covers are naturally absorbent and breatheable, allowing for dry beds and happy mornings!  Pair this cover with a bamboo or hemp fitted diaper for a super trim and ultra thirsty combination.

Photo Credit:  Vairdy Photography.  Vairdy is a Vancouver Photographer who works with newborns, children & families.


N&G Expert Panel – What to Expect in the Newborn Days

This year, we are going to continue to bring you lots of great diapering info to help you along your way but thought we’d also draw on some of the experts that we’ve met over the years.  We’ve got some great information lined up for you to help you with your day to day parenting.  We can’t wati to share!

First up, we’d like to introduce you to Chloe Dierkes of Urban Doula.  We chatted with Chloe and asked her to share with us some common themes from her experiences working with brand new parents.

N&G: When working with parents to be, what are the top 3 things that you tell them to expect in the first weeks with a newborn?

Chloe:

  1. Expect breast-feeding to take some time to establish.  Read a book on breast-feeding during pregnancy so that you are not trying to learn while caring for your newborn (you will not have the time!).  Attend a local Le Leche League meeting (http://www.lllc.ca/get-help) before the birth so you can talk with and observe breast-feeding moms.  Be sure to get lots of support immediately following your birth.
  2. Expect your sleeping patterns to change drastically.  Newborns are often awake more at night than during the day.  This will soon reverse, but until it does, you will have to make up for lost sleep with many naps throughout the day (your total sleep time should add up to the same number of hours as before).
  3. Expect your emotions to be fragile.  Be gentle with yourself and your partner.

N&G: When visiting a family post-partum, what are the top 3 things that families tell you they were surprised about?

Chloe:

  1. How quickly newborns change.  This requires constant adaptation since every solution is temporary and often once new parents feel things are figured out, something else becomes difficult.
  2. How nervous and unprepared they felt.
  3. How difficult it is to get 3 meals and enough sleep in each day.

N&G: What is your favourite piece of wisdom to share with parents to be about the first days and weeks with their new baby?

Chloe: Before your baby arrives, arrange for support from friends, family and/or a postpartum doula.   In our society it is custom to shower new parents with lots of toys, clothes and physical gifts, but in retrospect parents often feel that practical support would have been much more beneficial.   Have a close friend arrange a “meal train” for you, where each night for the first few weeks you have someone deliver you a healthy meal.  Set your own parameters based on what you like to eat and make sure you have boundaries outlining the rules (for example, “please come at 5:30pm, stay for no longer that 15 minutes and do some tidying before you leave”).  Set up your support systems before baby arrives.

About Urban Doula: Chloe Dierkes is a birth and postpartum doula in Vancouver, BC who offers guidance and care for pregnancy, birth and newborn families.  She has worked in childcare for almost a decade and thoroughly enjoys supporting families and helping them to find creative solutions.

Find out more: www.urbandoula.com

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

Setting Up Your Diaper Pail System

A diaper pail is an essential part of cloth diapering, although unlike its counterpart for disposable diapers, a diaper pail in a cloth system doesn’t need to be anything more than a pail with a lid. (Simple is good!)

Today we’ll walk through a few considerations to keep in mind as you set up your diaper pail system.

why dry pail

In bygone days, it was standard procedure to toss dirty diapers in a pail of water to allow the diapers to presoak. However, with modern washing machines that do a bang-up job of pre-rinsing diapers, it is no longer necessary to lug that heavy pail to the wash or have “poop soup” sitting around. Also, many modern cloth diapers have synthetic parts (elastics, velcro, PUL, etc), which break down by sitting in water.

Thus, we merely recommend “dry pailing” your diapers. Just place a waterproof bag in your pail, toss in the dirties as you go (dumping solids in the toilet first, of course), and then let the washing machine do the work of rinsing and prepping your diapers at the beginning of the wash cycle.

choosing a pail

You don’t need anything fancy for a pail – any container with a lid large enough to hold 2-3 days of diapers will do. Tall garbage can-size totes and round plastic storage bins with a lid and locking handles are especially popular among parents. These can be found inexpensively at any local general store or mass merchandiser.

where to put your pail

Put your pail where it’s convenient and a bit out of the way. Some people put it next to the change area, some put in the washroom next to the toilet or under the sink, and some have a small pail in each location. You just want to choose a place where it’s convenient for you and where pets and toddlers can’t get into it.

use a bag

If you’re in a small space or don’t have room for a pail, consider using a hanging bag instead. A “hanging pail” can be hung on a doorknob or wall hook and frees up floor space. A zipper replaces the need for a lid and keeps everything tidy. Large hanging wet bags can be part of your decor, too, as they come in various fun colors!

Setting up an organized system to deal with the dirties is easy and inexpensive. What tips do you have for keeping it simple?

Photo Credit – Vancouver photographer Amber Strocel who crafts a beautiful parenting blog, too.

Organizing Your Emergency Car Diaper Change Kit

We’ve talked lots here on the New & Green blog about organizing your diaper bag and how to cloth diaper when you’re away from home, but what about those times (that we all dread) when you’re caught unexpectedly and you aren’t prepared to change a dirty diaper when your baby really needs it?

An emergency diaper change kit to keep in your car is an excellent solution. Here’s a list of items to keep in your emergency diaper kit and a few tips for keeping it ready.

What to Stock in Your Emergency Change Kit

First, get a waterproof storage container. You’ll need somewhere to store all the items that will stay clean and dry no matter what the conditions in your vehicle. Containers such as a gallon-size Ziploc or a plastic storage container with a tight-fitting lid are excellent choices.

Inside your storage container make sure you pack:

 

Tips

Choose an older diaper to keep in your kit. Remember this is just for the times when you are left unprepared, so this doesn’t need to be fancy (just practical) and can be an excellent use for a diaper that’s seen better days but isn’t ready to face retirement yet.

Keep the kit “up to date” with the right size diaper. If you put a small diaper in the kit when your child is 3-months-old, but don’t end up using the kit for nearly a year, the diaper in the kit will be too small for your baby. Make sure you check it every month or so to keep the right size in stock. This can also be a great place to use a one-size diaper – that way you can be assured you’ll always have a diaper that will fit adequately without having to double check regularly.

Make sure to replace anything that gets used. If you use the wipes to clean sticky, melted ice cream off your child’s hands, make sure the kit is re-stocked with new dry wipes. If the diaper is used, put a new diaper in its place. This may seem obvious, but sometimes in the shuffle of a busy life, it’s easy to forget these little details, but that’s not so helpful the next time you’re in need of a clean diaper and there is none to be found.

If you’ve got more than one child in diapers, make sure your emergency kit has one diaper per child. Whether you use sized diapers (small, medium, large) or one-size diapers, make sure there’s one diaper per child. You may be caught in a situation where both children need to be changed, and you’ll want to be prepared.

Consider keeping a large prefold as a change pad in the kit, as it can double as a diaper if you’re really stuck for a long period of time!

Have you ever been caught unawares while away from home and had to do some “creative diapering”? We’d love to hear your story!

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!

Why I Love New & Green: Mama T

We asked parents why they loved working with New & Green and this is what the Dad of this family told us:

“New and Green offers a fantastic mix of informative and responsive customer service and great products.  We attended the Diapering 101 course and then did a follow up with one of the staff to help us find the best options for our family and lifestyle.  We appreciated the guidance and ease of the service.”

Thanks D, T and Baby E.  We love the opportunity to work with families like you!

Baby E is sporting an infant sized Organic Cotton Prefold Cloth Diaper with a Royal Blue Snappi.  In this photo Baby is just a couple weeks old.  Organic Cotton Prefolds are the absorbent part of your two piece diapering system.  Baby E needs a waterproof cover over top to complete the system.

Photo Credit:  Vairdy Photography.  Vairdy is a Vancouver Photographer who works with newborns, children & families.