Category Archives: Cloth Diaper Tips

Tips for new and experienced parent for using cloth diapers successfully

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

What the Parents Say – Our Prefold Parent Review Panel Results

Our Parent Reviewers received 2 Bummis Prefold Cloth Diapers, a Snappi Diaper Fastener, a SuperBrite Diaper Cover and a dose of encouragement. After two weeks with prefolds in their daily diapering routine, here are some musings for you to consider.

Front line, real life experience, coming up!

  • Yes, I would recommend them for someone to try prefold especially when starting on a young baby and if cost is a concern
  • We did not have any leaks and love the gussets as it helps keep her leak proof even when our little one was on the move
  • Snappi: if it was used on a younger infant it would help contain explosions and would be much easier to secure
  • Absorbency was what we needed the most as our little one wets very heavily at the front of her diaper once we started using the prefold folded for maximum absorbency in the front and fanned out in the back like I showed in a previous post she seemed happier.
  • The Prefold folded easily and fit very well into the cover.
  • The Snappi super easy to use, the prefolds easy to fold and I still cant believe how well they hold poosplosions
  • Prefolds really cut down my laundering time. I feel like I am forever washing, stuffing, unstuffing and snapping my pocket diapers and this can get overwhelming with twins.
  • I’m happy to say our little one slept about 7.5 hrs straight last night in her prefold. {note from N&G – we love hearing that parents got a good night’s sleep with cloth diapers!}
  • Only other thing I would recommend is using a fleece liner for the stay-dry effect especially at nighttime (as well as cleaning up any poopy messes).

Some Awesome Tips that came out of this Review Panel:

One technique I use on the prefolds, which I find rather handy when diapering a squirmy mobile baby who requires more absorbency in the front than the back is to flare the back of the prefold out so more surface area is covered at the back. I find when I don’t do this and my little one squirms around during the diapering process and the back part of the prefold often will not end up going up the middle and will be off to one side. By flaring out the back of the prefold like in the photo even if it gets a bit shifted she still has coverage to catch any liquid or solids that make it to the back of the diaper.

Use the large bio-soft liners fitted to the back of the diaper with the edges of bio soft liner tucked under the edges of the prefold. I find by tucking it under and fitting it to the back it catches the most of any poo-explosions both before and now that they are more solid.

And all our parents unanimously said:

Thanks so much for the opportunity to test these diapers. It has totally changed my mind about prefolds!  {hooray!}

*all names and specific references to babies were replaced by “my little one” in this blog post to further protect anonymity of our review panel and their precious littles.

Check out Newborn, Infant or Baby Prefolds now.

Check out the infamous Snappi Cloth Diaper Fastener now.

Check out Super Brite Diaper Covers now.

Call for a Parent Review Panel: GroVia BioDiapers

We know we’ve found ourselves in situations that are more suited for a disposable diaper and feel nauseous at buying them and putting them on our kids knowing what we do and standing for what we stand for, but on occasion, it becomes a necessity.  We met the folks at GroVia a couple of years ago at a trade show and sampled this product and quite liked it.  Functioned well, didn’t smell of artificial “new baby scent”, and seemed comfy for the littles.  We finally decided to bring them on board, in recognition that there are times for some families that a disposable is needed and we wanted you to have a better option.  We are interested in hearing what a cloth diaper, natural-minded family thinks about this choice in diapering.

If you’re interested, fill out an application by clicking on the link below. You must be an {avid} facebook user and be available over the next few weeks to participate.

Thanks so much; we really appreciate working with our Parent Review Panelists.

Apply here to be a part of our parent review panel.

Keep up with the reviews on Facebook or check back on http://blog.newandgreen.com in a couple weeks for real-time reviews of the products.

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.

What’s New & Green up to in February?

Well that went fast!  After recovering from the whirlwind of the holidays, trying to work on all those resolutions (mine are in the fitness and organization categories), we are ready to settle into this new year and get going with our workshops and planning for the spring.  Yes, the spring!

This month on the blog, in the newsletter and on facebook we’ll be talking about diapering with less (money, that is), you’ll be seeing the results of our latest Parent Review Panel on Facebook and be hearing from our next Expert on Sleep in our new Expert Series here on the blog.

In February, we’ve got workshops in North Van, East Van and at our newest location in Langley the CEFA Childcare Centre.

While I was under the impression that CEFA was a Junior Kindergarten, I was duly impressed to find out that it also a beautiful childcare centre for babies as well.  They have tons of natural play things, big bright spaces, dedicated play grounds and no babies in cloth!  It’s not that they wouldn’t – the director there is very open to making cloth work at their centre.  And the infant changing area would be perfect for cloth. I can’t wait to hear about their first baby starting their in cloth.

We also have our next playdate at Gymboree North Van on Februrary 21st.  Watch our newsletter and/or facebook page for details on how to RSVP.  Free for New & Green customers and subscribers.

Have a very happy month of love with your little cupids!

Don’t miss out on another great newsletter – head over to New & Green to sign up.

Cloth Diaper Spotlight: the TiniFit All in One Cloth Diaper

Since bringing these diapers in over a year ago, we’ve gotten nothing but rave reviews about this mini-me diaper.  It blends a few things together to push it high up on the list of faves:

  1. It actually fits the tiniest of tinies, from 5-13lbs.
  2. Natrual bamboo (ever-so-soft) next to baby’s skin in the “wet-zone”
  3. Absorbent & waterproof layer sewn together to make it a one step on, one step off diaper
  4. Absorbent layers are designed to be only two layers at any point during the washing and drying steps, so this process is thorough and quick
  5. This diaper comes with an additional absorbency pad that can be put inside the diaper when your baby needs it, ie getting towards the bigger end of the size range, going through a growth spurt or sleeping through the night (or at least a good few hours in a row!).  The option of not having the extra pad in the diaper allows for a trimmer fit when the diaper’s absorbency doesn’t need to be maxed out.
  6. The diaper fastens with velcro.  For new parents and for the many shapes and sizes that newborns come in, this is a good thing.  It’s super easy and super adjustable.
  7. It’s made in Scotland.

The only downside that we see with this little diaper is that it’s rise (how high it comes up on the tummy) may be a tich too high for smaller newborns during their “umbilical stump” stage which can last anywhere from 4 days to two weeks.  For some babies, this is not an issue.

Some families choose to use these for their entire diaper collection, keeping things uniform and simple.  Other families will choose to  a very simple, prefold system with these diapers as their “easy diaper”.  A typical amount of diapers for a newborn collection is 24, with a two day washing cycle.

Go and check these diapers out.  On the New & Green Site you’ll find them on the product page with their big sister, the Easy Fit which we recommend for babies from 10-35lbs.

Have you used a TiniFit for your little?  Mamas over on our Facebook Page have and they LOVE it!

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

Call for a Parent Review Panel: Prefolds & Covers

We want to test the theory that basic can be beautiful.  And simple.  Prefolds have been the workhorse of cloth diapers for decades and among all the new innovations, they still remain one of the most popular choices for simplicity and economics. We have the fabulous organic cotton prefolds from Bummis on our shelves and we’re looking for 6 families with babies between 8-30lbs and at least 4 weeks old to test these products for us.

If you’re interested, fill out an application by clicking on the link below. You must be an {avid} facebook user and be available over the next few weeks to participate.

Thanks so much; we really appreciate working with our Parent Review Panelists.

Apply here to be a part of our parent review panel.

Keep up with the reviews on Facebook or check back on http://blog.newandgreen.com in a couple weeks for real-time reviews of the products.

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