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Diapering Trends for 2011

Over the last couple of weeks here on the blog, we’ve taken a quick look back over 2010 at the most popular diapers and accessories of the year. Today we’ll take a sneak peek at the trends that are shaping up for 2011.

Basically, parents are choosing diapers based on eco-friendly living and smart money choices. (Surprise, surprise…)

Trend #1: Organic and Natural Fibres

Eco-friendly materials are definitely the name of the game in 2011. Organic cotton, bamboo, and hemp all satisfy parents who are looking for more sustainable materials, and the BabyKicks One-Size Organic fitted diaper, the Stretch Bamboozle Bamboo fitted diaper, and the AMP Hemp fitted diaper are rising to the top as Parent Favourites.

Trend #2: Newborn to One-Size Diapers

One-size diapers are fabulous for increasing your savings from infanthood to toddlerhood, but they don’t always fit so well in the first few weeks of life. Thus, parents are choosing to pair newborn nappies (the cutest diapers – bar none!) with one-size diapers to get the best use out of both.

For N&G parents, the TiniFitKissaluvs Size 0, and the new Organic Cotton Newborn Pack are definitely get the top raves for newborn sizing.  BabyKicks 3G, the Tots Bots Easy-Fit, and the Canadian-Made AMP One-Size Duos are rising to the top in popularity for the infant-to-potty-training variety.

Trend #3: Back-to-basics Prefolds and Covers

We’ve written many posts on the beauty and simplicity of using prefolds, as well as have a prefold photo tutorial on our main site, and thus it’s no surprise to us that a large number of parents are choosing the simple, money-wise option of using prefolds and covers to cloth their babes. You can get these classic diapers in a box set or a la carte. Hemp prefolds are also available individually.

Trend #4: Style

This trend isn’t coming directly from parents, per se, but parents who are wanting to show off their babies’ bums have definitely fueled the fire on this one. Look no further than the limited edition artist prints on the Bum Genius 4.0’s and Elemental one-size AIO’s, as well as all the luscious new Super Whisper Wrap Covers from Bummis. Of course, the EasyFit always gets an honourable mention in the “cute” division, too!

So, there you have it. So far 2011 is shaping up to be eco-friendly, stylish, and money-smart, just like all of you.

We’d love to know – what trend will top your priority list this year?

Ask N&G – Are Cloth Diapers More Work than Disposables?

For those who are trying to decide between using disposable diapers and reusable diapers, the question of convenience is often at the forefront of their minds. So, here’s a run-down on the pro’s and con’s of each, focusing especially on the question we are often asked – “Are cloth diapers more work than disposables?”

Using Disposables

The easy part:

  • putting them on
  • taking them off
  • easy to toss used diapers in the trash
  • wipes are pre-wetted and ready
  • easy to toss in a diaper bag

The work part:

  • going out and buying them, especially if you have to run out late in the evening
  • dumping solids in the toilet – solid waste shouldn’t go in the garbage regardless of whether it’s in a disposable diaper or a cloth one
  • taking out the trash

Using Cloth

The easy part:

  • putting them on, especially if you use one-step diapers like Easy Fits, pockets, or the new BabyKicks 3G. Cloth diapers are becoming much more intuitive, largely because of the popularity of their convenient disposable cousin.
  • easy to toss used diapers in the diaper pail
  • wipes can be pre-wetted and ready merely by putting wipes under some running water and placed in a travel wipes caddy.
  • easy to toss in a diaper bag along with a travel-size wetbag

The work part:

  • putting them on, especially if you are using diapers you haven’t gotten used to yet, like prefolds or ones with lots of snaps
  • dumping solids in the toilet
  • washing – washing is simple, it just takes a bit of time (which you can do while you’re doing other things)

We’re biased, of course, and consider the work of cloth diapering to be quite rewarding. But that may not be the case for everyone – it all depends on what works best for you and your family. Making an informed, thoughtful decision – regardless of what you decide – is always to be applauded!

Ask N&G: I have a HE Washer. Will this work with Cloth Diapers?

hewashingmachineIn the grand discussion of concern for the environment, cloth diapers and high-efficiency washers are two topics that come up often. Yet many wonder if these two – while each a great action to save the environment on its own – are mutually exclusive. Since HE washers run their cycles with very little water, is it possible to use cloth diapers and actually get them clean?

Cloth diapering is certainly do-able with an HE washer – you just need a little creativity. Ironically, washing cloth diapers in an HE washer doesn’t run the washer at its most efficient.

The key to getting your diapers clean, regardless of the type of washer, is water, water, water. Water is the only way to rid them of urine, residues, and odors. Thus, with an HE washer, you want to make sure there’s enough water in the wash cycle to ensure the diapers aren’t just flopping around!

For example, if you look into your wash window when you’re washing a load of clothes, you’ll likely see a couple of inches of water at the bottom of the wash tub. However, if you look in while you’re washing diapers, there’s typically no or very little extra water to see. This is because your lovely diapers are so absorbent that they soak up all the wash water provided. Thus, you need to figure out how to get extra water in the tub. There are a few ways to do this:

Use a no-spin pre-rinse. If your machine can do a rinse cycle without draining out the water at the end, run that cycle right before the wash cycle.

Know how to “trick” your machine. You can also trick your machine into thinking there’s more to wash than there actually is. Add in a pair of jeans or a towel to the wash cycle to get more water added to the cycle – jeans work especially well since they don’t absorb as much as a towel does.

Run multiple cycles. We find that it often works best to run two cold rinse cycles, one extra-long hot wash with Country Save or Rockin’ Green detergent, then two final cold rinse cycles. The first pre-rinse gets rid of urine and gunk, the second pre-rinse preps the diapers for the wash, the wash gets the diapers clean, then the two final rinses ensures there is no detergent or other build-up left on the diapers to keep them as absorbent as possible.

Use diapers that fit your wash routine. Traditional pockets and all-in-ones are the most difficult to keep clean in an HE washer. Pockets like FuzziBunz can be problematic because they’re so light they trigger very little water into the drum. Traditional AIO’s like the Blueberry One-Size Simplex Cloth Diaper are difficult because they require lots of agitation to get sufficient water through them to actually get them spankin’ clean. Diapers that work especially WELL in an HE washer are Tots Bots Easy Fit All in One Cloth Diaper, Thirsites hemp and Bummi’s organic cotton prefolds, as well as many of the newer AIO’s.

Wash often. Most people who use HE washers report that their diapers get the cleanest when they run small loads and wash every day or two. However, in the effort to keep things as efficient as possible, we still recommend washing every two to three days if you can. That way you don’t have to run your machine as often and you don’t have to keep as many diapers on hand.

As you can see, creativity is the name of the game to being successful with an high-efficiency washer – and you cloth diapering mamas are some of the most resourceful, creative people we know! Our hats are off to you!

Ask N&G – Are Diaper Pails Really Stinky?

Diaper pails. Ah… diaper pails. Nearly every parent wonders at some point about the stink factor involved in diapering – heck, there are even entire industries dedicated to keeping disposable diapers from stinking up a home. (Think Diaper Genie and all the variations thereof…)
So, what about cloth? Does it stink? The answer – NO, it doesn’t have to. Granted, if you stick your head in the pail, you won’t be smelling roses, but the heart of the question is – will my home reek of urine all the time? And to that, the response is a definitive “no.”
Let’s look a few ways to keep your baby’s room and your home smelling fresh:
Use a pail with a lid. This seems, perhaps, like obvious advice. But it still needs to be stated for the record that this is the best way to keep odors contained where they belong. Keep your lid on tight and away from toddlers and pets who can get in and make a mess. You can also use a large hanging wet bag since it has a zipper.
Do your laundry regularly. As long as you’re washing your diapers at least once every three days, the smell in your pail is minimized. If you let it sit longer, then the ammonia from the urine will begin to degrade and react with any poo in the pail and the stink factor will grow exponentially. (Trust us – we know. We’ve done it.)
Use a deodorizer. There are several ways to deodorize:
  • You can use plain baking soda sprinkled at the bottom of your pail and over the diapers every once in a while, or you can use new Rockin’ Green Shake It Up! pail deodorizer in the same way (which is way more fun).
  • You can put several drops of an essential oil, like tea tree oil or lavender oil, on a cloth wipe to mask any unpleasant smells.
  • There are bamboo charcoal deodorizers that do an excellent job of absorbing odor.
  • You can spray bumGenius odor remover spray onto each diaper to control bacteria before they grow.
  • You can place a Pail Pal deo disk under the pail lid.
  • Or you can place the pail outside where odor control will never be an issue, although this usually involves trekking through the house with dirty diapers in hand – usually not worth it.
If you’d like to read more, read the post we did last April.
So, be confident in your cloth diapering decisions. Be assured that your home will be the welcoming haven that you want it to be – or at least, that is, no one will be scared away by diaper odor.

Potty Training :: Cloth Trainers

When it comes time for a child to move from diapers to “going” on the potty, training pants are an essential tool in the process.

The best reason to use cloth trainers – regardless of whether you have used cloth while diapering – is that cloth gives easy feedback on the sensation of being wet, which helps a child learn and ultimately speeds up the entire process of learning to use the potty. This is, of course, in addition to the great cost savings of using cloth!

And there are some great cloth training pants available that give parents lots of options, regardless of how you go about instructing your child about the toilet. (For more information about various potty training philosophies, check out our training pants page.) Here are three great cloth options to consider:

Bummi Training Pants are the classic cloth training pant. They are a pull-up style, which mimic “big kid” underwear, thus getting your child used to the idea and “how-to’s” of briefs and panties. They have a colorful waterproof outer and plenty of absorbency to catch a big accident.

BabyKicks One-Size pocket diaper is both a birth-to-potty diaper and a training pant. It’s made of organic cotton and bamboo, complete with fleece around the legs for durability and softness, as well as a soft waterproof outer. During the diapering years, it’s a one-size pocket diaper, but due to its shape, it can easily be made into a pull-up training pant just by using the widest and tallest set of snaps on the wings. (Alternatively, if you are practicing elimination communication or are potty training a smaller child, having various customizable snap options to create a pant that is unique to your child while still easy to pull on and off is a super-good feature!) Pssst – the new BabyKicks 3G will be here very soon!

Using the Babykicks Pocket as a diaper and as a trainer obviously helps parents save even more by not having to purchase trainers in addition to diapers. Its design is also handy not only because it gives kids an easy pull-up, but in the case that your child’s accident is a #2, the snaps allow the diaper to open rather than having to have the whole mess creating havoc down your child’s legs while you take it off.

BabyKicks One-Size organic fitted diaper is identical in shape to the Bumboo, but it doesn’t have a waterproof outer or fleece leg gussets, so the entire diaper is made of natural fibres, including organic cotton and organic hemp. It has the same great features as the Bumboo, and not having a waterproof outer gives kids an even greater awareness of being wet.

So, there are three options to check out – as always, if you have any questions, be sure to check out our Learning Centre. If you can’t find what you’re looking for there, feel free to e-mail us at customercare@blog.newandgreen.com.

Using Cloth Diapers? What about Cloth Wipes?

As we all know, diaper duty can get messy. Really really messy.

Cloth wipes are a great way to deal with life’s messes. They’re soft yet heavy-duty, they don’t leave chemicals on your baby’s skin, and they’re a “green” alternative to the store-bought variety.

Here are a few reasons we love them:

They keep your baby clean, truly clean. Even when your baby doesn’t go “#2”, good wipes are important for the health of your baby’s skin. Uric acid that isn’t wiped away can irritate the skin and cause diaper rash. Even just a quick wipe with water or a mild soap solution will take care of all the acid build-up and keep your baby clean and happy. And of course, when there is a mess to take care of, cloth wipes are always strong enough for the job and don’t tear, keeping your fingers out of the goo.

They’re good for your baby’s skin. Disposable wipes are laden with chemicals, but wiping your baby’s bum with water and/or soap ensures there’s nothing irritating left on the skin afterward.

You don’t have to pick them out before doing laundry. There’s nothing more annoying than opening the washing machine to pull out your nice clean diapers and discover shreds of disposable wipes that you forgot to throw in the garbage can before you did laundry!

They’re green and they make life simpler. Since you’re doing diaper laundry anyway, they don’t add to your energy consumption, yet they keep garbage and chemicals out of the landfill.

They’re budget-friendly. No need to buy wipes over and over – surprisingly, stocking up with cloth wipes rather than using disposable ones can save you beaucoups bucks through your baby’s diapering years.

They’re tough enough to use for a myriad of other babying and parenting jobs, too. Keep an extra dozen around for wiping hands and faces after meals, catching runny noses, boosting a newborn’s diaper, taking off make-up, applying facial toner, or even as handy-dandy toilet paper when you forget to change the roll. Actually, they can replace most of the paper and cotton products you use in your home!

They’re so easy to use. You can either keep them in a stack near the change area with a spray bottle nearby to wet them, or you can pre-moisten them if you prefer so they’re just as easy as using the disposable ones. Using them dry is just fine too – it’s all up to what you and your baby choose. When you’re out and about, they’re just the right size to fold in half and fit inside a travel wipes container (found at your local drugstore).

As you can tell, we love cloth wipes! For more information and to check out our organic cotton/hemp wipes, check out our wipes page.

Today’s question: what do you love most about cloth wipes?

Washing Cloth Diapers :: A Case for Line Drying

Whether you use a chic, modern drying rack or an old-fashioned strung-up clothesline, drying your cloth diapers outside is an excellent way to save money, keep your diapers in tip-top shape, and remove stains all at once. Not only that, but your diapers will smell wonderfully fresh when you bring them back inside.

Sixty percent of your energy usage and cost related to cloth diapering comes from using the dryer. By using a clothesline, you not only save money but you reduce your environmental footprint.

Line-drying is a great way to keep your diapers in great shape, too, especially if you have diapers with elastic or waterproof outers. These diapers are certainly designed to be dried in the dryer, but years of dryer use can degrade the synthetic fabrics. By line drying your fabrics, you will prolong their life and keep them working and looking their best.

Sunlight is also great for your diapers.
Not only will the UV rays in sunlight bleach out your toughest stains, but they will also brighten your diapers and disinfect them. (Diapers don’t need to be disinfected after being washed, but every once in a while it’s just nice to have the peace of mind knowing they are absolutely clean.) This is also another way to save a few bucks – by utilizing the sunlight, you won’t have to buy laundry additives to remove stains.

And best of all, your diapers will smell wonderfully fresh after a day in the sun. There’s a reason various laundry product manufacturers have given their detergents names reminiscent of fresh air and sunshine – it makes laundry smell great!

So, with all these great reasons to line dry, here are a few tips:

*For the best stain removal, lay the diapers in a place where they’ll have the most sun all day.  We’ve found the most effective method for stain removal is to hang your diapers out when they’re wet out of the washer.

*Prefolds can sometimes feel stiff if they’re left out for long periods of time. To prevent this, either take them off the line right when they’ve finished drying or toss them in the dryer on a no-heat setting for ten minutes when you bring them inside.

So, consider hanging out your next few loads of laundry – you’ll brighten your diapers, remove stains, and save money, completely naturally and without any chemicals!

If you have more questions about diaper laundry, post a comment here or consider attending one of our popular Cloth Diaper 101 workshops where you can have your questions answered in person by one of our diapering experts.

NEWS:  For families in BC, you can earn $75 from BC hydro by reducing your energy consumption.  So beyond the actual savings of line drying, here is your bonus!  More details here.

Newborn Cloth Diapering :: Tips for Success

Welcoming a newborn is a wonderful experience, but for many of us, it can be overwhelming too.  Choosing to use cloth diapers needn’t add to your feeling “whelmed,” though – follow these tips to keep the first few months smooth and successful.

Keep it simple. While there are a myriad of lovely options to choose from when putting together your diapering system, keep it simple, especially during the first few months. Choose just one or two types of diapers to have on hand. That way, you’ll always know what to reach for and it will be easy to pack a diaper bag for outings. Either Kissaluvs size 0 or Bummis organic cotton prefolds paired with a Bummis newborn Super Brite cover, with a few TiniFit All-in-Ones or AMP small All-in-Ones for outings, are popular, simple, easy-to-use systems.

Be organized. Yeah, we know – organization sometimes seems more like a dream than a reality with a new baby around. Heck, sometimes all it takes to feel like the day is a triumph is to be able to shower before noon. However, keeping your diapers organized and ready to grab is easier than it sounds and will definitely help your cloth diapering venture be successful.

Here are a few easy ideas to stay organized:

Have your wipes at hand (pre-wetted if you like them that way).

Prestuff your pocket diapers so they’re ready to go.

Use decorative boxes, baskets, or cubbies to neatly store diapers and covers (plus, if you don’t have time to fold them after doing a load of laundry, a box or a basket will still keep them neatly contained!).

Put together a “mobile change unit” if you tend to change your baby on the couch (or other places around the house).

If you’ve got other ideas for keeping your diapers and change area organized, please leave a comment – we’d love to hear what works for you.

Have fun. Diaper change time can be a great time to bond with your baby, especially newborns. Smile, coo, talk, and laugh with your new one – it will make the experience an enjoyable time rather than merely a chore. It can also be a special way for daddies to bond with their babies. Though it seems like a small thing, making diaper change time into something special will help ensure your cloth diapering venture is a successful one – and even better, will reap a great start to your lifelong relationship with your child!

PS – Another way to keep the sanity in the household?  Consider our Newborn Rental Program.  We do all the thinking and organization for you!

The “Inside Poop” on Poop in Cloth Diapers

Let’s talk about poop.

Poop is rather an inevitable part of the conversation when you’re talking about diapers – but what do you do with it? Are there easy ways to deal with it? And will my diapers be stained for good if my child eats beets the night before?

Poop is easily manageable. In the early newborn days, the baby poops as often as he or she pees. If the baby is exclusively taking breastmilk, the poop is water soluble, so you can just toss the diaper – poo and all – into the diaper pail. If the baby is taking formula, it will be a bit more copious and slightly more solid, so you just need to shake off whatever you can and then place it in the pail.

After a few months as your baby’s digestive system matures and as the baby starts eating solids, the poop may be less frequent and be more… well, solid… so you can just let the poo roll off or you may choose to use the old “ four-corner dunk and swish” if you really need to.  The four corner dunk is taught at our workshops and is one of the best tricks you’ll learn from our instructor, Bonnie!

Of course, there are ways that you can make your job easier too. Biosoft diaper liners are strips of biodegradable material that you lay on the inside of your diaper and at diaper change time, you just lift off the liner and toss it in the toilet or take the diaper into the bathroom and flip the liner into the toilet (the no-hands touching method). Fleece liners and raw silk liners work similarly, except you wash them and reuse them rather flushing them. With any of the liners, there’s no more rinsing and dunking to get off the goo!

And regarding stains – stains are generally inevitable, especially in the newborn days, but they are easily removed, even when your child eats beets, strawberries, blueberries, or any other food that tends to colour the stool. Rockin’ Green cloth diaper detergent is great at getting diapers clean and at working on the stains, but for tough stains, sunlight is by far the best bleach and whitener. Stick your diapers outside on a sunny day and beets will be no match for you!

In Your Diaper Bag :: Washable vs. Plastic Bags

We’ve all been there – who among us hasn’t used Ziplocs or plastic grocery bags to schlep home our dirty nappies? But plastic has its limits and is environmentally unfriendly in the long term. What to do?

While plastic is great in a pinch, an honest-to-goodness wetbag makes a huge difference – and they keep their value long after your last child is out of diapers.

Wetbags and diaper totes are exactly what they sound like – bags to carry wet items. They come in various sizes, offer various closures, and have various designs.

During the diapering years, wetbags make a big difference in being able to easily (and fashionably!) carry your dirty diapers while out and about – they are truly an indispensable tool. They will be one of the hardest working members of your cloth diaper family. We definitely recommend having two or three on hand so that you always have a clean one to toss in the diaper bag while the others are in the wash.

As your children transition out of diapers, a wetbag is easy to carry with you in case your child needs to change clothes.

Later, they work fabulously for wet swimming suits, dirty laundry on sleepovers and road trips, or even an emergency travel pillow on an airplane. You can even use them yourself for gym clothes!

Basically, a wetbag is a sturdy, long-term use item that will long outlive its diapering duties.

Here is a rundown of the Bummis Fab Wet Bag sizes and potential diaper-related functionailty:

  • Bummis Small Fab Wet Bag – great for 1-3 diapers, or a bunch of wipes or a clean diaper, wipe and outfit change, has a zipper closure and snapped webbing handle to hang it on handles and hooks of all sorts.
  • Bummis Medium Fab Wet Bag – as above, but will hold 4-6 diapers.  This would be great if the intention is longer out trips, overnights or if you plan to use this later for daycare.  One to store clean gear and one to store dirties.

Other than diaper duty, what have you used your wetbag for? Share your experiences and inspire other moms!