Tag Archives: How To

Cloth Diapers in Daycare :: How to Make it Work

One of the most common questions we’re asked at our New & Green Cloth Diapering 101 workshops is about cloth diapering at daycare. Do daycares allow cloth? Which diapers are best? Do I need any special equipment?

From the bit of research we’ve done, it seems the vast majority of daycares in the Lower Mainland are happy to accommodate cloth-loving parents, provided the process is made easy for the care providers.  We definitely recommend that you “know before you go” – call your daycare (or prospective daycares) and find out what they specifically prefer so that you don’t end up buying diapers and supplies you don’t need. Also, check out the Real Diaper Association’s excellent tip-sheet for some great info.

Basically, when it comes to cloth diapering in a daycare, it boils down to this:

KISS (Keep It Simple, Silly): Make it as easy for the care providers as possible.

  • Use diapers that are most like putting on a disposable – either an All-in-One or a pre-stuffed pocket diaper with Velcro closures. Velcro closures make diaper changes both easy and speedy!
  • Have a zipper-closure wetbag big enough to hold all the diapers from the day. A bag with a hanging loop is extra handy.
  • Considering using a disposable liner such as Bummi’s Flushable Bio-Soft liners and pre-line all your diapers. This way, poop is easy to deal with for the care provider and you’re less likely to have super-poopy diapers coming home for you to deal with later! (Always a plus!)
  • Remember that some daycares require that everything belonging to the child must be labeled, including cloth diapers. You can either stick these labels right on the diapers or hand-sew a little tag onto the diaper to hold the label so that you can easily remove it later. Laundry-safe labels can be found by searching online for “children’s clothing labels” (or some such variation).
  • If you want cloth wipes used as well, consider having them pre-wetted in a travel-size disposable wipes container so they are easy to grab and ready to use.

Be prepared: About 93% of the daycares we surveyed on the North Shore  stated that they would be happy to use cloth diapers, provided they were shown how to use them. At your first meeting with the provider, bring along samples of everything you’ll be sending with your child and be prepared to show them how to use it. It often helps if you’re upbeat and positive, emphasizing how easy the process is!

Be flexible: If your daycare isn’t quite sure about cloth diapering – even after your enthusiastic tutorial – perhaps propose a trial period, say three weeks, in which to try cloth. Likewise, choosing a different type of diaper may help the daycare as well. Be flexible in accommodating their needs as well as your own – some of them may never have seen modern cloth diapers.

Be happy: We believe that choosing cloth is a wonderful, fun, and sustainable choice for you and your family. Extending that choice to other people who care for your children can require courage, wisdom, and knowledge – you should be happy knowing you’ve prepared yourself for this journey and your child will reap the benefits. Hip hip hooray!

On the Road Again…Soon!

A mama from our New & Green Family shares her recent experience travelling with cloth diapers.  Anne recently participated in our Diaper Tester Program with her little guy and hasn’t looked back.  Her faves include: Bamboozles and AMP Duos.

suitcase-couverture

“When we first decided to use cloth diapers, I honestly thought that there would be instances I would have to use disposables.  For example, if we were away from home. Then I went out during the day with cloth –  I took home a dirty diaper in a neat little bag and realized it was not a big deal at all.  But I still thought if we went away from home overnight I would have to buy a pack of disposables.  I was worried my hotel room would get stinky or it would be too much stuff to travel with.

Last weekend I  decided to try going away overnight with cloth.  It wasn’t thinking of the garbage factor, or that I’d rather treat myself to a  latte or two while I’m on my holiday than spend the money on a pack of  diapers – it’s honestly that that our cloth diapers fit Benjamin so well and work so well for us, AND that he really is so darned cute in them, that I really didn’t want to leave them at home!

So, we packed a little garbage pail with lid  to use as our home away from home diaper pail.  I didn’t have a drawstring bag that fit it, so I used a garbage bag to line it. I stuck a deo disc on the lid. I packed enough cloth diapers for the two nights we were away, along with wipes.  When I set up the playpen and other stuff in our hotel room, I set up our home away from home changing station.  It was easy, nothing smelled, and it didn’t add much to our luggage at all.  Best of all, Benjamin was cozy and cute in his cloth diapers.

 And, on the same reusable front – we also used a cloth swim diaper in the pool – it worked great!”

Thanks for sharing your story with us Anne.  It sounds like you’ll be back on the road again with cloth in no time!

The genius behind bumGenius! diapers talks with New & Green

jenn5

I’d like to introduce to you, Jenn, the owner of CottonBabies and inventor of bumGenius Diapers.

First of all, tell us how many children you have and their ages. I have 3 kids – Andrew is 6. Oscar is 3 and Elsie is 4 months.

What was your biggest inspiration for your bumGenius Cloth Diaper invention? All of our products have been designed out of a need for something different. The Cotton Babies One-Size Microfiber Insert (now the bumGenius One-Size Microfiber Insert) happened one night when I was sewing some inserts up for a customer. I had a snap press in the laundry room and late one night, totally on a whim, I added a snap to the insert to try making it shorter. I still remember walking out of the laundry room, showing Jimmy the insert and asking him what he thought! He loved it and we were off and running. We both thought it made sense to design a diaper to work with our insert. The demands of a growing business and having another baby meant that it took some time for that dream to become reality. When it did though, bumGenius was born.

Can you tell us about your decision to have your products made in Egypt and what the factory is like there (working conditions, etc)? The decision to open the Egypt factory was based on the growing demand for bumGenius and to meet the international market. The majority of the diapers we distribute in the US are made in our Colorado factory. The Egypt factory was established with very deliberate intention of making sure we not only meet, but far exceed, Egyptian labor standards of living and working. Our priorities are a positive and healthy work environment.  Our staff there is happy and well-paid. They are skilled workers and are able to meet our high production standards.  We are proud of the factory that has been established there and the work we get to do with them.

Do you recommend a one size diaper for families planning on using their diapers for more than one child? The one-size fits most babes from 7-35 lbs.  The number of diapers in a stash and the quality of the care for those diapers will determine how long the overall diaper stash lasts.  We recommend a minimum of 24 diapers for one baby.  We can’t guarantee that those diapers will last through a second child, but with good care it is possible.  Our own diaper stash has been used on Oscar (now three) and is now on Elsie (four months).

What is your best tip for families just starting out in the world of cloth diapers to help them be successful? Just dive in and use your diapers!  If you have questions, call our customer service line at 888-332-2243.  We’re here to help with everything from first-time-use questions to how to wash your diapers.

What is your best tip for mothers who have a dream of starting their own business? My biggest tip for anyone would be to avoid debt. And always put your family first.

Can you tell us some of your strategies to balance your roles of mother and business owner? I bring Elsie to the office with me every day. I also try to take Fridays off so we can spend more time together as a family.

Thanks Jenn, we appreciate your time spent with us.  Keep up the good work.  Your diapers are changing the world!

Buy 5 Get 1 Sale August 2011

Use the code BFGO811 during your checkout

The New & Green Mamas – Kristin

photo-for-blog-kristin

Name: Kristin, Workshop Facilitator & Diaper Tester Program Leader

Number of Children and Ages: A beautiful and active daughter aged 2

A little “About Me”, Please. I love sewing and being crafty, scoring mid-century treasures on Craigslist, on-line shoe shopping, reading, watching Project Runway in all it’s glorious incarnations, The Office, breaking out of the house to see live bands, covetting my partner’s new iPod touch.  Little know fact:  I love the theme song from the Backyardigans!

Why cloth diapers for your family? With healthy options for my family always in mind- I purchased most of our cloth diapers before our daughter was born.  Our daughter Amina was born in the middle of the summer 2007 civic strike. My partner and I saw how much garbage began to pile up with her disposables so we jumped right into using the cloth diapers we had on hand.  We haven’t looked back since!  What we’ve learned from our cloth diapering journey:  It’s important to pay attention to your lifestyle and budget and choose products with a good fit to make your experience the best it can be.

Why do I love to tell folks about Cloth diapers? Using my trial-and-error experiences with cloth, I feel that I can  provide new parents and new-to-cloth parents with many ideas about how to choose the right cloth diapers and products for their families. I feel very fortunate to work alongside supportive and inspiring women in a great, nurturing environment!

What is my best tip for parents new to Cloth Diapering? Make your cloth diaper system as simple as possible and make sure it works for your family. Keep a few AIO’s or pockets in your purse or diaper bag, with a tote and some extra wipes- that way you’re never caught empty handed. You may be surprised at how little space this takes up in your bag.

Our Current Favourites: For daytime, AMP Duo or bumGenius OS Pocket stuffed with Hemp Flat Inserts.  Love, love, love hemp!  For night time or naps, a Bamboozle Bamboo with an Aristocrats wool cover or Polar Bummis cover.

Changing the Change Table

With a baby in the house and a 2.5 year old in the house, I was finding that the traditional change table just wasn’t meeting my needs.  Sure it looked lovely all set up in the girls’ room with the diapers, the wipes and all the necessities but it wasn’t working.  I change Clare on the bed, on the couch, on the floor  – it seems anywhere but the change table.  So I asked myself why?

The answer is:  I need to be within “eye-reach” of my 2.5yr old so we change diapers where she is.  And she typically doesn’t stay in one place for long.  So to make sure everyone is safe, we just change on the go, where necessary.  This led to a pile of diapers and changing gear in the family room, albeit easy to access, but not terribly tidy.  Didn’t appeal much to the type A portion of my personality.

So the MBC (Mobile Changing Unit) was born.

mobile-change-unit

I love our MBC – it has our wool puddle pad, diapers and wipes all in one handy spot.  There’s usually a squirt bottle with wipes solution in there too, but the toddler ran off with it just before I clicked.  It’s her mission in life to get that darned bottle and get everyone wet!!

So where we need it, it goes.  My toddler can even be a big helper and bring it to me.  So now when the diapers get washed, the MBC gets re-loaded.  It’s working.  For now.

What’s your change table solution?

Hello Sunshine!

So just to warn you – this post is about poo stains.  Yep.  If you are reading this blog you are most likely a parent or soon to be parent so this is or will be a topic that will get way more air time at the dinner table than ever before in your life.

Lots of parents worry about staining on their diapers.  Before we look at one natural and very effective solution, let’s recap what we’ve said before:  Stains do not equal dirty!  Your stained diapers are clean and totally usable, just not as pretty as they once were.  Think about grass stains, mustard stains.  All okay; not pretty, but okay.

This is a bamboo doubler (belonging to my littlest one who is 6 months old) that came out of the wash the other day:

bamboo-doubler-with-poop-stains

And this is the bamboo doubler after sitting out in the UV light (on an overcast day) for about 3 hours:

bamboo-doubler-after-sunning-for-3-hours

Yep, the sun is an amazing thing.  This doubler looks brightened and whitened, all without a single chemical.  One more round of washing and sunning and you’d never know that it was used to catch poop.

The forecast is for sun for the next 6 days (in my part of the world).  Go ahead, sun those stains out – I dare ya! Read a step by step on how to use sunlight to whiten your poop stained diapers here.

The good, the bad and the….poopy

A question that often arises in conversations with parents making one of the many many decisions about their baby’s gear is:

“What are the pros and cons of cloth diapering?”

Here are our top ten pros and cons of cloth diapering (warning – we love cloth diapers, so this may be a little skewed):

  1. Good choice for your baby’s skin and overall health
  2. Save up to $2K over the time your child is in diapers
  3. Hands down, better for the earth
  4. It’s fun
  5. It makes your baby’s bum cuter than it already is
  6. A bit of research and learning is required for best success
  7. Learning curve involved and ongoing problem-solving may be required
  8. It adds 2-3 extra loads of laundry each week (zero trips to the store)
  9. Never run out of diapers
  10. Keep one TON of waste out of landfills (per child).

So if cloth diapering is so great, why do people quit/give up?  Misinformation or not enough info, diapers that don’t match their lifestyle and misconceptions of “what it’s like”.

Arm yourself with info by reading up on cloth diapers.  Attend a workshop.  Get the information you need to make a good decision for your family and then find someone that you can ask your questions to and support you along your way (that’s us!).

Smart Care for Your Cloth Diapers – How to Get the Most out of Your Cloth Diapers

When we do Cloth Diaper 101 Workshops in the Greater Vancouver area, one of the handouts that often renders long gazes and quick mental calculations is our cost comparsion sheet.

Off the bat, it sounds like cloth diapers are a luxurious, expensive venture.  But when it comes down to it, they can save you money, and lots of it!  Regardless, you are laying out some bucks and want to make sure that you are wise with your spending.  Our friends over at ParentingbyNature.com inspired us to consider how we help New & Green Families keep their diapers in tip-top shape and fend off those nay-sayers that say it’s too much money!

At New & Green, our top 10 recommendations to get the most out of your cloth diaper investment are:

  1. Have enough diapers in rotation so that your diapers aren’t getting excessive wear and tear.  We recommend 24 for newborns, 16-18 for older infants.  If you are using a One-Size solution and expect to use your diapers for upwards of 2-3 years, we suggest you add 6 onto these numbers to ensure their longevity.
  2. Use appropriate detergent – we highly recommend Nature Clean Powder and Wonderwash Detergent.
  3. Do not use bleach on your diapers – they will prematurely wear and break down.
  4. Wait until your diapers have “cooled” out of the dryer before restuffing them or stretching the elastic – it is a great stress for elastic to be stretched when it is hot.
  5. Hang to dry when able – especially your pocket shells, covers and tote bags.
  6. Close those velcro tabs to prevent the hook velcro from catching on other fabric and snagging it.
  7. Do not use fabric softeners in the washer or dryer – this will decrease the absorbency and performance of your diapers
  8. Do consider re-selling your diapers when you are finished with them.  Craigslist Vancouver is a great place to re-coup some of your initial investment by selling your “no longer needed” diapers to other families.
  9. Do use a microfleece liner inside your diapers when using a bum cream to avoid coating the diaper with moisture repelling creams/ointments.
  10. Use a “dry pail” to store your dirty diapers to laundry day and wash those diapers every 2-3 days.

With this insurance policy, you are set to get the most out of your cloth diapers!

What are your best tips to keep your diapers in great shape?

Potty-tunities

Well, this is a little over due.  Been meaning to share about our EC journey, but between toilet training my toddler and racing to catch pees and poos with my 4.5m old (time is passing so fast!), this poor topic was neglected.

So how is it going with ECing our littlest one?  Great! We had a fantastic day today with all poops in the potty and a couple of dry diapers before a pee on the potty.

Some questions we’ve been getting:

How do I start?  I feel overwhelmed with “other” stuff! As a new parent, it’s easy to get hooked into the perfect parenting trap.  This is not black and white, it is very much a journey.  Pick your goals.  Instead of trying to catch all your baby’s pees and poops, try to set your sights on learning patterns.  This can be accomplished by setting aside 30-45 mintues a day to observe and learn from your baby.  Try mornings as this seems to be a higher pee frequency time.  Lay your baby out, diaper-less on an absorbent surface and watch what happens.  We love our wool puddle pad and a prefold diaper on top (waterproof + absorbent).  Baby legs help to keep little legs warm.  Your job is simply to baby watch and let yourself be present with your baby.  Watch their behaviour, and if they do a pee or a poo, make a sound to go with the behaviour.  You are helping them to associate the sound with the action.  We use “ssssss” for peeing and a grunt for pooping.  It feels a little funny at first to do it but hey, no one is watching!

Don’t worry if you feel like you can’t predict pees and poops.  This starting point is just to get you beginning to listen to your baby’s cues and behaviours and to have a place to practice with the sounds you’ll associate with the actions.

Now that we’ve been practicing for a while, here are some patterns that we’ve observed and some practical tidbits that have helped us:

  1. Clare usually has to go if she nurses and pulls on and off and seems uncomfortable (or its a burp…)
  2. She usually will go after nursing if she hasn’t fallen asleep
  3. She usually will go after waking if I get to her immediately
  4. She does do a little grunting noise before she goes, but I don’t always hear it
  5. Some times it takes a little while for the pee/poop to come and other times it’s really quick – be patient and go with your intuition to know if she is done
  6. I only do up the two outer snaps on her onesie so that I can pull it open quickly with the middle third one undone
  7. I heart our diaper sprayer (back in stock shortly) for cleaning out the potty
  8. a vinegar/water + lavendar essential oil spray is great for wiping the potty clean
  9. a bio-soft liner in the bottom of the potty helps to lift out poops easily
  10. have a cloth handy – we usually get spitups just prior to a pee or poop – guess it’s either the pushing or the whole digestive thing going on…!

Happy Pottying!

Let us know how you’re doing with EC and share your tips for other families getting started!

Mail’s here! Do I Have to Pre-Wash My New Diapers?

It’s toally exciting to get REAL mail, especially when it’s not a bill and when it’s a package with soft, fluffy diapers in it!  By all means try on the diapers to ensure a good fit but you need to prewash everything before you use it.

Here’s the down-low.

Natural fibers – Hemp, bamboo and cotton need to be prewashed 3-5x to remove the natural oils and waxes from the fibers and render them absorbent.  If you use your natural fiber diapers before prewashing, expect the pee to roll right on out, like water off a duck’s back!  They will get better and better with each washing!  Also – do not pre-wash these diapers with any synthetic diapers (pockets, all in ones) or covers.  You don’t want those oils to transfer onto these fabrics.  If you don’t have enough to make a full load, then wash them with other household laundry that can be washed on hot such as towels or sheets.  When can you put all your diapers together?  When your natural fiber diapers are absorbent.  After that 3rd or 4th wash, when you take them out of the dryer, squirt some water on the fabric.  If it beads up, continue pre-washing.  If it soaks in right away, then you are finished with this phase, ready to wash all your diapers togehter and best of all, it is ready to put on the cutest behind in the house (that’d be the baby:))

For synthetic based diapers (pockets, all-in-ones with microfiber inner cores and covers, except wool), they just need to go through the wash once to make sure they are sparkling clean before you put them on your delicate little one’s skin.

And that is it.

With every diaper purchase at New & Green, you’ll receive detailed instructions via email with your order confirmation.  We take you step by step through pre-washing, storing and routine washing of your diapers and covers, including washing and lanolizing wool.

Happy mailbox watching!