Today I posted on my Facebook status asking my friends what questions they had about cloth diapers. I am using their questions for a new series called "You Asked". Please feel free to comment below with any of your questions.
Thank you to everyone who participated and helped us celebrate 6 months of cloth diapering in our home. I would also like to thank Diaper Junction for sponsoring the giveaway. The winner of the $25 gift certificate to Diaper Junction is entry #31, Maranda!
October 30th marks the 6 month anniversary of our family cloth diapering full-time. We have learned so much in the past few months, and a lot of it is due to the amazing network of cloth diapering families on the web. In celebration of this milestone, Diaper Junction is sponsoring a giveaway!!! The winner will receive a $25 gift certificate to my favorite cloth diaper retailer, Diaper Junction!
There are 2 mandatory entries and 4 optional entries. You MUST leave separate comments for each entry. How to enter:
Follow this blog (mandatory). Leave a comment letting me know you're a follower.
In the middle of August I posted and said I would not neglect my blog. Well...things didn't exactly go the way I had planned. In late August we traveled to Ohio to visit my husband's grandmother, but had to come home early due to my mother-in-law being hospitalized. She stayed with us for about a week once she was discharged, but then Hank and I were off to Alabama with my mother to visit my grandparents. The trip went well, but Hank started to act funny. I brushed off his fussiness and increased appetite to the stress of traveling, but it kept up once we got home. A quick check of the scales showed he put on two pounds in three weeks! It was just a growth spurt...well, it WAS just a growth spurt. Then came the cold. The horrific cold that had us both up at all hours of the night, sweaty and feverish. I was so excited when the cold passed--we made it through! We kept up with our cloth diapers through the trips, the added company, the growth spurt (more goes in, more comes out), and even being worn out by a cold. I was so proud of myself for keeping up with the laundry.
As most mom's know, though, many colds are followed by ear infections. Hank was diagnosed about 2 weeks after the onset of his cold, and the doctor mentioned it looked like he had a couple teeth that were trying to poke through. I don't know if y'all know what all that means in relation to cloth diapers, but I will clue you in. The germs that cause ear infections can also wreak havoc on little ones' tummies. The antibiotics used to treat ear infections can also cause a change in stool. All that drool from teething tends to soften things up, too. Okay, yes, add that all up...OH MY POOP! I had 2 weeks of the NASTIEST diapers in ALL of creation. I am not even kidding! We are talking 5-8 stinky diapers a day. It was SO SO SO gross--and this coming from somebody with a "eh, it's just poop" mentality. For the first time in 5 months I felt like cloth diapers were work. Every time somebody has told me they are too busy to try cloth I have said "Oh, it's only 3 loads of laundry a week. Hardly any work at all!" I could not believe I was feeling burdened by my son's bum. But have no fear, I remained diligent. I did not give up--not a single sposie was used. I have a package of Gro Via disposable inserts in our stash in case the power goes out, and I was so tempted...SO tempted.
I am really proud of myself, though. I didn't give in. My love affair with cloth diapers is nowhere near over, but I've come to the point in the relationship where things are predictable. Things got tough, and I stuck with it, but now things are ho-hum. So as far as I see it, there is only one thing I can do to spice up my relationship with cloth diapers and take me back to the honeymoon phase...buy more fluff!
Hank & Mema on her porch in Ohio
Hank & Gigi - first carousel ride in Alabama
Sick Hank passed out on the floor in the middle of his toys (you can see his Flip cover peeking out!)
Back in August Hank and I were featured in a segment on cloth diapers by our local Fox morning show. They also interviewed Bryana from Diaper Junction. I was so excited to be a party of this story...if you couldn't tell! LOL
I have been so busy getting acclimated to life with an infant that I realize I have neglected this blog a bit. The ironic part is that I am constantly coming up with ideas for blog posts, but just haven't had the opportunity to sit down and really put my all into it. Now that Hank is nearing 6 months old (OMG it's next week!), I have found there is a bit of a comfortable routine around the house. I can't wait to start working on some of my ideas--they are good AND I promise to share!
By the way, our local Fox station interviewed Hank & I for a segment to air on the Hampton Roads Show later this week. I can't wait to see the story and to share it with you guys!
I would like to present my first of many FLUFF Reviews. My FLUFF Review will examine five criteria: function, laundering, user-friendliness, fit, and funds.
The Flip Diaper System is a hybrid AI2 and consists of a one-size waterproof outer shell with an absorbent adjustable insert that is held in place by front and back contour flaps. The Flip System gives the option of a Stay-Dry insert, an organic insert, or a disposable insert. The Flip Diaper is designed to fit babies and toddlers weighing 7-35 pounds. This week's review is on the Flip Diaper System with Stay Dry insert.
Flip Diaper System w/ Stay-Dry insert (shown in Ribbit)
Function: The Stay-Dry insert is absorbent and does stay relatively dry to the touch. My son tends to be a bit of a heavy-wetter and is able to wear the diaper comfortably when changed in a regular interval. He has worn it during an extended nap (up to 4 hours) on 2 occasions and did well, but I do not see the insert as having the absorbency to support overnight wear if used alone. The cover is able to accommodate a prefold, and is excellent in that capacity. The contour flaps inside the front and back of the cover are life-savers--no way anything is escaping out the waist of this diaper! I have been using the Flip regularly for one month and have not had any instances of leakage except once when my son had stomach sensitivities due to a change in formula. With that said, that single occurrence was minor and did not have any bearing on my overall impression of the diaper (as is proof in my recent acquisition of 3 more Flips!).
Laundering: Manufacturer recommends to wash hot, line dry cover, tumble dry insert, no laundry additives or softeners. These recommendations fall in line with my regular diaper routine, and I find them easy to care for. I sometimes have problems with poo stains around the legs of other covers, but the Flip cover seems resistant thus far.
User-friendly: This is a very easy system and the shell can be used for those who want to save costs with a reusable cover and inserts or prefolds.The snaps can be a little tricky for beginners, but you will get the hang of it quickly. It is simple to adjust the size of the insert--just fold along the sewn in guide-lines. I sent this diaper to the church nursery with my son and they caught on very quickly. Flips are great on the run because you just replace the insert and go--no need to use a fresh shell if there is no solid mess and you don't have to worry about a prefold and separate liner for dryness.
Fit: This system allows for a custom fit through a series of snaps on the rise and waist. My son has thick thighs and he seems to have a snug fit, but I could see newborn or skinny babies requiring something a bit more fitted.
Funds: Retails for $16.95. This is a good value considering the outer-shell should fit your child until potty learning; however you may find yourself needing additional inserts as he or she gets older and wets heavier.
The Low Down Dirty Fluff: I like this diaper and use it regularly (there are 4 in my stash). I would highly recommend the Flip cover for as a one-size option for use with prefolds. The Flip with Stay-Dry insert is my go-to diaper when we are away from home because it is one simple insert that keeps him feeling dry, and it doesn't take up your whole diaper bag.
Inner and outer views of Flip Shell (shown in Moonbeam)
Shells & inserts shown in 3 rise sizes
Stay-Dry insert held inside Flip shell by contour flaps
This post is part of the Real Diaper Facts carnival hosted by Real Diaper Events, the official blog of the Real Diaper Association, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to cloth diaper education. Participants were asked to write about diaper lies and real diaper facts. See the link at the bottom of this post to read the rest of the carnival entries.
I can't seem to get the Fleetwood Mac classic "Little Lies" out of my head. You see, recently the folks at Pampers posted a "Myths and Facts" page comparing sustainable cloth diapers to single-use disposable diapers. I would like to believe they just got their myths and facts backwards, but after my recent dealings with them, I know it's just lies.
So, why do I care? My sweet son was one of the poor babies that had a negative reaction to Pampers' new DryMax "technology." At first I just thought we just needed to find another diaper--I mean, not every product will work for every consumer--but their treatment of my complaint, as well as the way they have treated other parents, has really irritated me. Now they are telling lies...and I'm going to tell you the truths!
Myth: Disposable diapers are harmful to the environment. Fact: All of the component materials in Pampers diapers are gentle to consumers and safe for the environment. Pampers diapers are made of materials that are also frequently used in a wide range of other consumer products. We are committed to continuing to reduce our environmental impact. For example, Pampers has decreased its diaper weight by one-third and packaging weight by two-thirds. And innovative technologies, raw materials, and product design improvements have led to significant reductions in energy, water use, emissions, and waste at our plants. We are working so that our diapers in the future will have less impact on the environment than even today’s diapers.
Truth: Waste is waste, and waste is not good for the environment. Single-use disposable diapers make up 1/3 of American landfills. Disposable diapers also take 250-500 years to decompose. Pampers may have reduced its diaper weight, but the SAP (super absorbent polymers) swells and turns into gel upon getting wet, thus increasing the overall size of the diaper. Also, describing the materials as "gentle to consumers and safe for the environment" is not entirely accurate. Sodium polyacrylate, a common SAP, is known to increase the likelihood of developing toxic shock syndrome. The chlorine bleaching process used in disposable diaper production causes dioxins, which are known to cause cancer, birth defects, and reproductive disorders. I don't know how either of these items are gentle or could possibly be safe for our environment when they are dumped into landfills. Right now we are in the middle of an oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico--I think it is important to point out that it takes 2/3 cup of oil to create one disposable diaper. Americans use 18 billion disposable diapers each year, requiring over 3.5 billion gallons of oil to produce--that's more oil than the U.S. imports from Kuwait annually.
Pampers Myth: Cloth diapers are better for my baby. Pampers Fact: Disposable diapers like Pampers were developed to offer babies benefits that cloth diapers could not meet. That goes beyond convenience to helping keep babies’ skin dryer and more comfortable by reducing leaks and locking wetness inside the diaper in a way that cloth doesn’t. As a result, doctors and parents simply don’t see the same level of diaper rash that used to exist before disposable diapers.
Truth: Much like single-use disposable diapers have changed over the years, so have sustainable cloth diapers. It is no longer fair or accurate to advertise disposable diapers as having "benefits that cloth diapers could not meet." Modern advancements in textiles and detergents have eliminated the cloth diaper problems of the past. Absorbent hemps and bamboos and moisture-wicking microfibers have become the norm in today's modern cloth diaper, virtually eliminating leaks and excess wetness. Rubber pants are a thing of the past, and have been replaced with breathable, natural fibers, which have reduced the instance of diaper rash. There are detergents on the market today that prevent build-up and are free of irritants. Detergent build-up is responsible for absorbency and leakage issues, while irritants such as dyes, perfumes, and enzymes are known to cause discomfort and rashes.
Pampers Myth: Developing countries prove that cloth diapers are better than disposable diapers. Pampers “Fact”: Our product provides key benefits in terms of skin health, dryness, and even sleep. In China, for example, we've learned that babies and parents are frequently awakened during the night each time the baby soaks the bed, because the baby has no diaper or a very thin piece of cloth. As a result, studies have shown that a disposable diaper can help a baby there get a better night's sleep. In another test, we have also seen less fecal contamination spread around the home using disposables versus cloth or nothing.
Truth: You can not compare cloth diapers in developing countries to the cloth diapers available in the United States. Pampers even states "the baby has no diaper or a very thin piece of cloth," which is not symbolic of the plush layers of bamboo and organic cotton found in modern cloth diapers available in the U.S. In my personal experience, my son sleeps better in cloth diapers than disposable. My son never slept more than 6 hours in a disposable, but quickly began sleeping to 10-11 hours a night once he was in a cloth diaper--and I should note this increase happened in a period of 2 weeks in a 2 month old baby. Yes, you read that correctly, my son started sleeping 10-11 hours at night while wearing a cloth diaper when he was only 10 weeks old. I can not comment on the fecal contamination statement except to say poop gets flushed down the toilet in my house.
Pampers Myth: The materials that make up Pampers diapers are depleting our forests. Pampers "Fact": The pulp used in our diapers comes from well-managed forests in North America. In some cases, we source our pulp from scrap wood chips from lumber and saw mills. Our pulp suppliers are required to be certified by an independent third party as practicing sustainable forestry. Certification includes standards and criteria for replanting trees, protecting biodiversity, water, air and soil, and for obtaining broad stakeholder input into the forest management plan.
Truth: Pampers has reduced the amount of wood pulp in their DryMax diaper to nearly non-existant quantities. Boasting of "well-managed" forests and "certification" is not relative to their current diaper design, rather they are just environmentally-friendly words an unknowing consumer might be impressed by.
What it really boils down to is this: as parents, we are responsible for everything we put on or in our child. Take the time to really learn what is in the consumer products you are purchasing, and don't just take the manufacturers word for it. Use your best judgement in choosing the items that will leave your family healthy, happy, and green. It just so happens that sustainable cloth diapers are the best choice for my family.
Quick and simple, here are some commonly used terms in the cloth diaper community...
AIO - All-In-One. These diapers are exactly what they sound like, one piece that does everything. They are constructed to go on similar to a disposable diaper, and are easy to use. Some users do not care for them because they take a long time to dry since the absorbent layers are built into the waterproof outer, but they are definitely the most effective in convincing husbands and grandparents to use cloth diapers.
AI2 - All-In-Two. These diapers are constructed of a waterproof outer shell, and a removable absorbent inner component. Many AI2s have snap-in inners.
Bamboo - an absorbent natural fiber, commonly used in cloth diapers.
Bagshot Row Bamboo aka BSRB - a popular WAHM brand of bamboo fitteds and AI2 hybrids, known for their squishy softness and adorable designs.
Contour Diaper - cloth diaper with an hour-glass shape, generally does not have elastic fittings, and are best used in the day. Contours require a pin or snappi and a waterproof cover.
Cover - exactly what is sounds like--it covers the absorbent part of the diaper. Most covers have waterproof PUL lining and are held on with snaps or velcro.
Fitted - fitted diapers have elastic in the legs and waist, and are often constructed of cotton, bamboo, or hemp. Most fitted have snaps or velcro, but some do require a pin or snappi. Fitteds do not have a waterproof outer layer and require a cover to prevent leaks, however some mothers are comfortable letting baby wear a fitted without a cover if they are at home.
Flats - your grandmother's cloth diaper. Generally a 27"x27" square that can be folded various ways, requires a pin or snappi and cover.
Fluff - slang term for cloth diapers
Fluff Mail - shipment of cloth diapers. Most cloth diaper retailers operate online, so most people get their diapers in the mail. Fluff mail is a cause for much excitement!
GoodMama aka GM - a popular brand amongst cloth diaper connoisseurs. GM is operated by a WAHM and the diapers are made by WAHMs across the country. They are known for their fitteds and ONE diapers in trendy fabrics.
Hybrid - generally refers to an AI2 that has a disposable insert option.
Lanolize - a waterproofing method for wool soakers using lanolin.
Longies - long wool or fleece pants worn as a protective waterproof layer over fitteds or prefolds.
OBF - organic bamboo fleece, a soft absorbent material often used in diapers made by WAHM moms.
OBV - organic bamboovelour, a soft absorbent material often used in diapers made by WAHM moms. Very luxurious feeling.
OS - one size, used to reference diapers with an adjustable rise and waist designed to fit from birth through potty training. Most OS diapers fit 8-35 lbs.
Pocket - a diaper with a soft inner layer and waterproof outerlayer with a stuffable pocket to customize absorbency. Pocket diapers are easy to use and resemble a disposable diaper in shape. They are held on with velcro or snaps. Pocket diapers are similar to AIO, but they dry faster because the absorbent inners can be dried separately.
Prefold - a flat diaper commonly composed of layers of cotton or hemp. Prefolds come bleach or unbleached, and can be held on with a pin or snappi, or they can be trifolded and laid inside a cover. Prefolds are the most cost-effective method of cloth diapering.
PUL - polyurethane laminate, a waterproof material commonly used in diaper covers, pockets, and AIO/AI2s.
SAHM - Stay at home mom.
Shorties - short wool or fleece pants worn as a protective waterproof layer over fitteds or prefolds.
Snappi - a plastic t-shaped diaper fastener with plastic teeth, the modern diaper pin.
Soaker - this term can refer to an absorbent insert OR a fleece or wool cover.
Sposie - a slang term for a single-use disposable diaper.
Stay-Dry - a micro-fleece layer that wicks moisture away from the skin and leaves baby feeling dry, commonly used in AIOs, pockets, and liners.
WAHM - Work at home mom.
Woolies - a short or long wool diaper cover. Wool is a naturally absorbent, anti-fungal fiber that can hold up to 40% of its weight in moisture. Woolies are great over any type of diaper, but are very popular with fitted diapers. Woolies are easy to care for as they only need to be washed and lanolizedoccassionally.
Once we made the decision to try cloth diapers, we had to decide just which route we were going to take. There are so many options now--these aren't your grandma's cloth diapers! After consulting with a couple friends, we decided to go the more economical route to start--prefolds and covers. I wanted to make sure I could handle the laundry and I was happy with the results before we invested any substantial amount of money into cloth.
Prefolds are what you think of when you hear the term cloth diaper--except modern advances mean you don't need diaper pins anymore! I purchased 6 medium sized Diaper Rite prefoldsand 1 Flip diaper from Diaper Junction, a locally-based online retailer, for right around $30. Flip is a brand of diaper that consists of a one size cover and an absorbent insert. When you purchase a Flip, you get your choice of an organic cotton insert or a microfiber insert with a Stay-Dry liner--I chose the Stay-Dry insert. The great thing about the Flip diaper is I could use inexpensive prefolds inside and not just the inserts that come with the diaper.
When I picked up my order, I immediately came home to clean and prep our new diapers. The Flip diaper only required a washing, but the prefolds needed to be washed and dried 5-6 times to become quilty and absorbent. I was able to get everything ready to start diapering the next morning. The first time I put Hank in cloth, I used the Flip cover and the medium prefold. The prefold was a little big, so I folded down the top to make it fit. It was a little bulky, but it worked. Hank didn't seem bothered by the difference in diaper. I was happy with the performance of the prefolds and the Flip insert, and actually found myself a little sad at the end of the day when I had ran out of cloth diapers and had to put Hank back in disposables. I made sure I had all the cloth items washed and dried before I went to bed that night so I could try it again the next day.
The big shocker came the next morning. Hank was still sleeping in the bassinet next to our bed at the time, and I remember waking up and thinking, "WHAT is that horrid smell?" I look at Hank just sleeping away, and I realized it was his diaper! I had never noticed how bad disposable diapers stunk until that moment. I prepared a bottle for Hank and sat on the edge of the bed staring at him waiting for him to wake up so I could take that dipe off! I told my husband there is NO WAY that something that smells so bad could be good for him. I put him in a cloth diaper as soon as he woke up...and then proceeded my plan of attack to convince my husband we needed more diapers! After 3 days of cloth (and me staying up late to wash everything for the next day), my husband agreed to another diaper purchase. We have been using cloth diapers full-time ever since!
We started Hank out in cloth diapers right around 2 months old. I was interested in cloth when I was pregnant, but my husband wasn't game, so we went the sposie route. When Pampers switched to DryMax, Hank's bottom didn't agree with it, so we went on a hunt for our new diaper. We tried everything, but nothing was just right. After I did some research, I was appalled at what I was reading about disposable diapers--not just the landfill/waste aspect, but the things they put in the diapers. After I showed Mike some of my research, especially the part about cost savings, he agreed to a cloth trial--and we've been a fluff family ever since!
Interesting diaper facts:
The bleaching process used for most disposable diapers creates dioxins, which are known to cause cancer, birth defects, and reproductive disorders.
A common diaper ingredient, sodium polyacrylate, is known to cause toxic shock syndrome.
Over 92% of all single-use diapers end up in a landfill.
A single disposable diaper can take 250-500+ years to decompose.
You can save approximately $1,200 on your first child in diaper costs by using cloth, and save up to $2,000 on each additional child by reusing the cloth diapers.
Welcome to my new blog dedicated to my experience in cloth diapering! I am still a novice, but am loving what cloth diapers are doing for my child and what I am doing for the enviroment. Please join me as explore all that cloth diapering has to offer!