Night time diapering for wee ones (6 wks – 6 months)

In the first six months, babies are still waking to eat/play/laugh all night long, but they are no longer having bowel movements at night. This is when you would like to encourage nighttime as a quiet, non-playtime time period, and often having to change a diaper really wakes up the baby and makes it harder to get some rest. What makes this easier is knowing you don’t have to change the diaper, you can just feed/burp/soothe and get through the night.

At this point many of our customers switch to pocket diapers. You can certainly use your natural fibers (prefolds, fitteds, etc..) but if you find your baby is waking up to a bright red bottom, you need to either start changing again at nighttime to keep the wetness away, or use a polyester liner to provide that “stay dry” effect.

Pockets are nice at this point for their ease of use. For the slender to average build baby, I like the Bumgenius pocket with a microfiber insert and prefold (trifolded like a business letter inside the diaper) or a prefold/joey bunz combo. A Happy Heiny one size diaper is nice for the average to chunky build baby, they are more generously cut in the legs and waist, allowing for more stuffing in the diaper itself without cutting into the thighs. Same combos, prefolds/microfiber or prefolds/hemp.

If you like using fitteds or prefolds with either a wool cover or a PUL cover, the Baby Beehinds one size fitted is a nice option at this point, it won’t seem so huge and really has a good deal of absorbency. Remember, you can always add a fleece liner to your natural fibers to keep using them if the baby shows irritation to the wetness. FOr prefolds, you may find you need hemp inserts laid inside to keep them absorbent enough.

Remember, you can always put a wool cover, like a Disana, over your pocket diaper/fitted/whatever you are using combo. Wool is 100% breatheable, no different than putting pajama pants on, it will be bulkier but will provide extra protection.

June 24, 2010. Tags: , . cloth diapers, Diaper Chatter, night time diapering, Q & A. Leave a comment.

Almost Granola

We’ve already spoken about how dealing with Stephanie has lead me on the path to a more natural life. Well, gentlemen out there, you may want to step aside for this series (and by may, I mean, please do, because I’m a lady and I don’t wish to discuss my *ahem* womanly bits with you!).

I’ve always been a girl who used sanitary napkins. My mother terrified me with tales of toxic shock syndrome, and when my teenage rebellion over rode those fears, I found tampons immensely uncomfortable. I had plenty of friends who felt the same and plenty of self confidence, so I used pads for the next…oh…15 years with little regret.

And then Stephanie posted this article. I wasn’t too interested: except for this fact. She posted this article in the summertime. When I have four small children who want to go to the pool. And “mommy can’t go in the water right now” wasn’t really cutting it anymore.

So I order some sea sponges. The day they arrived I eagerly tried them. So weird! Yet so great! I immediately fired off an e-mail to Stephanie:

Soooooo for this sponge (which oh my gosh, I think I’m in love already) are you really not supposed to feel it AT ALL??? Or can you kinda sorta notice it?

Steph replied:

You can feel it when it is too low. Push it farther up, I promise it can’t get lost~

Not really buying this hype, but never knowing Stephanie to be a liar, I obediently followed her advice and shoved that thing up as far as it could possibly go. Bingo. Totally comfortable. You literally CANNOT FEEL IT AT ALL.

That’s day one. Wore the sponge for about six hours. I decided not to sleep with it in, since my cycle is still (for lack of better phrasing) completely wack after having baby #4. It’s hard to tell how light or heavy my cycle will be, so I slept with a pad instead.

And now, for adventure part two: will I ever get the hang of taking the dang thing out? Stay tuned.

June 24, 2010. Tags: , . Mama Cloth, menstruation alternatives, Posted by Rose. 1 comment.

Night time diapering for 6-12 month olds

We are tackling nighttime diapering for the 6-12 month age group. I like to do these sections by age rather than weight, wetting patterns are usually more linked to age, bladder size and control more so than by size, but please let me know if you have a child that these suggestions are not working for, we can find a solution~

For this age group, they may be starting to sleep in 3-6 hour stretches, if your child is sleeping longer than by golly consider yourself blessed and I don’t want to hear about it 😉

If you are using:

Pocket diapers: A good nighttime combo would include a prefold, trifolded like a business letter, sandwihed between hemp inserts, or a microfiber/hemp combination of inserts. Make sure the pocket isn’t having gaps at the legs from stuffing it, this will cause side leaks. Now, a good rule of thumb is to out anything with microfiber closest to where the urine hits first. Not outside of the pocket, but right underneath the fleece or suedecloth. Microfiber is “quickly” absorbent, and will distribute the urine better to the layers underneath, rather than concentrating it in the middle. Put your prefold in the middle, and your hemp underneath. I like Joey Bunz regular hemp inserts, or even the premium inserts for this combo, and you can always upgrade from your indian prefolds to a Babykicks hemp/fleece prefold for this nighttime task. They are more expensive, but you really only need 2 (one to use while washing the other), so they can be a great investment. If you have to stuff your pocket so much you are having gaps, don’t forget I am a huge fan of putting that Disana wool cover over the whole thing as a backup.

Prefolds/Covers: If you are using prefolds and covers at this point, you will need some extra oomph in the prefold. You may need to upsize on your cover to make this work, you can trifold another prefold, laying it in the middle to act as a doubler with lots of layers of absorbency, you can also lay in a hemp insert like the premium joey bunz, or a Happy Heiny Stuffin to add extra layers. If you are finding at this point you are noticing the child has a red tint to their skin when they wake in the morning, you may need a fleece liner to help keep the wetness from their skin at night.

Fitteds: This is a great time to invest in one of the one size fitteds that carry a higher price tag. The bulkiness of the newborn stage is gone, you have lots of life in the sizing, and they will work well for overnights. Baby Beehinds and Swaddlebees one size Organic Velour fitteds are two that we like, you may need to add doublers in cotton or hemp as well. YOu can add doublers between the fitted and the cover here, especially if your fitted has a stay dry liner, put the trifolded prefold behind the fitted, or the hemp inserts behind the fitted, inside the cover.

June 23, 2010. cloth diapers, Diaper Chatter, night time diapering, Q & A. 1 comment.

Night time diapering for runabout babies

We are dishing on nighttime diapering for the 1-2 year old age group. No way around it, nighttime diapering at this age is going to be bulky. The older your baby gets, the more absorbency they need, which means more layers, which means more bulk. Now, certain fabrics are bulkier than others, but be prepared for a booty-galore on your baby. I promise it won’t make them bowlegged, and they will sleep just fine. For pockets, a prefold is going to need to be in there, trifolded like a business letter. This is a great point for a Babykicks hemp/fleece prefold, these do have more absorbency than a cotton prefold, hence the higher price tag. Sandwich this with some hemp on the bottom (a Happy Heinys Stuffin or a Joey Bunz Hemparoo) and either hemp or microfiber on top, and it makes a nice sandwich for the diaper. If your baby is still in size medium during daytime diapering, you may need to upsize to a large diaper for nighttime, this goes for covers, too, if you are using covers and prefolds/fitteds.

Prefolds at night can be tricky at this age. You will need more than a prefold, including some hemp doublers or inserts tucked in them, which may just be to bulky even for the easy going baby. Try the babykicks hemp/fleece prefold first, and see if that meets your absorbency needs, but this would be a time to consider a fitted diaper under your cover for the ability to have more absorbency and also to lay things underneath it inside your wool or PUL laminate cover. We have talked about the Happy Hempy pocket fitted before, this is a good one to look into, it is under $15.00, and you really can stuff the heck out of it for nighttime diapering. It does need a cover, and it does have a fleece stay-dry inner liner.

If you are getting deep red marks on the baby’s legs or waist from the nighttime diaper, it may be time to upsize. Now, some red marks will be normal (think of your bra or underwear), any close fitting clothing with thin elastic will most likely leave a mark if left on all night, as long as it goes away within an hour and doesn’t appear too deep or painful, I really wouldn’t worry about it. If it is deep and looks painful or irritating, time to upsize or switch to a different cut of diaper.

If your baby/toddler is outwetting the suggestions above, you can always pull a Disana wool cover over the whole shebang, it is really a breatheable backup to avoid leaks. If that still is not enough for your little super soaker, please e-mail me, we have some other mamas who sew diapers that we would love to refer you to for some customized diapering options, especially for mamas who have babies aged 3+ who still need nighttime help with their wetting patterns.

June 22, 2010. Tags: , . cloth diapers, night time diapering, Q & A. Leave a comment.

What NOT to do with your diapers

As much as I hate to bring it up to even introduce the ideas, they do need to be discussed as to why they are dangerous, and what other options there are. The three biggies I want to tackle today are:
-Boiling the diapers
-Using the dishwasher for stripping the diapers
-Treating yeast and other infections with essential oils (not so much a diaper issue as a health issue).

Boiling the diapers: I am seeing this being recommended for stripping detergent buildup, disinfecting on a semi-regular basis, or disinfecting the diapers after a yeast infection, or other skin infection. The obvious problem here is it is a fire hazard, and dangerous to both you and anyone in your home while you are handling a huge pot of boiling water and scorching hot fabrics in the pot. Boiling very quickly shortens the life of your diapers, will melt snaps, and kill your elastic. It will void any and all warranties, besides all of that, it isn’t 100% effective in killing yeast, or even ridding the diapers of residues. If you want help with these issues, please email me before committing your diapers to this treatment~

Using the dishwasher: This one is honestly one I can’t wrap my head around how it would have gotten started, truly, mixing diapers where you wash your dishes. The idea is that putting the diapers in the dishwasher and running a cycle with hot water will strip the diapers of detergent buildup. See above why this is not a valid choice for the diaper fabrics, it invalidates all warranties, melts snaps and kills elastic. Plus, this is a huge fire hazard in your home that you would not even know about until flames were coming out from around your appliance. Diapers will flip and flop around, and your heating elements in your dishwasher are not designed for contact with fabric. You see what they do to the plastic spatulas that fall down, don’t risk this with your diapers. Again, email us with any questions~

Treating bacterial or other skin infections in the diapers with essential oils. Now, this one won’t burn your house down or kill the diapers themselves, but it is not 100% effective in treating a diagnosed skin infection. As common as yeast can be in certain children, it is not something you want coming back time after time, or half-treating but not ridding all the way. Yeast comes from the body, not from the diapers, but it can grow and thrive in the diapers if not disinfected. The only guaranteed 100% proven way to disinfect diapers is with bleach. Is there some rate of effectiveness using essential oils? Yes, but speaking with many customers who did this and had it come right back, it just isn’t worth rolling the dice on your children’s health. Yeast does need to be treated by a physician, who will prescribe a topical antifungal, or a systemic one, then your diapers do need to be disinfected. Dyed prefolds or fitteds? They are your diapers, but this is a health issue. I would rather have some bleach spots than be wondering if my child’s skin is going to break out again with a possibly worse strain then before.

June 18, 2010. Tags: . cloth diapers, Diaper Chatter, Q & A, Wash routines. Leave a comment.

Wash routines and bleaching diapers

For diaper chatter this week, I wanted to address some concerns I have seen about using bleach with dirty diapers, for the concern that mixing bleach and ammonia can be very toxic in producing chlorine gas.

Now, indeed if you bought a gallon of cleaning ammonia and clorox bleach, proceeded to mix the two together and use it to clean, you would not be doing your body any favors, as the result is highly toxic. I honestly can’t think of anyone I know who uses ammonia to clean anymore. However, sitting soiled diapers will have very small trace amounts of ammonia in them.

Here is our take on it. Urine is 99 and some percent water. Ammonia cannot be tolerated in our bodies (broken down by amino acids internally), so fresh urine actually has no ammonia. This is why fresh soiled diapers don’t stink nearly as bad as the morning diaper on a toddler who slept for 12 hours. Once urine is out of our bodies, the urea will break down again and produce tiny amounts of ammonia. These amounts, truly, are really small. Even though morning diapers stink to high heaven, the amounts present are very minute. Now, is it our advice to pour clorox in your pail and let it sit? Absolutely not. Not only a health issue, but it would kill your diapers and not do its job.

In the rare case bleach is needed for disinfecting or stripping, we recommend it be used in two ways:
-First, in the case of disinfecting due to staph or yeast, the diapers will have already been washed and are just sitting there to be collected all at one time and be bleached. Sometimes some dirty stragglers will get tossed in, and since you are pouring the bleach into the dispenser cup in your wash to mix after you have filled the machine, no mixing of the two happens until you close that lid and walk away from the machine, and the bleach is added after the wash cycle has started, so it has been diluted in the water.
-In the case of detergent stripping, again most of our customers get to this step with already laundered diapers that will be running through a bleach cycle only, so the same scenario applies as above.
-We do have customers who will tell us they add a capful of bleach in every load. Do we recommend it? No, because daily use will wear and tear your diapers just like any other fabric, and I would rather tweak your wash routine to have it be bleach-free and still effective. However, knowing that it happens, I still feel tossing in a capful even if directly on the diapers when the water has been added is diluted enough and minute enough, that mixing with those tiny amounts of ammonia on the soiled diapers isn’t going to be harmful while you are closing the machine and walking away.

If you have concerns about this, please let us know, in my mother’s days the common practice was to actually soak the diapers in a wet pail full of a bleach solution. Of course between this and using a play pen as a carseat, it is a miracle any of us survived, right?

For the customers who are using GSE or TTO as a disinfectant, of course this issue doesn’t come into play, but sometimes in the cases of a bacterial infection, the only 100% proven disinfectant strong enough to completely kill it without the chance of recurrence is the clorox itself.

Bleach should not be a part of a daily or even weekly wash routine, if this applies to you, I would love to troubleshoot to be able to reduce the amount you are using~

June 16, 2010. Tags: . cloth diapers, Diaper Chatter, Q & A, Wash routines. 1 comment.

More nighttime diapering

Last time we went over upsizing for nighttime, and pajama choices. Today we are talking a little more about what to use inside the diaper for nighttime, to best optimize your absorbency. You can have the exact same nighttime items, but placed in different orders can give you very different results with the same child. For fitteds, AIOs, and nighttime, what the urine is hitting first can affect if your urine will distribute throughout or compress in the middle and leak out the legs. Your most dense fabrics, namely your pure hemp (not the hemp blends), and cotton you want to be hit last with the urine. Cotton is less dense then hemp, so if you have prefolds with hemp, have the urine hit the prefold first. Your least dense, but also lease absorbent, materials will be your microfiber, and micoterry blends. Fleece and suedecloth are just stay dry liners to let urine pass through, nothing gets absorbed. Keep this in mind when layering your nighttime diapers, placing hemp on top and microfiber underneath can leak well before switching the two. Microfiber shouldn’t touch baby’s skin directly, but under a fleece, flannel, silk or bamboo liner it is perfectly fine.

June 14, 2010. Tags: , . cloth diapers, Diaper Chatter, Night time solutions, Q & A. Leave a comment.

Nighttime diapering

For newborns, the first 4-6 weeks are the same as daytime, you are changing every few hours if not sooner at night, since when they wake to eat they have usually had a bowel movement that needs attention. Around 4-8 weeks they will stop having these bowel movements at night, and most babies can continue with their daytime diapers but with slightly increased absorbency for the next month or two.

If your child is a heavy wetter (meaning your daytime diapers are pretty saturated in an hour or so, and nighttime is a few hours at best), this is the time frame where you will see the need to upsize your nighttime diaper from your daytime diapers. The amount of stuffing needed for heavy wetters will typically cause an upsize well before the daytime diapers need this to happen. Sme of our favorite daytime diapers, like bumgenius, Thirsties fitteds, AIOs, are just not equipped for nighttime. What you love about them during the day is what works against you at night. The trim contours, thin fit, and quick to wash and dry is not adequate to hold the amount of stuffing needed that causes leg gaps and leaking at night.

For specific fit issues, please email us, but before buying a boatload of new things, we can help you use what you already have and piece things around that to make nighttime work. Most of you have the absorbency needed, it is the “shell” that will change, the cover, the pocket, something on the outside to help the inside “stuff” work well for your baby. Pajamas make a difference, too. As cute as they are, most heavy wetters will not do well in two piece pajamas, unless the bottoms are really loose in the elastic and do not pull down on the diaper. One piece sleepers, tee-shirts or long sleeve shirts with leg warmers or long socks, are better choices. The pants on many pjs will pull down on the diaper, causing leg gaps at the bottom of the crotch, and letting urine seep out. Cloth at night is possible, with a few tweaks it can be easy and work for your family~

June 12, 2010. Tags: . cloth diapers, Diaper Chatter, Night time solutions, Q & A. Leave a comment.

swim diapers

It’s that time of year again!

There is a huge misconception with disposable swim diapers (little swimmers and other brands). That is they will hold the pee and the poop. Anyone who has put one on a toddler or moderate-wetting baby will quickly find out this isn’t the case, and have a messy car seat to clean out. Urine can pass right through, they aren’t like a disposable diaper that is plastic lined to contain wetness. You don’t want them to be, the diaper would swell up and weigh the baby down, or explode from the water pressure.

Swim diapers, cloth or disposable, are meant to contain bowel movements. Even if the little swimmer holds a tiny bit of urine, as soon as you put your baby in the pool, the water enters the diaper, dissipates the urine, and the chlorine will promptly kill it. Having lifeguarded as a teen, I promise there are enough chemicals in any public pool to take care of the bowel movements of an elephant, a little urine is no problem.

Cloth swim diapers function to contain the bowel movements. Don’t put them on in the car on the way to the pool, slip them on before entering the water. I advise to have at least two, in case a poopy happens you can switch it out and stay at the pool. Some mamas use their empty pocket diapers, you can try it, but be careful, as they will fill up with water and become very bottom-heavy. Covers will function better at this, but you will wear them out much faster, so use an old cover that you aren’t attached to if you want to try it, and make sure it has a snug fit.

The Imse Vimse brand is nice because they have one side of snaps, in case of a poopy you can slide it down one leg while leaving the other open, a nice featue to have with poopy swim diapers. You do want them snug, don’t size up or you will run into bowel leaks.

June 11, 2010. Tags: . cloth diapers, Diaper Chatter, Q & A, Swim. 1 comment.

Men folk may not be interested…

For Diaper Chatter this week, we are starting with our chapters on menstrual alternatives. Today we are talking about Sea Sponges:

http://www.abbyslane.com/catalog.php?category=828

Next week we chat about the Diva Cup, which was my first device after the use of many years of tampons. Sea Sponges have become my preferred method since the birth of my second daughter. I can still use the Diva, but here is why I like the sponges better:
-They are very easy to use. No adjusting to get it in the right spot, if you push them in as high as you can, you get a perfect fit every time. They are soft, absorbent, and conform to your body. There is no suction keeping them in place, so there is no seeping around the sides that can occur. Like any of these devices, use a backup pantyliner when trying them out and at nighttime to collect any overflow.

No risk of TSS, no dioxins to carry any harmful after effects, no bleached paper products that dry out your vagina.
For those who use tampons exclusively, how nice would it be to:

-Be able to insert something early so you don’t have to worry about the “when” of your cycle catching you off guard in the mall with 2 kids in tow? Especially for that first post partum period that you never see coming? Now, picture being able to have that protection with out the horrid dry feeling of pulling out a dry tampon to change it when your cycle starts not on cue. That scratchy, skin-pulling feeling that stings after that tampon is removed, knowing you have pulled on your internal skin to get it out.
-Not have to worry about finding a trash can to dispose of tampons in. Especially at friends or family’s houses, when you don’t know when they will take out their bathroom trash, and you leave behind embarrassing odors. Or, in your own house not having to worry about taking out the empty trashcan just to throw away one tampon?
-Saving $$ over disposable products
-Protecting your health, and mother earth with the lack of more disposable products.
-Having to leave in that last tampon and pulling it off barely used, encountering the same pain and discomfort as the first tampon of the cycle.
-That great feeling of having a huge bulging tampon in on your heaviest day
-Many women confirm their cramps are LESSENED by sea sponges, when you have a non-drying device in place, your body isn’t working so hard to discharge it, This isn’t the case for all women, but isn’t it worth a try?

Sponges, I have found, are cleaner than tampons. I could never use tampons with completely “clean” hands 100% of the time, since you wash your hands anyway after using a tampon, wash your sponge with them!
In public, carry a water bottle in your purse with you, rinse them out as best you can, wash fully when you get home. Caught without a water bottle? Squeeze out as best you can, reinsert and clean later. I have a very heavy flow for the first 3 days, and I clean my sponges every 3 hours during the day with no problems, and use a panty liner at night to protect myself.
Really, for the price you have to give them a try. One sponge can be reused for 3-6 cycles, just wash thoroughly with hydrogen peroxide in between cycles. A 2 pack that comes with them lasts you for 6-12 cycles, They are worth a try, if you are open to giving them a shot, now is a great time 🙂

Email me with any questions, nothing is “TMI”, and I am very passionate about helping you find a safe and comfortable alternative to your cycle.
Have a beautiful weekend!

June 7, 2010. Tags: . Diaper Chatter, Mama Cloth, menstruation alternatives. 3 comments.

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