Twitter party winners!!

Congrats to Annie T from IN and Sarah H (trvlgrl121) — they each won a $20 voucher to the store!

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August 30, 2010. Fun, Giveaway. Leave a comment.

Wash Routine Check List

What to worry about:

-Odors out of the dryer
-Odors once the diaper is peed in
-Rashes on the child that don’t resolve easily within 1-2 days
-Recurring yeast infections (which may or may not be a cause of concern, some children will be more prone to yeast under any diapering conditions, but if your child seems to just go from one infection to the other, please consult with your pediatrician and make sure to disinfect the diapers.)
-Any sores or pimples in the diaper area that don’t resemble your typical heat rash

What not to worry about:

-Suds in the wash cycle or rinse cycle *if* you don’t have any odors or rashes. Some detergents/washing conditions will be sudsy. If you don’t have any odors, don’t sweat the suds, odors will be there if you have buildup.
-Stains *if* you don’t have odors. Newborns will stain their diapers. If you press the diapers up to your nose and smell and they smell clean, don’t worry one bit about the stain, shoot me an e-mail about some tips to get them out.
-Anyone else’s washing advice if what you are doing is working for you and your baby.

The reason I like to get on a soapbox (or detergent box-tee hee) about odors, odors are your indicator that you are leaving urine and/or feces behind. If this is the case, when the diapers get re-wet with fresh urine, and placed in a dark moist pail for another 24-48 hours, you can breed bacteria, and this can be a health concern. You don’t want bacteria next to your child’s genitals. Stains can present this way, too, but odors will be present if this is the case along with the stain.

I also don’t like rashes, 99% of our rash e-mails are heat related, wetness related or ammonia related. But, for those that are yeast, staph, severe detergent reactions, in the very rare case of MRSA, these are issues that are not only annoying for baby and mom, but can have far-reaching consequences on the child’s health. Of course some of these issues, especially yeast, have differing degrees of severity and not all are a huge problem, but head them off by sniffing your washed and dried diapers every so often, it will be your best indication of problems.

August 30, 2010. cloth diapers, Wash routines. 2 comments.

Cloth diaper washing issues

I am going over two new tips on washing that I have been experimenting with. Just to show how much I love solving washing issues (or how neurotic I am to do these things in my spare time, you make the judgment call on that one-LOL), I have been purposely “stinking up” my diapers and seeing what solves it quickly and easily. Two things I have found in the past month running experiments:

-As much as I love my liquid Tide, I have really found a new appreciation and am possibly converting to Tide powder. I shake a tiny bit of detegrent (really tiny amount, maybe half a teaspoon) in the pre-wash (warm or hot pre-wash), then add the rest before the wash cycle hits. Having a detergent boost in the prewash actually cuts down on the powder I have to use in the regular wash cycle.

-The second thing I have found, if you have a TOP LOADER (not an HE machine) and have trouble with buildup from too much detergent (meaning the diapers smell fine out of the dryer, but stink when fresh pee hits, meaning there is detergent being left behind), try the HE version of your detergent. As silly as it sounds, in my experiment of purposely using too much to create residue, I was able to fix it pretty quickly by using an HE detergent on the next few washes. HE detergents are formulated to be low-sudsing, and need less water to rinse out properly. If your washing scenario is sensitive to the amount of detergent you need to get the diapers clean, try the HE brand even if you don’t have an HE machine. Now, if you use regular detergent in an HE machine, you will quite possibly destroy your machine from the suds, but using an HE detergent in a regular top loader is perfectly fine.

August 26, 2010. cloth diapers, Q & A, Wash routines. 7 comments.

Ergo Giveaway

This is your no-buy entry place for our September 1 Ergo giveaway πŸ™‚ You can enter for the prize of one (ah heck, let’s make it two) carrier (s) of your choice style and color. Just comment below to enter, you can also register additional entries with orders over $20.00, just type in “Ergo Entry” in the order notes πŸ™‚
We will announce the winner here and on Facebook~

UPDATE: Why not give away two? One winner to our no-buy entries, one to the order entries πŸ™‚

August 23, 2010. Tags: . Uncategorized. 580 comments.

Twitter followers: join us!

For all of you who are followers of Abby’s Lane on Twitter, join us next Monday night, August 30, from 10-11 p.m. EST for a Twitter party. RSVP here: http://bit.ly/cg1Nf4

We will be giving away 2 $20 vouchers. One will be given away based off everyone who RSVP’d and one for those who actually tweet on August 30 from 10-11 p.m. EST. So even if you are unable to tweet, you have a chance to win.

Looking forward to it!

August 23, 2010. Fun, Giveaway. 4 comments.

Life expectancy of cloth diapers

We are talking about the life expectancy of a diaper, and some things we have learned over the years. Many of you ask about how to make your diapers last for more than one child, so here are tips and advice we have:

-If you are saving your diapers for more than one child, and store them in between, please store them in a temperature controlled room. Not the attic or unfinished basement, extreme heat and cold will rot your elastic and make aplix brittle.

-The diapers that will last the longest, through several children, is prefolds. If you want to invest in a system that is economical and lasts for quite some time and many washings, prefolds and covers are the way to go.

-Many mamas ask how many children their one size diapers will last through, and some are disappointed when their one size pockets only last from one child. We tell customers to expect them to last through one child for the weight expectancy of that diaper. Do you get lucky sometimes? Yes, we have had Bumgenius diapers last through 2 children partway, but usually halfway through the second child they are retired. Sized diapers will typically last through two children, but think of it this way. A one size diaper, if started at birth or shortly thereafter, is washed three times as much and used three times as much as a sized diaper. Your cost is triple, too. You can buy 3 Fuzzi Bunz sizes in small, medium and large and have them last through 2, possibly 3 children if cared for properly, but you have spent three times as much as if you had a one size pocket last for just one child. Being soaked in urine and feces, washing in hot, machine drying, being stuffed and worn puts wear and tear on a diaper over time, so keep in mind realistic expectations for your one size diapers. I know I used pockets as examples, the same can be said of one size fitteds versus sized fitteds. PUL covers seem to wear better, they aren’t soaked in urine and ammonia to the extent that absorbent diapers are, and they aren’t stretched out after drying so covers in general see more life than the actual diapers. Wool covers can pretty much go forever if you keep them away from moths and don’t over-felt them to shrink them down.

-So reading the above, which do you recommend? It really is six of one, half a dozen of the other in the case of one size vs. sized diapers. It is up to you, if you prefer the fit of sized diapers, invest the money since you will love you fluff all the more, care for them and store them properly, and they will last. If you want the simplicity of a one size pocket, expect them to last for one child (if you start half way through with one child, expect some life in a second child), and enjoy your fluff. If you really want your diapers to last and last, invest in prefolds, wool covers and take care of your PUL covers in between. Gosh, I think we have proraps in our stash that have to be close to 5 years old now, and still functional (not pretty by any stretch, but they work!)

-Always remember, cloth diapers are fabric, and how you care for them is important. Frequent bleaching will shorten their life span, as will frequent vinegar use or abrasive cleansars. Now, sometimes with various washing situations you need these items, I promise even if you cut the life of your diapers by a few months you still come well ahead financially than if you had used disposables.

I like this little calculator here:
http://www.diaperpin.com/calculator/calculator.asp
If you want to do some cipherin’ (anyone watch the old black and white Beverly Hillbillies?)

August 21, 2010. cloth diapers, FAQ, Q & A. 7 comments.

Diapering on a dime

We are having a little “how can I cloth diaper with special circumstances on a dime” discussion, which in this economy I think is entirely appropriate~
I have been thinking of the past 7 years I have done cloth with my kids, most of the time with precious little funds to spare (even with the store, years went by before I could dip into some of the pricier items).

1. You CAN do prefolds and covers from birth through potty training. Really and truly. Now, if you have a “I equate diaper changings with lighting my hair on fire” little tot who you have to either change standing up and running, or pin down with your legs and hope they don’t hurl your cell phone at your eyes that you are trying to distract them with, this can be a challenge. Been there, done that (and have hope, she is a perfectly functioning 7 year old who is a pleasure to be around-LOL). Have some forbidden goodies on hand. I am not against giving the toddlers occassional M&M’s if it saves you some grey hairs during prefold changes. After the change, have some yourself.
For the heavy wetters, you are going to be changing more frequently, and be prepared for some bulk. Use your smaller prefolds as doublers, lay them in the middle of the larger prefold you wrap around the baby. You can cut some fleece liners for pennies, no sewing needed, if the child is sensitive to wetness. If you really have to do prefolds at night for a toddler, invest in a good used or new wool Disana cover, but still be prepared to change in the middle of the night if you have an older toddler who is a very heavy wetter. You can size up on wool, Disana’s are easy to do this with, so you don’t have to buy 6 sizes of covers through diapering.

2. Use what you have in different ways before buying new things. As much as my husband grinds his teeth when I type this, truly exhaust what you have before buying something new if you can. Use old and ratty prefolds as doublers. Cut up old tee shirts and sew the edges for wipes or doublers. Google “recycled sweater wool soaker” and turn some old sweaters into wool covers for nighttime. Use old handtowels for inserts. Baby washcloths for wipes.

3. Use Craigslist and Freecycle. I am amazed what nice diapers are given away or sold for pennies because no-one thinks anyone in their area uses cloth. Peruse these listings for diapers frequently!

4. There is nothing wrong with having to wash daily because you only have 12 diapers. I still wash daily with about 15 diapers for the older guys, more for ease of cleaning than anything, but for the first 18 months we did cloth, I was washing twice a day half of the week because we had that few diapers.

If you have any questions, please e-mail me. We can come up with an economical solution or give you a link where you can find one if we can’t provide it.

August 20, 2010. cloth diapers, FAQ. 5 comments.

How many diapers do I need?

We are talking about quantities of diapers.
We have lots of moms on the list who have picked up cloth when their child was 3-6 months old, now expecting their next baby and going to be doing cloth from birth. I have seen some websites recommend 3-4 dozen prefolds/fitted/pockets/AIOs, whichever you are going to use, and I would offer the advice to start with much less.

Our reasons for this are:

-We believe strongly in washing frequently. Many stain and odor issues are eliminated by washing every day or every other day, and when you have 4 dozen prefolds and use 15-18 a day, it is hard to find the motivation to wash. The more that buildup in the pail, the more odor from the pail you can have, and the harder to get them clean.
-I am somewhat of a minimalist with diapers, for the reason that I want to save my diaper allowance for the bigger sizes, and if something new comes out I want to try. Instead of buying an extra dozen diapers, save that money for the bigger sizes, when you see what you are liking and disliking about your current system, and either to upsize it, or try something new later down the road.
-Most babies (not all, I know some customers who have the super-poopers who like to go every 15 minutes) will have a tiny bowel movement with every urination, which usually means you are changing a diaper every 1.5 hours or so. Sometimes more, sometimes less, you will see what your baby’s pattern is, at night if he/she cluster feeds they may go through 3 diapers in 2 hours, but in the morning after a lot of night nursing, space out to 1.5-2 hours in their bowel movements. I advise to have 18-20 diapers for daily washing.
-You can always upsize. I would rather see you underbuy and then decide you need 2-3 more diapers to get to your wash routine you want to have, then to be diapering and realize you never get to the last 6-12 diapers in your stack in the changing area. I liked the assurance knowing I had the perfect number for my routine, and saved some extra dollars for future needs.

So, what we recommend quantity wise for newborns:
18-20 prefolds
3-4 covers (one for the diaper bag, one to use while washing the other, and then an extra if it gets soiled)
2-3 Snappis
Baby wipes (you can use baby washcloths from the dollar store, we do sell some lovely wipes, but in a pinch, go to your dollar store, for $5.00 get about 25 washcloths to use as wipes)

To make yourself:
-Optional: fleece liners to keep baby feeling dry. You can cut these for pennies from scrap fleece, no sewing needed.

Right there that is a very economical and basic stash that is truly all you need to diaper. That got us through two babies, washing every day, and learning to do a very snug bikini twist to avoid cover blowouts. You can cloth diaper on a dime, and that system is reuseable for subsequent children~

If you want to accessorize, here is what I would add:
-2 pail liners
-3-4 fitteds for nighttime diapering (a bit easier during the 2, 4 and 6 am changings than using a Snappi)
-a wet bag

And if you want to go Cadillac style into diapering:
-a dozen fitteds
-6 extra small Bumgenius AIOs
-Or just ditch the prefolds, and go all fitteds/covers or extra small AIOs

If you have any questions, let me know. This economy rings very true to how I got into this business. When Abby was born, I was supposed to go back to work at 12 weeks to my previous career as a waitress/bartender. As the days got closer, I was about to the point of researching how to sell my organs to stay home with her. We cut out every extra in our budget, and diapers was a big one. I started diapering with gerber prefolds my mother had used (which were 25 years old at that point), and 3 rubber pants and 2 sets of pins from walmart. You truly can do it on a dime, I remember buying my first snappi a few months later thinking I had died and gone to heaven-LOL
If you are willing to do some folding, and frequent washing, you can diaper very inexpensively, all the way through potty training.

August 19, 2010. cloth diapers, FAQ, Q & A. 3 comments.

Misc Cloth diaper Q & A

I am answering some frequently asked product questions that don’t really fit into any other category than “miscellaneous trivia”
-What is the difference between the Blueberry deluxe one size pocket and the Swaddlebees econappi?
Not much, only the inner fabric that touches the baby, and the insert. The cut of both diapers is exactly the same (Blueberry and Swaddlebees are sister companies), the Econappi has organic velour, for mamas who prefer natural fibers touching their baby’s skin, and the insert is the ecoliner (again, natural fibers). The Blueberry one size deluxe has a microfleece inner for stay-dry properties, and the insert has microfiber as well.
-Why do my Bummis Super Whisper Wraps start to smell during the day?
This isn’t a frequent occurrence, but can happen for mamas who reuse their covers throughout the day. Most PUL covers are made with one layer of PUL laminate, you can see a shiny side when you change the prefold or fitted underneath. This shiny side doesn’t hold onto any urine or fecal matter, it is a slick surface that can be wiped clean. The Bummis super whisper wraps have another layer over this shiny side, another polyester fabric layer. It is the same fabric on the outside of your covers. This can hold onto odors, but usually isn’t any problem unless the prefold or fitted is really saturated. This is an easy fix by more frequent changings, more absorbancy, or just airing out the cover during the day, or changing halfway through the day. This pro to this extra layer, the cover is thicker and holds it shape on the baby, and wears beautifully over time and washings.
-How can I best protect the elastic in my pocket diapers?
We see this question frequently, and mamas will seem frustrated that the elastic in their pockets will go while their covers are holding strong. Our best piece of advice about elastic, don’t stuff your pockets until they have cooled off out of the dryer. Stretching out hot elastic can really cause it to give, which is why your covers are fine, nothing needs to be stretched out, and they aren’t used until cool usually anyway. If you are like me your diapers don’t get stuffed until they have been on the kitchen table for an hour (at least!) anyway, and the dog bowl the baby was drinking out of is cleaned up, the toddler was taken to the potty, the phone rang twice and the UPS man was signed for. Just let them cool before stuffing πŸ™‚

August 18, 2010. Blueberry, Bummi, cloth diapers, Q & A. Leave a comment.

ECONOBUM WINNERS

You might be a winner if you are:

FANCYGRLNANCY
JON
BECKY
PAMELA P.
CATHERINE
DANA B.
GAIL C.
PAMELA C.
MELANIE
JENNIFER L.

Check your e-mails – — we hate to give anyone with same names false hopes, but we need to maintain privacy. We might have to start collecting our entries as “Rose w/the blue eyes” or “Steph in VA” instead of just first names/first name and initial. πŸ™‚

Congratulations to all our winners.

August 17, 2010. Fun, Giveaway. 5 comments.

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