yeast and cloth diapers

When looking at our customer emails, one topic we see come up often is Y-E-A-S-T. Unless it is being used to make cinnamon rolls in your house you don’t want to have the word come up, yeast is a fungal infestation in the skin of your baby, which is encouraged by dark and damp environments ( ie: diaper area), and should be diagnosed by your pediatrician.

When you have the yeast diagnosis, here is what we recommend (next week we will go over tricks and tips to prevent it from coming back)

1) your doctor will likely prescribe nyastatin cream or gentian violet orally
2) when using one of the above products, we advise moving into disposables until the skin is completely cleared for 48 hours.
3) during this time, you need to disinfect your diapers. This needs to include diapers, wipes, inserts and other accessories. To do so, wash and dry as usual, then wash with just hot water and 1/2 cup of clorox (we used to advise 1/3 cup, over the past year we see more success with the 1/2 cup mark). Chlorine bleach is what can and will disinfect the diapers, color safe bleach uses hydrogen peroxide, which has not shown to be as effective.
4) if you have PUL pockets, AIOs and covers, the bleach will not fade them, as PUL is dye fast. If you have cotton print products, and do not want them to fade, you can sort these out and disinfect with a color safe bleach. HOWEVER, if the yeast comes back I highly recommend using chlorine bleach to disinfect them, you don’t want to fungus to keep regrouping and coming back, for the health of your baby (it can be miserable when it is a strong strain).
5) once baby has been clear for at least 48 hours, they can go back into disinfected cloth, make sure over the next 1-2 weeks you change frequently to promote air flow to their little bottoms to keep yeast away.

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January 5, 2012. cloth diapers, Diaper Chatter, Diaper Rash, Q & A. 12 comments.

diapering 0-3 month babies

We have gone over some of the newer products that were personal favorites for my 5th baby (now 3 months old), and some of these products are really going to the top of the charts by our customers as favorites as well. A few notes on some of these new purchases for those interested:

1) tiny tush minis: these are my personal fave for Jaxson, they start to fit around the 5-6 pound mark, and go to 14-15 pounds (I preferred the aplix, I found they fit longer with the way the front of the diaper laid, the weight range is anywhere from 2-5 months depending on how quickly the baby grows). One tip about them, they come with what looks like a big washcloth, it is a microfiber towel intended to be trifolded and used in the diaper. When you do trifold it, it will be the same as a 3 layer microfiber newborn insert. I found Jax needed more than what came with it, as a newborn an extra small microfiber would work, a preemie prefold folded in half, or on the bigger sizes a small joey bunz packed in with the microfiber towel would be great 🙂 If you have terry washcloths on hand fold them into half or thirds, they will work great! Baby washcloths on the smaller sizes work well, too for an extra boost.

2) Bummis tiny fit: these will fit a tad smaller, starting at around 6-7 pounds but outgrown a tad earlier, around the 12-14 pound mark, and have a nice, trim fit. The soakers on these guys fold in to add extra absorbency, and they come with a tiny booster to add to it. In these little guys a preemie prefold folded in half would work, or a small microfiber washcloth you could fold into thirds, small joey bunz would be right at the end of the size range on these guys, they may overwhelm the baby is the baby has a tiny build.

December 23, 2011. cloth diapers, Diaper Chatter, FAQ, Q & A. Leave a comment.

Diaper rash

We got a lot of questions after our last email about the nighttime chafing/wet rash if you are using natural fibers. Natural referring to cotton, hemp, bamboo or a mix of these. Any “organic” fabric will be a natural fiber. By definition, natural fibers will not be stay dry, the closest you can get to a natural stay dry liner is a silk liner (we sell these on the site), they are very thin, made from silk and you lay them in the top of the diaper. But, they are not 100% stay dry like fleece or suedecloth is, you will feel some dampness, they just wick away a good amount of the moisture. Your stay dry fabrics will be fleece, suedecloth, which are both 100% polyester. Microfiber is 100% poly but not stay-dry, it has to be fleece or suedecloth, or another variation of these. If you are using prefolds or fitteds that are natural fibers, you may have success with laying in a fleece liner. We do sell them here.

Or you can make your own. Go to a fabric store, ask for 1/2 yard of scrap fleece, and cut into 15 x 5 rectangles. No sewing needed, it won’t fray.
For fitteds, lay them in the middle, it will protect the core of the diaper from transferring wetness. For prefolds, if you are trifolding just lay them on top, between the baby and the prefold, if you are folding the prefold around:

1) lay the fleece liner in the middle of the diaper, place the baby on it, so you see the front half of the liner (the back half is under their bottom)
2) flip that front half of the liner up over their belly, almost as if they were wearing a pantyliner, so the top of the liner comes close to their belly button)
3) now fold your prefold around the baby, if you don’t flip the liner up it will get twisted in the prefold and not work (especially if you are doing the bikini twist)

Now, depending on the severity of the sensitivity to wetness, this may not be enough. It will protect their middle skin/genital area, but if they get rashy on their hip and belly, the liner won’t help with that if the diaper is getting really soaked. In this situation, I would first try to increase absorbency, if you can keep the wetness mostly in the middle by adding some extra hemp inserts, it cuts down on the wetness going to the sides of the diaper, and with the fleece liner may be enough to keep the rash at bay.

With any rash, please seek the advice of your doctor for any itching, cracking, bleeding, blisters or peeling. This rash is very mild to treat and will go away quickly with the use of fleece liners, if it is at all serious or painful looking it does need to be diagnosed.

November 18, 2011. cloth diapers, Diaper Chatter, Diaper Rash, Q & A. 1 comment.

night time diapering basics

This week we are starting our nighttime discussion. This week we are going to cover some of the “basics” for nighttime diapering. I will start this with the caveat that if what you are doing is working then don’t bother reading this, but if you are troubleshooting nighttime leaks this is a good place to start 🙂

1) be ready for the fact that your child’s output can change overnight, literally. If your baby is a very light wetter and then starts soaking through diapers, it is very likely that they really did become a heavy wetter overnight. We talk with many customers who spend many nights on wet sheets thinking they have a buildup problem when it is absorbency that needs to be fixed. Remember that the vast majority of buildup issues will be accompanied by odor, it is very rare when detergent buildup is so bad it causes leaking without you smelling the trapped feces and urine being left behind. Another clue to this is if the diapers are soaked. Buildup will leave you leaking with very little absorbency, the inserts will be bare;y wet or wet only in spots, if your diaper is soaked, you need more absorbency.

2) For most babies, pockets will not cut it for heavy wetters. There is only so much pockets can do for a heavy wetter at nighttime, remember pockets are great for daytime use because they are trim and easy to change. At nighttime you don’t need either of those features, and your absorbency is held really in the middle of the diaper. When you have a wiggly baby who is rolling around in their sleep, their urine can be hitting the sides of their diapers, meaning you will leak out of the sides quickly. The trim cut you love for daytime pockets will work against you for nighttime, stuffing them too much will cause gaps, and then urine will roll out the side of the diaper. This is the reason fitteds and covers work well at nighttime, because they wrap absorbency all around the child’s waist and legs, protecting better.

3)Some babies may experience diaper rash from nighttime diapers if they are really soaked, be open minded about natural fibers if your baby is sensitive to wetness. The overnight heat rash/urine chafing rash usually starts as a mild sunburned look where the diaper touches, this may or may not be accompanied by pinprick red dots all over the diaper area. If you are using prefolds at night be aware of this, if your baby is rashy in the morning you may need to change up your system you are using.

November 10, 2011. cloth diapers, Diaper Chatter, night time diapering, Night time solutions, Q & A. Leave a comment.

Hemp for diapers and inserts

This week we are moving onto the hemp fabric for diapers and inserts, net week we move into some nighttime discussions. Hemp is a very dense fabric, and a natural one (not synthetic). Hemp does need to be prewashed, it will arrive a little bigger and stiffer than the finished product, if you have a few hemp items toss them in with your household laundry 2-3 times, and they will get better with age. After the prewashings you can wash them with your other diaper items. He,p is great layered under other fabrics, but can be tricky at catching everything if you have a fast wetter. Boys tend to be more problematic than girls with hemp, hemp inch for inch holds a lot, but it takes a few seconds for the liquid to sink down into the fabric. Putting microfiber or cotton on top can help, or having your hemp fabric blended with another fabric to break up the density. Some do have success with just hemp, depends on the baby. Our favorite Hemp Inserts at Abby’s Lane are BabyKicks Joey Bunz, they are thin, economical and last very well over time and multiple washings. They are contoured and very easy to slip into pockets, in fitteds (or under fitteds between the fitted and cover), or laid on top of an AIO for extra absorbency. If you want to size up you can do so easily, just fold them down, you will get a little extra bulk at the end but you can usually skip a size when buying them. For prefold users, lay the hemp in the middle, then flip up over the belly when wrapping the prefold around, you get a lot of density packed into a small space without having bulk added to your prefold.

November 4, 2011. Tags: . cloth diapers, Diaper Chatter, Q & A. 1 comment.

cotton/bamboo

Last week we discussed the ins and outs of microfiber, this week we are discussing cotton/bamboo. Both of these fibers are on par with each other as far as absorbency goes, in our experience we don’t view bamboo as having the same dense holding power that hemp does, but we do find it is comparable to cotton and its properties.

Cotton is what most of your prefold brands will be made of, prefolds are usually sewn in 4, 6 or 8 layers depending on the size that you get. Prefolds are what many newborns will start out in, but don’t store them after the newborn stage, they make great inserts and doublers for older babies and toddlers! If you are using fitteds in your older babies, fold your infant prefolds in half and place between the fitted and the cover, you may have to bump your cover size up earlier than without it, but it provides 16 layers of cotton in addition to your fitted. If you use pockets, fold into thirds (or half for infant prefolds), and stuff inside. This is a very economical way to boost absorbency in pocket diapers, it will be bulkier but will hold more than microfiber, especially if you can add some thinner hemp inserts to it as well. If you are using prefolds exclusively, fold in half or trifold your smaller ones and place them in the middle of the bigger prefold. Then, flip your rectangle that you laid in up over the baby’s belly, and wrap the bigger prefold around and fasten, you have just doubler your absorbency with less bulk than adding another large prefold. Prefolds also make amazing burp cloths (especially if you have a baby with reflux, or a “happy spitter”-LOL-those little cute 6 x 6 cloths aren’t going to help you at all, but toss a regular size prefold over and you will enjoy the coverage!) Prefolds are pretty easy to wash, and last for years if stored properly. We have many customers who hand wash their diapers, and have found that a mix of prefolds and flats are very easy to wash in the tub and hang dry. No elastic, snaps or PUL to worry about, and can be bleached periodically without showing wear.

Density wise cotton is very “middle of the road”, meaning it isn’t as quick to slurp up liquid as microfiber, but holds more overall. On the other end of the scale, it will slurp more than hemp initially, but inch for inch not hold as much overall as hemp. Nighttime layering is where prefolds really come in handy, you can customize the width of your folding technique to fill the wider pockets that can be used for nighttime, or used to provide an economical solution for heavy wetting side and tummy sleepers. Microfiber and hemp make a great combo for absorbency, but when you need coverage to solve the problem of having “space” to fill, that is where prefolds can help.

Next week we will chat about hemp and then get back into some nighttime diapering 🙂

October 27, 2011. cloth diapers, Diaper Chatter, Q & A. 3 comments.

microfiber inserts

Last week we discussed differences in fabric density when dealing with absorbency. This week I am going to expand a little on microfiber and its uses, and pros/cons. Microfiber is a synthetic material, usually your free inserts with pocket diapers, and used for many AIOS in the internal soaker. As we said last week, very “quickly” absorbent, great for fast wetters and catching heavy wetters, overall on the absorbency scale not the most dense. This means for most babies as they get older you will need a denser fabric paired with your microfiber to hold their wetness. Microfiber should not be placed directly against your baby’s skin. Because it is so quick to catch wetness, placed against a baby’s genital skin can create the potential for adhering to their skin, but underneath a flannel or fleece liner it is fine. As microfiber gets older/more washes, the fabric will lay down flatter, it won’t seem to “catch” your skin as much if you are stuffing pockets and this skin-adhesion warning isn’t as strong, but new microfiber should be used with a liner. Microfiber can be laid under fitteds, between the fitted and cover, if you have some extras laying around it can boost absorbency this way. Also, if you use prefolds, lay a microfiber insert in the middle with a liner on top, then flip the top half over their belly button and wrap your prefold around, a cheap and easy way to catch more urine quickly. Two microfibers can be used easily in pockets, if you use very trim fitting pockets (bumgenius, oh katy for example), once you get past the wetting needs of two you will usually find you need to switch one out for a denser fabric, like a hemp insert. Overstuffing your pockets can lead to gaps in the legs, you will see the diaper stand away from the skin, causing leaks when the baby rolls on their side or is held on the side, so watch how you are stuffing the diaper. Old or extra microfiber inserts make excellent cleaning rags, on your swiffer or attached to a mop to reach ceiling fans, they hold up incredibly well over time and multiple bleachings, truly you can bleach microfiber inserts constantly and they really don’t show much wear and tear from it. The nature of microfiber inserts makes them pretty easy to tell if you have detergent buildup, they get an almost slick feel to them, and you can see the fabric laying very flat. Smaller microfiber inserts can still be used in diapers, just put them in the middle of the diaper when stuffing/laying in diapers with a liner, they will still “catch” urine to pass through to the denser, more absorbent fabrics underneath. Next week we chat about prefolds and cotton 🙂

October 21, 2011. cloth diapers, Diaper Chatter, Q & A. 4 comments.

keep your cloth diapers looking great!

Last week we posted some how-to’s, this week we are going over some
tried and true tips for keeping those diapers looking great 🙂

-Diapers with elastic, wait until they are cool to stretch/stuff them.
When you take your pocket diapers or stuffable AIOs out of the dryer, give
them a few minutes to cool off, stretching hot elastic will wear it out
faster.

-Laundry Tabs. If you have a tough agitation cycle on your washer (which
can actually help you get them clean easier), you may find your laundry tabs
on your aplix diapers have a hard time staying on. An easy fix, go to a
fabric store and buy a roll of velcro. Cut into 2 inch squares, separate
them so you have a dish full of the “loop” or softer side of the
velcro. Keep these tabs by your diaper pail, before tossing the diapers in
put a loop tab on your diapers, then wash and dry as usual. When you take
them out of the dryer, toss the tabs back in your dish, they will stay on
perfectly through the washer and dryer, and are about $2.00 to buy the roll.

-This really isn’t a “tip” per se, but rather the
Abby’s Lane opinion on “what is worse on diapers, washing them
frequently which wears them out or letting them sit longer and not washing
frequently”. Our opinion from our experience with our 4, and talking
to thousands of customers over the years, is that for best longevity of your
diapers, washing daily or every other day is best for them.
The longer they sit in ammonia and feces, the harder it can be to get them
clean, and usually involves using bleach or vinegar to do so, which is hard
on PUL and the elastic. Also, when you wash every 3-5 days, you have to have
twice as many diapers, so even in the worst case scenario (which we truly
have never seen happen), you are washing every other day and you wear them
all out in 18 months and have to buy a whole new set, you are at exactly the
same cost out as if you had bought double to wash twice as far apart. If you
soak your cleaning rags in pure ammonia you see what it does to them, urine
is hard on fabric when it sits (think cat urine on carpet), cleaning them
more often really does seem to make them last longer. Not using bleach,
vinegar, the sanitary cycle on your diapers, if you can hang things dry even
better, these things are what really can make a difference in longevity.

We wrote an article a little while ago about what to expect life-span wise from
your cloth diapers,
worth a read over when considering what to buy 🙂

Let me know if you have any questions!

August 20, 2011. cloth diapers, Q & A. 3 comments.

How to get started with cloth diapering

This week we are going to discuss some “how do you do this?” questions we get frequently from families new to cloth 🙂 Sometimes the hardest things to overcome are the little daily steps to making cloth work for your family, so I am going to share a few tips over the years we have loved from our customers and that we have found works well.

-Where to put the diapers?
We see a lot of changing tables set up with the diapers and the pail is in the nursery,since spraying in the newborn stage isn’t always a must, this set up works well until the baby is older and you need to spray. Some will then just take the pail with them to the nearest bathroom and keep that area as is. My preference is to keep the diapers in the bathroom in the main floor of the house, with several children now that is where our time is spent even with a newborn, I have a cabinet mounted above our toilet that is big enough to stack my diapers in, and the doors keep it all concealed. Prior to this, I bought a really cheap “over the toilet” shelf rack similar to this (but not as expensive) that I put the diapers on. For years I kept my pail under the bathroom sink in the cabinet there, but now I keep it in my laundry room, for the diapers that need spraying I just grab the pail and go in there to chuck them in 🙂

In our previous home, we had a condo that the bathroom was SUPER tiny in. I did the same over the toilet rack, but instead of a pail I used a wet/dry bag I hung on a wreath hanger over the door.

Another question we get a lot is how to store diapers in between children? The best way is to put your clean diapers in a place where they aren’t exposed to temperature extremes. Temperature controlled basements or attics are fine, but if they are in a garage and winter cold and summer heat gets to them, the elastic will get brittle much faster.

What kind of pail to use?
The best/cheapest pail we have found over the years is a 13 gallon trash bin with a close top lid (not a swinging lid). You can get these at wal mart or target for around 10 dollars. The one I use I have had for about 8 years, and with the new baby due next month I am finally chucking it for a 13 gallon bin, only because almost every component on it now is broken and it is barely hanging together, but for 16 bucks I sure did get my moneys worth from diapering my 4 previous babies and 2 babies I had in at home day care with me in cloth!

Next week we will continue with some fun diapering tips to make things a little easier 🙂

August 11, 2011. cloth diapers, Diaper Chatter, Q & A. 3 comments.

hybrid diaper systems

This week we are discussing some favorites of ours in the hybrid category of diapering 🙂 I am also going to discuss a little of how these work and what are the pros and cons to this system.

Of all the hybrids we carry, great things can be said of our Gen-Y universal cover system! I have used this with our fourth, and it is very versatile, and Gen-Y makes a fabulous product with some great size ranges. A hybrid usually consists of a cover that is one size, or duo sized, with flaps on the front and back to hold various inserts in place. You can reuse the cover, and change out the inserts during the day.

Flip is another hybrid, they sell Flip stay dry microfiber inserts, organic cotton inserts, and disposable inserts. Flip has a PUL inner, so it can wipe clean and be reused until it gets soiled on the outside. GenY is also a PUL inner, and allows for use with organic inserts/prefolds trifolded like a business letter, microfiber inserts if you have a fleece or flannel liner on top, really just about anything.

Grovia is another hybrid system, the shells are designed to be changed throughout the day, since the mesh backing can retain moisture and odor and is not a “wipe clean” system. The mesh allows for the adhesive backing on the disposable inserts to stay in place. We don’t recommend hybrid systems for newborns, UNLESS you plan on changing the cover very frequently (often at every change), or you use the system but instead of laying inserts in, wrap them around the baby and fasten with a Snappi. Hybrids just are not the best at keeping everything contained just by trifolding, so if you intend to reuse covers, use a snappi around the insert to keep those bowel movements in. Once the baby isn’t as “explosive” around the 3-4 month mark, you can experiment with trifolding and laying in inserts 🙂

August 6, 2011. cloth diapers, Diaper Chatter, Q & A. 4 comments.

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