The Ultimate Cloth Diaper Care Resource Page

Part 1:  Washing Cloth Diapers

(Added 01/30/12)  What follows below is some updated information with past articles put into one article. This week we are tackling washing problem number 1:

My diapers stink out of the dryer, or stink like stale urine once freshly peed in.

I would like to begin this article by saying
1) If your wash routine is fine, disregard what I write below. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
2) What I am writing about below is what we see working for the majority of our customers, there will always be examples of a wash routine being very different but it will work for that customer, however we feel the need to put into words what we see working for most of our customers who cannot get their diapers clean.
Clean diapers are more than just a “want”, if you have stinky diapers you have bacteria lingering behind, which can cause skin issues that can be troublesome to fix.

Wash problems generally fall into two categories, tonight we are tackling the problem of the diapers smelling out of the dryer. This is usually caused by one of two problems
1) Wrong detergent   or   2) Not enough detergent.
Let’s start with number one, the wrong detergent. Here are some cliff notes for choosing a detergent:

  • Powders generally rinse out easier than liquid
  • The more natural the detergent, generally the less effective it will be with very few exceptions
  • Free and clears, especially liquid ones, can be notorious for buildup.
  • Maintsream powders and liquids are *fine* to use, you do not have to use a cloth diaper detergent to get your diapers clean.

Over 8 years of troubleshooting wash issues with thousands of clients, and our own 5 babies, we find one detergent leading the pack over and over again. Tide.
Tide? Before you shoot the idea down completely, take a peek at who else recommends Tide:
Happy Heinys (over 10 years in the business):
http://www.happyheinys.com/care-and-sizing/cloth-diaper-detergents
Fuzzi Bunz (recommends Tide Free, over 10 years in the business):
http://www.fuzzibunz.com/faq.php#wash9
Tiny Tush (over 10 years in the business):
http://www.tinytush.com/How-To-Wash-Cloth-Diapers_ep_51-1.html
Rumparooz (over 5 years in the business):
http://www.rumparooz.com/faqs.php

That being said, if you hate the idea of Tide, try another mainstream store powder, even a generic one if it fits the budget better. Worst case scenario, you strip and start over.

The second part of this equation is using enough detergent. Unless you are using Rockin Green or Thirsties super wash, 1-2 tablespoons will not cut it. You have to use enough detergent to get them clean ( I use to the 3 line on my Tide powder ultra scoop for a load of diapers).
On January 24th, Bummis (over 20 years in the biz) had on their Facebook page:

Had a wonderful discussion with Steve “the detergent guru” again. We discussed how many people recommend using so little detergent and recommend Dawn to strip detergent residues from “suede cloth”, microfiber and other synthetics.

He does not believe it is a “detergent” residue that is causing repelling or stink in these synthetics. He believes what is really happening is that consumers are crea…ting a self-filling prophecy by not using enough detergent. This leads to microscopic soil being left behind. In fecal matter there are oils/fats from digestion. Polyester loves fats and oils and forms a chemical bond with them. If you are using too little detergent to release this soil, you will then get a microscopic build up of oils on the surface of the fabric eventually causing it to repel or stink.

While great at releasing grease on solid surfaces (think dishes) Dawn is not super effective on fabric. Hence it would work with a mild build up of oils causing repelling/stink but not on all cases. Best to avoid oily build up by using enough detergent to release oils from synthetics and enough rinsing/water to get rid of all detergent/soils left behind in the wash cycle.

Make sure you are using enough, remember that seeing suds does not mean you are using too much. Some detergents are more sudsy than others, unless you have odors with the diapers out of the dryer or once freshly peed in, don’t sweat the suds! Really, if you don’t smell anything, don’t lift the lid, don’t even peek at the rinse cycle. If they smell great out of the dryer, and once freshly peed in, don’t worry about suds.

Let’s go over wash temps here, the best routine we have found for diapers is

  • Warm or hot pre-rinse (see notes below)
  • Hot wash with good amount of detergent (not the sanitary cycle, your regular hot cycle, your water heater should be set to 120 degrees F)
  • 2 cold rinses. Your machine will do one automatically, add another if you can.

Wait, warm or hot pre-rinse? We have always advised warm or hot, the reason for hot being that many water heaters won’t get up to 120 in the pre-rinse, so setting it to warm gave you room temperature water, setting it to hot gave you the higher temperature that is needed. Now with more sophisticated machines, we are adjusting our advice to say warm pre-rinse, not hot or cold.

Bummis recently had this article as well for some of the science behind the warm prerinse:
http://blog.bummis.com/2011/10/laundry-science.html#!/2011/10/laundry-science.html

In our experience, the cold prerinse set in stains and make it much harder to wash the fresh feces and urine out of the diapers. Switch your prerinse, see if it helps. If your water heater doesn’t get very hot, consider doing a hot prerinse to boost those temps a little.

Stripping: We are going to cover how to strip the diapers.
Stripping refers to an action of doing something to the diapers to disinfect or strip them from detergent buildup, ointment buildup, old feces or urine buildup, fabric softener, basically anything that is hindering absorbency. Today I am going to review what does need to be stripped versus what doesn’t.
Many times, truly most times, when a customer thinks the diaper needs to be stripped, it is actually a scenario where more absorbency is needed, or the fit is incorrect for the baby. You do NOT need to strip if:

  • The diapers leak, but more than 30-60 minutes has passed
  • The diapers leak, but the entire diaper/fitted or insert is wet
  • The diapers leak but do not have odors to them

If you are having leaking but find that the above fits, you likely have an absorbency or fit issue, not a need to strip. Very, very rarely will buildup occur without an accompanying odor. If you have enough buildup left to hinder absorbency, you will be trapping old feces and urine, and it will stink. What may be a cause a need to strip is:

  • Odors out of the dryer, or once freshly peed in.
  • Leaking within the first few minutes of the diaper being on.
  • Leaking and the diaper is wet in spots only.
  • Use of creams, and you can see and smell spots where ointment has been.
  • Use of the wrong detergent, this is also evident when you take the diapers out and they have a sticky or tacky feel to them, almost like they are coated with something.

I like to highlight the odor key in all of this, remember you cannot ever mask the smell of poop. You can spray perfume on it, put bleach spray on it, it will smell like perfumed and bleached poo. It is incredibly rare when we see buildup not accompanying odors, it can happen, but really is very rare. If you suspect buildup and do not have any odors, we will first go the route of more absorbency/checking the fit. If you strip and it is an absorbency or fit issue, you won’t solve anything and be right back where you started with leaky diapers.

I do want to throw one more tidbit in,I see websites promoting the “water drip test” to see if your diapers are repelling. The idea being you dribble a few drops of water on the diaper, if it doesn’t sink in right away the diapers need to be stripped. The truth is I can do this on my perfectly fine pocket diapers and you won’t see it sink in, the pressure of the baby against the diaper pushes urine into it, so don’t rely on that test to see if you have buildup and need to strip.

There was a method that was very popular a few years ago in stripping, and I sincerely hope it has completely died out but I know some still recommend it. It involves using your dishwasher to strip the diapers. Now, this is a fire hazard, and will render your snaps and elastic pretty useless, so under no circumstances should you ever put your diapers in the dishwasher, please please please.

Another popular method is to put Dawn dish soap in the washing machine. We don’t recommend this either, your washing machine wasn’t made for dish soap, it is high sudsing and can clog the hoses. If you have a new washer under warranty you could void it. We have had customers who used Dawn, and when their machine broke and the repairman came, it was very easy to tell soap had been used, and the warranty was voided, so please take note of those problems if you go the Dawn route.

What is safer for you and the machine, is to bleach the diapers if you have buildup. 1/3 cup of chlorox in the detergent cycle with clean cloth diapers, and hot water, will take care of the problem. If you have cotton print diapers, dyed fitteds or prefolds, or cotton outer wet bags, you can use color safe bleach. That is the best method to strip, and safe for your machine. For disinfecting purposes, color safe bleach may not be appropriate as it uses hydrogen peroxide rather than chlorine to bleach, but for residue purposes it can work.

Make sure the diapers have been washed and dried, if they are soiled the bleach won’t do much. Once in a blue moon bleach is fine on your diapers, it is when it is used on a regular basis that you see premature wear and tear, just like you would on your clothing. PUL is dye fast and will not bleed from bleach.

Next week we will chat about the problem of “they smell fine out of the dryer, but stink when freshly peed in” issue, since hopefully we have conquered the “they smell out of the dryer” issue.

Don’t just “put up” with stink, doing so can lead to health problems and rash problems that you don’t want against your child’s skin. If your toddler threw up on a tee shirt, you wash it and it still smells like puke, there is no way you would put it back on the child. Diapers have to be treated the same way, (except even worse because you are putting old poop and urine back up against their genital areas). Don’t tolerate stink, truly, shoot me an email and we will figure it out!

We don’t stand to profit on your smelly diapers, most of our customer service is in regards to fixing wash routines. My first goal is to make sure your baby’s skin is healthy, and my secondary goal is to make your wash routine easy. When you have to do 3 wash cycles or add more ingredients than you do making cookies, it really sucks the fun and ease out of using cloth diapers. With those two goals in mind, we are always working on trying to get as close to a uniform wash routine as possible. If you still have odor issues, email me with a “tried it, still have stink at x,y and z” and we will troubleshoot what needs to change.

Part 2:  Dealing with urine, ammonia and other strong mystery odors.

(Added 02/06/12) This week is a comprehensive look at the “my diapers smell fine out of the dryer but smell like stale urine once freshly urinated in.”

This is one of two problems, too much detergent, or not the right detergent to begin with. Make sure you read our first article to see if your detergent is the right kind (powder over liquid if possible, not a free and clear if it can be helped, not the more natural detergents).

How to tell if you are using too much? Remember, last week(part 1) we said “don’t sweat the suds IF you have no odors issues”, and we stand by that advice. If everything is fine and smells like clean fabric, don’t worry about checking for suds at any point in your wash routine. However, if you have this problem of stink when peed in, check your suds. To do this with a front loader, clean the diapers as usual, then do a hot wash cycle with no detergent and then…

  1. If you have an HE machine, look at the glass during the wash cycle, do you see bubbles coming out?
  2. If you have a top loader, wait until you hear it going in the wash cycle (past the filling stage, then you hear it agitating everything around), then open the lid. Do you see bubbles formed (give it a minute or two to get washing)

If you see some soapy bubbles (not just little air bubbles from swishing fabric around), then you may have buildup. There are a few ways to strip diapers with this kind of buildup:

  1. If they aren’t too bad (and hopefully you can catch this early so you don’t get a lot of bacteria built up), doing 2-3 wash cycles with just hot water on CLEAN diapers (make sure you wash them first and then do this), should strip out the residue. Don’t do any cold pre-rinses, try to hit them with as much hot water as possible.If they are really stenchy, you may need bleach to strip them. Again, that link above has proper stripping techniques, please do not use Dawn dish soap to strip.
  2. Once they have been stripped of the detergent buildup, reductions in detergent are needed or a new detergent. IF you have very soft water, you CAN use an HE detergent in a regular machine. You can never use regular detergent in an HE machine, but you can use HE detergent in a regular machine with soft water, it is formulated to be low sudsing for HE machines, and will rinse easier. You have to be careful with detergent levels, too high and you get buildup, too low and you will get that bacteria left behind/stink out of the dryer problem. If you want help finding the right level of detergent or the right detergent, give us an email at AbbysLane@aol.com

Part of this problem also embraces ammonia. Old detergent buildup can trap old feces and urine, which can lead to ammonia odors. That being said….  There are two times when ammonia can be normal:

  1. 1) in the diaper pail, when you lift the lid, ammonia wafting can be normal.
  2. 2)in the morning diaper. When a diaper has been on for 8+ hours, it can smell of ammonia in the morning.

Remember, our bodies cannot tolerate ammonia internally, so we convert it to other byproducts. When urine leaves our body and meets air, it will start to convert back to ammonia salts (with or without bacteria present). If your baby pees early in the night, that is 8+ hours of urine salts sitting in a nice, warm, moist environment, so it will smell in the morning. Adding absorbency to break down the concentration will help, but especially as your baby ages that morning smell is normal. If your diapers smell fresh out of the dryer, and do not smell of stale urine within the first hour of being worn, your wash routine is otherwise fine.

Ammonia burn or chafing is *never* acceptable, it is something we work with many customers to fix, usually by fixing the wash routine or increasing absorbency/breathability depending on why the child is sensitive to the urine.

Ammonia isn’t present in urine until it leaves the body and meets air. The Urea that it is converted to internally is sterile until oxygen will start to convert it to ammonia, bacteria doesn’t always have to be present. We have had many customers who had ammonia odors in disposables they used, which obviously didn’t have detergent buildup and hadn’t been in play with bacteria long enough to build it up. There are lots of factors that can cause that “ammonia” smell, some will never encounter it at all unless these factors are in play. Heavy wetters will be more prone to the odor, if you have had a light wetter versus a heavy wetter, you know the difference between the volumes. When you start adding half an ounce of urine to each diaper change, or more, you are really increasing the urea output. Toddler urine is more complicated as well, more going into it, more coming out.

Additionally, if your baby pees when you put them down and it is a big one, you are getting several hours of a head start on this whole process, so the odors will be much stronger.

Imagine peeing on a tee shirt (fitted/prefolds), wrapping it in a plastic bag (cover) then leaving it for 8 hours, it would stink to high heaven when you opened the bag, on the flip side, if your had your 2 month old pee in a little tee shirt and did the same thing for 3 hours, the stench wouldn’t be nearly as much, hence the volume/concentration/age factors.

For the pail, it can vary based on lots of things, if you keep an open pail in a broom closet and wash toddler diapers every 3-4 days, your odors will be very different from a closed pail in a larger ventilated room washing every 1-2 days. Clean diapers will still do this in pails, it doesn’t matter how clean they are going in, if you have the right combination of volume and age in urine, it can produce the same effect. Additionally, remember a closed lid pail isn’t airtight, unless you vacuum seal it after each time you put a diaper in, you allow lots of air flow in the pail to open and close the lid every 90 minutes to a few hours, plus the lid itself doesn’t seal air out, so it is fine to have a closed-lid pail (this is beneficial for other reasons than containing odors, like keeping out bugs-yes it does happen-and exploring little children)

Nothing that harms a baby’s skin is ever normal, and needs to be corrected. If the wash routine is otherwise fine and you have stripped the diapers, sometimes increasing the absorbency does the trick, breaking down the concentration of urea leaving the body makes it less volatile on the skin. For some, they need more breathable options, since air still gets into PUL diapers you never have an airtight diapering system, but for some babies the extra air flow to their skin is what it needs to tolerate that old urine breathing back onto their skin.

For some babies, you need to explore eczema and other skin sensitivities, if you have skin that is already compromised to begin with, adding urine breathing onto it for 8+ hours is too much. Middle of the night changes, eczema ointments,other options can help. For “yeasty” babies cornstarch is great as a preventative measure (not during an outbreak, as it will feed the yeast, but on healed skin to prevent it is great), plus lots of air flow/naked time so the fungus has a hard time growing without the moist and dark conditions.

We relay this to our customers who have perfectly fresh diapers out of the dryer (meaning nothing bacterial is left behind from feces), and the diapers do not smell of stale urine when freshly peed in (indicates buildup and need to be stripped), and the only time they smell the ammonia odors, or “strong urine” odors is in the pail when they lift the lid to toss in a newly soiled diaper, or the morning diaper on from 8 hours prior. Remember, rashes or burns are not normal, please email us if you need help with these issues!

Some fun urine resource sites-LOL:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/urine-odor/MY00378
http://sxxz.blogspot.com/2006/07/why-is-urine-yellow.html

January 30, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , . Diaper Chatter, FAQ, Wash routines. 41 comments.

prevention of yeast

This week we are going into some tips and tricks for prevention of yeast if your baby has battled it more than once.

First, one cause of yeast could be antibiotics. If you are nursing and are on antibiotics, or if your baby has to be on antibiotics, all of the good bacteria along with the bad will be killed, and the overall chemistry of your baby’s skin will be more susceptible to yeast. If your baby is old enough, talk to your pediatrician about giving him/her probiotics. It wouldn’t be a bad idea for you to take some as well if you are nursing, there are safe supplements for babies and toddlers, adults can take over the counter acidophilus tablets. You may or may not see thrush in the mouth of your baby, it can appear in a few different forms, but if you see any changes inside your baby’s mouth or it seems painful for them to eat (nursing or bottle), let your pediatrician know ASAP.

If your baby isn’t on any antibiotics and you are not either (if nursing), but seems to be more yeast-prone, ask about probiotics anyway, it can definitely help keep the yeast away!

Now, the next step will seem completely pointless if you haven’t battled yeast, but I have to throw it out there. We see yeast happening as much in natural fibers as in synthetics. It really just depends on the baby, some cannot tolerate the wetness from natural fibers, and will flare into yeast quickly. Others cannot tolerate synthetics, and need natural fibers to promote breatheability. If your baby is battling yeast, look at the diaper system you have. If you have solely natural fibers, consider investing in some fleece liners to use to see if it makes a difference. On the flip side, if you only use synthetics, switching to a more air-flow friendly system can help.

Keep an eye on your nighttime system as well, for baby boys often yeast will start as a very red penis, sometimes with or without blisters, if your baby boy presents this symptom and you don’t see it clear up with ointment within a day or two at the most, take him in to get diagnosed.

We will go over some more on this next week, but one last thing to remember with yeast.

If your baby’s skin is completely clear, and has been for at least a few days, cornstarch is fine to use to help absorb moisture to keep yeast away. However, if your baby has any skin symptoms at all, cornstarch will feed yeast with the sugars present, so do not use if there is any skin rash present to suggest yeast.

January 13, 2012. Tags: , . cloth diapers, Diaper Chatter, FAQ, Uncategorized. 3 comments.

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.

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.

Potty Learning / Potty Training part II

Now, if you thought our advice on day training was very “sit back and see where they go”, nighttime doesn’t get better. For my own children, it is really a matter of waiting until after they are day trained and wake up dry for a good two weeks straight before we try underwear at night.

If your child has been day trained for a few months and still has nighttime wetting, try something to see where they are. Lay a natural fiber inside the diaper, so it provides a wetness cue. It can be a hemp insert, a wipe, a prefold, anything that isn’t stay dry or microfiber. See how your child does, if she wakes up due to the wetness enough to call you and finish urinating on the toilet, you may have a case for a few trainers to provide a different feel than a diaper. If she pees through and doesn’t wake, she will leak out of the trainers, so don’t bother with them yet. If your child needs the absorbency of a diaper and doesn’t respond to wetness cues, they are likely to still need an actual diaper. Taking them to the potty before they go to bed will help, for some of our children (every years after they “trained”) when my husband and myself go to bed several hours after they do, we take them as well so they can sleep into the morning hours without having to wake up to wet sheets. If you notice your child is dry most of the night but wakes up with an accident in the early hours of the morning that may be a good option as well. So, if they go to bed at 7/8 pm, and you go to bed 11/midnight, take them to the toilet. For my 4 year old daughter if we don’t do this chances are pretty good she will wet around 3/4 am. If we take her at midnight she can sleep soundly until 7/8 am to wake up for the day.

I am not a fan of witholding fluids to encourage nighttime training.. The Happy Heiny trainers, which are very diaper-like in feel and absorbency (meaning you can stuff them as much as you need to for older toddlers) can go well into 50+ pounds, so you are covered for nighttime as long as your child needs it. It really is not unusual for us to see emails for children who are 5, 6 and older to need help at night. If you have ruled out any medical conditions that need attention, it is just a matter of those cues and when your child is ready to plug those cues into toilet readiness, and enough bladder control to last all night.

In the ironic twist of life, the reality is they may be helping us with our diapers if we are lucky enough to live so long!

December 13, 2011. Diaper Chatter, toilet training & learning. 2 comments.

Potty learning / potty training

Last week we wrapped up nighttime diapering, so this week we are going to start with some potty training discussions! I am going to do a
‘rerun” of a past article from April of 2010 with a few notes changed around, so if it looks familiar it is being recycled 😉

Now, consider yourself warned, most of this is going to come from my experience training three kids and working on a fourth, working in day care
for a number of years, and chatting it up with customers frequently. I am not a psychologist, and I know everyone has their ideas of appropriate ages
and behaviors with training, so what I want to share is for you to take or leave at your liking~

This is going to take a few weeks to go through, but I want to dedicate time to the little guys on their way out of diapers. Whether they are 12
months, 18 months, 2, 3, 4 or 5, they are all on their way out of the diapers we love to put them in. I get lots of emails about “when?!?!?!?”
When do you know it is time? This is going to concentrate on children who are not challenged by physical or emotional hindrances, those children need
extra time and attention, and while I can help, you may need advice outside of my realm of experience.

I always knew my babies were ready to start when I noticed dryness in the diapers over periods of time. Whether they woke up from naptime dry, or I
went to change them around the hour mark and the diaper was not wet at all. Usually this starts at around a year to 18 months. Boys take longer in
general, they have much more neurological work that has to occur for them to make the connections for training. You truly can start “training” before
this. When they are old enough to walk and start following you everywhere, take them in the bathroom with you when you have to go. By this point it
certainly isn’t the oddest thing you have done as a parent (you mean I get to shower all by myself? What a treat! LOL), and it won’t be the last. Make
it a cheerful, happy thing. “Oh look, mommy/daddy goes pee pee, yeah!” They will see the bathroom as a cheerful place, a place to celebrate what you are doing. It really sets the mood for later. They also see liquid coming out of you as a good thing, and won’t be freaked out when they see it coming out of them in places they never knew existed before. I mean really, if you looked in the mirror and saw water pouring out of your ear, you would be a little weirded out, no?

Cool potty seats are fun, potties with their favorite characters are a plus, but they may not even need this. I found it helps though to have these things in the car. So, they see you going, they are intrigued, they want to do it. You are going to have thousands of “dry runs” before the real deal starts. A good time to actually put them on the potty? Before bathtime! The sounds of water rushing around always made mine want to go. Just a habit to start, just plop them on while getting the bath ready. If it is too much for them, no biggie, they aren’t ready yet. Even if they just sit there for a second and smile, you are training. Training isn’t the results, it is the process, so make it fun and take a deep breath. Another great time, first thing in the morning. Even if that diaper is full and you know they went all night, make it a part of your morning ritual. When they are sitting on the same place they see you go, and see what is supposed to happen, if they are ready they will start to follow suit.

They don’t like sitting, show no interest in being with you when it goes on? Don’t worry, I promise if your baby is not ready, it would
be more productive to run into a brick wall then to try and push it with your child. All you will run into is resistance, and making it a chore
rather than something new and exciting. Some of you are saying “yeah, but she is 3, shouldn’t she be interested?” I think our generation is much more
gentle with training then generations before. I know it isn’t unusual to hear my friends talk of hanging soiled bed sheets out for neighbors to see,
or being punished for accidents. Shame was frequently part of the process, and happily I think that is truly a thing of the past. So, don’t worry when
your mother or mother in law asks “is she still in diapers?”, I can assure you she won’t be 16 and wearing super jumbo extra large Fuzzi Bunz, just
relax, and go with it. Make it happy, make it cheerful, and celebrate the little steps in the journey.

December 9, 2011. Diaper Chatter, toilet training & learning. 7 comments.

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.

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