Why I’m Going To Give Mama Cloth A Try

Posted 01-31-2014 at 11:39 AM by yoliyoda

So I’ve decided to brave mama cloth. I say brave, and I do mean brave. The entire concept had my nose turned up for a long time. And honestly, I’m still a bit iffy, emotionally–though logically I know that it makes sense.

For those who don’t know, mama’s cloth is essentially reusable sanitary napkins and panty liners. And while the idea of dealing with pee and poop in my son’s cloth diapers is fine, the idea of a bloody reuseable cloth napkin *shutters* gets to me.

However, I had to take a step back and realize how far I’ve come in relation to making my household a cloth-friendly one… and assess how far I was willing to go. We have unpaper towels, which I love, that double as cloth napkins. I have cloth cleaning microfiber rags and sponges instead of using paper towels. And of course, lots of cloth diapers. There was a logical reason connected to each clothing decision that I made. Usually economics and the environment had something to do with each decision.

So what about mama’s cloth? On the low estimates, I’ve heard that women can use about 12,000 pads or tampons in a lifetime. Let’s say she has her period for 40 years: that’s 300 a year, and 25 per month. Forgetting the fact that most of us have several types sitting around, some with wings, some without, some with blue stripes down the middle, some without… let’s just say that a woman buys one bag of pads or tampons per month at $5. Yes, that is very conservative, but let’s just lowball it. That is $2400 over her lifetime.

Do you know what I could do with $2400? A lot. And remember, those are lowball figures.

You can buy mama’s cloth cheaper than you think. As a rough average, you can get 4 pieces for $20. If you’re like me, I’d probably be

Diaper Swapers

Velcro Vs. Snaps: The Eternal Debate

Posted 01-30-2014 at 09:00 AM by Banana Cat

One of the most common questions I see from parents new to cloth diapering—after “What type of diaper is the best?”–is, “Should I get Velcro or snap closures?” Like all cloth diapering questions, the answer varies from family to family. Some swear by snaps, others would rather let their kid run naked than snap a diaper. I’ve personally used both for the last two years of cloth diapering, and here are some pros and cons of both.

 

velcrovssnaps

 

A Place For Disposables

Posted 01-29-2014 at 11:19 AM by yoliyoda

While I joined Diaperswappers for the same reason the other mamas on the site did, an insatiable love of cloth diapers, I have a secret. Not only do I use disposable diapers, I love them!

To be clear, what I’m speaking of is disposable inserts that can be used with cloth covers. Many companies that make covers also make disposable, biodegradable inserts as an alternative to cloth inserts. When I first began to look into the option of cloth diapering I didn’t understand why. If someone decided to use cloth diapers, why in the world would they want the disposable inserts? All of the positives of less waste and cheaper costs are greatly affected by the use of disposable inserts. It just didn’t seem to make sense.

Then I started to take cloth diapering from theory to practice and quickly saw the exact scenario that the disposable inserts worked for my family. Imagine this: you’re all dressed up for a long day out with friends. Yes, you could carry 10 inserts, making the load in your wet dry bag not just getting heavier over the course of the day with wet inserts, but also getting stinkier and stinker. Could I do it? Definitely. Will I do it if I don’t have too? Probably not.

Another scenario where disposable inserts might make sense is with hesitant baby sitters or day cares. Some people simply don’t want to deal with dirty, soiled, inserts. With this option, when baby has pee’d or pottied, they can simply pop the disposable insert out and into the trash can, and replace it with a new one.

Designed only to replace inserts, I still get to use cute covers. And since I only use them occasionally, I don’t mind the price. Plus, being a thrifty shopper, I like to look around for a variety of options on where to snag the cheapest disposable inserts.

Cloth Diapers on Vacation: The Great Debate

Posted 01-28-2014 at 02:39 PM by happysmileylady

beach baby

One of the most common questions about cloth diapers is whether or not to take cloth on vacation.  Until recently I had no input into the debate because I had no experience with it.  But my family recently went to Disney World and whether or not to take cloth on vacation was a debate in our home for a few weeks.  I thought I would share my experience to help others with their own debate.

It took a surprisingly small amount of coaxing to convince my husband to use cloth while on vacation.  At first, like most husbands, he voted for the convenience of disposables over cloth diapers.  But as has been true for some time now, he wasn’t super attached to the idea of the disposables.  So, I did some calculations.  I use cloth for financial reasons and the savings is what has convinced my husband to continue using them in general.  So I turned to that old standby in deciding to use cloth on vacation.  I have two in diapers.  I go through 12 or 13 diapers a day.  We were going to be gone for 10 days so that’s 120 to 130 diapers.  That would mean 2 boxes of diapers at least, each box running from $25 to $35.  It’s been a while since I had to buy disposables for any real length of time so the cost of $50 to $75  for a week’s worth of diapers gave me a bit of a surprise as well as my husband.

For those prices my husband was much more comfortable bringing our cloth on vacation.  We stayed in a condo with a washer and dryer so washing was not a problem.  But, honestly, the idea of carrying dirty or wet cloth diapers around Disney World did not appeal to me.  In addition, we drove down to Orlando, and broke the drive into two days, both for the drive down and the return.  With three children under the age of five, it just didn’t make sense to do the entire 14 hour drive in one day.  And the reality is that I do not own enough diapers to get through two full days without washing.  So we decided on a compromise.  I bought a single box of diapers and we used those for the drive and for our days at Disney.  However we used cloth around our condo and for the swim diapers in the pool.

If You Can’t Trust Mom…

Posted 01-27-2014 at 10:30 AM by yoliyoda

So I’m irritated. Grateful, but irritated. I recently got a few days work out of the house. Since I could use the cash, but haven’t found a sitter yet, I was happy to have my mom babysit. I actually unknowingly fell into attachment parenting before I even knew what it was. On so many levels I was nervous about leaving my son, even if it was with my mom.

The recent experiences has done nothing to quell my fears of leaving him.

Before the work days, I worked hard to pump enough milk to leave for him. Since I absolutely, positively hate pumping, this was a labor of love. I looked up information on safe human milk handling, and wrote out a detailed, yet simple, list of ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’. Also made some formula ahead of time, just in case, since we supplement. (As you shall see, this is where I went wrong). I made the maximum amount my son would have on a worse-case-scenario type day.

Also, to be considerate, since my mom was watching him and I figured she’d have enough on her plate just dealing with a baby for the first time in a while–I said she could use some of the left over disposables that were just laying around (another mistake). Since she insists cloth is confusing, I wanted her to focus on the breast milk handling. I figured that we’d have time to tackle cloth diapers since I would be asking her to watch him every now and again if I had to work.

What. A. Disaster.

Sonya Levien said it wonderfully.  “Good intentions are not enough. They’ve never put an onion in the soup yet.” My mother has the best of intentions, they just don’t always translate into action.

I missed a call about 2 hours after I left home. I couldn’t return it until hours later.

“Where’s the milk?”

“What do you mean, ‘Where’s the milk?’ I showed you yesterday when we stood in the kitchen and I went through how to handle it. It’s in the bottom of the refrigerator.”

“Oh, OK. I’ll look again. Oh, and he pee’d right through that (cloth) diaper you had on him this morning, and I had to clean up his toy chair.”

“That’s because you didn’t change him mom. The diaper will always spill over if it’s so soiled it can’t hold any more.”

“Oh, OK.”

Click. Simple solutions, right?

When I got home my mother was

The (Un?)Necessity of Newborn Diapers

Posted 01-24-2014 at 09:10 AM by Banana Cat

One of the questions I see come up a lot with first time cloth diaper users is “Do I need a separate newborn sized diaper stash, or can I skip straight to one sizes/larger sized diapers to save money?”

It’s a valid question. A newborn stash of 36 newborn prefolds and five basic newborn covers can run over $100. It is still cheaper than buying disposables (and if this is your first child and you plan to have more, you can just reuse the newborn stash for the next child, making it even more cost effective), but when you are already spending another hundred or two or three on the stash that will get your kid to potty training, well—it can seem a bit unnecessary to spend that extra $100 on a few diapers that will only fit your kid for a few weeks.

newborndiapers

Plenty of cute newborn diapers to choose from!

 

My first child, my daughter, was 6lbs 11oz when she was born. She dropped to 6lbs in her first week of life and definitely needed a newborn stash. She was tiny! Even a couple of brands of newborn diapers were big and gaped at the legs for the first couple of weeks. She was drowning in newborn sized sleep n’ plays; one size diapers pretty much ate her up. Being a first time mom, I assumed that all future kids would also need the newborn stash and carefully stored the diapers once she grew out of them when she was about two months old.

My second child, my son, was 9lbs 2oz at birth. No one saw that coming, not the midwife, not me. I had stupidly assumed all future kids would be around 7lbs because how often is there that big of a weight difference between kids when there’s no gestational diabetes or other medical issues at work? Still, I put a newborn prefold on him the moment we got home from the birth center and thought little more about the issue…until three weeks later when the prefold no longer fit around him. I grabbed the next size prefold, sized “small, about 6 weeks to 3 months,” slapped it on him and again thought nothing more about it…until three weeks later when the prefold no longer fit around him. I pulled one of my daughter’s one sized all-in-ones off the shelf and it absolutely fit him well—he wasn’t even on the smallest snap setting! Here he was, a month and a half old, and he had completely outgrown both newborn and small sized diapers in both size and absorbency. Of course the thought crossed my mind: “Huh. I wonder if I needed the newborn stash at all.”

Battle of the Lanolins

Posted 01-23-2014 at 08:36 AM by Banana Cat

Lanolin. If you breastfeed, you probably have a tube of solid lanolin sitting around somewhere. It has a million uses, from treating diaper rash to soothing radiation burns. If you decide to use wool while cloth diapering, you will find it has another use—helping to make your wool covers water resistant.

Lanolin hpa

Lanolin: As seen at baby showers everywhere

 

But wait! Different kinds of lanolin exist! Solid lanolin is the easiest to find—it’s at Target, Wal-Mart, all the big box stores, usually in the same aisles as all the breastpumps and bottles. Some health food stores sell liquid lanolin marked as an all-natural moisturizer for dry, scaly skin. It is thick and sticky and feels a little like honey. Cloth diapering stores may also sell spray lanolin, specifically for spraying directly on wool! Which one to use?

When A WAHM Buy Goes Bad

Posted 01-22-2014 at 09:29 AM by yoliyoda

WAHM buy

It’s going to happen if you are a part of the thrifty online mama community: you’re going to have a bad experience with a Work-At-Home-Mom. It’s probably nobody’s fault. Most WAHMs are honest, straight forward, and hard working. Selling made-at-home wares, products, or services is just how some of them pay bills, or make a bit of money for themselves. They have no intention to create problems for you, or headaches for themselves. However, they are human and life happens. So just what is a tactful, respectful, way of dealing with a fellow mom when a deal goes south? What can you do to prevent problems?

Before you buy

Be clear about what you’re buying. Sometimes problems arise simply because one of the parties isn’t clear about expectations or desires. Get a clear understanding of turn around times, expected delivery dates, and just what is included for the cost you’re paying.

Ask for references if you don’t feel comfortable. We’re all on different budgets, and the money that you’re about to hand a WAHM might be hard earned for you. So if you want references, like reading reviews from past customers, you’re within your rights. Awesome sites like this are great, because you can often see feedback from previous customers right in the feedback rating of the WAHM. Also, don’t discount the buzz-factor. Some WAHMs are extremely busy. They’ve built up a clientele of satisfied customers, and that says a lot.

Keep good records. If you buy alot of items from alot of sources, keep one main list that tracks what you’ve bought, from whom you bought it, how much you paid, contact information, and expected delivery time. If that delivery dates comes and goes without a package, contact them with a friendly question about your order’s status.

The gDiaper: dad’s favorite, but not 5-stars

Posted 01-21-2014 at 08:15 AM by yoliyoda

Dad Diaper Featured

‘And the winner of most daddy friendly diaper in my household is…’ *drum roll* ‘gDiapers.’

I tried to get my hubby into all different types, brands, and styles of cloth diaper for my son. However he always found something wrong with them–the fit, the texture of the material, too many snaps, not enough velcro. It was like we were the 3 bears, and gDiapers were ‘just right’. And while I do like gDiapers, there are a few drawbacks that prevent it from getting the 5-star stamp from me.

Why Dad Likes Them

Ease: gDiapers are very simple to put on. My husband didn’t have to deal with snaps, which he loved. When the baby is crying, and he starts to get jittery, the last thing that he wants to deal with is snaps.

Fit: This diaper is very adaptable, and able to mold to the shape of a baby. My husband liked not seeing gaps around the legs, giving him more confidence that none of the poop would escape.

Hybrid: For the lifestyle we led, my husband loves the ability to save money, but also simplify. The fact that this one diaper can use both cloth inserts and disposable inserts made it a huge winner in his book.

Universal: My husband loved the streamline look of the diaper. Much more like the traditional underwear my son will one day grow used to, they aren’t “over the top” as my hubby would say.

Drawbacks for Mom

Review: Eucalan Delicate Wash

Posted 01-21-2014 at 07:46 AM by Banana Cat

eucalan-wash

 

Eucalan is the delicate wash I see recommended everywhere when people ask, “What should I use to wash my wool diaper covers?” That being said, I didn’t try it until recently, and only bought it on a whim while I getting some cloth diapers from another site, my reason being, “Oh, Eucalan…I guess I should finally try that to make shipping for these other things worth it.” Nothing deep, but then I guess if you have very deep, philosophical reasons for buying soap beyond “I need to clean things,” you probably have other issues beyond the scope of this blog.

So what are the advantages Eucalan supposedly has over other wool/delicate soaps? Let’s see what Eucalan themselves have to say:

  • Non-toxic
  • Biodegradable
  • Phosphate free
  • Natural lanolin
  • Enriched formula
  • Recyclable hdpe plastic bottle

Ok, so “enriched formula” is vague marketing speak, but the rest is pretty cool. Non-toxicness and diapers go pretty well together, seeing as baby butts can get pretty toxic themselves without any outside influence. Lanolin is great for wool. What about scents?

Eucalan comes in unscented, eucalyptus, lavender, grapefruit, and jasmine (under the “Wrapture” label). And yes, the name “Eucalan” comes from its original scent of eucalyptus, in case you were wondering! I bought the lavender scented version. Usually I only like unscented soaps because if you get one bad scent you are stuck with it until the soap is gone, but I have a terrible weakness for anything lavender (I make killer lavender encrusted pork chops, just so you know). All scents are created using natural essential oils as well, so no worries about chemically cooked up, overpowering fragrances here. Unless you have specific allergies to any of the ingredients, Eucalan is safe for sensitive skin.

Now, why on earth would you want a no-rinse liquid wash? Well, generally you are using Eucalan on delicates, as it’s advertised, and delicates are…delicate. To rinse you have to handle them more, squeezing and so on, so a no-rinse wash means you can skip that, basically putting a little less wear and tear on your items. It does save that extra rinse step too, which is nice when you are washing a large amount of items at the same time. “But won’t that leave a ton of soap on my laundry…?” you might ask. Eucalan is formulated to have minimal suds, so simply squeezing it out without rinsing is good enough. Not rinsing also leaves a bit of lanolin on the laundry items, which keeps them soft and a little water resistant.