If you’re new to cloth diapers, or have been using secondhand diapers for a while and are just now buying your very first brand new cloth diaper, you might have heard that you need to “prep your new diapers in the wash before you use them.” But what does that mean?
“Prepping” sounds a bit like some new dumb social media meme, and it’s kind of tempting to just run up to random strangers and ask them “What do you think prepping is?!” and hopefully get some hilarious answers, but here’s the real one: it’s necessary because new cloth diapers are… new. I know, I know, this has been an extremely informative blog post so far. You must be stunned at the extent of my knowledge concerning such things. But factory-fresh cloth diapers, both cloth and synthetic, should be washed at least once before using them. They might have random residue from the factory or bits of packaging stuck on, and really, I’ve just always thought it a good idea to at least give things a good rinse before putting them on for the first time.
If you have synthetic-inner diapers, like microsuede-lined pocket diapers, one wash is all you need. Your diapers are ready to go! But if you have brand new natural fiber diapers or inserts, such as cotton or hemp, and especially ones made with organic unbleached cotton, you will need to “prep” them before they can be used.
A deliciously quilty pile of freshly washed prefolds.
Posted 10-24-2014 at 03:21 PM by Rasha
Packing used to be the part of the trip that you dreaded the most, but that’s all changed now that you have a toddler. Now, packing seems like the easy part when compared to the tall task of keeping a toddler content on a plane. Maybe content is even too much to ask. Most of us would simply settle for a plane ride without scowls and dirty looks from passengers because your kid is throwing a tantrum, playing too loud or playing with the long hair of the lady in the seat in front of you. Here are some tried and true tips to keep your little one in good spirits for the entire flight:
Consider the Schedule
While long flights are challenging, layovers extend your travel time even more, so book a direct flight if you can. Less connections means getting back into some semblance of your little one’s routine a little faster, so it’s usually worth spending extra money if necessary.
So I like to sew. I have a cheap plastic sewing machine, and what feels like a 5000 lb vintage cast iron sewing machine, and between the two of them I can usually sew whatever I need to, unless it’s something like a king size quilt, because we don’t have room for a quilting machine in our apartment because dumb things like the stove and refrigerator are in the way. But, sometimes I need to hand sew something a little more delicate, or I’m just way too lazy to clear off the dining table and yank out the sewing machine and all the STUFF that goes along with it. One day, I was repairing a small hole on the seam of a sweater by hand, squinting and remembering that once long ago I wore glasses and whatever happened to them anyway?, when my 2 year old came over and asked what I was doing.
“Sewing up a hole in Mommy’s sweater,” I explained.
She stood up tall and declared in the way of two year olds, “Ok. I sew too.”
Now what? I had some large, dull embroidery needles and some yarn. Sewing/threading boards are all over the place—wooden or plastic boards with large holes in them that kids can practice sewing on—but we didn’t have one. So, I put my sewing aside and declared that it was now time for an art project.
Potty training is a messy, messy business. This is especially true for those of us that don’t use pull ups. When a child soils themselves it doesn’t always stay in their underpants. For those of us trying to keep our rented home’s carpet from being destroyed this could be a problem that sometimes we feel can only be remedied with a tarp. Fortunately, there are other ways to deal with apartment potty training.
Be Extra Ready
Contrary to belief there is no set time when all children should be potty trained. Let your child build up to the idea. Watch your child for extra signs they are ready. They will tell you when they are about to have a bowel movement. They will be one hundred percent sure what their potty is for and will actually start sitting on it while they use their diaper, or pretending to use the potty. In either case they are building their confidence and it should make their potty training a shorter road.
Soon, it will be the holidays.
Soon, hundreds of thousands of families will pack their kids up and travel.
Soon, parents will be rubbing their temples and buying headache medication in giant Costco-sized containers.
Yes, it’s that time of year again. Parents hit the road (or sky), not necessarily because they want to, as in during the summer, but because of family obligations and gatherings. It can be hard enough to entertain a child when you’re at home surrounded by their favorite toys, but how to do so while travelling, possibly cramped in a small vehicle for hours at a time, without resorting to gluing your kid to the iPad for 6 straight hours? Thankfully, some smart parent before me has solved this problem with the invention of “busy bags”—small bags with a travel-sized activity to keep your kids busy. While there are a million different types of bags you can put together, here are three easy, low-budget ones.
A long time ago people used pins and flat diapers to diaper their babies. One of the biggest concerns with diapers then was accidentally poking the baby with the pins used to keep the diaper in place. Nowadays, with larger, safer pins and other alternative diaper closures, jabbing baby with a sharp object is far less of a diapering concern. Instead, one of the biggest worries I see parents ask is, “I took off the cloth diaper and there are red marks on my baby’s skin! What gives?”
There are many, many reasons for red marks caused by cloth diapers, and most of them are harmless. If you’re using fabric that can bunch up, like flats or prefolds, and the red marks are on the part of the body where your baby has just been sleeping on, there is little cause for concern. You know how sometimes you wake up and you smile lovingly at your partner, pleased at the luxury of waking up together, and he or she looks back at you and bursts out laughing because you have sheet marks all over your face, and then the loving moment is totally gone? Sometimes red marks from diapers are just something like sheet marks, where the fabric folds press against baby’s soft skin while he or she sleeps. They will fade shortly.
Elastic comes in multiple shapes and sizes on modern cloth diapers. It’s pretty good at the whole poop-containing thing.
Diaper sprayers initially seem like one of those cloth diapering accessories that one absolutely NEEDS. For the uninitiated, a diaper sprayer is a hose that attaches to the water line on your toilet. At the end of the hose is a nozzle that’s basically a mini garden hose, so you can hold those dirty diapers over the toilet and spray them off before tossing them in the diaper bag. Genius, right?
This lovely image of a Bumkins diaper sprayer from bumkins.com is not the diaper sprayer I bought. I regret this fact immensely, as you will see as you read on.
For the first few months I cloth diapered my daughter, there was no need for a diaper sprayer. Newborn poop doesn’t really need to be sprayed off, and I didn’t think I really needed to spend $45 on something that I might not use. However, once she started eating solid foods, and each diaper change brought forward new and horrifying substances, I began to rethink certain life choices. Before investing in a diaper sprayer, I decided to try disposable liners. They are thin little paper liners placed inside the diaper to catch solids. Then in theory, you just dump the liner into the toilet, flush it all away, and place your diaper in the laundry, smug at having cleaned out a poopy diaper while barely touching it at all.
However, theories basically exist to be disproven. While using a disposable liner was much easier than doing the dunk-and-swish method of rinsing out a diaper, I quickly found that they often bunched a bit in my now-mobile baby, and thus ended up not covering the entire diaper. I usually found myself dumping the liner in the toilet but having to rinse out the diaper anyway. It saved a little bit of work, but not much time, and I started to feel like maybe I was throwing money at something I *wanted* to work, but wasn’t *actually* working. Finally, I sighed and bought the cheapest diaper sprayer–to the tune of a whopping $9–that I could.
I’m sure there are people who will feel adamantly different, but I am convinced that children potty train whenever they darn well feel like it. I don’t know much about elimination communication, so I don’t consider that when I write this. I have a friend who did it that way and that kid has been trained to potty for a long time. But for those of us not going that route, this is for us.
My daughter is smart. I don’t say that because I’m her mom. I say that because she is always one step ahead of me and I see her wheels working to get what she wants. I started cloth diapers when she was a little over two years and we had a four month old. I didn’t get a ton of diapers because I thought she would be out of diapers soon anyway. Boy was I wrong.
At first, I was casual about it. We got her a little potty and showed her how to use it. She liked the potty, and if I recall correctly, she even used it a couple of times, so I thought this was going to be easy. But after the novelty wore off, she didn’t seem to see the importance of the potty when she had the convenience of a diaper.
I started to take a little more initiative. I bribed her with the promises of M&Ms if she went. She liked the idea and it worked a couple of times, but again, she decided the treat wasn’t worth the effort. I upped it again, making a nice chart with stickers to record how many times she went and another chart with pictures of what to do that also would get stickers. It was fun – for the first two stickers.
A billion years ago (so it seems), the only diapers that were used were flat-style diapers. Many cultures across the world did and still do practice elimination communication, but many cultures also still use flats. Don’t get me wrong, flats have plenty of upsides—they’re easy to wash by hand and quick to dry, and you can make a flat diaper out of almost any spare fabric you have lying around, in a pinch. I totally went through a “flats phase” and understand the benefits. One of the reasons I liked flats for a while was because my daughter did best in cotton fabrics. Anything else she was more prone to getting rashes in, but that good ol’ 100% cotton was cheap and breathable.
Flats: as close to a universal diaper as you can get
However, the upsides of flat diapers can quickly become the downsides as well. They can be difficult to fold quickly, and aren’t as absorbent as some modern manmade fabrics. Another downside I only discovered after my second child was born: Some kids simply do not like sitting in a wet diaper.
All-in-one diapers are very popular, for good reason. Every part of the diaper comes sewn together in one neat piece, rather than having multiple pieces, such as inserts or covers, that must be assembled to make a complete diaper. The convenience comes at a price—they are more expensive than other diaper types—but they are especially well-liked by daycares and other temporary caregivers that may only be familiar with disposables. However, because all-in-ones are all one piece, they require a little different care and look different than other diapers. To make things even more confusing, some diapers that are actually pockets, especially foreign-made ones on eBay, are often labeled as “all in one diapers” even though they are what we call “pocket diapers.” Let’s look at the parts of a true all-in-one diaper below.