Photo Blog: May 2013 Monterey Cloth Diaper Party

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Today we had the pleasure of being part of the Cinco De Mayo Monterey Cloth Diaper Party! Matt and I got to share our babywearing addiction and our prefold love with expecting and new parents! Here are some photos from today’s event!

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Master of ceremonies Karla holding the raffle money and tickets!

Master of ceremonies Karla holding the raffle money and tickets!

My trusty prefold demo assistant!

My trusty prefold demo assistant!

awesome raffle donation by Rockin Green

awesome raffle donation by Rockin Green

Thirsties very generous prize packet donation!

Thirsties very generous prize packet donation!

Delightful donation and diaper display by Expressed Luv

Delightful donation and diaper display by Expressed Luv

Very cute donation by LuxEase

Very cute donation by LuxEase

super yummy donation by milkmakers!

super yummy donation by milkmakers!

Beautiful display by Melaleuca

Beautiful display by Melaleuca

Super cute donation diapers from Soft Bums

Super cute donation diapers from Soft Bums

Overwhelming generous diaper starter pack from Krocket Pocket Diapers!

Overwhelming generous diaper starter pack from Krocket Pocket Diapers!

A very special thanks to all of our raffle donors we made $116 for the Monterey Rape Crisis Center!

Rockin Green Detergent

Thirsties

Mighty Mamas

Starbucks

Melaleuca

Krocket Pocket Diapers

Milkmakers

Softbums

Diaper Ferry by Sarah Jones Ferry

Expressed Luv

Someone even managed to sneak in a nap during all of the hustle and bustle!

Someone was all worn out by the end of festivities!

Someone was all worn out from all of the festivities!

Matt, baby, and I had such a delightful time meeting new friends and are looking forward to the next one!


What is the Best Way to Start Cloth Diapering?

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tumblr_mdg4vxk6yy1r2rerao1_500Interested in saving money and the earth by ditching disposables, but too scared to pull the trigger? The most frequent question I have seen and have received about cloth diapers is, “How do I start?”

Well in the immortal words of the Nike advertising slogan, “JUST DO IT”.

You can hem and haw, ponder, and worry until you are dead about cloth diapers (or anything in life for that matter), but the only way you are going to know if you like it is to just jump right in and DO IT! To take the sting off of jumping right on into the icy waters we have come up with a frugal guide on how to tackle this wonderful revitalized world of cloth diapering

Cloth Diaper Trials

These are awesome ways to try out cloth diapering for a large deposit but you get your money back minus $10-30 at the end of the trial period. I highly recommend these if you have a tough to fit child and are trying to find out what brand/fit/style etc will work with your babe. Some popular cloth diaper trails are:

Diaper Swaps

You can find a million and one facebook buy/ sell/ trade pages for diapers. This is another great way to try a million different pockets, AIOs (all-in-ones), fitteds, covers, prefolds, etc. Since the diapers are used all of the manufacturers’ warranties are going to be voided. Since they are voided I highly recommend doing a quick wash with about 1/3 vinegar and then another quick wash with 1/2 cup bleach and then 3-4 rinses to get the bleach smell out. This will ensure that you have killed beyond a shadow of a reasonable doubt anything that may have accidentally hitched a ride on your diapers.

Newborn Diaper Rentals

The majority of babies will only be in newborn sized diapers for between 4-6 weeks. If you are planning on diapering two or more children then it would be wise to invest in some newborn diapers. However if you are not sure I highly recommend renting newborn diapers or purchasing used ones off the swaps. Do not go out and purchase 50+ newborn diapers you will turn around and have to purchase 50+ one size or the next size up diapers before the quarter is over. Here are some popular newborn rental programs:

Diaper Service

If you have some extra money to spend you should explore the wide world of diaper services. This is also a wonderful baby shower present for a new mom! I would have given my left arm to have a month or two of diapering service when my daughter was first born! These are just like back in the 1950s. They come pick up  your dirty prefolds and leave you clean ones for the week! Try a google service for a cloth diaper service in your area!

Helpful Reminders

  • Cloth diapers will last you through 2-3 kids’ entire span of diapering, but only if you follow the manufacturer’s washing instructions. If you purchase new diapers plan on following the manufacturer’s washing instructions until the diaper is out of its warranty period.
  • Cloth diaper hold their value. If you purchase brand new diapers and get two or three months into diapering and decide it is not for you then rest assured you will be able to make the majority of your money back by selling your diapers on the swap groups.
  • Try a variety. Do not purchase all of one brand/type of diaper until you have tested it out and compared it with other brands of diapers. No spouse goes out and purchases 25 pairs of the exact same jeans for their significant other without knowing which style, color, brand, and size work best with that person’s body type.
  • Exclusively breast fed babies’ poop is water soluble. There is no need to rinse diaper they will rinse out in the wash. If you get yellow stains hang them up in some sun to bleach out the stain!
  • If dealing with poop is what is holding you up, you can get disposable liners to lay on the diaper. You can flush or throw the poop away! I prefer liners over diaper sprays because you will not have a hose hooked up to every bathroom you will have to change your child in!
  • Some children will have allergic reactions to manmade fabrics. If you have a sensitive child stick with all natural fabrics like 100% cotton prefolds.
  • If you want to use traditional diaper creams on your cloth diapers you must use a liner or you will ruin your diaper’s absorbency. We personally stick with Terra Naturali’s Baby Bum Bum Balm or expeller pressed coconut oil (which is recommended for fighting yeast infections) which are both cloth diaper safe. HERE is a more in depth article about cloth diaper save diaper rash creams.
  • LAUNDRY You will want to stick with the list of approved diaper detergents. You do not have to but if you want to extend the life of your diapers you will want to stick with it. HERE is a list of cloth diaper laundry detergents. Again the best way to get rid of stains is the sun. If your diapers are out of warranties and you have a super stubborn stain try oxyclean and a toothbrush. Get prepared to do laundry every 2-3 days. It is surprisingly predictable and very routine. I personally hate doing the rest of the house’s laundry but I do not mind the diapers!

I was convinced we were going to use AIOs and bought 24 of them before my baby was born. Once my little miss arrived I quickly realized that I prefered pockets, my husband and rest of the family prefer to use aplix and hook and loop over snaps, and prefolds and covers are the least expensive way to go but I am the only one in the family who will use them. My daughter has turned into a skinny waisted and chubby thighed baby and there are certain brands that will not fit her. Again cloth diapers are like jeans no two skinny leg jeans are alike!

I cannot stress enough that cloth diapering is not as overwhelming as the internet makes it out to be. Try it out and then only worry about the “what-ifs” as they arise otherwise it is all worry for nothing!

-Rachel

 


Ever Thought to Put Moss on your Baby’s Bum?

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moss_buttRecently, I had come across a blog post from Slate about diapering throughout the ages. It was based on Nicholas Day’s new book Baby Meets World. In the article it speaks about different approaches to baby diapering throughout the ages.

The Chuckchi, who live in far eastern Russia, carried their babies in fur bags with flaps filled with dry moss. When the child cried, you changed the moss.

Amazed at how each society came up with their own ingenious methods of dealing with the doo doo I began an internet search to find more unique ways to diaper a baby.

I found that people around the equator during practiced elimination communication and let their children run around naked. Elimination communication is anticipating your child’s urge to go and is a form of early potty training. When the child has to go the mother will reinforce the elimination with a specific noise that is heard by the child at no other time.  – Diaper Jungle

In parts of rural China parents bury their children waist deep in either buckets or bags of sand. There is no laundry involved and the larger the container the less it needs to be changed. – Understanding Infantilism

In colonial America infants were left swaddled in their own mess for days at time.  – The Diaper Debacle

All of this reading makes me happy that we have our cloth diapers. I must confess that this elimination communication has caught my eye. I might have to try this out and report back!

-Rachel


Saving For College by Ditching the Disposables?!

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While there is a lot of internet hype about how cloth diapers will save you thousands there is actually some truth there!

First let’s get into some of the background…

What are cloth diapers?

To be blunt… cloth that your baby poops and pees on! All joking aside there are many different types of cloth diapers. I will briefly describe the ones that I have used and their average cost.

Pocket Diaper

Pocket Diaper

Pocket Diapers – range from 10-30$ each + inserts which range from 1-8$ each. These are great for daycares, husbands, babysitters and anyone else who needs super simple to use diapers. I personally highly recommend velcro diapers for these people. Velcro has two names in the cloth diaper world, aplix or hook and loop. Snap diapers have a lot of different snap settings and hip snaps. Matt never remembers to do the hip snaps and it sometimes causes leaks!

 

All-in-Ones

All-in-Ones

All in Ones or All in Twos (AIOs or AI2s) – range 20+$ each. These are pocket diapers with a built in insert. The bonus of AIOs or AI2s is they are slimmer fitting and less bulky looking on baby. Many moms swear by these, but they did not work for our family. Our darling daughter urinates more than one would think is humanly possible. She will wet through an AIO in under an hour, and I don’t believe in spending that kind of money to have to add more inserts.

 

 

Prefold Diapers

Prefold Diapers

Prefolds & Covers – average 1-4$/prefold and 5-15$/cover. These make up the majority of my stash of cloth diapers. These are workhorses of the cloth diapering world and they are the most cost effective in my book. A cover is literally a plastic cover that goes over the pre-fold. A prefold is a flat that has been tri folded. There is some origami baby folding involved here, which makes these diapers less appealing for those, like my wonderful darling love-of-my-life husband, who aren’t totally on board with cloth diapering

 

Fitted

Fitted

 

Fitteds – 25-50$ each. These are super slim, super absorbent diapers that still require a cover over top of them. Again I don’t seem the point of paying an arm and a leg for something that I still have to purchase plastic pants to put over top.

 

 

Flats – Your cheapest option. you can turn an old 100% cotton tee-shirt into a flat. It is just a flat piece of fabric that you origami fold around baby and then throw some plastic covers over top! I have not yet tried flats, but have just put in a co-op order for some hemp and bamboo flats to try!

Cost of Disposable Diapers or Sposies

I am basing the costs off of my baby’s experience with disposables.  Your mileage may vary somewhat.

  • We had roughly 16 diaper changes a day for the first 3 weeks of her life and then it went down to 12-14 diaper changes for the following three weeks of her life. 
  • Note this does not include the numerous diapers that we would lay her on and then she would pee on them and have to be changed again.
  • Butt Cream – from the time we left the hospital until the time we switched to cloth diapers we were going through jars of aquaphor, hydrocortisone, bactrim, A&D ointment, Calmoseptine, and other various butt creams at an alarming rate

Pampers are currently on Amazon.com for .27/each. 16x21x.27 = $90.72 for the first three weeks of her life 13x21x.17 (she was in size 1 dipes by then and Amazon.com has them for .17/diaper) = $46.41

During the first 6 weeks of her life we went through 3 tubes of A&D cream, 3 tubes of Calmoseptine, 2 tubes of hydrocortisone, 2 jars of aquaphor, 2 tubes of destin and 1 tube of bacitracin. All of these prices are coming from Amazon.com. Cream Price = $88.86

I almost forgot about wipes! We were using Pampers sensitive wipes and we went through 2 of the giant boxes of wipes during the time we were using disposables. For a grand total Amazon.com cost of $34.38

For the first 6 weeks of the baby’s life we spent a grand total of $260.37 + tax 🙂

Cost of Our Cloth Diaper Stash

* Please note all of these prices are for brand new diapers and I bought all of ours second hand, seconds or irregular sales, or from a co-op

  • 24 GMD Pre-folds $36/dozen and we have 2 dozen = $72
  • 1 Bummis size medium, 1 best bottoms, 3 happy heiny covers, 1 thirsties = $79.14
  • 12 pockets (I have about one of each brand I swear so to make life simple I will go with what my favorite diapers Rumparooz cost which are currently on sale on Kangacare for $17.95 each) = $215.40
  • 12 hemp inserts ($3 each) = $36
  • 12 Charcoal bamboo inserts ($2 each) = $24
  • pack of 3 snappis = $9.95
  • 2 pail liners (also on sale at Kangacare for 5$ each) = $10

Grand total of: $446.49

Conclusions:

  • We could have stopped buying at the pre-folds and covers, but I got pockets for Matt and the ease of going out places
  • In real life we actually spent a lot less than that because everything we bought came from a co-op or mother’s group
  • We never have to purchase another diaper as long as Stella is in diapers. It is the beauty of one-size diapers!
  • Well cared for, these will last through the second child.  There is where cloth diapers really out shine disposables. I never have to buy another diaper for as long as even my future children are in diapers!
  • There is really no way anyone is escaping paying at least a thousand dollars in the the 2+ years their kids are in disposables. While even with utilities I am not going to get close to that number. 
  • The money we are saving by using cloth diapers will be going towards her 529 fund!

Full Disclosure:

Cloth diapering would super suck if you do not have a washer and dryer in your house. Coin operated laundry facilites in California are really expensive, and having do wash diapers every other day would definitely add up. Handwashing is an option, but as far as I am concerned I have no time for hand-washing and drying diapers every other day. We have not noticed a significant increase in the amount of electricity we use, and our HOA pays for our water usage.

-Rachel


Want Some New Kicks for Less? Try A Co-op!

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Before pregnancy the closest thing to a co-op I came to was ordering from Woot.So many diapers...

Then I got pregnant and became cloth diaper curious, they looked and sounded foreign and scary so I turned to a Facebook cloth diaper group. Then it hit me. These dang things that my baby is only going to poo and pee on cost A LOT of money. There are some brands of cloth diapers that cost over 40$ a diaper and then you still need to put plastic pants over them!?!

Needless to say there was no way on this good green earth that I was going to be able to convince the darling wonderful love-of-my-life husband to even try cloth diapers at that cost. Back to the Facebook cloth diaper chat group to research how the heck to afford these things. The answer… CO-OPS!

What is a co-op?

Co-op stands for cooperative. A co-op is a group of people who pool their collective buying power together to create a bulk order in order to get a discount. Normally there is a “host” who negotiates prices, creates an order spreadsheet, advertises the order, places the order with vendor, and then repackages and ships to the individual co-op members.

What can you co-op?

Anything your heart desires. Four months later and I belong to over 10 co-ops and I have recently started my own co-op! I have seen orders for Tom’s shoes, coconut oil, menstrual cups, cloth diapers, honey, makeup, teething necklaces, clothes, socks, and the list goes on and on…

What is the cost savings?

Well, that depends on what you order. In my co-op I make sure that our discount is at least 25% off of list price to make the deal worth the members’ while. I have to take into account the secondary shipping charges, and the discount has to be sufficient to more than offset those costs.

How do I find a co-op?

I found most of the co-ops I belong to by searching for groups on Facebook, The Babywearer.com, or Babycenter.com, and via Google.

Any other co-op questions please post them in the comments!

-Rachel


The male has come full circle on cloth diapers

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My garage is full of cloth diapers... and old motorcycles

My garage is full of cloth diapers… and old motorcycles

When it was first suggested I thought it was a horrible idea.  We had been using disposable diapers and everything was going swimmingly.  Alright, maybe not exactly swimmingly.  We had been battling diaper rash and made three return trips to the pediatrician.  While I assumed this was to be expected with a wee one who was going through 12-15 diapers a day, every trip to the doctor came with another suggestion on the ointment that would resolve our problems.

To cover our bases, we tried switching to Honest (No affiliation, but they are great disposables) diapers, and while I found the configuration far superior to pampers, the diaper rash persisted.  Based on the technical merits, they were better, but the results fell short.

When Rachel suggested cloth diapers I was reluctant.  For the most part, if she wants to try an experiment I’m on board.  The downside of this experiment is it would incur significant hard costs.  This wasn’t swapping dryer sheets for hemp balls, this was something that impacted the kiddo and our wallets… That’s another blog post all together.

At the time we switched we were going through $20 of Aquaphor and another $20 of diapers a week.  As the pitch was outlined to me, migrating to cloth diapers would come at a significant savings.  Although there would be some costs up front, we would quickly break even. Being the frugal guy I am, pitching this as good for the baby and a cost savings was well played by my wife.

What I know now is the cloth diapers aren’t cheap.  They’re actually quite expensive (we were purchasing second hand or via co-ops), but the results were nearly instantaneous.  A few days after the switch the diaper rash was gone.  A few days later, I had settled into the routine and realized it wasn’t that much additional effort.

Full Disclosure – Rachel did most of the work.  She picked out the diapers, selected the special detergents, and even pre-packed each diaper making it a plug-and-play operation for me.  If water wasn’t included in our condo fees cloth diapers would incur higher costs.  Running the washer every two days is far from free.

Fast forward two months and we’ve fully embraced cloth diapers.  While I continue to forget how to install a tri-fold, the results have encouraged us to maintain focus.  A month into breast feeding Rachel asked me if she I wanted her to breast or bottle feed.  I defaulted to breast feeding because it was so much easier for all.  Now that we’re a few months deep into cloth diapers they too are my preferred option.  Not only have they proven to be better option for our daughter, but the amount of additional perceived effort was significantly less than expected.   The only additional baggage is a wet bag.