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Using a Digital Kit by Michelle Underwood

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cloth Diaper Carnival

Dirty Diaper Laundry is hosting a blog carnival dedicated to your diaper washing routine. I made a short video of how I wash. Here is the basic rundown:
- I try to keep everything simple so that I don't get overwhelmed with lots of additives and extra rinses.
- I try to wash every day or every day and a half (I need more diapers!) depending on how many diapers my son goes through.
- Dirty diapers are stored in a hanging wetbag (or a canvas drawstring bag like the one in the video). I try to remember to remove inserts, fold laundry tabs, etc before putting them in the bag. If my son was on solids, I would remove any solid matter before putting the diaper in the bag.
- On wash day, I take the bag to my laundry room, start a COLD rinse cycle, add all the diapers and the bag, and let it go. This cycle removes all organic matter left in the diaper (breastfeed poo is water soluble so it goes in as is) and liquids from the diapers.
- After the cold rinse, I do a HOT cycle with half of the recommended detergent. This cycle includes one cold rinse.
- Diapers get an additional rinse (or two) depending on if there are any soap bubbles during the agitation phase.
- Most days the diapers get hung to dry. The sun is awesome for removing stains! On rainy days (like today), the diapers are dried on the low setting in the dryer with dryer balls (no dryer sheets!!)

How to Wash Cloth Diapers Video: This is my first video, so go easy on me. I have a tiny laundry room, and it was difficult to fit everything in, so ignore the fact that my head is cut off most of the time. And also forgive my strong Texas accent :)

(What it looks like when the diapers are hung out on the line)

Visit to see the other entries!

Monday, August 24, 2009

HazelAid Review and Giveaway!

As a new mom, I'm always a bit distressed to see my son spitting-up. He has mild reflux, and although it usually doesn't bother him too much, it stresses me out to see him constantly spitting up or to see him in pain until he can get some relief from having something come back up. After one particularly rough day filled with way too many outfit changes (his and mine!), I hit the web looking for a safe, natural remedy to reduce the reflux. That is when I came across the website for HazelAid's hazelwood necklaces and baltic amber teething necklaes. I immediately placed an order for one of the hazelwood necklaces. My son has been wearing his necklace for almost a week now, and I am starting to see a difference. I know that his symptoms will continue to improve with prolonged use.

I contacted the owners of HazelAid, and Severine, the company's owner, shared her story with me:

My husband & I heard about these necklaces a bit over a year ago after trying in vain to help our then 3 month old with the eczema that had overtaken her poor little body! Nothing we tried helped, so when a friend of mine mentioned these necklaces to us, we were skeptical but willing to try anything. Her baby son had previously been on medication to help with his severely painful acid reflux but, she explained, within 2 weeks of him wearing the hazelwood necklace, he no longer exhibited any symptoms! She carefully took him off his medicine and he had been fine ever since! Wow! She mentioned that the necklace was supposed to help with eczema as well so we gave it a shot and ordered for our whole family. Since then we have never looked back! Sure enough, within 2 weeks her eczema cleared up entirely and only comes back if we take off her necklace and forget to put it back on (oops!) or when the necklace is saturated and has absorbed all the acid it can. When that happens (every few months or so), we put on a new one and within a few hours to a day or so, her eczema is gone again. I can't explain it but all I can say is we are sold! We have also benefited from how helpful it has been for teething pain for both our son & our youngest daughter. We have since decided to start an online company to make these marvels available to more people and get the word out. We have received so many emails from people telling us they had tried so many things to heal their various issues (eczema, teething, acid reflux, heartburn, & headaches being some of the main ones) and nothing has worked as well as these necklaces! They are so grateful not to be pumping their bodies and their little ones' bodies full of unnecessary and possibly harmful medicines, but instead to be able to treat these issues naturally and effectively.

How does hazelwood work?

Hazelwood has been used for hundreds of years by Native Americans to help relieve numerous ailments, especially teething pain in babies. The wood is an alkaline wood and therefore has the natural property of absorbing acid when it is in contact with skin. Much of the pain associated with teething is a result of excess acid production which is why these necklaces are able to dramatically relieve not only teething pain, but also help clear up eczema and reduce acid reflux! Both of those conditions (as well as others) often find their root cause to be excess acidity.

How does Baltic amber work?

Commonly known as "teething jewelry" in Europe, Baltic amber has been a natural remedy for pain relief for hundreds of years. As it warms with the body’s natural temperature, amber releases its healing oils that contain succinic acid which are then readily absorbed into the skin and then into the bloodstream. Amber is known to relieve headaches, reduce inflammation of the throat, ear and stomach and to fight infections and respiratory diseases as it improves the body’s immunity. Natural amber beaded necklaces are a completely non-invasive remedy for rashes, upset tummies, earaches, fevers and colds. Baltic amber is a natural analgesic that will help calm your child and is recognized by allopathic medicine specialists as antispasmodic and anti-fever. Many adults report improvement of arthritis discomfort and carpal tunnel pain in their hands when wearing amber jewelry.

Buy it!

Hazelaid offers necklaces that come in adult and child lengths, as well as bracelets, anklets, and hazelwood creams and lotions. Visit their website to order.

Win it!

HazelAid is generously offering one of my readers a free necklace! The winner will be allowed to choose any child or adult necklace, bracelet, or anklet. To enter, simply visit HazelAid and then come back and leave me a comment letting me know which piece of HazelAid jewelry you would choose if you won. Be sure that your email is viewable on your profile, or leave your email address in the comment so that I can get in touch with you if you win.

Extra Entries (please leave a separate comment for each extra entry):

- Become a follower of my blog.

- Follow me on Twitter, and tweet this contest. Be sure and leave the permalink of your tweet!

- Visit HazelAid's website and tell me something you learned about hazelwood or baltic amber

- Blog about this contest, leaving a link back to my blog and to HazelAid's website. (2 extra entries!)

This contest is open to residents of the US & Canada, and will close on September 6th. The winner will be contacted via email and will have 72 hours to respond or I will pick a new winner.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Cloth Diapering a Newborn

We started cloth diapering our son when his umbilical stump fell off (around 2 weeks). Because this was my first baby and I didn't know if cloth diapering would be difficult, I only had a very small newborn stash built up before he arrived. As a result, he was in sposies part-time. With our next baby, I hope to have him/her in cloth as soon as possible (or at least as soon as the meconium is gone). Some people choose to skip the newborn sizes altogether (especially if they have a history of having larger babies), but I decided to build a small newborn stash and then focus more on the small sizes that he would grow into.

How many diapers will I need?

The amount of diapers you need will be determined by how often you want to do laundry. The average newborn usually needs to be changed at least 8-15 times a day regardless of the type of diaper system (even sposies need to be changed that often). The most common recommendation seems to be around 3 dozen diapers. This can be a mix of prefolds, fitteds, aio's, pockets, etc.

What type of diapers work best for a newborn?

Most build stashes of prefolds, fitteds, and covers, with a few aio's and pockets to try out. Prefolds and covers are the the most economical recommendation for the newborn stage because they are inexpensive (they can often be found for less than $20/dozen), which comes in handy since you need a larger quantity of diapers for this stage. You will also need around 4-6 covers, such as XS Thristies. Fitted diapers are easy to put on (especially at night!) and they are very absorbent. The elastic around the legs and back help to contain the runny, sometimes explosive breastfed poo. Fitteds also require the use of a cover.

I also found AIO's to be nice, especially for when my son would sometimes sleep for longer stretches. They were easy to put on and kept his bottom dry. The bumGenius XS's worked so well for us, that I would love to have an entire stash of these for our next baby.

Some Tips for the Newborn Stage:

- Don't feel guilty if you need to resort to sposies for a few days. Consider having a few on hand just in case you're too tired to use cloth. I didn't realize how exhausted I would be those first few days. I was also recovering from an emergency c-section, so it was difficult to get around, much less do laundry.

- Some mamas have found that prefolds and covers are the best option. I, however, did not like the huge infant-sized prefolds that I had. Next time around I will consider buying sized prefolds, such as the ones from Green Mountain Diapers. Better fit with less bulk. The baby will grow out of them quickly, but they can always be used as doublers or inserts.

- Consider using fleece or wool sleep sacks as covers.

- You can use doublers for increased absorbency and fleece liners to keep baby's bottom dry.

- Side snapping t-shirts are more convenient than onsies and make diaper changing easier.

- Don't be afraid of building a large newborn stash (unless you think your baby will be larger). My son was small, 7lbs 14 oz at birth, but it took him a long time to get back up to his birth weight. He used his newborn diapers for several months before outgrowing them. For us, they were a good investment.

My Favorites for the Newborn Stage:

bumGenius XS AIO's

XS Thristies


Kissaluv size 0's (KL0)

side-snapping t-shirts

Please add your own suggestions and recommendations!


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Stash Pictures

Here are a few pictures of my (very small) cloth diaper stash. Someone please tell my husband that I NEED more diapers.

Left row (top to bottom): Turquoise Urban Fluff AIO, Lime Urban Fluff AIO, Butternut bumGenius Organic AIO, Grasshopper bumGenius Organic AIO, Blueberry Minky Pocket in Cow Print, 4 ATD AIOs (I have 4 more of these but that's what he's been in since getting home from church)
Right Side Top (L to R): Turquoise Knickernappie One Size, Blackberry and Kiwi GroBabies
Right Side Bottom: Moonbeam and Ribbit bumGenius 3.0 One Size Pockets

Inserts, Doublers, Wetbag, Snappi, Pins, GroBaby Disposable Bio Soakers

Prefolds, Burp Cloths, Hanging Pail, Preflats, Covers, and Liners


Friday, August 14, 2009

New Cotton Babies Product

It looks like Cotton Babies (the makers of bumGenius) is set to release a new product, the Econobum, which has already won an iParenting Media Award. Cotton Babies says that it is set to hit shelves in September. Can't wait to find out more!


Whole Foods, how do I love thee?

Let me count the ways...

My mom and I took a trip to Dallas yesterday to visit Ikea and Whole Foods. There are a few local stores that carry organic and natural products, but they don't always have a large selection or carry the products that I'm looking for. I love Whole Foods, and even though it can be a bit expensive to shop there regularly, I enjoy checking out new stuff. I picked up some Bio Kleen for cloth diapers, nursing mother's tea, apricot baby oil, and pumpkin seeds (yummy!).

And don't even get me started on my new found love for Ikea


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Getting creative while hanging cloth diapers out to dry:


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"You use cloth diapers!? Why?!"

When I tell people that I use cloth diapers, the most common response seems to be "Why?!" (said with a look of disbelief on their face). Here are just a few of the reasons why we decided to use cloth diapers:

Environmental Impact - When I was in the 6th grade, my computer class did a big Earth Day project, and we all chose various topics to report on. I chose to do a slideshow on how long it takes different items to decompose. The slideshow would begin by showing the item on the first slide, then the next slide would tell everyone how long it takes for that item to decompose. I remember researching all of the items, from banana peels, to aluminum cans, to styrofoam, and I remember being shocked by how long it takes for a disposable diaper to decompose - 500 years! I'm not an environmentalist freak, but I just can't imagine contributing to all of those diapers sitting around in landfills. From then on, I knew that I wanted to use cloth diapers.

I've also recently learned that 92% of single-use diapers end up in landfills (1), making them the third largest consumer item in landfills (2); and when you consider that over 18 billion diapers are used annually1, that's alot of diapers that will be sitting around in landfills long after we are gone. Adding to that fact, most disposable diapers are not even disposed of properly. Instructions on disposable diapers indicate that you are to empty fecal matter into the toilet before disposing the diaper, yet less than one half of one percent of all disposable diaper waste goes into the sewage system before being thrown out (1). This poses a very serious danger to our ecosystem, as viruses have the ability to leach out and contaminate ground water. Further compacting the environmental issue is that even more resources are used (wood, water, oil for the the plastic, etc) in the production, transportation, and packaging of disposable diapers. A study conducted by the National Association of Diaper Services (NADS) found that disposable diapers produce seven times more solid waste when discarded and three times more waste in the manufacturing process (8).

Health Issues - Disposable diapers are full of harsh chemicals and toxins, one of which are dioxins (or polyhalogenated compounds, which are a by-product of the bleaching process used in the manufacturing of the paper used on disposable diapers). The EPA lists dioxins as one of the most toxic of all known cancer causing substances (3). In fact, dioxins are banned in several countries. Further, disposable diapers contain Tributyltin (TBT) which has been linked to obesity (4) and hormonal problems (5).

And how do you think disposable diapers absorb all that moisture? Have you ever noticed a gel-like substance on your baby during a diaper change? Disposable diapers contain sodium polycrylate, a superabsorbent polymer (SAP), which turns to gel when wet. The use of SAPs was discontinued from use in tampons in the 80's, when they were linked to toxic shock syndrome (6).

When I was pregnant and researching cloth diapers, one of the most shocking studies I came across showed that there was an increased scrotal temperature in boys who wore plastic lined disposable diapers over boys who wore cloth diapers (7). Increased scrotal temperatures have been linked to a decline in sperm counts and an increase in testicular cancer, both of which have been on the rise in recent years. As a mom of a boy, I hope that my efforts now will prevent him from serious health issues later in life.

Money - Both cloth and disposable diapers cost money, but cloth diapers are reusable and can be used over and over and on more than one child, whereas disposable diapers are a single use item. One site's cost analysis found that you can save a minimum of $2,300 to upwards of $5,000 by choosing cloth. And you can save even more when you use cloth wipes instead of disposables.

The Cuteness Factor - Let's face it, most cloth diapers are way cuter than the average disposable diaper. The few times that I've had to purchase disposable diapers, I have ended up with a drawer full of white diapers that were decorated by Pooh and Friends and Sesame Street characters. By contrast, I have several cloth diapers in bright, bold solids (blues, lime green, etc) as well as fun stripes and prints.

1 Lehrburger, Carl. 1988. Diapers in the Waste Stream: A review of waste management and public policy issues. 1988. Sheffield, MA: self-published.
2 Link, Ann. Disposable nappies: a case study in waste prevention. April 2003. Women's Environmental Network.
3 Allsopp, Michelle. Achieving Zero Dioxin: An emergency strategy for dioxin elimination. September 1994. Greenpeace.
4 Staff (2008-12-03). "Persistent Pollutant May Promote Obesity". Science Daily.
5 Greenpeace. New Tests Confirm TBT Poison in Procter & Gamble's Pampers: Greenpeace Demands World-Wide Ban of Organotins in All Products. 15 May 2000.
6 Armstrong, Liz and Adrienne Scott Whitewash: Exposing the Health and Environmental Dangers of Women's Sanitary Products and Disposable Diapers, What You Can Do About It. 1993. HarperCollins.
7 Archives of Disease in Childhood. 2000. BMJ Publishing Group Ltd & Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. V.83: 364 - 368.
8 Leherburger/Mullen/Jones, "Diapers: Environmental Impacts and Lifecycle Analysis," January 1991

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Cloth Diapering 101 - Accessories

Depending on the diaper system(s) that you choose, you will also need a variety of cloth diapering accessories.

Diaper Pins - The classic safety pin which is used to fasten diapers together. The best type to use for diapers will be labeled for use on diapers, and will feature a locking head, which will prevent a baby from accidentally opening the pin.

Snappi - A snappi is an alternative to metal pins for those that don't want to or know how to use pins or for those who might be scared to use pins with a baby. They are made of a stretchable, flexible plastic, and are t-shaped, with little combs at each end that grip into the diaper fabric.

Wetbags and Pail Liners - Wetbags are a waterproof, odorproof bags, usually made from PUL that are used to store soiled diapers when you are out and about. The bags come in a variety of prints and sizes. The size you need will be determined by how long you will be out, and by how many diapers you go through during that period of time. Most wetbags hold anywhere from 2-8 diapers. They are usually held shut by a drawstring, zipper, or velcro. It is always a good idea to have two wetbags, one to use in the diaper bag, and one to have in the wash. Pail liners are similar to a wetbag, only they are designed to be used inside of a trash can or other diaper pail. Some people opt to use a large wetbag in lieu of a diaper pail. A large wetbag will usually hang from a hook or doorknob.

Inserts - Inserts typically refer to the absorbent pads that are used in pocket diapers. They are usually made from several layers of cotton, hemp, bamboo, microfiber, or a combination of materials. The amount

Doublers - Doublers are pads used to increase a diapers absorbency. They can be added to a pocket diaper along with the insert, or they can lay on top of of the diaper. They are also available in a variety of materials (microfiber, cotton, etc).

Liners - Liners are placed next to the baby's skin and are non-absorbent. They can be used to wick moisture away from the baby's skin so that the baby feels dry (typically a fleece liner), or they are used to protect a diaper from stains and diaper rash cream. They can also be used to help make diaper clean up easier. They can either be disposable or reusable.

Cloth Diaper Giveaway

FEED YOUR STASH - 3 BG Deluxe AIOs & 1 Babylegs!

Enter to win 3 BumGenius One Size diapers and a pair of Babylegs!