Monday, December 23, 2013

The Gift of Cloth Diapers

I can’t believe that the holidays are just around the corner. The holiday season is one of the times where the most money is spent on buying gifts for other people. Whether you are buying gifts for family members, friends, or even those in need this holiday season, why not think about giving the gift of cloth diapers.

If you are reading this blog article, it probably means that you have or know someone with young babies in cloth diapers, or are even thinking about using them yourself. If this is the case, why not give the gift of cloth diapers to someone you know?

Too often around the holidays we get and even give gifts that are not always the most practical or useful. I know for me personally, I would love it if some of the gifts I received helped in my everyday life, and as a new mom, that includes diapers! I would love it if my boys had received cloth diapers as a Christmas gift! It could and would have been an item I used all year around! It could and would have saved us a ton of money on cloth diapers if people had bought them for us! It is a practical yet economical gift to give or receive.


If You Would Like to Give Cloth Diapers

Pay attention to the family and friends around you who might be curious about cloth diapers. Take note if they make comments indicating they might want to try them out. For instance, I have a friend who announced on her facebook page that she was looking for unused cloth diapers. It doesn’t get much clearer than that! This is the perfect opportunity to give the gift of cloth diapers. You can start off with a single diaper, or even a small gift set depending on your budget!

If You Would Like to Receive Cloth Diapers

Make it clear what you need. I always have this problem with my family. I am never clear about what I might need and then end up getting things I don’t need or end up returning. It is better for all parties involved if you make it clear to them because they will appreciate getting you something you will use, while you will appreciate saving money and a more practical gift! If your family does not ask what you or your baby would like, why not make a “Wish List.” Many online stores allow you to make a list of items you would like. Simply e-mail this list to friends and family and you are all set to go!

Have you ever given or received the gift of cloth diapers?

Contributed by: Julie

Monday, December 16, 2013

Pant Choices and Alternatives for Bulky Cloth

Cold weather has arrived for most of us. This means going pants-less is not an option for our cute fluffy tushy babies. There are many cloth diaper options out there that are slim and allow for wearing of normal pants, but others are bulky whether it's the style of the diaper or the need to add extra inserts for absorbency. So, what are your options when your baby’s diaper is too bulky for normal bottoms?

The first option you have is to find pants with a little extra stretch to them. Infant/Toddler jeans with stretch in the fabric or jeggings are a good option for fitting over the bulk and not having to worry about moving up sizes and dealing with too long of pants. Stores that I’ve seen stretchy jeans/jeggings at include Walmart, Target, Crazy 8, The Children’s Place, and Baby Gap to name a few. Also non-jean fabrics are generally a good option for stretching over diapers [a few options in here would be cords, sweatpants, cotton fabric or fleece bottoms]. Just be sure that once on they are not causing too much compression upon the diaper which could lead to leaks.

A second option is buy pants with adjustable waist bands in one size larger than what your child wears. That way there is more room within the pant to accommodate the diaper but you can adjust the elastic in the waistband tighter so the pants aren’t falling off your baby. In most cases the extra length won’t be a huge issue since the diaper will raise the pant up a little, but if you do find the pants are a little longer you can fold the hem up if need be- luckily this time of year many children are wearing boots so you are able to hide the folded hem inside those J A few stores that I’ve seen carry adjustable waist bands include Target, The Children’s Place and Old Navy.

A third option is to find alternatives to pants. In less chilly areas, this could be skirts with thick tights for girls. Boys are much harder to find alternatives too since you can’t put them in a dress or skirt. For boys in warmer climate areas can do baby legs in the winter, but for majority of winter areas you’ll probably have to use first or second option.

Whatever option you choose, to avoid leaks, choose a pant or pant alternative that will not cause compression issues and are loose enough for baby to have a free range of leg motion.

Let us know what has worked for keeping your cloth diapered baby’s legs warm during the winter seasons!

Contributed by: Alex

Monday, December 9, 2013

Battling Ammonia

It has happened to the best of us. We think all is going well with our wash routine, and then ammonia hits. Nobody can mistake that horrible smack your face burning ammonia smell, and whether its while the diaper is on your little one, or if its when you open the diaper pail or forgotten wet bag it can knock you off your feet. Ammonia may seem like it happens all of a sudden but it builds up over time.

The first course of action against ammonia is stripping your diapers. I strip with a normal wash with a little extra detergent, then just keep running rinses until the bubbles are gone. I usually end up with about 3-5 cycles without soap, then I throw the diapers in the dryer as usual. The sneaky thing about ammonia is even when the diapers smell clean from the washer, and still smell clean from the dryer, there can still be ammonia crystals hidden in the absorbent layers of your inserts/diapers. I have unfortunately stripped our diapers only to retain an ammonia smell, so what to do?

Some people will recommend a Dawn strip, but I personally don't unless you were cleaning non cloth diaper safe diaper cream or other grease from your diapers. I've also heard some people doing a vinegar or baking soda strip, but if you have hard water the vinegar can react and cause worse stink issues than you have now. There are products on the market you can add to your cycles to help prevent ammonia build up but these again have mixed results depending on your water type.

I personally do a bleach strip, which is recommended by some diaper manufacturers and not others. I have a wide variety of diapers and have bleach stripped them all at one point with no adverse reactions. As long as its only a once or twice a year phenomena I don't believe bleach stripping will ruin anything. If you are needing to fix ammonia more often that that, i suggest changing your wash routine because it isn't working for you; this could mean you need different soap, more/less soap, more water, its up to you to figure out.

Bleach stripping is pretty simple and not much different than a regular strip. I still add the detergent and wash on hot cycle with extra rinses. What turns a strip into a more effective bleach strip is simply adding bleach. Depending on your wash load, you can add up to a half cup of bleach to the wash cycle. Be sure to rinse rinse rinse to get any bleach out because bleach on baby butts isn't good, but neither is ammonia so make sure you run 4-5 rinses.

As I said, bleach shouldn't be used every wash or often at all. It can make your elastic weaker, effect the color/pattern of the diapers if applied directly, and possibly weaken your PUL. Bleach stripping is the only way I personally have found to completely knock out ammonia before it knocks me out. The best way to fix ammonia is prevention, so be sure that you are pre-rinsing your diapers, and not letting them sit dirty too long, because that is one of the main sources of ammonia!

Contributed by: Miranda

Monday, December 2, 2013

How To Deal with Diaper Rashes when Using Cloth Diapers


It really depends on the person you ask whether diaper rashes tend to occur more or less often in cloth diapers vs disposables. If you're currently battling a rash, you may tend to lean on the side of more, but most cloth experts {where their stats come from, who knows!} tend to say that rashes occur less often in cloth. No matter, like I said, if you're in the midst of battling a diaper rash, it can seem overwhelming when all you want is to make it go away!


 Honestly, I feel like the cloth diapering community tends to over think some things when it comes to cloth diapers. Diaper rashes in cloth should be approached in the same ways that a disposable diapering parent would approach the same issue. First step in dealing with a diaper rash is to identify the rash and culprit. If your rash is Yeast, that's a whole other ball game. But normal rashes can be caused by a multitude of issues and it's best to identify the cause so you can stop it from recurring. Some of the most common causes of diaper rash in cloth diapers are:

  • Are your cloth diapers clean? Sometimes you may be using such little detergent that bacteria is actually hanging around your diapers.
  • Using too much detergent? Maybe your diapers have build-up? Stripping your cloth diapers can help in this situation.
  • Baby is Teething or is Sick.
  • Prolonged wet or dirty diaper.
  • Allergic Reaction to Fabrics {could be synthetic, fleece, PUL, etc.}

 If it's possible to identify the reason for the rash, the worst part is over because you now know how to help it from happening again. But what do you do now to get the rash gone for good?

  • Change your baby's diaper often.
  • Use a good, cloth safe diaper cream. One of my favorites just happens to be Coconut Oil! It's a solid, but melts at body temperature and is water soluble so it washes right out in your cloth diaper laundry.
  • Use a disposable or reusable fleece liner. Not only will the liners help keep baby's bottom a little more dry, they're also a great barrier for cloth creams {that are both safe for cloth diapers and some that aren't}. If you use a cream that isn't safe for your diapers, just be sure to wash the reusable liners separately than your diapers. Here are some great tips on making your own reusable liners.
DIY Reusable Diaper Liners

Have you dealt with Diaper Rashes in Cloth Diapers? Do you feel like the occur more or less often than with disposable diapers?

  Lindsey is the author behind the So Easy Being Green blog. Once she decided to use cloth diapers on her children, she started making green-er choices in all areas of her life. SEBG is a resource for parents who want to make small changes that will make a big impact on their path to a green-er life.