Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Tips for Using Cloth Swim Diapers

The warmer months are getting closer and it's time that many of us start thinking about swimwear that is! How adorable is a little one all dressed in their swimsuit, little hats and sandals, sunglasses?.... a picture perfect moment! But that picture perfect moment can quickly be ruined with a swim diaper mishap!

Have you ever used disposable swim diapers? Back when my son was a baby, we were given a few packages, and honestly, we were not fans! Not only were they horribly overpriced, but they also seemed as though they'd be horribly uncomfortable too! The good news is, you don't have to throw your money away by buying disposable swim diapers...and if you're already cloth diapering you probably have just what you need already in your stash! To help you get started, here are a few quick things to know about using cloth diapers as swim diapers!

  • Swim diapers aren't meant to be absorbent! Perhaps you're thinking a cloth diaper in the pool sounds crazy...won't they be heavy the moment your little one steps into the pool? But a swim diaper isn't meant to absorb for just that reason. Instead, it is just meant to keep messes contained. So, no absorbency is needed!
  • Swim Diaper or Regular Diaper? There are many diapers on the market designed specifically for swimming, which can be a great addition to your stash... especially if you swim often. However, if you already have cloth diapers, there truly is no need for anything special. Simply remove an insert from a regular pocket diaper and you are ready to go!
  • Delaminated diapers? Don't toss them out! If you've been cloth diapering long, chances are you've met the dreaded delaminated diaper. These diapers are no longer waterproof, making them no good for normal every day use, but ideal for swimming! So if a beloved diaper starts to delaminate, designate it as a swim diaper- you'll get to continue using it, and will save money on special swim diapers as well. 
  • Chlorine & Cloth. Personally, I've had no problems using our regular diapers for swimming, but we also only swim in a little kiddie pool in our yard. If you are swimming in a chlorine pool, it's a good idea to set aside a few diapers specifically for swim. Over time, the chlorine can cause the PUL to break down making them useless for everyday diapers. 
  • Washing Swim Diapers. When the fun is over, throw your diapers in the wash with the rest of your swim clothes! Because absorbency isn't a problem with swim diapers, there is no need to take special care in washing (aside from skin sensitivities, of course!)
Using a cloth diaper as a swim diaper is a great way to save money, give new life to old diapers and of course, keeps your little ones looking their most adorable as well.

Do you use cloth for swimming? What tips do you have?

Monday, April 13, 2015

Cloth Accessories: What to Buy and What to Skip

After cloth diapering for almost three years, I’ve seen my share of cloth diaper trends and accessories, and have amassed a great deal of simplistic cloth diapering experience. If you wish to take a minimalist approach to cloth diapering, here are a few cloth diaper accessories that you don’t really need to be successful cloth diapering your little one.

Now, you’ll find a lot of differing opinions on this accessory, but the reality is that you can easily cloth diaper without a diaper sprayer (I have!). In my opinion, diaper sprayers add an additional [unnecessary] step to what can [and should] be a simple routine.
If you are concerned with removing solids from your diapers, or avoiding stains (I HATE stained diapers myself), I suggest using diaper liners. I prefer fleece liners, but they do make disposable liners for use (they just never seemed like they would be comfortable for my little guy).

I'm going to let you in on a little secret: cloth diaper laundry isn't terribly complicated, nor do you need 'special' detergents. Again, this is a hotly debated topic in the cloth diapering community, but the truth is that you can use the same detergent you use for your clothing on your diapers [as long as it doesn’t have fabric softener in it]. Many manufacturers require you to use cloth specific detergent, so as not to void your diaper’s warranty; I’m not here to tell you that you should void your diaper warranties, but I will say that special detergent isn’t necessary, especially if you’re diapering on a budget.

If finances are tight, you do not have to purchase a wet bag to successfully cloth diaper. I’ve used disposable grocery bags many times in a pinch and they worked just fine. If you do want to add wet bags to your cloth diapering routine, I would suggest purchasing two medium-sized bags, so that you have one readily available while the other is in the wash. If you have more than one child in diapers, have a baby in daycare, or are using a hanging wet bag in lieu of a diaper pail, I would recommend having more than two wet bags at your disposal. Adding some wet bags to your diapering routine? Check out the Smart Tote!

I've used cloth wipes from the very start, as they seemed more economical and just, well, made sense to use with cloth diapers. I used a wipe solution in the beginning (one my midwife recommended), but ditched the solution for plain old water once my wipes began scorching in the wipes warmer. Unless you feel absolutely compelled to wash your little one with soap after each diaper change, ditch the expensive diaper sprays and stick to water (or a homemade solution).

On the flip side, there are accessories that I would say you can’t have enough of.
In other words, if you find a good sale, or come across a great deal, you can buy as much or as many of these items as you can, with absolutely no remorse; trust me, you'll put them to good use!

If you’re going the cloth wipe route, and I absolutely urge you too, then my philosophy is that you can’t have enough. With well over fifty wipes, I still find myself running low from time to time because I use them for everything! I keep a small wipes wet bag in my diaper bag, which comes in handy for wiping mouths at restaurants, gently wiping runny noses, and cleaning messy hands when eating out.

Even if you're not using flats, fitteds, or prefolds, diaper covers (or even an empty pocket diaper) come in very handy. I know one of the perks of cloth diapering is that you, technically, won't have to worry about running out of diapers, but trust me, it happens sometimes. A receiving blanket and an extra cover literally saved my son’s bum when he was a newborn [and an errand run took much longer than expected]. Check out the Smarti Pants Smart-Fit Diaper Cover collection!

If you see a sale or a good deal on inserts, grab them! At some point, you’ll likely need a little more absorbency, so it makes sense to grab a few when you see a good price. I grab inserts whenever I see them used or on sale – I can’t have enough! I recommend purchasing natural fibers to get the most bang for your buck with inserts, but if you’re on a tight budget, microfiber will also get you through. Stock up on Smart Sleeve inserts HERE.

Balm is not just for the bum, my friends. I've always kept multiple containers, stashed in different areas (nursery, bathroom, diaper bag), because diaper balm has so many uses! If you've ever seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding, then you'll understand when I say that diaper balm is my Windex. Cracked/chafed lips and cheeks (teething), nipple relief, lotion, hand salve, cuts, oh, and diaper rash too; I've used diaper balm in SO many situations. Even better, if you use coconut oil, you can also use it in the kitchen, on your hair, for oil pulling, so many things! I like having two dedicated coconut oil sticks on-hand: one for the bum, and one for everything else (my son likes to schmear it all over himself as lotion).

What are your must-have cloth diaper accessories? Which ones can you live without?

Lauren B. Stevens is a cloth diapering mom and freelance writer, whose work can be found on The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy and, in addition to numerous anthologies. When Lauren’s not chasing her rambunctious toddler, she’s penning hilarious and heartwarming stories about parenthood on her blog,