Day 6 – 8th Annual Flats & Handwashing Challenge

This post is the sixth of seven, all of which document my participation in the 8th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Cloth Diaper Revival. For seven days I will be using only flat cloth diapers and covers. I will be hand-washing them in an effort to demonstrate that cloth diapering can be affordable and accessible to all. You can learn more about the rules and why this challenge was started by visiting the original post.

Today is the sixth day of the Challenge and all participants were asked to share what is working for them and what is not working.

I debated doing the Challenge this year because I found the hand-washing so difficult last year. Each year the Challenge is pretty much the same so there wasn’t anything new or interesting to look forward to. So I decided to learn more about diaper need and that is what piqued my interest again.

So, what is working for me this year?

  • The hand-washing part is! Hallelujah! Thank you, Jesus (and my husband who has helped me rinse)! I am absolutely delighted to say that the hand-washing is not something I dread or avoid. I think part of that success is due to the fact that my daughter is now a toddler and going through fewer diapers than she did last year. I also learned that I need to use waaaaaaay less detergent.
  • Using the Breathing Mobile Washer from Amazon. There is something so satisfying about the little “swoosh” sound it makes each time I plunge it down into the diapers. I still would love to try washing diapers in a sink, but my bathroom isn’t set up for that in this apartment. Maybe another year in another place.
  • Using a diaper sprayer! I didn’t have one last year, but it is a total game changer! I finally started using it to rinse my diapers (instead of using the tub faucet). I am not wasting nearly as much water now when I rinse off each diaper individually.
  • Drying the diapers outside. The rain that was forecast only showed up for the first day so the last few days have just been overcast….and there has been a nice breeze!
  • Using wool and stretchy flats. I love using them in our regular stash rotation, and using them full time is working out decently well. I still miss my pocket diapers though.
  • My husband using the flats! He is a pro at putting them on our daughter and putting a Lalabye cover on over it. I am so impressed…and in love!

What isn’t working for me?

  • Pretty sure that I am still going to be unhappy with the water bill for this month. I rinse underneath the faucet in the tub and with the first few days of doing all the rinsing, I am sure I have wasted enough water for a family of ten. Oops.

All in all, this Challenge has been much easier than last year.

Day 6

To follow along and see how other participants are faring, click the link below!

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Day 5 – 8th Annual Flats & Handwashing Challenge

This post is the fifth of seven, all of which document my participation in the 8th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Cloth Diaper Revival. For seven days I will be using only flat cloth diapers and covers. I will be handwashing them in an effort to demonstrate that cloth diapering can be affordable and accessible to all. You can learn more about the rules and why this challenge was started by visiting the original post.

Day 5 pic 6

Today Yesterday is was the fifth day of the Challenge (almost done!) and participants were given free reign to talk about whatever they want regarding the Challenge. I want to talk briefly about our nighttime diaper during the Flats Challenge and how using flats overnight gave me the confidence to do it full time.

Last year, part of the reason I wanted to do the Flats & Handwashing Challenge was because I wanted to find a cloth diaper that would work for us overnight. In May 2017, my daughter was 7 months old at the time and a moderate-to-heavy wetter. During the day she wore gDiapers and at nighttime, we were using a Target Up&Up brand disposable diaper. I was worried about finding a diaper that would have enough absorbency to handle all the nighttime nursing she was doing. I was also worried that my wash routine was not perfect – even though we had zero problems with it at that point – and I worried that trying some bulky overnight cloth diaper would be the catalyst in revealing my wash routine’s actual imperfection. Using flats overnight appealed to me because they would be easy to clean. The 7th Annual Flats Challenge was the perfect time to try to find our overnight flat diaper solution. There was a whole group of caregivers doing the Flats Challenge and they were sharing loads of useful information each day of the Challenge.  Ultimately, I bought some used Stashify stretchy flats off a Facebook B/S/T group ($25 for 3 flats) and 3 brand new Geffen Baby hemp jersey flats (they were $8.50/each in May 2017). I put both flats together in a Kite Fold and put a wool soaker on top. To my great joy and delight, it worked well for us! I eventually bought a Sustainablebabyish Overnight Bamboo Fleece (OBF) fitted diaper and now we use those exclusively at night, saving our flats for backup when I get very behind on the diaper laundry.

This year, I continue to use the Geffen Baby flat and a stretchy flat. I have two flats which are a bamboo/cotton blend and they are HUGE! One flat is from Moonglade Stitchery and the other flat is from CherubCheekBoutique (a retailer on Etsy). They are both 28″ x 28″ and they are so absorbent! They almost seem too large for daytime use as my daughter will only pee through about half of the flat in a two hour stretch. However, their size makes them perfect for nighttime use. And, in my humble opinion, the true key to our nighttime success is the Geffen Baby flat which I padfold inside. It is usually 60-75% soaked when I change my daughter out of her nighttime diaper. The only disadvantage to using the flats with a wool soaker is that the entire diaper can fall off my skinny toddler if the snappi becomes unsnapped. We have not encountered this problem with our regular nighttime diaper, the Sustainablebabyish OBF.

So how did using flats go on the 5th day of the Flats Challenge?

My daughter and I took a day trip to a Children’s Museum. She had a good time and I made sure to pack enough flats and covers to last us. I was worried about not being able to get the cloth diapers washed in time for tomorrow though (and my fears were partially founded).

In general, I am so glad we use cloth diapers because they just don’t smell as much as disposable diapers. In the afternoon, I changed my daughter in the Baby/Toddler Area bathroom and the Museum thoughtfully provided a diaper pail. Oh my goodness, that bathroom reeked to high heaven! Thankfully, there was also a toilet inside and I was able to plop my daughter’s poop right in. We did not leave a smelly souvenir in that garbage can for the next unfortunate parent and child.

Flats are still pretty easy, but I am really missing my pocket diapers. My toddler is so wiggly and I just want to be able to snap something on her and be done! I know that I could padfold, but I do prefer folding the flat onto her.

Today, we used

  • 7 flats (5 diaper changes and our overnight combo)
  • 3 covers (1 Lalabye, 1 medium Babee Greens, and our soaker)
  • 7 wipes

Check out what other participants are up to by clicking the link below!

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Day 4 – 8th Annual Flats & Handwashing Challenge

This post is the fourth of seven, all of which document my participation in the 8th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Cloth Diaper Revival. For seven days I will only be using flat cloth diapers and covers. I will be handwashing them in an effort to demonstrate that cloth diapering can be affordable and accessible to all. You can learn more about the rules and why this challenge was started by visiting the original post.

Today is the fourth day of the Challenge and all participants were asked to share their wash routine.

Day 4 Wash Routine

My wash routine is a work in progress or – more accurately – an exercise in repetitious rinsing. I always seem to use too much soap, even as I ever-so-slowly pour the liquid Purex into my teaspoon and softly remind myself, “…just a little!”

I follow this wash routine as it seemed to be what the majority of other participants were doing for several years. Plus, it mimics what my washing machine does …. so surely my diapers will be clean at the end of my manual wash cycle, right?

Diaper Changes and Dirty Diapers

After a diaper change, the dirty flats go into my blue (4 gallon?) bucket. If the diaper contains poop, I use my QD Diaper Sprayer to put the poop where it belongs: the toilet.

The Pre-Wash

I use a half teaspoon of liquid Purex and fill the bucket up with (warm-ish) water until the diapers are completely covered. I use my “Breathing Mobile Washer” from Amazon and plunge the diapers into the sudsy water about 100 times. Then I drain and rinse the diapers.

The Main Wash

I put the pre-washed diapers back into the bucket, pour out a teaspoon of liquid Purex, and fill the bucket with hot water. I do another 100 plunges with the Amazon  plunger. I then let the diapers sit and soak in the hot water for 20-30 minutes. This is usually when I sit down and read other participants’ blog/vlog entries from the previous day. I return to the diapers and complete the main wash cycle with a final 100 plunges. Then I drain and rinse, rinse, rinse, rinse, rinse, ad infinitum.

Going forward, I think that I need to use only a half teaspoon of detergent during my main wash. Alternatively, I could use no soap at all during the pre-wash and continue to use one teaspoon during the main wash. I’m not sure.

Drying the Diapers

Once the diapers have been completely rinsed (years I will never get back), I wring them out and hang them up on my mom’s IKEA drying rack. I love when the weather cooperates and the diapers can dry outside in the breeze. I personally don’t notice them smelling much better or anything. And unfortunately, my little deck does not get any direct sunlight so my stains are never sunned out. But there is something so peaceful about watching diapers that I cleaned flap in the breeze. The stretchy flats take a significantly longer time to dry than the GMD birdseye flats. I make sure to allot at least six hours of drying time outside on our shaded deck.

All together, the entire wash process can take up to an hour (depending on the number of rinses and not including soak time). If I only need to do one or two rinses and if I include the soak time, the entire process can be done in an hour. I think that has happened twice so far this week.

 

Today, we used

  • 7 flats (6 diaper changes and our nighttime flat combo)
  • 4 covers (2 Lalabye covers, 1 medium Babee Greens, and our overnight soaker…. we lost 1 Lalabye and the Babee Greens to poop)
  • ??? wipes…I stopped keeping count. 12 is enough to last us one day.

To see other participants’ wash routines and learn from their successes and mistakes, click the link below!

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Day 3 – 8th Annual Flats & Handwashing Challenge

This post is the third of seven, all of which document my participation in the 8th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Cloth Diaper Revival. For seven days I will only be using flat cloth diapers and covers. I will be handwashing them in an effort to demonstrate that cloth diapering can be affordable and accessible to all. You can learn more about the rules and why this challenge was started by visiting the original post.

Today is the third day of the Challenge and all participants were asked to share our favorite fold.

My favorite fold is very adjustable, provides poop-containment (with proper jelly-rolling technique that is), and can be folded one-handed (always useful when the baby needs to be held).  I am pretty sure there are several variations of this fold, but the simplicity of the Kite Fold cannot be beat!

Day 3 Kite Fold

How is the kite fold working for us on Day 3 of the Challenge?

I was super pleased and impressed this morning: my husband got up with our toddler, changed her from her overnight diaper into a (previously Kite folded) GMD Birdseye flat, snappi’d the flat correctly, and put her in our “I Love You A Latte” Lalabye Baby cover! I had even asked him on a previous occasion if I should put some padfolded flats inside the cover and he asked instead for a pre-folded flat! Correctly cloth diapering our tiny toddler is one of my love languages, hehe! But in all seriousness, he is the best husband in the world and I am so glad he chose to marry me.

In other exciting news, I received a new stretchy flat today. The addiction to “try all the stretchy flats!” is real. At some point I want to do a comparative post of all the flats in my stash. I am finding that I prefer certain flats for certain qualities and I wonder if others would find that knowledge useful for future Flats & Handwashing Challenges (well, and flat diaper usage during the other 51 weeks of the year).

Lastly, I made the mistake of using too much soap last night and I was rinsing for daaaaays! It was horrible. If we lived in Southern California or some other drought-stricken area of the US, I would feel horrendously guilty for all the water I wasted washing out my extra detergent. Around midnight my husband came into the bathroom to relieve me. The diapers, my emotions, and I were sopping wet and pitiful. Needless to say, I was incredibly precise about how much detergent I used in my wash this afternoon and I am pleased to report that there were significantly fewer rinses.

During the day, we ended up using our standard

  • 7 flats (5 diaper changes and our successful dual-flat overnight diaper)
  • 4 covers (my husband’s favorite Lalabye cover, our two medium Babee Greens covers, and our Disana soaker for overnight)
  • ALL the wipes (because of ALL the poop)…maybe like 10? I stopped counting.

 

To follow along with other participants, check out the link below!

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Day 2 – 8th Annual Flats & Handwashing Challenge

This post is the second of seven, all of which document my participation in the 8th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Cloth Diaper Revival. For seven days I will only be using flat cloth diapers and covers. I will be handwashing them in an effort to demonstrate that cloth diapering can be affordable and accessible to all. You can learn more about the rules and why this challenge was started by visiting the original post.

Today is the second day of the Challenge and all participants were asked, “What’s in your stash/What materials did you use? How much did they cost?”

This has always been my favorite day because I love seeing what participants used in previous years and what my fellow hand-washers are using this year. I love the ingenuity and creativity employed to cloth diaper frugally! I am so impressed with the caregivers (there are some dads and foster parents participating this year!) and how they make Flour Sack Towels (FSTs) and even old t-shirts work well!

That being said, I had no desire to go out and buy old t-shirts or FSTs to use for the Challenge. Perhaps the next time I participate (potty-training is nearer than I care to admit) I will try to keep my total Challenge Stash cost under $50 or even $20.  This year, I chose to use the flats that I already had in regular rotation in my stash. I have fallen in love with stretchy flats because they easily meet my daughter’s absorbency needs, we have never had a leak or poopsplosion, and they are refreshingly soft and simple. I was inspired to increase my luxury flats stash after reading a few previous Challenge participants’ blogs.

However, as I will not be the only person changing my daughter’s diaper this week (hallelujah), I chose to add a few simpler options (i.e. padfold cotton flats in a cover) to my stash. The bulk of our main stash consists of Lalabye Baby diapers, so I added two Lalabye covers for when my daughter is with other caregivers. I also put in two Geffen Baby flats in our stash. We use those at night, padfolded inside one of the stretchy flats. A padfolded Geffen flat has 12 layers of hemp jersey absorbency and that can get my moderate-to-heavy wetter through the night. I know that I have more flats than we use in a day, but I wanted a bit of a cushion so I would not stress if the stretchy flats took longer to dry (especially since it rained yesterday). Lastly, I have gotten away with using only two wool covers so far, but if one gets pooped on, I think I will be super grateful for the third wool cover. I know that this stash is huge and I am trying to use the bare minimum within this stash. I will post at the end of the week what we actually used and what I reached for first (so far it is not the GMD birdseye flats).

Day 2 Stash

FLATS (17 – $102.68)

  • 6 Clotheez Birdseye flats from Green Mountain Diapers (Size Small/One Size) – $12.95/pack of six
  • 2 Geffen Baby Hemp Jersey flats – $8.50/ea
  • 1 Sweet Iris Designs flat – $13.75
  • 3 Stashify flats – no longer being made; I bought mine off a B/S/T group for $25
  • 2 Moonglade Stitchery flats – purchased on sale for $9.90/ea
  • 1 CherubCheekBoutique flat – purchased on sale for $10.35
  • 2 Truly Charis flats – purchased on sale for $13.73/ea

Covers (6 – $125.50)

  • 1 Disana wool soaker for overnight use – $22.94
  • 2 Lalabye Baby covers – $19/ea
  • 1 Babee Greens Wool cover (size Medium) – purchased on sale for $15
  • 1 Babee Greens Cashmere cover (size Medium) – purchased on sale for $20
  • 1 Babee Greens Wool covers (size Large) – purchased on sale for $29.56

Accessories ($128.71)

  • 12 Imagine Fleece Liners – $6.95/pack of six
  • Snappis – $9.99/sold in pack of 3
  • 24 Grovia wipes – $10.95/pack of 12
  • 1 bucket – $3.97
  • 1 “Breathing Mobile Washer” from Amazon – $20.95
  • 1 Grovia wetbag – $8 (Earth Day Sale)
  • QD Diaper Sprayer – $50
  • Drying rack & small basket of IKEA clothes pins – free from my mom’s closet (thanks Mom!)

How did we fare the second day of the Challenge?

I decided to wash a load of diapers as soon as we got up this morning. I had two diapers from yesterday and the dual-flat overnight diaper combo. My daughter was fascinated by the process and tried her best to help me. The diapers did not smell 100% clean after the main wash, so I did a second. In between the plunging, soaking, and rinsing, we went about our morning routine. Unsurprisingly, washing in the morning with the help of a toddler is not the most efficient way to do the Challenge. I was able to dry the diapers outside and even the stretchy flats were completely dry six hours later (it was cloudy today).

Using stretchy flats and wool makes me happy and I love diaper changes. My toddler, however, is like a little alligator and tries her best to roll away. I do miss my Lalabye Baby diapers because they are quicker to put on when my patience (and hers!) is running low.

Today, we used

  • 6 flats (4 regular changes and our nighttime combo)
  • 3 covers (2 medium wool/cashmere covers and our overnight soaker)
  • 6 or 7 wipes
  • the diaper sprayer… I think the sprayer alone is making this year so much easier than last year!

 

 

Day 1 – 8th Annual Flats & Handwashing Challenge

soc graphic flats challenge.jpg

This post is the first of seven, all of which document my participation in the 8th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Cloth Diaper Revival. For seven days I will be only using flat cloth diapers and covers. I will be hand-washing them in an effort to demonstrate that cloth diapering can be affordable and accessible to all. You can learn more about the rules and why this challenge was started by visiting the original post.

Today is the first day of the Challenge and all participants were asked to share our reasons for participating.

This is the second year I have done the Challenge (but hopefully the first year I finish blogging it!). Last year, my reasons for participating were pretty self-focused: something I was doing for myself, perhaps I would use these hand-washing skills while traveling or living overseas, wanting to share a common experience with women from decades past, etc.

This year I am primarily participating in order to advocate for those who struggle with diaper need and to remind myself to continue to learn more about diaper need so I can do more to help ease the burden of those experiencing it.

As I waited for the details about the 8th Annual Challenge to be announced, I started to research diaper need. I learned in last year’s challenge that 1 in 3 families in the US struggle to afford diapers and there are no government programs that provide any sort of assistance specifically for diapers (not even WIC!). In my humble opinion, that is a staggering statistic and a horrifying failure for a first world country.

In the past three months, I have read so many articles about diaper need (I’ll link some later on in the week) and, instead of having my questions answered, I now have even more questions. I have looked up and donated to cloth diaper banks. I am trying to get in contact with my local chapter for The Rebecca Foundation to see how I can help beyond monetary and cloth diaper donations, but no success yet. I have also looked up resources in my community where families with diaper need can obtain free disposable diapers to see how I can help there (and share the cloth diaper love and Flats Challenge knowledge). I have visited the closest location with a disposable diaper distribution program and toured their facility; I learned that this particular diaper program gives out 12-24 diapers a MONTH depending on donations. That’s it. That monthly amount is so small and so momentarily helpful.  My dream is to be able to connect with the families who utilize the diaper program and share my knowledge of cloth diapers with them. I realize that cloth diapers are not the answer for every single family experiencing diaper need, but it would be my great joy to help alleviate that burden and stress for even one family.

Day 1 Laundry Drying Outside

So, how did the first day in flats go?

We use flats in our regular cloth diaper stash rotation, so actual usage of flats was/is not a challenge. However, my 19-month-old daughter CC has not slept in a flat diaper combination since last summer. I did have a brief moment of fear after I put her to bed that her urine output had increased with age and would over-saturate the absorption of the flat combo, but that fear was unfounded (whew). Our nighttime set up is a WAHM stretchy flat in a kite fold with a Geffen flat pad-folded inside underneath a Disana wool soaker. It worked last year (and gave me the confidence to ditch the disposables for nighttime) and it worked again last night. The funny part was when my daughter woke up this morning and began playing; the snappi had come undone on one side and her diaper and soaker started to fall off. Her cute little butt cheeks were hanging out before I was able to fold our morning flat and change her, haha.

Handwashing was the primary aspect of the Challenge about which I was mildly stressed. It was so difficult for me last year! I could not get the hang of it and I was convinced my diapers were never getting fully clean. So last night, as I did the last pre-Challenge cloth diaper load, I kept my washing machine open as it ran through the main wash cycle and I watched it. I was surprised by how easy I can replicate the amount of agitation the machine does! So today, I felt much more confident with my first wash routine iteration.

The first load of handwashing is still drying (#rainraingoaway) and the second load is waiting for me. Stretchy flats take a lot longer to dry….especially in warm, humid, rainy weather. I am hoping the sun decides to shine later this week!

Today we used

  • 6 flats total (4 daytime changes and 1 nighttime combo)
  • 4 covers (2 wool, 1 PUL, and our nighttime soaker)… only 1 that I had to wash though
  • About 10 wipes (holy disgusting poops!)

 

 

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Traveling with Cloth Diapers

Over the Christmas holidays, my husband, daughter, and I flew out to the West Coast to spend time with my in-laws. We were there for several weeks and I am so thankful that I decided to bring our cloth diapers along with us!

Before we left, there were two parts of our trip that had me questioning if using cloth was going to seriously stress me out or make my life easier. The first part was the actual day of travel: we had a longer car ride to the airport, a four hour direct flight and then a bit of time from the airport to my in-laws’ home. Did I really want to weigh down my diaper bag with all the cloth diapers we would need… plus a car seat to bring on the plane… plus our carry-on luggage? The second part was the entire duration of our visit to the West Coast: 3+ weeks visiting family in the area, day-long visits to the beach/local attractions, nights spent doing stuff, etc. — when was I going to do diaper laundry? Would it be easy or stressful to figure out a new wash routine using my in-laws’ washing machine AND somehow find time to do the diaper laundry?

Actual Day of Travel and Cloth Diapers We Used

Actually traveling with cloth diapers just takes a bit of planning, but using cloth on the go turned out to be very simple and easy. I wish I had taken pictures of how I packed my diaper bag so I could have a visual for you (and a memory for myself!), but I was so stressed with my to-do list that I completely neglected to do so.

Inside my diaper bag, I packed six diapers; a wet bag for dirty diapers; a small wet bag sectioned into two parts: a ziploc bag with 7-8 wet cloth wipes and extra dry cloth wipes outside the ziploc bag; and all the other normal diaper bag items. I knew that my daughter CC needed to be changed every two hours or so. Normally, we use Lalabye Baby diapers during the day as pocket diapers (making it easier to spray any poop off), but sometimes we have leaks because CC will flood her diapers. I absolutely did not want to have a wet car seat on the airplane!  Nor did I want to change her outfit because I wasn’t able to change her diaper as quickly as needed. Therefore, instead, I packed prefolds, inserts, and covers. My favorite combination on our travel day were the Blueberry Capri inserts. I purchased them right after the Flats Challenge and when I was still experimenting with all types of diapers ($15.95 USD for a Size 2 pack of two). I liked the stay-dry layer on the inserts and the double gusset protection from the Capri cover. To get maximum absorbency, I put a Geffen Baby Super Absorber between the Capri insert. Adding the Geffen Baby might have been overkill because I was able to change every 2-3 hours and none of her diapers were even close to being saturated. I also packed two GMD medium prefolds and one Diaper Rite cover that we did not get around to using until we reached our destination.

I was concerned that a Midwestern winter storm might derail my best-laid plans, so I packed all the rest of the diapers we would be taking in our carry-on luggage. I wanted to make sure that if our checked luggage was lost that I wouldn’t have to run out and buy disposables. Also, my cloth diapers do represent a sizable chunk of cash and it would be difficult to replace them. But, on a more immediate level, if a plane was delayed and we spent more hours in transit that I planned for, I could easily access more diapers than the six I had in my diaper bag.

Changing my daughter’s diaper was incredibly easy while in the airports because both airports had large counters serving as diaper changing stations. I loved the extra space to lay my wet bags next to me – not precariously perched on top of my diaper bag! Changing diapers on the plane was sadly not as luxurious nor as easy. The airplane bathroom on the way to our destination was fine, but the airplane bathroom on the way home was even smaller! CC did not enjoy being so squished and refused to lay down (and with the slope of the ceiling she couldn’t really stand). I also found it difficult to not drop something on the floor – I never would have been able to pick it up without opening the door and bumping someone waiting outside. Next time I travel, I will have my toddler practice squatting for diaper changes (??? or something!) and I will bring a separate changing pad (not attached to my diaper bag) into the bathroom and leave the diaper bag at my seat.

Away From Home and Using Cloth Diapers

I brought a decent sized stash with us and planned on doing laundry 2-3 times a week. Along with the diapers I brought in our diaper bag, I put the rest of our diapers in our carry-on suitcase:

  • two wool Disana soakers for overnight (I could have gotten away with one)
  • 4 Sustainablebabyish OBFs for overnight (I do laundry at night so this was perfect for me)
  • 18 Lalabye Diapers (I packed 16, but I purchased two of the new releases and had them shipped to my in-laws)
  • 3 extra GMD medium prefolds
  • 2 medium Planetwise wet bags
  • 2 Planetwise wet/dry bags
  • 2 Planetwise pail liners (I am glad I brought these, but I would probably purchase a wet bag that closes for our next long trip because these could easily open and my 4 wet bags couldn’t hold all that I needed them to.)
  • ALL my cloth wipes (I think I have 48 or so Grovia wipes)
  • 6 wool dryer balls

I looked up my in-laws’ washer on Fluff Love University’s website to find out the recommended settings for a good wash routine. I purchased a smaller bottle of my preferred detergent. I even brought along water hardness test strips, but I misplaced them and therefore did not use them (however, I did not notice any sort of build-up on faucets so I think we were okay without adding our usual capfuls of Calgon). I had left an IKEA drying rack from our previous long visit which I used to hang dry the covers and Lalabye diapers.

Final Thoughts

Using cloth diapers while away from home made my life easier, lessened the stresses of travel, and established a comforting-but-temporary new routine on the West Coast. I realize that this may not be the case for everyone and that is fine. There is no guilt in using disposables if that is what helps you keep your sanity or enjoy your vacation! I loved that we continued to enjoy all the advantages and benefits of cloth diapers while we were away from home and I am thankful that no new diapering challenges popped up. I particularly appreciated the familiar routine of stuffing and folding. I am especially grateful for Southwest Airlines and their free baggage allowance because without it I am not sure I would have brought the stash I did. If I were more limited on space, I probably would have just packed flats, covers, and a few Geffen inserts. Thankfully, I got to bring a condensed version of my normal stash and I am grateful to know that I really can get away with using a small(er) stash. In all honesty though, I was very happy to return home to my entire stash!

Have you ever traveled and used cloth diapers? What would you do the same and what would you do differently next time? Are you on the fence about bringing your cloth diapers along on your next trip? What are your worries or fears? I would love to hear so please comment below!

One Year of Cloth Diapering!

I had no idea that cloth diapering would become such a wonderful part of motherhood for me! In September, we celebrated our daughter CC’s birthday. In the days leading up to her birthday, my husband and I spent a few nights reminiscing as we looked through all the pictures we had taken in the past year. Now that her first birthday is over, I realized we also celebrated our “one year in cloth diapers” anniversary. Clearly, this isn’t a popular type of anniversary since I could not find a single card at the Hallmark store. Just joking! Between a nap or shopping for a cloth diaper card, the nap will win every time.

So what has the past year looked like for us?

  • We used disposables (Huggies ~ free from our hospital stay) while in the hospital and then also when out and about during the first few weeks
  • We used gDiapers tinies with flushable inserts the day we arrived home from the hospital until she was 12 days old.
  • Baby CC moved into size small gDiapers when she was 12 days old. We continued to use flushable inserts until she was 1 month old and also at night until she moved into size medium.
  • Baby CC moved into size Medium gDiapers when she was about 8 weeks old. The stage between size S and M was rough! She wore size S pouches in size M gPants for a while, but we kept getting leaks. I ended up buying a huge package of Target’s Up & Up brand of size 2 disposable diapers. When she moved into size M, we began using disposable diapers overnight because I didn’t want to purchase any more flushable inserts.
  • At six months, we were very pleased with our gDiapers thus far. gDiapers were very user friendly and my husband enjoyed how easy they were to put on. Baby CC got occasional leaks out the legs or poop up the back (usually when she was sick or after her immunizations). We loved the Wooly Booly inserts or the gCloth on top of a Geffen baby insert.
  • In April, I placed an order from Nicki’s Diapers and Green Mountain Diapers: flats, bamboo prefolds, and diaper covers. I wanted to try using cloth overnight because Baby CC’s poop would escape up and out the back of her disposable diaper at night. I was hoping that cloth will solve that problem. Plus, I had been intrigued by the Flats Challenge and liked the idea of a cloth diaper that is very easy to clean. I also wanted to learn how to fold flats on to my baby and use prefolds. They seemed simple enough (albeit with a steep learning curve) and the covers are so cute!
  • I particpated in the Flats Challenge 2017 (May 15-21) and mostly made it through (although the last few blog posts never materialized….probably because Baby CC stopped sleeping through the night at that point…and hasn’t slept through the night since!).
  • After the Flats Challenge, we started reaching for our gDiapers less and less.  They became the first diaper on in the morning because they were so simple to put on, but I fell in love with the ease of Lalabye Baby diapers (especially when used as pocket diapers). I built up our Lalabye stash (a small, respectable stash of 20 as of the end of August) and I figured out how to use prefolds. We have six medium organic GMD prefolds and six medium bamboo Imagine prefolds. I am currently selling our gDiaper stash because the pouches are ready to be replaced and I would rather not spend $22 on pouches when I could buy a cute new diaper for the same price.
  • We have been using cloth at night since slightly before the Flats Challenge. We used a Blueberry Coverall over a stretchy flat with a Geffen Hemp flat pad-folded inside and a fleece liner on top. At the beginning of July, I switched to Sbish OBF under a Disana wool cover. We have not had a leak since using cloth at night and I love using wool and a fitted at night. It works even when CC nurses 2-3 times at night.
  • Now that CC is a year old, we use Lalabye (both inserts) during the day. The rise setting is almost open, snapped on the top set of snaps. I snap the waist snaps on green with only the blue showing. She is pretty skinny so the Lalabye diapers fit very well. Her first diaper of the day needs to be changed an hour after she is put into it at the absolute longest time. Every other diaper can be changed about 2 hours after it is put on. If we are going somewhere or I want to make absolute sure there are no leaks, I put a prefold (GMD medium or Imagine bamboo medium) on her with a cover. At nighttime, we are still using Sbish OBF medium and Disana soakers. We have yet to have a leak. We are also using cloth wipes exclusively at home now and have been since the summer. I just wet 4 wipes or so and set them on a plate right next to the changing table. We use about 8-10 wipes a day. We also have a diaper sprayer that attaches to the sink and a Spray-Pal. My husband has been incredible spraying off her poopy diapers! I am so thankful for his willingness to help me in this way!

What would I do differently?

For my next baby, I will probably not use gDiapers at all. They were such a great diaper for us to start with and gave me the confidence I needed to begin cloth diapering. I sold off my medium and large gDiaper stashes, though I do still have my newborn sizes and my size smalls. For my next baby, I am already  s l o w l y  starting to put together a newborn stash. I plan to use cloth diapers on my next baby right from the beginning (defined as the day we get home from the hospital) and I would like to use a mixture of diapers: prefolds, fitteds, wool, PUL/TPU covers, and several different types of AIOs. Mind you, I have no plans for another baby at this point so I am looking forward to shopping for an awesome newborn stash by taking advantage of all the sales throughout the year(s).

What advice would I offer a first-time-using-cloth-diapers mom?

I would tell a new-to-cloth mama that this isn’t a make-or-break sort of decision. You are still a great mom if you use cloth and you are still a great mom if you use disposables. The decision to cloth diaper (or not) should NOT bring about judgment! This is not a life or death type of parenting choice. That being said, the best piece of advice I can give is to try a bunch of different types of cloth diapers because what works for one mom and her family may not work for a different mom and her family. And lastly, don’t get discouraged! Every problem has a solution: every wash routine can be tweaked, every diaper can be stripped, and every child will survive just as well in a disposable diaper if that is what it takes to keep a mom’s sanity intact.

Day 4 – 7th Annual Flats & Handwashing Challenge

This post is the fourth of seven, all of which document my participation in the 7th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Cloth Diaper Revival. For seven days I will be only using flat cloth diapers and covers. I will be handwashing them in an effort to demonstrate that cloth diapering can be affordable and accessible to all. You can learn more about the rules and why this challenge was started by visiting the original post.

wash routine

Today is the fourth day of the Challenge and all participants were asked to share their wash routine.

Lord, help me.

The wash routine is by far my LEAST favorite part of this whole endeavor so far. I have no idea how clean I am actually getting my diapers. So while I don’t notice any issues like soap scum or a nasty smell, I still have doubts. Are they really clean? Am I going to somehow harm my baby with my ineptness with handwashing?

No.

I just need confidence and more practice than I will get this week. I keep reminding myself that the dishes I handwash get much cleaner than if I stuck them in the dishwasher. The same will (eventually) be true of the diapers. And we haven’t had a problem yet with the diapers. Honestly, after the challenge ends, I might continue with the hand-washing  (as a pre-wash) the poopy diapers before sticking them in the washing machine.

My wash routine continues to evolve on a daily basis as I make little changes to my routine. In essence, my wash routine is the same as everyone else’s: poop off, pre-wash, main wash, rinse as needed, wring, and on the clothes rack to dry. But the little details like agitating for x number of minutes and soaking and wringing out between stages are things that I am still figuring out. For instance, I have found it far easier to agitate for two minutes during my main wash and then walk away for 20-40 minutes; afterwards, I can barely guess which flats had the poop and which did not. I like rinsing under the faucet better than in my bucket and constantly changing out the water. I also think I might prefer handwashing as opposed to using the “Breathing Mobile Washer” I purchased from Amazon.

As this is my first year participating in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge, I am trying to look at it as a valuable experience and with the hope that next year’s challenge will be easier – at least the washing part.

So how did the fourth day of flats all day and washing by hand go?

Solidly. I washed the diapers from last night as well as my normal two loads today…so lots of diapers! They are mostly dry now and ready for our busy weekend ahead. I think the real test will be when we are out and about most of the day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Today, however, we continued to use our kite fold and our favorite covers to great effect (no poop escaped, though we did have a close call in the morning).

Click here to see other participants’ washing routines and tips!

Day 3 – 7th Annual Flats & Handwashing Challenge

This post is the third of seven, all of which document my participation in the 7th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Cloth Diaper Revival. For seven days I will be only using flat cloth diapers and covers. I will be handwashing them in an effort to demonstrate that cloth diapering can be affordable and accessible to all. You can learn more about the rules and why this challenge was started by visiting the original post.

Today is the third day of the Challenge and all participants were asked to share our favorite fold.

When I first got my flats a few months ago, I tried out all the folds to see which worked best for us and the kite fold is the one that stuck around. I have been using the kite fold almost exclusively now because I like how trim it is, I like being able to jelly roll the sides, and I like how it is just really easy to put on.

The other fold we have been utilizing is the airplane fold.  I like all the absorbency near the front; that works well for my daughter and gives me good practice should I ever have a son!

Sadly, I am not a huge fan of the padfold. However, I am not giving up hope on that quick and easy favorite just yet. Maybe next year 🙂

The graphic below is how I do the kite fold, along with the extra step of adding a fleece liner (really, I just needed 9 pictures). This fold has caused me to fall even more in love with my Green Mountain Diaper Clotheez flats because they are keep their square shape.

IMG_9888

So how did the third day of flats all day and washing by hand go?

Baby CC is in bed now and I think our day went pretty well. Using flats is really not a challenge (maybe it will be next year when I have a wiggly toddler to wrangle) and I enjoyed learning the different folds. The one aspect of the challenge that I actually find challenge is the wash routine. I mistakenly thought, “Oh, handwashing. Just a lot of scrubbing and plunging and a tiny amount of soap. I can handle that.” Apparently not. I suck at handwashing and still have yet to find a comfortable or efficient routine. Hopefully, tomorrow’s post is not a lament about my washing routine, but at this point it might be!

Today we used 10 flats and 3 covers and 8 liners. I find myself reaching most often for my Imagine and Nicki’s Diapers covers first and then follow those with a Blueberry Capri. I am a little surprised by that since everyone only has positive things to say about Blueberry; I thought that they would be my favorite. But I love the fit of the Imagine and Nicki’s Diaper covers. Now, if I could just have the company make prints in my preferred colors and patterns…

Out of curiosity, out of all your stash (not just your stash for the Challenge), what is your favorite brand for fit?

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Click here to read about other participants’ favorite folds!