Category Archives: Kids

Daycare and cloth diapers

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I’ve heard a lot of people say “Oh, I’d LOVE to try cloth diapers, but our daycare won’t do them.” I actually heard that a lot before I our first was born, so I was super surprised when it was our daycare center’s director who suggested we try diapers when we were struggling to find a disposable that didn’t cause chemical burns.

Obviously, my one experience with cloth diapers and daycare doesn’t make me an expert in the matter, but I do have a few tips/suggestions for anyone who might want to bring up cloth diapers with their daycare.

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

1. Research the regulations. Some daycares can’t use cloth diapers due to some kind of regulation, whether it be a state health department, or even a city health inspector’s ruling. This is getting less and less common as cloth diapering is getting more popular, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there are still places where you can’t. On the other hand – it’s also good to know the regulations because some daycares will just default to that as their reason for not accepting cloth diapers – it’s an easy excuse.

I found a  site that has compiled a list of states and their regulations – I don’t know how up to date it is, but it’s a good place to start.

Along the lines of regulations, see if there’s anything that is or isn’t allowed. Our daycare center was required to have a separate diaper for every diaper change, and this is a very common requirement. Seems like common sense, but if you’re set on using a hybrid system, or covers with flats/prefolds, you’re going to need to make sure you have enough covers for the number of diaper changes, because they won’t be able to swap out the flat or prefold and re-use the cover.

2. Find out what kind of cloth diapers are out there, and what’s going to be easiest for your daycare provider to use. Rows of snaps and hard-to-tuck-in inserts are going to make the diapers much more of a hassle, and your provider will dread diaper changes (even more than usual). The harder it is to get a good fit (ie, the more fiddling around you have to do when putting them on), the more likely there will be leaks.

All-in-one diapers and pocket diapers are especially good for daycares, and even better if they have velcro closures – that takes the guesswork out of the fit and makes them basically the same for putting on as a disposable. Hybrid diapers and covers aren’t the end of the world, but you’ll want to make sure you send them all set up and ready to go.

3. Be prepared for your provider to not want to deal with the poop. This may mean letting them wrap up the diaper and put it in your wet bag with all the poop still in it. Yep, it’s gross. But one of the biggest things people tend to bring up when talking about cloth diapers is dealing with the poop. As a parent who wants to cloth diaper – you signed up to deal with poop. Your daycare provider signed up to wrap it up in a diaper and throw it away (or throw it in the wet bag).

You can purchase disposable liners – thin sheets almost like tissue paper – to place in the diaper. When your baby poops, you just grab the corners of the liner, pull off and throw in the trash or the toilet (most are flushable, but not all, and sometimes septic/sewer systems can’t handle the liners).

4. Use the diapers before you bring them to daycare. There’s no other good way to find out if it’s easy to use, has a “trick” for getting a good fit, or is just a dud of a diaper. Please don’t let your daycare provider be your tester on a new diaper, especially if he/she wasn’t really enthused about the idea of cloth diapering in the first place!

5. Bring the diapers with you when you talk to your provider, and give them a demonstration. Show them how easy they are to put on and take off, and show them how to roll them up.  Many people hear the words “cloth diaper” and think birdseye prefolds (like those Gerber ones a lot of people use for burp cloths), safety pins and rubber pants. You’d be surprised – even younger providers tend to have this image in their minds, likely from descriptions their parents/grandparents gave them of cloth diapers!

Also, this might seem like common sense, but remind them that they don’t have to clean the diapers. You are doing the hard work – the washing, the rinsing, dealing with the poop, etc – all they have to do is put them on, take them off, and throw them in the wet bag instead of a garbage can!

Lastly – be prepared for them to still say no. There are no laws that state a daycare MUST allow cloth diapers. Some places you can get a “prescription” from a doctor that says your child requires them for medical reasons (rash, allergies, etc), but if you’ve been with your daycare provider for any amount of time, they’re going to know whether or not that’s true.

Good luck! If I missed any good pointers, feel free to let me know and I’ll add them!

Cloth diapers: the winner is…

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Well… if you take the money factor out of it, there’s a tie: GroVia Hybrids and TotsBots All-in-Ones!

Gro-via.com

Gro-via.com

However, since one of the major attractions of cloth diapering is to save money, GroVia is my hands-down choice for cloth diapers. In fact, since I last blogged about it, I went ahead and purchased enough to last us 2.5 days – Earth Day was last week and the sales helped me with my purchases. And with the exception of one child, one night* – we’ve been fully cloth diapering since Sunday morning. As a testament to how awesome these diapers are, we’ve had zero leaks, even at night (I was worried, but my worries have so far been unfounded).

Later I’ll briefly describe why I didn’t go with the others that I ordered, but for now I’ll give you a run-down on GroVia.

So, what did I buy? Here’s the list:

GroVia Part Time package – 6 shells and 12 organic cotton soakers
4 Kiwi Pie fitted diapers
– 2 additional stay-dry soaker sets (4 soakers total)
– 2 stay dry booster sets (4 total)
– one pack of 12 terry cloth wipes
– 2 packs of size 3 prefolds (6 total)
California Baby diaper area wash

In addition to the above, I already had one shell and two stay-dry soakers. I posted about my “stash” on BabyCenter’s Cloth Diaper forum and quickly discovered they didn’t think I had enough, so I panicked and bought 7 more stay-dry soakers, 3 organic cotton soakers, and 4 more shells off Craigslist. The stay-dry soakers were in great shape, but the shells and organic cotton soakers were not what the seller described, but we’ll still make use of them.

Anyway, what that gives me is a total of  11 shells,  28 soakers, 6 prefolds and 4 fitted diapers. I haven’t needed the prefolds (thought I’d need them for overnights), so essentially 32 diaper changes gets us through 2.5 days with the three kids (oldest only uses 2 changes, nap and nighttime). I end up using one shell/day for my oldest, 2-3 for my middle child, and 1-2 for our youngest – 6 has been our max for a day.

Wow, there are a lot of numbers above! And lots of different cloth diaper terms! I’m hoping to post later with descriptions of some of these terms, but as this blog wasn’t supposed to be a solely cloth diaper blog, I don’t want to bombard everyone with the info all at once.

* My husband was in a hurry to get the kiddos ready for bed, and when one of them had a number 2 in her freshly changed diaper, he said “forget it!” and put a disposable on her. So it had nothing to do with the cloth diapers!

The Great Cloth Diaper Change

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The Guinness World Records Diaper Changing Challenge – The Great Cloth Diaper Change – was today. I’ve heard of this in the past but hadn’t ever paid much attention. This year it happened to coincide with my latest cloth diapering experiment, so I signed us up and told my husband last night that we were all going – lucky him!

Great Cloth Diaper Change 2013

Great Cloth Diaper Change 2013

So what is this, exactly? Basically just a way to spread word about cloth diapering and get your name in the record books. The object was to change your child from cloth to cloth, or from a disposable diaper into a cloth diaper, at 11am in your local time zone. You had to be at the event to qualify.

I didn’t realize this was such a big event – as of April 2nd, 285 hosts had registered to hold world record events in 17 countries including Australia, Belgium, Canada, Switzerland, Chile, Germany, Spain, Finland, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Mexico, Malaysia, the Netherlands, and the US. That’s a lot of places – and our location had over 700 people registered!

The closest location to us was only a 20 minute drive, and was in a shopping center, so it wasn’t exactly a hardship – we made it into a family outing and won a few things too!  We were one of the lucky families to receive $100 towards Photography by Heidi Marie and two “5-in-1” diapers from Rock-a-Bums.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to participate in the actual diaper changing event because my 14-week-old son, who I signed up with, happened to be very happily asleep in his Infantino Sync wrap. I might have woken him for this special occasion, but he’s fighting off a bug right now and I wanted him to get his rest. However, it was kind of fun to be off on the sidelines and see all the different kinds of cloth diapers people were using, and have the opportunity to take a few pictures in the process.

Cloth diapers: back at it… maybe?

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Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

One thing I’ve learned over the last three years? Cloth diapering is not for everyone… and even if it IS for you, sometimes it’s just not feasible.

With our oldest, after a chemical burn from Pampers, our daycare center director actually suggested we try cloth. They’d seen it all, she said – and with a few additional steps it would be sanitary enough for daycare. I shopped around for different disposables… no way I was going to do cloth (even though the thought had been firmly planted in my brain… I just couldn’t seem to keep it out of my mind). I was never able to find anything that fit or kept the messes in the way I wanted, so I did some research on cloth and thought I’d give it a try.

This, by the way, was at a time when I did laundry every two weeks… tops. Yes, we all had enough clothes to get us two weeks just fine!

My first trial was with gDiapers. I found out pretty quick that my daughter was a very heavy wetter, and these were not a good option for us, at least not with the cloth inserts marketed for use with the diapers. I’m not super handy with a sewing machine, nor do I know anything about fabric, so  making my own was out of the question at the time.

I ended up finding someone through our local Craigslist who helped me out by showing me a bunch of different kinds of diapers. I made the switch to SoftBums, and thought things were going to be great. I loved them,  my daughter seemed to like them… but daycare did not. Every day I would arrive to a bag with 2-3 different very wet outfits, and my daughter in one of the spare daycare outfits. I never had leak issues at home, but the modifications needed for daycare either made the diapers too difficult to get on properly, or were the cause of the leaking altogether.

I pretty much stopped cloth diapering after that, because it was obvious it was not a good thing for daycare, and doing it only at home wasn’t getting me enough diapers to wash every day, or even every other day… and WOW do those things stink if you wait more than two days to wash!

Throughout the next year and a half, I tried a few different brands, but basically ended up selling off my stash and deciding cloth diapering just wasn’t for us. The funny thing was though, info about the chemicals in disposables keeps popping up randomly every time I get ok with them… and in between, the smell drives me nuts!

Now, however – I work from home. I have a wonderful nanny who isn’t opposed to trying out cloth. We live in a different home with main floor laundry and a shiny new washer/dryer set. I also tend to do laundry every other day, minimum. Most of the time I do at least a load a day. Oh yeah, and now you can use Tide on cloth diapers (probably always could, but the word was that you shouldn’t).

After doing a bit of side work and getting paid in $150 of gift cards, I’ve decided to do a bit of a cloth diaper trial with my son. I did a ton of research and purchased $157 (slightly over budget!) worth of diapers from Amazon and eBay, and I’m actually pretty excited to get them tomorrow! Here’s what I ordered:

GroVia Hybrid
Best Bottom Shell/overnight inserts
Tiny Tush Elite 2.0
Bummis TotsBots Easy Fit
Thirsties Duo All-in-One
Ones & Twos All-in-One
BabyKicks Basic pocket diaper

I also have a couple Charlie Banana one-size pocket diapers left over from before, and purchased a BumGenius Freetime and Swaddlebees Simplex diaper a couple months ago – so overall I have 10 different kinds to try out. I’m not sure if I’ll have enough info for a review of each one separately, but I’m hoping to at least post about some of the things I was trying to find out about these diapers while doing my research – things you can find if you get to see the diapers before buying (not always an easy thing to do with cloth diapers).

The Wonder Weeks

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Have you ever come across a book or web site that sheds light on some aspect of your life? I found that in The Wonder Weeks. In my case, it turned out to be an iPhone (iPod) app, but there’s also a web site and a book you can get if those are your preferred methods of getting information.

The Wonder Weeks

The Wonder Weeks

What is The Wonder Weeks? Well, it’s a great source of information about what your baby goes through developmentally in the first year of life, and can explain why somethings things seem to be going so smoothly and then all the sudden your baby is super fussy, clingy, and won’t sleep well for a few days. Not all growth spurts are physical – this app details the mental growth spurts, or leaps, that happen in the first year.

As an example, my son is currently 13.5 weeks old. This app bases the leaps off of the age your baby would be if they were born on their due date, so that would put my son at 10.5 weeks. As I’ve been following the app, I’ve noticed instead of being 3 weeks behind, he’s hitting these leaps about 2 weeks behind – so I’m going to go with 11.5 weeks – we’ll see if he continues to follow that pattern.

So what does that mean for him right now? That means he’s coming up on the leap called “Smooth Transitions“- and the best description of this comes from the Wonder Weeks web site: “Your baby’s world is becoming a more organized place as he discovers the constant, flowing changes around him.” Physically, his movements are becoming less jerk-y/robotic looking, and more fluid and purposeful. He’s also noticing changes in things – like changes in voice pitch, or the lightness and dimness of different rooms.

I’ve been so fascinated to follow along with this app with my two girls and now again starting over with my son because it’s been so accurate at showing what’s coming next, what to expect behavior-wise, and also giving tips on what activities can help them with these transitions. I’ve recommended the app to many of my friends with new babies, and the feedback has been super positive, so I wanted to share it here too!

Consistency is key

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Remember how I said parenting is like a science experiment? I had a failed experiment with our youngest.

Currently he’s 12 weeks old, and it’s been a rough 12 weeks, but much of our troubles stem from what I believe comes down to a lack of being consistent with him.

With our girls, I was always insistent that we have a routine – schedules are important, but having routines is what makes being flexible with your schedule possible. Sleep was such an important thing; I remember not doing anything that required us to be outside of the house after 7pm for our oldest’s first year, because she had to be in bed (we both worked outside the house at the time, so she had to be up by 7am the next morning for us to get her to daycare).

We followed that fairly close with our second, but her schedule during the day was much more all over the place, mostly because she was never in a daycare center that had 8+ infants who HAD to be on a schedule for the place to function.

With our son, I was so focused on getting him past the day/night confusion that’s so common in newborns (but I don’t think he ever had it, which is ironic) – I kept him up for long periods of time, I kept him in the living room while his sisters were screaming and running around playing… he was basically overtired and overstimulated.

When I finally came to the realization that I’d overdone it with the awake times, it was a nightmare to try to get him back on track – in fact, I’m not 100% convinced he’s there yet, but we’re closer than we were 4 weeks ago! I got back to using the wake time chart that I’d followed with the girls and started really watching for those sleepy cues… and most importantly, I got him out of our bed (the key to my sanity, I swear!).

The hardest part for me about being consistent is that it really takes effort sometimes. Many babies sleep in their carseats, so sleep isn’t typically an issue while running errands – but our son (and both of our girls) hates the carseat. So I have to really think about my day and plan my trips around naptimes, instead of having naptimes be during trips.

As much as I’d like to think I’ll chalk this up as a major lesson learned and tell myself that we’ll never have this trouble again, I know that I’ll need to revisit the “consistency is key” concept over and over throughout the years.

Honest Company Diapers

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One of my first reviews is of The Honest Company diapers. I want to focus on this product because one of my big searches right now is for the perfect diaper – and I’m not really convinced it actually exists!

The Honest Company currently has three ways to purchase diapers, but none of them are local yet:  new_logo[1]

– Purchase online from their web site
– Purchase online from Zulily.com
– Get a subscription for diapers and wipes bundle, from the company web site

The cheapest route is to get a subscription, but cheap is a relative term here, as these diapers are rather expensive. If you compare to other “natural” diapers, they’re a pretty good deal, but if you’re comparing to store brand these are at least twice as expensive. It’s difficult to determine the exact price per diaper if you’re using the subscription service because the wipes are included, and there isn’t a breakdown of how much of the $79.95/month goes towards wipes and how much goes towards the diapers.

As far as whether or not the diapers work? For us they worked great. We tried out size 1 and size 3, and never had leaks with either size. We even put the size 3 on my oldest (she’s a few pounds over the weight guidelines) and had no issues. The biggest bonus for me was that these diapers didn’t have that icky chemical smell when they were wet.

The downside with these, for us, was that they were just too expensive. Even during the time that we had the subscription, the package size decreased while the price stayed the same – so the price is even a bit higher than when I had initially calculated it. In fact, the main reason I cancelled our subscription was the fact that they downsized both the wipes and the diaper packages – and unless you were paying close attention, you might have missed that fact. I don’t believe they were trying to be dishonest, but they weren’t exactly transparent about it either.

One other thing that I didn’t like about the subscription part of this was that it was just way too many diapers. My youngest is our first to have grown very quickly, and we ended up not needing about half of the 200 diapers we were sent in size 1. This of course isn’t the fault of the company – my baby just grew fast! However, he’s not a big guy, and I’m thinking most people’s babies grow pretty fast, so I have to wonder if other people are having the same experience with the early sizes.

On the plus side – the company is really great about customer service. If you have enough diapers that you won’t need a shipment the next month, they’ll let you delay a month.

Oh… and the prints are their diapers are SUPER cute!

We also took part in their Family Essentials bundle – I’ll write a review of that later!