Tag Archives: All Natural

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!

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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).

BPA: Not welcome here…

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I’ve mentioned that overall I’m not into the all-natural trend. However, because I’ve chosen to try to eliminate as much BPA from our lives as possible, a lot of times my only option for certain BPA-free things is to go with all-natural options, or to simply make things myself.

Why have I specifically chosen BPA as the chemical that I’m trying to eliminate from our diets?

Well, according to Wikipedia, BPA, or bisphenol-A, is thought to be an endocrine disruptor – in effect it acts like a hormone in the body (specifically estrogen). There aren’t really any concrete studies that show this to be true, at least not for humans, but in the animal testing that’s been done, several icky effects of elevated BPA levels have been noted:

– Links between high levels of BPA and obesity
– Interference with brain cell connections vital to memory, learning, and mood
– Increases dopamine activity, which makes one more likely to have ADD, ADHD
– Heightened sensitivity to drugs of abuse
– Increased risk of breast cancer and prostate cancer

Wikipedia.org

There are plenty of other items on the list, but the above are the scariest/most concerning to me. Almost daily we can find a news story about the obesity epidemic in our nation, as can we find an article about cancer.

Do I think BPA is the sole cause of these things? Likely not. But if I can reduce the chances of my family having to experience any of those negative effects, I will – and it’s really not that difficult, thankfully!

So, what are the biggest sources of BPA in our diets/lives?

– Plastic containers, specifically reusable containers (microwave dishes, storage containers, etc).
– Soda cans. Yep… just another reason to kick that soda habit!
– Canned foods, especially tomatoes and green beans

For someone like me, who initially wasn’t interested in cooking beyond what I could prepare from a package (and who also really enjoys her soda!), seeing that list almost made me want to cry. My cupboards were stocked with canned foods – especially tomatoes; we usually had several 12-packs of soda on hand; and plastic microwave dishes were all we had.

To be honest, my journey into learning to cook more, and be more “domesticated,” stemmed mostly from my research and desire to eliminate/greatly reduce the BPA in our lives. And it really hasn’t been so bad. Yes, we still use plastic containers, but typically heat up our food with our Corelle dishes. I have all but eliminated canned food – and I’ve found that once you switch to freezer or fresh (or a combo, which is necessary here in the winter) – canned food has a distinctively metallic taste (gross!) anyway. As for soda? Well… I still like it too much to give it up, so I’ve tried to switch to bottled as much as I am able – though cans still show up in our house from  time to time.

Some of the harder things have been finding a substitute for canned food items that aren’t available fresh all year. Pumpkin? Try finding a pumpkin in a grocery store in Minnesota in the winter or spring. Tomatoes? Yeah, you can find them all year round, but they aren’t always so great (looks- or taste-wise). How about the Thanksgiving staple of cranberry sauce – the jellied kind that comes out of the can with the lines still molded into it? Well, after an experience trying to make my own – I did some research and was SO happy to find that the linings of cranberry cans DO NOT contain BPA (yay!)

As I continue on this search for BPA-free items, I’ve found that we end up reducing our exposure to other non-desirable things in food as well. Soy (a phytoestrogen possibly linked to breast cancer), MSG, food dyes, preservatives, etc… a lot of those things are gone or nearly eliminated from our diets. I’ll detail some of my choices for replacements and some of my struggles in making or obtaining BPA-free replacements in future posts.

The Honest Company Family Essentials

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Overall I’m not really into the 100% natural trend that’s out there right now, but there are a few things that I definitely search for all-natural or “more natural than the rest.” I really wanted to try Jessica Alba’s The Honest Company diapers, and while I was at it, I decided to sign up for the trial of the Family Essentials bundle as well. I ended up getting the bundle for about 3 months before I cancelled the subscription, so I tried several of the products.

My main reason for cancelling was I’m kind of a spur-of-the-moment/last-minute type of person – so running out of dish soap or hand soap means I have to run to the store and buy more NOW… and you can’t do that with these products. They’re also a bit expensive if the all-natural movement isn’t your thing.

Anyway, some of the products were good and some we didn’t like as much, so here’s a rundown of what we tried and what we thought:

Honest.com

Honest.com

Healing Balm

This wasn’t my go-to product when we purchased it because I’m a big fan of MotherLove products, and we’ve been using them for our diaper rash needs. However, recently my oldest had a pretty nasty cold. She was obsessive about having her nose wiped, and thus ended up with super chapped cheeks, upper lip and nostrils. This was the only thing she would let us put on her face, and it did a pretty good job. Could the MotherLove products have done the same thing? Probably, but this did a great job, and is much easier to find in the diaper bag than the small tubs of MotherLove balm. I don’t think I’d start up a subscription again just to get this, but the tube will last quite awhile anyway.

Shampoo & Conditioner

I really wanted to like these – they have a kind of orange dreamsicle smell to them that reminded me of the Schwann’s orange sherbet push-ups we used to get as kids. Unfortunately, I felt like the shampoo was overly drying and the conditioner wasn’t able to make up for that. My hair felt brittle after using it, and I wasn’t sure about using it on my girls after feeling that. As of right now the bottles are sitting in the bathroom cubpoards not being used.

Body Lotion

I wasn’t a huge fan of this, but I’m not sure I’m qualified to review because I really dislike lotion overall. The smell was fine, I just don’t like the feel of having lotion on my skin – so I don’t use it and I don’t put it on my kids either. I have given away one bottle of this, and have one more in storage.

Hand Soap

This is probably my favorite product of the bundle. I love the lemongrass smell! It also doesn’t have that slimy feel in our soft water that a lot of soaps tend to have. Again, I don’t think I’d restart the subscription for just this – but maybe I would and just fill my whole lineup with the soap, and then cancel after one month? Who knows… we’re almost out of what we have right now!

Hand Sanitizer

Neither my husband nor I like this at all. It’s very slimy feeling and takes longer than other hand sanitizers to dry on your hands. We also weren’t fans of the smell, but I can’t quite identify what the smell is that we don’t like.

Dish Soap

This one I’m pretty neutral on. We don’t wash a ton of dishes by hand (my rebellion from a childhood of not having a dishwasher… everything goes in the dishwasher here!) – but when we have, I’ve noticed the bubbles don’t stick around too long. Regardless, it seemed to get the job done, and the smell wasn’t overpowering like a lot of other dish soaps we’ve had.

Overall, these Honest Company products are pretty good, and as I mentioned before, the customer service is great!

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!