Sunday, December 19, 2010

Cloth Diapering Newborns

When you’re expecting your first little one, the thought of cloth diapering a newborn can be a bit overwhelming. Not only do you have to figure out what to do with a newborn (would be so nice if they came with an instruction manual), but also how to cloth diaper.

I often receive questions from new parents about cloth diapers for newborns. Many parents go out and buy one size diapers such as FuzziBunz or bumGenius 4.0s, but find that they tend to look really bulky on a newborn, specially when they are under 10 pounds. And it’s true, the one size tend to look too big until they reach around 12 pounds, give or take. They aren’t too big, it just seems that way when your baby is still so small :)

For those that know that they will probably have smaller babies, or they plan on having more children down the road, I always recommend going for a “sized” option. With sized diapers, you don’t need to purchase nearly as many, and they don’t get used for a super long period of time, unlike the one size diapers. So, your cloth diapers will last longer and you will be able to use them for multiple children. If you are expecting multiples, purchasing extra small or small will be work really well for the beginning. Multiples tend to be closer to 5 pounds, and you have a long way to go to reach the 8-10 pound range for the one size diapers. One really popular brand of sized pocket diapers here at the Little Monkey Store is the FuzziBunz Perfect Size. Extra small fits 4-12 pounds (perfect for multiples or preemies) and the small (perfect for newborns) fits 7-18 pounds.

Another option for newborns is prefolds and covers. With our little guy, we started out with prefolds in the beginning, but were able to switch to his one size diapers pretty quick as he was not a small baby. Prefolds are great because they are inexpensive in comparison to pocket diapers and they wash up very easily. Newborns go through a lot of diapers, around 15 or so a day, so have a bunch of prefolds makes it easy. The downside of prefolds is that you often have to change them more frequently as they do not provide the stay-dry feeling that pocket diapers or all-in-ones have with a microfleece or suede cloth inner. A popular brand and one we’ve personally used is the Bummis Organic Cotton Prefolds. They wash up really well and when you’re done with them, you can use them as burp cloths, rags, extra diaper inserts, the possibilities are endless.

With prefolds, you need to use a cover to make them waterproof. There are a number of covers out there: wool, fleece, and PUL are a few. Typically you can get about 4 prefold changes with one cover before the cover needs to be washed or air dried (for wool). A great Canadian made brand of PUL cover is the Bummis Super Whisper Wrap. They come in a few different sizes, including newborn with a notch cut out for the healing umbilical cord. Plus, they come in some really cute patterns too. When you’re picking your covers, don’t forget to pick up a couple of Snappis. Snappis are what hold the prefold together as there are no pins or snaps on them.

And what is the most important accessory you’ll need for cloth diapering newborns? Bio-liners. You will want to place a bio-liner in the diaper every time you change a newborn. A newborn’s poop is very different, it is often described as a black tar-like substance. With a bio-liner, you just empty it into the toilet and there is no spraying or swishing needed.

If you need any help planning your newborn cloth diaper stash or have questions about cloth diaper newborns, please feel free to ask! We’d also love to hear your experiences cloth diapering your newborn.

Happy Holidays!


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Gabriel's Picks - BabyKicks 3g Pocket Diaper

It's been a long time since we've done a Gabriel's Picks post. Gabriel is no longer the tiny preemie we first started posting about. Now nearly 11 months old and 17lbs we've moved into the mass expanse of one size diapers! So, you will be seeing some more Gabriel's Picks over the next little while as we review some great ones that we have tried and tested and some we even loved so much we've added them to our stock!

This posts feature is the BabyKicks 3g Pocket Diaper. The 3g is a one size pocket diaper that is incredibly thin and trim. It has a microfleece barrier designed to prevent wicking to the outside and some nice fleece leg gussets to stop any messes while still allowing for airflow and a front stuffing pocket.

We've been using and testing out the 3g for 2 months now and are pleased to say it is among our favorites for overnight solutions. It is very trim and easily allows us to use regular sized clothing on Gabe (not having to size up on pants to accommodate a bulky diaper). The side snaps make it impossible for him to get his diaper off, however, he is such a squirmer now that we find we have to be really quick to get it on before he is rolling over and on the move again.

Here is a run down of some of the great features:

One Size Design grows with baby from 7lbs/3.2kg to 40lbs/18kg. The intuitive snap-down sizing system makes adjusting and finding the right size and fit super easy. You will only needs to buy diapers once, saving you time and money!

Bamboo/Fleece lining: The incredibly soft inner liner (against baby’s skin) is made of luxurious 30% Certified Organic Cotton and 70% Rayon made from Bamboo. The material will remain soft, absorbent and silky wash after wash.

Air Gussets are made of a special fleece material and contain no PUL, which allows for even more air flow to help prevent rashes. The Soft fabric does not leave red marks on baby’s legs, but still protects against leaks and blow outs.

Front Pocket allows for easy stuffing of diaper and gives you the option to customize the absorbency. The front pocket eliminates inserts hanging out of the back of the diaper and prevents solids from leaking onto the insert.

Side Snaps eliminates wing drop problem and are easy to use, durable and long lasting. The two rows of four snaps allow for separate waist and thigh adjustment and will give you a perfect fit. Side snaps are harder for toddlers to undo (no playing in poo), and make diaper easy to use as a training pant when the time comes.

Waterproof Outer Shell removes the need for a cover. Our super-soft breathable PUL is waterproof and makes sure baby’s clothes stay nice and dry.

Want to test a 3g for us?

-This contest runs until Friday December 31st, 2010 @ 11:59pm EST.
-Winners will be chosen by most compelling argument
- to enter email tanya (at) with why you think you are the most qualified to be our new tester. Please include the age and size of your current diapered little one along with info on your past cloth diapering experience.
- Winner must be willing to provide feedback as well as pictures of their experience using the 3g.
-Participation is open to cloth diaper users in CANADA ONLY!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Gift Giving Made Easy

The holiday bustle is upon us. It’s my favorite time of year. Once October 1st comes, I begin planning out all the upcoming holiday festivities. Christmas is such a magical time of year! I have the calendar booked with local activities for the family. We attend outdoor concerts, movies in the park, parades, cut down a Christmas tree, and so many more activities. Buying gifts used to be one of my favorite things and still is near the top of the list, but with a toddler in tow I find it a little more daunting. I love to find cute, practical gifts and I have a few to share with you today.

First up, a reusable snack and sandwich bag is great for any one on your list. It keeps many plastic baggies out of landfills. They are cute and make a packed lunch and snacking more fun! My favorite feature of these bags is the Velcro closure. My toddler has no problem opening it up himself, sitting it next to his leg in the car seat and then closing it back when he’s finished. There’s no more scream or whining when he’s dropped his snack cup on the floor.

Second up, the Baby Bottoms Baby or Toddler doll is the perfect doll for all young children. These dolls are available in four races: African American, Asian, Caucasian, and Hispanic. They are anatomically correct and also have a belly button. The Toddler dolls come with a little Baby Bjorn style potty. It’s perfect for modeling a practicing potty learning. My favorite feature of this doll is it’s completely made of fabric and can easily be thrown right in the washing machine when it gets dirty.

Third up, wet bags are a useful gift for new moms or even grandmothers. All new mothers regardless of their diapering status can use wet bags. Every one knows how many times a day a baby gets changed. Spit up, drool, accidents all bring about clothing changes. Why not have an adorable wet bag to store stinky, dirty clothes in the diaper bag? My grandmother uses a wet bag every day at the YMCA. After, her wet aerobics class she uses the wet bag to store her swim suit in for her trip home. I use a small size wet bag to keep my camera safe from any sippy cup or other liquid spills in the diaper bag. Wet bags have so many useful purposes!

I’m off to bake some more cookies and hang some more tinsel. If you’d like to win a free Candy Cane snack bag there are many ways to enter and each one will result in a separate entry. Entries must be received by December 15, 2010.
1. Leave a comment on this blog about your favorite holiday tip.
2. Fan Wee Willie Winks on Facebook.
3. Follow Wee Willie Winks on Twitter.
4. Fan the Cloth Diaper Retailer Blog on Facebook.

Wishing you a fun and wonderful holiday season!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Musings from the Laundry Room

Hello! Amanda from Tender Loving Cloth Diapers here. I wanted to create a blog post where people could share their best tips/tricks for laundering their diapers. In my opinion that can be one of the most individualized routines that is required when using cloth diapers. Your wash routine can be dependent on your washer, your detergent, your preference for drying, etc.

Personally I have an HE washer which I love for clothes but do not love so much with my diapers. It seems to take a bit more tweaking to get the laundry routine down just right, but it is great for saving water and energy. I have used several different detergents over the years, but my personal wash routine right now is.. quick cold wash cycle with no detergent, followed by a long hot wash with 1-2 tbsp Rockin Green detergent with an extra rinse cycle on the end. My hot wash also includes a soak and stain treat. If I want to add a bit more water to the cycle I add a towel or two since my washer weighs the diapers first before deciding how much water is needed. I try to wash every other day most of the time.

I typically hang dry all of my diapers on a laundry rack in my basement. If I need to dry them quickly I throw just the inserts into the dryer.. and occasionally add a dry towel to speed things along. If it is a nice day I love to take the rack to the backyard.. the sun is AMAZING with diapers. Takes the stains out and freshens them up nicely. My son's diapers are over 2 years old and have very minimal staining because of the sun. It truly is amazing!!

So what types of laundry tips can you share? What keeps your diapers fresh? What detergent do you love? I would love for us to share some tips and tricks for keeping the stinkies at bay.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Otter Puddle Training Pants

Hi, this is Sharni of Nappy Shoppe. My youngest Braden at 2 has been back and forth on training. I am a firm believer that they will do it at their own pace, so I let him decide when he is ready. So right now he goes a few times a day, opts to wear trainers a few times a day and opts to wear a diaper other times. So right now I have the best of both worlds as a cloth diaper store owner, he is testing both diapers and trainers!

So when Braden first showed signs of training, I pulled out the Happy Heiny trainers that I had been stocking since I started Nappy Shoppe. While he loved to wear the cow print one I had chosen for him, I thought them to be rather poofy and diaperish still. They are still one of my number one recommendations for night time and nap time though as they can be stuffed like a diaper for absorbency, but they can be pulled up and down like underwear. But I found I wanted something trimmer that looked more like underwear. So the applications to stock trainers started, and we have tried several brands on Braden, and the ones I stock in the store, we do like. But there was one that was an outstanding favourite for us.

Designed by Debby Reed of Otter Babies is the Otter Puddle. These trainers are the best we have found. They are trim, absorbent, and well made. These trainers are a day time option only. They are not for night time or nap time usage. They will hold an accident nicely and protect furniture and flooring nicely for one accident, but they are not designed to be left on as long as a diaper.

The ones we stock have snaps on the side (though they do make one that does not). I far prefer snaps on the side so that when a poopy accident happens, clean up is easy. We had a poopy accident in a pair of trainers that did not have snaps, and it was not a pleasant experience cleaning that up. The puddles can be pulled up and down like undies, and if there is no poopy accidents you do not have to undo the snaps.

The outside of the trainers is a cotton interlock (though some do have a bamboo french terry), so that they feel like undies. Some of the brands I sell have a PUL outer, which to me makes it feel like a diaper still. (These tend to be the brands that work great for night time and nap time though). The fabric helps the child transition to underwear, and the pants feel more like undies as a result.

The inner of the trainers is a soft bamboo interlock, that is comfortable to wear, but will make the child feel wet when they have an accident. You do not want a stay dry fleece in my opinion in a trainer during the day, as you need them to feel wet to learn.

The absorbent layers are two layers of hemp fleece, that is hidden between the inner and outer layer of the pants. This is backed by a layer of water proof fabric to prevent the bulk of the accident from coming through the pants. We have found that this is sufficient to hold the one accident and not had any leaking on to furniture. If you leave them on for another accident (ie you are not aware that the first has happened) then the outer of the pants will get wet.

There is an optional snap in pad. The pants all come with the pad, but the optional part is if you want to use it or not. It is great for the early days of training when accidents are more common, but it can be removed later on when accidents are rarer. The pad is one layer of bamboo fleece and two layers of hemp fleece. It snaps into the pants, and has an otter embroidered on to the front. Not only is the otter the logo of the brand of pants, but it can be used as a teaching tool. We tell Braden to keep the otter dry. (His little friend Natalie calls it a Kitty .... ).

The small sized puddles are great for those who EC. We do find that the most commonly used size is the larges and extra larges.

We love the Puddles, so much so that when Debby was unable to keep up with our demand for them, Nappy Shoppe crew came on board to help sew them. We really believe in this product, and they are a favourite of many of my customers who are training or have trained their tots.

Congratulations to Libby (15) who one our free otter puddle.

In these photos, Braden is around 30 pounds in a size large, and Natalie is around 27 pounds in a size large.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

WAHM Shout Out - Snicklefritz

Hi! This is LeAnn from Giggle Britches. I am so excited to announce that our baby girl, Kendall Nicole, was born November 11th. We are adjusting quite well and her big sisters are totally in love. It has been a lot of fun trying out some newborn diapers that I have not used before.

Before I was even pregnant, I had bought 6 newborn Snicklefritz Snappiable fitteds from Nicole on Diaperswappers. I got her "Simple Snickle" back when she was having a sale. They have become one of my favorite newborn diapers! They workmanship is fantastic. The material has stayed so soft even after multiple washings. The fit is perfect on my skinny-legged newborn. I highly recommend these to anyone looking for a simple, newborn fitted diaper. Plus, it is so great to support another work-at-home mom!

Kendall is only 3 days old here :)

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Aubrey's Undies- Bummis Trainers

Made in Montreal, Canada, Bummis Trainers are one of Aubrey's first picks! Perfect for car trips and trips out to the store, when you want that layer of waterproof protection. Bummis Trainers are less bulky than some of the other brands we have tried, making them fit easily under Aubrey's clothes. Aubrey loved the prints, especially her new "Froggy Undies". Mommy loved that she could easily pull them up and down on her own as she works to independence in the bathroom.
The Low Down on Bummis:
- legs and waist are covered in stretchy lycra bindings
- laminated waterproof polyester knit outer
- flannel lining against your toddler allows them to feel wet and helps them train faster
- 2 layers of absorbent terry to absorb accidents

We found Bummis were perfect for daytime, nap time, and excursions out and about. Aubrey is a deep sleeper, so we found she saturated the Bummis before she woke up to make it to the potty, and had initially counted them out for night-time use. Then at 2am one night they were the only ones left in her drawer... so I did what any sleep deprived Mommy would have done at 2am, I quickly grabbed a Bummis Prefold from Gabe's pile folded it in 3 and tucked it in, then helped Aubrey pull them up. My middle of the night quick fix solution worked so well (dry sheets and PJ's in the morning) that it has become a part of our routine! The Bummis Trainers fit so much better than the overnight solution we had been using that they became the permanent solution- and we found a great way to continue to use the now too small Preemie Bummis Prefolds!

Want to win some Bummis products of your own to test out? Register to be a seeker in the upcoming Green Quiz Quest for your chance to win some great prizes donated by Bummis and other great sponsors!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Wool Diaper Covers

Hi! I'm Bayla from Soft and Cozy Baby, a physical storefront in Baltimore.

Wool is an amazing fabric to use as a diaper cover. We started using Llamajama longies last winter for my 1.5 year old. It worked great overnight and he never woke up with wet sheets! The sizing is amazing. I got an 18 month size - they were a bit big on him to start and they still fit him, a year later!

There are many benefits to using wool covers over prefolds, fitteds or contours. Especially in the winter, when everyone wants to cozy up in some yummy warm wool.

Wool is a natural fiber with antibacterial properties. Being natural, it is very breathable. This allows air circulation which can help reduce the incidence of diaper rash. It also regulates body temperature - keeping you warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Wool treated with lanolin is water resistant. It can absorb up to 30% of its weight in moisture. IT wicks moisture away, keeping your baby dry.

The natural antibacterial properties reduces odor and bacteria build-up.

Wool diaper covers are available as soakers, longies, and shorties. You can really make any design cover you want if you know (or know someone who knows) how to knit or crochet.

To care for wool is pretty simple, once you get the hang of it.
Wool only needs to be washed when it gets dirty. You can reuse your wool cover until then. The more you use your wool, the faster the lanolin gets used up, so you do have to relanolize your cover occasionally. Lanolizing wool is what makes it water resistant.

When you first start using wool, wash it in a delicate detergent or wool wash and add some lanolin to the wash. Lanolin can come in a bar, liquid, spray, or included in the wool wash. Then re-lanolize whenever you wash or when the water resistance starts wearing off - usually every 3-4 weeks.

The longies picture here are Llamajamas.
The wool soaker is Little Beetles.
Thanks to the Llamajama website for a lot of these facts and stats!

We are having some super sales coming up for the holidays if you're in the Baltimore/DC/PA area! This Wed night, Nov 17, we're staying open late 6-9pm for our Pre-Holiday SALE with amazing discounts and giveaways. And of course don't forget about Black Friday!

Have a Safe, Warm & Happy Holiday Season!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Again with the attacks on Attachment Parenting....

Alert and dedicated readers may remember that my first post for this blog was all about Elizabeth Badinter's book Conflict: The Woman and the Mother. In this book, Badinter, a French Intellectual, states that all the elements of attachment parenting (cloth diapers, breastfeeding, babywearing, co-sleeping, etc.) are nothing more than a prison enslaving women from reaching their true potential. If these elements were not in play, Badinter argues, women would free themselves from their children and enter the working world and becoming true feminists. That attachment parenting moms and dads are turning their backs on the advances of modern life (formula, disposable diapers, epiderals) and enslaving themselves to their children. Decades of modern feminism advances are being rolled back by these choices. So she says.

I argued that true feminism, at least as defined by this WAHM in the suburbs of Minneapolis, is to follow the path that makes sense for you. For some, it is full-on attachment parenting, cutting no corners. For others, it is a cafeteria approach...picking the elements of attachment parenting that make sense for their situation and opting not to include those that do not. For still others, attachment parenting has no place in their lives and they are able to raise happy, healthy families with no guilt for the road not taken. All of these are valid and worthwhile options. Many of my readers agreed with me according to the comments on the post.

I had more or less forgotten Badinter and her screed against Attachment Parenting even though her book is a top seller in Europe and soon to come to the US. I was having a calm afternoon this weekend relaxing after the chaos of my twins' birthday party when my husband stuck the Wall Street Journal under my nose and said "You are going to find this interesting." In the Journal, author Erica Jong in her essay Mother Madness takes on Badinter's cause. She too finds the "orgy of motherphilia" offensive and rails against it in her essay. Her belief is that Attachment Parenting, especially, as she points out, when it is combined with the desire to be environmentally correct, has encouraged female victimization. That the need to do all the "right" things creates a prison (there is that word again) for moms and that it represents as much "a backlash against women's freedom as the right-to-life movement." She does point out, rightly, I believe, that not all families can afford full-on attachment parenting. That the need to have two working parents in a family may require a family to take a different path. I think this is a topic that is too infrequently raised and I do applaud her for doing so.

Jong interestingly lists out all the ways she was NOT an attachment parent including the heavy use of nannies, the long absences from her child and the use of any and all modern technology she could acquire. What is most notable is that in a companion piece, her daughter, the author Molly Jong-Fast, writes of her own life as a stay at home mom to three young children. How her entire parenting philosophy is a repudiation of the way her mother raised her. She does not criticize her mother, however, she praises her. She said that her mother's choices allowed her to have the life where she can make very different choices for her family.

So, what do you think? Is this a dead horse (at least until Badinter's book hits Oprah)? Are the choices of Attachment Parenting families derailing feminism? Is something as sweet and useful as a cloth diaper subversive?


Feeling a little subversive myself on this post-election week. So, let's give away one of those hostile to modern feminism cloth diapers. How about one of the new bumGenius Artist Series ones as I think they are fairly cool. There are many ways to enter and each one will result in a separate entry. Entries must be received by November 25, 2010.
1. Comment on this Blog
2. Fan Cottontail Baby on Facebook
3. Join the Cottontail Baby mailing list
4. Fan the Cloth Diaper Retailer Blog on Facebook.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Troubleshooting Chat tonight at Diaper Decisions

Welcome to all the hunters during this month's Great Cloth Diaper Hunt! Snooty Booty Diapers is hosting a chat from 9-10 pm EST tonight. The topic is "Troubleshooting Leaks and Problems." Some tips will be given on:
night diapering
clothing and diapers
leaks with one size diapers
repelling diapers

If you have some diapering problems, be sure to stop by tomorrow night. I'll chime in with my experience, but other moms will be able to give their tips as well. If you think you can help some other moms, drop in and share your advice, too!

Chat room page

Friday, November 5, 2010

Cloth Diaper Storage Solutions

Hi, I am Sharni of the Nappy Shoppe in Allen Texas. Several months ago, I ran a little competition asking entrants to show me their cloth diaper storage systems. I am one who loves to be organised, Ikea and Container Store are places I love for their organisation systems. So I wanted to see how others had worked out ways to store their diapers. Quite a few people entered, and you can see them all on my blog under the cloth diaper storage category.

But I thought I would feature some of my favourites.

While it did not hold a lot of diapers, this one appealed to me because it made the diapers look like artwork. Daisy used mostly gDiapers with G-Flappers on her son Aiden, and this system did not require a lot of storage room so this worked for her. When changing Aiden, she simply had to reach up and grab a prepared gDiaper and put it on him.

She uses a regular trash can from a home improvement store with a Wahmies pail liner in it, right beside the change table. A small basket to one side contains creams etc for all those diaper changing needs.

I am sure you have seen those toy storage bucket shelf systems at Target etc. Melody had one of these and re-purposed it for her diapers. By tilting the buckets, she was able to see at a glance the diapers in the buckets. She said the storage system cost her $65 from Target. She has it placed right next to her changing table. This system also allows for the buckets to be stored straight, so if you wanted to hide what was in them, you could do so.

Chelsea took an over the door shoe hanging system and turned it into her diaper storage system. Over the door can work well for you if the door is convenient to your changing space. This system means that the diapers take up next to no space to store. The beauty of this system is you could have more than one on different doors in the house if you are someone who likes to change baby at different places.

Britney had a very limited space in her apartment, and needed good storage for her two little ones. So she made good use of her wall space. She labeled canvas boxes so she knew exactly what was stored in them. These boxes are readily available at big box stores for less than $10 a piece. Simple white shelves store the boxes. As you can see the boxes store more than diapers, they store the kids clothes as well.

Do you have a space in your bathroom that allows for you to sit in a chair and do your make up? I do, as does Julie. I never use mine, and Julie didn't either. So she turned this space into the changing area. Using simple wire shelves, she turned the space under the counter into diaper storage, and put a changing pad on the counter. Doing this gives her ready access to water for changing. (I actually have a similar set up. We have the changing pad situated between the two sinks in our master bath, and my husband installed a shelf in the space beneath for diapers.)

And then you could go traditional. See how much prettier cloth diapers look in a standard change table than disposables. They look like artwork here in the shelves under the change table. Such a system works until baby is mobile :) Rebecca found she had all her diapers within easy reach with this. Did you know that Ikea sells affordable change tables in this style?

And want to see my system? This hangs over the door of our master bath. As I said earlier, we have his change space between the two sinks in the master bath. When the bathroom door is open, it is a simple reach to grab a diaper from this. We got this one at Ikea, but I don't know that they make this particular one anymore, but they do have similar ones available. The top shelf of this dragon is reserved for diapers for daddy's use. Daddy prefers all-in-ones that close with hook and loop. He was not a fan of testing different brands on baby for the store, so we keep it simple for him. He knows any diaper in that top shelf is going to be easy for him to use.

And then we could all be honest about the way we store our diapers. Sara had a nice shelving system all set up for her diapers, but she said in general this was typically how she had her diapers stored. And if I was honest, often I am pulling diapers directly out of the laundry basket too!

I hope I have inspired some storage ideas. If you have a different storage system, I would love to feature it on my blog. Just contact me through the Nappy Shoppe website.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

On October 30, 2010, we opened our NEW cloth diaper showroom in Haverhill, MA with a great big celebration!

During the course of the day, we were visited by former customers, new customers, friends, family, and even a celebrity in the cloth diapering world, Erin from Sustainablebabyish|Sloomb!

Our new cloth diaper boutique in Haverhill, MA!

There were lots of new babies who came to visit (with their parents, of course!) and pick out some new cloth diapers, wetbags, and cloth-diaper safe laundry detergent.

Showing a new Dad some gorgeous Sbish knit longies!

The showroom was set up to provide a comfortable environment for parents to come and learn about cloth diapers. We have a sitting area with a big, comfy couch and a rocking chair for nursing mothers. We even have a diaper changing station and some toys and books to keep little ones occupied while their parents shop!

A group of new and veteran cloth diapering parents discussing cloth diapers!

Our showroom is located at 71 Summer Street Haverhill MA. It is open to local parents from the Merrimack Valley region of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, including the surrounding towns of Methuen, Lawrence, Andover, North Andover, and Salem, NH. We will be holding regularly scheduled open houses, as well as monthly cloth diaper classes. We also will be starting a monthly group meeting for local babywearing parents, called Merrimack Valley Babywearers!

Follow us on facebook at for current information on classes, meetings, sales, and other special events!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Raising Green Kids- Greening up your laundry room

Just like many of you I've heard the terms "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" a lot over the past 10-15 years. And lets face it we have all heard about global warming, right? Some of you may have even watched Al Gore's documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" from 2006. But has it impacted your life? Have you noticed a change in the weather patterns over the past couple of years?
My brother-in-law Aaron recently went on a trip to Alaska and saw those great icebergs up close. He brought back some great pictures (like this one of waterfalls) of beautiful icebergs, and told stories to his nieces about them. What hit home for me were the stories of the markings with dates that depicted the melting of these icebergs. Were Aaron to return for a repeat trip of hiking through Alaska in a few years, some of those great sites may be gone altogether.
Over the years I have done my part in recycling tins and plastics and composting, even before I had my own home and was making those decisions for myself. But it really wasn't until I had children of my own that the issue really hit home for me- our Earth is changing, and the reality of it is, there are parts of it that wont be here when Gabe (my 7 month old) hits school, and many more that will be gone before he is my age.

So around our house we are doing everything we can to put those 3 R's to good use! Here are a few things we're doing in the laundry room:

Laundry Detergent
First I want you to think back (way back) to grade school science. Some of you may remember learning about soap molecules and why soap works to clean. Well detergent is quite similar. To simplify this think of these little molecules like a magnet- it has a (+) end and a (-) end. One end of the molecule is hydrophobic (repelled by water, but are attracted to oil and grease) while the other end of the same molecule is hydrophilic (attracted to water). Detergents bind to the soil and the mechanical energy or agitation of your washer allows the detergent to pull the oil and dirt away from your clothes. Rinsing washes the detergent and any oil and dirt it has attracted away.

So what's in mainstream laundry detergents that's so bad? Her are some of the more common ingredients you may want to avoid and why:
  • Surfactants. These create the bubbles in your washing machine. Alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs), the most common surfactants in mainstream detergents, have been identified as a potential endocrine disrupter.
  • Synthetic fragrances. These can be found in detergents, fabric softeners and dryer sheets. These are what give you laundry that spring rain, orange blossom or lavender smell. In reality these man-made scented chemicals are made from petroleum, and don’t degrade which makes them extremely toxic to your health and the environment.
  • Phosphates. These are used in detergents to soften water. Phosphates can cause algae blooms in lakes and ponds which lead to the suffocation of aquatic plants and animals.
You might also be surprised to know that mainstream laundry detergents (just like disposable diaper companies) are not required to list all of their ingredients on the label- so really who knows whats in there!

The Greener Option
Greener laundry detergents will contain natural, biodegradable surfactants (some are derived from coconuts, others from corn). The term biodegradable is thrown around a lot these days, but to be truly and completely biodegradable, it must be organic (meaning derived from something living- most often plants) to begin with.
Switch to a greener laundry detergent that is non-toxic, biodegradable with no petroleum based products. We have some great choices for these in North America and many of them are cloth safe! Rockin Green Cloth Diaper and Laundry Detergent can even be used to strip the old detergent residue from your cloth diapers!

Hot vs Cold water:
Warm or hot water melts fats and oils so that it is easier for the detergent to dissolve the soil and pull it away into the rinse water. But 80% of the energy used to wash your clothes is used in heating the water! Washing your laundry in cold water will save energy (and your pocket book). Cold water rinses the soap out just as well as warm or hot, so even if you used a warm or hot wash, use a cold rinse.

What about the dryer?
Of course hanging your laundry is the best for the environment, but that may not always be possible. The many months of winter in our country would definitely make line drying outside more difficult, and believe it or not there are actually some areas with bylaws that dont allow clothes lines in your yard.
So here are a few tips for your dryer:
Keeping your dryer clean can help maximize the air flow and efficiency, so clean the lint filter after every load.
Try to do several loads of laundry at once to take advantage of the leftover heat from the previous load.

Dryer Balls
Dryer balls were invented to reduce static and help your clothing dry faster.
As your wet laundry tumbles in the dryer, Dryer Balls lift and separate your clothes, allowing the air to flow more efficiently. Perfect for those concerned with conserving energy or those with a busy lifestyle. Unfortunately, dryer balls currently available mainstream are made out of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which is one of the most poisonous plastics ever manufactured.
A great green alternative is Wool Dryer Balls! Yes, Wool! Wool balls work in a similar manner to the PVC kind in that they lift and separate your cloths but wool will also soften up your clothes by gentle friction of the felted wool fibers against your clothing fibers. Not only does this make your clothes soft and fluffy, it can also reduce your drying time by up to 40% (this will vary according to your load and dryer size and how many balls are in the dryer)! No more need for fabric softener or dryer sheets... and they never need to be replaced! Of course if you enjoy the scent of those dryer sheets, you just need to add a drop of essential oils to one of your dryer balls and it will keep your laundry scented for quite a few loads!

For some more great tips on all things green visit The Green Quiz Quest and sign up as a seeker! The Green Quiz Quest is a worldwide online scavenger hunt through websites that promote living green or offer green products. Its loads of fun and has great prizes!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

What is up with all the crazy prints?

Happy Columbus Day!

This is going to be a short blog post today as we have had a spell of simply amazing weather here in Minnesota...upper 80s every single day and sunny, gorgeous blue skies. The weather has been so spectacular it ALMOST makes us forget the unfortunate showing by our still much loved Twins. However, the downside of this glorious weather has been that very little work has gotten done. Oh, well, we have a long cold winter to catch up.

I wanted to write today about prints. Prints have become the new hot thing in cloth diapers. bumGenius recently introduced a new line of prints, the Little Socialite Collection within their Artist Series. They have received mixed reviews. The names, like all the bumGenius color names lately, are a little too much. Jet Set? Concrete Jungle? Eiffel Tower? Yikes!!! A lot of fans of bumGenius on Facebook really were very vocal in their dislike of these prints. Personally, I love them. I really, really do. I like bold styles and these are definitely fierce. Even more than that, I like the fact that they took a chance. I am so tired of the little bunnies and teddy bears on diapers. I am strong person and I am raising three strong, kind, independent little boys. Why dress them like kittens?

However, these are art, really and truly. Like all things artistic, they will appeal to some and not others. We all have different tastes and gravitate towards a different aesthetic from each other. I think it is rather cool that diapers are starting to enter this realm. If we are going to spend so much of our lives changing them and washing them and wearing them, why not make them fun and have them make a bit of a statement?

Happy Heiny's has also unleashed new prints in the last month. I LOVE the tie dye. Am a little lukewarm on the Oooga Booga but think the Groovy Circles are DIVINE! They have a couple new ones coming out....Owls which I suppose are seasonally appropriate and skulls that glow in the dark. Happy Halloween everyone! I kinda think Glow in the Dark doesn't make a whole lot of sense for a baby unless it helps with middle of the night diaper changes. However, if they make their wonderful trainers in glow in the dark material I will be first in line!

Lots of other manufacturers are doing prints including Thirsties, Gro-Via and Kissaluvs. It clearly has become the new way to differentiate diapers and I think it is fun. So, what do you think? Do you like all the new prints or are you more old school and prefer the pastel solids and bunnies? How do you feel about bumGenius' Artist Series? Is it a fun next step in the evolution of cloth diapers or have they gone too far?

Of course, we need to do a Giveaway. In honor of the prints focus of this small little note, we would like to giveaway one of our absolute favorite prints of all. The Kissaluv Marvel in Zoo Blue (however, if you would prefer Mocha Swirl or Two Hoots, we can do that). There are many ways to enter and each one will result in a separate entry. Entries must be received by October 26, 2010.
1. Comment on this blog
2. Fan Cottontail Baby on Facebook
3. Join the Cottontail Baby mailing list
4. Fan the Cloth Diaper Retailer Blog on Facebook

Friday, October 8, 2010

Snooty Booty Diapers Fall Open House

It's time for my monthly post and it's just a little early to discuss all the great products that many companies are unveiling over the next week or so. We've seen a lot of sneak peeks and print releases, and there's still more to come. By next week, a lot of great products will be available for retailers to order. I'm excited that the new product releases coincide with Snooty Booty Diapers' Fall Open House.

If you live in NJ, consider stopping by between 10-2 on Saturday, October 16th. I'm hoping the weather will be great and a weekend to enjoy with your family. There are many farms within a 20-25 minute driving distance, so plan your visit around a pumpkin-picking family outing. Or, stroll along the boardwalk before it gets too chilly-it's just a half mile down the road!

Stop by my Allenhurst office and see the new Softbums Omni before it officially hits the market in November. Preordering for new products will be available, as will in-office shopping. Take advantage of some great discounts on brands like FuzziBunz and Mommy's Touch and enjoy a 10% discount on your purchase (some exclusions apply). Each purchase receives a small gift and anyone who attends can enter to win one of several prizes.

Full details are here. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Local Cloth Diapering Resources

Since the invention of the Internet, millions of resources are at our fingertips with the click of a mouse. This concept also applies in the cloth diapering world. For example, I am in NW Ohio and I originally purchased all of my diapers from a retailer in Arizona. We knew each other through an online message board of fellow moms and I had never even heard of modern cloth diapering until we chatted online.

I purchased one diaper - a Thirsties All in One - to see how I liked the whole cloth diapering concept. I figured just one diaper would help me save at least one disposable diaper per day in cost and in landfill space. It was shipped to me from Arizona, and I waited on pins and needles to see how I would like it. I loved it! My next purchase was a FuzziBunz Perfect Size diaper, and so on. Each time I would purchase a diaper I would wait for it to arrive, try it, see if I liked it, and then purchase more.

One thing I had not considered in my cloth diaper search was visiting a manufacturers' website to see if there were any cloth diaper retailers located close to my hometown. Now that I am a retailer myself, I think it is a great option that many may not be aware of. Many manufacturers list their retailers on their websites, and you can search by zip code or state and find a retailer close to you. Just as an example, you may view Happy Heinys' retailer location tool here.

Why might this be of benefit? Besides keeping dollars local which can be a great stimulus to local economies, many cloth diapering retailers offer cloth diapering classes. I personally offer monthly cloth diapering classes where customers can come see, touch, and feel the diapers before purchasing. I try to bring at least one of every item on my website to each class. Families can ask questions and learn exactly what they will need to use cloth on their babies. Many customers have come to the classes not sure if they would use cloth but have left 100% committed to making cloth work for their family.

There may be additional resources that your local cloth diapering retailer may offer as well. For example, I offer free shipping through my website. But if someone in NW Ohio puts in an order, I am very likely to try to incorporate a trip to that person's home the next day to get it there quickly and save myself the shipping cost as well.

Again, the Internet is a wonderful resource and an excellent tool. There are many amazing websites that can answer any question you may have about cloth diapering. If you'd like to check with your local cloth diapering retailer and see what types of additional resources they may offer beyond their website, click here for an excellent map that will allow you to zero in on that retailer nearest you. Happy cloth diapering to you!


Monday, October 4, 2010

Blueberry One Size Minky Diaper

My name is Sharni, and I own and run the Nappy Shoppe. The kids in these pictures are Natalie (the blond), my son Braden (the red head), and Kinsley (the brunette).

Can a super pretty diaper be as good functionally as well? I was rather skeptical about the Blueberry Minky diaper. I mean this thing was made for looks, right? I have bought some diapers in the past that were made for looks, and I could not put them on my son at nap time, because they would leak, or I could expect to change them within the hour. Often when a luxury material is used on the outside, wicking can occur. So this is what I expected of the Blueberry Minky One Size diaper.

I decided to use them in a photo shoot we had, after all they are stinking cute diapers. They looked phenomenal on my son, and his little girlfriend Natalie. We got them with the bamboo inserts.

Well after the shoot, I decided to try this diaper out at nap time. And wow it did fine. That bamboo insert that it came with was trim and extremely absorbent. So then I decided to try it at night time. Not so well. We had leaks. I found I could not stuff it as well for night time use as other pocket diapers I have. But I figured, this diaper is wasted at night. It is too cute to use at night, so for daytime and nap time use, it is fine.

When I first tried this diaper out on my son, it retailed for around $34, making it the most expensive diaper I sell. But I could see the value in the materials, construction and the insert.

Then Blueberry decided to offer the diaper with microfiber inserts, with the option to upgrade to the bamboo insert, and that brought the price down dramatically to around $25 per diaper. Back in line with some of the better quality diapers that I stock in my store. A lot of the high cost of this diaper was the wonderful bamboo insert. So now we just offer the bamboo insert as an upgrade option. Is it worth doing the upgrade? In my opinion yes. Microfiber inserts can only absorb so much, and bamboo does a far better job. So if you can afford the upgrade, do it, you will end up with a diaper that functions better.

It is very hard to cover up this diaper. When I put them on Braden, I put it on with just a t-shirt. I can see the big advantage in baby legs with this diaper. Not really a baby legs person myself, but I can see the advantage in the cooler months to show off the cute diapers :)

The other thing this diaper does, is it leads to a rash of "butt patting". Braden's older brothers and myself cannot resist patting his cute super soft butt in this diaper :) It is also a great way to promote cloth diapering in general :) Even those who are very resistant to cloth diapering have a hard time resisting this diaper.

At the store we call this our "Cadillac" diaper. At least one is a must have in any stash. For dressing up baby in :) And those photo shoots :)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

You get to pick! + Giveaway

As Snuggle Hugs gets ready to go to the ABC Kids Expo in Las Vegas, the premier juvenile products trade show, I started thinking about all the wonderful items we already offer at Snuggle Hugs and what might be missing from our site. 
Our current list of cloth diapers include - Happy Heinys, BumGenius (bumGenius 3.0 on clearance), Rocky Mountain diapers, FuzziBunz, Rumparooz, Gro-Via, Bummis, Knickernappies and Thirsties.  We also carry the accessory items of the companies above plus Planet Wise and Whamies for cloth diapering while out and about.
For your baby wearing needs we have the following great carriers for you to choose from - Baby K’TanCatbird Baby, Didymos, Dolcino, Hava, Kozy Carriers, Moby Wraps, Scootababy Hip carrier, Sleepy Wrap and Zolowear.  
What other goodies would you like to see at Snuggle Hugs to make your shopping experience with Snuggle Hugs even better?  
Ok so here is this months giveaway and what you need to do to get it.  Visit SnuggleHugs, shop around and look at what we offer.  Make some notes and comment below and on FaceBook.   A qualifying comment will include your favorite item we currently offer and one item you would like to see us add to the site for you and why you love that item.
For every comment here and on Snuggle Hugs FaceBook page you get an entry.  Your reward for helping us make Snuggle Hugs even better for you is a $10.00 gift certificate you can use on any order at Snuggle Hugs (gift certificate cannot include shipping).  Winner will be emailed a one time use gift code created just for them and must be used within 30 days of winning.
  1. Shop Snuggle Hugs and find your favorite item
  2. Shop Snuggle Hugs and let us know what you would like us to add
  3. Follow this blog and in your comment include answers to #1 and #2
  4. Like Snuggle Hugs on FaceBook and include answers to #1 and #2
  5. Follow Snuggle Hugs on Twitter every time you tweet @SnuggleHugs you get another entry
  6. Giveaway ends 10/30 winner will be picked via

Monday, September 20, 2010

The 411 on fleece covers and a giveaway (closed)

Congratulations Jen & Andy!
You are the winner!

Hi! LeAnn from Giggle Britches here again. With the fall season and cooler weather on the horizon, fleece sleepers and pants are hitting the racks in all your favorite department stores. Cloth diapering moms know fleece is a big time material in the cloth diapering world. Many wonder if these items can be used as covers. As long as they are 100% polyester, they can! So what makes fleece so great? Read on!

What is fleece?
Polar fleece (usually just referred to as fleece) is a synthetic material meant to mimic wool. Made from 100% polyester, fleece is designed to allow moisture to transfer through the fabric, or wick moisture through the fabric. When used as a cover, the moisture is pulled away from the diaper to the outer surface of the cover. It spreads out and evaporates into the air.

Benefits of using fleece as a cover:
  • Highly Breathable
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to care for and clean
  • Fast drying
  • Very soft and comfy
  • Great for heavy wetters and nighttime diapering
  • Less expensive than wool
Cons of using fleece as a cover:
  • Bulky
  • Synthetic material, unlike wool
  • More likely to retain urine smell than wool or PUL covers
  • Compression leaking
Don't forget - any cover is only as good as the diaper underneath it! Fleece diaper covers can be used with any prefold or fitted diaper. A good fleece cover paired with an absorbent fitted diaper make the perfect nighttime combination. I really like using the Tiny Tush Hemp fitted or the Happy Hempy pocket fitted with mine.

With winter soon approaching, I have pulled out our stock of the Stacinator fleece covers in this adorable snowman print. I am giving you the chance to win one in a size newborn (6-10 lbs, 13" waist, 6-8" thighs, runs a little big). Don't have a tiny baby - this make a great gift too! Giveaway ends 10-4-10.

Mandatory Entry
(1 entry) Comment on whether you have used fleece as a diaper cover, and if so, what you have used (i.e. Stacinator, Old Navy Fleece Pants, etc.)

For extra entries do any or all of the following. Leave a comment for each you do.

(1 entry)
Follow @cdretailercoop and @GigglBritches on twitter and tweet this giveaway. Please tweet, "@GigglBritches and @cdretailercoop are giving away a Stacinator Fleece Cover! #clothdiapers #giveaway" Leave a comment with a link to your status.

You can tweet once a day for the duration of the contest. Leave a comment with your status for each tweet. 1 entry per day.

(1 entry)
Follow this blog. Leave a comment.

(1 entry)
Grab our button and post it on your blog. Leave a comment.

(2 entries)
Blog about this giveaway and link to it. Post a link in your comment (leave two comments).

(1 entry) Like Giggle Britches on Facebook. Leave a comment.

(1 entry)
Like Cloth Diaper Retailer Cooperative on Facebook. Leave a comment.


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