Friday, June 11, 2010

Cloth Diapers: the Tool of the Perfect Mom?

Am I the Tie that Binds?
I am Kathleen from Cottontail Baby. I am a stay at home mom of three VERY active, sports-obsessed, all organic guys. We live a fairly terrific life in a great, little house at the end of a culdesac on a lake in Minnesota. Our yard is full of deer, ducks, geese, frogs, turtles, fox, bunnies, wild turkeys and one, lonely, coyote. Every summer, during our abbreviated growing season, I tend to my garden. Sadly, the green thumb with which my mother is blessed, skipped a generation with me but I keep at it and have managed to feed my family from the garden more weeks than not! Besides Cottontail Baby, I also run its sister site, Mamaclothonline. In addition to those two ventures, my time is spent serving in my community, especially volunteering in my children's school and on their various sports teams as well as with the local Children's theater. I am thrilled to be a founding partner in the Cloth Diaper Retailer Cooperative with all these other terrific moms from whom I learn every day.
I was all set to sit down and write a blog post about swim diapers. After the "Poo in the Pool" fiasco of Memorial Day during which our local pool was closed for an hour, in 90 plus degree, humid, sticky, weather, due to an unfortunate disposable swim diaper that did not work, I was fired up and ready to write. Just buy a reusuable swim diaper. Imse Vimse are good. They work. They don't inconvenience your neighbors. They are cheaper in the long run and better for the environment. Plus, they are cute! I had it all planned out. Then, I sat down and read the Sunday NYT Styles section.....
In the Sunday NYT section, tucked away behind an article on the gorgeous, classy Iman, the Gore's marraige implosion, and the tall lady from Glee marrying a woman from my alma mater, was an article about a French Intellectual (their term, not mine) who opines that some of the tools of motherhood that I espouse - cloth diapers, breastfeeding, natural childbirth - are just chains that are keeping women from achieving their full potential. Elisabeth Badinter, as she outlines in Conflict: The Woman and the Mother (Le Conflit: la femme et la mere) believes that the advances of modern times, disposable diapers, the plastic (now BPA-free glass) bottle and epidurals which were designed to help free women and keep them independant and liberated are being discarded in favor of greener, more eco-friendly, and she would say, harder choices. Choices that are rolling back years of feminist advances in favor of a lifestyle that chains women to motherhood.

So, as you can see, not what I wanted to read on a happy, peaceful, Sunday morning. Mommy Wars a la Francais. Unlike the US based Mommy Wars which seem to focus mostly on the Working Mom vs. Stay at Home Mom dynamic, this was all about the movement toward a greener, cleaner lifestyle. She classifies the heightened eco-awareness amongst many of today's moms (and dads!) as just a passing fad and one, that left unchecked, is going to derail decades of advances for women.

After I got over my initial anger and frustration at what I believe to be this woman's limited point of view, I guess I understood a bit of what she was saying. Yes, women are making different choices than perhaps their mothers would have made. I can see how the women who blazed the trail for working women (moms or not) would be upset or frustrated that so many who follow are choosing different paths and perhaps not fully appreciating their struggles and sacrifices. But, isn't this okay? Isnt the beauty of where we are in society that it is okay that we have a choice? Bottles might allow women to return to work sooner but breastfeeding is cheaper and easier for many (not all, as my own experience would attest). Cloth diapers are better for the environment and our pocket books. So many live their lives in a medicated state, isn't it okay and rather cool that some (once again, not all, as my crash C-section would attest) choose to experience a major life event drug free and clear? Why are these things bad?

I do agree somewhat with one point she makes. That we, as a society, have idealized what the "perfect" mom does (cloth, breastfeed for 12 months or more, natural childbirth) and those who opt to not do these things or, even worse, try and cannot succeed in doing these things are left feeling like a failure. As if they did not check off all the "Good Mommy" boxes and are not as dedicated as the moms who do. So, what do you think? Are women who choose cloth and breastfeeding and natural childbirth rolling back decades of feminist advances? By making these choices are we reducing our freedom and limiting our professional options? Are the women who choose to not incorporate these elements into their parenting portfolio "Imperfect?" Or, in the end, is the "Perfect" mom one who loves her child and does the best she can in her own individual way taking into account her own, individual circumstances?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Cloth Wipes, Worth the Investment?

I'm Carissa owner of Wee Willie Winks, where we help you discover what works for your family. Let's talk about those smaller washcloths we like to call "cloth wipes" in the cloth diapering community.

When I began cloth diapering, I didn't start using cloth wipes. My husband thought it would be easier to just use disposable wipes and throw them out as we cleaned up a dirty bottom. As time past, I started thinking about how much money I could save with cloth wipes. I was paying just under $0.02 for each individual disposable wipe. I thought about this with each wipe I threw away. I'm sure we could have gotten them a little cheaper, but I really liked the thickness of particular brand and my little one would often get a rash with other brands.

So eventually I broke down and bought some Thirsties wipes. I was drawn to the softness and fun colors. One 6-pack of Thirsties cloth wipes cost $10.75; that works out to be about $1.80 per wipe. That's a little less than I paid per package of disposable wipes. I was using about 4/5 packages of wipes a month. So my purchase of 3 packs of cloth wipes paid for themselves in a little over 3 months. Definitely a wise money saving addition to our cloth diaper stash.

It took me a while to get a routine down with the cloth wipes so I thought I'd share my routine and tips with you.

I have a little table next to the changing table. On the table is a basket with the wipes, wipe solution, and facial tissues (my glider is on the other side so this is purely for my own convenience). When I get ready to change a diaper I get a couple wipes ready by spraying them down with solution.

When this picture was taken I was trying out Pumkin Baby Foaming Solution, but now I have found my favorite wipe solutions are either homemade or the Thirsties Booty Luster. The Thirsties Booty Luster smells amazing and comes in a great 4 oz. size to throw in the diaper bag or an 8 oz. size for home. It's also non-toxic and has worked extremely well with my son's sensitive skin!

Making your own wipe solution isn't hard, it just takes a little time. After I make up the solution (see recipe below), I store it in a spray bottle I purchased at a local discount store. Another option is to store the wipes in a wipe warmer. To do this you must first roll or fold the cloth wipes and pile into the warmer. Then poor the wipe solution over the wipes until all wipes are moist. When using the wipe warmer you will need to add wipes and solution to it daily.

Here's my favorite wipe solution recipe ~
3 cups water
1/8 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon baby shampoo
4 drops tea tree oil
8 drops lavender oil

So go ahead, take the plunge, invest a little time and money into cloth wipes. They are definitely worth the investment!

Just to help you get started we will have the Thirsties cloth wipes discounted until June 15th.

Carissa ~ ~ Cloth Diapers, Cloth Diapering Accessories, and More!

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Fleece Liners: An Accessory that Multitasks

A customer recently sent me an e-mail interested in fleece liners, but wanted to know "exactly what they are for." She was trying to compile a list of diapering necessities. I recommending fleece liners quite often, but was still surprised when I compiled the list of all the reasons people use them.

~A stay dry liner
Prefolds are inexpensive, easy to clean, absorbent and durable. The downside? They hold wetness against the skin, which can irritate some babies. Fleece liners help to create a stay-dry barrier between baby's bottom and the prefold.

~Easy clean-up
For babies with sticky or messy bowel movements, fleece liners make clean-up easier. Whether dunking in the toilet or rinsing with a diaper sprayer, dealing with a small liner can be easier than grappling with a larger diaper.

~Diaper cream barrier
Some parents prefer to use diaper creams or need to apply medications that are not completely safe for cloth diapers. A fleece liner helps protect the diaper while allowing parents to apply cream to bottoms.

~Stain free diapers
For parents that prefer to keep the insides of their diapers pristine, a liner helps to prevent most solids from reaching the inner pocket.

~An inexpensive test
I recently had a customer whose baby had sensitive skin. She wanted to use pocket diapers, but was worried that the fleece inners may irritate her child. Instead of investing in some diapers, she bought a few fleece liners and laid them in her disposable diapers. Once she knew that the fleece wouldn't irritate the baby's skin, she was able to purchase a set of pocket diapers without worry!

So, are fleece liners a necessity? Not 'necessarily'. Many cloth diapering families get by fine without them. They are certainly useful, however. Since they are also inexpensive, it can be a good idea to have a couple around in case you need them.

How do you use fleece liners?

Snooty Booty Diapers (visit this week for a pail liner giveaway (ends 6/15)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Origins of 'The Diaper Diva Fold' & Photo Tutorial

I thought it might be cute to see how many of you have heard of 'The Diaper Diva Fold' and to fill you in on the details of how it got it's name and where.

I started my cloth diapering journey, or shall I say addiction, in about March of 2007. Almost immediately I started my business, began building my website and could be found daily online perusing the cloth diaper forums. In August of 2007 I started my Blog DiaperDiscussions and wanted to turn it into a resource for cloth diapering, basically a Cloth Diapering FAQ for my customers.

That same month I was on DiaperSwappers and came across a post by a mama named Shana, her username was Diaper Diva, and she was posting awesome photos of a prefold technique that she used. She was referring to the technique as the "no-fold fold."

I was so impressed by her awesome step by step photos that I decided I would take the plunge and ask her permission to use them on my site and blog. She agreed and I turned her photos into a tutorial. I named it the fold 'The Diaper Diva Fold!'

I remember jokingly telling her "you're going to be famous just you wait and see!" Now I can't help but giggle when I see mamas around the web asking about The Diva Fold and linking each other to my blog. It will always bring back memories for me and remind me of when I was a new business owner trying to add unique resources to my site.

Thank you Shana for taking such great pics and agreeing to let me use them!

Want to give The Diaper Diva Fold a try? Check out the photos below and give it a shot! Can be finished with either pins or a snappi.
Julia Clark, Earth Angels Diaper Co.
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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Flip for the Flip

I have been cloth diapering for almost two solid years now. I use a mixture of different types of diapers, but mostly all-in-ones and pockets. I had not dabbled with prefolds very often until my daughter was born seven months ago. My customers raved about using prefolds with newborns. They are affordable and super easy to use. I gave it a try, but just didn't enjoy the apparant bulkiness they can present. Then I met the Flip system by Cotton Babies! Wow. I really, really like this system!

The day pack includes 2 one-size covers and 6 Stay-Dry, one-size inserts. You adjust the insert by folding the insert down to fit, and then laying it in the cover and tucking it in each end flap.

I was doubtful at first. How much can this trim insert really hold? Then my daughter had what normally would be considered a "blow out" in it. It WORKED! It held everything in.. and it stayed on the insert! How cool is that?

Now when your insert is wet or soiled, you just pull the insert out, put it in the diaper pail, and replace it with a new one. You can rotate covers to keep them fresh. I've found that it's a great solution for two in diapers to help save space in the diaper bag. I've also become a bit lazy with stuffing my pocket diapers and truly enjoy how easy this system is to use.

The other bonuses? Organic and disposable inserts are available as well! All around I give it two thumbs up!

Tender Loving Cloth Diapers LLC
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