Friday, June 18, 2010

Gabriel's Picks #3- FuzziBunz®

A quick recap for those who are new to Gabriel's Picks:
Gabriel is the youngest Moms and Bums family member. Born at 34 weeks and 5lbs 3oz, Gabriel needed some special small diapers. Gabriel's Picks goes through some of our favorite preemie and newborn diapers on the market today. In the first edition we discussed Bummis Preemie Prefolds and Super Brite Covers. In the second edition we discussed the new Tini Fit and Easy Fit from Tots Bots. This edition will discuss FuzziBunz® Extra Small and One Size Pocket Cloth Diapers.

FuzziBunz® are pocket diapers made by Mother of Eden. If you are not familiar with pocket diapers, here is a quick rundown for you.

All pocket diapers have the same basic construction: an inside wicking layer (for the "stay-dry" feeling), an absorbent insert and an outside waterproof layer. These layers can be made up of different materials, but in the case of FuzziBunz® they are microfleece, microfibre and PUL (polyurethane laminate- they have taken fabric and laminated it so it is waterproof). These are also the most common materials for pocket diapers.

We love to use pocket diapers when we are out and about for a few reasons, but here are the main two:
1. They are less bulky in the diaper bag, so for a quick trip to the store it means I can throw a couple diapers (one for Gabriel and one for Aubrey) in a small bag and be set. For those of you who are new moms, we once left the house without a diaper bag for a quick trip to the store with our oldest. About 10 minutes into our shopping Kiera decided to have a huge poop, needless to say we have never left the house without a bag again!
2. They go on quicker than prefolds and in one step. If you have ever tried to diaper a squirming baby on one of those fold out changing tables, you know you want something quick and easy!

With an average sizing of 4-12lbs we found the XS FuzziBunz® were a great pocket during those first few months when not much else fit our little man. Gabriel was just over 5lbs when we started using our FuzziBunz®. Even tough the One Size is rated for newborns and not preemies, with the button hole elastics to adjust the sizing, we found it worked just as well as the XS for us. The One Size comes with 2 inserts, one for smaller and one for larger settings. For preemie sizing we used a smaller insert, as the small one that comes with it was just too bulky!
The XS FuzziBunz® differ slightly from the other perfect sized FuzziBunz® in that they do not have the extra row of leg snaps. With a 6'6" dad Gabriel is tall for his age, and at 10lbs 9oz the rise just wasn't long enough anymore, and plumber bum just doesn't mix with breastmilk poops!

We have had to adjust the sizing on the One Size a few times and have sized up on the insert to the small that comes with it, but at 12lbs 13oz and 4 months old it is still going strong! Definitely worth every penny! Check out the video below made by FuzziBunz demonstrating the use of their One Size. When you adjust your One Size for the first time be sure to adjust one button at a time! I blame it on sleep deprivation, but this Mama unbuttoned both ends and accidentally pulled the elastic right out! I can say this- replacing the elastics will be a very simple job!
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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sized vs OneSize Diapers

Hello! Noreen from Merrimack Valley Diapers here!

When I was getting ready to go back to my full-time job as a high school teacher, I needed to decide what type of cloth diapers to send to daycare with my son. (Yes, I know how lucky I am to have a daycare provider that is willing to use cloth - more on that next month!)

Wesley was 10 months old, and had already outgrown several different sizes of cloth diapers to date. I knew that I wanted to make it easy for the daycare and send only pockets (pre-stuffed, of course) or all-in-ones (AIOs). However, since we mainly use prefolds and fitteds and home, I was going to have to purchase twelve diapers for the daycare, and I wasn't' sure whether to buy 'sized' or 'one-size' (OS) diapers.

The Pros and Cons:
Tweedle Bugs OS Diaper
One-Size (OS) Diapers: The biggest benefit of OS diapers is that they will fit your baby from about right after birth through potty learning. Once you purchase all of your diapers, you will not need to 'size up' and buy more as your baby grows. This is great for saving money!

Another benefit of OS diapers is that they work great for families with more than one child in diapers. The same diaper can be adjusted down to fit a smaller baby and then adjusted again to fit a larger sibling. This eliminates the need to have two (or more) sets of diapers to fit each child.

The biggest drawback of the OS style of diapers is that they don't often actually fit from birth to potty learning. Often, they don't fit right at the very beginning or at the very end. The majority of our OS diapers didn't fit Wesley correctly until he was about 12 pounds and, as he is pretty tall, he starting outgrowing them at about 14 months old.

Sized Diapers: With sized diapers, the biggest benefit is fit. You can get a diaper that is exactly the correctBottombumpers Cloth Diapers size to fit your baby, without having to worry about those 'in-between' times when the settings on the OS diapers would be either too big or too small. Also, you don't have to worry about adjusting the diaper before putting it on your baby. (I'm personally a big fan of things that are really easy!)

The major drawback of sized diapers is that they won't fit forever, and therefor you are going to have to spend more money due to having to buy several sizes of diaper as your baby gets bigger.

My Choice: In the end, I decided to go with sized diapers over the OS diapers. We currently only have one child in diapers, so there is no need to have diapers that adjust to fit more than one baby. Also, Wesley had already been fitting into the few OS diapers that we had on the last settings, meaning that he would be outgrowing them very soon.

A few weeks before I went back to work I found a diaper that I liked and that fit Wesley well, and I invested in twelve pocket diapers, size medium, that are used almost exclusively for daycare. The brand that I chose runs a bit long in the rise, and I know that he will fit in them for a long time.

Merrimack Valley Diapers Recommends:

One-Size (OS) Diapers:

If you are looking for a good OS diaper that is made in the USA and will honestly fit until potty learning, then Tiny Tush Elite OS Pocket Diaper is for you! These diapers have the longest rise of any diaper that we have tried, and they come in your choice of snap or hook-and-loop closures.

For a more economical choice, the Tweedle Bugs One Size Snap Diaper is a great alternative at only $12.95 per diaper.

Sized Diapers:

For sized diapers, our absolute favorite is a Bottombumpers Side Snapping All-In-One Diaper. Designed and made by a work at home mom (WAHM) and made in the USA, these are the trimmest AIO that we have found. These are our diaper-bag diapers!

June Sale at Merrimack Valley Diapers:
Get FREE shipping on orders that include $25 or more of Bottombumpers, Tweedle Bugs, or Tiny Tush products. Use code 'CDRCJune' at checkout. Ends June 30, 2010

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Snaps vs Velcro

Hi! I'm Bayla, owner of Soft and Cozy Baby in Baltimore, MD. We are the only brick and mortar boutique in the greater Baltimore area (and beyond- all the way to Virginia and Pennsylvania!) specializing in cloth diapers, baby carriers and high end natural goodies for babies and families. I'm mama to Dovy, 2 yrs old, who, along with my husband, helps run the store! (We all know who's really in charge, right?!)

When you first get started in the exciting world of cloth diapers, there are some basics that take some getting used to. The single option sticky tabs that come with disposables aren't the only option anymore. Most cloth diapers close with either Velcro (brand name - but also known as aplix or hooks/loops) or Snaps. Some close with hooks or other fancy options as well.

So why choose one over the other? And does it really matter? For most people it's a personal preference. They just like one better. But there really is a few factors to take into consideration.

Ease of Use
Velcro closure is easier to use generally. There's no learning curve. When I used to send snap Fuzzi Bunz to my elderly babysitter, it was often difficult for her to figure out how to get a snug fit. She might snap the top row but forget the bottom row, resulting in wing droop. Snaps can also be harder for weak or arthritic fingers to maneuver, adjust, or open. With velcro you just attach and you're done. No mathematical equations to figure out which setting to put the snaps on. +1 for velcro!

With snaps, you have to use their pre-settings. The diaper's not as adjustable. Velcro allows you to angle in order to get a tighter or looser fit whether in the legs or the waist. Most people
who use snap diapers remember the settings they use for their baby to get a good fit, which you don't have to do with velcro. If your baby fits well in the settings the snaps are arranged in, that's a bonus for you. But if the snaps can't create a snug enough fit, velcro might be a better option. +1 for velcro!

Snaps are going to last longer, hands down. Velcro eventually loses it's "stickiness," gets full of lint, or may separate from the fabric. Even velcro that stays sticky for a
long time, sometimes is TOO sticky, and it's hard to detach from the laundry tabs without pulling them off the diaper. In most cases you can replace the velcro or replace it for snaps. bumGenius even provides replacement kits as they know their velcro is not long-lasting. Some ways to make your velcro last longer includes hang-drying the diaper as much as possible, as the dryer will speed up the wear and tear; using a seam ripper, safety pin, or other small object to remove the lint; use care when opening and closing the velcro; have a few days worth of diapers as the less you use each diaper, the longer it will last. Snaps, on the other hand, don't have any of these issues. They will almost always work just as well as when you bought them. And in the instance a snap becomes dislodged or broken, most of them are under warranty for at least a year. +1 for snaps!

Velcro diapers come with laundry tabs that are used to attach the velcro to when washing. This is so all the diapers don't stick together in the wash and you end up with a chain of diapers! Most laundry tabs stick very well to their velcro. Some don't. There will always be some brands whose velcro is just not sticky enough to remain adhered to the laundry tabs and come apart in the wash. This velcro will stick to your other diapers and often causes pilling or slight running depending on the material. Snaps don't have this issue as they don't stick to anything! But in general, most laundry tabs do their job well! +1 for snaps!

Aren't they fun!? So this one has both sides to it. My son went through a stage, and still does sometimes, when he would rather run around without a diaper. Changing time became increasingly difficult as I would attempt to put on a clean diaper while running after him. It's much harder to close snaps on the go than velcro! +1 for velcro!
On the other hand, many toddlers LOVE taking off their diapers! A snap diaper is harder for little fingers to pull off than a velcro one! +1 for snaps!

So, as you can see, there's argument going both ways. It just depends what concerns you the most. Snaps will hold up better in the long run while velcro is easier and creates a better fit. But this is just my opinion! I'm sure you probably have your own benefits and downsides to each one - depending on which is your favorite diaper. Which is why it's so fun that there are so many options of diapers out there - to satisfy everyone's preferences!

Some of my favorites:

FuzziBunz- FuzziBunz prides themselves on their long lasting snaps-only diapers. Their one-size even comes with replacement elastic; between that and the snaps, these diapers could last forever!

Happy Heinys- Happy Heinys has lots of snap options. Their one-size comes with a great
placket of snaps that offers lots of adjustability options. The Stacinator Deluxe Fleece cover is my favorite nighttime option over a Happy Hempy with a Superdo. The Heiny Huggers are a cozy sherpa fitted option - great for newborns. Their pocket trainers have the option of side snaps on both sides, one side or without snaps - great for toddlers to pull up and down. Plus the pocket makes them adjustable for absorbancy.

Knickernappies - Knickernappies makes a great One-Sized or Sized
pocket diaper. The side-snap closure is great for chunky legs, big bellies, and easy to transition to a trainer.

Berry Plush - This amazing minkee cover has a snap-in soaker made of hemp with a minkee lining. You just can't stop touching it! Plus if the cover doesnt get dirty, you can just snap a new soaker in!


Thirsties Duo Diaper - This is my current favorite diaper. As opposed to one-size diapers, which don't fit newborns well and don't always last until potty training, the Duo Diaper is a 2 size system. Size One is 6-18 lb - really will fit a newborn- and Size Two is 18-40 lb- fits bigger than most one-size diapers. The diaper also has a sleeve which is open on both ends, so the insert agitates itself out in the wash. No need to stick your hand in the dirty diaper to pull out the insert! Plus the insert is 2 parts - microfiber and hemp - a very absorbant insert that is still trim.

Thirsties Duo Wrap - Same benefits as the diaper in terms of sizing. Trimmer with a higher rise than Thirsties original cover for those long babies that the cover's always a bit too short on!

Bummis Super Brite - Has been one of my favorite covers since my son was a newborn. They have gussets which hold in extra material around the legs and super velcro that still works for me!

Easy Fit - This is a pretty new diaper on the market. Made by TotBots in Scotland, distributed by Bummis. It's got a super-soft rayon (made from bamboo) lining and a tongue that you stick in the pocket for extra absorbancy where you need it, which is attached and doesnt get lost in the wash! The Easy Fit is a one-size diaper. The Tini Fit is a super newborn option for 5-12 lb.

So now you have lots of options, regardless of your closure preference. Choose your favorite and enjoy the journey!

Happy Cloth Diapering!

Soft and Cozy Baby
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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Using Prefolds: Diapering and Beyond

Me again, Melissa, owner of The Green Baby Store. WAHM to four great little kiddos, just trying to survive the day at home and spread the word about cloth diapers to as many people as I can. And here at The Green Baby Store we specialize in pockets and all-in-one (AIO) diapers. But that doesn't mean we don't love prefolds as well.

Prefolds make great diapers. They can be trifolded and laid in a cover, or folded any number of ways and pinned or snappied before being covered with PUL waterproof covers or wool or flecce covers, pants, shorts, and much more. And of course prefolds can be used as an alternative to synthetic fibers as pocket stuffings.
But who knew prefolds were good for so many other things. I recently polled my Facebook fans and they came up with a list of more uses for prefolds than I ever imagined possible. I've grouped them into a few categories: baby uses, cleaning, other household uses, and just plain ingenius!

Baby Uses:
There are a few obvious ones of course. We've all used prefolds as burp rags and spit up catchers. But let's dig deeper. How about using a preemie sized prefold as a wipe for babies messiest poos. Or as a nose wiper--so much softer than disposible tissues and better for the environment too. Prefolds can be laid under a baby or toddler as a changing pad to protect your furniture and floor. I especially found them useful for changing pads as I attempted diaper my first little boy after three girls--people aren't kidding when they say those boys can spray a beam of pee across a room. I woud cover him up with a prefold as I got the new diaper ready underneath him.

Out and about? Use a prefold in a pinch as a bib (tucked into baby's shirt) or to wipe up messy mouths and hands. Spill a little spot on baby's or your shirt? Dab the spot with a damp prefold, the stain will be absorbed into the prefold and off of the shirt.
Teething babies can use them damp, or even frozen, to chew on--and they absorb all the drool that goes with the teething too. Older babies can use them as a snuggly or blankets for their dolls. The uses seem to be endless.

Toddlers in your home? Use them water absorbant pads under potty training toddlers, just in case. You can use them in the bed, on the couch, chairs, even in the carseat to catch any "accidents" from older babies who are potty learning. Trifold a preemie or infant size one in training undies for extra protection from accidents too.

Cleaning Uses:
The uses are endless in the cleaning realm, but I'll name a few. Prefolds make excellent dust rags. When damp or used with dusting sprays they absorb and lock the dust in so it doesn't fly all over the room just to redeposit on different furniture. They are also lintless so they work great to dust those finicky plasma and computer screens. Being lintless also makes them great window washing rags, just spritz them with your favorite window wash, or better yet just a vinegar and water mix. One more use for these great lintless clothes: washing and drying the car! Also they won't scratch up your car, or your silver or leather either so use them to polish everything you can think of.
Use them to wipe down bathrooms, tubs, and counters. You can use them like paper towels to help cut down on your use of disposible products for wiping up spills, and drying your hands and face. I've been told they also work great for drying dishes, they work so well you no longer need to go through five or six dish towels drying one sink full of dishes. And finally, one facebook fan said she had heard of them being used on wetjet mops instead of disposible cloths. I know I've tried to rubberbanded them to my steam mop, but that didn't go so well (the rubberbands make it catch and not glide across the floor) but I would like they would work well tucked into the little holders on the Wetjet.

Household uses:
Besides cleaning there are a few other places you can use prefolds around your house too. Use them as spill catchers, on fabric chairs and couches, just lay one down before our child sits down. They are also good as placemats for kids learning to use cups without lids--spills can be easily cleaned up or absorbed with the prefold placemat. They are also great to keep strategically placed near electronics for when little hands are helping out and spills might occur. Trust me, Diet Coke is no match for a lap-top when prefolds are near by to soak up the spill quicky, even out of the keyboard!
The best response I got from my Facebook fans for household uses of prefolds: on top of the pillowcase after an evening bath or shower for little ones (or parents). It keeps wet hair from soaking your pillow, plus the prefold will pull the moisture out of your hair quickly to make sleeping with wet hair more comfortable.

Ingenius uses:
There were a few duties that I had never even imaged prefolds could do. But a little help from the Facebook fans and my eyes were opened to the truely endless possibilities. One mama uses them as mama cloth--cloth menstrual pads. Another mama used them during her homebirth to absorb all the fluid when her water broke, and still another mama uses them when working out to absorb the sweat. But the best use I heard was as bandages for horse hoofs, just wrap and duct tape! Now that is ingenius!

So even those of us who prefer our pockets and AIOs need to pick up a package of prefolds to use around the house. They not only work as diaperss, but are mega multi-taskers that will definetly save you a lot of money on single use paper and cleaning products.

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Baby Sun Care

The best way to keep your baby sun safe is to keep your baby out of direct sunlight as much as possible, especially between 10 am and 4 pm when the sun's rays are strongest. This isn't always possible so here are some more ideas......
  • Sun rays can go through clouds and can cause damage even on cloudy days. In the shade, the sun's rays can bounce from sand, concrete or snow.
  • When outside with young babies, dress the baby in clothing that covers all of the body. Long sleeves, long pants and a hat.
  • Hats should be worn outdoors. Look for one with a wide brim or bill such as a baseball cap.
  • Sunscreens are basically designed to block out the sun's rays. The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is a measure of how much protection the sunscreen offers. An SPF of 30 means that a child can stay out in the sun 30 times longer than without the sunscreen.
  • Until August 1999, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended against using any type of sunscreen on babies younger than 6 months. The recommendation has been revised somewhat. You can now use sunscreen on babies under 6 months if adequate shade isn't available but check with your health provider first. Apply a small amount of lotion to exposed skin after doing a patch test on your child's back.
  • Sunscreens should be applied 30 minutes before sun exposure. Even waterproof sunscreen needs to be reapplied every 2 hours.
  • When outside keep your baby in the shade using an umbrella, stroller canopy or a sun protective tent.
I recommend as well as use Loving Naturals Organic/Natural SPF 30+. Loving Naturals blocks UVA/UVB, is Water resistant, Safe for babies, Non-Greasy and Vegan.

Hope, Baby Hope's Cloth Diapers

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