Thursday, June 24, 2010

Eco-friendly Toys

Hi mamas(and papas)! My name is Christy, I am the owner of Gorgeous and Green. I started my company a little over a year ago. I have a small store in my home about 40 minutes northeast of Baltimore, MD.
Along with using cloth diapers there are many things I do to try and minimize my family’s negative effect on our Earth and live more naturally. Among those are cloth diapering, composting, making our own cleaners and detergents and buying Eco-friendly toys. That’s what I’m focusing on today!
Our babies start off in cloth diapers, and then the next thing they start to do is play with toys! So, when I wanted to expand on my store and what products I have, my first desire was to offer toys that are safe, imagination encouraging and built with the environment in mind. I feel that these things are an important part of a more natural and Earth-loving lifestyle. I know that my customers feel the same way and I wanted to be able to offer them these items. Needless to say, I was thrilled when I found Green Toys and Sprig Toys! Both of these companies make their toys with all the features I was looking for as well as being superbly manufactured out of recycled materials. Plus they are all super fun!!

Green Toys are made out of recycled milk jugs right here in the US. They have toys from ages 6mos+. Sprig Toys are made from Sprigwood, which is recycled plastic and recycled wood, and their toys are for 3yrs+. All of the toys from these two companies are paint-free, battery-free, child powered toys. They require movement and imagination from the child, which helps keep our children active while playing! So let's say "no!" to all those cheap toys that light up and are remote controlled and say "YES!!" to toys that encourage physical and imaginative play!

Have a green day!!
Facebook Page! Gorgeous and Green

All in Ones

Hi! I am Coleen, mom to 11 (soon to be 12) and owner of Sweet Little Blessings. I think
I would have to say that all in ones are my favorite type of diaper. I know they take
longer to dry, but they are so easy to use! All one piece...just like a disposable!

Not too long ago it was time to replace all of our cloth diapers. They had been used on several children and were worn out. I had collected quite a variety of diapers, but most of my stash was pocket diapers. After years of stuffing diapers for more than one baby, I decided I needed a break! Sometimes I've had 3 in diapers at once and that is ALOT of stuffing! After thinking about all the options, I decided to go with mostly all in ones. I love them! I don't have to reach in and pull out a wet insert, just toss them in the wash. I even hang my diapers to dry and I really don't think it takes that long. The all in ones are usually dry in about 24 hours when I hang them in our basement and in only a few hours outside. Besides, it is really a good idea to have plenty of diapers in your stash so they don't wear out as fast. When the diapers are dry, no more matching up the inserts with the diaper and stuffing them! I can just fold them in half and put them away. Quick and easy!

I love the fact most all in ones are sized diapers and provide a nice trim fit even on a newborn. Not to mention that extra small diapers are so cute! All in ones work well on my little guys for naps. At night, I just add a doubler or stuff a Baby Kicks Joey Bunz in the pocket. I rarely have problems with leaks. For those of you who like one size diapers, bumGenius Organic all in ones are a great choice.

I also really like the all in two system and have added a few of those to my stash as well. Just snap on the insert and you are ready to go. I do use pocket diapers sometimes, but I seem to always grab the all in ones first!


Facebook page: Sweet Little Blessings

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Here Comes the Sun...

So, you have all these cute diapers that you just paid all this money for and then…they get stained! What to do?

Not to worry!

These routines will minimize stains on your cloth diapers.

  1. Always do a cold rinse before you wash the diapers with hot/warm water. For better results, use a diaper sprayer to get all solids off.
  2. Wash the diapers at least every other day to cut down on the time that the diapers sit with poop on them.
  3. Sunning! It really works! Just put clean diapers out in the sun to dry to naturally get the stains out. This also naturally kills bacteria!
Here is the proof: We just had a newborn in our house and we were using Kissaluvs diapers. I put 24 CLEAN Kissaluvs fitted diapers out in the sun to dry and here are the results after 2 to 3 hours of sunning.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

SoftBums- A Unique AI2 Diaper

During my cloth diaper adventure, I came across this incredible brand of diapers, SoftBums. I knew I just had to try them they were so intriguing! A diaper that can fit at birth-potty training, I just had to see how that was possible! At first glance, I wondered how in the world these can work. There are no snap down rise, just aplix closure. The way you adjust the SoftBums diaper is what makes this diaper truly unique. Inside the diaper, there is a small opening where you will find the Snuggers. This is how you adjust the diaper! You just tighten the elastic or loosen it! This elastic is patent pending technology for Snuggers provides adjustable leg elastic for legs 2”-14”. These diapers are truly one size fits all.

I use this diaper all the time. This is a great travel diaper as well. Since it is an AI2 (All in Two) diaper, you reuse the shell. Each Basic Pack comes with 1 cover, 3 inserts, and 1 newborn doubler. I can get 3 uses out of the cover before washing it! So when your child goes to the bathroom, you just remove the soiled insert and snap in a new one! This is why I use this all the time! I have this diaper in my diaper bag. When we travel, I bring a few covers and a lot of inserts. It cuts back on the amount of items I have to take with me. You can even use the cover with other uses as well.

This diaper is incredibly trim! It is one of the trimmest diapers I have ever seen. You can choose from two insert options: Dry Touch (microfiber with quick dry fleece on top) or Organic Bamboo. SoftBums also just released a Super Dry Touch which is great for nighttime or naptime. The price range is $36.95-$52.95 depending on what inserts you choose. So that is only $12.32-$17.65 per diaper change!


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Monday, June 21, 2010

Camping with Cloth Diapers?!

Hello parents, and hello summer! This is Natalie at Punkernoodle Baby. Seeing as how my family just got back from our first summer camping trip, I thought I would blog about a question I get asked all the time up here in outdoors-crazy Seattle: Can I go camping with cloth diapers?

At first I would laugh when parents asked me this question, because although I am an experienced cloth diaperer, I am not a camping authority -- not by a longshot. That would be my husband, Lukas, who can set up a tent and cook a delicious camp dinner blindfolded while simultaneously chopping firewood and beating me at cards.

But, parents really want to know if they can and should even attempt to camp with cloth. So, I consulted Lukas, tested out a few things with my nighttime diapered preschooler, took a quick poll of my camping expert friends and, voila, my top recommendations for avoiding those revolting plastic diapers and keeping your baby in cloth while you kick back in the wilderness.

First, Should I Camp with Cloth?

The answer is yes! It is actually quite doable, and the few minor challenges you might encounter are actually counterbalanced by the benefits:

  • Less trash. Trash is a serious consideration when you are camping. Trash attracts animals, gets stinky, and it requires careful storage and disposal (which can cost you extra fees). Bring a single stack of cloth diapers and you avoid any extra trash.

  • Baby's comfort. Plastic diapers are sweaty in the heat and bulge when wet. Cloth diapers are made of fabric and can keep baby cool, and a reusable cloth Swim Diaper is easy to use, can be rinsed quickly by hand, and lets baby's skin breathe when you are splashing around.

  • Leak protection. A good cloth diaper has fantastic leak protection. Keep pee and poop out of your sleeping bag!

  • Practice what you teach. You're camping, right? Getting back to the land, teaching your little ones to love nature and Mother Earth. Humans lived "green" for thousands of years without plastic diapers. Be true to the pack-it-in, pack-it-out value and you will set an example for generations.
Which Diaper Should I Choose, and What Else Do I Need?

Ok, you're going to try it. What works best? I asked around, I reviewed my own experiences, and here are my recommendations.

  • Prefold cloth diapers. These are lightweight, quick-drying when you are sans machine, and can withstand some washing tricks that waterproof pocket and All-in-One diapers cannot (See Washing info below). They are also cheap, so if you lose or stain one, it's no big deal. bring about 1.5 days' worth and plan to do a quick wash each morning.

  • Waterproof diaper covers. These go over your prefolds, and because they are wipeable you only need a couple per day max. They are also very easy to wash by hand or just spot clean, super duper lightweight, and good leak protection. And in case of a downpour, one can double as a rain hat for baby. Just kidding. I especially recommend Thirsties Duo Wraps.

  • A Snappi or two. Bring along a diaper fastener so you can do different folds with your prefold -- this is useful so you can let baby go around with just a diaper and no cover sometimes. Baby will enjoy getting air, can get as messy and wet as she wants.

  • Flushable/disposable diaper liners. These are what makes cloth while camping doable for many folks. Super thin and lightweight (think toilet paper consitency), these collect most of the poop messes and allow you to either flush away if your campground has toilets or throw away (a week's worth of these tiny liners won't amount to much waste at all compared ti disposables).

  • A few hemp doublers. Bring these along to double up at nights and ensure no leaks. Hemp is super absorbent and naturally antibacterial.

  • Swim diapers. As mentioned above, these are a superb choice for any swim or travel for the diapered baby: Breathable, light, easily washable and so much more comfortable than a saggy-bottomed plastic paper diaper. I adore the Bummis Swimmi.

  • Wet Bags. Bring a regular wet bag to store diapers in on day trips or hikes, plus either an All Day size wet bag or a waterproof pail liner to store all your dirty diapers in at your tent or cabin site. If you want to use your pail liner from home, just seal the top tightly with a rubber band.

  • String and clothespins. Tie a clothesline up between two trees and you are good to go for drying your clean diapers!

  • Buckets and washboard. Old-school washboards still have their uses (see Washing info below). The buckets are optional, a giant pot also works well.

  • Dishwashing gloves. Ok, not necessary but makes it so much nicer!

Ok, Give Me the Dirt: How Do I Wash These Suckers?

So, if you've brought along your trusty disposable liners, that's gone along with most of the solids or yucky stuff. Heat up some water on your camp stove and fill one bucket with water as hot as you can stand with your hands (or dishwashing gloves). Add soap (bring a cloth-safe detergent that you use at home and dissolve some into a cup of hot water, then add the solution to your washing bucket. You may also add a few drops of tea tree oil, a natural disinfectant). Scrub each diaper on washboard with hot soapy water for 1-2 minutes, dunk, wring all the way out in a corkscrew fashion.

Then move the diaper to the second bucket/pot, which is filled with plain cold water. Rinse, wring out in the same fashion until all water is squeezed from the diaper. Hang on clothesline, preferrably in sun if you have it. The sun is a natural bleaching agent and will finish off the cleaning process nicely and dry them more quickly.

Repeat for each diaper and doubler, replacing cold water and hot water with a fresh batch if you find it necessary. Covers, wet bags and swim diapers may be scrubbed gently in the same manner when needed, and/or spot cleaned.

Don't forget to take lots of cute pictures of your little one in his cloth diapers enjoying nature! Do you have a cloth-diaper camping story or tip? Shoot us a Comment and keep the conversation going!

Happy Summer and Happy Camping!


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Why are my cloth diapers leaking?

Hi! This is LeAnn from Giggle Britches. One reason I looked to cloth diapers was due to the number of blow-outs my oldest had in her disposables. I am a firm believer that cloth diapers leak less than disposable diapers. However, every once in awhile, you may find your cloth diapers are leaking. I have attempted to compile a list of common types/causes of cloth diaper leaks. So here it goes...

"Wick"ing - When something dry touches something wet, the moisture wicks from the wet to the dry. In the cloth diaper world, we call this wicking. One common cause for wicking is not having all of the prefold or fitted diaper tucked inside the diaper cover. Another cause is when the stay dry lining of a pocket or all-in-one diaper rolls out. A diaper's tag sticking out of the diaper can have the same effect. Make sure to have all parts of the diaper covered by the PUL to help prevent wicking. Also make sure baby's clothing does not get tucked inside the diaper. For example, t-shirts getting tucked inside the top or little girls' bloomers getting tucked inside the legs can both cause wicking.

Compression - When something wet is compressed, moisture leaks out. Compression leaks are often caused by a heavily saturated diaper being squeezed by a car seat buckle, baby carrier, or even a hug. Changing more often easily remedies the problem. I have also seen tight fitting onesies and blue jeans cause compression leaking.

Repelling - When moisture is unable to be absorbed into the diaper due to some type of build-up on the diaper itself, the diaper is repelling. I usually tell people to think of waxing a car. The wax on the car repels moisture the same as any build-up on the diapers. The best way to tell if your diaper is repelling is how wet it is once it leaks. For example, if the insert inside of the pocket diaper is barely wet and the diaper leaks, you have repelling. To prevent repelling, stay away from diaper creams, fabric softeners and certain detergents. See a previous blog post about diaper stripping to remedy repelling.

Fit - The fit of the diaper greatly effects its performance. Many parents are tempted to buy diapers a little big for growing room. However, if there is gaping at the legs or waist, leaks will occur. The same goes for diapers that are too small. Once the rise becomes too short, poo leaks will become more prevalent. Also, smaller diapers have less absorbency (less surface area!) than the next size up.

Absorbency - A diaper can only hold so much! Like I mentioned above, if baby is soaking through the smalls quickly, it may be time to size up to mediums. However, some baby's just need more absorption power! A general rule of thumb: natural fibers, like hemp and cotton, hold more with less bulk than synthetic fibers like microfiber. By adding a natural fiber insert or doubler to your diaper, you can easily add more absorbency with little bulk. Please remember that cloth diapers do need to be changed about every 2 hours.


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