Saturday, September 19, 2009

Pimp Your Stash Winner #5 - Tamara

This week's winner is commenter #177: TAMARA... She is a new cloth diapering mama, and Im sure this winning will be ton of help for her as she is still in the learning process... Follow her on her blog: Yancy Family.
Hope you enjoy your winnings!!! Please, contact us ASAP so we can ship your winnings to you. Write Pimp Your Stash Winner on the subject line. Thanks! :)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Using Flat Diapers with a Newborn

When I started cloth diapering our newborn the day after he was born, I had a stash of preemie sized prefolds (for babies up to 10 pounds) and infant size prefolds (for babies up to 15 pounds).

Unfortunately, the preemie prefolds were too small to fasten with a Snappi around my 7 pounds son, and leaked if I just placed them in the cover; and the infant prefolds just didn’t fit well in the extra small newborn covers.

Fortunately, I’d also bought a dozen birdseye flats, thinking that they were cheap and I might experiment with them someday. I tried simply folding a flat diaper in half, then folding it in half again. Perfect! They were so easy to use, and kept the runny poo totally contained (unlike the hospital disposables).

They were also a breeze to wash and dry. I ordered two dozen more right away, and I’m still using them almost 6 months later. I never would have guessed that my favorite cloth diapers would be flats!

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

My Case for Cloth

I'm addicted to cloth diapering for my little one (2.5 years) and am prepared to do it with #2 when she arrives. I am not someone who I thought would have cloth diapered six months ago. I'm a pretty typical stay at home mom. I am not particularly eco-conscious and I don't spend a lot of time worrying about chemicals lurking inside diapers or plastic, though maybe I should. I have pretty mainstream wants. I've found that many cloth diapering mamas seem to be right where I am. For the most part, cloth diapering mamas seem to be a pretty diverse group and don't fit my previous stereotypes. I have found that the ones I've encountered (entirely via the Internet) are friendly, accepting and willing to teach.

The Cost
There is a wealth of information online about cloth diapers, particularly through blogs. When you google "cloth diapers vs. disposables", the vast majority of results lead you to cloth diapering websites. Thus, they are heavily slanted for cloth. On the other side are articles that use information that comes from studies funded by disposable diaper makers. Who to trust? Now that I am completely indoctrinated into the idea of cloth, I agree with many of their points. I did have a lot of frustration that I couldn't find very much balanced information when I was first started researching. I used disposables happily and successfully for two years. Since I've been pregnant with my new baby I started going to pregnancy chat boards and found a lot of chatter about cloth diapers and became intrigued. Money was my main reason for looking into cloth. The attractiveness and softness of cloth diapers is what caught my attention. I've also developed an irritation for buying things over and over again if I'm just going to throw them away. I'm humored that being cheap parallels being eco-friendly.

One thing that stuck me when doing diaper research were the numbers and cost comparisons between using cloth diapers and disposables. I may be in the minority, but I'm a little dubious about the cost comparisons provided by a lot of the pro-cloth sites. Sadly, it is already hard to remember how many diapers I changed at any given stage of my daughter's life, but I am certain that I don't change her the estimated 6-8 times a day that many websites suggest I change her at this age. I don't think I've changed her that much in a REALLY long time. She usually uses about four disposables on any given day. More if her stomach is upset, less if she never poops. She rarely had a rash problem, so I feel like the changes she had were adequate. To be fair, my daughter does not seem to be a "super soaker." Maybe the estimates are based on children who pee more than my kid.

When I was buying disposables full time, I bought the Target brand for $13/ish a box and went through a big box in somewhere under a month. Before I switched to the Target brand, I went to great lengths to use coupons to save on diapers. For awhile, I consistently spent close to 13 cents per diaper change while using Pampers or Huggies. Many of the calculators put the cost per diaper closer to 20 cents. While I've spent more money than I want to think about on disposable diapers, I don't believe I've spent 2 grand or more.

In contrast, I know EXACTLY what I have spent on cloth diapers. I have spent $464 to build a pretty respectable cloth diaper stash. The retail value is closer to $950. I've bought new, used, seconds, and even won a few. I have 23 one size diapers (pockets and all in ones, one all in two), 13 prefolds, 13 Kissaluvs 0s, a handful of covers and six small or newborn pocket diapers. I'd like to have more one size diapers so that they won't wear out with frequent washing. Since I've spent more than I'd like to admit, my goal is to win them!

I plan to sell off the majority of my newborn stash to re-coup some of my costs. In the future, I plan to buy mostly new diapers so that I can care for them from the start and don't end up paying too much for diapers of questionable condition.

The Verdict
The energy output for cloth diapers is the first thing people usually mention when I tell them I've made the switch. They ask about the laundry. I launder every other day. My daughter still only uses 4-5 diapers a day, so I can easily go longer. However, I actually get satisfaction out of doing cloth diaper laundry. I don't think it is very hard. I do a cold rinse, hot wash, extra rinse, then I'm done. I line dry the PUL and use the dryer for everything else.

The energy output was there when I was using disposables, it was just in a different place. I visited websites that tracked diaper sales, I clipped coupons and made special trips just to get the best price on diapers. I dealt with check out clerks that mangled my coupon savings and dealt with the line of annoyed customers behind me who rolled their eyes because my coupon use was making the line go slowly. I spent extra money at the store because I bought more than the diapers I went in for.

If you are on the fence about cloth diapering, be prepared, there is a loss of convenience. This seems to be glossed over a lot on the "pro-cloth" sites. You can't just roll up the poopy diaper, toss and forget. You have to do something with the poop. However, the trade off is that your child has a cute, comfortable diaper on. The poop is also only once or twice a day. If you hold a cloth diaper next to a disposable, it is easy to see what is more comfortable. My daughter is very verbal and clearly prefers her "soft" diapers over her "paper" diapers.

What really convinced me...
We took a trip to see grandma out of town and took disposables. Within 18 hours, my daughter had a terrible rash on her back. Remember, this is the child who has worn disposables her ENTIRE life. After a month in cloth, disposables irritate her. I broke my baby. We had to make an emergency run and get a package of G-diapers. This makes me wonder whether disposables have bothered her skin her entire life and she was just used to it. That makes me sad. Now we use disposables in a pinch for an afternoon, but I'm a full time convert.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Just Julie: If you plant it they will come! re: Butterfly Gardening

You may have read in my Meet the Geek Squad post that I am interested in Butterfly Gardening. I thought I'd use today's Just Julie post to give you guys a little more in depth explanation of it and how easy it is to do.

For me my interest in butterflies started when I attended a play date at a local friends house. Outside in her backyard was a garden and butterflies were fluttering all around it. I couldn't believe how lucky she was to have them all congregating in her backyard. She began to explain how if you plant butterfly attracting plants then the butterflies will come. She rattled off the names of some of the plants and I tried my hardest to commit them to memory.

That weekend I loaded up the kids and headed to our local Home Depot. I purchased Milkweed, Porterweed, Lantana and planted them outside my kitchen window so that I could keep an eye out for the butterflies. It took 1-2 days (maybe), and like magic I began to see butterflies, especially Monarch's feeding on my Milkweed. Within a few weeks my Milkweed was covered in Monarch caterpillars and I had to go out and buy more Milkweed just for them to eat.

Since then our garden has grown and so has the variety of butterflies we attract. We're able to watch them feed, lay eggs, hatch into caterpillars, turn into chrysalis and emerge as beautiful butterflies. It is super easy to do and maintain. I do NOT have a green thumb at all yet I have been able to accomplish keeping these plants alive for nearly a year now.

If you live in the right climate for gardening then I highly recommend you try attracting butterflies to your garden. I promise you won't regret it.

Some great sites you can visit for more information on starting your own butterfly habitat are

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Cloth Diaper Geek Explains it all! Laundry Edition

This week's edition will focus on frequently asked questions regarding laundering your diapers! Have you got a question? Don't forget you can either post your question as a comment or submit your question using our Reader Contribution Form.

Question: What exactly is a surfactant? And is it on the detergent no-no list?

The Geek's Answer: Surfactant is short for "surface-active-agent." They help reduce the surface tension of a liquid (like water) allowing items in the laundry to more easily become "wet" and they also makes organic matter more soluble in water which makes them essential to detergents.

From what I've found in my research, surfactants are vital to most detergents, making them more effective and actually classifying them as a detergent. It's the other additives you have to watch out for, the one's specifically intended to coat your laundry with fragrance, fabric softener, starch, stain guards, etc.

For this question I even consulted with Taylor, the owner of Charlies Soap, and he assured me that surfactants ARE detergents.

So, FINAL ANSWER, surfactants are ok for your diapers, they're what get your diapers clean, and naturally produced surfactants are better than synthetic man made ones.

Question: I am in need of some help. I have cloth diapered for 5 years and am totally addicted to it, plus I believe cloth is the BEST. However, my 3rd little boy is getting some serious diaper rash. It has become so bad that to get rid of a rash, twice now I have had to use disposables for a week each time. I mainly do a prefold with a cover, and I have a few old fuzzibunz. But I don't know what to do. I need some help knowing how to wick the moisture away from his bottom to prevent the rash/thrush. Are my diapers not clean enough? What am I doing wrong? I've done this for 5 years--what is my problem. Thanks!

The Geek's Answer: There are many ways to troubleshoot this problem. First I would suggest changing detergents, preferably to Charlies Soap, a gentle yet effective detergent that you can use on both your diapers and the rest of your laundry. If you don't want to change detergents yet, I would suggest changing him more frequently until the rash goes away and also use powder or cornstarch at diaper changes and then on a regular basis to keep him dry. You may also want to try some fleece liners. They serve as a stay dry barrier between your babes skin and the cotton prefold. They can help, and would definitely be worth a try.

Also, not sure on your washing routine but sometimes you need an extra rinse before your wash cycle to ensure that you're rinsing them enough. Ammonia can build up and essentially reactivate when the baby pees in the diaper causing a rash. It's also important to make sure you aren't washing too many diapers at once.

Do you have a laundry related or cloth diaper related question? Post your question as a comment and we'll try our best to find you the answers you need!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Fluff in the Spotlight: Charlie's Soap

Washing cloth diapers can be one of the most confusing and frustrating things you'll ever try to do. Just when you think you've got your routine down, here comes a stink issue, mysterious stains, rash on baby, etc. You rack your brain trying to figure out what to do. Sometimes the most obvious solution is right before you and you may not even notice.

Chances are you need to switch detergents. Many mamas think they need to have a special detergent just for their diapers that they use sparingly and alternate with another detergent for their regular laundry. What you don't know is that you don't need to do that. What you need is a detergent that's safe for both your laundry and your diapers. This is where Charlie's Soap comes in.

Charlie's Soap contains none of the commonly found additives that are found in most laundry detergents. Those additives are designed to bind to fabrics, Charlie's is residue free. What else might you need to know about Charlie's...
  • Charlie's is completely water soluble and safe for HE machines
  • Safe for cloth diapers, laundry and a multitude of other cleaning purposes
  • Safe for all color-fast washables
  • Eliminates the need for fabric softeners
  • 1 teaspoon full is all you need per load, this means 1 bag = approx 80 loads
  • Available in either Laundry Liquid or Laundry Powder
  • Made in the USA
  • Money Back Guarantee
The list of reasons to use Charlie's really is endless. Be sure to check out our current Pimp Your Stash GiveAway and you could win a bag of Charlie's Laundry Powder & All Purpose Cleaner. Also, check back in each day this week for more great info on handling cloth diaper laundry.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Pimp Your Stash #5 - Ends Friday 09-18 (Charlies Soap Laundry Powder & All Purpose Cleaner) *** CLOSED ***

PhotobucketThis weeks winner will receive a 3lb Bag of Charlies Soap Laundry Powder & All Purpose Spray Cleaner complements of Charlies Soap! This weeks question is "Tell me how often you wash your diapers and why you'd love to win the Charlies Soap!"

Guidelines for Entry
-In order to participate in our weekly contest and validate all extra entries you must first answer the weekly question.

-Please, be sure to be logged into your email account when you post your comment for us to be able to contact you if you win (that is with the option called OpenID). If you have a blog, be sure to be logged into the account linked to your blog for an easier way to contact you....

-Each contest runs from Sunday 12am to Friday 9pm.

-Winners are chosen using, notified on Saturdays and winners name also posted on Blog.

-Winners have 7 days from contest end to claim their prize.

-Participation is open to mamas and papas worldwide! Anyone and everyone is welcome to join in the fun, however we are not responsible for lost packages and prizes that do not reach their destination will not be replaced.

-How to earn extra entries:

* Become a FAN of Earth Angels Diaper Co. on FaceBook
*Join our Yahoo/Newsletter Group
* Follow Us on Twitter
* Follow Diaper Discussions Blog
* Place the Diaper Discussions Animated Banner on your site or Blog
* Tweet About the Giveaway (use #clothdiapers in the tweet) post with your comment your twitter id & url.
* Advertise our Giveaway in your blog, forums or site (post with your comment the direct link where you posted about it).
* Contribute an Article, Product Review or relevant story regarding Cloth Diapering. 10 extra entries are given for contributions submitted during the week of the contest. (Please do not contribute articles that were already published elsewhere.)
* Comment to any post on the Diaper Discussions Blog (one entry per each comment)
* Register (or being already registered) in our Affiliate Program (please specify where you placed your affiliate banner).
*Become a FAN of Charlies Soap on FaceBook!

--- Please post a separate comment for each extra entry and let us know which you've chosen to do in that comment ---

Good Luck!!

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