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July 30, 2014

Cloth Diapering Essentials

Cloth Diapering Essentials

Other than your diapers, only a few things are truly essential for cloth diapering.
I put both home and diaper bag items on the list.

Wet bags are essential for your diaper bag. 
They hold your dirty diapers.
And wet clothes.
And bathing suits, towels or anything else that you don't want touching anything else.

Diaper pail liners are the wet bag for your bedroom.
Both are easy to clean, just add them to your diaper laundry!
My wet bag and pail liners are from a WAHM who sells on etsy.
(work at home mom)

Wipes are essential.
Some, like me, use disposable wipes.
I use any sensitive wipe brand.
Other cloth diapering parents use cloth wipes that they just wash with their diapers and a homemade cloth wipe solution.

Diaper cream is good to have on hand.
Cloth safe diaper cream is necessary while cloth diapering because most diaper creams are not.
Petrolium, Pariffin, Lanolin, are very heavy and greasy. It is suggested that if a rash cream is necessary and contains these, a liner should be used and washed separately from your diapers. 
Cod Liver Oil or any other fish oil and Calamine should be avoided at all cost.
CJ's Butter Stick is great for in your diaper bag. It lets you do a quick full application without getting your fingers all messy. 
A must when out and about.
California Baby has a cloth safe cream that I like to use at home. It has been amazing at clearing rashes within a day. 
I love it!

Laundry Detergent (without added fabric softeners) is essential for your cloth diapers.

A pacifier is my extra essential for changing a diaper for a wiggly baby.
The WubbaNubba paci has a little beanie animal attached to it that Jaxon loves to grab and play with during changes.

July 29, 2014

Cleaning Cloth Diapers

Doing your own cloth diaper laundry is not for the faint of heart.
I can tell you that I touch pee filled inserts.
I inspect poopy diapers and hand rinse if things are too intense.
I smell diapers out of the drier.

None of this is gross to me.

The main thing you need to know: There are options. Please do what works best for you and your baby’s bum!
If you do things incorrectly you can risk your baby battling rashes or worse, ammonia burn.

There are things to take into account.
Every child is different.
Everyone has different washers, water quality and cleaning agents.
 And each is a huge factor in finding the wash routine that works best for you and your child.
Brand new, never used diapers need to be prepped before use in order to ensure that their absorbent enough to be used.
Synthetic fiber and Bamboo (or bamboo blends) can be prepped like any other load of laundry. 
Wash, dry, use. 
Hemp and cotton just need to be washed twice in hot water, then dry.

With Pre-Loved Diapers, your best bet is to strip them to be sure that you are in control f what goes on your baby's bum. You never know what the diapers have been through or what they were washed with.
A RLR soak will break down any bacteria holding mineral deposits left on the diaper.
A 30 minute cold bleach soak with clean diapers will disinfect.
Non-HE washer: 
Small- 1/3 cup
Medium- 1/2 cup
Large/XL- 3/4 cup
HE TL (or FL WITH a dispenser you trust)
Small- 1/4 cup
Medium- 1/3 cup
Large- 1/2 cup
1/2 full- 1/2 cup
3/4 full- 3/4cup- 1cup
Smaller container: 
1 Tablespoon per gallon of cold water

After bleaching, rinse with HOT water, and follow with a HOT wash with detergent to completely break the bleach down!

After a diaper is used, depending on how old your baby is, there may be steps to take before washing.
Some parents use a diaper sprayer, which is attached to the toilet, to get solids off the diaper.
Others use the 'Dunk and Swish'
You guessed it.
Dunk it in the toilet, swish it around.
Others, mainly with babies who are not on solids yet, wait for the washer to do all the work.

Next would be the Diaper Pail.
Diaper pails can either be dry or wet.

A wet pail isn't recommended due to the drowning risk in having a bucket full of water left around.

Dry pails are generally a hamper or basket, sometimes with a waterproof PUL liner, where dirty diapers are placed until wash day.
Closed pails have lids, open pails do not.
There is a crowd that says that Homemade Detergent goes hand in hand with cloth due to the chemicals you leave out of the equation.
Others say that Cloth Diaper Detergent is the only way to not ruin your diapers.
Others say that Mainstream Detergents (without fabric softener) is the only way to truly get your diapers clean.

I want to point things out about each ‘camp’.

DIY Detergent:
I fell for the DIY hype. I thought that I had found an alternative for the harsh chemicals that are in mainstream detergents. I thought that it would be better for my extremely sensitive skin. What I didn’t know was  the DIY's are mostly mixture of water softeners like Borax, Washing Soda, Baking Soda, boosters, like Oxi and grated/melted soap. 
The biggest argument against DIY: Have you ever heard of soap scum? Yeah, your main cleaning agent, if it is even used, leaves a nasty residue in your shower...
You think it wont leave residue on your clothes and especially your diapers?
Another point, water softeners and boosters are not cleaning agents

Cloth Diaper Specific Detergent:
The “cloth diaper safe” so-called detergents are extremely weak if they include any surfactants at all. The people who started the “cloth diaper safe” detergents are telling you to use just tablespoons of their booster to remove fecal matter from your soiled diapers because their mix is so expensive.
The choice if yours, just make sure that you do your research on the ingredients in your cloth safe detergent.

Mainstream Detergent (without fabric softeners):
Detergent is molecularly designed to rinse clean in water.
 Absolutely any mainstream detergent (without fabric softener) is fine for cloth diapers. Some may work better than others, depending on your water type or washer.  
People can have sensitivities, sure, and may prefer Free & Clear detergents, but the diapers themselves are not affected by anything other than synthetic fabric softener.
So if you want tropical smelling diapers... Go for it!

Now we are to the nitty-gritty.
What you all have been waiting for...

My Wash Routine
I can only share with you what works for me.

1. Rinse/spin warm with line 1 of detergent.
2. Heavy duty power wash hot with full cup of detergent.
3. Dry Normal with a 10 minute timed dry at the end if needed.

If there happens to be any staining,  I set the diapers and inserts out in the sun for 30-60 minutes.
The sun visually bleaches the stains.

 Properly cleaned diapers will never smell after washing, will not repel liquids, and will not cause rashes or burns on your baby. If you find yourself needing to strip or bleach your diapers due to any of these issues, it is an indicator that they are not properly cleaned and you need to change your wash routine. Properly cleaned diapers will not require stripping or bleaching.

There you go!
If you have any questions or want more information, feel free to check out the Facebook group that opened my eyes, saved my diapers and wallet!

July 28, 2014

The 411 on Types of Cloth Diapers

I am a cloth diapering momma!!!

And I’m not talking about your momma’s cloth diapers.  As you can see, like everything else, cloth diapering has changed over the past 10-15 years.

There are many different types of cloth diapers, believe it or not! And many times a company will make more than one type of diaper. 

I have linked just a few examples. 
There are many, many, many more.

Flats – This is the single layer of cotton that you think of when you first hear cloth diaper. You generally fasten it with diaper pins or snappi's. A diaper cover in plastic or PUL is worn over top of the diaper to prevent leaks.

Prefolds – Similar to flats, but with an overlap of fabric in the middle. A lot of people now think they are burp cloths, and they can be used as such. A diaper cover must be worn and snappi's or pins can used. Special folding techniques can be used so that the cover holds the prefold in place rather than pins and such.

Fitted – looks like a disposable diaper, but made of absorbent material. It fastens with snaps or Velcro. The fitted is not water proof and must be worn with a diaper cover.
Example: Bumkins, TwinkieTush

Contour- The diapers in-between fitteds and pre-folds. They are sewn in the shape of a diaper, but require closure with a pin or snappi and a cover to prevent leaking.  
Examples: Kissaluvs

Pocket- A washable cover, generally made of PUL, with an attached pocket liner that holds a washable absorbent insert. The pocket allows for one or multiple inserts to be used to adjust the amount of absorbency.
Examples: Sunbaby, Thirsties

Hybrid-  Washable outer cover with the option of using a biodegradable disposable insert or a washable, cloth insert.

All-in-Two (AI2) – A washable diaper, generally made of PUL, with a snap-in, or attached, liner. The liner goes against the baby's bum or tucks behind itself into a type of looped pocket.
Examples: Bummis Ai2

All-in-One (AIO) -  The one-stop-shop. This is the no fuss option where you snap (or velcro) and go!
Examples: TotsBots 

I'm sure I have missed some popular brands or mixed up definitions... It seems that everyone has their own understanding of what each type is. There are even some that I have never heard of, like a sleeve diaper.
Psh, I don't know.

Next up: 
Cloth Diaper Laundry Basics and Controversies!

Sounds exciting, right?

July 25, 2014

Opening Night Essentials

Opening Night Essentials

If you are anything like me, I think quality over quantity when it comes to makeup.
I would much rather have high pigment and less product application, rather than spend money on cheap products that you go through too quickly because you have to use a ton just to get the proper effect.
Mary Kay is my go to for makeup. It's such a great product and so affordable.

Eyelashes are a must.

Baby wipes are awesome for makeup removal.
There is nothing worse than having to run into a store after a performance in full crazy stage makeup.
Wipe the face and leave the eyes for a killer dramatic look.

Basic character shoes cover a range of roles. 
Great for dancers.
Easy for anything else.

Nude underthings are great for when you have to change clothes.
Quick changes on stage, back stage...
Anywhere really.
You're covered just in case.
If you are modest, there is nothing worse than being caught mid change by a cast member or techie.

And a cute tote to carry it all!

July 23, 2014

Sayanora, Pre-Med!

Jake has been adapting to fatherhood exceptionally well.
He is silly and nurturing to our little boy. The bond that they have is adorable and growing daily.

Jake has been through a lot these past 3 months.
Jake is an official graduate from 2 institutions and is currently finishing his last semester of pre-med classes. Physics and Organic chemistry lectures have been playing in the background of everything recently.

Moving was stressful for him due to me not being able to lift much with my c-section incision. We had a limited amount of time for heavy lifting because Jake had sinus surgery scheduled.
(Waiting for his name to be called.)
(Jaxon napped while Jake was in surgery.) 
That was a ton of fun, taking his blood disorder into account.  The surgery went well, but recovery took an hour longer than usual. 
His recovery, while bloody, was fairly short.

(After getting home.)

(1 week post-op. Check out that swelling!)
We are now in full-on MCAT mode. Jake is taking his test this Friday.
That's only 2 days away!!!
It’s a pretty intense time and giving us a taste of what our future will look like, once Jake gets into med school.

While not ideal, I think that once we come to that phase in our lives that we will be able to handle it just fine.

It’s hard to believe that we are so close to the end of this phase in our lives. Soon, hopefully, the MCAT will be behind us and school applications will be our sole focus for a while.

I’m excited and nervous, all at once.