Introducing the new prints for Planet Wise pail liners. I am very excited to introduce you to these wonderful new additions to the Planet Wise line. I love their ever changing line up of colors and prints.
Today's guest post is from my friend and fellow blogger, Vivien. I approached Vivien to write this blog post because she was one my inspirations for opening of Carolina Cloth. She was the first person that I showed my cloth diapers to that decided to give cloth a try. I was so excited that I helped to convert someone to cloth that my husband encouraged me to take the next step and sell diapers. And Carolina Cloth was born! Vivien is a Blogher contributor and has a wide variety of topics she covers. She writes about anything, from parenting, breastfeeding, photography, and a monthly writing challenge. My personal favorite posts are her Foreigner Friday entries. I love hearing her perspective on living in the US. Please hop on over to Vivien Interrupted and her Facebook page - happy reading!
When I had my first
baby, I never gave cloth diapers too much thought. I had heard about the newer,
more convenient diapers that didn’t require safety pins, etc, but wasn’t really
interested in learning more about them. The thought of cloth just seemed
overwhelming, something that only hard-core dedicated crunchy parents would do.
We used disposables, just like most other parents we knew.
By the time I was
expecting baby number two, I had been exposed to cloth diapers a lot more, but
still felt skeptical. How could they possibly get clean in the washer? How much
more work would it mean? Would it really help the environment? Could we save
Thankfully, I was
fortunate enough to attend a cloth diapering information session at which I was
able to explore all options in person. So much better than just reading up on
things online! I was able to feel the fabrics, see the fit on the attending
children, and ask all the questions I had. After this meeting, I was sold.
However, my husband wasn’t quite on board yet. Here are the key points that won
for baby’s skin. You may think
that disposables are soft, but upon further inspection you will find that they
are just fancier versions of plastic. And they are filled with chemicals.
for the environment. This was
a hard concept for me to grasp. How could using that much more water and
detergent and electricity be better for the environment? Until I read that it
is about equal to flushing the toilet each time you go to the bathroom. And
that disposable diapers take decades to decompose.
cost efficient. The initial
investment is definitely more expensive than with disposable diapers. However,
they are reusable (often for many years) and re-sellable. And the best part is
that you don’t have to buy diapers again. Unless you develop a cloth addiction
in which case you might need to buy cute diaps every so often…
more attractive. You can buy
cloth diapers in endless varieties of prints and colors. They are so much more
fun than disposables and can basically be worn by themselves.
Even when we had
decided to give cloth a try, we didn’t dive right in. I bought just a few of
each brand first to see which ones we liked best. That gave us the chance to
find the best diapers for our family as well as to ease into cloth diapering at
a pace that was comfortable to us.
The transition was
easy! The laundering was much easier than I had expected and our new diapers
were quickly our favorites.
However, we still use
disposables sometimes. When there is gastro-intestinal upset of sorts, I
chicken out and go for the throw-away kind. I also refuse to pack a whole
diaper suitcase and wash diapers on vacation.
To anyone interested
in cloth diapering I highly recommend a personal consult. Nothing beats being able
to use your senses and ask direct questions. I also think it’s important to try
different brands and styles before buying a whole stash. If there’s a diaper
you end up not liking, you can re-sell it without much of a loss.
Are you interested in being a guest blogger? Please email Leslie - we love to hear other cloth experiences!
Today's question comes from an email from Sara. She asks "Do you recommend a specific cloth diaper soap to use in the washing machine? I've been using Arm & Hammer Super Wash soda because it seemed to not have any of the harmful chemicals mentioned by the manufacturer of our cloth diapers (bum genius)."
Since I have become a retailer, I have found the question of washing to be a rather controversial one. You can google and read so many different opinions on the subject: use vinegar, don't' use it, bleach will make your diapers melt (ok, a slight exaggeration), only use cloth diaper formulated detergents.....etc, etc. Throughout my time cloth diapering I have met so many different mamas who each use a different soap and a different routine. All of them have clean diapers and happy babies. Rarely do I hear a story of diaper issues, and if I do, detergent and washing haven't been to blame.
So my short answer is: use whatever you want!
My long answer will talk about some pros/cons and things to think about. For my particular area in Columbia, SC, we seem to have a wide variety of water types which greatly affect the performance of your laundry soap. I moved from the NE side of town to the west side of town and I had to completely revamp my routine. We also have a lot of families on wells in this area too.
First, let's take a look at what bumGenius has said and recommended. They recommend you"always use a detergent
free of perfumes, dyes, whiteners, brighteners,
softeners, enzymes, or other fabric enhancers." Honestly, I love bumGenius, but I don't 100% agree with them. Perfumes, dyes, whiteners, brighteners, and enzymes have not been proven to deteriorate diapers. There are many other manufacturers, who recommend detergents that contain these ingredients ( one being Happy Heinys) The only chemical on that list I agree with, is softeners. From a chemistry stand point, the only way to 'soften' laundry is by leaving a chemical residue on the surface of the fabric. These chemicals have a water repelling properties, which repel pee! The opposite purpose of a diaper! Which is why I call it a "no-no".
Now, back to that list of chemicals. Personally, I do not want to use a detergent with perfumes or dyes, because I do not like to use those types of chemicals. I have good friends with skin sensitivities that cannot use those chemicals for their personal health. Whether or not you want to use them, is up to you and your feelings, and it does not have any effect on the cleanliness and longevity of your diapers.
Cloth diaper formulated detergents avoid these chemicals, which makes them attractive for cloth use. They have specific recommendations for both standard and HE washing machines. Some do come scented, but they are scents that break down immediately upon exposure to water and will not get into the fabric of your diapers. We sell two different brands, Rockin' Green, the leader in cloth diaper detergents, and Eco Sprout, a newcomer to the cloth diaper detergent world, but one of my favorites because it is made by a work at home Dad!!
As for commercial detergents, I know mamas that use Tide, All, different Free and clear brands, Charlies, Country Save, Bio Kleen, Soap Nuts, Purex, and the list goes on and on. As long as your diapers are getting clean, baby isn't getting irritated by exposure, and the detergent is rinsing clean, then you are an awesome cloth diaper parent! (I will answer future questions based on some of these other issues in a problem solving post.)
Back to Sara's specific question. She mentioned Arm and Hammer washing soda. Washing soda, is sodium carbonate and is typically used as a water softener in laundering. It competes with the magnesium
and calcium ions in hard water and prevents them from bonding with the
detergent being used. Sodium carbonate can be used to remove grease, oil
and wine stains. I wouldn't have recommended using just washing soda alone for your diapers, it is great to use in conjunction with other detergents as a booster. BUT! - if your diapers are getting clean, there are no stinky smells, and baby's bottom isn't red, then by all means keep using it. Don't change what is working for your diapers.
I use washing soda in the laundry detergent that I make. I originally got the recipe from a blog called The Eco Friendly Family. I love her laundry detergent so much, you couldn't pay me to use a store bought detergent. For my cloth diapers I have switched back and forth between her cloth diaper formula and Eco Sprout. This blog link discusses making her recipe for both the standard laundry soap and the cloth diaper soap.
For the final part of Sara's question, what do I recommend, I just recommend keeping an open mind and trying detergents that fit what your family likes. If it is a cloth diaper formulated detergent, follow the directions on the label. If it is a standard laundry detergent, start off by using 1/4 of the manufacturers recommended amount, too much can be a bad thing, but also too little won't clean your diapers either.
If you have enjoyed this post, please subscribe with feedburner, found on the side column. We plan on hosting a giveaway soon and would love to have more readers! If you have a question, please email Leslie! We are always looking for our next cloth question submission!
The ABC Kids Expo had led to many new product releases in the cloth diaper world. I wish I could have attended and gotten the first peak at these wonderful new products! But together we can look together at these awesome new products. Here is the first look at the new Best Bottom shells: Plum Pie, Huckleberry Cobbler, and Hedgehog.
I would like to welcome everyone to our first week of answering your cloth diaper questions. Today's questions comes from Kristi on our facebook page. She writes: "My baby has a really red bottom today after two dirty diapers in a row. Is there any diaper cream that I can use with my cloth diapers or am I stuck using from my disposable stash because I have several tubes of Boudreax ButtPaste and Desitin that were gifts. And why does this happen more with dirty diapers than the wet ones?"
I am going to break her question down into different parts. First "Is there any diaper cream that I can use with my cloth diapers". Yes!! There are plenty of great cloth friendly diaper rash creams. We carry three different cloth friendly creams. One of my personal favorites is Earth Mama Angel Baby's Bottom Balm. It is allergy tested, vegan, and made with organic olive oil. It is infused with a blend of antibacterial and antifungal herbs that promote healing.
We also carry Eco Sprout Bottom Balm. It comes in a 2oz twist up tube (think glue stick). It is made with all natural ingredients and essential oils. The twist up tube design makes it great for a hands free, mess free application to baby's bottom. They also recommend it for any dry skin area on your or baby.
There are also many other brands available. CJs BUTTer, Motherlove, and California Baby are the first that come to mind. Organic coconut oil is also very popular in the cloth diapering community, and another personal favorite of mine.
You can also use those non-cloth friendly rash creams that were gifts as well! The key is protecting your diapers from these creams. Creams like ButtPaste and Desitin use different oils that do not wash out like the creams mentioned above. They will stay on your diapers and repel urine and cause leaks. The simple answer is to use a liner. We sell a disposable liner made by Eco Sprout that lays nicely into the diaper and will protect the surface. You can also cut up scraps of fabric or old blankets to make a liner. Fleece is often the most popular choice of fabric because it provides a stay dry surface as well. This is also what you would need to do if you ever need a prescription rash cream and still wish to use your cloth diapers.
Now for the second part of Kristi's question: "why does this happen more with dirty diapers than the wet ones?"
First, let's talk about urine. When your baby first pees, their urine is sterile. Exposure to sterile urine will not cause a rash. But as baby sits in that diaper, the urine mingles with naturally existing bacteria and that causes a change in pH which can lead to rashes. This is not immediate, which is why we don't see as many rashes caused from just wet diapers.
One other thing to note. There are certain foods which will change the pH of urine. Highly acidic food (citrus, tomatoes) can cause a pH change, making urine irritating to the skin during the initial pee. If you are in the process of introducing new foods to your baby, keep an eye out for foods that irritate baby's skin.
Now onto the poop.
Poop naturally contains more skin irritating substances which can cause rashes quickly. Especially in back to back dirty diapers where the skin hasn't had a chance to heal from the first poop. Poop is also affected by the food we eating for changes in pH too. Mandarin oranges were never kind to my son's bottom.
If you have a frequent pooper like my son, or just a baby with a red bottom, there are a few things you can do to heal up that redness fast. Getting exposure to air will help the skin heal faster than putting a diaper immediately back on baby. When my son was younger I used to spread out old bath towels on the floor and let him have his tummy time naked on the towels. If he peed, it didn't both me and I'd just toss them in the wash. When he was older we had to be more creative to give him his naked time.
Another solution to expose baby to more air if naked time isn't feasible, is to choose a more breathable diaper. You can choose a fitted diaper or prefolds. These diapers are great if you are at home. You can let baby go around the house without a cover and just monitor for when the diaper becomes too wet. You can also use a fleece or a wool cover for added protection.
One final note about rashes. If you use disposable wipes, you may want to consider switching to cloth wipes and plain water. Most disposable wipes contain some alcohol or other additives which can potentially aggravate the already sensitive skin. If baby seems really sore, just splash water on their skin and avoid using wipes altogether.
Does anyone else have any additional tips??
Email Leslie to participate in our weekly cloth diaper question post!