July 2, 2009

Swim Diapers!

Summer is here and that means it's time to hit the pool or the beach with the kids! Like many people, we used disposable swim diapers for our son at first, but when I compared the price of disposables and cloth swim diapers, I knew cloth was the way to go!

First of all, cloth swim diapers cost about $14, the equivalent of one pack of disposables. Depending on your baby's age, he can quickly outgrow those disposables before you finish the pack. If you're the type of family who love the water and swim on a regular basis, you may be buying multiple packs of disposables each season, making them even less economical and environmentally friendly.

There are lots of different brands of cloth swim diapers, but my favorite are the Imse Vimse for several reasons. First, these diapers are very trim and fit my slim toddler well. Sometimes people are surprised that cloth swim diapers are not thick and fluffy like regular cloth diapers. Cloth swimmers are not meant to be absorbent (neither are disposables, by the way), only to contain poop and keep it from getting in the water. Other suits have been too baggy around the thigh, which defeats the whole purpose because they won't contain the solid matter.

Second, the diapers are just adorable. They are basically baby Speedos and covered in a cute fish pattern. You can add a matching top for girls for a stylish tankini look.

Lastly, I prefer snaps on my diapers rather than velcro, and Imse Vimse uses side snaps which make changing a breeze.
--Written by Elita.

July 1, 2009

Diaper Liners – The Small Things That Make a Big Difference

I started using diaper liners as soon as I began cloth diapering, convinced that they would save me time on cleaning messy poop from my prefolds. However, this was still in the early days when my baby was entirely breastfed and the consistency of poop usually ran overboard. Since I almost always ended up washing out the stains by hand before they were put in the pail, I stopped buying the liners.

When baby started solids, things immediately changed. With the poop now more firm it would have been easily contained in the liner and it was frustrating to be spending so much time each day washing the marks out. Because the liners were not locally available I started using pieces of folded kitchen paper instead but this disintegrated with urine and made a mess. So it was with eager anticipation that I awaited for my next online order of Imse Vimse liners to arrive. As expected I now find these liners invaluable. They make cloth diapering so much easier and are truly an item that I don’t want to live without!

I bought the Imse Vimse range because it said they were biodegradeable and suitable for septic tanks and at the outset I threw every used one into the toilet. Then I read a review of the product in which the reviewer shared her experience of using the liners, saying that whilst the dirty ones got flushed immediately, the ones that were just wet could be washed and reused. Well to me, an eco-mama on a budget, this was great advice. I started washing them out by hand which was successful but when one slipped into my machine load and came out fine I began to add them to my pail for the main wash. So I save both time and money with these liners!

As an aside, this recycling of the liners gave me the opportunity to compile some statistics on my daughters diaper habits. I kept all the clean and dried reused ones in a bag and when I finished the roll of 100 I counted how many had been saved in order to tally her poop to pee ratio! A mothers fun!

--Written by Terri Henry

June 30, 2009

Traveling with Cloth Diapers

This time of year, this is one of the questions we receive most often: Can we travel with cloth diapers and how?
The answer? Absolutely! Preparation and foresight is key. Here are some tips I've learned from traveling:

Plan around the use of washing machines. If you're staying in hotels, try to book a room in a hotel that has guest laundry (the self-serve kind). Only dry your inserts or prefolds. Hotel dryers can run VERY hot and may ruin snaps or PUL products (the waterproof fabric on your covers and diapers). Hang the covers and pockets to dry.

Take your own detergent. A baggie of your favorite detergent is worth the hassle. If you have liquid, pack it in your checked baggage so it's not confiscated at the airport. Double bag powders. If you have a bottle of detergent, put it in a baggie to contain any leaks.

If you have two pail liners, take them both. One can hold dirty diapers and the other can hold clean ones. One of our pail liners is a hanging pail liner (Doorknob Diaper Pail). At home, it's a liner for our plastic pail, but on vacation, we snap it around a doorknob or towel bar for an instant travelling diaper pail.
Take all of your diapers that fit. Every last one, even the ones you never use. You never know how long you'll need to go between washes and having extra diapers can really be beneficial.
If you fly, take 1/2 of your diapers in a carryon and 1/2 in your checked luggage. If possible, spread them out to as many suitcases as possible, just in case a bag is lost.
If you can't find a washing machine, wash by hand. Most inserts will dry overnight, prefolds can still be used even slightly damp, and most covers and pockets will dry quickly.
For longer trips or trips totally without washing facilities, covers and flats are a great way to go. They are easily handwashed and dry very quickly.
We took a trip two years ago that really challenged our use of cloth diapers. First we had a 12 hour flight with two layovers, then a 3 hour drive, then an overnight stay where we washed diapers. Then an 18 hour car trip and a 3-day stay in the boonies. Almost broke down and bought disposables, but ended up finding a secret washing machine in the basement. Snuck in to wash diapers. Another 18 hour car trip, then a week at my Mom's with her machine. Then the flight home. We successfully cloth diapered the entire trip. During the long car ride, we had a huge bag of dirty diapers, but with the top twisted on our pail liners, no one in the van could smell a thing. Whew!

Next time I post: Camping with cloth!

--Written by Heather at Cloth Diaper Outlet