Sunday, November 27, 2005

The diaper hyenas are closing in

The Internet is being overrun by stalkers. Diaper stalkers, that is. They come from dozens of different countries and are constantly on the prowl, sniffing out deals on the best and most beautiful cloth diapers available online. They are the connoisseurs, and they call themselves hyenas.

Here are a couple of great articles that describe this growing Internet phenomenon. Enjoy!

If you'd like to actually meet some hyenas in person -- or at least chat with people who have some experience using cloth diapers and are eager to exchange information on the subject -- I suggest you pay a visit to the Diaper Pin. There you'll find hundreds of raging diaper fiends who would love nothing better than to share their cloth diapering stories, give you buying and washing tips, and rave about their own latest purchases.

'Bye for now. I'm off to join the pack.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Kushies diaper wraps: great if your baby's into rubber pants

As I mentioned in my previous post, I went on a bit of a diaper-buying spree a couple weeks ago. While shopping, I found a rack of Kushies diaper wraps that were on sale for CDN $7.49 (US $6.28) . I wasn't really in the market for a new diaper cover, but who am I to resist the lure of a sale? Besides, I hadn't been aware that Kushies even made diaper covers, and was curious to see what the quality of the wrap was like. After all, when you're writing a blog on cloth diapers, you have to do your research, right?

As soon as I opened the package and felt the diaper wrap with my own hands, I was determined to dislike it. It's made from a waterproof PUL (polyurethane laminate) that's far thicker and tackier (and by that I mean, tacky to the touch, not the eyes) than the Bummis SWW and Motherease covers I've been using. The Bummis and Motherease covers are thin, soft, and extremely pliable, and remind me of the finest Gore-tex jacket linings. In contrast, the Kushies wrap felt like the inside of a rubber boot.

The Kushies diaper wrap: thick enough to stop a speeding bullet!

On top of that, the Kushies wrap has a band of gathered elastic running along the inside of it, just above where Milo's diaper reaches. The thought of that elastic lying against his bare skin makes me shudder.

Having said all that, I must admit that the Kushies wrap isn't as bad as I first feared it would be. So far, it's worked just fine -- no leaks or rub marks on Milo's back or belly yet. I'm still not very fond of it, however. It's just not very pleasant to the touch. And, given the thickness of the PUL, I highly doubt it's at all breathable. I hesitate to let Milo wear it for very long -- I'm afraid he might develop a rash from it.

So that's my initial take on the Kushies diaper wrap. Overall, I give it a 2.5/5.0 I plan to keep on using it, though, just to see if it grows on me. But for now, all I've got to say is that diaper wrap is anything BUT cushy.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Is it wrong to drool over diapers? Not if you're talking about Motherease organic unbleached cotton terry dipes

Okay, I have to admit it. I'm a total sucker for all things organic. I'm not going to get into that whole "what's best for the environment" argument here; I figure it's one of those topics that people should research for themselves. For some people, organic goods are worth the extra money and effort involved in producing them; for others, they aren't. To each his own and all that, right? Right.

(Just in case you are curious to learn more about organic farming, however, Wikipedia's always a good place to start your research.)

At any rate, I am one of those people who gets all starry eyed and drooly when presented with the words "organic," "unbleached," "cotton," and "diapers" together in one sentence. So you can imagine my delight when I went to Discount Diapers, a local cloth diapers store, and discovered Motherease Sandy's and One-Size diapers. I bought one Sandy's and two of the One-Size dipes.

Both kinds cost CDN $14.75 each, which works out to about US $12.40. A little pricy, but worth it if they last a long time and actually keep Milo dry all night.

The Motherease diapers are made from organic unbleached cotton terrycloth that's OH SO thick and soft, I almost wish they came in adult sizes. But then, that would make me a bit of a sicko, wouldn't it? (Heh heh heh...)

The Sandy's comes in two sizes: small (8-20 lbs) and large (20-35 lbs). We bought a small for Milo just to give it a test drive. I put it on him at bedtime last night and it fit him perfectly. I'm guessing it will probably be a little too small come January or February, but nothing good lasts forever, right?

Motherease Sandy's -- cushie and cute

Wrong. The Motherease One-Size are made to fit all babies from 8-35 pounds, so they should last a baby for his or her entire pants-wetting career -- in theory, at least. (I'll let you know how well the diapers satisfy this claim a couple of years from now.)

Motherease One-Size -- Here's hoping that one size really DOES fit all!

Like Wonderoos, the Motherease One-Size dipes use a snapping system that allows the diapers to be adjusted to fit babies of all different shapes and sizes. You can also buy a snap-in liner that provides extra protection for night-time use.

That's actually why I bought these new dipes -- the nighttime system we'd been using with Milo just wasn't cutting it anymore. As I said in my last entry, his Aristocrats wool soaker has finally become too small for him (sob!). Same with the Driline fitted dipes we were using inside the soaker. We'd been stuffing a cotton prefold into the Driline fitted, and then putting the soaker on top of them. This whole combo was getting pretty tight and Milo didn't look like he was having much fun wearing it. And since he's a very LONG little boy, neither the diaper nor the 'crats soaker rose high enough up his back to prevent leaking. For the past three or four days in a row, Milo has just been SOAKED when I've gone in to get him in the morning. Yick.

(Not that he seems to mind very much -- which is good in a way, because it means that he's not waking up earlier because of his wet clothes. But on the other hand, how hard is it going to be to toilet train him, if he doesn't care if his pants are soaked? Shudder.)

Clearly, the time had come for us to try out a new nighttime diapering system. That's why we made the run to Discount Diapers. In addition to our marvelous new Motherease dipes, we also bought a new wool soaker (size medium -- should last Milo at least until he's 10 months old, we're hoping) and a Kushies diaper cover.

Joy of joys. Nothing makes a diaper addict happier than a whole new bundle of "fluff"!

Of course, all my lunatic raving aside, I wouldn't want you to get the impression that I think every cloth diapering option is the bestest thing on the entire planet. Tune in for my next blog entry where I give my first negative review...


Tuesday, November 08, 2005

All I want for Christmas is some new wool dipes

The Boy's Aristocrats wool soaker is starting to get a little small for him. It breaks my heart to admit it. Oh, how I love that piece of fluff.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the 'crats wool soaker is the best possible night-time cover I can imagine. It soaks up a huge volume of pee, and only needs to be washed every two or three weeks (unless poo gets on it, in which case it must be washed. More about wool washing soon...).

But alas, the soaker does not stretch to fit the needs of a growing baby boy. And so now I'm on the prowl for some more wool. I don't want to stop at getting just another soaker, though. I'd like to try a range of wool diapering options. Wraps, longies, shorties, bring 'em on! Bring 'em all on!

To further this end, I recently gave my mother-in-law a free downloadable knitting pattern for wool longies to pass on to her mother, who, at the age of 89, is still an avid knitter and is always looking for new projects to keep herself busy. I'm hoping that Great Gramma will knit The Boy a pair of wool longies for Christmas -- that would be so unbelievably awesome!

(If any of you think I'm getting a little over-excited about a pair of hand-knit wool pants, consider the fact that such pants often cost up to US $85. Now do you understand why I'd be excited to get some for free? Especially when they've been knit by a great-grandmother? It doesn't get any cooler than that, I tell you.)

In the meantime, I'm thinking about blowing some of my hard-earned (heh) maternity leave money on some wool dipes and covers that are available for sale online. I've been hearing some good thing about the Sugar Peas line of wool diapering products. I'm especially interested in one of their wool flannel covers. Here, check it out:

I mean, seriously. Doesn't it look cozy?

And what's especially cool is that you can buy a wool diaper that snaps into the sugar peas cover and turns it into an all-in-one diaper.

Wool + wool = 1 drooling Diaper Dame!

So far, all I've done is a bit of research. But once I make a final decision and make a purchase, I'll be sure to post a blog entry that relates where I bought the wool, how much it cost, and what the customer service was like. And I'll give my new wool fluff a spin and let you know how well it works on The Boy.

Wish me luck on the wool hunt!

Here, sheep sheep sheep...

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

And they say cloth diapering is hard

As someone who regularly scans the online news sites to see if there are any articles about cloth diapers and cloth diapering, I've come across a lot of articles recently "elimination communication," or "natural infant hygiene."

It's basically a form of potty training that teaches babies how to recognize their own urges to urinate or defecate so they can start using the toilet at a very young age. Some "EC" toddlers have been totally potty-trained as young as a year old.

Yowza. Imagine the money you'd save not having to buy disposable diapers -- or cloth diapers, for that matter!

There is some controversy about the method, however. Some infant specialists warn against trying to potty train such young toddlers, worrying that to do so might traumatize them and cause them to fear using the toilet altogether. Others suggest that even "EC" toddlers will regress and engage in regressive bed- and pants-wetting behaviours during their terrible twos or threes.

Still, I've got to say is, "wow." Parents who try to use "EC" make a focused effort to carefully observe their babies throughout the entire day for months on end, so they can begin to identify the little signs their babies make when they're about to pee or take a poo. Then, once they're able to recognize these signs, they run with the little ones to the bathroom and, holding them over the toilet, make "sssst-sssst" sounds that trigger the baby's release mechanism.

Needless to say, this requires serious dedication on the part of the parents. I truly admire anyone who has that kind of patience and perseverance.

Me, I consider myself an observant parent if I'm able to recognize when Monkey Boy is ready to go down for a nap. It usually takes 15 minutes or so of eye-rubbing, yawning, and angry squawking before I finally smack myself on the forehead and realize he's jonesing for some sleep.

I couldn't imagine watching him 24 hours a day and thinking, "Are you going to go pee now? Now? Now? Oh! You blinked! Does that mean you're going to go now? No? How about now?"

Nope, no can do.

And, much as I hate to admit it, the level of complacency Monkey Boy shows when he's sitting around with a soaking wet bottom makes me suspect he'll be in diapers for the long haul. Thank goodness those nifty cloth and wool numbers are just so damned cute. He may have a lumpy bum a lot longer than those "EC" kids, but at least his lumpy bum will be stylish...

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Is washing cloth diapers the nightmare it's cracked up to be?

Whenever I tell my friends that we're using cloth diapers, one of the most common responses goes something like this: "Oh my GAWD, you must doing laundry 24-7!!! How do you handle it?"

"Easy!" I tell them. "I get my husband to do it!"


All joking aside, I've got to say that using cloth diapers hasn't chained me (or my husband) to the washer/dryer at all. We wash a load of cloth diapers about every two and a half days, so that works out to two or three loads a week. Not too bad, really, considering the fact that we wash Monkey Boy's clothes that often anyway.

If you plan to use cloth diapers, here are some questions you'll have to consider at some point:

  • Should I use a dry pail or a wet pail for my cloth diapers? (A wet pail is a diaper pail that's full of water and some sort of antibiotic or cleaning solution, such as bleach, detergent, or tea tree oil).

  • Should I soak my cloth diapers before washing them? (Either in a wet pail or in the washer itself.)

  • Should I wash my cloth diapers in hot or cold?

  • How many rinse cycles should I run my cloth diapers through?

  • What sort of detergent or soap should I use with my cloth diapers?

  • To bleach or not to bleach?

Personally I like to keep things as simple as possible. (Why? Because I'm lazy.)

We use a dry pail because frankly, a wet pail seems like way too much of a hassle. In order to keep odors to a minimum, we rinse and wring out any diapers that have poop in them before throwing them in to the pail. The lid of the pail has a space to put a deodisk -- a disk-shaped deodorant cake -- to deal with odors.

(Oh, how I love that deodisk. It totally nullifies the diaper stank. Right now, Monkey Boy's bedroom has a delightful citrus smell in it, like someone's been squeezing an orange peel in there. Mmm... orangey.)

When it's time for us to do another load, we fill the washing machine with hot water and throw in some ecofriendly biodegradable detergent (it's called VIP, but I think it's only available in Canada -- not sure) and 1/4 cup of Borax. Once the machine is full of water, we add the diapers and let them soak for about five or ten minutes before putting them through a rinse cycle.

Once that's done, we
add any of Monkey Boy's clothes that need to be washed and run everything through a regular cycle with hot water, then rinse with cold.

That's it!
And so far we haven't had any staining, stink, or rash issues at all.

So really, washing our cloth diapers has only added about 10-15 minutes to our regular laundry routine. In the grand scheme of things, that's nothing. Knowing what I know now, I'd continue to use cloth diapers even if we had to go to a laundromat to do our washing. What's an extra 10 to 15 minutes every few days?

Especially when compared to running out of diapers in the middle of the night and having to drive around town looking for a convenience store that sells diapers and is still open at 1:00 in the morning.

(I'm sure that doesn't happen to everyone, but I know at least three people who've had to make a midnight run for disposables! Definitely something I'm happy to avoid...)

One thing: we've found that drying our cloth diapers takes a little longer than regular laundry, especially when we're drying the fitted cloth diapers, which are thicker than the cotton prefolds we usually use. If we're doing a load of fitteds plus prefolds and diaper covers, we tend to keep them in the dryer for a full hour (whereas our regular laundry usually takes only 40 minutes to dry).

Of course,
if you're worried about excessive electricity bills, you can always hang your diapers to dry. And the nifty thing is, sunshine naturally bleaches cloth diapers, so if they have any poo stains on them, the sun will bleach them back to their original whiteness. AND it will help reduce any lingering odors on your cloth diapers.

Sunshine: a free way to dry your dipes, AND bleach them, AND kill odors. Reason #195857 why Mother Nature is just so darned cool.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Cloth diapering: Dealing with the "ick" factor

Cloth diapering is easy and cloth diapers don't smellA fellow blogger mulling over the "cloth diapers vs. disposables" question recently asked me how I dealt with the "ick" factor of cloth diapering.

(The "ick" being the little treasures Monkey Boy regularly deposits in his diaper for us to find when we change him.)

"What do you do," she asked. "Empty solids into a toilet? Do you have to wring it out to get rid of liquids? Ick. And if you change it while you're out, can you just put the used one in a plastic baggie to take home? Ick."

Ick indeed, if you were dealing with the kind of poops that come out of adult bums, or teenage bums, or even snot-nosed little kid bums.

But the great thing is about newborns is, their runny little breastfed poos DON'T STINK.

It's true -- they don't!

And, not only do those little Hershey squirts start out so small to be virtually insignificant -- during the first week of your baby's life, you're actually WANTING him or her to poo, WAITING for it, BEGGING for it, because a decent number of poos per day is a good indication that your baby is eating enough and is healthy.

(This is how they mess with your head and turn your entire value system upside down. Poo good! Whiskey and cigarettes bad!)

Of course, the poos do get bigger over time, and they do eventually start to smell (especially when baby starts to eat something other than breastmilk -- which is why we won't be introducing solids to our Monkey Boy until he's roughly 13 years old).

But the process of "ickification" takes place over a period of months, and is so gradual that you're able to acclimatize yourself to it, so that dunking a pooey cloth diaper into a toilet bowl or a sink of hot water and swishing it around to get the chunky bits off actually doesn't seem that gross at all. Neither does sticking a dirty diaper into a plastic bag until you're able to dump it into the diaper pail.

Now, my attitude toward this might change once Monkey Boy starts eating solid food. My brother (a father of three) takes great sadistic pleasure in assuring me that the poos will indeed start to smell so bad that I will need a clothespin on my nose in order to deal with them. But I'll deal with that problem once I get to it (most likely by getting my lovely unsuspecting husband to change most of the pooey diapers, heh heh heh...).

AND... just in case you're caught up in the whole "cloth diaper vs. disposable" debate -- were you aware that the "proper" way to use disposable diapers is to scrape off all the poo and dump it into the toilet before throwing the diapers in the garbage?

Surprise! That's how the diaper manufacturers intend for their customers to use them -- at least, that's what they say when the ecohounds are hot on their heels.

But do you know ANYONE who actually does that?

So yeah, there's definitely an "ick" factor involved in dealing with diapers of any type. I suppose the advantage of cloth diapers is that you can wash the "ick" right out of a diaper and have it come out looking and smelling clean and fresh. Once you "ick" up a disposable dipe, on the other hand, it gets dumped into a landfill and stays "ick" for a very, very long time.


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The wonders of wool soakers

Wool soakers are sexy. OH SO SEXY.

Okay, so maybe "sexy" isn't the right adjective to apply to something you wrap around a baby bum. I'm just so seriously enamoured with my new wool soaker right now, I can't think of a better word to use.

Here's why: wool is so absorbent, it can hold double its weight in liquid and still not feel wet. You dig what I'm saying? A five-ounce wool diaper cover -- more commonly known as a wool soaker -- can absorb up to 10 ounces of liquid and still not leak. And that doesn't include the liquid held in the diaper itself.

Wool soakers suck the moisture away from baby's skin and are perfectly breathable, which means even babies with sensitive skin are far less likely to get a rash.

You know what that means, don't you? If you're using wool soakers, say helloooooooo to a good night's sleep. If you don't have to change your baby in the middle of the night, then you don't run the risk of waking your baby up so much that he or she has trouble returning to sleep. And the faster you get that baby back to sleep after you feed it, the more sleep YOU get at night.

(And if there's one thing I've discovered since becoming a parent, it's that sleep = sanity.)

But wait -- it gets even better. Wool has natural antibacterial properties that enable it to kill odors completely. A wool soaker can be absolutely saturated with baby pee and once it's dry, you know what it smells like?

Wool. That's it.

I know that many of you who haven't already been sucked into the wool vortex may have a hard time believing this, but it's true -- brownie's honour.

In fact, a wool soaker can be absolutely saturated with baby pee for up to three weeks running, and you know what it'll smell like when it dries after 21 days of such treatment? Wool.

Uh huh. That's right. Wool.

Wool diaper covers come in many forms -- wool soakers, wool wraps, even shorts and "longies" that can double as pants.

Imagine wearing a simple cotton prefold diaper under pants like these. Or these.Or how about these.

Wool. It's the best thing to wear when it's cold AND the best thing to wear when it's hot.

It's the coolest. Thing. Ever.

Now, is that sexy or what?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Cloth diapering: so easy, even a brain-dead zombie mom can use them

Cloth diapering is easy with inexpensive cotton prefoldsI know what you're thinking. Some of you, at least. If you're new to the concept of cloth diapering and are anything like I was before being sucked into the world of "fluff,"** you're probably thinking something like this:

"Oh, yeah, right -- like I could ever manage cloth diapering! I can't even properly wrap a flat rectangular box with Christmas paper! How on earth could anyone ever possibly expect me to pin a piece of cloth on to the bottom of a squirmy baby? I'd probably end up impaling the kid and getting thrown into jail for child abuse!"

Yep. Been there. Thought that. Trust me, if I can get the knack of cloth diapering, anyone can.

The truth is, cloth diapers are ridiculously easy to use, especially when you use cotton prefolds together with those awesome Snappis I mentioned in an earlier post. (Frankly, if I were to use pins, Monkey Boy would almost certainly be a eunuch by now.)

There are lots of ways to fold a cloth diaper, some of which work better for chubby or skinny babies, but I'm inherently lazy and have only used the first basic folding method I learned, the "newspaper fold." So far, it's worked great for us.

Here, I'll walk you through it...

1. Lay out the prefold cloth diaper so that the serged ends are at the top and bottom, then fold the bottom end of the diaper 1/4 - 1/3 of the way up the diaper, like so:

cloth diapering is easy with inexpensive cotton prefolds
I've made a relatively skinny fold here, just because these prefold cloth diapers are infant-sized and getting a little small for my ridiculously long baby. I really should go out and buy him the next size up already, but have I mentioned that I'm inherently lazy?

(Oh, and another thing I'd like to point out -- these amateur digital pix really don't do justice to the fact that this prefold cloth diaper is still pure white, despite having been peed and pooped on countless times during the 3 1/2 months Monkey Boy has been using them. Yep, these suckers wash up really well.)

Okay, enough digressions. Back to the folding!

2. Fold both sides of the prefold cloth diaper so that they meet in the middle, then flare out the tops so that they form "wings."

cloth diapering is easy with inexpensive cotton prefolds (2)
(If your baby is a heavy wetter, you can place a liner on top of the prefold cloth diaper at this point. If I'd had my wits about me, I would have taken a picture to show you what it looked like. But I didn't, because Monkey Boy thought it would be a great joke to wake me up a dozen times in the middle of the night -- and as a result I wasn't thinking straight. When all else fails, blame the baby.)

3. Place your baby on to the prefold cloth diaper so his bum is in the middle of it, then bring up the folded bottom toward your baby's belly button. (Feel free to kiss said belly button, just 'cause it's so darned cute.)

cloth diapering is easy with inexpensive cotton prefolds (3)
4. Bring one of the wings around to the front of your baby, so that it meets up with the folded part of the prefold cloth diaper, then start looking madly for the Snappi you need to use to attach the two of them together.

cloth diapering is easy with inexpensive cotton prefolds (4)
5. Use the Snappi to fasten one side of the prefold cloth diaper, then the other, and then attach the middle "anchor" claw of the Snappi down so that the remains securely wrapped around your baby.

cloth diapering is easy with inexpensive cotton prefolds (5)
6. Sit back and admire your handiwork!

cloth diapering is easy with inexpensive cotton prefolds (6)
Oh yeah, there's a good-looking prefold cloth diaper. It's so nifty, I think it deserves an...

7. Obligatory cute baby shot!

cloth diapering is easy with inexpensive cotton prefolds (7)
8. And another!

cloth diapering is easy with inexpensive cotton prefolds (8)
One day, years from now, when Monkey Boy is a teenager, he's going to cringe at all the compromising baby pictures I posted of him online.

It's my little way of saying, "Thanks for all those sleepless nights, son."

Okay, now it's confession time... For all the uninitiated out there, I have to admit that the fold featured in the pictures above isn't a very good example of a well-executed newspaper fold. Parents who are more conscientious about their folding no doubt do a far better job than I do.

Those people probably make much crisper and symmetrically balanced folds, and tuck one side of the bottom fold featured in Step 2 into the other, to increase the diaper's stability and make it look even cooler.

But, as I mentioned earlier, me=lazy.

So lazy, in fact, that sometimes I don't even bother using the newspaper fold. Nope. Sometimes I just fold the prefold cloth diaper in thirds and shove that sucker right into the diaper cover, like this:

cloth diapering is easy with inexpensive cotton prefolds (9)
But even when I'm being so horrendously lazy, Monkey Boy still doesn't suffer for it. His diaper cover still keeps in all the wetness without giving him so much as a hint of a rash (knock wood).

Now I ask you, how easy is that?

**"fluff" is what the cool kids call cloth diapers and cloth-diaper-related materials (liners, covers, fabric, etc.) Now you too can sound like a true diaper connoisseur!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Diaper Covers Showdown: Bummis vs. Motherease

When Milo's bum isn't wrapped up in one of his wonderful, wonderful Wonderoos, it's usually covered by a cotton prefold and one of his waterproof diaper covers.

We're currently using two different types of diaper covers -- Bummis Super Whisper Wraps (henceforth to be referred to as SWWs) and Motherease.

The two diaper covers are quite similar in design. Both have Aplix (aka "Velcro") closures and are made from waterproof laminate, kind of like the material K-Way jackets are made from -- and if you don't know what K-Way jackets are, all I have to say is, where the hell were you in 1980?

(If your answer is, "Still a twinkle in my father's eye," I don't wanna hear it.)

Here's Milo sporting one of his fancy-pants "froggy" SWW diaper covers...
Cloth diaper covers - Bummis Super Whisper Wraps
And here he is in Motherease "jungle print" cover.

Cloth diaper covers - Motherease
So far, I'm fairly happy with both these diaper covers. We're using the small size of both diaper covers on a long, relatively lean 3 1/2 month-old baby who currently weighs 14 1/2 pounds , and they fit Milo really well. They easily cover his cotton prefold without being saggy in the crotch or having any gaps around the legs.

Both diaper covers rarely ever leak, except for when he's had a SERIOUS (and by "serious," I mean mind-bendingly HUGE) blowout. When I put them on, I can almost always guarantee that the clothes Milo's wearing will remain relatively unscathed, no matter what kind of storm his unpredictable digestive system brews up.

There are subtle differences between the two diaper covers. The Aplix strip across the front is much wider on the Motherease cover. This makes it a little easier to put it on a hyper-wiggly baby.

However, I notice that I have to be careful to make sure that none of the Aplix is above the hem of the diaper; otherwise, Milo ends up with a red mark on his belly where the Aplix has been rubbing against his skin.

The Motherease also has gussets around the leg, which ensure a snug fit and help prevent leaks:

diaper covers - Motherease
The SWW, on the other hand, has fold-back tabs inside the cover, which help protect the Aplix fasteners by ensuring they don't get all gummed up with lint when you throw them in the washing machine. Since the Aplix fastener is the part of the cover that's most vulnerable to wear and tear, the fold-back tabs definitely help extend the life of the cover.

Diaper covers - Bummis
My one major complaint about these diaper covers is that they don't breathe as well as the Wonderoos pocket diapers do. I find I have to change Milo more often when he's wearing them; otherwise, his skin starts to redden and chafe from being wrapped in wetness for so long. I often notice when I take them off that the inside of them is slick with moisture. This never happens with the Wonderoos, because their microsuede lining wicks moisture away from baby's skin.

That being said, I still like the SWW and Motherease covers. I'd give them a 4/5 rating. I'm sure there are better covers out there -- I've been hearing great things about fleece, and wool's a huge favourite among natural fiber fans -- but I just haven't tried any of them yet. What I'd like to find is a soft diaper cover made from hemp fleece or wool or some other such funky material that has leg gussets and fold-back tabs for the Aplix closure. And I'd prefer that diaper cover to come in vibrant colours that don't bleed in the wash. Oh, and if it was self-laundering so I'd never have to wash it, that'd be good, too.

No harm in dreaming, right?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Wonderoos: The Cadillac of Pocket Diapers

My son Milo, the future male model

Every time I put Milo in his Wonderoo one-size pocket diapers, I start singing, "Wonderful, wonderful Wonderoooos," to the tune of the Wonderbra theme song from those annoying commercials back in the '70s and '80s.

(Ha! Now it's stuck in your head, too. No one ever said I wasn't evil.)

But it's true -- my Wonderoos pocket diapers ARE wonderful, wonderful. These colourful one-size pocket diapers are what made me fall in love with the idea of cloth diapering in the first place. I was just surfing for cloth diapering information one day, dum de dum dum, when I came across this site and fell head over heels in love.

I mean, seriously! Look at them! Those white snaps! Those bold colours! They're just so... cute!

(There. I said it. The girl who used to hate the very concept of "cute" has grown up to be a mom who colour coordinates all of her three-month old son's outfits. Including his diapers. Sigh. Who woulda thunk?)

Yes, the cuteness of these pocket diapers that caught my eye. But it was their longevity that truly sucked me in. Wonderoos one-size pocket diapers have an adjustable snapping system that allows them to fit most babies from 8 to 30 lbs. How's THAT for economic cloth diapering? Sure, they cost a pretty penny -- around $15 USD each -- but they will last throughout your baby's entire diaper-wearing career!

If you're cheap and always on the lookout for discount cloth diapers like me, you could always save a few bucks by going to eBay and buying some used Wonderoos pocket diapers.

(And before you gag at the idea of used cloth diapers, let me tell you that the Wonderoos I bought were in perfect condition. They looked like they were BRAND NEW -- no pilling, no stains, no weird smell, no nothing! These are durable pocket diapers, I tell you.)

All you need to do to use these pocket diapers is adjust the rise to fit your baby, slip a liner of some sort into their built-in pocket, snap that sucker on to your baby's butt, and you're good to go! The microsuede lining wicks moisture away from your baby's skin, and the thin layer of waterproof PUL (polyurethane laminate) makes sure that wetness is kept in the pocket diaper.

Best of all, Wonderoos pocket diapers are totally breathable, which means your baby's chances of getting a diaper rash are seriously slim. I've been using my Wonderoos pocket diapers pretty much every day since Milo was born, and they haven't given him anything close to a diaper rash. A smooth baby butt is a happy baby butt!

Here's where the caveat comes: truth be told, I haven't even been using my Wonderoos PROPERLY. Like I said, they're pocket diapers, meant to be used once and then washed. For the past few months, though, I've been using them as diaper covers more often than not.

(Even at their smallest setting, the leg holes were still a bit too big for my little newborn's chicken legs, even though he was 8 lbs at birth.)

Rather than wait for Monkey Boy to get big enough to fit them, however, I decided to put a cotton prefold on him (using my fabulous Snappies -- need I remind you, the coolest invention EVER) and then put the Wonderoos on top, instead of a regular diaper cover.

It worked great! The Wonderoos held in all the moisture, keeping Milo's clothes clean and dry, and they seem to be more breathable than the "real" diaper covers I have.

They work really well for night-time, as well. Milo's like a fire hose at night (I swear, he pees more than his body weight while he sleeps), and, well, I'm just too lazy to change him at 3:00 a.m., knowing that if I do so he'll completely wake up and want me to play with him for the next couple hours. It was a bit of a challenge to figure out a cloth diapering solution that would keep his jammies dry and ensure that I got the sleep I needed to remain sane.

Well, here's what's working for me: I put a prefold or a fitted diaper on him, then stick a hemp jersey prefold into a Wonderoos pocket diaper and then put that over top. Basically, he's wearing two complete diapers with a waterproof skin on the outside -- and it works like a charm.

As Milo gets bigger, however, I'll have to start using my Wonderoos solely as diapers, instead of diaper covers, which means they'll have to get washed more often. But that's okay -- it'll just give me a good excuse to buy a few more of them!

So all in all, I give my Wonderoos a 4.5/5 rating. They're pretty fantastic, but a tad too expensive to be truly perfect. There may be better diapers out there (admittedly, I've only tried a few different kinds myself), but I haven't come across them yet.

How 'bout you? What's YOUR favourite brand of cloth diapers? Do you prefer to use one-size pocket diapers like Wonderoos? Or fitted pocket diapers like Fuzzi Bunz or Happy Heiny's?

I'd love to hear your comments!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Looking for cheap cloth diapers? Stock up on inexpensive cotton prefolds

If you've done any research online, you've no doubt discovered that cloth diapers of the 21st century can cost a lot of money! (Anywhere from $12 - $30 each, depending on the brand.)

Don't let that high price tag scare you off! If you're on a tight budget, you can still do cloth diapering on the cheap. Simply pick yourself one or two prefold cloth diaper packages -- combined with a few sassy diaper covers -- and you'll be set for months, all for well under $100.

But what are these inexpensive cotton prefolds of which I speak, you ask?

A "prefold" is a rectangular cloth that gets its name from the way it's been folded and stitched to have multiple layers of thickness down the middle to soak up the wetness. This seriously cuts down on the amount of origami-bending you have to do to wrap the cloth diaper around your baby's bum.

Prefold cloth diaper packages can include unbleached organic prefold diapers, chinese prefolds, Indian prefolds -- even hemp jersey prefolds
Prefold cloth diapers are typically made of bleached or unbleached cotton. You can also get organic prefold diapers as well as prefolds made from flannel and hemp jersey or fleece.

Cotton prefolds are also often referred to as "Chinese prefolds" or "Indian prefolds."

Why? That's a good question. I suspect it's because the cotton came from China or India, but don't quote me on that. (Unless, of course, I'm right, in which case please do quote me and pay me reprint rights to boot.)

Whatever the ethnic flavour of your prefold cotton diapers, they're the least expensive diapering option out there. If you're looking for cheap cloth diapers, this the way to go!

Of course, you actually have to go to the work of folding them, but once you get the hang of it, folding's really no big deal -- especially when you're using Snappis, the coolest invention on earth. Seriously. Cars, fiber optics, the Internet, rockets that go to the Moon -- they've got NOTHING on Snappis.

Snappis diaper fasteners make cloth diapering easy.
One of the best things about prefold cotton diapers is how they manage to be of good use to you long after their career as butt covers is finished. Prefold cotton diapers make great burping cloths, dish rags, and dust cloths as well.

Here's the story of a woman who found an even more "novel" use for them:

From: --

Art imitates life for Brisbane woman

When Brisbane artist Beth Grossman faced the decision about whether to have a child, her colleagues discouraged her from entering into what they saw as a parent trap.

They warned that Grossman's demanding life as a full-time artist wouldn't mix well with child-rearing. Choose one or the other, they told her.

Grossman chose motherhood.

After 80 hours of labor, she gave birth, seven years ago, to son Avi -- 7 pounds, 12 ounces, and 22 inches long. "In art school, they said people would write you off as an artist, and motherhood would slow you down," Grossman, 47, recalled in a recent interview. "But I've always worked from personal experience, and that's what was going on in my life."

Grossman, who is originally from Minneapolis, became serious about her art 17 years ago after she left her graphic design job. Her focus in her artwork, she said, consists of re-contextualizing stories and interpretation of history. She earned her bachelor of arts degree from the University of Minnesota and a master of arts in performance studies at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.

Her current series, "First Comes Love," which premiered in October 2004 at the Belmont Arts Commission's Manor House Gallery, is on display at the Brisbane Library. She has a knack for making art out of everyday objects.

A piece in the series called "Life in Diapers" is a book made of 40 cloth diapers chronicling Avi's first year.

"My hope," she said, "is that my artwork will encourage my audience to tell and document their stories, creating a collective voice to pass down from generation to generation."


Well, I'm sure Milo's prefold cotton diapers could tell quite a story of their own, though I don't think it would be a good idea to pass them down from generation to generation...

Saturday, October 01, 2005

The cat's out of the diaper bag

Yes, it's true -- I admit it. I've got a serious thing for cloth diapers and cloth diaper covers-- not for ME, you twisted sicko! For my three-month old son, Milo. Although, in the interests of full disclosure, I should confess that my obsession started long before Milo was born...

It all began last Christmas, when I went online to do a little research on cloth diapers and cloth diaper covers.

(Pregnant women should never be allowed to work at a computer -- not because of all the radiation coming off the screen, but rather the danger of giving in to the insatiable need to check out all the insanely cute baby stuff online. They're bound to get fired for slacking off or wind up in serious debt. Even I, who had once declared DEATH to all things cutesy wootsy -- "Goodbye Kitty" was my motto, and I still have a t-shirt showing that harmless little kitten getting whacked by Jason from Friday 13th -- succumbed to the lure of stores like this and this and this.)

Back then, I thought there were two diapering options available: ridiculously expensive disposables and even more ridiculously expensive cloth diaper services. I wanted to see if there were any cloth diaper services in my area that were slightly less ridiculously expensive than the rest.

So I went to Google, plugged in the term, "cloth diapers" -- and lo and behold, a whole new universe opened up to me. Little did I know there were SO MANY different kinds of cloth diapers and diaper covers out there, or that they could be so incredibly cute (or so, um, amusingly named).

For months, I spent every free moment at work surfing through the wild and whacky world of cloth diapers and diaper covers, absorbing what I could (pun most definitely intended). I learned about all-in-ones and pocket diapers, about Chinese prefolds and Indian prefolds, fleece diaper covers, wool diaper covers, and about inserts, doublers and contours.

Abbreviations such as DD, MFI, and UBCPF began to make sense to me.

Best of all, I discovered that pretty much every single do-it-yourself diapering system out there was WAY cheaper than using disposables or a cloth diaper delivery service -- and that washing all those diapers and diaper covers myself wouldn't be nearly as time-consuming or as much of a hassle as I'd thought it would be. That's when I knew I was hooked.

Now, after three months of using a variety of different cloth diapers and diaper covers, I'm as crazy about them as ever. They're a breeze to use, we never have to make any midnight runs to the local shopping center to replace them, and I feel great knowing that my baby's poop isn't permanently festering in a landfill somewhere.

So, what I'm hoping to do with this blog is share the cloth diaper gospel with anyone who's interested. I want it to be your favourite stop for all information related to the topic of cloth diapering. I'll post product reviews of the different kinds of cloth diapers I'm using, offer washing and folding tips, and will post any interesting news articles I come across in my travels through the online cloth diaper world.

Maybe you're already a cloth diaper addict yourself. Maybe you're thinking about using them but want to know more about them before taking the plunge. Or maybe you're a diehard disposables user who wants to peek over the fence to see how the other half lives. Whatever your fancy, I'll do my best to satisfy it.

Let the cloth diaper blogging begin!