Sunday, May 26, 2013

Day 7-Sunday: What did I learn/ How did it go?


By: Jessica Dunn

Today’s topic for bloggers participating in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge is what did I learn/how did it go? Overall, the challenge went really well. My overall goal, besides to just complete the challenge, was to fall in love with the flats again and I have. I overcame our biggest obstacle, not having a good fastener, by pad folding the diapers and using Boingos at night since Emma leaves the Boingos alone at night.

I was also using the challenge as a test run to see if it would be possible to use cloth without access to a washing machine when we go camping the summer and it is absolutely possible!

The biggest thing that I learned was that my diapers are actually cleaner when I wash them in smaller batches by hand than when I wash 2-3 days worth in the washing machine. I was really surprised when both my husband and I realized the diapers looked cleaner.

The challenge also helped me overcome my dependence on disposable liners. I usually use them in every diaper, but now I know that I don’t need to. I can go back to my original plan of just using them when I’m traveling or out of the house to make poo disposal easier.

The challenge went well and wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. On days that I felt like giving up or that I was going to pull my hair out, I realized that I hadn’t planned and prepared well. It helped so much to get diapers pre-folded and ready for covers the night before. It was also helpful to wash laundry in the afternoon when my husband got home from work so they’d dry faster outside instead of waiting until after dinner when I felt rushed because I needed to hurry up and get them done so I could take over baby duty again and Robert could go to bed.

I had someone send me a message asking me what my husband like/disliked about the challenge, so I thought I’d address that today. When I asked him he said it wasn’t really any different for him because I had everything ready for him like I always do and he had velcro closures which is big requirement for using cloth. He said that he did enjoy a week off from helping me stuff diapers. He didn’t have to handwash diapers, since I took care off all the diaper laundry, like I always do, so he has no opinion on handwashing.

I would like to thank Kim Rosas of Dirty Diaper Laundry for hosting this event and for providing great resources for all the participants. I would also like to thank Kissed by the Moon for asking me to be the guest blogger this week. It has been so much fun sharing my experience with you this week. Please check us out on facebook, instagram and twitter to see all the posts and updates that I did throughout the day during the challenge. I hope that you have had as much fun following along with our journey as I’ve had writing about here.

Here’s a picture recap of our week:












About the author: My name is Jessica and I am the author of Parenting and Living Our Way blog. I am a busy stay at home mom to a 9 month old daughter who has recently learned how to crawl and is keeping me on my toes. I was invited by Kissed by the Moon to be their guest blogger for the week documenting my experience.  I am so excited about this opportunity and look forward to sharing my experience with you. If you’d like to read more about me, my family and our life, you can read our blog Parenting and Living Our Way. We can also be found on facebook. I am posting throughout the day on facebook and twitter about how our day is going, so you can follow along.


About the challenge: I'm participating in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry.  This event aims to bring awareness to the challenges that low income families face when trying to diaper their children. There are not publicly funded programs that supply diapers to families in need. Using cloth diapers and handwashing is an affordable way to families to diaper their children. Flats are the most inexpensive of commercially available cloth diapers; receiving blankets, flour sack towels, cut sheets, and t-shirts can also be used as flats making these diapers available to all families.


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Day 6-Saturday: Open Topic


By: Jessica Dunn

Today’s topic for bloggers participating in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge is our second open topic for the series. I asked followers on my facebook page and members of some cloth diaper groups I’m active in what they would like me to talk about. The consensus was clear, how to fold flats, how to fold a t-shirt flat, which flats are best, and how my road trip went this week. I also had a fan send mBe a message asking how I clean my wash bucket, so I’ve decided to answer all of these questions.

How to wash & disinfect the wash bucket

This is a great question and I can’t believe I didn’t quickly cover it on day 4 when we talked about laundry. It’s actually really easy and this will work for you even if you’re washing diapers in the bathtub. You can disinfect your tub and storage bucket this way.

I rinse it out then add a couple drops of detergent and fill it with 2-3 inches of water. I put the lid on it and swirl the water around. Then I drain the soapy water and rinse the bucket. I spray the bucket with homemade citrus vinegar to disinfect it. If you have a diaper sprayer you can use that to rinse the sides of your bucket, if you don’t have a diaper sprayer, you can use your shower head, bath tub faucet, or garden hose. Use what you have available and make it work.

Citrus vinegar recipe:
Fill a jar with orange peels (any citrus fruit works), pour in white vinegar and put the lid on the jar. Let sit for 2 weeks. Drain the citrus vinegar into a spray bottle.

How to fold flats

I’m a huge fan of the philosophy work smarter, not harder. Rather than create videos for you, that probably won’t be the greatest quality since I’m just learning how to do videos, here are the videos that I found most useful. I like these because they have a bird’s eye view angle so you can actually watch the diaper being folded.




4.      The Neat Fold https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OwD9nCLZBE&list=FL69hnCniexmyRRwYz1_tCdQ

5.      The V Fold

6.      The Corners Fold https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEmFylZ3VZw&list=FL69hnCniexmyRRwYz1_tCdQ

7.      The Twist Fold https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keai5u2ZoGA&list=FL69hnCniexmyRRwYz1_tCdQ

8.      The Kite Fold


10.  Pad Fold

11.          How to fold a t-shirt flat

12.          Mini Kit Fold for newborns


Flats Comparison
I used three different types of flats for the challenge: Osocozy Birdseye flats, flour sack towels from Target, and flannel receiving blankets.

My favorite are the flour sack towels because they stay square after shrinkage, making the folds easier and faster. They are pretty absorbent on their own and I only needed a doubler or a second flat when using them for naps or bedtime. These are also the softest and since Emma diversion to different materials and textures this is a huge plus. They are also easy to fasten.

My second favorite are the Osocozy flats. They are just as absorbent as the flour sack towels. They are slightly rectangular after shrinkage, so the folds take just a little more time. They are soft, but not as soft as the flour sack towels. They are just as easy to fasten as the flour sack towels.

My least favorite are the receiving blankets. They are rectangular which means folds take longer and need some modification. They are difficult to fasten. These are best used for pad folding or as doublers. These were my go to for use as doublers.

Road Trip

Emma and I left on Thursday morning to go visit my parents for a night and so I could get my hair done. (Yes, I’m one of those crazy people who refuses to find a hairdresser closer to home; I can’t help it; Tracey is my second mom and no one else is touching my hair.) I packed all our flats and covers and loaded up my car. I had pre-folded the flats so they were ready to be put in the covers and when we got to my moms, I set up 5 changes to make it easy for her if she changed Emma. I found that using flats all day while we were out of town was easy, but I decided to wait and wash diapers at home on Friday since I had enough changes to last until we got home.

Well, those diapers were stinky when we got home. I had stored them in a wet back so when I unzipped it, I was struck by the smell of heavy pee. Yuck! I think if they were in an open bucket it wouldn’t have been so strong. I also had too many diapers to fit in my bucket and give me room for agitation, so I decided to wash in the bathtub instead of doing two loads in the bucket.

Overall, with enough planning and preparation traveling with flats isn’t any more difficult than traveling with other cloth diapers. The same is true with handwashing. If I had just take 30 minutes to do it, we would have been fan, but going a day and a half really wasn’t bad.


Cold rinse/soak


Soapy soak before agitating and scrubbing with hands and plunger


Honey, you can help me.


Scrubbing


Drain so I can rinse each diaper as the tub fills with cold water and do a final cold soak

Wringing the diapers out after the rinse


1 ½ days of flats and covers drying on the rack



About the author: My name is Jessica and I am the author of Parenting and Living Our Way blog. I am a busy stay at home mom to a 9 month old daughter who has recently learned how to crawl and is keeping me on my toes. I was invited by Kissed by the Moon to be their guest blogger for the week documenting my experience.  I am so excited about this opportunity and look forward to sharing my experience with you. If you’d like to read more about me, my family and our life, you can read our blog Parenting and Living Our Way. We can also be found on facebook. I am posting throughout the day on facebook and twitter about how our day is going, so you can follow along.


About the challenge: I'm participating in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry.  This event aims to bring awareness to the challenges that low income families face when trying to diaper their children. There are not publicly funded programs that supply diapers to families in need. Using cloth diapers and handwashing is an affordable way to families to diaper their children. Flats are the most inexpensive of commercially available cloth diapers; receiving blankets, flour sack towels, cut sheets, and t-shirts can also be used as flats making these diapers available to all families.



Friday, May 24, 2013

May Moon Mom's Night In Winner's List!

Are you ready to party? RSVP here if you haven't already! And we will be partying here!

Soft Bums Prize Pack Winner is... Jessica Dunn!

Zip Around from My Initials Inc with Marissa Winner is... Jacqueline Marie Mack!

3 Pack of Snappis Winner is... Krista Bonds!

Winners will be emailed to claim their prizes within 48 hours. Winners have 48 hours to respond or that prize will be redrawn.

Day 5: Friday- What is working for me? What isn't?


By: Jessica Dunn


Today’s topic for bloggers participating in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge is what’s working and what isn’t. Overall, the challenge is going really well and I’m not running into a lot of obstacles. Thank goodness. 

My wash routine is going great. The only obstacle I have run into is when we got home late and I didn’t get diapers washed until after dinner. I ended up having to dry them in the house because it was too windy to dry them on the line, which took longer. You can read more about my wash routine in Day 4’s blog entry.

I have plenty of supplies to diaper my daughter, but I did need to add an additional cover because daddy isn’t a fan of reusing covers and throws them in the wash bucket. Luckily, I have a supply of covers so I was able to add an additional one in my rotation.

Our nighttime diaper was my biggest concern and that has worked out really well for us. I use two flats, either Osocozy or flour sack towels folded together in the kite fold or gaynor fold for girls and fasten them with boingos then pad fold a receiving blanket to use as a doubler. I then use a Bunny’s Fluffy Bum soaker. This diaper is just as good, if not better, than our Rumparooz pocket diaper stuffed with both the regular size and newborn size soakers. It’s definitely less bulky.

Speaking of Boingos, let’s talk about those for a minute. I loved them when Emma was a newborn, but now she’s mobile and can undo them, so they really aren’t working for us for daytime.

Since our Boingos aren’t working for daytime and I can’t find our Snappi, I haven’t been able to do any folds that require fasteners during the day and go coverless at home like I had originally planned. I am only pad folding the flats and this requires a cover.

Since my only obstacle is a fastener and I am able to overcome that by pad folding, I would say this has been a successful challenge so far.


About the author: My name is Jessica and I am the author of Parenting and Living Our Way blog. I am a busy stay at home mom to a 9 month old daughter who has recently learned how to crawl and is keeping me on my toes. I was invited by Kissed by the Moon to be their guest blogger for the week documenting my experience.  I am so excited about this opportunity and look forward to sharing my experience with you. If you’d like to read more about me, my family and our life, you can read our blog Parenting and Living Our Way. We can also be found on facebook. I am posting throughout the day on facebook and twitter about how our day is going, so you can follow along.


About the challenge: I'm participating in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry.  This event aims to bring awareness to the challenges that low income families face when trying to diaper their children. There are not publicly funded programs that supply diapers to families in need. Using cloth diapers and handwashing is an affordable way to families to diaper their children. Flats are the most inexpensive of commercially available cloth diapers; receiving blankets, flour sack towels, cut sheets, and t-shirts can also be used as flats making these diapers available to all families.


Don't forget to RSVP and attend Kissed by the Moon's May Moon Moms Night In. This Friday May 24th at 5pm PST/8pm EST here.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Day 4: Thoughts on Handwashing- How am I doing?

By: Jessica Dunn



Today’s topic bloggers participating in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge is handwashing. Laundry was the scariest part of the challenge for me. I hate washing laundry as it is and I have a washer and dryer in my garage. The thought of washing by hand really scared me, but I figured it was only seven days and I can survive just about anything for seven days.

Surprisingly, laundry hasn’t been that difficult. I keep the wash bucket in the bathtub and when I change Emma, I put the diapers directly in the wash bucket after rinsing the poppy diapers. I am using a diaper sprayer, which I realized that I didn’t include on my list of supplies on Day 2’s post. I used my store credit from Kissed by the Moon to purchase it, so I paid less than $5 for it.


Dirty diapers stored in the bathtub ready to be washed

I wash diapers in the afternoon or early evening, after my husband gets home from work so he can be on baby duty and take care of Emma while I wash diapers and hang them to try. I have a drying rack that my mother in law bought me last summer after she saw my make shift clothes line (heavy duty string and dollar store clothes pins) set up under our patio cover. She decided if I was going to go green and stop using our dryer that I needed a decent drying rack. For those of you who don’t follow my blog and facebook fan page, let me give you a little background information. I decided last June that we were spending entirely too much money on electricity so we stopped using the dryer 90% of the time. I dry my husband’s work pants, and our sheets and towels completely in the dryer. Everything else goes in for 10 minutes to get the wrinkles off and then is hung to dry. Giving up the dryer for Flats and Handwashing Challenge was definitely the easiest part of the challenge.

Here is my step by step picture tutorial showing you how to handwash the diapers using a camp style washer. I wash diapers in the utility sink in our garage because I get hot water faster in that sink than in the bathtub. The added benefit is that the sink is next to the stairs leading into the house so I can stand on the second step and not have to bend over the bucket like I would have to do if the bucket was in the tub.

  1. Cold rinse: fill the bucket with cold water to cover the dirty diapers and covers. Place the plunger in the bucket and put the lid on the bucket. Plunge up and down and side to side making sure to swish and mix the diapers around. Plunge for 3-5 minutes.


  1. Drain the cold water

  1. Hot wash: fill the bucket with hot water to cover the dirty diapers and 1 teaspoon of detergent. Place the plunger in the bucket and put the lid on the bucket. Plunge up and down and side to side making sure to swish and mix the diapers around. Plunger for 5-7 minutes.



  1. Drain the hot water

  1. Cold rinse: fill the bucket with cold water to cover the dirty diapers and covers. Place the plunger in the bucket and put the lid on the bucket. Plunge up and down and side to side making sure to swish and mix the diapers around. Plunge for 3-5 minutes



  1. Check for suds. I take one or two of the diapers out and see if they are rinsed, if not I continue to plunge.

  1. Drain the water and then wring out the diapers into the sink.


  1. Hang on the line to dry.





About the author: My name is Jessica and I am the author of Parenting and Living Our Way blog. I am a busy stay at home mom to a 9 month old daughter who has recently learned how to crawl and is keeping me on my toes. I was invited by Kissed by the Moon to be their guest blogger for the week documenting my experience.  I am so excited about this opportunity and look forward to sharing my experience with you. If you’d like to read more about me, my family and our life, you can read our blog Parenting and Living Our Way. We can also be found on facebook. I am posting throughout the day on facebook and twitter about how our day is going, so you can follow along.


About the challenge: I'm participating in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry.  This event aims to bring awareness to the challenges that low income families face when trying to diaper their children. There are not publicly funded programs that supply diapers to families in need. Using cloth diapers and handwashing is an affordable way to families to diaper their children. Flats are the most inexpensive of commercially available cloth diapers; receiving blankets, flour sack towels, cut sheets, and t-shirts can also be used as flats making these diapers available to all families.



Don't forget to RSVP and attend Kissed by the Moon's May Moon Moms Night In. This Friday May 24th at 5pm PST/8pm EST here.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Day 3: Open Topic


By: Jessica Dunn

Today is one of two open topic days for bloggers in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge. I decided that I’d let you know how things were going so far and give you some how to advice about camp style washers and cloth wipes. Tomorrow’s topic is laundry so I’ll give you step by step instructions for how I’m washing by hand and I will have a picture tutorial as well.

So far the challenge is actually easier than I thought it would be. I had a drastic fear of flats before starting the challenge. I used them briefly when Emma was newborn, but they quickly became blankets, burp rags and nursing covers instead of diapers. We just fell in love with other newborn diapers and stopped using the flats. My husband didn’t like them because they took more time. He’s a fan of “one pieces.” Basically, if it requires a cover, snappi or boingo he’d rather pass.

I thought this would make doing the challenge difficult, but I quickly discovered that pad folding the diapers and placing them in the covers worked just as well as the other folds that we tried, so I pre-fold the diapers and have them ready so my husband just has to place them in the cover. This is working out really well for us. I have our flats challenge stash set up on our coffee table since we do most of our diaper changes in the living room. As long as everything is ready for him, my husband is fully supportive of using cloth.

So far I’m not noticing a difference in absorbency between the Osocozy flats and the flour sack towels. I haven’t used a receiving blanket as a diaper yet. I have been using them as doublers. Nighttime wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought it was going to be. I have had success using two different options: a triple stuffed pocket diaper shell (1 osocozy flat and 2 receiving blankets) and 2 osocozy flats that are placed on top of each other and then folded using the Gaynor fold for girls and fastened with boingos, with a pad folded receiving blanket as a doubler and a Bunny’s Fluffy Bum fleece soaker. These both worked for 10 hours. Emma still nurses once or twice at night, but we don’t change her diaper during the night unless we have a leak.

Here’s a picture of our naptime diaper. It’s a pad folded Osocozy flat with a pad folded receiving blanket in a Kawaii one size cover.

                            Pad folded and ready                                 
Osocozy flat on top

Trim enough to stay mobile

How to make wipe solution:

We converted to cloth wipes a couple months ago, so we already have a wipe system that works for us. Although we do still use disposable wipes when we travel just for the convenience. I made my own wipes by buying flannel when it was on sale at the fabric store. I cut the fabric into 8x8 squares and zig zag stitched the edges. I don’t have a serger; otherwise, I would have done that. The edges don’t have to be finished, so if you don’t have a sewing machine, you can just cut the fabric and use it.  We have used two different products when making wipe solution, CJ’s Butter Carcass Cleanser and Crow Mountain Crafts Wipes Cubes.  Both products work well for us.

When making the solution using the wipes cubes, you heat water until it boils and then add one cube and let it melt, voila your solution is made. I use this method when I am putting the solution in a spray bottle for the diaper bag or when we are traveling.

When I am making solution to use at home, I prefer to use Carcass Cleanser. I use an old disposable wipes bucket. I place a small amount of hot water in the bottom of the bucket and add two small squirts of Carcass Cleanser, then I lightly dampen the wipes with hot water, add two squirts of Carcass Cleanser and then add more hot water, close the lid of the wipes bucket and shake. Presto! You’re wipes are ready.

If you don’t want to make your own wipes, there are a lot of commercially available wipes and you can find a lot of wipes on Etsy. I’ve tried a variety of wipes and I really like Thirsties Fab Wipes because they are 2-ply. I have a few on hand for when Emma is sick or is on medication because they help with messy clean ups and diarrhea.

How to make a camp style washer

This sounds scary, but it’s actually really easy. You need three things: bucket, lid and plunger. You drill a hole in the lid so the handle of the bucket can fit through it. Presto! You have a camp style washer. Some people prefer to drill a couple of holes in the plunger to help with agitation and water flow, but I’m doing just fine with a normal plunger.

My husband made the washer for me and it took him less than 10 minutes. I’m pretty sure half that time was finding the drill out in the garage.





Here are a few pictures of our experience so far:

Flour sack towel Bambino Mio Cover
Hanging out in the dog bed
Laundry drying in the sun 

Necklace thief
Washing laundry
Morning nap on mama Two Osocozy flats

About the author: My name is Jessica and I am the author of Parenting and Living Our Way blog. I am a busy stay at home mom to a 9 month old daughter who has recently learned how to crawl and is keeping me on my toes. I was invited by Kissed by the Moon to be their guest blogger for the week documenting my experience.  I am so excited about this opportunity and look forward to sharing my experience with you. If you’d like to read more about me, my family and our life, you can read our blog Parenting and Living Our Way. We can also be found on facebook. I am posting throughout the day on facebook and twitter about how our day is going, so you can follow along.

About the challenge: I'm participating in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry.  This event aims to bring awareness to the challenges that low income families face when trying to diaper their children. There are not publicly funded programs that supply diapers to families in need. Using cloth diapers and handwashing is an affordable way to families to diaper their children. Flats are the most inexpensive of commercially available cloth diapers; receiving blankets, flour sack towels, cut sheets, and t-shirts can also be used as flats making these diapers available to all families.



Don't forget to RSVP and attend Kissed by the Moon's May Moon Moms Night In. This Friday May 24th at 5pm PST/8pm EST here.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Day 2: How did you prepare?


By: Jessica Dunn


Before committing to the challenge, I took inventory of the items I already had and figured out what I would need. I had 12 Osocozy Flat diapers, 1 size 1 Thirsties Duo Wrap cover, 1 one-size Kawaii cover, and one set of Boingos that I bought from Kissed by the Moon. I also had a fleece soaker that I bought from Bunny’s Fluffy Bum. I knew this was the minimum I would need, but I wanted to add a little more to my stash, so I bought 8 flour sack towels from Target and 15 receiving blankets from Goodwill. I asked my husband to pick everything up at Home Depot to make a camp style washer.

Here is the cost breakdown:

Items
Cost per Item
Total Cost
$1.89
$21.55
$12.75
$12.11
One Size Kawaii Cover
Free (item received during a giveaway from Kissed by the Moon)
$0
$4.99
$4.74
$8
$8
8 Flour sack towels
$3.99 for 4-pack
$.7.98
15 receiving blankets
50 cents
$7.50
5 gallon bucket
$2.78
$2.78
Lid
$1.28
$1.28
Plunger
$5.99
$5.99
Cloth Wipes
$2.99
$2.99
Total Cost

$74.92
*Total cost for items purchased at Kissed by the Moon calculated using a 5% discount for being a newsletter subscriber.
**I made my cloth wipes by cutting a yard of flannel into squares. I purchased the flannel using a 50% off coupon at JoAnn Fabrics.

That’s right! Enough diapers and supplies to diaper our daughter for less than $75. Did we need to by a plunger for almost $6? No, a dollar store plunger would have worked and would have saved us even more, but Robert plans to keep this one to have in the garage in case the utility sink backs up so he wanted to spend a little more and get one that would work for that purpose.

Tomorrow is my open topic day, so I will be talking all about how to make and use a camp style washer and how to make cloth wipes and wipe solution.

About the author: My name is Jessica and I am the author of Parenting and Living Our Way blog. I am a busy stay at home mom to a 9 month old daughter who has recently learned how to crawl is keeping me on my toes. I was invited by Kissed by the Moon to be their guest blogger for the week documenting my experience diaper my 9 month old.  I am so excited about this opportunity and look forward to sharing my experience with you. If you’d like to read more about me, my family and our life, you can read our blog Parenting and Living Our Way. We can also be found on facebook.

About the challenge: I'm participating in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry.  This event aims to bring awareness to the challenges that low income families face when trying to diaper their children. There are not publicly funded programs that supply diapers to families in need. Using cloth diapers and handwashing is an affordable way to families to diaper their children. Flats are the most inexpensive of commercially available cloth diapers; receiving blankets, flour sack towels, cut sheets, and t-shirts can also be used as flats making these diapers available to all families.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Day 1: Why did you decide to take the Flats and Handwashing Challenge


By: Jessica Dunn


I first heard about the Flats and Handwashing Challenge last year while I was researching cloth diapers. I was home on bed rest and spent a lot of time researching the benefits of cloth diapers. I discovered the Dirty Diaper Laundry website and really liked the idea of diapering on a budget. I have volunteered at food banks, homeless shelters, women’s shelters, crisis nurseries and job skills programs. I saw parents struggle to feed and cloth their families. I heard moms talking about wringing out wet disposable diapers to use them again because they didn’t have money to buy new diapers. I couldn’t imagine having to reuse a disposable diaper because I don’t have enough money to buy more diapers.

It wasn’t until I started preparing for the birth of my daughter that the cost diapers really hit me. I asked my friends and family’s of the kids I worked with what diapers they liked best. Most responded with Huggies or Pampers, but a few said that they used the Target or Wal-Mart brand because they were less expensive. I started calculating the cost and was blown away. I could buy a store brand economy pack of 180 diapers for about $27. I figured 365 days in a year and an average of 10 changes a day meant I would need 3,650 diapers, so I’d need just over 20 economy boxes of diapers (3650/180=20.278 boxes). This would cost me $540 for one year. Since potty learning is usually accomplished between 2 to 3 years old, I was looking at spending $1,080 to $1,620 to diaper our daughter. This was using the store brand, if we needed to use sensitive diapers or our daughter had a reaction to the diapers (different brands work for different babies) this could increase to about $38 a box and increase our cost to $760 a year or $1,520 to $2,280 until potty training. “You have got to be kidding me!” I thought to myself as I looked at these numbers. There has to be a cheaper way. That’s when I started researching cloth diapers. I learned that you could diaper you child for $300 or even less until potty training and you could use the diapers again for future children. “Sold!” I thought to myself as I made the decision to use cloth.

I have been following the Dirty Diaper Laundry blog and as soon as the Flats and Handwashing Challenge was announced I signed up. I decided to participate because I want to help show people that cloth diapers aren’t as scary as so many people think. I want to show that cloth diapers are a viable option for low income families even if they don’t have access to a washer and dryer. I’m hoping that our week long journey in cloth will help people learn more about cloth diapers and the feasibility of using them in a variety of situations. I am also using the challenge as my practice run for using flats and handwashing so I am ready when we go camping this weekend.

About the author: My name is Jessica and I am the author of Parenting and Living Our Way blog. I am a busy stay at home mom to a 9 month old daughter who has recently learned how to crawl is keeping me on my toes. I was invited by Kissed by the Moon to be their guest blogger for the week documenting my experience diaper my 9 month old.  I am so excited about this opportunity and look forward to sharing my experience with you. If you’d like to read more about me, my family and our life, you can read our blog Parenting and Living Our Way. We can also be found on facebook.

About the challenge: I'm participating in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry.  This event aims to bring awareness to the challenges that low income families face when trying to diaper their children. There are not publicly funded programs that supply diapers to families in need. Using cloth diapers and handwashing is an affordable way to families to diaper their children. Flats are the most inexpensive of commercially available cloth diapers; receiving blankets, flour sack towels, cut sheets, and t-shirts can also be used as flats making these diapers available to all families.





Flats and Hand Washing Challenge-Introduction


By: Jessica Dunn


I am so excited to be participating in the 3rd Annual Flats and Hand washing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry May 20th through 26th. I am honored to announce that I have been asked to be the guest blogger for Kissed by the Moon, so this will be the only post about the challenge that will appear on the Parenting and Living Our Way blog, all the rest will be linked in the Guest Articles tab at the top of the blog page. You can visit Kissed by the Moon’s blog directly by clicking here. Feel free to subscribe to Kissed by the Monn’s blog so you can have the articles delivered directly to your e-mail inbox.

Here’s the skinny on the challenge:

  • This year it will be a full 7 days.
  • The purpose is to bring awareness and education about the benefits and feasibility of using flat cloth diapers and hand washing.  Families struggle everyday to afford to diaper their children. There are no government programs that fund diapers. This means that some families resort to changing diapers less often or attempt to reuse disposable diapers. Both of these bring serious health risks to the baby.  Flat cloth diapers are and expensive way to provide clean and sanitary diapers.
  • Not everyone has access to a washer and dryer in their home, or can afford to go to the laundry mat to wash diapers regularly, so hand washing saves the families time and money. Yes, that’s right, I said it saves time. Washing one day's worth of diapers takes about 30 minutes. It can easily be done in the bath tub or using a bucket and plunger system.
  • Flat cloth diapers can be anything: commercially available flat cloth diapers, receiving blankets, sheets that are cut into squares, or even t-shirts.
  • A complete list of the allowed items and rules can be found on the Dirty Diaper Laundry website.

I first heard about the challenge last year while I was researching cloth diapers. I couldn’t participate because Emma wasn’t born yet, but I made sure to bookmark the website and I’ve been checking in regularly for updates.

I’ve seen so much negative press about the feasibility of low income families using cloth diapers for their babies and I am determined to show that it is possible to do. A washer and a dryer are a luxury, not a necessity and by washing diapers by hand for the week, I am hoping to show other families that this can be done. I am also hoping to empower myself to realize that I can cloth diaper Emma all the time, even when we travel and camp because all I need are flats, a few covers, a Snappi or Boingo, and a little time to wash.

I already had 12 Osocozy Flat Diapers, diaper fasteners, and a couple of covers that I bought from Kissed by the Moon, but I knew that wasn’t going to be enough. I collected some receiving blankets and purchased 8 flour sack towels. Robert watched the video about how to make a camp style washer and picked up everything at Home Depot; it cost less than $10. I have calculated our cost and we will be diapering Emma for only $75.

I can’t wait for the challenge to start and to share our experience with you. Again, I’d like to thank Kissed by the Moon for asking me to be the guest blogger for the challenge and Dirty Diaper Laundry for coordinating the event. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Pockets, AIOs, AI2s, OH MY! Lots of diaper reviews!

Diaper Reviews by Colleen

With the pending arrival of my second child I decided to try out cloth diapering for my 18 month old daughter.  My mom actually used cloth on me but I had to explain to her that it isn't all pins and plastic pants anymore.  Some of my biggest considerations in switching were the financial waste as well as the environmental waste of using disposables.  Also, who am I kidding, cloth diapers can be super cute!

My plan was to test out the diapers on my 18 month old and then determine what worked best to use on both children.  I spent about a month researching online and talking to friends that use cloth to determine what brands I wanted to try out.  After all of my research I decided that the All in Two systems made the most sense to me because I could reuse the shell and also have less to wash.  I also decided to try some pocket diapers as these were most likely to get my husbands and babysitters cooperation.  Eventually, I also branched out and tried a few All in Ones as well.

Due to my very type A personality (professionally I’m a CPA) I also concluded that to really get the most benefit from my research that I would have to keep a log of all of my diaper changes so that I could analyze the data later.  Below is what I've discovered and hopefully you can benefit from all the hard work J

All of the diapers that I tried out were used on my 18 month old daughter who is tall and skinny (19 pounds and 31 inches) during a 2 month period.  I would consider her an “average wetter” and very active.  I did not try any of these diapers at night, so all results are based on day time activities and naps.  Please consider that all babies are different so it will take some patience to find the right diaper that works for your baby.  Hopefully my experience can help you decide what diapers are right to try out for your family.

After using disposable diapers for 18 months something that was very important to me and especially my husband was a trim diaper that was still absorbent enough to last at least 2 hours so I have included my husbands “big booty” assessment for each diaper (1 being the trimmest and 5 being the most bulky).  Below is the review of each diaper brand that I tested, in over 150 diaper changes.

I have included pictures of my 18 month old in each diaper to give a visual of the fit (Note that pictures are true “action shots” of the diapers, you know what I mean if you have ever tried to photograph an 18 month old!).  As we are now transitioning my younger daughter from her newborn diapers to one size diapers, I have also included a picture of her in any one size diapers reviewed here (she is 8 weeks and about 10.5 pounds).  These are just for comparison as the results below are not based on her usage of the diapers.

 

Number times of uses: 15
Number of leaks: 1 (at 3 hours)
Longest wear without a leak: 2 hours, 45 minutes
Big Booty factor: Solo Luxe All in One: 1
Big Booty factor: Sprout Up All in Two: 1
Best Use: Day time, out and about, tight clothing (e.g. leggings)

Pros:

  •  VERY trim, almost looks like a disposable
  • Comes in fun colors and patterns, new colors/patterns released every couple of months keeps it fun and interesting
  • Absorbent natural materials
  • All in Two version – the shell is reusable
Cons:

  •  More expensive than other options
  • Soaker can move around and has the potential for leaks

Peachy Green diapers are definitely my favorite of the ones that I tried out.  This diaper is the trimmest of the diapers that I tried.  I discovered Peachy Green diapers late in my trial but loved them from the beginning.
The Peachy Green sized diapers are very trim and fit great.  Although snap down one-size diapers are not my favorite the Peachy Green All in Two is still very trim especially with a sized insert.  I like All in Two diapers, I appreciate that I can reuse the shell and that my laundry loads are smaller. I did find that if my daughter pooped in this diaper that the mess always got on the cover and therefore it could not be reused.  Also although the upfront cost is more, the cost “per change” is very reasonable.
Overall I loved Peachy Green diapers, with a narrow crotch, thin but absorbent insert and thin finished back top of the diaper this diaper is the closest to a disposable in size.  I also like that Peachy Green releases new colors and patterns a few times a year thus keeps the line interesting (this also contributes to sought after colors/prints that resell for more than the original price!).  Although my husband really liked the fit, I think that the All in Two systems are not as husband or sitter/daycare friendly and removing the insert might require touching a wet or dirty spot.  Also as you can see from the picture above my younger daughter did not fit as well into the One Size diaper.  I think it is usable on her but the rise is still a little high for my liking.  I think with a few inches on her it will fit perfectly.














Number of uses: 6
Number of leaks: 0
Longest wear without a leak: 2 hours, 45 minutes
Big Booty factor: 1
Best Use: Day time, out and about, daddy/daycare

Pros:

  • Very trim diaper
  •  Insert can be stuffed in pocket or laid in diaper, stuffing keeps insert from bunching
  • Cute prints
Cons:

  •  More expensive than other options
  •  Existing prints are cute but limited

I had heard a lot about Swaddlebees Simplex 2.0 diapers but I was hesitant to try one out due to the price.  In the end curiosity got the best of me and I ordered 2 of them!  While I have only used them a few times I love the diaper and am very glad that I finally ordered some.  The diaper is super trim and the Medium fits my daughter really well.  I like that it is an all in one that has the soaker only partially sewn in (making for a faster drying time) but that it can be stuffed into a pocket to keep it in place.  Another great feature is that the pocket is open on both ends, so that it agitates out in the wash and you don’t have to pull out a wet soaker prior to putting in in the laundry.  Simplex also come in a one size option that I am anxious to try out next.  These are great for daddy and daycare as they are pretty much foolproof.  The soaker can go in the pocket or out (I did have a sitter pull out a microfiber insert from another brand any lay it in the diaper before putting in on my daughter, big no no!) and they don’t have to be unstuffed before going in the pail or wet bag.  Overall a great diaper!














Number of uses: 7
Number of leaks: 0
Longest wear without a leak: 2 hours, 15 minutes
Big Booty factor: 2
Best Use: Day time, out and about

Pros:

  • Trim diaper
  • Insert detaches for washing
  • Great selection of solid colors
Cons:

  • Slightly more bulky at the top in the back than other diapers
  • Soaker has potential to get bunched up

Bottombumpers is another diaper that I ordered later in my trial, but I love this diaper and can’t wait to get more.  It is an all in one diaper that has a snap out soaker, this makes for a faster drying time (and I like to line dry my shells and machine dry my soakers and inserts).  It is very trim but doesn’t lay as flat at the top back of the diaper as the Peachy Green or Swaddlebees diapers.  Bottombumpers also makes a one size diaper that I plan on trying soon as the diaper I tried was sized (medium).  Overall this is a great diaper and the price is very reasonable considering that the insides are organic cotton and bamboo velour!














 

Number of uses: 38
Number of leaks: 5
Longest wear without a leak: 2 hours, 45 minutes
Big Booty factor - Echo: 2
Big Booty factor - Omni: 4 (pocket and pod)
Best Use - Echo: Day time, out and about
Best Use - Omni: Day time (extended wear) and naps

Pros:

  •  Trim diaper
  •  Easiest size adjustment of the diapers I tried
  • Shells are reusable
Cons:

  •  More expensive than other options
  • Soaker can move around and has the potential for leaks

SoftBums are another of my favorite diapers that I tried out.  These come in two different types the Echo and the Omni.  The Echo is a true all in two that has a snap in insert.  The Omni is an all in two/pocket combination that has a snap in insert and also a pocket that can be stuffed.  One of the best things about the SoftBums system is that it has a leg elastic that is tightened or loosed with their patented Slide to Size toggle system.  This makes it so that you truly can get a custom fit; I prefer this system to the snap down system used for other one size diapers.  The only con with the Slide to Size system is that once you get it set on one diaper, there isn’t any indicators of the setting (like the Fuzzibunz) that help you set other diapers without having to try it on your baby.  This is a very trim diaper and can fit at a very small size (fit my second daughter great starting around 8 pounds), stuffing the pocket on the Omni does make it significantly less trim though.  Although the covers are reusable I did find that if my daughter had a messy poop in this diaper that the mess always got on the cover and therefore it could not be reused after.  As noted with the Peachy Green, the all in two systems are not as husband or sitter/daycare friendly and removing the insert might require touching a wet or dirty spot.  Softbums also has limited color choices but they do release a limited time diaper color or pattern each month.  This helps keep the brand fun and also creates a market for those hard to find colors/patterns.


 

Number of uses: 36
Number of leaks: 4
Longest wear without a leak: 3 hours, 15 minutes
Big Booty factor: 2.5
Best Use: daddy/daycare

Pros:

  • Easy size adjustment
  • Narrow, trim diaper
Cons:

  • PUL is very sticky, harder to stuff than other pockets
  • Leg sizing adjustments are preset in the elastic and therefore not as customizable

Fuzzibunz was one of the first cloth diapers I purchased.  It came highly recommended from a few friends and I liked the idea of the adjustment system.  The one size diaper is sized through the leg elastic.  The elastic is stretched or loosened and secured through holes in the elastic with a button on the inside of the diaper.  While I have not had any problems with the fit of my Fuzzibuns, having set elastic openings makes it so that the sizing is less customizable than the SoftBums.  I had the most leaks with my Fuzzibuns but I should note that most of them were early on when I was still experimenting with the sizing.  Overall once this diaper is stuffed, it is an easy diaper to just put on and go.














Number of uses: 6
Number of leaks: 0
Longest wear without a leak: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Big Booty factor: 2
Best Use: daytime, daddy/daycare

Pros:

  • Trim diaper
  • No stuffing required as soaker is attached
Cons:

  • Take a longer time to dry than other diapers
  • One of the more expensive diapers

I received this diaper in a Kissed by the Moon mystery fluff order and I was so excited to try it out.  This was the first all in one diaper I tried and I was pleasantly surprised.  The print is fun and the fit is great.  I like that the soaker is only attached in the back making for a faster drying time but still a longer drying time than the other diapers I tried out.  Overall I really like this diaper, I find that it is a diaper that I reach for frequently but just doesn’t have any features that make it really memorable.

Number of uses: 20
Number of leaks: 2
Longest wear without a leak: 3 hours
Big Booty factor: 2.5
Best Use: travel

Pros:

  • Shells wipe clean and are reusable
  •  Have both microfiber and hemp inserts
  •  Inserts snap in the front and back keeping them in place
  • Double gussets keep the mess in

Cons:

  • Inserts are thick and make diaper hard to get on tight enough
  • Inserts leave outline on diaper and clothing

Overall I really like the idea of these diapers.  The system includes covers with snap in inserts.  The cover can be wiped clean and a new insert snapped in.  Unlike other All in Two systems reviewed the insert is snapped both in the front and the back of the cover.  The inserts are hour glass shaped so they cover quite a bit and I did not have any leaks on the covers. The reasons that I did not like this all in two system as much as the others reviewed is that the inserts were thick and you can see the outline of them through the cover and I could not get the diaper tight enough and they would always leak out the top during nap times.  Overall though this is a great diaper for the diaper bag as you can just pack the inserts. (On a side note I have been using the best bottoms cover over prefolds and fitted diapers for my newborn and they work really well!)


Number of uses: 10
Number of leaks: 1
Longest wear without a leak: 2 hours, 45 minutes
Big Booty factor: 4
Best Use: around the house, daddy/daycare

Pros:

  • Adjustable inserts fit all sizes
Cons:

  • Insides do not stay tucked into diaper well
  • Bulky

Number of uses: 8
Number of leaks: 2
Longest wear without a leak: 3 hours, 15 minutes
Big Booty factor: 4.5
Best Use: around the house, daddy/daycare

Pros:

  • Double gussets hold in all messes
  • Adjustable inserts fit all sizes
Cons:

  • Bulkiest of the diapers that I tried

The BumGenius 4.0 and Rumparooz diapers were my least favorite of the diapers I tried out.  I thought they were very bulky without offering much extra protection.  Additionally for the price I didn’t feel like they performed any better than cheaper diapers.  Overall though I only had one leak with the BumGenius (my sitter unsnapped the rise snaps so I don’t think it really counts) and none with the Rumparooz so they did prove to be a solid diaper with good performance, just not my favorite and nothing really special about them.


Conclusion

Overall there was not a diaper that I tried that did not “work” well (e.g. keep in messes) but there are a few that I preferred over others.  My favorite is definitely the Peachy Green Sprout Up All in Two diaper.  The fit is amazing and I like that you can reuse the shell.  If I was starting from scratch I would also buy a few Peachy Green Solo Luxe, Bottombumpers and Swaddlebees Simplex 2.0s.  These are all great diapers that were trim and worked well.  Although these diapers are perfect for me (the parent that has done all of the research and knows what covers are reusable, what aren’t and if the soaker should be snapped in or not) having a few Fuzzibunz or other pocket diapers on hand are great for my husband, I notice that he reaches for these a lot.  Because I like the All in Two systems and because they really fit the best from birth on I would also invest in a few Softbums for my stash.  In the end I would say that I am glad I have a variety of diapers, they all serve different purposes and it is fun to mix it up.  A perfect stash in my opinion is not made up of all of one diaper but rather a few (or 10 J) different types. 

Once I compiled all of the data I was surprised to see that I used the diapers I liked the least more frequently than the diapers I liked the most.  I explained it to my husband like this: you don’t wear your best perfume to sit around the house you save it for when you are going out and wearing something nice.  My favorite diapers are kind of like that, after I am done with the wash I don’t want to use them and “waste” it on sitting around the house, I preferred to grab my least favorite diapers for times like that.  As I have a newborn and have been spending a lot of time at home I think this helps account for the discrepancy. 

I have really enjoyed my trial and I look forward to discovering and trying more diapers, as long as my husband doesn’t take away my credit card first!


*Note that a picture of this diaper in action is not available as I resold it; one of the great benefits of cloth diapering is that you can sell your diapers.  I chose to buy my diapers and then sell the ones that don’t work for my baby but another great option for trying out diapers is a diaper trial program.