Tuesday, March 19, 2013

My .02 on Cloth Diapering

Here are some thoughts on cloth diapering.  Read it over and feel free to ask more questions!  Once you get started its not so hard but figuring out where to start can be a big leap!


  • Prefold - rectangle diaper with lots of layers, available in infant, toddler, standard types of sizing.  A basic diaper
  • Cover - waterproof material to go over a prefold, or other absorbent diaper
  • Pocket diaper - diaper with a pocket in it - usually has a waterproof outside, and wicking inside to keep baby's bottom dry.  Microfiber, prefold diapers, hemp, bamboo towels or inserts can go into the pocket depending on baby's absorbancy needs.
    • Chloe Toes - a style of pocket diaper - a mom made this pattern
  • Flip - inexpensive commercial diaper system/brand
  • GroVia - commercial diaper brand
  • AIO - the entire diaper is the diaper
  • AI2 - The diaper does not usually have a pocket but has a "tail" of absorbent layers
  • PUL - a fabric that is waterproof - knits are more waterproof than cottons but cottons are often cuter
  • Snap - diapers that snap on
  • H&L - diapers Velcro (Hook and Loop) to stay on child. 
  • CDMF - my favorite fabric for an inner wicking layer against baby (Cuddle Dry Micro Fleece)
  • Suedecloth - from Joann's or Hancock also works as a wicking layer
  • Wool - some families like wool for the outer layer.  I have not had enough experience with wool to have an opinion, but have heard great things about it.  If you can crochet/knit there are some awesome cover patterns for wool longies/shorties (long or short pants/covers)

We started cloth diapers with Brendan.  We started with infant size prefolds and covers.  I never used pins or snappi's with infants - just lay the prefold into the cover, and put onto baby.  The covers can be re-used a few times unless they get soiled.  Then I got a few pocket diapers, because they were "daddy friendly".  I eventually transitioned to all pocket diapers. Prefolds are a very economical way to cloth diaper and can be folded many ways depending on the gender and size of the baby.

 I made medium and large Chloe Toes diapers - not sure if that pattern is still available or not?  I stuffed the pocket diapers with blue microfiber towels from Sam's Club.  At night I added a layer of hemp to the microfiber and had 3 FuziBunz sized diapers (medium). Having only 3 night time diapers forced me to wash diapers every 3 days...which is a good thing for me.  Some people can have a HUGE stash and still wash regularly - for me if I have a diaper I won't wash, so that works here.

With Lauren I also started with prefolds and covers, as well.  I also made her some snap on Chloe Toes, and purchased some microfiber inserts that I use to stuff the pockets.  I also have a Flip Cover and a couple Grovia.  I have 2 Grovia AIO - aka they have the absorbent layer sewn into the diaper.    I am not real happy with how these diaper are holding up, they are still absorbent but show use on the inside of the legs.  I also have some Grovia Shells and inserts that I do like. Recently I purchased some one-size diapers from Alva - they are an inexpensive way to build a pocket diaper stash.  Currently I am using the Alva pockets, and Flip covers and Grovia Shells with inserts laid in for day time use.  At night time I use a layer of hemp, layer of bamboo and microfiber insert.

I use cloth wipes at home and disposable when we are out.  If I use disposable I just wrap them into the diaper and place in my wet bag.  I dump it all into the diaper pail and wash.  Disposable wipes in the washer are great for cleaning out "leftovers" after the diapers have been washed.  My diaper pail is a tall trash can with a lid, I have a PUL bag that I made to line the trash can and it gets washed every-time I do diapers. My wipes are 2 sided - one is flannel the other is some textured fabric (don't know the name) that I picked up on clearance.  I have some that are stitched and turned and some that I just stitched - both are functional.  Right know I have 3 wet bags, 2 of which get LOTS of use the 3rd one I grab when the others are dirty.  I use water for my wipes - keep it in a squirt bottle on the changing table and wet the wipes as needed.  (The peri bottle from the hospital is great for this use *wink*)

I wash my diapers in Charlie's detergent in a top loading washer.  There are adjustments that can be made for each style of washer and type of water, so it may take a bit to get the washing figured out.  In the warm months I like to dry on a drying rack on my deck.  The sun is awesome for getting out stains.  (I can't wait to get the diapers out in the sunshine!!!)  You can also air dry them inside, and this is recommend for many covers.  I am lazy.  I dry everything in the dryer on HOT.  I do a pre rinse, wash with soap on hot water and have a 2nd cold rinse.  Sometimes I add a squirt of blue (not concentrated) dawn dish detergent and/or vinegar to the rinse cycle.  The dawn helps with build ups and is often used in "stripping" diapers if they are not being absorbent...mostly an issue with babies once they have started on solid foods.

How to dress a cloth diapered baby....Why is this a conecern?  Because many clothing brands are designed to go over trim disposable diapers...not cute fluffy bottoms.  :)   I like knit pants best.  Jeans fit,  It just depends on your child.  Yoga pants are GREAT because the wide waist band is helpful in keeping everything covered.  I often go up a size in regular clothing to fit the CD bottom.  We live in footie jamies year round for CD baby, and I usually put on a new pair ever night, vs ever few nights with disposable, because of the stink issue.  See below for a pants link ;)

Links you may find useful:
http://www.fishsticksdesigns.com/GreenBeginningsClothDiaper.html - I was a tester for this diaper pattern.  If you have someone that can sew this is a fun way to build a diaper stash.
http://www.diapersewingsupplies.com/ - Where to buy PUL in solids and prints and other supplies if you choose to make some custom diapers/covers, etc.
http://www.nickisdiapers.com/view_category.asp?cat=270&gclid=cog-ivgfibycfshgmgodzcoata - I purchased my initial prefolds and covers from this company.  I like the Bummis Super Whisper Wrap covers.
http://www.birthbabyandbeyond.org/ - My local cloth diaper store.  See if you have one in your area.  Local stores a great way to figure out about local washer issues, meet with others who use cloth diaper or other healthy/natural living types of events!  We do a music class with Lauren at my local store and she loves it.
http://www.amazon.com/Crescent-Moon-Yoga-Pants-Pattern/dp/B001GN7NSM/ref=sr_1_3?m=A2H6DPZGH48AUA&s=merchant-items&ie=UTF8&qid=1363708047&sr=1-3 Yoga pants pattern designed for a cloth diapered child

Closing thoughts -

There are a LOT of options out there for cloth diapering. SO MANY, MANY more then when I started with Brendan in 2006.  If I were to start from scratch today I would look for a snapping pocket diaper and insert, probably one size if I were starting with a non-newborn, and go from there.  Buy a few different styles see which one fits your baby and family best, then find a sale (hopefully) and stock up on that brand/brands and go from there.  I am not up to date on all the latest styles and brands.  What I have works for me, mostly.

Have fun!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Just sent this note to a friend...

Have you ever heard of a CSA - Community Supported Agriculture?  I heard of it 6-7 years ago when I was still working.  I thought it sounded like a really cool thing but I could not find one at that time.  A CSA is a share that you purchase from a farm at the beginning of the season for the upcoming growing season.  If the farm is successful you get a bounty of veggies, if the farm is less successful you take the risk of having less veggies.

One afternoon in the fall of 2007 I happened upon a booth at the Noleridge Farmers Market and there was a sign up asking for email address of interested persons, so I signed up.  I knew very little about the farm at that time, but I liked the look of their stand.  They had a "signature look"  and it was nice.  Well it turned out that that booth was for Grinnell heritage Farm from Grinnell.  We have had a CSA share ever since.  When we first started I was looking for food that was local, organic was not a selling point for me then, I wanted to support local food.  Well I have been pleasantly surprised - surprised at what can be grown in Iowa and how well my family likes to eat their veggies.

I know your family is looking toward more mindful eating so I've been thinking of you.  Tonight attached to our weekly newsletter was the flyer for next year's share.  I wanted to share it with you, because it might be something you are interested in...if not add it to your knowledge of local food resources.

The farm we purchase our CSA from is Grinnell Heritage Farm is located in Grinnell.  We have visited the farm a couple of times.  Last fall my boys had a blast digging and eating carrots straight from the field.  The carrots from GHF are a treat! We pick up our share at Prariewoods in Hiawatha on Wednesday afternoons. If you want to see a hard copy let me know.  Registration can be done online or via the mail. There is a discount if you sign up before Feb 1st of next year.

My boys will be excited to have edemame and carrots from this weeks veggie box.  I am looking forward.to sweet potatoes and dragon tongue beans.  Now to figure out what how collard greens are supposed to be prepared...each year I challenge myself to adopt recipes for one more of the items in the box.  I have figured out what to do with zucchini and kale, but collard greens still stump me.  Have you ever made sweet potato curry?  There is a recipe in this weeks newsletter that I tasted last fall out at a potluck on the GHF farm, it is yummy!

See you soon

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Food Preservation 2011 August

Wow Time sure is flying!!

My garden is doing well.  It was planted Memorial Day weekend and so far we have enjoyed kohlrabi, peppers and peas.  The boys have discovered the joy of garden fresh peas and green beans.  My experiment this year is edamame (green soybeans). I purchased 1 package and was intending to only plant 1/2 of the package, until the entire package was dumped into the garden as we were planting....so we have LOTS of plants.  Japanese/Asian Beatles like edamame leaves, and basil.  Thankfully they have moved on and both plants have survived. The soybeans are full of pods - I think there will be a bunch going into the freezer at the end of the month.

Whats in the freezer? So far I have put 6-7 half-pints of pizza sauce using Mrs. Wages pizza sauce mix into half pint jars into the freezer.  Dried 2 bunches of celery in the dehydrator - that dried down to a quart jar of leaves and a half pint jar of stems ( the celery is from my CSA Share so its different than what comes from the grocery store.  I have 1 more bunch I need to dehydrate tomorrow.

Tonight I froze 2 lbs of greenbeans, also from our CSA.  I followed the directions from http://www.greenbeansnmore.com/frozen-green-beans.html.  After the beans were blanched and in the ice water bath I used my salad spinner to remove excess water and divided the beans into 2 bags. The beans were left whole.  Wonder if I can get another bag from the garden - if the kids have not eaten them all, if so oh, well, right?  I will use at least some of these beans to make green bean puree/baby food in a few months.

I have also frozen a bit of roasted corn.  I would like to try dehydrating corn, really need to get on that this weekend before the corn is off the market stands.

Life with three kids is busy...but the summer was great!  Now the day care kids are back, hopefully once preschool starts I will find my balance again because currently it is missing. My oldest is in third grade and off to a great start!

Cloth diapers are in full use...not to find time to sew up some more girlly ones with snaps so I can quit using the hook and loop ones I keep pulling out of the bag - pocket diapers are so much easier to use day to day than prefolds.  Prefolds are a great way to get started and work well for infants but then I discovered pocket diapers... and now i'm ready to switch to them full time, again.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Welcome Baby

The last month has been a busy month at our house.  We welcomed a baby girl on May 9th - its hard to believe that she is a month already!!!  The addition of our little one had an impact on our grocery shopping and cooking - I was not doing much.  We were blessed to receive meals from friends, co-workers and my life group at church.  I have appreciated these meals more than with the previous births of my children - I think that is because we are so much busier than when we just had one child in the house.  So Thank you for the wonderful meals - and thanks for not bringing all pasta!!!

What meals have we received?
  • Chicken Casserole, Salad, dessert
  • Lasanga, Salad, Bread (the lasagna is in the freezer because we received 2 meals that night)
  • Taco Casserole with tomatoes, taco sauce and shredded lettuce
  • Pasta with a chicken alfredo sauce, salad, rolls, cookies
  • Brats and hotdogs with buns, baked beans, potato salad, brownies
  • Tacos - hard and soft shell tacos, taco seasoned ground beef, diced tomato, diced onion, cheese, sour cream
  • Lasanga, salad with italian dressing, homemade bread with garlic butter
  • A "Dad Meal"   - Mom was out of town but he wanted to bring us a meal - Takeout spaghetti, garlic bread, and a gondola sandwich, beverages for the boys and dad, bagged salad and chocolate Popsicle.
How are we handeling the transition to a family of five?

I am enjoying the break from doing child care and the ability to do things with just my children.  We are getting better at going places, but I do add and extra 5 minutes to get out the door.  I am working hard to not let the loss of income hit our pocketbook.  For several months I have put a little bit aside so that during my break I would have cash available. So far we have not changed much in our eating out habits - which eats up most of my cash.

We are using cloth diapers again with our little one.  It is amazing the difference between cloth diapers on a baby boy and a baby girl. I think I figured it out quicker with a boy than I have with a girl.  We are doing well with daytime diapers but she is a nighttime wetter - so I'm still trying to figure out nighttime diapers.  Two nights ago I changed her before her middle of the night feeding, in the dark.  When it she awoke a few hours later she was WET from head to toe, along with her pajamas and bedding. Where was the diaper?  Around her ankles.  She is a wiggler and kicked off her blanket and the diaper slid off too.  Back to the drawing board!

Currently my boys are playing with Trio Blocks.  (We were out and weeded the garden and planted some seeds - more about that in my post at my gardening blog - had to go outside before it got hot!  Today will be cooler at 90, but storms are predicted for this evening.  I"m looking forward to the 70's that are predicted for the next few days!)  I love Trio blocks,  I'm sure I've posted about that before. The offer SO much in the way of creativity and my boys BOTH enjoy playing with them.  Like most toys the come in "sets"  - you know, barn, castle, construction site, but once the initial set is built they have all ended up transitioning to some other creation, and that is okay with me.  It allows creativity to shine!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Menu Plan 4/10

Here is the menu plan for this week.  Its one of those busy weeks with to many activites at mealtime for the kids - so I must be creative.

  • Friday - delivery pizza
  • Saturday - Lunch: leftover pizza
  • Saturday Supper - Steak Sandwiches ( leftover steak), buns, tatertots, spinach salad
  • Sunday Lunch - out
  • Sunday Supper - DH cooked ;)  Paella  - we have enough leftover for lunches this week, and supper to, lol
  • Monday - ground beef - maybe slopy joes
  • Tuesday - Turkey, salad, sweet potatoes
  • Wednesday - Church night but I don't think we will make it to the Soup Supper in time, so I'm not sure - PB&J picnic, maybe
  • Thursday - ?? Concert night and grandparents are here, hope I have inspiration by then.
What's on your plan this week?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

No TV Day #6

On Friday morning I turned on the television, well attempted, I should say. I knew something was up when it was taking awhile to "warm up"...a few seconds later I heard a POP!  The bulb in the TV blew.  We had this issue with our older version of the same television. So no TV in the living room, not to big of a deal....we can watch the other one right?  Nope, it broke when we were attempting to add the adapter box to allow our ancient (10 years old) analog television to be connected to cable's digital only signal.  So that means we have gone six days with no functioning television in the house.  I really have not missed it.  However, I know others in the house have and will be glad to have the television fixed.

What have I learned in the meantime?
  • It did not take the kids long to adjust to no TV.  It just is, and they accept it, and I get to see a more creative side of them - Legos, Trio Blocks and Trains have had a workout.
  • Its amazing how quiet the house is after the kids go to bed without the television on.
  • Thank goodness for laptops and smartphones.
  • Garth Brooks still gets a lot of play on the country station - and they are songs I know from 10-15 years ago when I listened to a lot of country
  • Books - they do the brain good!
  • Eaglets hatching can be as entertaining as Curious George or Handy Manny!
We have also been enjoying the warmer, dare I say springlike weather of the last few days.  I just placed my first order with Johnny's Selected Seeds and now I really can not wait to get in the garden.  Now the debate begins - where to put things in the garden and will I get the garden in before the little one arrives? I should go dig up the garden and plant some spinach and salad greens, yum!

Monday, April 4, 2011

April 1 Meal Plan

Here is the basic menu plan for the next week or so...
  • Friday - pizza, out (was going to be delivery but Out worked too!)
  • Saturday Lunch - Out
  • Saturday Supper - Chicken Stir Fry with rice - quick and easy and lots of veggies, and leftovers for lunch on Monday
  • Sunday Lunch - Cheddarwurst, buns, chips, mand. oranges, and pickles, lol
  • Sunday Supper - Lasagna and spinach salad - garlic bread (or cheese bread) was not served but requested.
  • Monday - chicken that was thawed out will become somthing yummy!
  • Tuesday - Lasanga with salad and garlic bread (any left will be frozen)
  • Wednesday - Flank Steak
  • Thursday - Cheese Steak sandwiches, quesadillas or something with leftover steak.
  • Friday - Pizza :)
Original meal plan had chicken patties on thin buns (we call them flat bread, I can't think of the name right know.) but they will keep in the freezer until next week when we need a quick, no-brainer meal before an evening activity.  Still need to figure out what to do with mushrooms as I have 1.5 packages in the fridge that I forgot to throw into the lasagna.