Thursday, April 28, 2011

fluffy butt

We are cloth diaperers, or more aptly we have been and will be again. At least once a month someone wants advice so I will answer it here once and for all!

When to start:We wait till little people sleep through the night before adding cloth diapers into the mix. Reason 1, newborns are exhausting and less laundry is good! Reason 2, most one size cloth diapers don't really fit well until babies get a little chunky. Cloth diapers have a considerable upfront cost and it just doesn't make sense to shell out $200 bucks for newborn cloth diapers that will be outgrown in a month. Shock and Awe are 4.5 months and we will start cloth this week, we are down to our last package of pampers. Full disclosure, Moo slept through from 7pm-7am at 5 weeks, Ella Bella was 10 weeks, and The twins were 4.5 Months.  Yes, they are awesome ;)

What we use/used:In general, we have found that pocket diapers and snaps work best for us. Pockets are easy for babysitters and grandparents to use and velcro left us with a naked Ella Bella.

14 Bumgenius 2.0's and 3.0's- These were pretty much all we used with Ella Bella. The velcro on them as seen much better days but otherwise they still work great. They would be in better shape if we didn't put the covers in the dryer. Lesson learned. I am trying to rework these for nighttime training pants since the velcro is shot.

3 smartipants- work great, no complaints. They do run a little smaller than Bumgenius. Made by mamas in the United States.

2 gdiapers- HATE these. Super cute on and a great idea in theory. Reality is they are all the work of cloth diapers and more expensive with more pieces. They leaked like crazy too. Sold mine too a friend that loves them. Too each their own :) I kept my pink ruffled ones and bright blue ones for photos. They are really cute.

22 sunbaby- ordered these for shock and awe. They are crazy inexpensive and come in patterns and solids. I haven't used them yet but know several people who have and are happy with them. These fit shock and awe when they were only 6lbs. Note, they are manufactured and shipped directly from China. Most cloth diapers sold in the US are also manufactured in China but this is a real hang up for many parents.

Edited 12/5/11- After using these for several months, eh, they are ok. Ours leak through much quicker than any other diaper we have and when the babies were on an all milk diet we were having to change them every 2 hours and even then had multiple outfit changes a day. Now that they are older and eat more solids they work much better but always double stuff if you use sunbaby inserts.

Edited 5/18/12- We have used these for a year now and they are holding up great!  We always double stuff them and haven't had any leaks during the day in months.  We occasionally do at night, but we have leaks with disposables then too.  We use these diapers 95% of the time we use cloth diapers and have recommended them to friends.  Get the prints, the resale on them is more than retail.  Also, they look like drugs when they are shipped to you which keeps life interesting for your mailman ;)

2 flips- a smarter and cheaper gdiaper. In theory you can just change the insert on these, we always had to replace the whole cover since the insert shifted around.

1 happy heiny one size- works just fine, a little pricey.

2 happy heiny trainers- cloth pullups. We use them at night and they run HUGE. Should have ordered the smallest size even for my 3 year old!

2 thirsties duo wraps- work really well with just an insert or over crappy disposable diapers. ex: huggies natural diapers... the only thing natural about them is how wet your lap gets ;)

1 fuzzibunz- eh. It's just ok.

9 newborn diapers- these are homemade and were a hand me down from a friend. They are adorable and I used them for photos, but that's it. 9 diapers really isn't enough for even one day with a newborn, let alone 2 newborns, so we didn't use them. But they are really awesome doll diapers :)

16 econobum by bum genius: These work pretty great. Stuff them with whatever you want and just go. They aren't as well structured as the flip but so far no leaks! I got ours BOGO for 9.99 for 2 covers and 2 organic pre-folds, so $5 each.  I didn't use the organic prefolds though.  We like the microfiber bg ones to much!

2 flip training pants- The older kids wear (wore) these as nightime training pants.  Cause pull-ups are a racket!  They worked well for preschool kids for that purpose. 

Edited 5/17/12
Since I wrote this post we have slimmed down our stash of diapers.   I passed on all the bumgenius diapers to friends with slender babies.  The velcro was no match for my little porkers.  I think I would really, really, like the bumgenius elementals with snaps.  That's probably what I would buy if we were starting cloth diapering from scratch with our first kid.  I gave the duowraps and newborn daipers to a friend also.

We got by with just the 14 bumgenius for Ella Bella for a year doing laundry every other day. We have 42 one-size diapers now and that should easily get us to washing diapers every third day. A lot of people use cloth wipes too, we haven't. We use disposable ones and just toss them in the trash. It's very un-tree-hugger of us, but it's how we roll. We certainly can go 3-4 days easy before we have to wash diapers.  Typically we have a full load before we run out of clean diapers.

The Setup
We have a changing table in our kids bathroom. All the clean diapers are stuffed and ready to go. Change the baby, dump any solids in the potty, flush, toss the diaper in a diaper pail and you are good to go. You can't use diaper rash cream with cloth, but you probably won't need too! Our kids got hardly any rashes with cloth. We just used a cut up receiving blanket to line the diaper when they had a rash and then tossed the scrap after each change.

edited 5/18/12
We moved the changing table to our laundry room.  It's upstairs next to our room and living room and is much more practical.  Solids get dumped in an old grocery sack and diapers go directly in a Rubbermaid foot pedal trashcan.  We have a sink, soap, and hand towels right there too.  Super handy.  Also the twins get crazy bad rashes.  Not from cloth just from pooping in the middle of the night on occasion.  So we have disposables handy for when they need diaper cream.

The "ick" Factor
Yes, poop is gross. It's nasty. And if you have a baby or babies, you have to deal with it. Often. Disposable diapers are notorious for newborn baby poop blowouts leading to stain treating cute clothes and washing blankets, sheets, ect, ect. With cloth diapers, yes you do laundry, but it's at least things that should be pooped on. We have never had a blowout in a cloth diaper. Ever.

Laundry, Laundry, Laundry
Dirty little (not so) secret. I don't wash the diapers. Hubs does :) love him! He uses Purex free and clear liquid detergent.
He has a very exact way of washing them. This is what he does.
1. cold rinse with 1/4 cup detergent (1/4 of what you would normally use for a load)
2. Hot wash with 1/4 cup detergent (again 1/4 of a normal load)
3. Cold rinse, I think he usually adds a generous splash of vinegar here to help prevent soap build-up.
4. inserts into the dryer, shells hung on a drying rack
5. Stuff while watching sports.

Get your mind out of the gutter! Sometimes the diapers get a funk to them. The stink even after you wash them or the repeal liquids making them ineffective. If this happens you need to "strippp" your diapers this involves wash them in HOT HOT HOT water with a squirt of dawn dish soap and then rinsing until there are no suds left in the water. I think we have done this 3 times max over 2 years of cloth diapering. Using the right ammount (ie not too much) detergent and vinegar in a rinse helps avoid the need to stripp. Intentionally spelling things wrong so it doesn't come up in google for the other use of the word!

We use disposables diapers on Sundays and vacation and any other time we won't be the ones doing diaper duty and we are away from home. It's easier and way nicer for the nursery workers. I worked in a nursery for many, many years and it was so rare that we had a kid in cloth diapers that no one knew what to do with them and most of the caregivers were apprehensive about changing them. So, we just don't :) And traveling with cloth diapers.... NO THANKS! At home with a system down it's really not much more work than disposable diapers and is so much cheaper. We have spent about $400 total on diapers and have more than enough to get shock and awe to potty training. We aren't militant about cloth diapering, if we are really tired or sick or lazy, it's disposables. It is way cheaper and we aren't ever out of diapers! It saves us even more money by keeping us out of the stores for diaper runs. Less opportunity for impulse buys at Target :)

Edited 5/18/12:
When I do get disposable diapers, I get them from amazon with amazon mom.  A box of 234 size luvs runs us about $33 and lasts months.  If we weren't cloth diapering it would last us maybe 3 weeks.   Also, after 4 kids and 6 years of near constant diaperhood... I am sooooooooo over diapers.  I don't care how cute they are!

*****Local girls, there is a brand new cloth diapering site for LBK! Bitsy Bottoms They are just getting their online store up and running but they will also come to your house and show you the cloth diapering ropes or do a diaper party. Check them out!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

the mommy shift

There seems to be a bit of a misconception that life is a idyllic around here, a regular Norman Rockwell painting. Stop reading now if you want to continue thinking that!

Ok, I think they have left. This is what's real. There are a lot of super precious adorable moments around here these days. Tiny babies learning how to smile and preschoolers exploring the depths of their imaginations. We love it. It's a fleeting stage and we are embracing it. It's also messy, exhausting, and repetitive. This blog is supposed to be a place to showcase creative stuff but the most creative thing I have done lately is mix darks and lights in the laundry. Wildly creative! This a pretty typical 25 hours of solo mommy duty. Not terribly interesting ;) but some day I will be busy running 4 kids hither and yon need to be reminded of when I was an entirely different kind of busy.

5:05 Hubs heads out the door
5:08 Play a riveting game of hi ho cherry-io with Moo and Ella Bella
5:30 Nurse Awe
5:35 Shock wakes up screaming
5:36 Try to nurse Awe while giving bottle to Shock
5:38 2 screaming babies
5:39 let Awe scream, feed Shock
5:50 burp Shock put him down, nurse Awe
5:51 Shock screams in pain while Awe nurses, Burp him while feeding her
6:10 kick Awe off 6:12 make dinner for Moo and Ella Bella
6:25 dinner for Moo and Ella Bella
6:26 eat dinner on floor while holding Awe and talking to Shock
6:30 Awe in swing for nap
6:40 Shock in swing for nap
6:41 pump while getting Moo and Ella Bella in jammies, 4.5 ounces.
6:50 put in cartoon, more pumping
7:15 bottles for Shock in fridge
7:20 finish eating dinner
7:30 big kids brush teeth, story, bed
7:50 phew, rest
8:20 get bottles warmed up
8:30 feed Shock
8:45 Shock screams from gas pain
8:49 Shock pukes on me and him, new clothes all around stops screaming
8:53 quality time with Shock
8:59 Shock pukes again, another new outfit for him
9:04 Shock is swaddled and in bed
9:20 Ella Bella bashes Moo in the eye leading to both of them bawling
9:24 Force big kids to potty and then put them back to bed
9:38 Shock wakes up ???
9:40 burp lay back down
9:50 Shock fussing. Yay. Let him fuss it out.
9:58 Awe is up and she can SCREAM
10:03 Shock screaming. His arms attacked him
10:04 Awe gets a bottle
10:16 Awe finishes and is happy, Shock screaming again
10:22 all 4 in bed sweet quiet
10:25 pumping time, 6 oz
10:50 choke down 7 pills and climb into bed.
10:59 haha just kidding. Shock is up.
11:05 feed Shock
11:29 go to bed. Shock is wide awake so we'll see....
11:32 Shock crying from gas pain
11:34 Shock spitups on the floor and the sound of puke hitting the floor wakes Awe
11:38 still screaming gas drops to the rescue
11:45 still wide awake, I am going to bed.... Hoping they sleep till at least 2
11:47 move Shock to bouncy seat, Awe fully awake... drat
11:57 finally get Shock settled down, the second I get in bed the screaming begins. Arg.
1:46 Awe is up, feed her in bed where we both fall asleep.
4:03 feed Awe
4:21 Awe back to her crib
4:36 Shock awake
4:56 back to bed. Both babies wide awake... This probably won't go well
5:01 both are screaming. Yay!
5:03 give Shock a pacifier, put Awe back in bed with me feed her.
5:18 Seth fussing, awe still eating
5:21 realize Moo and Ella Bella's baby monitor is off, turn it on.
5:22 Ella Bella is singing. wonder how long she has been up. Oh well....
5:23 all is quiet, hoping everyone sleeps till 7:30
7:06 all four kids are up. Ouch. So. Little. Sleep.
7:15 bottle warming for Shock, feed Awe, big kids cartoons and cereal.
7:52 Shock has completely soaked through all his clothes and blankets. 3rd outfit today.
7:58 give Shock a bottle
7:59 Shock chokes on bottle and spits up oh his clean outfit. 4th outfit of the day...
8:08 babies are done eating now awake time.
8:09 pump while talking to Shock. Moo and Ella Bella play with Awe.
8:30 finish pumping and put Awe down for a nap, knowing she will scream! 3.5 oz
8:40 both babies down for a nap. Shock smiles when laid down, Awe screams. Typical.
8:45 must load dishwasher. Not a clean bottle left in the house.
9:05 dishwasher running, babies sleeping, big kids coloring. Shower time!
9:47 laundry laundry laundry
10:08 babies awake
10:15 Shock fell back asleep after removing his screaming sister from his bed, nurse Awe
10:44 protect Awe from over loving from Moo and Ella Bella
11:08 laundry with 2 crazy kids. Where are those grandparents???
11:30 Gran and Papa come!
11:40 feed Shock again, scream, burp, repeat
12:00 Gran made us lunch :)
12:34 Ella Bella pees on the floor, help her clean it up
1:10 feed Awe
1:11 let my parents entertain the kids ;)
2:30 feed Shock
2:38 Ella Bella down for nap
3:13 Gran and Papa leave
3:20 pump, bleck 12oz
4:02 finish pumping, I despise the black bag o torture
4:30 Moo and Ella Bella are up and hungry. Snacks, fighting, timeout, and playmobil!
5:34 Awe is up and ready to eat.
5:57 Shock wakes up
5:58 hubs aka super dad walks through the door! HOORAY!!!
6:00 make dinner and feed Shock.