Friday, December 9, 2011

Let the Nesting Commence!

Picture this...

It is early on a chilly morning.  You wake up and realize it is Saturday.  Woo Hoo!!!!  Then you look down at your obviously pregnant belly and gasp!  I'M ONE WEEK AWAY FROM MY THIRD TRIMESTER!!!!!!!!!!!!

How did this happen so fast?  I just got over the 1st trimester sickies and now I need to start getting things in order before this kid shows up. I am having a Braxton Hicks contraction.  Heartburn too?  This kid is gonna kill me.  Well, not really but I think all women who have been pregnant feel that way at some point.  And most, not all, get that crazy OCD nesting urge at some point. 

We make our lists, check them 100 times, inventory our kid stuff and/or tweak our registries.  That is the process I am currently in.  And really, we are in great shape.  There will be one difference however this time around.  We are going to cloth diaper.  We started with the cloth diapers for our son when he was around 18 months or so.  It is something I am believing more and more in for many reasons and the direction I plan to take for this soon to arrive baby.

If you are not familiar with cloth diapers, there are sooooooooo many different options out there.  Not to mention, they have come a long way from what they were when we were growing up and disposables really were not an option.  This is why I'm blessed to have my good friend Nicole.  I call her my cloth diaper guru.  She runs a cloth diaper business out of her home and is a fabulous teacher and resource.

I have decided at this point to stock up on prefolds, snappi's, diaper covers and a few fitteds.  I'm going to be trying out different brands and products and I will come back to report exactly what I have and how I plan to use them.  Then, when baby comes late February or sometime in March, I'll be sure to report on what I like and what is/is not working for us. 

I'm really excited about this.  I don't hug trees.  I eat meat and don't really buy into what we have been told about climate change and global warming.  BUT.....I do believe we are to be as good of a steward of the planet as possible.  This is one way to do that for our family.  Not to mention, cloth diapers are super cute and they reduce the amount of chemicals that come in contact with your child.  For me, that is a total win even when you consider an extra load of laundry 3 times per week. 

Sharon Underwood is a SAHM of one awesome little 2 year old boy Derrek.  She and her husband live in a rural town in Nebraska.  Through mutual friends, Sharon and I have learned quite a bit about raising our families "naturally".

Routine, routine, routine.

Routine.  That is the perfect word that described my visit Wednesday.  Blood pressure checked and good (which I am happy about because I get pregnancy induced hypertension with all my pregnancies so far).  Weight checked; actually lost a pound!  I could stand to lose a few more, but as long as there is no gain yet, I'm happy.  The appointment marked 14 weeks.  WOW!  I again was surprised to hear that.  My brain cannot keep up with the timeline.   

Okay, so doctor waltzes in and does his normal greetings.  Asked if I have any concerns; nope.  Then he said, "You probably could tell me what to do."  HA!  That made me laugh.  Pretty much.  I've done this enough I really know what to expect.  With that said, we listened for the heartbeat.  What a wonderful sound.  Now that NEVER gets old.  

Up next on the agenda is a quad screening blood test.  I know lots of moms deny these tests, but I am a planner.  I like to know everything going on.  I know there is the whole risk of negative results, but being a planner, if something is wrong, I need to know.  So this is to be done between 16-18 weeks and so the next appointment is on the 28th which puts me right at 17 weeks.  

Friday, November 18, 2011

"Dating" Ultrasound.

This morning I had my "dating" ultrasound.  Our office likes to do an early ultrasound to "confirm" dates that they calculate from the LMP (Last Menstrual Period).  So, my feelings of the ultrasound started yesterday being quite excited about it.  I never rest easy until I either see or hear that heartbeat.  However, fear (a strong fear) has something that has plagued me since I found out I was pregnant.  Anyway, I had a horrible dream last night that I was bleeding and that my husband had an, "eh whatever" response to it.  Thankfully he had a much better dream that we had a beautiful baby girl.  Back to the ultrasound.  It only took 30 min to do, and the picture was beautiful.  We definitely have a healthy little baby growing.  It even flipped positions while the tech was working.  Heartbeat is 158 and we are measuring around 12 weeks (today I am 11 weeks and 1 day).  Now I don't put too much weight on ultrasound measurements (as far as dates go) because they can be quite off.  That said, I'd much rather have it be measuring ahead than a week or so behind.  So now I can rest for a while until the next irrational fear pops in my head.  My next appointment is in about 3 weeks.  Now I know why many moms call their babies "peanut".  It really does look like a peanut! 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

First OB visit.

Okay, so I had my first OB intake last week (yeah, a little late in posting) and it was very typical.  I'm starting at my pre-pregnancy weight from three babies ago.  Is that good or bad?  Well let's just say it's not great.  So, naturally that was part of the conversation that I brought up.  I know my weight will be an issue.  He encouraged me to maintain about a 10lb weight gain.  This is what I have done for my last three pregnancies.  I was surprised too.  My first two I had the typical 35-40 lb gain, and well, that was not very beneficial to me at all.  My mind is telling me that keeping it at 10-15 lbs will be no problem.  After all, I've done it before right?  Hm, well I'm feeling a little skeptical about it though.  My eating hasn't been horrible, but it's not great either.  I take some solace in knowing that I take a pre-natal vitamin and must have that glass of orange juice in the morning.  Veggies.  I have a love/hate relationship with them.  My last pregnancies I couldn't get enough of them.  Which is probably why my weight was controlled so well.  This time, the thought of a vegetable every day turns me off.  Now, that's not to say I don't eat them.  I have to.  Thankfully I have some wonderful and knowledgeable friends online who have given me some wonderful tips for healthy meals especially breakfast.  

Okay, so back to the appointment.  As I sat and waited for the doctor to come in, I began thinking I was making this appointment too early.  My mommy/pregnant brain was seriously failing me.  I had no idea how many weeks I was.  So when he came in he re-calculated and I was 10 weeks.  Wow!  I was stuck in 8 weeks for like 2 weeks!  HA!  So we tried for the heartbeat, but we couldn't hear it.  Not too disappointed because I have never had them get it so early; 12 weeks at best, but never at 10.  Anyway, bp is good; weight okay.  So the doctor said he was going to call in a prescription and have the dating ultrasound scheduled for Tuesday (may appointment was last Thursday).  Mom went to the pharmacy (we only have one vehicle) on Friday and there was no order called in.  Doctor was not in the office so we would have to wait until Monday.  I call Monday afternoon and the nurse said that there was no mention of a prescription needed nor was there an ultrasound scheduled.  Oh really?  Hm.  So by late afternoon they had the prescription cleared up, but now the ultrasound is not until Friday.  Have I mentioned how much I hate waiting?  Especially when it comes to seeing that little bean for the first time.  Oh to see the heart beating.  So now I impatiently wait until Friday for my ultrasound.  And I won't know the time until they call me on Thursday.  Gotta love small town living.  

So ultrasound on Friday and next appointment in a month.  The journey continues. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Hospital Birth: Part 1

So I need to do a little catch up with this first post as it has been a while since I took that first home pregnancy test.  A little history is required then.  

A few weeks back, in the afternoon I was going about my usual mommy business of taking care of 5 children and keeping house when I kept feeling strange pulling like twinges in my lower abdomen.  Strange I thought; but more so, "Hm, I wonder." So off to the bathroom to take a pregnancy test.  Let me say this is the very first time I have ever taken a home test in the middle of the afternoon.  Much to my surprise and delight, that second line did not take long to appear.  "Ha!  What!?! No way!" I thought.  I couldn't contain it.  I immediately showed my husband who was on the computer.  With much delight and excitement he looked at me and said, "You're pregnant!?!"  Yup!  I am!
Now if anyone is like me and a bit addicted to testing.  I thought I would try again in the morning just to "make sure".  And sure enough, that second line appeared just as quickly as last time.  So it now begins.  We have the next nine months to prepare bringing in a new member to our family.  

Fast forward a couple weeks and I make my first appointment.  It is more or less just to confirm the pregnancy which helps us with insurance.  Before I even went in, I had to meet with the financial office to get all the insurance information cleared up and to inform them on how it was all going to be paid.  Then I met with the PA (who was also the one who helped deliver my last baby) and she is such a delight.  I have a feeling most of my care will be with her.  Thankfully her focus is on OB.  Anyway, bp was good 127/80 (yes for me that is good).  We touched base on how we would like this pregnancy to move forward.  With my last pregnancy I may have been border line GD as he was born at 10lbs 2.5 oz.  So, this time around, I need to work on my diet a bit more to help keep the size down a bit.  Anyway, in a few weeks I will be making my next appointment for our first intake which will mark our first official appointment for this pregnancy.  

Journey to a Hospital Birth

So I have been thinking about this blog series for a long time.  Not sure why, but I get the courage to type it up, then something holds me back.  As everyone knows, there are hot topics when it comes to parenting especially in the mothering realm.  Some of the "biggies" I've seen are breast vs formula, to vax or not to vax, and home birth vs hospital birth.  I think there is a time and place for everything and every "side".  

With that said, home birth or to not home birth has been something I have been thinking about since the birth of my last child.  Frankly, I never even considered it until I had my fourth child.  I have met some wonderful women through LLL (La Leche League)  who are huge advocates of home birth.  If it were not for them and some fantastic moms I met online, I don't think I would be quite so natural birth either.  
We are now expecting baby #6 in June and I broached the subject with my husband.  Wile at first he seemed to be all for it.  I was happy!  I would love to have a home birth.  However, there is really only one thing (well two really) keeping me from actively pursuing a home birth.  The first is that the closest midwife is an hour away.  Um, considering how fast I go, not having a midwife arrive in time is not comforting to me.  I will not do an unassisted birth; it's a risk that I am not willing to take.  Secondly, midwives in this state have to essentially work underground to perform home births.  To me that doesn't sit right.  A birthing center is a wonderful compromise; unfortunately the only one in this state is over 2 hours away.  Uh, yeah.  No chance of that happening!!  I'd be walking in the doors with the baby in my arms!  HA!
A hospital birth.  To many moms the mere sounds of the words send them reeling into a dark corner while clutching their legs.  For me, I embrace it.  Why?  Because living in a small town where the two doctors (who are also my pediatricians and family physicians) are the most hands off physicians I have ever encountered.  Baby #3 and #4 were inductions.  I think I saw the doctors a total of 3 times before it was time to push.  Otherwise I was left to myself (and my hubby) to labor.  Pure bliss.  I truly was the one in control.  So much so that I even have the power to make the doctors and nurses stop talking!!  HA!  On a side note, I hate noise while in labor.  Not even a whisper.  Totally throws off my concentration.  

Okay, so a hospital birth.  I embrace it also because it gives me a sense of security.  I know that these two professionals who have delivered thousands of babies have plenty of experience to handle any emergency (and I know midwives do to) and I am right there in the hospital already.  Now, to be honest really, it'd be silly for me to not go to the hospital because we live 2 blocks from it!  I have not had a bad experience with my 5 deliveries in a hospital (that I can recollect that is).  So because of my experiences with my last three deliveries, I am very confident with my care takers.  

So with that said, I will chronicle my days and appointments with this pregnancy.  They may not be all that exciting and awe inspiring, but with the age of technology and the ability to share anything with friends and family, I want to do something special with this child: from the beginning. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A lesson learned.

I've always been of the mind that cloth diapers can take a beating.  I mean after all they are made to be pooped and peed in every day and then washed frequently with "chemicals" including homemade detergents.  So, I thought, "Why do I have to treat them with kid gloves?"  

I've been cloth diapering constantly for a little over 2 years.  Bleach (with my hard water) has become my best friend.  I can't wash my diapers with out it.  If I do I get major lake water smell.  Water itself is rough on the elastic, but so is using the diaper every day by stretching it to get a snug fit on your baby.  The one thing I was very careful to avoid was putting my covers, pockets, and AIO in the dryer.  So much so that I knew that if I wanted to be sure they were not put in the dryer, I had to do it myself.  Occasionally (in the beginning I was using only covers/pf) a cover would hide in the prefolds and get tossed in the dryer.  I used those covers for a good year before moving on to pockets and AIO.  Never did I have any problem with weak snaps or de-laminating.  

I started using pockets before my last son was born, so for a little over a year.  For a majority of that year I took special precaution to hang all my covers, pockets, and AIO.  I never had one problem with the PUL or snaps; and I really prided myself in that.  I thought, "Awesome!  These really will last through 2 children easily as long as I keep hanging them to dry." Plus my pockets were being used full time between two little bums.  So after one year, they were/are in great shape.  Lately though, I've slacked on that gentle care idea for my pockets, AIO, and wetbags.  Yep, you guessed it.  I've been putting them all in the dryer every other day when I do my diaper laundry.  I've been doing this for about at least a month now and I sorely regret it.    

De-lamination is almost like a four letter word in the cloth diapering world.  You don't want to hear it.  Unfortunately it is common to PUL items.  From what I have gathered there are two basic kinds of de-lamination.  The first is one caused by poor manufacturing.  Where in fact the waterproof lining has separated from the outer material.

This is a wet bag I had received.  I used it once, washed it and when I went to hang it to dry the lining was completely separated from the outer cloth.  Now, something like this is a manufacturing defect because I received another wet bag from same company in a different print, but it is still fine.  This particular batch of material just was not made properly.  

The other known type of de-laminating is when the PUL has been dried and over time it cracks.  I think an occasional, "oops it went through the dryer" is not going to harm anything, but a constant barrage of high heat is going quickly deteriorate the waterproof lining.  One of my wet bags has de-laminated because of the dryer.  I went to put it in my pail one day and noticed all these cracks all over it.  Since it is just a wet bag, I don't stress it too much because I can simply wipe down my pail if moisture gets through.  If this was on a diaper cover, pocket, or AIO, that would be a different story.  Some suggest putting it back in the dryer to see if it would reseal, but I'm skeptical of that.  Once that lamination is cracked, you will inevitably have leaks.   

Now, I'm sure there are lots of moms out there who say they put their covers in the dryer, but I'm not sure that they all do it on high heat for 60-70 minutes every other day like I had been.

Another effect of the dryer on covers/pockets/AIO is that the heat will eventually weaken your snaps.  Yep, another lesson learned.  Most of my nighttime diapers are KaWaii Goodnight Heavy Wetters.  I went to put one on my son, and as I unsnapped it, one of the snaps just popped right off.  Weird, I thought it was just a fluke.  I had noticed on one of my GoGreen Pocket Diapers that the back of a snap seemed to be melted.  Fast forward to two nights ago and another snapped off.  Great.  In my haste to trying to do things easier I have probably sped up the wear and tear on my diapers.  So, instead of my diapers lasting a year or more, I may have less than a year in them.  Bummer.  

Broken snaps can be fixed though.  I am thinking of getting myself a snap pliers to at least fix the broken snaps.  After all having two in diapers, and losing two of my night diapers is not something I'm okay with.  A de-laminated diaper, unless it is a manufacturing defect and it is within the one year warranty (check with the manufacturer for warranty info) your diaper, cover, or wet bag will be replaced.  If it is user error, you are out of luck.  

This is definitely a lesson learned that I am not willing to repeat.      

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The traveling delima.

I've been seeing a common question come up on the diaper forum I frequent.  With summer being a popular time for going on vacation, many cloth diapering moms ask a big question.  How do I cloth diaper my child while on vacation?  What can I use.  

Well, if you are fortunate enough to be traveling to a place (family, friends, nice hotel) where laundry facilities are available it will be an easy choice.  Just take from your normal stash and have fun!  However, when facilities are not available what do you do?

I had to ask myself this when we went on vacation last month.  We took a trip to a Methodist camp and I had no access to laundry facilities.  Okay, so I had to ask myself, "What are my options?"  There were three things: hand wash, try a hybrid system, or go disposable.  Okay, so hand wash.  Thank goodness for my cloth obsession and my knowledge of the Flats Hand Washing Challenge.  Yeah, I was one of those crazy moms trying this out.  I had to.  I had to see if I could do it.  After all, if I could do it for 5 days at home, I could do it on vacation.  You can read how it went in my 4 part blog.  Um, yeah that didn't work out well; fishy stink city.  I tried so hard too.  I felt defeated.  Not only could I not do it during the 5 days, I knew I was not going to be able to enjoy my vacation if I had to deal with stinky diapers every day.  Plus there would be diapers hanging EVERYWHERE.  Okay, so scratch that idea.  

Using disposables just really wasn't an option.  Though for many, it is a good option.  There is nothing wrong with using them.  My biggest concern with using them full-time was the sensitivity of my youngest daughter.  So I went to plan B.  I looked into the hybrid systems.  The two most popular are Flip and Grovia.  I did a lot of asking around and reading of these two products.  They both ended up having some pros and cons.  I think my favorite was the Grovia.  I loved the aplix on my covers and the narrowness of the cover between the legs.  Both brands had one size covers.  I liked the Grovia inserts the most because of the adhesive tape (many moms don't like this because it is a little hard to get out of the cover).  I could slap that diaper on my wiggly 9 mo old like nobody's business.  The only thing I didn't like about it is that it seemed to hold heat in a lot (and it was SUPER hot there).  The Grovia inserts looked and felt a lot like a disposable diaper, but they are made to be compost friendly.

 I also took along a pack of Flip disposable inserts (with Flip cover as well).  The Flip inserts were super soft and reminded me much of a very long maxi pad.  There were no adhesive strips, so you simply laid them in the cover.  The insert had to be folded down, especially on my son, though I didn't mind that because it was nice to have that extra absorbency up front.  The main thing I didn't like about this insert was that it bunched terribly between the legs.  It did not stay flat thus causing the poo to get every where.  

Unfortunately I did not try these out overnight on my vacation.  However, I do have some left, so I could certainly try them out if anyone is interested.  Anyway, because I wasn't sure how they would work over night and since we were in our vehicles for long periods of time, I did end up buying a pack of disposable diapers for driving and for overnight.  

My overall opinion of these two hybrid diapers is that they are a good alternative to disposable diapers for vacationing as well as for daycare.  They are very low maintenance and if the cover is soiled they clean very easily in the sink. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Machine Maintenance.

I've always known it is a good idea to make sure you keep your dryer clean.  The fire hazard the lint causes is so scary.  Few years back a friend (who was pregnant at the time) lost her laundry room to a fire caused by lint.  

I've had my machines since we got married 10 years ago.  I love them.  They were a wedding gift from my parents.  I started my cloth diapering back then with my oldest son using Gerber prefolds and pull-up plastic pants.  We had typical pail stink, but my washer did a fantastic job cleaning the diapers.  I never noticed any build-up or residue in my machine.  

About 2 years ago dad and I took a trip to Florida to get my machines out of our town house.  We were using a stacked washer/dryer unit and it was not cutting it.  I needed my machines.  Fast forward to now.  The window is collecting white residue and I battle stinky laundry.  

I was very happy to stumble upon a blog by The Cloth Diaper Report about daily/weekly maintenance of your washer.  The author also followed up with a monthly maintenance routine.  As I read, I realized I do some of the daily/weekly suggestions.  I try to keep my door open when not in use.  My drum is pretty big, but the door opening is pretty small.  Now it is a bit difficult when there are little hands wandering the house and they love to close things.  I found if I keep the door open the musty smell is very minimal.  Yes, just minimal.  My biggest problem is taking the clothes out right away.  Many times I forget that I need clothes (well hubby needs work clothes) the next day, so I put the load in at 10 pm only to fall asleep before it is done.  Thus it sits all night in the washer, all closed up.  What a perfect breeding ground for mold, mildew, and mustiness.  

I've considered using the Tide washer cleaner, but I have not read any cloth diapering reviews on it.  I do know I have hard water.  The white residue on my washer door and battle of stink in my diapers has proven that.  The Cloth Diaper Report recommends using a product called Affresh.   However unlike her machine, I don't have a Clean Washer selection.  Remember, my machines were bought new 10 years ago (I don't even have a sanitize on my machine; just a simple, hot/cold/warm).

I hope my machine isn't doomed because I haven't "cleaned" ever.  Honestly, I never knew you were supposed to clean them!  With that said, I need to go do my first rinse on my diapers. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Keep that fleece soft.

I have many diapering blogs that I love to follow, and I hate to admit it, I've started to lose interest in some of them.  Over the past couple of years I felt like I had read all there was when it comes to cloth diapering.  I'm happy to be proven wrong.  I came across this fantastic blog about keeping your fleece lined diapers soft.  One of the biggest things that irritate me the most from fleece lined pockets is that the fleece will always pill.  I always thought that that was just the nature of the beast and nothing could be done about it.  Nope!  A simple hairbrush can fix this problem.  Unfortunately I don't think mine can be saved, but I think I'm going to give it a try.  Simply take a bristle brush (you know, the ones with the tiny black bristles bunched together) and brush it through the fleece.  Simple huh? 

For further details about brushing your fleece, the Natural Momma can tell you.  Happy brushing!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Flats Challenge Part 4

Day 6
Well I still didn’t wash diapers, so I guess I failed.  I still used my flat and covers today; well that’s not entirely true.  I used some of my prefolds too.  I like diversity.  I was honestly starting to get bored with using just flats.  If I had just flats in my stash, I’d have to get more covers to spice things up a bit.  Anyway, we were so busy from the minute we got up trying to get this house in order for the family BBQ.  We had 19 people here and with all the last minute cleaning and cooking, I was doing good just to make sure the kids were in dry diapers.  However, I did get the chance again to show them all my diapers in stock for my store and we talked about the business and cloth diapers for a while. 

Day 7
Well I’m done.  I threw my pail of dirty flats and used covers into the washer.  Now I know the challenge doesn’t end until this evening, but after yesterday I’m done.  It was nice to be able to shove all that into the machine and let it do its own thing.  I still have a few more that will need to be re-washed from this week.  Over all it was a good experience.  It made me realize that though I may be a cloth diaper fanatic, I must have my washer to make it happen.  However, if circumstances change and I am without my machine, I will be sure to have some sort of tool to help me with it.  I enjoy hanging my diapers.  It’s nicer to have the sun out to do that, but seeing them on the racks in the house is nice too.      

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Flats Challenge Part 3

Day 4
I just about threw the towel in last night.  It was not a good one.  Mary was crying most of the night with an ear ache and the thought of taking care of a sick toddler while hand washing diapers was not high on my list.  We also have about 20 people coming over on Saturday and my husband is planning to smoke some meat and have a BBQ.  Anyway, since I am literally hand washing my diapers, I wanted to quit.  It didn’t seem worth it to me.  However this morning my tune has changed a bit.  I really felt like I couldn’t quit; almost like morally I couldn’t quit.  I have been cloth diapering for so long that giving up is not an option.  Plus, we are planning to take a family vacation this summer and we will be gone for about 5 days at a camp where there are no laundry facilities.  I refuse to buy a box of diapers when I already have diapers.  So the plan today is to go to the local hardware store and get me a plunger and bucket for my bucket washer.  I need a washing tool.  The diapers that I washed last night were okay.  They didn’t smell strongly, but there was still a faint lake water smell.  I will continue to wash every night, but this time I will use the bucket.  If that works, then I know I will be able to take all my flats and covers with me on vacation.
I didn’t get my bucket washer yet; however I do have a plunger and a 13 gallon trash can so I made my own wash bucket.  The plunger makes a huge difference.  When I put my diapers in (10 flats 2 hemp flats and a handful of wash rags) I could see the soap residue.  Argh!  No wonder my diapers stank.  So, I did a soak with some vinegar and plunged it for a while.  I did a hot wash with detergent and let that soak as well.  Then it was all followed by three cold water rinses.  With each fill I plunged and hand wrung out the diapers.  At the end, there was just a slight (ever so slight) cloudiness to the water and so I called it good.  I’ve been using the diapers from the first wash and though they smelled while drying, after being peed on they don’t have a stench to them.  Ahh, the beauty of flats.  HA!

Day 5
I’m losing steam.  I really enjoy using flats, but I really do not like washing them by hand.  I’m not sure I will be making it to Sunday before quitting.  Here it is at the end of the day and I haven’t washed the diapers.  I have plenty of diapers to get me through Saturday, but then I will be trying to wash 35+ diapers again.  So I’m just tempted to say I’ve tried it and throw all my diapers into the washer Saturday evening.  With all our family coming over I will be wiped and not in the mood to wash diapers by hand.  I will definitely be keeping my flats in my diaper rotation and they are nice to use. 

Monday, May 30, 2011

Flats Challenge Part 2

Day 3
This morning it was time to wash the load of diapers.  I soaked them in the pail in cold water with about a tablespoon of detergent.  I’m thinking next time to use a bit more detergent, or even maybe some vinegar and baking soda.  The soak water was pretty icky.  I drained out the bin and rang out the diapers and wipes.  I then filled the tub with hot water and detergent and swished all of them around.  Then with running cool water I began rinsing them all.  The whole process probably took an hour.  My hands were very sore, but I did it.  One thing I have to do the rest of the week is to make sure all diapers are rinsed after use.  Poop needs to be completely rinsed out and give the pee diapers a quick rinse.  This will really help minimize the buildup in the tub and make it easier to get them clean.  Some of my diapers do have stains though.  Most of it is from Michael’s poop.  I have two drying racks in the house for hanging.  I’m really bummed that the sun isn’t out.  So for now I had to fold them in half and hang three per bar.  I’m down to only 8 diapers for the two babies for right now until my diapers dry.  I’m not sure how fast they are going to dry.  So we may have to get creative.  I do have a few prefolds which could be used.  Not sure if that is against the “rules” but I will have to figure something out if they don’t dry in time.  I do have a stand up fan blowing on the bigger rack trying to help them along.  In total, I washed 35 diapers and 13 wash rags.  Okay so that math may not add up, but I must confess that I didn’t use a rag at every diaper change.  So the biggest question remains, “Do I wash every day or stick to every other day.”  I have night diapers for two nights, but as it is now, two of them are in the pail from last night.  I guess I should have washed them this morning.  Hm, I could still wash them this afternoon so that they will be ready for tomorrow.  

I am very upset; my diapers have that lake water fish smell which means only one thing: I failed.  Yup, I failed at washing my diapers.  They did not get clean enough.  The receiving blankets are fine, but the unbleached cotton flats are funky.  I’m not re-washing 33 diapers again at this moment, so maybe I will have to wash every day.  I’m thinking I may wash again tonight to let them dry overnight too.  It was like watching a pot of water boil.  I was so antsy to have those things dry because I was running so low on diapers.    I ended up spreading the diapers apart and had to take some off of the racks.  I took 13 diapers off so that I could open the rest up.  So I had some hanging in the bathroom and on the clothes lines above my washer and dryer.

I put the kids in their night diapers (which hemp does not line dry very well, pretty stiff) then tossed everything into the tub.  I did a hot soak (no cold rinse because I had been rinsing out all the diapers as I changed them) with detergent.  I gave it all a good swish and let it soak.  I’m not really sure how long I let it set; enough time to cuddle the babies in hopes of putting them to bed (yeah didn’t happen).  I went back to the diapers and gave them another good swishing, drained tub and rung out the diapers, wipes and tossed the two covers into the sink.  I filled tub with cold water to rinse, swish and ring again.  Then I had a final cold rinse and tossed the covers back in too. 

So, during my first rinse/ring out session, my husband and I began talking.  He saw me knelt down and bent over the tub with my hands in this mass of diapers and he asked me how I was doing.  It was actually going well.  It was easier than the first time.  Before I had 35 diapers this time it was only 13 diapers, 2 prefolds for night, 2 covers, and 1 fleece liner.  I continued to swish and ring and he asked if I would recommend this to someone who didn’t have a machine and honestly I wouldn’t.  I can’t honestly suggest to someone to hand wash diapers the way I’m doing it.  I have no equipment to aid me.  Already I’m struggling with stink issues.  If you take a look at the progression of washing (and I haven’t done any deep historical background check so take me with a grain of salt) women always had some sort of tool to aid them in cleaning their laundry.  Before running water they used a free flowing river or lake where they never had to replenish their water and used a rock to scrub on.  Then there were washboards and then hand cranked washing machines and ringers which later had motors or some sort of electrical power added on to it.  Then the rest is history.  I was trying to keep it simple, but in fact it is actually making things harder.  So, the only way I can honestly recommend cloth diapering to a family who doesn’t have machines or can’t afford the laundry mat is that along with the diapers they need to have some sort of washing tool whether it be a camping bucket with plunger or a hand cranked machine.

I’m really looking forward to hopefully seeing the sun the rest of the week.  Not only has the rain cancelled the kids’ baseball/softball games, but I have not been able to sun my diapers.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Flats Challenge Part 1

I had decided to participate in the flats hand washing challenge, so through the week, I wrote about my experiences.  Here is how it all went.  

Day 1
It was an easy day for sure.  I had everything prepped and ready to go.  I did have to wash what was sitting in the pail at the time, but I just threw that all in the washer.  I wasn’t about to start washing about 12 pockets by hand, plus inserts.  Anyway, since I only have 6 covers for day and 2 for night I decided to try the coverless on Veronica.  She’s such a busy-body toddler that I figured it would be easy just to keep an eye on her and if she is wet to change her right away.  With covers I tend to go a little too long between changes and then have stinky covers.  So I use the covers on Michael (8 months) all day and let Veronica go coverless.  So it was a really nice day of simple changes.  I use one fold for the both of them.  It maximizes the layers and makes them nice and absorbent.  The receiving blankets are awesome; so totally cute coverless.  Since she is coverless I have pulled out my pins.  Yes, I love those pins.  It really does complete the whole system when coverless.  I don’t trust the snappi especially on the blankets.  The teeth don’t grab the tighter weave.  For night I used a hemp babies flat tri-folded in a flat (and honestly I don’t remember which fold I used for that).

Day 2
It was another easy going day.  Flats really are easy to use.  I’m starting to wonder that I should be using my fleece liners to help catch the toddler poo.  Michael is still breastfeeding so his poop is not hard to clean.  Oh, which reminds me, I really miss my sprayer.  I love my sprayer.  It works so well with the toddler “peanut butter” poop.  All I’ve done has been swishing them in the toilet and I’m not sure that will be enough when it comes time to wash the diapers.  Speaking of which, I haven’t really thought of how I am going to wash them.  I’m thinking of soaking them in the pail (13 gallon trash can) overnight then washing in the bathtub. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bleached or Unbleached.

The modern cloth diaper allows for so many choices.  You can chose from what style you want to use: all-in-one, hybrid (all-in-two), pockets, prefolds (Chinese or Indian), flats, and fitteds.  Then you can chose what kind of fabric you want to use: cotton, bamboo, hemp, microfiber, microfleece, suedecloth, and organic cotton or hemp.  With the prefolds and flats you also have the choice of bleached or unbleached cotton.  Wow, makes your head spin right?  You thought a diaper was a diaper right?  Nope, we mommas like to have a choice!  HA!

 When I first ventured back into the world of cloth diapers, I wanted to go with the cheapest option which was prefolds and covers.  Previously I had used Gerber prefolds with pins and the pull up pants.  I really didn't mind them, and they never bothered the kids even in the hot Florida summer weather.  As I began searching I had to choose between Chinese or Indian cotton and bleached and unbleached.  I didn't look into it too much, but from surface value, choosing between bleached and unbleached didn't seem too tough; choose between a cotton fabric that has or has not been through the bleaching process.  Since no chemicals have stripped the unbleached threads, I decided to go with that.  So, what is the difference?  

I found a great explanation from the OsoCozy website at  For bleached cotton, the cotton yarn goes through a bleaching process to strip the natural oils from the thread before it is woven.  In doing so, the thread is less durable and the strength of the thread is reduced.  Unbleached woven cotton has not been through the bleaching process.  Unbleached cotton threads retain their natural oils and remain durable.  However, because they still have their natural oils on them, they have to go through 2-3 washes (for flats) and about 6-8 (for prefolds) to remove their oils and be at their maximum absorbency.  

I like using unbleached because you are using the natural fabric/material against baby's skin.  Many times little one's have such sensitive skin, so keeping it natural reduces exposure to any remaining chemical residue left on the fabric.  Also, unbleached cotton weave is so super soft.  My Indian unbleached prefolds (which you can find on my website) are the softest prefolds I have ever used. 

Challenge starts tomorrow!

Well tomorrow is the day.  The Flats and Handwashing challenge starts tomorrow.  Now it will sound very silly, but I do have a bit of anxiety.  I think my biggest "fear" is not being able to get the diapers clean enough and having smelly diapers.  However, I will be worrying over nothing since flats are made up of just a single layer of woven cotton.  I'm really hoping the weather will cooperate and that I will have plenty of sunshine to dry my diapers with.  If not, I may just have to pull out the fan to help speed up the process.  Oh, the biggest thing will be to not be tempted to use my pockets and prefolds.  Hmm, to remedy this, I will have to put all my pockets and prefolds away.  Out of sight out of ... uh... mind?  Nah, that little thought will still be dancing around my head that they are still in the house, but if I put them away they will not be readily available to use.  I'm totally not expecting my husband to participate.  I've never sat down and shown him how to fold flats.  We did use prefolds for about a year when I got back into cloth diapering when Mary was a baby.  So, he does know how to use a snappi and cover. 

I frequent a diaper forums called DiaperSwappers and I came across a thread about a new fold for flat diapers.  This fold (some have called it the Airplane Fold) is good for boys because it created the most layers in the front.  I love this fold; it works wonders with my receiving blankets.  There is really no need to add any doubler (unless using this fold for naps or night) because there are lots of layers.  I just need to find a good one like this for girls. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Hand Washing Diapers.

Using cloth diapers has always been a bit of a no brainer decision.  I just can't argue against all of the benefits for my baby, finances, and environment.  The one thing that made it such an easy decision for me, though, is that I have all of the modern conveniences to make it possible and easy.  Yes, easy.  I wholeheartedly feel that cloth diapering is easy.  Whether you have one, two or even three in diapers.  After all, I've done it.  A washer and dryer has really made life easy for a cloth diapering mom.

Now I believe there are some moms (and maybe even dads) who would love to use cloth diapers, but just can't seem to make it work because of the lack of proper facilities/equipment.  So I'm sure you have heard now (especially if you are active in the cloth diapering circle) there is a Flats and Handwashing Challenge going on right now.  [click on the link and you can read all the details about it]

At first I wasn't too interested.  As I read more through all of my favorite blogs, I began to ponder it.  Honestly considering joining this challenge.  One reason is that coming up in July we have a family reunion where we will be gone for about 5 days and I decided to use flats and covers.  My decision for this is because I normally use pockets and a few AIO at home and there is no way I felt that I could get them clean by washing by hand.  That's right, I will be on vacation and willingly decided to hand wash my flats.  We will be at a camp and I'm pretty sure there will not be any laundry facilities there.  Anyway, since I was so willing to hand wash them there, why can't I try this at home?  This made me think of a friend of mine who has four kids and lives in an apartment.  She has flats and covers but has not been using them because she has a hard time keeping up with them.  So, here I have a chance to see what it's like.  Plus, as a cloth diaper advocate I want to be confident when I tell some one, "Even if you don't have a washer/dryer, it is still very possible to cloth diaper your baby full time!  After all, I've done it myself."

So, beginning May 23rd, I will be joining moms all over the country (and I'm sure all over the world) in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge.  I will blog and journal about my experiences, and I hope it will encourage you to honestly look into the benefits of cloth diapering.