Monday, February 16, 2015

What products do you need to start #clothdiapering?

You've decided to start cloth diapering!  Now you're wondering what you need to cloth diaper.  Here are the must haves and the optional items.

The “must haves” of cloth diapering


Obviously you will need cloth diapers (aff link), but how many do you really need?  That answer will depend on how often you want to do laundry. Realistically you want to have enough diapers so that you can wash them every other day or every third day.  For a newborn or infant, you should purchase between 24 and 36 diapers.  If you are exclusively using a diapering system that requires use of a diaper cover, you will need about 6-10 diaper covers to go with your 18-36 diapers.  When diapering an older toddler, you will only need about 18 diapers total.  If you want to do part-time cloth diapering, plan to purchase 9-10 cloth diapers and 3 covers.

*I would recommend not purchasing a lot of one variety of cloth diaper until you have tried that style of diaper and decided you like it.

Wet Bag/Pail liner:

A wet bag is a waterproof lined bag where you can store dirty diapers until laundry day.  The wet bag can get washed along with your diapers.  It’s a good idea to have two wet bags, especially for when one is in the wash.  You might consider buying two large size bags for at home, and one small size for outings.  Some people prefer to have a diaper pail and to use a washable pail liner for use at home.  Either option is great.

Cloth diaper safe detergent:

When laundering cloth diapers, you need to use a detergent that is free from fabric softeners and perfumes that could cause build-up on diapers.  Build-up can eventually cause diapers to repel liquid or retain odor.  For detergent ratings for use with cloth diapers visit this site.

Optional items:


Reusable cloth wipes are a great alternative to disposable ones, and a stock of about 24 wipes should be enough.  You don’t have to use a wipe at every diaper change, but it’s good to have extras on hand.


A micro-fleece  (aff link) or disposable cloth diaper liner is a thin piece of fabric or paper product that you lay inside your cloth diaper.  These liners are especially nice for when you want to use a cloth diaper safe rash cream on your child.  It’s always preferable to keep rash creams away from fleece-lined diapers even if the rash cream is listed as “cloth diaper safe”.  Liners are also useful for easy disposal of poops into the toilet.

Diaper Rash cream:

You might never need it, but you may want to have a cloth diaper safe rash cream on hand.  Regular diaper rash cream will stain cloth diapers and cause repelling issues.  You can find a list of cloth diaper safe rash creams here.

Dryer balls:

Line drying your cloth diapers is one of the best things you can do for diaper covers.  However, prefolds and fitted diapers have a tendency to get a little “crunchy” if you dry them on a line.  Dryer balls help laundry dry faster and retain softness.

Diaper sprayer:

A diaper sprayer is a spray attachment (similar to what you have on your kitchen sink) that fixes to your toilet.  You can use it to rinse off especially difficult poops into your toilet.  These are perhaps even more useful for when your child is using a potty chair and you can use it to rinse out the chair after a successful potty.

Kelly's Closet links are affiliate links.
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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

How to potty train your child while at Disney World

When E started showing interest in using the potty, I was elated.  I love cloth diapers but, let's face it, getting your kid out of diapers is the ultimate goal.  E was just about 22-months-old when he tackled the potty and, soon after, I wrote this post about our humorous start to potty training. What I hadn't planned was that daycare would be so zealously behind our new adventure and that E would be potty training so quickly!  Just about 1-month after he initiated potty training, we were leaving for our first family vacation to Disney World.  I was torn--should we try to potty train at Disney?  Should we just throw our hands up and let E regress during the trip?   I turned to the internet to see what other moms had done, but there was a surprising lack of info about "how to potty train your child at Disney World." Boo.  So we were on our own and I'll share what we did and how it seemed to work out.

  • What not to do: buy a travel potty chair
 Well, this was exactly what we did before leaving for Disney.  I bought a fold-up potty seat that looked the like ultimate, must-have item for potty training your child while on the go.  We tried it a few times before the trip and my son refused to sit on it.  The seat was a total failure and, although we brought it on the trip, I didn't even bother trying to get him to use it.  There may be some cool travel potty chairs out there, but if you are traveling by airplane then you'll need something compact and easy to clean.  Don't get suckered into something gimmicky.

  • Practice, practice, practice and practice with an adult-sized potty
 Instead of getting sucked into the travel potty chairs, help your child figure out how to use a regular potty without the use of potty seats and training aids.  This can be a bit miserable because, if your child is like mine, he got really used to the kiddy-sized seat accessory that fits on a toilet.  Forgoing the kiddy seat resulted in lots of tantrums at our house.  Since my son associated the kiddy seat with our upstairs bathroom, I started taking him to use the potty downstairs and without the kiddy seat.  We also practiced while we were outside of the house on errands.  Warning, if you have a little boy it takes some practice for both parent and child to figure out how to get pee inside the toilet and not all over pants and unsuspecting bystanders (I joke, sort of).  My son is still too young to stand and pee, so practicing a week before our trip was critical to figuring out all the nuances of making this work.
  • Let your kiddo decide
One thing I didn't want to do was to pressure my son into using the potty while at Disney World.  I wanted it to be his idea, so I planned that we were going to regress during the trip.  After all, Disney is filled with lots of activity and I didn't know how he was going to handle the new experiences of the trip.  I brought a package of diapers along and kept a diaper on E at all times--that way if he had an accident, it would be absorbed by the diaper.  This was less stressful for everyone.  We visited restrooms often to "check" to see if anyone needed to go potty.  My daughter (4 years old) sometimes accompanied us into a large bathroom stall and was great at encouraging E to try the potty.  It helps to have an older sibling for some peer pressure!  If your child is completely fighting using the potty at Disney World and she is pretty new to potty training, don't force it.  If you have an older child who should have potty training mostly figured out already, then sometimes a gentle reminder can help him remember what is expected.
  • Make sure your child is hydrated
 If your child has not urinated in over three hours and insists she doesn't need to go, she could be dehydrated.  Disney involves a lot of walking and it can be intense for a young child.  Try to keep your child hydrated and always carry a water bottle just for your kids.  You can refill water bottles at drinking fountains near the restrooms or at many quick-service food stations.

  • Forgive accidents and celebrate achievements
 Shockingly, we had no accidents during the entire week of the trip and no wet diapers (besides naps and overnight).  I made sure to tell E what an awesome job he was doing every time he used the potty.  We were so proud of him!

Tell me about your Disney potty training success story (or hilarious failure).  What additional tips do you have for potty training while on the go?
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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

On the air with the Boba Air Baby Carrier #review

When I had my daughter I promised myself that I wouldn’t stop traveling. She was only 4 months old when she first traveled on a plane. To keep her calm and help speed the boarding process I turned to babywearing. I’ve worn my daughter since she was born and brought our trusty carrier along. While I loved having her close, I hated dealing with the bulkiness of the carrier inside the plane and whenever I wasn’t using it. Looking for a better solution for air travel, Nissa suggested the Boba Air Baby Carrier. She uses this carrier with her own children and thought its compact size would be ideal for travel. 

Made from 100% Nylon, the Boba Air is designed to look like its bulkier counterpart the Boba 4G, but without the extra padding. The carrier design allows the child to remain in a seated position as recommended by the International Hip Displasia Institute. Closer inspection reveals an attached hood that came in handy while my baby slept through the security checkpoint at the airport. I tested the Boba Air around the house and quickly familiarized myself with the carrier before embarking on our two week trip out of the country. I loved that all the straps can easily be adjusted without any help, which was essential on this trip as the first leg of the trip I would be flying solo with my daughter. The Boba Air also has convenient elastic bands to roll up the excess strap length so it doesn’t get caught somewhere. 

I was apprehensive of using this carrier at first because I honestly fail at folding maps and wasn’t sure I would be able to store it back into the pouch. To my surprise, I didn’t have to even watch the video as I effortlessly folded down and tucked the carrier into the pouch. I easily managed to do this in all 8 of our flights while wrangling a busy 10-month old. One word that describes the Boba Air Baby Carrier is convenient. This carrier was able to comfortably hold my 10-month old 18 lb. child and fold down small enough to fit in her backpack. The Boba Air can also be clipped to the backpack while not in use, which is how I stored it while on the plane and during part of our 5-hour layover at DFW. 

Because I left our regular bulky carrier at home, I used the Boba Air throughout our trip to Puerto Rico. Because this carrier is light I was able to comfortably wear my daughter in the warm climate up to temperatures in the upper 80s. She did get hot when we were roaming through a crowd in 90 degree weather but that’s to be expected with any carrier considering the circumstances. I fear she would have melted or had a heat stroke had we used a heavier carrier. I must admit, it was an advantage to be able to carry her rather than navigating the crowd with a stroller. 

When to use the Boba Air if you’re traveling: 
  • During check-in: allowed my daughter to interact with the lady at the counter while I checked-in our luggage. 
  • Through security: I kept my daughter with me at all times and did not have to remove the carrier, which made passing through security a breeze. 
  • While boarding: rather than holding my daughter and wrestling bags, I used the Boba Air to carry her to our seats and while I stored away our bag and prepared her car seat inside the plane. 
  • While disembarking: just like boarding, leaving the plane can be hectic if not for the baby carrier. 
  • Through the airport: as we walked to find our gate it was so much easier to have her in the baby carrier rather than a stroller when we were pressed for time. It also simplified the process of grabbing our suitcases as I didn’t have to worry about keeping an eye on a baby in a stroller while watching for luggage on the carousel. 

If you’re planning on traveling by plane or need to alternate with a stroller, I definitely recommend the Boba Air as a convenient and comfortable carrier for your child. The lightweight material allows you to store this carrier virtually anywhere and keep in handy for on-the-go travel. 

Boba sent me the Boba Air in grey for the purpose of this review. Nissa, the Cloth Diaper Guru, is an ambassador for Boba and has previously reviewed the Boba Air. I was under no obligation to provide a positive review and the opinions expressed here are based on my experience using the carrier.
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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Potty training a 22-month-old

At our house, 2015 rolled in with a big announcement: baby E decided he no longer wanted to act like a baby and he was ready to use the potty!  Instead of celebrating the new year with an epic hangover, my husband and I embraced the fact that we are old and we have kids. Most of Jan 1st was spent camped out in the bathroom with books and stickers while E was propped up on his porcelain perch.  E also developed a new sign language hand signal to indicate when someone should leave the bathroom and return with chocolate for him to consume as a reward.  Although he was pretty excited about his new skill, he obviously will be needing to practice and master the art of using the potty.  However, this didn't stop our family from becoming totally excited about any of E's interest in forgoing diapers.

We raced out to Target and bought the most exciting looking undies we could find.  E returned home and could not wait to try them--within 10 minutes he had peed directly in the middle of my expensive living room rug.  This was fine since my daughter had peed on the other expensive rug in the living room when she was potty training; it was only appropriate that both rugs be equally tortured in the process.  OK, lesson learned AGAIN.  The rugs were rolled up and we had a good afternoon of getting E to try the potty.
The training  pants we are using

The undies were working out, but we did supplement with cloth training pants (aff id) and cloth diapers while E was at home and on outings.  Since he's still young, I don't want to push potty training on him too quickly and, instead, I want to keep it fun and make it seem like it's his idea.  For a while I was setting a timer on our microwave to remind him (and encourage him) to visit the bathroom every 45 minutes.  However, this resulted in him yelling "Pie-ya!!" (Potty) and running to the bathroom every time someone used the microwave and it beeped.  Instead, I started verbally reminding him when we should go "earn a sticker."  I suspected that E needed to visit the potty about every 45 minutes, but we did make it through several longer outings with no accidents!  

I'm incredibly thrilled that E is trying the potty and I'm hoping that gentle encouragement will help him become more independent.  The earlier you start potty training, the longer it can take.  However, starting early also allows your child to  understand that using the potty is normal and that the potty can be trusted... after all, you just need to sit on it  and  maybe someone will show up with chocolate.

As indicated above, Kelly's closet link is an affiliate link.
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Monday, January 12, 2015

When did #clothdiaper laundry become such a controversy?

I have to admit, I'm a bit disgruntled.  So much so, that blogging has felt more like a chore over the past few weeks than a fun pastime. Why would a blogger with so much history feel a bit down?  It's because some of my very wonderful blogger friends have recently been ridiculed by those with differing opinions over laundry.  Yes.  Laundry.  It seems like cloth diaper laundry has been the latest craze of mommy wars--if you are doing a different laundry routine, then you are to be belittled and scolded.  Shame on you! As a fairly mellow and non-confrontational person, I haven't had anyone personally attack my laundry choices.  However, when I see friends become sad and upset over something as silly as laundry, I feel the need to say something.  It's just not OK.

We have seen internet bullying over laundering increasing over the past year.  It isn't really one particular group (however, there have been some groups which are more laundry-centric among the cloth diapering community), it's more of a community-wide phenomena.  It's easy to assume that because you've been doing something for a long time, you're an expert.  I have a PhD in science and have been working in a scientific field for over a decade--but that doesn't mean I claim to know what detergent is best for your child.  I do know what's best for my child and today I'll share the story about why we switched to an eco-friendly detergent.

My family started cloth diapering in 2010 after our first child was born.  During that time, we were using microfiber pocket diapers and an all-natural cloth diaper detergent with coconut oil.  The detergent ended up being a nightmare with our hard water and we quickly switched to Rockin' Green and Tide.  This worked well for the course of cloth diapering in hard water and after our move to a location with soft water.  Then baby 2 was born.  Baby 2 turned out to be an entirely new adventure in cloth diapering and parenting.  By 3-months-old, he was diagnosed with severe eczema.  Cloth diapering him seemed to be almost impossible, but he reacted baldly to disposable diapers too. His eczema was covering the majority of his body when we were finally able to convince our doctor to refer us to a pediatric allergist and get him a blood test.  He was diagnosed with dairy and peanut allergies--along with an allergy to dogs.  I was nursing at the time, so I dropped all high-allergen foods from my diet and we gave up our family pet.  Although I hoped for immediate improvement, things were still slow-going.   I was about ready to give up on cloth diapers because he seemed to be reacting so badly to any detergent I tried (I had already tried several mainstream and natural detergents).  Through chance, we ended up getting a sample of Molly's Suds detergent and decided to try it for our clothing and cloth diapers.  This was a night-and-day change.  Baby's rash on his bottom improved significantly!  His skin was also much less itchy and a large patch of weepy eczema on his arm healed and he finally stopped itching at it.  Although things weren't 100% better (we still needed to use a steroid cream, regular bathing, and moisturizing), I was happy anything was working.  Before these changes, we were to the point of discussing diluted "bleach baths" with our physician (something I'd read is sometimes used in severe cases of eczema), so obviously we were willing to really try anything that could be beneficial and reduce the infections that open, raw skin can result in.

Because of my second child's poor reaction to mainstream detergents, I feel that he reacts badly to anything with scents or chemicals that can irritate the skin's barrier.  In people with eczema, the skin barrier is already compromised and it can be irritated easily or let infection in.  Before my second child, I never fully appreciated what eczema was and how terrible it could be.  I took on so much emotional pain on during his first year because I felt personally responsible for his suffering. Although there were many things we tried, it was probably a combination of all of them which really lead to the improvement.  The changes that made the biggest difference were ditching our mainstream detergent, moving our dog to a new home, and avoiding all baby's food allergens.

Some have argued that natural detergents are not getting cloth diapers clean enough.  Although this may be a concern, we have always laundered our natural fiber cloth diapers in water that is about 120 degrees.  The hot water kills yeast and the majority of bacteria.  We also don't let our cloth diapers sit and ferment--laundry is done every 2-3 days.  In hot weather, laundry may be done more often. In the unlikely event that our cloth diapers do not pass my sniff test after washing (yes, I do a sniff test!), I re-wash with a scoop of Oxiclean.  Oxiclean has not irritated my son's skin when used in moderation.  We have been using the same prefold cloth diapers for over 4 years and still have not had any issues with stinky diapers or a feeling that we aren't getting diapers clean enough.

So, the moral of my story is that some people use "natural" detergents for their cloth diapers and some don't.  We have a reason why we now avoid mainstream detergents, but I was a huge Tide user for the first 20-some years of my laundering life.  I think we should always be open minded about trying new things and not assume that just because something is working for the majority of people, it should be working for you too--in my case I had to completely change my wash routine from one child to the next!  And also, it's not fair to belittle people or feel the need to educate them and make them change their ways.  This community should be focusing on building each other up and helping families find their way to cloth diapers--that is something worth educating about!

This post is anecdotal and not intended to diagnose or treat a medical condition.  Consult your doctor for any medical questions.  This post is my personal opinion and the author supports you in whatever parenting choice you chose--including differing laundry routines!  One-sided comments that do not support a community mentality will be deleted.
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