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Repelling problems or just the case of a super soaker??

I've received quite a few emails from people asking if and why their diapers are repelling. More often, the question is simply, "Krista-could you tell me why my diapers would be repelling? Could it be my detergent?" While I'm always willing to troubleshoot and figure out if it is fact their detergent or laundry routine causing repelling issues, my first question back is always, "Hey customer! When you change the baby, are the inserts/diaper itself really soaked? If not completely soaked, is the front/back of the diaper feel pretty wet??"

Nearly 99% of the time, the answer is "yes." Usually the entire soaker pad or diaper is saturated or the front (if a boy) or middle/back (if a girl) if almost entirely soaked. Once the entire soaker or part of the soaker gets saturated, the diaper is going to start leaking. Most of the time the leaks will happen out the legs and occasionally it will be up the front, if on a little boy. While this can be incredibly frustrating to a caregiver, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.

First, you may just have a super-soaker. But this is usually temporary. Most children go through phases where they're breastfeeding/eating/drinking a ton because they're in the middle of a growth spurt (or about to start one) and thus their urine output is extreme. Yes, this can even happen with a newborn. We'd like to think that a newborn pees just a teeny, tiny bit but let's remember that newborns go through crazy growth spurts and if you breastfeed on demand, around the clock, expect a lot of pee. Once a growth spurt is over, the urine output may slow a bit and you may find that you can go a bit longer in-between diaper changes.

Second, in regards to growth spurts, at some point your child will stop with the constant small pee-pees and will do one big pee-pee every 3-4 hours--much like how you and I do it as adults. Your older child (19 months-2.5 years) is really close to potty training, understands when he has to go pee-pee, and may bring a diaper to you after he does it. More than likely his diaper was dry for the first 3 hours it was on and then when he peed, it was a lot. And if he also drank a lot of of water within those 3 hours, he may soak through that diaper. After all, his bladder is larger and is holding a lot more urine.

Third, cloth diapers are not made of synthetic materials or chemical gel to aid in absorbency. It's just cloth. It works pretty darn well but a super-soaker can saturate a piece of microfiber pretty quickly. During these growth spurts, change more frequently. Some moms tell me that if they don't change their kiddo on the 3 hour mark exactly, they can expect wet pants. If that seems really frustrating to have to remember to change that often OR you need that diaper to last a bit longer (you're going on a longer car ride, etc.) then add some absorbency! A hemp or bamboo doubler is super thirsty and will absorb, in some cases, 10x the amount of liquid that the microfiber or cotton insert did. Bamboo tends to be less bulky and so is becoming a more popular choice. If you decide to double-up on absorption, remember to put that extra bamboo or hemp insert under the microfiber/cotton. That way as the microfiber quickly wicks away that moisture and becomes saturated, the bamboo or hemp will come to its aid and start absorbing.

Now, sometimes true repellency does happen (you accidentally used fabric softener, mom put vaseline on baby, etc.,) and the best way to know if you're having repellency issues is to first feel how heavy the diaper is when you take it off. If its feels like it's been barely peed in, then I recommend testing it for absorption. Drop a few drops of water on the diaper and then lay the back of your hand against the diaper where the water is. If your hand comes up really damp and/or the water rolls off the diaper, then sure enough you have repellency and you'll need to strip your diapers clean.

I hope this helps! As always, email me with any questions you may have!
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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Potty Training Update

UPDATE***Potty Training was a wonderful success!!! My daughter sleeps through the night, goes throughout the day and can even leave the house and run errands with us and NO accidents! It went so much more smoothly than I thought it would. One thing I know helped was using the cloth trainers. Okay, I may be a bit biased because I do sell the trainers but honestly, they feel SO different from a diaper that the child feels different if he/she wets in them. A disposable trainer (i.e; Pull-Up) will feel no different to a child from a regular diaper and that's why parents I know who have used those types of trainers are literally buying them for months, if not years, because the child continues to have accidents. Okay, off my soapbox. Here are some things that helped us reach this goal:

1) Plenty of diaper free time in the beginning
-This is where some of the cloth trainers come in to play. If you aren't interested in the possibility of having puddles all over your kitchen and living room floor, the cloth trainers will absorb and accident. The little one's pants may get a big damp but no puddle! The trainers also give the child an idea of how undies feel different from a diaper. Guess what kiddo--when you go pee-pee, it feels wet!

2) Ask often but don't expect the response you want
-Most of the time, when you ask your child if she needs to go potty, she'll say no. At least my daughter did. Why? It's not fun to stop playing with your toys! So while it's okay to ask because she may say "yes" and maybe it gets her thinking about the urge to go, I found that if it had been a while, she didn't have a choice. I'd snatch her up and plop her down on the potty. She may complain but then within seconds, we'd hear a tinkle and then celebrate!

3) Pooping on the potty is hard
-This is also where some of the snap-release training pants come in to play. My daughter mostly had poopy accidents because at the beginning, she wasn't patient enough to sit on the potty and wait. But then if she waited too long, she didn't recognize that the poop was about to fall out of her :-) It took about a week and a little bit of constipation for her to get the timing right. The snap-release trainers are great for these because if kiddo has a poopy accident, you can lay them down, unsnap the trainer and change it just like a diaper. A poopy accident in a regular pull-on trainer is not fun.

4) Reward and praise
-For some parents I've talked to, they had to give their little one a small toy or trinket after the child went potty. For my daughter, I tried a sticker approach but that didn't really seem affect her. Although, it may have initially helped her with the thought process of "going potty on the potty is a good thing and good things will happen if I do it..." or something of that nature. Regardless of whether you give a toy, sticker, have a potty chart, etc., I do think it's important to reward and/or praise your child for taking this big step. I found that ultimately just singing my daughter's praises and making a big deal out of going on the potty was great for her. It made her feel proud, special and it encouraged her.
**We also rewarded her with super big girl undies--so after a week of no accidents, we went to a store and purchased cotton undies with her favorite character on them. Now she can't stop showing people her undies--she's proud of them!

5) Have a pee-pee party
-Have you child watch you go potty and watch others go potty. So to clarify, in the beginning, when we went to our weekly play date with friends similar in age to her, all of the moms would make a big deal about how "so and so has to go potty and let's all go watch her go potty and see what a big girl she is!" This actually helped a lot because my daughter would see her friends (most of whom are about 6 months older) go potty in the big potty and then she would want to go to show off and then all the kids would sing each other's praises. It was really cute and it definitely helped because my daughter doesn't have an older sibling to copy.

So last weekend, I did my last load of cloth diapers :-( I was a bit sentimental because this is a big step from no longer being my baby. When we were at the home improvement store, we purchased a plastic bin and then my daughter helped me pack away all of her clean diapers into the bin. We said bye-bye to them put them away in a closet. Sentimental indeed--

Friday, January 20, 2012

Potty Training Adventure

As soon as 2012 hit, I had so many customers ordering cloth training pants. It made sense with the rush of The Holidays over and I was encouraged that so many people are warming up to the idea of using cloth trainers as opposed to scratchy disposable training underwear. I've even had parents drop by the shop to purchase cloth trainers and they didn't use cloth diapers on their child. That's REALLY encouraging!

So I decided to jump on this bandwagon. After all, my daughter is just over 2 years old and she's expressed an interest in the potty. It's also a great opportunity for me to take stock out of my showroom and try it out so I can tell you first-hand how it worked for me.

One thing that I realized right away is you have to commit yourself to helping your child through this huge milestone. You can't expect to run errands all day, every day and then wonder why little one won't sit on the potty or won't tell you that he needs to go. My daughter has done a great job so far. First thing in the morning, we go to the bathroom (I don't ask her if she needs to go--I just take her) and I strip her diaper off and sit her on the toilet. Success! Every morning this week she's tinkled into the potty. I do the same thing after nap time. It's the in-between time that's been the most challenging.

I think the most success I've had with the in-between times is to allow her to run around with either no diaper or with a pair of training pants on. The training pants I've used are easy for her to pull on and off and she will feel wetness when she goes pee-pee. The training pants also prevent a puddle on the floor. I have to say, the "full-freedom" thing really helps her take notice when she has to go. Yes, we've had a few accidents on the floor but they're easy to clean up.

So, day 4 into potty training and we've had some major successes. She goes on the potty every morning. She goes on the potty after every nap. What's more, she actually told my husband during her bath yesterday evening that she had to go pee-pee and he pulled her out and sat her on the potty. Success! This evening, she ran up to me and said "mommy M go poo-poo on potty!" so I snatched her up, ran upstairs and threw her on the potty. Sure enough she peed right away and minutes later, pooped.

I've had some moms suggest setting a timer for every 30 minutes and explain that when the buzzer sounds, that it's potty time. I've had other moms reward no accidents/successful pee-pees in potty with a toy or a sticker. I think those are great ideas but you need to know your child and what he/she will respond to.

Okay so some of the items I'm using and really like (and so does my daughter)
Antsy Pants
Super Undies Underwear
Snap EZ AIO Training Pants
Blueberry Trainers

I can't wait to try the new GroVia trainers but my daughter is still a bit small for them.

I'll keep updating you on how it's going. And if you're in the same boat or maybe you want to be in this boat, let's chat in the comments! Just remember--it does take patience and persistence!

Cloth Diapering on Vacation

So, have you done it? Or are you afraid to do it? I'll admit, I haven't been on a long trip where there wasn't immediate access to a washer/dryer so I cannot attest to cloth diapering on a long vacation but, I've done the long weekends, short weeks, etc. and I have to say---I love it. It's so easy.

This past weekend we went to Chicago. I brought the appropriate amount of diapers and stuck them into a large Planet Wise Wet Bag. The handy-loop on the bag attached nicely to our overnight bag. Once in the hotel, we stacked the diapers on the dresser of the hotel for easy access and then again, that loop on the Planet Wise bag came in handy as we hung it on the door of the closet. Amazingly, even after a couple of days, the wet bag did not stink at all. When I unzipped the bag to put a dirty diaper in it, of course it stunk to high-heaven but the zippered closure kept all smells at bay.

For a day out on the town when I didn't want to mess with any leaks, I stuffed a layer of Blueberry One-Size Bamboo Insert into my daughter's BumGenius 4.0 Pocket Diaper. This is the same bamboo so many of my clients use at night. Because the bamboo is so trim, it didn't make the bulky look or feel bulky. My daughter drinks a lot of water in the morning and she pees a lot throughout the day. We went nearly 5 hours and had no leaks.

Obviously for the diaper bag I had a Planet Wise medium wet bag, a small wet bag for cloth wipes and a cloth changing pad. Next time, I'll probably grab my Planet Wise wet/dry hanging bag just so that I can keep all of her diapers, clean and dirty, together in one place.

So, comment below if you've used cloth on vacations and how it's gone for you!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Stripping

Yikes...keep your clothes on! This is a family-friendly post about stripping our diapers of mineral build-up!

I receive so many emails from moms who tell me that their diapers are STINKY! The minute baby pees in them, the ammonia smell is so strong that it makes everyone's eyes burn. Yikes. I've been there. And I'm sure it's caused more than one mom to throw the cloth in and move to disposables.

There are a lot of, shall I write, opinions on how to best get rid of stink. Enzyme cleaner, Dawn detergent, more detergent, less detergent, hot water, bleach, soak diapers in their diaper pail, vinegar...I could go on. And if you tried all of the above at least once, you may find that your diapers smell better for maybe one wear and then the dreaded stink returns.

Why do our baby's diapers get liked that? For the vast majority of us in the U.S., we have very hard water coming out of our faucets. Rockin Green has a great map here that shows how much of the country lives with hard water. It's what makes our skin, hair and even clothes look dull. For our diapers, hard water is their nemesis. The hard water, over time, causes little itty-bitty mineral deposits to cling to the fibers in the fabric of the diaper. Those mineral deposits lead to detergent build-up thus causing stinky, eye-watering ammonia smell, possible repellency issues (meaning diapers don't absorb moisture well) and even really bad diaper rash (open sores, burns, etc.).

The best way to take care of these mineral deposits is to strip them away from the diapers. Dawn won't work. I don't recommend enzyme cleaners either. I recommend a product made specifically to remove hard water minerals from your clothing. Calgon Water Softener, RLR and Funk Rock are just a couple that I've had great success with. Calgon can be purchased at most major grocery stores. Funk Rock can be found at PinStripes and PolkaDots and RLR can be found on Amazon.

To use, simply load your washer up with hot, hot, hot water, (this is after an initial cold rinse on dirty diapers) add all of your diapering items and add ~1/2 the amount recommended on the label (use full amount recommended on Funk Rock). Let those diapers soak for as long as your machine will allow. Some of my customers soak overnight. My washing machine will only allow for a 3-hour soak. After soaking, let the machine spin the clothes. Follow the soak with your regular wash routine. I always throw at least one additional rinse at the end of my wash routine to make sure all of the water softener has been rinsed away.

That's it. No bleach. No enzymes. No wet pail. Easy as pie. And what's great about having a water softener laying around is you can add it to your wash routine for your clothing and it will help brighten colors. In general, my daughters diapers can probably use a mineral stripping every 1-2 months. I've gone as long as 6 months. I just know it's time when that really nasty ammonia smell is back.

Now I write all of this with the caveat that you can strip your diapers a million times but if your wash routine is off or your not using a good detergent, you will have stink issues more often and your kiddo may have some dreadful diaper rash. Email me if you'd like to talk about a good wash routine or check out my website here.

Happy stripping!!

UPDATE** The aforementioned methods of stripping works great! But, as you probably know by now if you've practiced any of these methods, it takes a lot of time. Since I wrote this blog post, a great new product arrived on my shelves from Grovia, Grovia Mighty Bubbles. It takes the hassle out of stripping and works GREAT!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Half Load or More

So I've received many emails lately and customers are concerned with their diapers stinking, detergent perhaps not working, child mysteriously developing irritation...and it brought me back to a time not too long ago when I was in a similar boat. Mariella's diapers stunk to high-heaven. And it wasn't just when they were dirty. They were stinky after a full wash. Ah! How frustrating!! Well, by following a simple step, at least in my case, my problem was solved...

I actually started washing no less than 1/2 load of diapers.

Wow. Really? It's that simple? In my case, yes. And in quite a few cases, like the aforementioned emailed concerns, washing no less than 1/2 load of diapers at a time solved the problem. Why? There are a couple of reasons. First, if you wash less than 1/2 load, there's not enough space in the washing machine for the diapers to weave in-and-out of other fabrics (or agitate) to get clean. Second, there's usually not enough water either. And third, typically we will use the same amount of detergent when washing 6-7 diapers as we would when washing 20-24 diapers. In other words, WAY TOO MUCH! And because there's too little water in the machine because we're washing too few items, the diapers aren't being completely rinsed of the detergent. And that detergent build-up can cause stinky diapers, can actually ruin your diapers and can give your baby an irritated tush.

If you throw all of your diapers into the washing machine and there's no way that you'll make that 1/2 load marker, throw some towels in to the machine. Or daddy's stinky sweat clothes. Either one works fine.

For a far more complete guide to washing your diapers, including a very handy detergent chart, click here. And the next time your diapers are stinky out of the wash or your baby's bottom is irritated, email me and we'll troubleshoot together. But if I happen to be on holiday in Maldives for 2 weeks (hint-hint husband) and unable to check email, try washing a full 1/2 load.