Mary-ed Life

Thoughts on love, marriage, children, and random trivia.


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A Tale of Five Dozen Prefolds

Last night, while getting Ariana ready for bed, my husband realized that she had left her sippy cup on the lower shelf of her changing table. Milk had climbed up the straw of the cup and a small puddle formed.

“I’ll go get a paper towel,” he said dutifully and headed toward the kitchen, but I stopped him.

“We don’t need a paper towel. We have these.” And I pulled out one of the prefolds sitting on the very same shelf. With one swipe, I soaked up the mess and tossed the prefold into the diaper pail.

As Ariana would say, “All done!”

There are few things as useful and versatile as a prefold cloth diaper. I’ve used them as diapers, burp cloths, changing pads, and rags. They are great for any cleaning task because they are so soft and absorbant. Best of all, they are extremely durable, and wash up fresh every time.

Recently, I’ve discovered other uses for prefolds. I love to sew and a few months ago I decided to make my own pocket diapers. I had no pattern and my goal was to make the pocket diapers as cheaply as possible, just to see if I could do it. I bought a yard of solid PUL fabric and a yard of fleece, plus a spool of thread, two packages of ¼ inch braided elastic, and two packages of sew-on velcro. Total cost: thirty dollars. If my calculations were correct, I could sew six medium size pocket diapers.

So what were the prefolds for? Inserts, of course! I took six toddler prefolds and trimmed the length and width to fit my new pocket diapers. Success!

But wait! There’s more! Recently, the sewing bug bit me again. I came across a tutorial for converting prefold diapers into fitted diapers. (Thanks Malia!) The result: all the absorbancy of a prefold diaper minus a lot of extra bulk, creating a great fit. Oh, and I got to add printed fabric to the diapers to make them pretty. How much for this new and improved diaper? One package of elastic (makes about three diapers) for $1.50 and old receiving blankets (free).

I’m still thinking of new and exciting things to do with my prefolds. I currently have two dozen small (infant) size cotton prefolds and three dozen large (toddler) size cotton prefolds. About ten of the toddler prefolds have been sewn into other things so far. I have entertained the idea of converting a couple into All-In-One diapers, but my daughter is a little too close to potty training for the expense of the PUL. I suspect I will be making more fitted diapers simply because they are just so cute.

We will have to wait and see!

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Cloth Baby Wipes: The Final Frontier

I wrote the following post as a note on Facebook in February 2011. My daughter was ten months old at the time.

Cloth Baby Wipes: The Final Frontier

“Cloth wipes? What? Are you nuts?”

I said that a few months ago. I was researching cloth diapers online and found more than one source that insisted cloth baby wipes are a must for cloth diapering. I refused to accept it. “I will not use cloth wipes. That is definately too much trouble.” I tried my hardest to resist! Yet, I found myself reading about them and researching. I watched youtube videos and read blogs. “Ok. I might consider cloth wipes if I can find a cheap way to use them” You see, buying presewn cloth wipes and premixed wipe solution would cost at least fifty dollars to get started. True to my stingy nature, I refused to spend that.

…..more research…more youtube videos….more blogs……

“Aha! I found a way to get us set with plenty of cloth wipes and solution for five dollars!”

Here’s how I did it. First, I sewed my own cloth wipes. I cut up old receiving blankets that my child has not used since she was a month old and sewed them into two-ply wipes. Then, I mixed my own wipe solution using baby wash, baby oil, and water. Put the solution into a cheap plastic spray bottle and Voila! The only things I had to buy were the baby wash ($1.50 for the Walmart brand), baby oil ($2.50), and the spray bottle ($1.00).

Want to make your own cloth wipes? Here are the steps:

1. Cut two 27 inch by 27 inch receiving blankets into nine inch squares. Each set of two blankets makes nine two ply wipes. (If you have any other soft scrap fabric or old soft t-shirt, that will work too.)

2. Machine sew two squares together. Straight stitches are okay, but more complex stitches work best. Trim away the excess fabric outside the stitching.

3. Repeat until you have the desired number of wipes. You will need at least 24. I made 36.

How to make wipe solution:

Combine:

1 cup water

1 tbs baby wash/shampoo

1tbs baby oil

1 tbs baby lotion (optional)

Pour into spray bottle (for the “dry method) or wipes container (for the “wet method”).

The Dry Method:

Take a dry baby wipe and spray with a spray bottle filled with wipe solution or spray baby’s bottom directly with wipe solution. Wipe clean.

The Wet Method:

Place baby wipes into a wipes container or wipes warmer. Pour premade solution over wipes and allow the wipes to absorb the solution.

Either way, the used wipes go directly into the diaper pail with the cloth diapers and get laundered the same way. There is no need to separate before washing. When you baby is no longer in diapers, use them again as rags.


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Cloth Diaper Revelations (Eight Months Later)

I first published the following post as a note on Facebook in February 2011. My daughter was ten months old at the time.

Cloth Diaper Revelations (Eight Months Later)

Here I am again writing about cloth diapers. I have now cloth diapered my daughter for eight months. In that time, I have had a few revelations about cloth diapering that I thought I would share. My intentions are still the same. I want to inspire more people to “stick it to the man” and cloth diaper their babies. I have so far converted a number of friends (and a few total strangers) just as a couple of my friends converted me.

Revelation #1: The laundry is no big deal.

My weekly laundry line up goes something like this.

2-3 loads of adult clothes.

1-2 loads of baby clothes.

2-3 loads of diapers.

I use the same detergent for all of the laundry. The only thing I do differently is skipping the dryer sheets on the baby clothes and diapers. There is slightly more folding to do, but a load of diapers folds in less than five minutes.

Revelation #2: Experimentation is important.

Since I started cloth diapering, I’ve had many conversations with people that otherwise would not have happened. (“Oh, you cloth diaper? So do I. What kind do you use? How does that work for you?”) These conversations lead to new and interesting ways of improving my system. You see, cloth diapering is not an exact science. There are dozens of options and lots of little tricks and tips. The only way to figure out which system best suits you is too try a few.

Revelation #3: Prefold diapers rock!

Speaking of tricks and tips, here’s a tip: Prefold diapers are a cheap, durable, versatile, and natural diapering option that often go forgotten. Now that you can buy cloth diapers that look just like disposable ones, nobody seems to want to try good old fashioned prefolds anymore. (And diaper pins are so scary!) The truth is, prefolds are still around because they work. I’ve used prefolds pinned, lying flat in a cover, as a burp cloth, as a wash rag, as a changing pad cover, and as a peekaboo cover (don’t worry, it was clean). I’m still discovering new ways for prefolds to be useful. Since they are so inexpensive, consider adding them to your stash.

Revelation #4: Versatility is important.

I’m talking about versatility in the parent this time, not the diaper. Understand that as your baby grows and changes, so will her diapering requirements. For example, a newborn does not wet as heavily as an older baby. As your baby gets older, you may need to alter the absorbant part of your diaper to adjust. Also, if you have a particularly stubborn child (like mine) you may find she just won’t tolerate one diaper versus another. Take this situation in stride and adapt.

Revelation #5: Cloth diapering at night can be a challenge.

Don’t get discouraged if cloth diapering at night doesn’t seem to work for you. I’m still using disposable diapers on my daughter at night. With the help of another cloth diapering mom, I am attempting to transistion to cloth diapers at night, but it is difficult. My child is very sensitive and I just haven’t found the right system for keeping her content all night long. I’m still searching though, and I haven’t given up.

Revelation #6: Disposable diapers are not worthless. They are just worth less than they cost.

I still use disposable diapers, just not very much. Currently I use them at night, on very long errands, and when I travel. I use anywhere from 1-4 disposable diapers a day. My daughter still averages at least ten diaper changes a day (regardless of what kind of diaper), so I still save a lot of money. I used to buy at least one box of disposable diapers a week. Now I need less than one box a month. My cloth diapers paid for themselves in less than three months of use.

Revelation #7: Do what works for you.

I picked the cheapest option available (prefolds and covers) and it worked perfectly for me. However, I have nothing against using more expensive or more complex cloth diapers if that is what you want to do. I’m told that all-in-one diapers and pocket diapers can last through multiple children if they are well cared for. I have no intention of doing this with my prefolds. After they are done doing diaper duty, my prefolds will morph into dust rags, swiffer pads, and garage towels.

Whatever you decide to do, make sure you remember the most important thing:

Stick it to the man!


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Cloth Diapers- Yes You Can!

I first published the following post as a note on Facebook in July 2010. My daughter was four months old at the time.

Cloth Diapers- Yes You Can!

I am so tired of hearing people groan when I tell them I keep my daughter in cloth diapers. I really feel for my friends who say they always wanted to try cloth diapers, but everyone told them they were wasting their time. I am here to say: Stick it to the man! Cloth diaper your baby!

Disposable diapers are horribly expensive, especially considering what they are used for. A box of 80 Pampers currently costs about 20 bucks. When I still used disposable diapers every day, my daughter went through about a box and a quarter every week. Now Ariana wears cloth diapers and I’m laughing all the way to the bank.

So let’s run the numbers.  To get started cloth diapering, I bought two dozen cloth diapers, six covers, and two wet bags (don’t worry, I’ll explain what all this is for). That ran me about 150 bucks. That translates to less than seven weeks worth of disposable diapers. Ariana will be big enough for the next size diaper at about six months of age (and that size will last through potty training). Another 40 dollars for the size upgrade. Let’s throw in 10 more dollars just to even it out.

200 dollars buys enough cloth diapers to last 2-3 years!

200 dollars buys 10 weeks worth of disposable diapers.

Next, the problem of how hard they are to use. My friends, cloth diapers are not hard to use. They are, in fact, very easy. Three different kinds of cloth diapers exist on the market today. Traditional cloth diapers that have been around forever (called prefolds), all-in-one diapers, and pocket diapers.

Prefolds with covers are the most economical way to diaper a baby. Prefold diapers are flat rectangles of cotton that you wrap around your baby just like all women did a hundred years ago. Then you cover the prefold with a waterproof cover to keep the wetness in. This is the diaper system I use.

All-in-one diapers are designed to be used just like disposable diapers. They work the same way, you just put them in a laundry bag instead of the garbage. These kinds of diapers are more expensive than what I use and will run you more than 200 bucks, but you will still spend less than disposables.

Pocket diapers also work just like disposables except for one extra step. They have a pocket inside that you stuff with thick terry cloth “soaker.” The “soaker” absorbs all the moisture. Pocket diapers run about the same amount of money as all-in-ones.

So, interested in cloth? Afraid?