Mary-ed Life

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


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The Best Cloth Diaper Brands (In My Opinion)

cloth diaper

I knew I wanted to cloth diaper before I was even pregnant with my first baby. I can’t explain why, but I saw something about cloth diapers on the internet and I was just fascinated. During my first pregnancy, I mentioned my desire to cloth diaper to some friends and colleagues and their reactions were very negative. Mostly I heard “they are so much work” and “you will give up on that quickly.” I’m stubborn by nature, so I vowed to prove them wrong and I began my cloth diaper journey when my baby was ten weeks old.

The first issue I met with cloth diapering was not how to use a cloth diaper or wash a cloth diaper. It was which cloth diaper to buy. The whole internet was buzzing about expensive pocket diapers, but I wanted to be more frugal. So I started out with two dozen prefolds and six covers. As the months went by, I continued to build my stash. Five years later, I have lots of cloth diapers in lots of styles and colors. Each kind of diaper is a little different. Some fit bigger babies and toddlers better and others work best on little babies. Some are cheaper, others are more extravagant (for a diaper anyway.)

Since you are reading this post, I assume you are interested in learning about different brands of diapers, so here is my list based on the kinds in my stash right now. I currently own the following brands: Bumgenius, Econobum, Flip, Fuzzibunz, Kawaii, DiaperRite, Charlie Banana, Grovia, Rumparooz, and Thirsties.

1. Best Diaper Cover for Little Babies- First Place Rumparooz, Second Place Fuzzibunz

I bought four Rumparooz covers for my newborn daughter and she could wear them at a week old. No other diaper in my stash adjusted down smaller. The pocket diapers are sized the same as the covers, so they should fit just as well. My daughter was petite then and still is today. At almost two years and twenty-five pounds, the Rumparooz still fit her.

My Fuzzibunz pockets fit her at about three weeks. They also still fit her now.

2. Best Diaper for Bigger Babies/Toddlers- Kawaii

Kawaii diapers are bigger than all the others I have tried. They fit my oldest daughter until she was three.

3. Most Adjustable Diaper- First Place Fuzzibunz, Second Place Bumgenius and Flip

Fuzzibunz have internal button hole elastics that make a perfect fit easy.

Bumgenius diapers and Flip covers both have stretchy elastic button tabs on their waist adjustments that make it easier to get the right fit.

4. Longest Lasting Diaper (resists wear and tear)- First Place Rumparooz, but all the following brands held up to rigorous washing very well: DiaperRite, Fuzzibunz, Bumgenius, Flip, Econobum, Grovia, Kawaii

5. Best Pocket Diaper for the Money: First Place Kawaii, Second Place DiaperRite

Kawaii diapers are only ten dollars or so each compared to twenty or more each for other brands and they hold up very well. DiaperRite is comparable in price to Kawaii, but have fewer colors and styles.

6. Best Prefold Diaper- DiaperRite

Diaper Junction hit gold when they created these prefolds. They are the perfect size and shape! They also make wonderful stuffing for pocket diapers.

7. Best Natural Fiber Diaper- First Place Grovia (organic cotton all-in-one), Second Place Kawaii bamboo pocket

Grovia organic cotton diapers are as soft as butter.

8. Diapers that are ok, but not great (in my opinion)- Thirsties, Charlie Banana, Econobum

Sure, they work, but they are the least often used diapers in my stash.

You may notice I didn’t say anything about leaking tendencies with any of these diapers. That’s because none of them have a tendency to leak. Preventing leaks is all about having the right absorbent layer.

9. Best Absorbent Layer- First Place Cotton Prefold, Second Place Hemp Soaker, Third Place Bamboo Soaker

I never use microfiber if I can help it. It doesn’t hold much and it smells after a while.

I hope this helped you navigate the confusing maze of diaper brands on the internet today. I suggest further reading at http://www.diaperjunction.com and http://www.paddedtushstats.com.

 

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Potty Play By Play Part Four – One Step Forward, Ten Steps Back, Twelve Months

Potty Training, sigh.

I wrote once that, supposedly, easy-going children do exist, children that are relaxed and easily pleased and only want to please you (the parent). I also wrote that my daughter is absolutely not one of these fabled children. My daughter, Ariana, grows more beautiful and adorable with each passing day. She also grows more stubborn, hard-headed, and unyielding. To further complicate things, she isn’t stubborn about normal toddler things. She doesn’t really care what clothes she wears. She eats a wide variety of foods. She doesn’t cling to a specific color. She doesn’t have a favorite cup or plate and her favorite stuffed animal does not have to travel everywhere with us.

So what is she stubborn about? It varies. Right now she refuses to walk near elevators and will not consider changing the line-up of stuffed animals in her bed. Twelve months ago it was potty training. Twelve months ago I started training her. She did remarkably well. After two weeks, she was using the potty wonderfully, accepting her rewards proudly. She successfully did numbers one and two and even started going to the potty without prompting followed by success. Then, she decided she wanted control and the stalemate began.

I tried everything. It didn’t matter. I read everything and tried again. It didn’t matter. I bribed. I pleaded. I hunkered down. I lightened up. I worried. I didn’t worry. It didn’t matter.

Then, about three months ago, things started to progress again. It came about slowly. We would have a really good week with lots of successes followed by a week with no successes. This continued for a while and soon it petered out again.

I don’t know what possessed me at that point, but I got tough. I sat my stubborn daughter down and told her calmly and firmly that she needed to act like a big girl. Then, I sat myself down and stopped making excuses and letting myself let her slide.

Here is the formula that worked for us:

1. Find the kind of diaper/training pant that your child likes the least and use it.

I use Gerber cotton training pants at home (with waterproof PUL sewn to the outside to make them less messy). Ariana absolutely hates peeing in them because they get completely saturated. They are the only option at home during the day. Period.

I use cloth diapers made with natural fibers (cotton and bamboo) when we are out of the house. Natural fibers allow the child to feel wet. I also use these diapers at naptime.

2. I only use disposable diapers at night (and only then because my child is such a heavy wetter and a light sleeper). I only use disposable training pants when we travel.

3. I give half of one miniature cookie as a reward for peeing in the potty. Cookies are Ariana’s favorite thing in the world. She does not get them for any other reason (unless she is at Grandma’s house.)

4. I put Ariana on the potty at appropriate times. She is very predictable. Putting her on the potty when she really doesn’t need to go just frustrates her.

5. I keep a second potty in the back of my car. It is less scary than a big, public toilet.

6. I stay consistent and wait.

About a month ago, Ariana suddenly decided trying to potty train was worth her time. The first week she had a few successes. The second week she had two successes a day, every day. The third week she had no accidents (during waking hours). Last week, she still had no accidents and she successfully used the potty outside the house. She has not done “number two” in the potty since this most recent chain of success started, but I know that she will when she is ready.

Now that I can comfortably say she is training, I am slowly progressing forward. I have moved the potty into the bathroom (instead of keeping it in whatever room she is in). I’m letting her wear cloth training pants out of the house instead of diapers. Eventually we will tackle using the “big potty” and maybe wearing underwear. As long as she continues to consistently use her little potty, I’m not going to push the issue. I know I’m just a stubborn moment away from the whole thing stalling again. I have to stay positive. I have to stay consistent. No excuses.


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Potty Play By Play: Part Two – Ready, Set, Ready?

So Christmas has come and gone. Back in November, when I wrote Part One, I decided that potty training would officially start after the holidays. I travel a lot during the spring, summer, and fall, but very little in the winter, so it seemed like the best time. Since Part One, I have made many steps toward training readiness.

 

First, I bought Ariana a potty. I chose the Fisher-Price Cheer For Me! Potty because it looked the most like a toilet. I figured Ariana might be a little confused if I was going potty on a toilet and she was going potty on a frog. It just didn’t seem logical to me to get a potty that didn’t look like a potty. So I bought the Cheer For Me! Potty and put it in the guest bathroom directly across from the toilet. Then, I sat on the toilet and invited Ariana to sit on hers. She got the concept immediately and began sitting on her potty each and every time I sat on mine.

 

I let Ariana take the potty apart and put it back together at least a hundred times over the next month. I kept a basket of board books in the bathroom near the toilet so Ariana could sit and read. I had Ariana’s favorite doll practice sitting on the potty too.

 

Next, I went out and bought training pants. True to my Mom-of-the-Cloth nature, I bought reusable cloth training pants. Luckily for me, my favorite cloth diaper brand Flip by Cottonbabies came out with a new trainer just last year. I went to my local cloth retailer, Sweetbottoms Baby Boutique, and invested in new, snazzy cloth trainers, patting myself on the back for being so frugal-chic. (I also went to Wal-mart and bought ONE box of disposable training pants for Ariana’s morning daycare. I hope I never have to buy another.)

 

Finally, I let Ariana wear her super cute overalls, one last time. They won’t work with potty training since they take so long to get on and off, but they are adorable.

 

So here we are. Potty training has begun. Stay tuned to my blog for updates.


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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?