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October 31, 2010

SoftBums Review

**This giveaway is now closed**

Congrats to Jessica with comment number 57. You are our winner!

So I love to search online to find great diaper stores. When I find a new one I check it out good. I first look to see their shipping rates (I like free). Then I like to see what brands they carry as well as special offers and packages. I came across a great store a little while ago called Abbys Lane. Abby's Lane opened in 2004 and is owned by Stephanie. Her and her husband started cloth diapering shortly after their first (Abby) was born. They then opened up Abby's Lane as a resource for parents who were thinking about using cloth and already used cloth. Guess what? They have great products and free shipping! They also carry other great parenting products like shopping cart covers, baby carriers, and more. Stephanie, the owner of Abby's Lane, sent me a Soft Bums diaper to use and review. I have been wanting to try out this diaper for a while now but hadn't had the opportunity to purchase it so I took the opportunity from Abby's Lane. I recieved the SoftBums Echo Solo Pack in Robots print.
I was so happy to get this diaper and guess what... I forgot to put it in the wash the next day with my other diapers so I had to wait extra to use it! I hate when that happens!
This diaper comes with a great snap in insert. It is extra long so you can fold under the extra for more absorption. This is great especially for a boy because the extra material will be in the front. The smaller the baby the more you will have to fold under.
The SoftBums diaper features a unique one size adjustment. They use toggles (hidden snugglers) to adjust the leg tightness. This is great for getting a true perfect fit that you can't necessarily get with a one size snap diaper.
The liner snaps into the back for the diaper shell.
Here is the diaper with the liner snapped in. The front of the diaper has the extra liner folded underneath.
This shows the diaper fully opened up to the largest setting. I picked the velcro closure on the diaper.
The little gap is the opening where you reach in to tighten the elastic around the legs.
Here is the diaper on my little guy. As you can see he has chubby legs. I was able to get the right fit by using the hidden snugglers.
The side view of the diaper. This is fairly trim but not my trimmest diaper. I am able to fit his correct sized clothing over it with no problems.
The back. If you look toward the top of the diaper you might be able to see the snap for the insert. Also, don't you just love the Robot print? I have such a hard time finding a print that is BOY. I see some great prints that are made for boys but you could use then on girls as well. Not that you can't put robots on a girl but this is definitely a boy print.

The diaper that I got, SoftBums Echo Solo Pack runs $25.95. It comes with the shell and one snap in liner. You can use the shell over 3-6 times as long as the shell remains clean. They recommend air drying the shell in between uses. You can also purchase extra snap in liners for around 5 dollars depending on what kind you get (that is a great deal for this).

My experience with this diaper:
-Overall I am happy with it. I do find that it will leak on me if I don't get it changed soon enough. I think 3 hours is pushing it, I usually try to change diapers every 2-2 1/2 hours depending on how much the boys are drinking.
-Is the shell REALLY reusable? Yes, my toddler wore this diaper today for the first time (I've been using it mainly on my 6 month old) and of course he had to poo in it. The insert actually caught the whole mess and if I had an extra liner I would have been able to reuse the shell. Will this be the case every time. No.
-I find it really hard to reach into the shell to grab the elastic to tighten the diaper. The opening is about an inch wide which makes it hard to reach in and grab.
-This is a great diaper for growing with your child. If you need it looser you can actually squeeze the toggle inside the diaper from the outside of the shell to loosen it. I liked this. However I don't really think this is the most versatile diaper if you are cloth diapering two children like I am who are different sizes. It takes to much work to readjust the toggles to the right size to go between children. With snaps you can adjust quickly but this takes a little more time.
-I love the colors and prints that this diaper comes in. I think the price is pretty good. I would probably like to get a second insert for this diaper for when the little guy is just wet.
-It seems to wash up quite nicely.

Would you like to buy this diaper? Go here

***Abby's Lane sent me a SoftBums Echo Solo pack to use and review free of charge. I was not paid in anyway to do this review and it is entirely of my own opinion. ***

October 30, 2010

Teething Ideas

In light of the recent recall on Hyland’s Teething Tablets, many parents are probably scrambling to find another natural alternative for their children. I look forward to hearing what many of our readers do and use as well, even if that is to continue to use Hyland’s. Let’s use this as a learning opportunity!

Other Brands of Teething Tablets
Even though you will be hard-pressed to find a bottle of Hyland’s these days, other companies do make tablets and drops for little ones to find teething pain relief. Our chiropractor recommended Boiron’s Teething Relief. Another brand we have used in the past is Humphrey’s Teething Pellets (although, in our area, they seem to be hard to find).

Amber Teething Necklaces
Baltic Amber is said to help relieve the pain and discomfort associated with teething. Just by wearing these necklaces next to the skin, the amber releases oils that help to diminish the pain.

Frozen Washcloth
For the older baby who can hold things in their mouth, this is a great help (especially if you have a “mouthy” baby who loves to chew on everything!) Wet one end of a baby washcloth and roll it up, like a cigar. Stick it in the freezer (preferably in a ziploc baggie or on a clean dish) and allow it to freeze. Once it is frozen, hand it to the teething child and let them have at it. Your child will naturally put the hardest part on those achy gums, soothing the pain.

Mama & Daddy
My boys have been terrible teethers, but one thing that has calmed the fussiness of those first teeth breaking through - massage. My husband or I would run our finger on their gums for what seemed like hours, but that counter pressure always seemed to provide some relief.

What has your child found helpful in those teething days?

October 27, 2010

Diaper Sprayer

I've been asked a few times if a diaper sprayer is really necessary. No its not, especially at the cost you have to pay to buy one. They usually run $40 and up which is a large price for something you don't HAVE to have. I didn't get a sprayer right away and did just fine with out it. I would dip the diaper in the water and give it a good shake to get the majority of the poo off then rub it together and give it a little scrub to get the rest off. Its kind of gross but it works. I eventually got a diaper sprayer, courtesy of my brother-in-law who made myself and his wife one. I was so excited to get one. Here is what it looked like.
The water pressure is really high but it can be adjusted...
This is a horrible picture but if you look close the middle silver par is actually a little turn switch so you can turn the water pressure off and on. Nice for when you have a toddler who want to help. You can also just turn it open part of the way and have a little less pressure coming out of the sprayer.
The one downside I find with the diaper sprayer is that if you hit the diaper at just the right angle you either get sprayed with the poopy water or you spray the poopy water everywhere else. I've been learning to spray it just right.

You can find diaper sprayers at most online and in store diaper stores. But you can also find them on amazon for a little cheaper. You can also find some great tutorials on youtube for how to make and install your own sprayer. Mine cost about $25 bucks said and done!

October 26, 2010

My Washing Station

As you might be able to tell I like to try out new things. I have tried multiple detergents for washing my diapers and have found some to work better for me than others. Every one has different experiences, especially with washing depending on what machine you have, what type of water you use, the amount of detergent you use, if you rinse every diaper or just the poopy ones, wet bag or if you soak them in a bucket. Everyone always has a different suggestion for doing something

So in the above picture you see some different items. I have:
-Allens Naturally detergent
-Dropps Baby
-BumGenius detergent
-Dawn dish soap
-Baby Bum Drops

I don't have a close up of the Allens Naturally but it is my first choice that I reach for. It contains Water, Alkylarylethoxylate, Triethanolamine, Linear Alkylaryl Sulfonate, Sodium Chloride. I find that my diapers come out smelling the most fresh after using this detergent. A quart will do 32 loads of regular laundry in a regular machine or about 128 loads of regular laundry in a HE machine. You would use less then the recommended amount when washing cloth diapers. A quart runs around $20.00 and you can also get it in gallon size and purchase a pump to attach to the bottle.

The next laundry detergent I discovered when buying my baby clothes laundry detergent was Dropps. I seen it on the shelf at my local grocery store (Meijer) and you can now get it at Target as well. I read the package to see what was and was not in it. I got home and pulled up the website online and emailed the company asking if it was safe for diapers. (The package says that it is!) But I wanted to double check and make sure. They emailed me back and said that people use it on their diapers and it is diaper safe. I also pulled it up on pinstripesandpolkadots.com to see what they recommend for this detergent(they say safe). This detergent comes in 20 packs and runs about $7.00. If you go to their site you can get a $1.00 off coupon. I have found this on sale at my store for 4.99 quite often. They come in little clear capsules and for diapers I toss just one pack into the load. The coating is completely biodegradable so you don't have to search for it when your done with the wash. I like using the dropps but I think my son gets a reaction to it, but I'm not really sure if its the Dropps or not.
Then I have bumGenius cloth diaper detergent. I found this at a local baby boutique so I picked it up. This is developed with partnership with Country Save and bumGenius. The scoop it comes with is developed specifically for cloth diapers measurement. It will do 66 loads in a front loader and run about $12.00 a box. This is not my favorite detergent to use. I find that my diapers will still stink after using it. I dont know if its my water, machine or just the fact that my boys pee reaks but I don't think they smell all that fresh after washing with this.

I also had pictured the blue Dawn which I use for stripping my diapers. Then there is the baby bum drops by Knickernappies. You dissolve one bit in a cup of HOT HOT water. I put it in a spray bottle so that I will last longer. Then I just spray my wipe and I'm good to go. Plus I really like the smell of them. They run about $12 a box. I have been using mine for about3 months and have only used 2 bits. These will last really long!

I have tried the Rockin' Green detergent and thought it worked pretty good. I would want to use it frequently to see how it really works. I know there are a lot of other great detergents available to use for cloth diapers that are safe. I would love to hear what you use and love or have tried and didn't work for you. Share with us in the comment section below.

October 25, 2010

Stripping the Gunk and the Funk

If you’ve been in the cloth diaper world any amount of time, there is a good chance you’ve heard the term “stripping” in reference to your diapers. You are probably wondering why? How? What?!

Let’s start with the WHAT. Stripping diapers is basically what it sounds like: removing something. Here, we are talking about removing the gunk and the funk that has built up either due to detergent or diaper creams.

WHY do we need to remove these things? This gunk and funk can leave your diapers stinky and, even worse, leaky! If you are experiencing either of these issues, then it is time to strip those diapers. You don’t want to remain so frustrated with your stinky, leaky diapers that you stop using them altogether.

But, HOW, you ask? Place your diapers in your washer and run a cold rinse as normal to clean off your diapers. Next, fill up your washer with hot water. Your water needs to be very hot for this, so turn up the hot water heater (and make a note of this so no one gets burned the next time they jump in the shower!) or boil some water to pour in your washer while it is filling. Note: Do not add detergent, just water. Finally, rinse your diapers over and over and over (and over...and over...) with hot water. You want to continue rinsing until there are no more bubbles remaining in your water. When the bubbles are gone, your diapers are stripped! Bleach does not produce suds but can cause a nasty chemical burn if not rinsed out. Dawn also can cause a chemical burn if not rinsed well.

Plain water may not help your stinks, though, and you may have to resort to some additives. One product you probably already have on hand can strip diapers easily: Baking Soda (add 1/2 to 1 Cup to your hot water and rinse, rinse, rinse until all bubbles are gone). Original (blue) Dawn dish soap is another great solution for stripping diapers that many people have in their kitchens (add a couple of squirts and rinse, rinse, rinse). If neither of these products help, there are others that you could try: Bac-Out, OxyClean and RLR are the most popular - add any of these to your wash and, you guessed it, rinse, rinse, rinse!

What if you try this and your diapers are still stinky? It could be that build-up isn’t your problem. It could be that you aren’t using enough detergent. Try adding more detergent to your wash load and see if that helps the stink disappear. Problems can also arise if you have heard that vinegar is good for cleaning diapers and you live in a hard water area. While vinegar is great for cleaning diapers, it does not mix well with hard water. If you desire to continue using vinegar in your wash, you should add some Calgon to soften your water, or just discontinue using the vinegar altogether.

On the Bummis web site you can find some more great information about what they suggest for cleaning your diapers. If you go to any of the Major cloth diapering companies pages you can find great tips for washing and caring as well.

Terra did a strip with some Rockin' Green and here is what she found:

This was a rinse on cold and then 16 hours and 45 minute soak in hot water and 3Tbsp. of Hard Rock Smashing Watermelons.

Started soak at 315pm
First picture at 330pm
Second picture at 640pm, after 30 seconds of agitation
Final picture at 8am, after 30 seconds of agitation (normally, I'd close the lid and just let it do its thing, but I had to get a picture!!)

Pretty gross what you can get out of what you thought were clean diapers right?

Here is what I am currently doing:
My diapers are reaking big time. My boys would pee in them and instant stench. After doing a wash on Saturday I smelled my diapers and I about fell over on the floor. I had just finished doing my normal washing routine and they smelt so nasty! So frustrating. So today I am stripping them. I did a full rinse cycle in cold water to clean out the yuck. Then I added Blue Dawn dish detergent. This is great for helping remove build up residue from your diapers. Then I am rinsing, rinsing, rinsing on HOT water over and over again until there is no more suds left in the water. After that I will rinse a couple more times just to be sure. Then I will smell one or two, yes, feel free to call me strange but I want to make sure the smell is gone! I will then throw them out on the line if its nice out or else toss them in the dryer. I always hang dry my covers and shells. It saves on the velcro and elastic.

I will also use this method when stripping my diapers if they are not as bad but need something to help with the stench:
-rinse in cold water, wash in HOT water with 1/2 cup soda, wash with regular detergent. (my main detergent is Allen's).Then I will do a rinse with some vinegar. Then into the dryer or on the line they go.

There are so many different ways to take care of your diapers and everyone has their own ideas and methods that work best for them. We would love to hear what you do to strip your diapers! Post your suggestions in the comments below please!

October 23, 2010

Boogie Wipes review

It that time of year when our little ones noses start to drip, then run like a faucet. Living in West Michigan I see this runny nose stuff from my boys way more than I want to. The minute we step outside there are boogers to take care of. Wipping boogers (with tissues) means dried up and sore red little noses on my guys. NO FUN! So when I heard about and seen Boogie Wipes in my grocery store I thought 1) what are those, and 2) why would anyone want to buy those? Then I was given the opportunity to review them...

I received them packaged up so cute! I got one 30ct pack and some single packs. (note to self...don't leave the box full of crinkle paper on your desk where your toddler can reach it....Messy!)

Here is a little about Boogie Wipes:

Boogie Wipes are made with saline to dissolve boogies (mucus) caused by the common cold, allergies or otherwise booger-filled kid moments. Extra
soft, alcohol, phthalate and paraben free, Boogie Wipes are available in Great Grape, Fresh Scent, Magic Menthol and Simply Unscented. Recommended by pediatricians as a gentle, effective alternative to a dry tissue.
Boogie Wipes is currently running a special promotion featuring their friend Boogs. You can recieve him by visiting Boogie Wipes website, printing out a form and attaching 3 UPC's and mailing it in!

There is also another great promotion going on called Save The Sleeve. Its a fun way for children to learn how to save their sleeves by using boogie wipes insetead. You can check it out here.

My Experience with Boogie Wipes:
-My toddler does not like his nose blown at all. The boogie wipes were more comfortable for him to use than a tissue.
-I found that because they are wet its hard to get some of the really slimy sticky boogers to stick to the wipe and not the face (sorry if thats gross).
-I liked the smell of the the fresh scent and scent free wipes but the grape scent was really strong.
-These are packaged so that you can sove them in a diaper bag or leave them on the counter. -My son would see them and want to open them to use.
-These were great for my baby to.
-Saline helps dry up the boogies. I like that these wipes contain the saline. I will occasionally use a saline spray on my boys when they start to get runny noses so its nice to have that in the wipes.

Would you like to BUY some boogie wipes? Go here. They also sell these at a lot of different stores.

**I received some Boogie Wipes to use and review. I was not paid to do this review. These opinions expressed are entirely of my own and your opinions might differ.**

October 22, 2010

Don't let it become overwhelming

I would like to introduce you all to Terra, our new Cloth Diaper Addiction blog contributor. If you look back to our last Monday Mommy you can find more information about her! I asked her to share with us her ideas for washing cloth diapers.

When we first started cloth diapering in December of 2007, the most overwhelming part was washing. Not the actual ACT of washing, but HOW to wash, and with what. One website would tell me to do it this way, another would tell me a different way, a third would say these detergents only and a fourth would say don’t put those detergents near your diapers - I was at such a loss! I would spend hour after frustrating hour reading and comparing websites trying to figure out what exactly I was (or wasn’t!) supposed to be doing to my precious fluff. After a few months of trial and error, and many leaks later, my mantra became: my diapers are virtually indestructible. Just about any issue can be fixed by stripping them.

A few months later, I ventured into the world of cloth diaper detergent. The frustration returned when one detergent would have my diapers smelling like new, but leaking at my child’s first pee, or the diapers would be totally leak free, but leave rashes on my poor baby’s bottom. I wanted to pull out my hair! That was until I discovered Rockin’ Green Hard Rock soap. We don’t live in a hard water area (according to the map on her website), but it is the only detergent that meets my requirements:

1. No rashes on baby's bottom

2. No leaks with the diapers

3. Clean smelling diapers.

We tried Soft Rock and Classic Rock as well, (since technically we aren’t in the Hard Water Zone) but neither worked for us. However, just to prove that what works for one, doesn’t work for another: I have a friend right down the street and Hard Rock doesn’t work for her diapers at all and she has to use another formula.

Once we got our diapers meeting my expectations above, my next issue to tackle was stains. Was I ever excited to learn about what sunshine could do! I was already line drying our diapers as I was able, but I found that strategically placing stained diapers in the direct light of the sun meant no more stains! It seemed too good to be true.

To test our diapers even more, we got a stomach bug in our home and the stains on our diapers were too much for the sun alone. I ran back to the Internet, and I found a trick that I couldn’t believe I didn’t think of before: Sunshine and lemon juice (remember pouring it on your head to get highlights in your hair? Wait, tell me I’m not alone!) I broke out the lemon juice, poured some on my diapers and within hours, the stains were gone! So nice to not have to use chemicals on my diapers to remove the stains!

So, when it comes to washing, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for washing as to avoid negating a warranty on your diapers. After you’ve done that, experiment until you get your diapers clean. It might mean trying different detergents, different temperature settings, different wash settings or a combination of all the above. Or, you might get lucky and get it right the first time!

October 21, 2010

Bac-Out Bio Clean

My sister in law recently had a bad experience with one of her diapers. I asked her to share a little with us about her experience with Bac-Out stain and odor eliminator. Here is some information about Bac-out from Bi-O-Cleans website:

Bac-Out Stain & Odor Eliminator

Eliminates the most difficult, organic stains, odors and waste the way nature intended. Bac-Out is a very unique blend of natural living enzyme cultures and botanical extracts, with more strains of cultures for more effective performance than commercial brands. Great for carpets, upholstery, laundry, bathrooms, diapers, drains, septic tanks, garbage pails and chutes, pet runs and kennels. Even eliminates pet and mildew stains and odors. Removes coffee, berry, blood, mustard, tomato stains, and much more. Contains no plain enzymes, alcohol or perfume cover-ups. Preferred by professional carpet cleaners for tough stains and odors.

From Dana:

Let me show you an example of what this awesome product can do with a mix of Rockin’ Green Detergent. My dear son ate tons of blueberries this day and when I went to change his diaper this is what I found! Yeah I know YUCK! I sprayed the poo off and rinsed like crazy and did not know what the heck to do with it. So I asked for some advice and I did not really come up with any that worked.

So I decided to use BAC-OUT. I sprayed it like crazy and I put it in the machine with all of my other diapers and a tablespoon of Rockin green and…BAM! STAIN GONE! Bac-out has been my lifesaver! I use it on every poo diaper and my diapers come out clean every time. This is the CLEAN diaper after my remedy…

Bac-out is a stain and odor eliminator; all natural, non toxic, and biodegradable! It has Live Enzyme cultures & Lime peel extract cleaning power! Made by Biokleen products! You can get it at any health food store. Mine came from Harvest Health foods in Hudsonville, MI. It is priced around $8 - $10 for the 32 FL OZ size bottle! You can spray on and leave it on there is what I do with it until I wash my diapers. The directions say to spray it on and let it set for 5 mins and then rinse it out. I leave it on for a more powerful stain removal!

The ingredients include: Natural enzyme-producing cultures, food-grade lyme extracts and stabilizers, vegetable-based surfactants, and filtered water!

AWESOME product and I do not know what I would do without it and I would recommend it to anyone!

October 20, 2010

Training them young

I thought I would share a fun quick little story about my toddler.

E-man is a very strong willed little boy. If something is happening that he does not like, he fights and screams and kicks with every ounce in his body. What is one thing he does not like? His diaper changes. Its a huge battle trying to change him. Some days he will be as good as gold but usually he is a feisty little guy. Over the last couple of days I've been watching him and I am noticing he likes to help out Mommy with the diapers. After I change him or his little brother he will take the diaper, run it to the bathroom and if its just wet, will open the diaper pail and throw it in. (I do have to go in and pull it out so I can take the insert out of the pocket...eww). Now if that diaper is poopy... He knows to let mommy carry it to the bathroom. E-man will say "Go to baff room Mommy, I spray it!" So on we go to the bathroom, he reaches behind the toilet and grabs the sprayer, then I reach behind and turn it on. Luckily he doesn't know how to turn it on or push the button down on the sprayer yet. No matter how terrible he is when getting his diaper changed he can still make mommy happy by doing simple little things like taking care of his own diaper.

Getting down and dirty… with cloth diapers

Lorissa, one of my possible blog contributors shares with us her methods of getting her diapers clean.I won’t lie – before I had make the decision to cloth diaper, one of my main concerns was the laundry. Would I be able to handle the smell? Would it use up an inordinate amount of water, and cause my water bill to skyrocket? What is this thing called a diaper sprayer, and do I really need one? Would I need to use a specific type of detergent? What about stain removal? What if the diapers start leaking? So many questions! Luckily, I like to do internet research, so it was off to my favourite cloth diapering sites to find the answers.

So what exactly do you need in order to care for your cloth diapers properly? To store dirty diapers in before laundry day, a diaper pail is a must. You can definitely go fancy and buy a cloth diaper pail that has a locking lid, but I found that a simple garbage bin with a snap lid works equally as well (The one I have is a Mistral 6 gallon Multi Purpose Can with Locking Lid, which I found at Walmart for $7.99). You can use either a pail liner or a large wetbag inside, to help keep the smells at bay. To save time on laundry day, unstuff your diapers (if they are pocket diapers) before tossing them in the pail.

Next up, good cloth-diaper friendly laundry detergent is a must. These are formulated especially for cloth diapers – which means they contain no phosphates, brighteners, or other additives such as citrus essential oils. This is key to avoid wicking, leaking and repelling issues with your diapers, otherwise, you will need to strip your diapers (not a fun chore at all, especially when there are better things for you to be doing!) in order to get them back to normal. If you do find that your diapers are leaking or repelling, try switching detergents first, or using more/less detergent. If that doesn’t do the trick, try washing them in hot water (no detergent), and watch the rinse cycle for soap bubbles. Repeat, repeat until there are no more bubbles. If this still doesn’t work, washing with Dawn dish soap in the sink will often clear everything up, as Dawn will cut through any oils/dirt remaining in the diapers.

Now, about cleaning poop off and avoiding staining. If you are anything like me, and get the heebie-jeebies about cleaning poop off (you mean, I may have to actually do some pre-cleaning before putting the diaper in the pail? Eewww!!!). Well, there are definitely ways around this. Some people swear by diaper sprayers, but so far I have not needed one, and would rather save the money for more cloth diapers, LOL! Using a fleece liner or a disposable liner to catch the poop makes clean up easy, and if you are lucky, no poop will actually get on your diaper. If you’re not as lucky, most stains will come out in the wash, but if not, placing them in the sun for an hour will fade the stains out. An interesting fact I learned: it’s not actually the light that does the fading, but the UV rays. So this means that even if it is overcast, the stains will still come out. Ditto if you place them inside your house next to a window. Neat-o! Happy cloth diaper washing!

Living in an area with hard-water, I looked for a detergent that worked well for hard water, and found Claudia’s Choices, which is a Canadian company. We also use Rockin Green Hard Rock. (How do you know if you live in an area with hard water? Check out this cool map: http://www.espressotec.com/store/pc/ic_descaling.asp )

Come laundry day, simply empty your pail liner or wet bag into your washer. Note that if you have a HE washer, there are a couple of things to note. HE washers are just that – high efficiency. Which is great for your regular clothing, but for cloth diapers, it can be tricky. Since the key to getting diapers clean is enough water, you need to ensure that enough water is used. You can “trick” your washer into using a bit more water by soaking a couple of towels and putting them in with your cloth diapers – this way, the machine “thinks” the load is heavier and dispenses more water. Another benefit of having an HE washer is that you don’t need to use as much detergent.

Our wash routine looks like this: 1 ½ tablespoons of detergent, Heavy Duty Wash Cycle with an extra rinse. Everything gets hung on the clothes rack to dry. (Using the dryer may cause the elastic in your diapers to wear out sooner). We have enough diapers to last us 2 ½ days, so we usually wash every 2nd day. If you are lucky enough to have a large diaper stash, you can go 3 days between washes, but I wouldn’t suggest longer than that, otherwise smells or stains may start to settle in.

(FYI: Since beginning our cloth diaper journey, we haven’t noticed a significant increase in our water bill -hurrah!).

October 19, 2010

Rockin' Green Detergent Reveiw

This week I am declaring
Sounds exciting right? Trust me it won't stink! haha Sorry, I had to say it.
Keep an eye out all week long for great tips on stripping diapers, different kinds of detergents that are cloth friendly and much more!

ROCKIN' GREEN sent me three sample packs of their detergent to use and try out. Now let me say I was pretty excited about this because I had seen some major soaks going on at other blogs where the water is black after an overnight stay with the detergent in a tub full of hot water. So of course I had to try it out...

So I poured half the pack into my tub with HOT water to get ready for my big soaking experience.
Ohhhh bubbles, and the clear water.
Almost every single one of my diapers in my tub. I had some prefolds out to use while rockin' away.
The water afterwords...I was expecting more I guess. But then again maybe this was a good sign that I am doing the right stuff to take care of my diapers because the water wasn't gross. It is still pretty dingy though.
Here are some FAQ's Rockin' Green has answered on their site about their detergent:

Rockin’ Green comes in several different formulas- so there is something for everyone!
* Soft - this formula is designed for those that have sensitive little ones or soft water.
* Classic - this is the original formula, and is great for those with moderate hard water, or just those that are battling with stinkies. Comes in unscented and scented varieties.
* Hard - This formula is designed for the most troubling of water types.

All Rockin’ Green formulas are designed with the same great ingredients, and work for all water types. Most people do great with the Classic formula, so when in doubt start off with that formula.


Rockin’ Green is made of safe, phosphate free ingredients which makes it good for the planet and gentler on your little ones. Everything is made with love, and put to the test every single day on my own families diapers and laundry. So you know that I expect only the best from everything that I send out the door.

Ingredients: sodium carbonate , sodium percarbonate, natural chelating agents, sodium sulfate, biodegradable surfactants, natural fragrance oils (if scented is chosen)

Please take great care to keep Rockin’ Green away from pets and children.

My Experiences with this product:
-I only received three sample packs to test out so I only got 5 washes and 1 soak out of the packs. It kind of makes it hard to really get a good test run but over all I enjoyed using it.
-I couldn't really smell the 'flavors' of the detergent but I think if you use it full time you would be able to smell it better.
-I liked doing the soak and seeing how much funky stuff came off of them.
-I like that they offer this detergent for different types of water (hard, soft or regular)

Rockin' Green also comes in some awesome scents like Orangevana, The Green Tea's, Rage against the Raspberries, and Smashing Watermelons. Sounds yummy right! I got the Raspberry, watermelon and Motley Clean.

Would you like to BUY some Rockin' Green for yourself? Check out their list of retailers here.

**This review is of my own opinion and my experiences will differ from yours. I was not paid to write this review, I was provided by Rockin' Green three sample packs to try.**

October 18, 2010

Monday Mommies: Terra J.

Todays Monday Mommy is Terra! Thanks for sharing with us! I hope everyone enjoys your story!
1. Tell us a little about yourself, where you are located, how many kids you have, little ones in cloth, etc. - We live near Raleigh, NC. I am married to an amazing man and I a SAHM mom to three awesome boys. Keaton is 3.5years and my two in cloth are Benjamin, who is 2years (and very interested in the potty!) and Caedmon is our newborn. In my "spare" time, I am working on my certification to become a birth doula.

2. What made you decide to give cloth diapers a try? My husband suggested it before Keaton was born, but I refused to do such a thing. ;-) When he was about 6 months old, I started to look into it and said "if ever" we have 2 in cloth, I would probably do it. Six weeks later we found out that, surprise, we would indeed have two in cloth! We started cloth around Christmas of '07 and I've been addicted ever since!

3. What did your family and friends think when you told them you were going to use cloth? What did they think when they saw the new modern diapers available? Family was very supportive, friends thought (and still!) we were crazy for doing something so "gross"! I've converted a few since then ;-)

4. What was your very first cloth diaper? Do you still use it? A friend sent me two Pocket Change diapers from her stash to see how amazing they were - 3 years later, they're still my favorite diapers!

5. What type of diapers does your stash primarily consist of; pockets, aio, one size, pre-folds, flats, hybrids, etc.? Which ones do you prefer to use? The first one you grab? We have everything except hybrids and flats. We had never used prefolds until Caedmon was born and I found out I LOVE them! Hubby isn't as in love with them. He prefers pockets or aio's. We've never been a huge fan of one-size, as they've never seemed to truly fit our boys the whole time, but, we have since found two that we love (Nifty Nappy and TotBots!) I'll pull whatever is on top (and I confess that if the diaper will be seen, I go for extra cute) ;-)

6. Do you have a favorite place to hang out and talk or learn about cloth ; a blog, message board, facebook page, etc.? I really just hang out on facebook to discuss cloth. I have written on my blog a number of times about cloth and I enjoy discussing there as well.

7. What cloth diapering item, besides diapers, do you consider to be a must-have accessory? Wet bags - perfect for storing dirty diapers!

8. Do you have any special ways to wash or strip your diapers? n/a

9. If you could share just one tip with someone who is just starting out with cloth or considering using cloth, what would be your best piece of advice to them? As much as us fluff junkies would like you to use them 100% of the time, don't get overwhelmed in the beginning - you don't have to do cloth "all or nothing". If it gets to be too much, pull out a disposable if you must so you continue to enjoy your investment!

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October 13, 2010

Tommee Tippee Cup Review

How many of you have constant battles with your sippy cups? They say they are leak proof right? But how many of your 'leak proof' cups leave little dribbles of juice or milk all over your house? I know personally, my lovely (older than dirt) but in very good condition couch which is white with purple flowers all over now has lovely pink stains everywhere from strawberry milk. How did it get there? From a 'leak proof' cup being turned upside down and left to dry. (Why do I have a white couch with a toddler? It was free!) So finding a solution, or should I say a cup that really does not leak can be a challenge. UNTIL...

No really these cups are great. I was sent a 2 pack for my toddler to use. I received the Explora truly spill proof drink cup. Let's take a look at them.

Adorable prints for both boys and girls. I picked out the boy pack with construction trucks and air planes. My son loved them and tried ripping them out of the package before I could get a picture. We had to rinse them right away so he could use them.

The top of this cup is kind of cool. It has two holes which allow for liquid to go out one and air to go in the other to replace the space that liquid was taking up. It also dips inwards so when E-man is drinking from it his nose isn't getting all smooshed. My favorite thing about this cup is the spout. Its really cool because its very similar to a 'big kid' cup with the rim.
The valve system in this cup is quite different from anything I have seen. There are two pieces that you put together and then place on the lid. There isn't a way to put this on wrong either. It fits only one way. I have other cups that you have to look for little arrows pointing you in the right direction but this one is pretty straight forward.
Here is the other side of the valve. There is a clear plastic piece that goes over top of the white plastic piece. The system of the valve is really neat.

Here are the three pieces of the top of the cup. The lid, and two valve pieces. They all snap together really easily.
Here is what TommeeTippee has to say about their cups:

explora® truly spill proof drink cup x 2 - blue / green
* 2 x 9floz/266ml Cups
* Unique drinking spout for Kids on the Go
* Advance-flo™ technology for easy drinking
* BPA Free
* Insulated base, keeps drinks cooler for longer
* Stage 5 Cup
* Truly non spill & leak proof

The Clever Bit

Unlike other valve systems our active sensor valve is designed by a physicist to be both so sensitive that liquid flows on demand, yet truly spill and leak proof

The explora® cup range is progressively staged to help children transition through all their drinking phases and needs with specific grips to fit little fingers and unique spouts to meet the needs of every age and support natural oral development.

My experience with the Explora Spill Proof Cups:
-When I received these cups I was very happy with the look and design of them. The pictures on the site did them justice! My son was very happy with them too, he loves anything trucks and planes so I knew finding a test subject would be no problem.
-I washed the cups up right away, do to a toddler wanting a drink from his new cups. I opened them up and saw the valve system and was blown away. It looked so complex but was easy to take apart and put back together.
-We've been using the cups for at least a month now and I am very happy with how they work. When I filled it for the first time I resisted putting my finger over the mouth hole and shook the crap out of it. Nothing came out. Very impressive. Usually I have milk flying all over the place if I do that but non came out of the Explora spill proof cup!
-I let my son have a go of it, He dragged the cup all over the place, tipped it over, shook it, dropped it, threw it, and hauled it in his dump truck. No spills, no leaks, happy mommy!
-Some cups will have a slow consistant drip drip drip if its left on its side, these cups I have found to not continue to leak out the mouth piece.
-The only thing I noticed about this cup that is 'bad' but not really is that if there is any liquid between the valve and hole it will come out if bumped or on its side. That is the liquid that the baby has already sucked out but not taken in. But beyond that little bit of liquid nothing else comes out.
-I have to say that I am extremely impressed with this cup and very happy with its performance.
-The base of the cup is wider than any of my other cups so I had to squeeze it into a cup holder on the stroller.
-The valve will not pop out of the lid if the cup is dropped like other cups that I have.

Tommee Tippee offers other great products as well including bottles, bibs, bowls and more. Check out their other great products here.

Would you like to purchase a cup for your little one? Head over here! The price on these cups is $7.99 for two, which I think is a great deal. Also, the price is average to all other 2 packs of cups.

***TommeeTippee sent me two cups to use and review. The review is entirely of my own opinion and your experience may differ from mine. I was not paid in anyway to do this review.***

October 11, 2010

Monday Mommies: Emily N.

I am SAHM mom to two amazing boys! I have a 2 1/2 year old and a 3 month old. Our two year old is potty trained, so no diapers there, but our littlest man is in cloth! You can check all that out on my blog: Noble Nuggets

I'll start at the beginning of my cloth journey! The WHOLE time I was pregnant with my first child (now 2 1/2) my mother tried to get me to commit to using cloth, I said emphatically "NO". She offered to buy the diapers, I said "NO". Then, she offered the diapers and to pay for a diapering service, I still said "NO".

Fast forward to when my child is 14 months old. While at a play date with two "green moms" they start talking about cloth diapers. I told the story of how my mom wanted me to do that and I just couldn't. Then, I saw the new diapers and how cute they were!! I also when home and counted how many disposables we had left in our stash (up to this point we had NEVER bought a pack of diapers, all came from showers). We had 2 packs. I started thinking about how much money we were about to be throwing away, which lead me to the beginning of a very long researching journey! I even blogged about the seemingly endless options: "I've been diagnosed with CDIO!" We didn't have a lot of money to spare to buy a huge stash of the ones I kept finding. My hubby was loving the idea of saving money but not happy with having to dump that much money into something he thought I would give up on after a few weeks. Once I finally convinced him I would stick with it he was on board, now for the rest of the world....um, NO to put it nicely!

When we first decided to go cloth we told our families. Of course, my mom was elated (followed by the loving, "if you would have just listened...". My in-laws were a little more, let's say "skeptical" about the whole idea. Everyone else had their own opinions. I got the "I don't know how to change cloth, so I guess I won't be changing him" or "well, what am I supposed to do about that" to the "you are CRAZY". People at our church were pretty supportive after they began to understand how truly easy they really are!!

My first buying experience was a LOT different than what we had expected or planned. We found a place that sold Happy Heinys (the brand that I had decided I wanted to buy). I got there and found that they also sold Bummis and Fuzzi Bunz just to name a couple. After standing in a complete daze for about 20 minutes, my hubby asked "why don't we just use the prefolds, they are a lot cheaper". Well, that's exactly what happened. We bought a boxed starter set of prefolds, covers and liners for above 15 lbs. and one for 15 and under knowing we wanted more kids. We also got 3 pocket diapers. That I had planned on using at nighttime.

We used those prefolds all the time and the pockets for nighttime and church only. Then I discovered a company that sold pocket diapers far less expensive than the brands we currently owned and purchased 10 of them. We LOVED them. They were one size pocket diapers! After that we switched completely to pocket diapers! Then I bought 10 more (the colors changed, I needed them, ha ha).

The toddler got potty trained and the new baby came, and the prefolds came back! My husband thinks the prefolds are way easier and he would much rather use those, so we did that for the newborn stage. We didn't use folds or a snappi; we simply used the Bummis cover and folded the diaper in third and used the cover to hold it in place (maybe this would be different if we had a girl). We knew our little guy held his urine for way longer than most babies! Even the nurses in the hospital were surprised by this. This made prefolds tough. We switched over to the pocket diapers and his little bum is happily sporting the colorful pocket fluff!!

We do still use the first diapers we bought, however those pocket diapers are starting to wear down. The prefolds have held up amazingly well! We still use all those! I typically go for the pocket diapers, just because they are ready to go with a quick on off. With our son being an extreme heavy wetter, the cover always gets soaked and we have to change with a prefold, so pockets just save me the time.

I am by NO means a cloth diaper expert, or even that knowledgeable in all the different diapers. There are so many I want to try, it's really about finding the money and convincing the hubby! I turn to several cloth diapering blogs for information and "updates" in the cloth diapering world! I love to know what is going on and how other people wash their diapers or the brands they use or just tips for how to make diapering easier!

Speaking of easier, other than my diapers, my wet bag is a MUST! It took me a long time to know that. I thought I could get by without one...WRONG! I purchased two and often have wondered how I ever did without them!! They made my washing so much easier. All I have to do is wash in hot with a little detergent, wash in cold with even less, then a rinse (I have a HE washer). Ever now and then, when the inserts start to smell I do a strip or a quick wash in just a little bleach.

You see, my journey into the cloth diapering world was one with a rough start, but I'm slowly expanding my knowledge! I wish I had sought out some advice from modern cloth diaper mommas! I wish someone would have given me tips and hints. If someone is thinking of changing over or starting cloth my piece of advice would be: Don't get ahead of yourself! Slow down! Don't buy a bunch of one kind of diaper, take your time and explore. Buy several different kinds and try them out, over and over. Your favorite now might not be your favorite in a month. It's easy to get caught up in the "hype" of one diaper or another, but only you can know what works for your family!!

October 8, 2010

Before you seal the deal

If you are thinking about starting off with cloth, or if you are fairly new to cloth and looking for the right diaper for you there are options available just for you (well for anyone, but you will benefit greatly)! A lot of cloth diapering store offer deals where you can purchase some diapers, try them out for a period of time, then return them if you dislike them or keep them if you love them. Each store has their own way of going about their 'trial packs' with their own rules and quidelines so make sure you read the fine prints before making your final choice on which store to use for the trial. I have been asked by a couple of people about trial packs so I thought I would share with you some that I have found. I have not used a trial pack myself but have heard great things about them. Its a great way to try out all kinds of different diapers, see what works best with YOUR baby, because everyone has different experiences, and return the diapers that didn't work for you.

Here are some stores that I found that offer trials. Please keep in mind that this is just a few of many stores out there that offer trials. If you have used a trial from someone that is not listed please feel free to share it in the comments section.

Jillians Drawers:
-Offers 2 different trial packs, a newborn trial and a changing diapers changing minds program.
-These will cost you up front around $145 depending on what trial you choose.
-There program lets you try out the diapers for 21 days risk free. After the time is up you return the diapers. You get refunded all but $10 (deposit). If you keep some of the diapers they will remove that from the cost refunded.
-The trial seems to come with a good assortment of items to try out.

Nells Natural Baby
-Nells offers you the oppertunity to pick the diapers in your trial. You pay full price for each item you choose.
-Use the diapers for up to 3 weeks and return any you don't like for a full store credit refund.
-This is nice if you only want to try a couple of diapers, however if you return everything you received then shipping will be deducted from your refund.

-SquishyTushy has a lot of trial packs to choose from.
-They have returnable kits as well as non returnable. They have kits that focus on a specific type of diaper like an AIO or kits that include a little of everything. You are bound to find at least one kit out of their 14 kits that will fit your needs!

-GoGo offers a Love'em or Leave'em program. You pay upfront around $100 and get all but $15 refunded after your 30 day trial ends and you return your diapers.
-If you want to keep some of the diapers then keep them and it will be deducted from your deposit fee.
-A good assortment of items but you will probably have to wash each day to diaper full time.
-You get to keep your wet bag for free!

-Ecobuns offers a try it before you buy it program.
-You pay $25 and pick one of three trial packages that best suit your needs. You get your diapers try them for 2 weeks and return them all.
-The products you receive will be used items that have been laundered correctly after each trial. They have no guarantee.
-This is a cheap way to try out diapers, you dont have a large upfront fee, you return all the diapers. If you like a type of diaper you can buy it new.

So that is a few of the stores I found that offer trial programs. Please keep in mind that there are so many other stores that offer them as well but I could never list them all! Also, remember to check locally for stores that sell cloth and could possibly have a pack for you to try out.

If you have used a trial pack before please share your experiences with us.
If you know of another store that has trial packs please share with us in the comments below with a link!

October 6, 2010

Thirsties Duo and Stay Dry Insert Review

I am an avid Thirsties fan. I have their (now discontinued) AIO diaper, I have 3 of their Duo Diapers and I have their Duo Covers (way to many) in multiple colors, designs and sizes. When I was given the opportunity to review their Duo Cover with their stay dry insert I was excited.

A little about the company:
"Thirsties® is a small (but growing!) cloth diaper company committed to greener parenting and Eco Friendly solutions, not to mention 100% USA Made quality! Erin, founder of Thirsties, started this business with an old sewing machine and $100 5 years ago. Through her hard work and diligence, the company is now one of the leaders in the cloth diaper industry. Our diapers are now made by work at home mothers, and very close to our warehouse, reducing our carbon output. Our customer service reps are experienced cloth diapering moms, and offer our knowledge to our retailers and customers alike."

My first diapers were prefolds and Thristies covers. I eventually bought a pocket diaper and liked the easiness of it. I wanted something easier to use with my covers so I thought maybe I could just stick some inserts into a cover. In doing so I ran into the issue of microfiber against baby’s bottom, which isn’t recommended. So my attempt at finding an easier solution was over. Until I read about Thirsties Stay Dry Insert, and this made me happy! The Stay Dry Insert was what I had wanted but wasn’t able to really put together.

Here is the diaper I received:

Needless to say I was very Impressed with the adorable way it was packaged and tied up with a ribbon! (on a side note: Thirsties uses a shipping bag that can decompose within months of being in a landfill and can also be reused with the extra seal. I saved the bag to reuse!)

Okay so I got the Cool Stripes print in size 2 for the Duo cover, and I received a size two stay dry insert.

The stay dry insert consists of 2 parts. The bottom insert is made up of Hemp. The top insert is made up of microfiber terry and has fleece on top of it to protect baby from wetness. It is really absorbent but is still nice and trim. It combines fast absorbing power of microfiber with the stable absorbency of hemp. The two inserts are held together with snaps. This is handy because you know that the fleece will always be on the top and not the microfiber!

The cover comes in two sizes: size one and size two.

The size one cover fits 0-9 months or up to 18 pounds

The size two cover fits 9months to 2+ years or 18-35 pounds

Depending on the build of your child the sizing might not be quite right for you. My 5 month old just grew out of the size one diaper covers. He was around 16-17 pounds when I stopped using them on him. I find that the fit of the cover is bigger than the fit of the Duo Diaper (like a pocket diaper). I am now using the size two cover on him. It is still pretty big on him but I don’t seem to have any issues with it leaking unless I go to long in between diaper changes (which happens with all diapers). My 2 year old wears the size two diaper as well. I have him on the middle rise setting. He is tall and skinny and I know this diaper will fit him for a long time to come yet.

The Diaper features Laundry tabs to help keep it from attaching to other diapers in the wash. In my experience they do occasionally come unhooked, just like any other diaper.

Here is the diaper all set up. All you do is lay the Stay Dry Insert in the cover like so and wrap it around your baby!

I think this is kind of a cool shot…slightly blurry but you get the point. One great thing about Thirsties diapers are the leg gussets! It helps to catch those little poos that try to escape.

Time to test… Here is the front of the diaper on the smallest rise setting on my 5 month old. It has a great fit on him here in the picture but once he starts wiggling around it will start to droop a little in between the legs but I still don’t have leak issues with it.

There is a little bit of a bulk to this diaper but not as bulky as a prefold. It actually is sticking up a little more than I realized it was. His pants fit great over this combo.

Here is the back from the top of the diaper. How do babies bend like that?

Okay so now that I’ve gone over the basics of the diaper I will share a little about my experience with it so far.

-This diaper is super cute and I like showing it off. Thirsties has a lot of great prints for boys and girls.

-The stay dry insert is really neat. I like the easiness of it and not having to worry about folding anything. It fits fairly well into the cover but I have found that it shrinks a little bit after washing multiple times. It fits well into the small rise setting, good into the medium rise setting but I’m not sure about the large rise setting. I did open up my diaper to the large setting and put this into it and I found that it is short. Im not sure about the baby’s skin touching the PUL on the diaper or not, but I guess it would on the sides of the diaper with the insert in there. I think on the large setting the skin would be touching the PUL on the upper back.

-I love the cover. I have been using the covers since I started cloth diapering and enjoy them. They have a great extra gusset that has held in some supreme explosions from my newborn who was EBF. Not a stained outfit! YAY! Some of my older covers are starting to show some wear and tare on them. I have a few stray strings coming off the Velcro strip and a little bit of pilling but other than that they are holding up great.

-This is a great quick and easy combo that would be great for Dad’s or Grandma’s.

-If baby is just wet you can dump the insert out and put a new one in an reuse the cover. I have yet to have a clean cover after a poopy.

You can request as free catalog here.

Find out how to care for your diapers here.

Would you like to buy a Thirsties Duo Cover or Stay Dry Liner? Go here!

** I was given a cover and insert to use and review. This is entirely of my own opinion and my experiences may differ from yours. I was not paid in anyway to do this review.**