photo by Surely Sweet Photography

Changing Diapers: the Hip Mom's Guide to Modern Cloth Diapering

Monday, January 31, 2011

Homegrown in the USA (& Canada!)

I have recently compiled a list of diapers that are made in the USA and Canada.  This is only some of the bigger name diapers, since I think it's a given that WAHM diapers are made in the US or Canada (depending on where they live).

This is not a complete list, I'm sure, so feel free to add any that you know of to the comments section below.  If I have heard a diaper was USA/Canadian made, I went to their website.  Companies are proud to say their product is homegrown, and clearly state it.  If it did not say anywhere on the site that they were made in the USA or Canada, I did not include them on my list, but it does not necessarily mean it's not made in the USA or Canada.

I also included a list of diapers made in both the USA and other countries.  I felt the need to make a seperate list.  For example, some of my BumGenius diapers say "made in the USA", while others say "made in Egypt". 

*Also note that most companies order their materials overseas.  There were only a couple of sites that made special note that some or all of their materials are also made in the USA.

Made in the USA:
Canadian Made Diapers
Made in the USA and Overseas

*I have added a couple.  If I find anymore I will add them, as well!

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Smart Choice

Last year my reseach into which cloth diapers to try led me to Smartipants.  At the time, I had 2 in diapers, a young infant and a 2.5 year old.  I loved the idea of a one-size design so I could use the same diaper for both kids.  The biggest appeal to me, though, was the sleeve design.  This pocket diaper has 2 openings for the insert, in both the front and back.  This feature allows the microfiber insert to agitate out in the wash.  I decided to try a 3-pack, but I was already hooked before they arrived!!

Smartipants offers a sleeve design, so the insert agitates out in the wash!

I soon fell in love!  The outer material is very soft.  Riley could wear them on the largest rise setting, while Elijah could wear them on the medium setting.  Since Elijah was 2 months old before we started CDing, I do not have experience CDing a newborn.  But, imo, I do not think they would be good for an itty bitty, since even at the smallest setting, the leg holes seem a little big for a newborn.  Smartipants now offers the "Little Smarti" newborn diaper, an AIO with hook & loop closure.  When Elijah was little, he was a chunker!  Nearly 21 lbs by 4 months.  I loved how the Smartipants fit snugly on his chunky thighs with no leaks.

Left to right, largest to smallest rise settings.  Notice that the wings overlap.
 The OS pocket only offers a snap closure.  I must say the snaps on this diaper are very durable!  And so is the diaper itself.  They are used daily, but after almost a full year of use, they still look almost brand new!

I also love how the inserts have a green edge.  It makes it very easy to find them when putting away the diapers.  You see, I'm a little weird and OCD when it comes to the diapers.  I have to use the original insert that came with the diaper (brand only, though, otherwise it would get confusing!).  I do have a couple diapers that did not come with inserts, so for those I have either bought new inserts or just use extras that I have around.

I have tried Smartipants for overnight on Elijah, and they are just....okay.  The pocket does not leave a lot of room to add extra inserts (unless they are thin), and the single microfiber insert isn't enough for E all night (even when he was little).  I think they are very absorbant, though for regular daytime use.  And they hold in poop extremely well!  Not once did E have a poosplosion while wearing Smartipants. 

E at 3.5 months, Riley at 2.5 years

Elijah, at 10 months.
I am normally not a fan of pastel colors.  However, I do like the color choices for Smartipants.  Most of the colors (except pink and purple) are gender neutral.  This definitely makes them a good choice in the long run, since we are planning another baby in a couple years.  Even if we have a girl, she would be able to wear these very same diapers!  I do wish they offered more color choices, but in addition to their current choices, not in place of.  My favorite color is the chocolate brown, which is now only sold occasionally in special 3 packs.  
Despite my cloth diaper addiction and *need* (hehe) to try every cloth diaper ever made, I still love my Smartipants!!  I still reach for them daily, despite all the adorable printed diapers E has.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tidal Wave

This is the first of several detergent reviews for cloth diaper laundry.  Stay tuned in the coming months for reviews on Lulu's in the Fluff, Rockin' Green, EcoNuts, and Country Save

First, I'll let you know how I'm testing.  I will test each detergent for 1 month, unless I start having build-up and/or any other issues before that time.  In between testings, I will strip all of the diapers in RLR Laundry Treatment so there is no residue of the former detergent.  My review of Tide original powder is a little different, though, since that is what I started with a year ago when we started CDing.  I will also review Tide Free & Gentle, since I used that for about a month recently. 

I have an older top loader, with normal water.  I have a mix of natural and synthetic materials.  My normal wash routine is: Cold rinse.  Long hot wash plus detergent, followed by one cold rinse.  I typically wash every 3 days.

I know, I know....Tide is NOT a recommended detergent for cloth diapers.  It has enzymes, brightners, dyes, fragrances...alll the bad stuff for cloth diapers.  However, when I was researching cloth diapers and what detergent to use, I had on overwhelming response suggesting Tide.  Somehow, despite all the bad ingredients, Tide worked for so many.  I wanted something cheap, that I could pick up at the store while doing my weekly grocery shopping.  My kids do not have sensitive skin, and I wasn't as concerned about using an all natural or organic detergent, so I decided to give it a try.

Not once did I deal with stink or repelling issues.  Well, the only time I ever smelled ammonia was after a long weekend trip where the dirty diapers went unwashed for 5 days.  But a soak in white vinegar, then the normal wash routine, plus one extra rinse, cleared it right up.   

With Tide, I use 1/2 the recommended amount, less if it's a smaller load.  Despite not having stink issues, I will add about 1/4 cup white vinegar to the pre-rinse to help keep the diapers (especially the natural fibers) soft and squishy.  Stains are never much of an issue, and they are very faint if there were any.  They sun out easily and quickly.  Maybe once every 4-5 weeks I will do a soak in Oxyclean if I felt they needed it, but I don't really think it's necessary.  I don't do this as often now that I'm not as paranoid about mild staining like I was in the beginning.  Tide worked so well that I started using it on all of our laundry.

A few months ago I decided on a whim to try Tide Free & Gentle.  Don't ask me why, I just wanted to try it.  At first, it was fine, and I didn't have any problems.  But after about a month, I noticed E's diapers were leaking often and I noticed a mild ammonia smell.  This can be a common problem with many free & clear detergents, though some have no problems.

As soon as I noticed a problem, I went to the store and bought Tide original.  I stripped the diapers by first doing a soak in white vinegar, then a hot wash with Tide original, and multiple hot washes after that.  No more stink or repelling issues.  Lesson learned.

What detergent to use is, in my opinion, the hardest thing to recommend for cloth diapers since there are so many factors. Detergent success depends on what washer and what type of water you have, as well as any skin sensitivities your child may have. This is why I suggest to do your research, then pick a detergent you think will work, and try it out. If it doesn't work, then try another. I know it seems daunting, but it's really not. I got lucky, and the first detergent I tried worked great!

In case you are new to the cloth diaper world, fabric softener of any kind (alone, in detergents, or dryer sheets) should never be used on cloth diapers.  It causes build up, which is the culprit behind stink and repelling issues.  As an alternative, white vinegar is a natural softener.  Using wool dryer balls (2-4) can not only soften clothes, but also cut down on drying time! 

In early March I will have my next detergent review, EcoNuts!  In the meantime, I will be reviewing several cloth diapers.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Gut Check

At 18 months old, I expressed my concern to Riley's pediatrician about his language.  I was concerned that he was on the lower end of how many words he should be saying, as well as how he said them.  She told me not to worry, that he would catch up.

I was also concerned since he had a history of ear infections.  His doctor told me that most kids outgrow ear infections by the age of two, so she did not recommend even considering tubes until then.  Despite my concern, I listened to his doctor.  After all, she's the medical professional, right?

I even asked on a parenting forum if I should be concerned, and the general consensus was "He's a boy, he'll catch up", "boys talk later than girls, don't worry, he'll be fine", "my child didn't talk until they were x years old, and now they won't stop".




Everyone, including his pediatrician, said to wait and re-access when he was 2.5 years.  So I did, though I always had that nagging suspision that something wasn't right.

When Riley was 2.5, he had yet another ear infection.  At his appointment, I spoke to his doctor about my continuing concern about his speech.  Again, she responded by telling me that even though he was on the lower end of the number of words he should be saying for his age, he was still in the "normal" range.  That was not what I wanted to hear.  She completely ignored my concern about how he spoke, and the fact that even I could barely understand him.  He talked all the time, we just didn't know what he was saying.  I was constantly translating everything he said, at least the parts I could understand myself, even to Ryan.

If you know Riley, you know just how sweet he is!  He loves to play with other kids, especially older ones.  When we would go to the park or mall play areas, he loved finding new friends.  Most of the time the kids, even older ones, played with him just fine.  But there were many times that the older kids didn't want to play with him because he was a "baby".  Now, when I say "older" kids, I mean kids less than 2 years older than him.  He was 2.5-3 years old, not a baby.  It broke my heart.  Especially since it never phased him.  He is so kind hearted that he didn't realize they were being mean to him.  As he got a little older, it started to effect him more.  He would come tell me, with a sad face, that his friends wouldn't play with him.  What do you say to that?  I would try to encourage him to find another friend if someone wasn't being nice, but it was still hard to watch.

I had enough.  This, along with some other reasons, gave me the reasons I needed to find a new doctor.  In the meantime, though, I looked up the number for Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) and contacted them myself.  No doctor referral needed!  We scheduled an evaluation, and 3 weeks later a Speech Language Pathologist came to "play" with Riley. 

She knew immediately he qualified for services.  She jokingly said "Do we even need to do an evaluation?"  That made me feel so much better, just to have that confirmation that I was right.  That's not the reason I wanted an eval done, to prove I was right.  But it did feel good to know that I made the right decision to leave a doctor who would not listen to my concerns about my child.  I am the parent, after all, and who knows my child better than me?  She told me he had a severe articulation delay, therefore causing an expressive language delay.  Again, that just confirmed what I tried telling his old he said his words was my biggest concern, and that is his main delay.

He was put on a waiting list, since they had so many children needing services at that time.  It was nearly 6 weeks later, in late March of 2010 that Riley started weekly sessions.  The SLP came to our house to work with him.  ECI is a great program, for children ages 0-36 months.  Meaning, when Riley turned 3 years they could no longer help him.  Since he only had a few months with them, ECI helped me through the process of enrolling him with our school district to start ST in the fall.  He again went through an evaluation, as well as a hearing test.  His hearing was normal, no hearing loss despite all of the ear infections he had.

Before the school year ended, we had him set up to start ST in the fall.  He turned 3 over the summer, and so ended his weekly ST sessions.  In June, he had back to back ear infections again, so we were referred (by our new wonderful doctor who listens) to an ENT.  Pretty soon surgery was scheduled for early July to insert tubes and remove his adenoids.  In speaking with his current doctor, his SLP, as well as the ENT, we all agree that his speech delay was almost certainly caused by the number of ear infections he has had.  Even though his hearing was not effected, the way he heard sounds was.  We all think this is why he has an artic delay. 

He started ST in the fall (at the same school I went to as a child) twice a week.  Fast forward to now.  He is 3.5 years old, and I do not need to translate most of what he says.  He still has a ways to go, but he has come so far!  I am very proud of his work.  He loves going to his "speech class" at his "red big school"!  He enjoys playing with kids at the park and play areas, and it's been a long time since I've heard one of them calling him a "baby".

I'm not sure if he will graduate in May, or if he will continue next year with his ST.  I'm not worried about that.  I'm just happy he's getting the help he needs now.  I know to always follow my "mother's intuition" when it comes to my kids, despite what others (including doctors) may say.  No one knows a child better than their own parent.

For a long time I said I regretted not being pushy early on, instead of waiting so long.  Now, I do not believe in regrets.  I see no point in them.  We don't have time machines to go back and change anything, and even if we did, I believe we can use all of our experiences (good and bad) and learn from them.  So for me to say I regretted not following my gut sooner is a very big statement.  But I no longer regret it.  I use this experience to share Riley's story with others.  Any time someone asks about their child's speech, development, or anything they are unsure about, I always tell them to follow their gut.  Even if everything turns out fine, I think it is better to be sure than to always wonder. 

Riley playing at the Children's Museum

Sunday, January 9, 2011

FABulous Night!

Please see my follow up post about the Thrirsties Duo Fab Fitteds.

Recently E's night diapers have been leaking more times than not.  So the search for a new night time diaper began!  The BumGenius 3.0's just aren't cutting it anymore as he's gotten older and bigger.  The hook & loop is so worn out that rather than investing in either new BG 4.0's or converting the 3.0's to snaps (and also buying new more absorbant inserts), I decided to try new options.  Plus, it gave me an excuse to fall off the wagon!  And who doesn't love trying out new fluff?!

I saw via Facebook that a local cloth diaper shop (the Nappy Shoppe) was going to be open all day, so I decided to stop in and see what I could find.  I talked to the shop owner about what I need, and she suggested the new Thirsties DUO Fab Fitted, with a G-Flapper Insert (made of hemp and bamboo).  I love how the new Duo Fab Fitted offers a pocket to add extra absorbancy as needed.  I decided to try it. 

Let me tell you before getting to the review that I do not have the fitted love.  I've tried them, but sold them off since I never used them.  I prefer to use pockets, wahm AI2's (work-at-home-made all in two's), or AIO's (all in one's).  And even though E has only worn the Fab Duo one night, I highly doubt my opinion is going to change, except maybe for the better!

For reference, Elijah is 14 months old, ~24 lbs, and ~30" tall.

Here is what I used for E's overnight diaper.  The Thirsties Duo Fab Fitted size 2 in Meadow, Thirsties Duo Wrap size 2 in Blackbirds, and a G-Flapper insert.

Here is the Thirsties Fab Duo on the small, medium, and large rise settings.  And the inside with the G-Flapper already in the pocket.  As you can see, there are actually 2 openings, which should allow the insert to agitate out in the wash!  The inner of this diaper is so soft!

Here it is on E (note that red mark on his leg is from his jeans not the diaper).  Since I got snaps, I couldn't get the perfect fit on him around the waist.  This looks a little snug, but one snap back it was a little loose.  The velcro would ensure a better fit, but I prefer snaps for their durability (though Thirsties seems to have good velcro).  It is on the smallest rise setting.  The elastic is very stretchy!  The medium rise setting left gaps around his thighs, even with an extra insert.  And yes, that is a CD keychain. ;)

Here is a side and back view of the diaper on E.  It isn't super trim, but I'm not expecting that for his night diaper.  I have not used the regular Fab Fitted, but I did compare them side by side at the CD store where I bought this.  The Fab Duo is not as trim as the regular Fab Fitted, but I like how it's the duo size to allow a better fit longer, and I love the pocket to add extra absorbancy!  I prefer OS diapers over sized so I do not need to continually buy a new stash as LO grows, so this was a huge appeal to me in buying this diaper.

And here is the front and back view of the Duo Wrap on him.

This lasted all night, no leaks!  I even BF'd him 3 times (twice overnight and once in bed before getting up to change his diaper in the morning).  The outer fabric of the Fab Duo was wet, but not completely soaked.  I will definitely buy more of these and use them as his new nighttime diaper!! 

The one thing I do not like so far is the dry time.  It was in the dryer on low heat for about 1 hour 15 minutes (the other diapers usually dry in about 50 minutes, but this was still really wet so I added another 25 minutes).  It was his bedtime and it still wasn't completely dry, so I turned it inside out and dried on high for another 15 minutes.  That really helped.  I would imagine it would take a really long time to line dry since it took so long in the dryer.

So, I love it!  Even though I don't love fitteds, I like this one for overnight!  When I bought it I didn't realize it just started shipping last week, and that I am one of the first to try it out.  I hope this helps you if you've been thinking about buying one.