Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Cloth Diapers

Cloth diapers do still exist. And they are better than ever. If you choose to cloth diaper your little one, it will quickly become an obsession, as I have learned!

Why cloth? Well, the Maine Cloth Diaper Company has a good explanation of the reasons someone would choose to cloth diaper their baby:

Why Cloth?
There is a simple answer to this.
Cloth diapers are not full of chemicals that may be harmful to your baby. Therefore, they are a healthier alternative to disposables.
Cloth diapers are much more affordable than disposable diapers. On average a baby would cost anywhere from $1500 to $2500 for disposables, when you can start cloth diapering for as little as around $350 for a basic system to $500 for an all organic/ natural diapering system for the complete two to three years of diapering.
Cloth diapers are better for the environment! By the time a baby potty trains he or she will go through approximately 5000 diapers! That is a lot of diapers for one baby to be going into a landfill. No one knows for sure, but it is estimated to take at least 500 years for a disposable diaper to decompose!

The cloth diapering world can be overwhelming for a new mother. Prefolds (that rectangular piece of cloth that you fold and stuff in a cover) are the most widely recognized cloth diaper because they've been around for so long. They're like what your grandmother probably used. But there are so many other kinds out there now! When I first started learning about cloth diapering, I became quickly frustrated because there were so many different types and systems that I didn't know where to start! A lot of message boards (I learned about them on MotheringDotCommune) use abbreviations, so that made it even more difficult for me. Luckily, the mothers on Mothering are so nice and helpful and talked me through everything. So now, I will do the same for any readers out there willing to "convert!"

Here are the different types of diapers you can choose from:

-Pocket Diapers: We have been using pocket diapers from the start. Not the cheapest option, but definitely convenient. Basically, it's a diaper with either velcro or snaps with a water resistant outer liner so it DOES NOT require an extra cover. The inside lining is usually fleece which helps keep the moisture away from the baby's tush. There is an opening between the two layers in the back where you "stuff" the diaper with inserts depending on the needs of your baby. Some babies are heavy wetters and require more inserts than others. That is the reason I like them. If you use them at night, you can stuff a bunch of inserts in them. They are also pretty trim and fit under clothes well.
Brands of pocket diapers that I have used/heard good things about include:
Fuzz Bunz
Haute Pockets (These are also one-size...more on that later!)
Happy Heiny's
BumGenius 2.0 one-size

-All-in-Ones (AIO): A diaper that does not require a cover or any inserts. It's basically everything in one diaper, kind of like a disposable, but made out of cloth! So they are easy. Downside is they take a while to dry after washing, so they're usually on the line longer or in the dryer longer. We have only used AIOs a couple of times and I have to say they are easy and great for outings. You can add a "doubler" (what you call an extra pad for absorbency that you sit right in the diaper) if the diaper themselves aren't absorbent enough. They usually aren't too bulky either, which is great!
The only brand of AIOs that I have used is Bumkins and they have a good fit and are trim. I'm not usually a fan of velcro, but the velcro on these are fine and don't bother my daughter's tummy when she is sitting down (she has a Buddha belly!).

-Fitted diapers: These look like a regular diaper with either snaps or velcro, but require a cover and often a doubler. We used these when our daughter was first born because they were relatively easy and you can get newborn diapers in this style. It's hard finding a pocket diaper that fits a newborn. We are just starting to use them again now that she's older and moving around more. You can get them made in hemp, cotton, even bamboo and more. They require a cover like I said, so are often quite bulky. They are good for at home or night time when you don't have to worry about fitting a cute outfit over that big diaper bum! I never understood why some fitteds have cute designs when you cover them up with something anyway, but they are still fun to look at drying on the line :)
Brands we like or have heard are good:
Bambineo One-Size (Made out of bamboo which is super absorbent and grown without the use of pesticides!)
Sandy's Fitted Diaper
Luxe Diapers These are so gorgeous and a bit pricey, but oh my...they are just SO NICE!

-Prefolds: The "old-fashioned" diapers that you fold and put under a cover. The middle sections have multiple layers of cotton to add absorbency. You will sometimes see them described as 4x6x4 or 4x8x4. This means that there are 4 layers on each side and the middle either has 6 or 8 layers. There are many different folds you can use. The Maine Cloth Diaper Company has some good folding instructions illustrated on their website. They also carry prefolds on their website. The benefits of using prefolds are they are the cheapest option and can also double as inserts for pocket diapers. We are just now starting to use prefolds under wool covers.

Now, for covers they are just as many options. You will need a cover if you are using fitteds or prefolds. Have I lost you yet? Don't get discouraged!!

Wool-Breathable, natural, warm in the winter and cool in the summer, naturally antimicrobial, water resistant, is cute and stylish and you don't need very many! There are many types of wool covers. Some are trim and have snaps or velcro and just go on over the diaper. Some don't have any snaps or velcro and pull up over the diaper (like undies) and are called "soakers". There are knitted wool pants called "longies" that are great for the winter. There are also knitted shorts called "shorties." We are using wool over her fitteds and prefolds now and like it. It is more expensive than other covers, but you don't need as many and the washing time is once every one to two weeks! That's because wool is antimicrobial. If the baby gets poo on it, you'll want to wash it sooner though. Just toss in a cold water wash, then lanolize and dry! That's it.
We like:
Loveybums wool covers
Kozy Designs soakers and longies
Woolly Bottoms Recycled Wool Covers You can find more of these online. They are made from sweaters!

Other covers: There are many other covers out there and it's pretty much trial and error. You have to decide which system works best for you. Some covers have velcro which many people don't like, others are too plasticy, some have snaps, some are softer, etc. You just have to see what you like and also see what fits your budget.
Some are:
Bumkins Diaper Covers
Bummis Diaper Covers

Another note: One-size diapers mean that they are adjustable and can fit newborn to toddlers. We have tried the BumGenius ones and they were very trim, but the suede-cloth lining made my daughter breakout for some reason. (She has very sensitive skin!) The Haute Pockets are a nice, adjustable diaper. This is good if you're looking for a diaper that lasts a long time and to save some money!

I hope I've convinced at least one reader to convert. I'm willing to answer any questions if you leave a comment, or you can find my e-mail through my blogger profile. Happy cloth diapering!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Don't Buy Gas Today!!

Gas Prices
Originally uploaded by Seismic_2000.

NO GAS...On May 15th 2007
Don't pump gas on May 15th April 1997, there was a "gas out" conducted nationwide in protest of gas prices. Gasoline prices dropped 30 cents a gallon overnight.

On May 15th 2007, all internet users are to not go to a gas station in protest of high gas prices. Gas is now over $3.00 a gallon in most places.

There are 73,000,000+ American members currently on the internet network, and the average car takes about 30 to 50 dollars to fill up.

If all users did not go to the pump on the 15th, it would take
$2,292,000,000.00 (that's almost 3 BILLION) out of the oil companies pockets for just one day, so please do not go to the gas station on May 15th and lets try to put a dent in the Middle Eastern oil industry for at least one day.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Oh Mister Sun, Sun, Mister Golden Sun....

Sorry about the lack of posts. My daughter has been keeping me busy! Our worms are doing great and hopefully multiplying so they will be able to eat all of our scraps soon. We have been giving them probably only 30% of our scraps now.

The sun is shining more and more and it's getting warm! After a bad sunburn (and I mean BAD...) two years ago, I am always careful about not being in the sun too long. The sunscreen I have had for years is getting too old and needs to be replaced. Plus, I looked on the label and couldn't pronounce any of the ingredients, so that was a red flag that I needed a new product!

Did you know that skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States?? 1.3 million cases reported each year? So I guess all those times my mother begged me to put on suncreen and told me not to sun bathe like all of my friends did, I should have really listened to her! So if sunscreen is supposed to protect us from getting cancer, how come it's loaded with suspected carcinogens like diethanolamine and other ingredients similiar (DEA, TEA). Suspected endocrine disrupters make up a large portion of the suncreen too. I'm not saying that wearing sunscreen is going to give you cancer, but just keep in mind that our skin absorbs everything. I wouldn't eat those chemicals, so why would I put them on my body?

Both my daughter and I have very fair, sensitive skin. I didn't know that the AAP says you shouldn't put sunscreen on babies less than 6 months old! Luckily, my daughter was born in the fall so we never had the need to. But now that it's getting sunny, I had to find sunscreen for both of us.

Now, I don't get any money from the companies I recommend. I simply advertise their products because I have them, like them and use them. A lot of people are overwhelmed with products on the market today, or some people who are switching over to more natural products might be wondering which ones people enjoy the most.

For sunscreen, I chose the California Baby No Fragrance sunscreen for my daughter. Their products are chemical free and free of common allergens. Since both my daughter and I have allergies, what I put on our skin is just as important as what we put in our bodies.

For myself, I love Aubrey Organics products. They are a great company. A while back my blonde hair was turning green from the copper in our water, so I used their "swimmer's shampoo and conditioner" and it helped. Their products are organic, not tested on animals, vegan and the best thing about them is you can pronounce just about every ingredient on the label. Just pick up a bottle of their shampoo and compare to the next natural shampoo. The more you can pronounce, the better! I picked up a bottle of their unscented sunscreen. Just to reiterate my point, look at the ingredients in the sunscreen I bought:

Active Ingredients: Padimate O (PABA Ester), Titanium Dioxide.
Inactive ingredients: Coconut Fatty Acid Cream Base, Organic Aloe Vera, Organic Jojoba Oil, Aloe Vera Oil, Organic Rosa Mosqueta® Rose Hip Seed Oil, Canadian Willowherb Extract, Aubrey’s Preservative (Citrus Seed Extract, Vitamins A, C and E), Silica, Lecithin.

Compared to Coppertone's sunblock SPF 30:

Ingredients: (from retailer or packaging) Active Ingredients: Homosalate, Octocrylene, Octinoxate, Octisalate, Zinc Oxide Inactive Ingredients: Water, Propylene Glycol, PVP/Eicosene Copolymer, Dimethicone, Arachidyl Alcohol, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Behenyl Alcohol, Arachidyl Glucoside, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Cetearyl Sulfate, Diazolidinyl Urea, PEG-30 Dipolyhydroxystearate, Methylparaben, Propylparaben

I think I'll stick with the Aubrey Organics :)

I urge you to think twice about what you are putting on your skin. The fact that sunscreen is put on skin, then exposed to heat and the sun which opens pores and allows it to absorb more easily should be enough to change your mind!