May 31, 2011

If I could do it all again.... Prefolds and the newborn

'if I had to do it all again' is a phrase I think most parents say throughout their lifetime...  My 'if I had to do it all again' moment of the day, is a cloth diapering issue. 

prefold fastened with a Snappi
IF I HAD TO DO IT ALL AGAIN.... I would definitely stick with using prefolds for a newborn baby - infact probably for the first 6 months of the babies life.  Why?  Because prefolds are simple, and they aren't as bulky as some diapers can be on a newborn.  I don't think Emersyn really counted as a 'newborn' when I used my first prefold - she was about 2 months old, perhaps a tiny big younger, but as soon as I'd used them for the first time, I was HOOKED - and still am.  I think they are the most versatile diaper (along with flats, I'd imagine) out there, and they seem to grow with your baby.  I liked them as much on Emersyn when she was 2 months old - as I do now that she is almost 1 year old (again, GULP!).  They can be folded and fastened, or they can be pad-folded/trifolded, it really depends on what you prefer, and what you find works best for your baby.

'basic' fold, fastened with a Snappi
put on a cover & you're good to go!
As I stated in a previous entry, prefolds are basically the step up from flats - and as with flats they can be fastened, though today a lot of parents prefer to use a 'Snappi' - which you can see in the photo above.  It is basically a rubbery plasticy... 'thingy', in a 'T' shape, with little pointy prongs at the end of each part of the 'T'.  You simply put the prongs in one side of the diaper, then the other side, followed lastly by the 'tail' of the Snappi.  They are a lot safer than pins, and admittedly a lot easier to use as well - I find they can generally be put on one handed with a small baby, but once they're wiggling around a little more, they can be easier to put on using both hands.  Then there is the simple pad-fold/trifold, where the prefold is folded in thirds, placed inside the wrap/cover - and then all you need to do is place the baby on top of the prefold & put the wrap on as per-usual... No pins (or Snappis) needed.. no fancy folding.. nothing.  The way in which you use your prefold really depends on your baby, and your personal preference - and if you're anything like me, you'll find that different stages call for different folds...

When Emersyn was little, I really really liked the 'bikini twist' fold - it's a great way to get lots of absorption between the legs, BUT it also creates quite a trim appearance.  For my old blog I did a step by step photo blog of how to do the bikini twist (which I believe is popular amongst Mums of girls)... so here it is again!
Step 1 - put baby on top of flat prefold
Step 2 - twist the bottom half of the prefold - left corner to the right, right corner to the left - it will in essence, look like an hourglass shape
Step 3 - bring the lower half up between the babies legs
Step 4 - tuck the outer edges under the 'wings' from top part of the prefold, and fasten!  I learnt soon after this that you can also fold the part of the prefold that is around the legs under - creating a trimmer look, and also providing a little extra protection
(example with the fabric around the legs tucked under more)
As I said, I really loved the bikini twist - particularly when Emersyn was at the age where she would just lie still during a diaper change - however as she started getting older I preferred doing a basic fold (which I sadly don't have a photo example of how to do this fold), OR just using the prefold pad-folded/trifolded.  The 'jelly fold' is another fold that I really loved when Emersyn was little - and it is one that is VERY popular with Mums who are breastfeeding!  I found the following instructions for the jelly roll (aka 'side wall' fold) on the diaperco website.. it's a simple fold - as follows
step 1 - fold down as much prefold as you desire, to get the right size for your baby & place baby on the prefold
step 2 - start rolling the sides of the prefold until it is a little wider than your babies tooshy

step 3 - roll up the other side of the diaper, then bring the diaper through the babies legs
step 4 - fasten!
as you may see by now, rolling up the sides of the prefolds creates a barrier of sorts, to stop any of that runny breastfed-baby-poo getting out, or to at least make it harder anyway!

Another benefit of prefolds is that they tend to be the cheapest option (along with flats) for cloth diapering - and I believe that in the early days it is best for a baby to be in a diaper that fits comfortably, and not one that is big and bulky... and it's going to be a lot cheaper to buy a stash of newborn/infant prefolds, rather than a whole stash of xtra-small/newborn/small diapers, and then have to purchase more when your babe grows out of them.  I definitely LOVE pocket & AIO diapers for Emersyn at the age she is now, but I do keep going back to prefolds.

An added bonus of prefolds is that when they do grow out of the newborn/infant size, you can use those prefolds as boosters and inserts for your bigger diapers - so you can get a LOT of use out of them... Not to mention the fact they can be used for more than 1 baby!

May 27, 2011

I believe the children are the future.. of cloth!

"Mummy, what's the point in buying ugly nappies you have to throw away, if you can buy pretty nappies you can use heaps?"

This innocent (and utterly adorable) statement made by Gaby yesterday got me thinking about the fact that in reality, those of us who use cloth diapers are raising the next generation of cloth users.  I know from my own parenting choices that a lot of what I do, I do because my parents did with me & my sister... therefore what I do as a parent is going to have an impact on what my girls do as parents, or at least what their thoughts are on various aspects of being a parent.

That thought then got me thinking that by using cloth diapers - Gaby is going to think of cloth diapers as the natural choice for diapering when SHE is at the stage in her life that diapering is a reality for her (please god, make that in at least 20 years!)... and then chances are that'll be the same for a LOT of other children whose parents have used cloth diapers.

We are raising the next generation of cloth users.

But not only is it the children of parents who have used cloth diapers, it's also going to be any children who has had contact with someone who uses cloth - my cousins for instance.  Jasmine (13) & Alice (10) stayed with me for a week this summer, and BOTH were fascinated by my use of cloth diapers - they showed a real interest, and loved helping me stuff them & fold them after they'd been washed... it even got to the point that they argued over who was going to be the one to change Emersyn's diaper.  And before the week was up, both had told me that when they were 'ladies' they were 'so totally' going to use cloth on their babies!

2 more converts to the fluffy world of cloth!

Thinking about all this has got me thinking (I'm doing a lot of thinking right now!) that it is almost our 'repsonsibility' to make young'ens aware of the fabulosity that is cloth diapering, and to make a little impression on them, so that in 10, 15, 20, 30 years time when they are having babies themselves, they think back to how cute the diapers were, how easy they were to use, and how passionate WE were about them, so that they themselves think "hey - I might give cloth a go!".

What if for every 1 of us that uses cloth, 10 kids decide to use cloth when they are having children... in 10, 20, 30 years time there could be 10x as many parents using cloth - heck, cloth diapering could even be something that people don't screw their nose up about, and think people are 'crazy' for doing.

I can't wait to see my girls, using cloth diapers on MY grandchildren (oh god.. grandchildren... scary...)

Give away time!

Sadly I'm not giving away a diaper, but my friend Tat from 'Cloth Nappies Are Fun' has a simply scrumptious diaper to giveaway & I wanted to give you all the heads up!  It is open worldwide too!

here is the link... good luck!
Cloth Nappies Are Fun - GIVEAWAY!

May 23, 2011

Back to the beginning...

I thought it was time to take some photos of the different types of diapers, so that those of you who haven't come across modern cloth diapers before, would have more of an idea what the heck I'm talking about!  In amongst all the AIO, AI2, OSFA, OSFM, FB, BG, PF abbreviations & associated cloth diapering jargon, are the 4 (well, 4 of the 5) basic types of modern cloth diaper - the AIO & AI2 (all in one & all in two), the fitted, the pocket & the prefold.

We will start with the pocket diaper.  This diaper consists of a waterproof cover, which has a stay-dry layer on the inside - and in between the waterproof cover & stay dry inner, are insert - which provide the absorbent layer/s for the diaper.  They do up with either snaps or velcro/aplix, and come either sized (small, medium, large, x-large) OR in a OSFA (one size fits all) style.

the waterproof outer
the stay-dry inner (microfleece)
the cover and an insert
the insert slides in between the two inner & outer layers
Next, we have the fitted diaper.  The fitted diaper has all it's absorbency sewn in, and often will come with an optional soaker which can be snapped in, OR is sewn in as a flap.  Fitteds are NOT waterproof and require a waterproof cover.  As with pockets, these can be fastened with either snaps, or velcro/aplix

fitted, fastened with snaps
inside the fitted, you can see a detachable soaker pad
Now we get on to the AIO & AI2.  They are a combination of the fitted and the pocket, in the way that the absorbent layers are sewn into the diaper, and again there can be the snap in, or sewn in soaker flap, but unlike the fitted - and like the pocket, the outer material of the AIO is waterproof.  There is a distinction between the AIO & AI2 however.  The AIO - as said above, has all the absorbency sewn into it, whereas the AI2 has the cover - referred to as the 'shell', however all the absorbency needs to be added to it - generally with snaps.  The AI2 is sometimes referred to as a 'snap in' or 'snap in one'.

the AIO & AI2 are the same on the outside
the AI2 has a shell - with all the absorbency separate & to be snapped in for use
all the absorbency that can be snapped in (you can customise to suit your child)
the AIO however, has all of its absorbency sewn in, with or without an extra soaker flap
And last but not least, we have the prefold.  The prefold is the closest thing to the old school flats that were used 'back in the day'.  The diaper is essential sewn in thirds, with absorbency on the inside.  The two outer sections with less absorbency, the inside with more (usually 4x6x4 layers), and they can either be folded into a pad shape (trifolded), or they can be folded & fastened as with flat diapers.  As with the fitted diaper, prefolds do require a waterproof layer over top of the diaper.

a prefold in its flat state - you can see it is sewn in thirds, lengthways
a prefold in its trifolded state
Another option for cloth diapering - as I mentioned with the prefolds, is using flats.  I haven't added them as I don't have any personal experience using them, however I do plan on purchasing some & giving it a go - so stay tuned for my flats experiment! 

May 22, 2011

A fluffy day in the life of Emersyn

Here's a chance to see Emmy's fluffy wardrobe for a whole day!  Enjoy!

Good morning everyone!  Time for my first diaper change
"buh-bye" FuzziBunz
& hello pink (dyed) prefold!
... no prefold is complete without a cover (Bummis Super Whisper Wrap, Froggy print) - and on those cold days, a pair of babylegs!
Up from my nap - and it's time for an Itti Bitti (Bitti D'Lish) in Turqouise... Mummy didn't plan on the turquoise diaper matching the Turquoise in my babylegs!
now I'm up to no good.. but a least I look cute!
now my mean Mummy is making me have another nap...  I"m in my PeaPods this time - and funnily enough, my red diaper matches the red in my babylegs!
up from my nap & now I'm all nekkid - bar my diaper, ready for my bath!
nice & sparkly clean, showing off my BumGenius diaper - and showing Mummy how clever I am getting at standing up!
saying "buh-bye" to the people on TV... Mummy says it is time for bed...
having my bottle while Mummy changes my diaper... first step is a TotsBots Bamboozle
followed by a[nother] Bummis SWW - Jungle print this time!
and now I'm in bed... I don't want to but *yawn* I'm a bit tired... Non-night everyone!

May 17, 2011

set up costs!

I think a lot of people think of the start up costs of using cloth diapers, and that puts them off - because paying hundreds of dollars in one go, CAN be very off putting, especially if you don't have hundreds of dollars just floating around.  But I am here to tell you that you don't NEED to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars!  I personally think that prefolds & covers are the cheapest way to go, probably followed by OSFA (one size fits all) AIO's or pocket diapers....

So I have done some research online - using New Zealand websites, to get some cost comparisons for the price of diapers from birth to potty training...
*** please keep in mind these prices are for brand new nappies, from reputable stores - you CAN certainly pick up preloved diapers a lot cheaper (I may actually add an example to this post) 

Real Nappies have a 'birth to potty' pack which costs $600 and contains 6.5dozen prefolds, 23 wraps, 8 rolls of 100 liners, 2 bags of nappy sanitiser, 2 night time boosters, 1 pair of potty training pants and 1 wetbag

& when searching various websites I found Tweedle have 6 packs of small prefolds for $19.80, and 6 packs of regular prefolds for $21.60, and on YoYo Nappy I found a cover which has a OSFA option, for $25.00.  This little combnation would come to a total of $344.00 (2doz small prefolds, 1.5doz regular prefolds & 8 covers)

When it comes to OSFA pocket diapers, the cheapest I could find were from Cherub Tree, where you can get 20 OSFA pockets for $349.70... 20 is the minimum number of pockets I would be wanting & is what I started out with.

Sticking with Cherub Tree, I also found their AIO diapers for a bulk price of 447.70 for 20 diapers.  Again, 20 is the minimum amount of diapers I would want to have on hand

I know a lot of people will still be thinking that $344.00 is expensive, particularly at one time, so for an example of how cheap you can do things, here are some examples I found on TradeMe...
  • 18 prefolds (regular size) - $40.00 buy now
  • 18 prefolds (small size) - $40.00 buy now
  • 8 prefolds (newborn size) - $20.00 buy now
  • 8 Real Nappies wraps (newborn size) - $20.00 buy now
  • 4 Real Nappies wraps (infant size) - $20.00 buy now
  • 5 Bummis wraps (small/infant size) - $35.00 buy now
there are none on right now, but you can see from those prices that you could most likely find 6-8 medium wraps for $30.00-40.00, so you could almost say you could get a whole system on TradeMe for just over $200.00 (most people I've spoken to have said they've not had to go past a size medium for wraps)

So here are some of the 'cheaper' deals I came up with on my search - keeping in mind these are for TOTAL diaper packs, that will do from birth-3yo approx

  • TradeMe prefolds & wraps, some used, some unused, some barely used - $200 approx
  • Tweedle prefolds & YoYo Nappy covers - $344.00
  • Cherub Tree OSFA pockets - $349.70
  • Cherub Tree OSFA AIO's - $447.70
  • Real Nappies 'birth to potty pack' - $600.00 (lots of extras)

What is important to remember is that you DON'T need to buy everything all at once...  There is no reason you can't buy items as you need them (unless of course you are getting a bulk deal), and remember to email the owner of the store to find out if they do lay-by (lay-away).  I was able to pay off my initial stash of OSFA pocket diapers, over the space of about 12 weeks, which made it VERY attainable!  Another way to develop a stash of diapers that won't cost the world, is to join an online cloth diapering forum, such as The Nappy Network (NZ) or Diaper Swappers & check out their 'FSOT' (for sale or trade) areas - I have purchased a lot of my diapers this way & definitely won't hesitate to do it again!

You can of course spend a lot of money building your stash if you wish - I'm a believer that when it comes to cloth diapers, you often do pay for quality - not that I'm saying the cheaper options I've mentioned above are bad quality - I have used all of those brands & have no complaints!  But if you did want to spend hundreds - urm, even getting toward the thousand (plus!) dollar mark it would be very easy... it all comes down to what you feel is acceptable to pay, because when you are done with the diapers there is a market for used diapers, so you could guarantee to make some of your money back!

If you ask me, trawling the internet for hours looking at diaper options & what prints etc you JUST HAVE TO HAVE, is a lot more exciting than walking into the supermarket & chucking a pack of 'sposies' in your trolley!

May 16, 2011

new & updated stash photos

I realised there were actually quite a few diapers that I no longer use, for various reasons - too small, don't fit 'right', aren't really absorbent enough.. so while I had all of them out, I decided it was the perfect time to take some new photos of my stash!  I think there were around 10 diapers not in the photos because they were in the wash/on her bum/in the baby bag... but here are most of them, in all their fluffy glory!

all the available pockets/fitteds/AIO's
All my Itti Bitti D'Lish, minus 1 which was on her bum (mint green)
My minky's & velour (blue is the velour)
Ecobubs (stripy), PeaPods (Pink & Red), MyBaby (blue) & a WAHM pocket
Babyland pockets
FuzziBunz (purple on the right), WAHM (purple up the top & pink on the bottom right), MyBaby (top left pink), PepeNaps (bottom left pink) & Blueberry bamboo fitted (in the middle)
Missing from all of this are also my prefolds (approx 2doz) & my wraps/covers (approx 10)...  It looks like a tonne of diapers - and admittedly IS, but only 2 or 3 of these were purchased at full price, and most were purchased for well under half of the retail price... and most will be sellable when Emersyn is done with diapers... so when you add all that up, it's not really a lot of money.

Certainly less than what I'd have paid on disposables by now!

May 11, 2011

Cloth Nappy Week 2011!

There are special days & weeks dedicated to pretty much everything now - even 'steak and blow job day' *rolling my eyes*, but one of the most exciting 'awareness' days/weeks for me is Cloth Nappy Week!!!  It is run in New Zealand between May 16 & May 22nd, and is basically a special time for celebrating cloth nappies (y'know - diapering), and for raising awareness about the wonderful awesomeness that is the cloth nappy!  Many 'nappucnios' are being held throughout New Zealand & I am extremely excited to be attending one of the Christchurch ones, for the first time!  Back tracking a little thought - 'nappucnino' is basically a 'coffee group to discuss cloth nappying' - I adore the little play on words!  Nappucino.. it just rolls off the tongue!

Many fabulous brands are supporting Cloth Nappy Week 2011, and I wanted to mention some of them here, on the off chance that anyone who is interested in cloth nappying in NZ stumbles upon my blog & want to know where to get their nappies from!  There are some of my favourites -, Real NappiesPeaPodsTweedle & YoYo Nappies & others I've heard a lot about but haven't tried yet - Fancy Pantz, Boon, Baby First, Mothers Instinct, Cheeky Cherubs, Naked Baby, Nudey Rudey - and no doubt others I've not mentioned.

One of the activities they are doing is creating a mountain of disposable nappies (I think I've mentioned this already!) - to give a visual idea of how many disposables ONE baby will go through in a year, and basically the money that gets thrown away at the same time.  I cannot wait to see the result, or to hear about the impact it has on people who use disposables - whether it encourages any of them to convert to cloth, or to at least consider it.

May 10, 2011

dying... to dye prefolds!

I have been wanting to dye prefolds for quite some time, and after seeing a few posts about it on Diaper Swappers & the Cloth Diapering board on JM I decided I just HAD to do it!  I have always loved the crisp whiteness of prefolds, but after awhile they do get a bit boring - even when paired up with a cute cover... so dying prefolds seemed like something I could do to jazz them up a bit!

The main ingredient - 'Dylon' dye powder, in 'flamingo pink' - Gaby's choice, of course!

then the other main 'ingrediant' - 3 nice white prefolds!  I decided that for this first batch I wanted a vibrant colour, so decided to see how vibrant 3 prefolds would get.. after seeing results I think it was the perfect number.

first you mix the dye powder in 500ml of warm water
then fill the sink with 6l of warm water & 5tbsp of salt, adding the salt to the water
add the dye mixture, to the water in the sink
then add the prefolds to the water/dye - using tongs (or similar) or rubber gloves
make sure the prefolds are completely covered (and ignore the white stuff on the top, it's some random thing that happens with the water when it comes out of the tap here.. it soon disipates)
after an hour (or longer) take the water out & rinse the prefolds until the water runs clear & then put on a warm or hot wash in the washing machine
final product!
the three side by side!  I quite like how whatever it is they are sewn up with, hasn't take the die & there is a nice white border around them
I am probably going to dye the rest of my prefolds now - playing around with various colours & vibrancies - AND I believe I may have to tie-dye some!