Thursday, November 28, 2013

School of Cloth: Cloth Diapering Two Children

This week (the final week) bloggers that are participating in the School of Cloth are writing about using cloth diapers in special circumstances.  I love this topic because there are so many different things that people can write about and I can't wait to read what others have to say (see links at the bottom of this post where you can check out the other entries as well).  I have two daughters that are just over 17 months apart and both still in diapers (oldest is 2 years, 2 months and baby is 8 months) so today I will be writing about cloth diapering two children. 

In the Beginning...
I started cloth diapering my oldest daughter when she was 17 month, just 2 weeks before my second daughter was born.  At the time I only had enough diapers to get me through a few days and would have to wash and dry immediately for use the next day (check out my week #2 post about how to build your stash).  So when my second was born I did not have enough diapers to cover both kids and because I was so new to cloth diapering I also didn't know anything about newborn diapers so the baby used disposables for about the first month. Over time I was able to build up enough diapers through sales, buying used and making some of my own to be able to cloth diaper both girls now and only have to wash every 3-4 days (although I wash every 2 days because there are so many diapers). 

But my Children are Different Sizes!
Thankfully I am at the point where my girls use diapers on the same size setting (my 2 year old is tiny for her age and my baby is average, so they almost weight the same amount!), so I can use their diapers interchangeably.  In the beginning though, the baby was on the smallest rise and my old daughter was on the middle rise for most diapers (or just wore sized diapers in Medium).  To keep from having to adjust all of my diapers each time one child wears them or each time I do laundry, I assigned each child specific brands.  My older daughter wears: Peachy Green, Swaddlebees, Bottombumpers, Alvas, Kawaii, and Sunbaby diapers.  The new baby was assigned: Charlie Banana, FuzziBunz and Softbums.  I split up the pocket diapers between the girls and designated those the nanny/other sitter diapers (because you know I can't let someone else use my favorites!) and then also divided the AIO/AI2s between them for me to use when I am home.  Another way to divide your diapers would be by color or I have also seen people write their child's initials in certain diapers so that they can tell which ones are set for the younger and older child (although this might hurt the resale value).

Everyday Challenges
One of the biggest challenges for me was remembering when each child got a new diaper.  Because it is recommended that you change cloth diapers every 2 hours, it can get really confusing when you have two kids to keep track of.  To combat this problem, I generally just change them both at the same time so I only have one time to remember.  We all start the day around the same time so they both get a new diaper when they get up, and then I just continue to change them every 2 hours one after the other.  The only kink in my plan is when one needs a new diaper before the 2 hours mark (soiled or leaking) when that happens then I still just go ahead and change both girls and start the clock again.

The second biggest challenge is the extra laundry.  When I was new to cloth diapering and I had enough diapers that I would only wash every 3 days.  After a few months I noticed that they didn't seem to be getting as clean and would require an extra wash cycle.  After some research I decided to wash every 2 days (or about 20 diapers) although I will let one load of diapers sit in the basked or on the drying rack until the next load is done and then fold them all at once.

After almost 7 months now of cloth diapering two children I think I finally have the hang of it :).  Having 2 in diapers isn't as bad as I thought it would be and for me its really just an excuse to buy more diapers!!
What are some of the special circumstances you have faced while cloth diapering?

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thanksgiving Hand Print Crafts and Decorations

Today I am blogging over at Tampa Bay Moms Blog with some ideas on how to turn your little one's hand print into cute decorations for Thanksgiving.  Check it out!

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Saturday, November 16, 2013

How to Make a Cloth Diaper Cake

My little sister is pregnant with her first baby and I couldn't be more excited.  Almost as exciting as having a new niece/nephew is that she has decided that they want to use cloth diapers, yeah!!  This of course is a perfect opportunity for me to buy more diapers and not incur the wrath of my husband.  Once I had all of these cloth diapers, of course the perfect presentation was a diaper cake.  Traditionally you only see diaper cakes using disposable diapers or prefold but because I got her a variety of diapers, this really made for a very colorful "cake".

The Contents:

Here is a picture of all of the diapers included in the "cake" with the exception of the snappis.
This includes:
   8 TXH Newborn AIOs
   6 Prefitteds
   1 Bummis Cover
   2 Snappis
   4 Charlie Bananas
   4 Sunbaby Diapers
   2 SoftBums Echo shells with 2 one size bamboo pods
   2 AI2 shells made by me with 6 snap in inserts
   24 Cloth wipes
   2 small Alva wetbags
   1 Alva pail liner
   1 CJs BUTTer in Monkey Farts
   100 Alva biodegradable liners

The Cake Tiers:

For the bottom tier I included the inserts and liners as the center and then placed all of the newborn diapers and the wetbags around the outside so that it would be fun and colorful.  I just rolled everything up and secured with rubber bands.

For the Second Tier I included the prefitteds in the center and then placed the shells of the Sunbaby and Charlie Banana diapers around the outside (on their side so they didn't stand up too high).

The top tier has the cloth wipes I made rolled up in the center and the SoftBums, AI2s I made and the Bummis cover on the outside.

I did not secure each of the layers to each other, I just placed one on top of the other.  Once I had it all together I tied Orange and Blue ribbon (go Gators!) around all of the layers to bring it all together.  Overall I was really happy with how it turned out and I think she will be really happy with the diapers!
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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

School of Cloth Week #2 - Investing in Cloth Diapers

This week the school of cloth is focusing on the financial investment for cloth diapers.  While saving money is not one of my main reasons for cloth diapering, I will say that the thought of spending $400 all at once did deter me from switching from disposable to cloth diapers for a while. 

Transitioning to Cloth Diapers
If you are still pregnant:
If you are still pregnant then this will be even easier for you than those switching from disposables.  I think the best way to build a "stash" while pregnant is to start buying 1-2 diapers (or saving the money for them) a month.  If you have 8-9 months to space out your buying then you can also make sure to take advantage of good deals or sign up for give aways.  Most online cloth diaper retailers have a newsletter that providers subscribers with discount codes and deals.  Additionally, there are tons of give aways all the time for cloth diapers (Padded Tush Stats and Change-Diapers both have a good roundup of all the current give aways).  Even better than buying them yourself is asking friends and family to buy you 1 (or more!) cloth diapers as a baby gift (some site even have registries), cloth diapers are truly the gift that keeps on giving!

If you are currently using disposables:
Because I didn't switch my first daughter until she was about 17 months old, I fell into this category.  Its definitely harder to spend money on both cloth diapers as well as disposable diapers while you build up your stash.  I did a lot of calculating before deciding to switch and the break even point (the point where your initial investment in cloth equals what you would have spent in disposables, I went simple and didn't adjust for inflation, interest, etc.) is at about 13 months assuming you spent about $400 on your cloth.  I think if you are making a transition like this and don't have a large budget then you have a few options to make it work: slowly integrate cloth into your life based on the RDA's suggestions, use cheaper options such as flats/covers or less expensive diapers or buy used diapers

What if You Can't Afford Diapers?
There are multiple amazing diaper lending not for profits (that will be covered next week on the School of Cloth) that you can contact and that will work with you and help if possible.  Additionally, I am really impressed by the free downloads offered over at Dirty Diaper Laundry about cloth diapering on the cheap using t-shirts and home made no-sew fleece covers.

How Much Money Can You Expect to Save?
My husband has probably read this prompt and wants to laugh.  While in the long run we will actually save money cloth diapering, I do have quite a spending habit and diaper collection (thankfully my wonderful husband gives me a monthly diaper "allowance").  How much you will save depends on how much you spend on your diapers and how much use you get out of them.  Although a lot of sites say that it will cost you about $2,500 to use disposable diapers for one child, I think that is not a realistic number.  Most people that I know that use disposable diapers will use a mainstream brand and on average probably spend about $40 a month on diapers.  I have also read that the average girl potty trains at 30 months and the average boy at 36 months.  Based on my calculations the cost to wash your diapers each year is approximately $100 in extra water, electric and detergent.  Therefore if you are just diapering one child, who potty trains at 30 months ($1,200 in disposables or $250 in water/electric/detergent) and you spend $400 on your cloth diapers you can expect to save about $550 on that child.  This number of course goes up based on the number of kids who use your diapers and also if you are able to sell your diapers after you are done.
My husband wants a lot of kids and I want a lot of diapers, so somewhere along the line we will hit our own break even point!

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Monday, November 11, 2013

Choose Your Charity Event

Thinking about cloth Diapers is doing a give away for a good cause with the Choose Your Charity Event.  You can enter to win not only for yourself but for your selected charity.  I don't normally share give aways, but this one is so generous I wanted to spread the word!

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

School of Cloth Week #1 - Getting Started with Cloth Diapers

I am excited for the first post for the School of Cloth blog hop hosted by the Read Diaper Association and The Eco Chic!  This week we are talking about getting started with cloth diapers, specifically selecting what diapers you want in your stash and washing your diapers.

Choose Which Cloth Diapers to Buy

When I started cloth diapering I wanted to try one of everything I could get my hands on.  I asked friends what they liked, researched online and just made some random selections.  Within the first few months that I used cloth diapers I had tried out 13 different diapers.  After trying out mostly pockets, all in ones, and all in twos, I also tried out prefolds, covers and even made some fitteds for my new baby.  After all  of my personal trials and research I have decided that I really like to have a variety but for ease I definitely prefer all in one diapers (if you want it narrowed down a bit, check out my suggestions for if you have a $200, $400 and $600 budget.)

Washing Cloth Diapers

After choosing what diapers to buy, washing diapers is probably one of the most searched, asked and questioned part of cloth diapers.  Behind waste disposal, the wash routine is probably one of the most frightening and overwhelming part of starting to cloth diaper.  I did a lot of research before starting and was overwhelmed by the amount of information and misinformation presented.

I have been cloth diapering my girls now for 8 months and I think that has been long enough to trouble shoot any washing problems that have come up.  Back in July I posted my washing routine and since then I would say that for the most part the core components have remained the same. 

Some of the things that I have learned since then include:

1.  I have two girls in cloth and plenty of diapers so I was washing every three days.  I noticed that my diapers were not getting as clean and I think the biggest problem was that I was washing too many diapers at once.  I switched to washing every other day (making it so that I am washing about 18 diapers a load) and noticed a significant improvement.  I will admit though that I don't always fold them after each wash, but sometimes combine two washes when I fold my diapers.
2. For my first two cycles (the one to wet them and the warm rinse cycle) I now turn off the spin for both cycles to be able to maximize the weight and trick my machine into using more water for the wash.

I think my biggest lesson though is that if you follow the general structure of the guidelines and basic principles of washing diapers and are able to be flexible and experiment with what works with your machine, water and detergent, then you can develop a successful wash routine.

Buying and washing diapers can be overwhelming in the beginning, but once you get started it is very easy, I actually look forward to doing my diaper laundry  now and seeing the rainbow of fun diapers we have :).

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