Sunday, May 17, 2015

Flats and Handwashing: Final Thoughts

Today concludes the Flats and Hadwashing challenge and I am glad to see it go this year.  Last year was all bright and shiny and I wanted to prove I could do it.  This year reality hit and I was not as excited.  For my final thoughts I wanted to share 5 tips that I think would make long term hand washing of flat diapers more achievable:
1. Invest $20 in a mobile washer, it works so much better than the plunger and if you are doing this all the time, easier is always better.  I would also say to buy a new handle for it so that you don't have to stoop over and kill you back each time you wash.
2. Have enough flats for 3 days and wash every other day.  If you accumulate a days worth of diapers in a bucket and then just wash both buckets at once and only every other day.  The hardest part for me this year was that I didn't have any flexibility to not wash at night.  So if I had a long day and was exhausted, the only way I would have clean diapers the next day was to wash every night which got old before the week was up.
3. Experiment with different folds to see what works for you.  Last year I did the pad ford 100% of the time and this year I really enjoyed finding different folds that worked better for different situations.
4. Don't get down if you have to use the occasional disposable diaper.  I don't think I would have made it through over 2 years of cloth diapering if I didn't allow myself the flexibility of an occasional disposable.  Just think of all the money you are saving with all of the cloth you DO use.
5. Don't be afraid to deviate from your routine.  Ask Daddy to wash one night a week, let your preschooler agitate a bit for you (not as effective but still works).  One day I also washed during the day and while it took forever because they soaked so much each time, I was less tired and not as stressed to get it done at night.
This year I would say that handwashing long term is doable, but very difficult.  Making whatever changes you need to make so that you can use as much cloth as possible would really be my goal for any long term plan. 

post signature

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Daddy Does Laundry (The Handwashing Edition)

My husband it hugely supportive of our family using cloth diapers and frequently helps me with the diaper laundry.  Last year when I did the Flats Challenge I did all of the washing but my husband does help out with the wringing of the washed diapers.  This year I asked him if he would wash one night and give me his thoughts. 
Here they are: "IT WAS TERRIBLE!"
When I asked for something positive his response was "I got my first workout in months".  Followed by "our children definitely don't appreciate us much".  I asked if he thought they got clean his response was "clean enough to go on our baby's bottom".  He also said that it wasn't as smelly as he thought it would be and he couldn't imagine if we didn't have a diaper sprayer.
Thankfully though his last comment was "I'm shocked you have been doing this all week!"
In conclusion I think that my husband definitely isn't cut out for hand washing but I am glad that he did it one night because now I think he can appreciate all the work involved :).

post signature

Friday, May 15, 2015

Flats Wash Routine 2015

Well the 5th annual Flats and Handwashing challenge is half over and so far it is going alright for me.  I got a little lazy last night and didn't wash, so I had to do my washing this morning.  I was able to do some agitating in between helping my girls get ready and then would let them soak while I was actually doing stuff with my girls and that worked pretty well.
My actual wash routine hasn't changed much from last year but there are a few things I am doing differently. The first thing I wanted to do differently is that I use my diaper sprayer to rinse every diaper (even ones that are just wet) before putting it in my pail so that it would get rid of some of the urine and all of the poop before I even had to start washing.  The second thing I changed is that after I do the hot wash "cycle" I rinse each item under the tap before putting it back in the bucket for the rinse cycle.  This has cut my rinse cycles down significantly.
One thing I didn't actually change this year but would change if I was planning on handwashing long term would be to buy a second bucket, have enough diapering supplies for 3 days and only wash every other night.  I think it would be pretty easy to put the two buckets side by side in my tub and after agitating one do the other one and then let them soak at the same time.  The wash routine isn't super cumbersome but it would be nice to not have to do it every night.
post signature

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Overnight Solutions with Flats

Today is day 3 of the Flats and Handwashing challenge and so far everything is going well. My sitter has had to deal with most of the diaper changes for the first two days but I am in charge of the night time solution. 
Last year when I did the flats challenge for the first time I had never used flats before and I was using disposables at night.  I was so thankful for the flats challenge because I found what a great option flats could be for night time and continued to use my flats and covers at night for a while after the challenge concluded.  My success lasted a few months and then my second daughter started wetting more at night and the flats just couldn't hold up.  I went back to disposables for a while before I found some fitteds that worked well for us (trial results coming soon!). 
Going into this year's challenge I was really concerned that I wouldn't be able to find an appropriate night time solution.  One flat wasn't enough and when I pad folded two flats it was way too bulky for my skinny kids. Last year I never did any fancy folds so until recently I didn't even think of combining folds for a good night time solution.  I tried out my combination of a (modified to fold in more) kite fold with a pad folded extra flat in the center a few night before the official start of the challenge and so far I have had great success!!!  I also like to add a fleece liner on top so that it has a stay dry feel since they are in the diaper for 12 hours at night.  This has been a great solution because its so trim but still so absorbent.
My recommendation for night would be to try different configurations until you find one that works for you.  
post signature

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Flats and Handwashing: My Stash

Stash shots are always fun and today I am sharing a picture and some info about my diaper stash for the flats and hand washing challenge.

I pretty much always am using flats/cover either during the day and almost every night one my two girls so it was impossible to get a full stash shot but here is at least a partial shot. But here is what's not in the wash before the start of Day 1:

My stash for the challenge is probably more than I would really need but because I have it all already on hand I decided to include everything I had in the tally below.
OsoCozy Birdseye Flats ($12) - I love these for overnight and for just every day use
2 Imagine Bamboo Flats ($9) - These are really absorbent and great for overnight
5 Receiving blankets ($10) - I like these for during the day and I like the pop of color
5 Flour Sack Towels ($5) - These are my least favorite so I use them as a back up
3 Rumparooz covers ($33) - I got these on sale so I would have more covers for nights and I love them!
1 Thirsties size Medium ($10) - I had this from before and it is a solid cover
1 Bummies size small ($13) - I love this for day when I want a more trim look
1 Sweet Pea cover ($10) - I bought this for the challenge last year but it's my backup cover
1 Blueberry coverall ($18) - I bought this for night time too since its nice and wide
1 Flip Cover ($5) - I got this during a seconds sale, you can't go wrong for $5!
2 Homemade covers ($16) - I have two covers that I made myself that the materials cost about $8 each
Bucket ($5) - Just a cheap bucket from the hardware store
Mobil Washer ($20) - I used this washer last year and it was amazing, I swear it works better than my washing machine
15 Wipes ($5) - I make these myself also and I love having cloth wipes
4 Snappies (13) - For when you want a fancy fold :)
Diaper Sprayer ($40) - my husband made me one when I started using CDs and while it's not required it is a life saver.
In total my stash would cost (brand new) just over $200.  Of course this is enough to cover at least 2 days so you could probably go with half (saving at least $50).  Also if I was building a stash from scratch I would take advantage of sales, loyalty programs, buy used, etc. and I really think you could have a really nice full stash for about $125-150.
**Post contains affiliate links**
post signature

Monday, May 11, 2015

Why Take the Flats and Hand washing Challenge?

Today is Day 1 of the Flats and Handw ashing challenge and I am excited to get started.  I completed the challenge last year and it was such an insightful and rewarding thing to be part of.  Today I am sharing the reason(s) why I decided to take the 2015 Flats and Hand washing Challenge!

Looking back on my reasons for taking the challenge last year I realize that four out of five of my reasons were for myself.   Of course there is no wrong reason to take the challenge but after successfully completing it last year I now know I can and therefore have a whole different reason to take the challenge.  Of course I want to prove to myself that I can do it again and feel the sense of accomplishment of finishing the "challenge" but really my main goal now is to spread awareness.  After taking the challenge last year I was shocked how "easy" it is, how clean my diapers got and was very moved to try and help use that knowledge to help those that may not be able to afford expensive AIO diapers and a fancy HE washing machine.  I have been reaching out to local companies that provide mom/baby assistance and while I have not successfully talked them into letting me do a demo (and giveaway!) yet, I know it will be soon.  Hopefully one more year under my belt will show my knowledge and commitment so I can help others.
If you are taking the Flats and Hand washing Challenge this year what is your top reason?
post signature

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

gDiapers: Trial Results and Review

Two years into my cloth diaper journey I am finally sharing cloth diaper trial results of the first cloth diaper I ever hear about, gDiapers.  Years ago, before I even had kids of my own, a friend registered for cloth diapers and I distinctly remember gDiapers being on the list.  My first thought was that they were really expensive and it was gross (boy was I wrong!!).  Fast-forward about 3 years and I’m researching cloth diaper for my own baby and the majority of what I read was not in favor of gDiapers so I never even tried them, until now.  Here are the results of the gDiapers trial:

Number times of uses: 12Number of leaks: 1
Longest wear without a leak: 4 hours
Big Booty factor – 1
Best Use: Around the house, under tight cloths/jeans

* Very trim, probably the most trim of any diaper I have tried
* Reusable shell, so each change is less expensive (approx.. $12 a change)
* Lots of great color and print options
* Inserts are natural hemp/cotton but also have a stay dry feel
* No tight elastic to leave marks on your baby
* More complex to use and has a slight learning curve
* Does not have a one size option so have to purchase multiple sizes
* Hook & Loop closure is on the back of the diaper making it hard for squirmy babies
Before I ever ordered my gDiaper to try out I was convinced that it would not work well.  The vast majority of the blogs and other personal reviews had very little positive to say about gDiapers so I was sure that I would have the same experience.  I actually put of putting gDiapers through my trial because I was certain they would not perform well, boy was I wrong!!  As you can see above, they actually performed really well, just as good if not better than most brands I have tried. Most of the reviews I have read in the past complain of constant leaks but I actually had very few.  This made me consider why so many people would have bad results when I didn’t experience the same thing.  Looking at the gDiaper construction, while it is very interesting and different than anything else I have seen, it seems like if you aren’t careful that leaks probably would be easy.  If I was new to cloth diapering I can see how you might not get the whole insert tucked into the waterproof pouch, or have a hard time putting them on your baby leading to more leaks.  Thankfully after 2 years of practice and experience with many, many types of diapers I think that my experience made it so that I was more successful.  While this brand is frequently the first brand that people try, it is clearly not as user friendly and I can see why people would have problem and become discouraged.  While I like to include my thoughts with the trail results I do like to focus on the actual results, which were actually excellent!
As noted above, this diaper has a very unique construction with some features I have not seen on any other diaper I have tried. The first is that the outside of the diaper is actually cotton and therefore is not a waterproof later but the use of a cotton knit makes the diaper really trim and also limits the tightness of baby’s thighs.  The material used on the outside probably also makes it easier to gDiapers to have a bigger variety of prints and colors.  The second interesting feature is the waterproof pouch that snaps inside the cover.  This is the part where the absorbent insert gets stuffed into and since it is very small if any part of the insert is outside of the pouch it will cause wicking onto the shell and leaks.  The pouch is wipe able and makes the cover reusable.  I just had one shell so I would have to restuff each time, but I have heard of people having multiple pouches that are prestuffed and then they just snap them in and out of the shell.  The last interesting feature is the natural fiber insert that is microfleece topped.  This give the diaper the benefit of the absorbency of natural fibers but also makes it stay dry against baby’s skin, which you don’t see a lot.  The one feature that I don’t like is the hook and loop closure.  gDiapers does not have a snap option and the H&L fastens behind your baby which is very awkward to secure with a still baby let alone a squirmy baby.  I found that I had to lift my daughter up to get it fastened (if you have a suggestion to combat this please leave it in the comments below!). 
Overall I was pleasantly surprised with this diaper.  I LOVE how trim it is and the performance was actually great.  There are a few awkward features but mostly its an interesting diaper.  My only comment is that I would not buy this for someone new to cloth diapering, I think they will have more success after trying out some easier brands.  I will definitely keep this in my rotation though and I keep eyeing some of their adorable prints!
Have you used gDiaper before?  What was your experience?
*Post contains affiliate links.  I have not been compensated in any way and all opinions are my own*
post signature