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EC- a different way of thinking about pottying

When do you think a child goes in the potty for the first time? Two years old maybe? When do you think they start being able to control when they go? …again, two years old maybe? How about two months old… or two weeks old! Say whaaaat?!

Another wonder of the natural parenting world that I learned of through my Bradley Birth teacher was EC: Elimination Communication. EC is a different approach to pottying, not potty training, by the way. It’s not about training, it’s about communication.

EC has two principles that go against much of conventional pottying thinking. Babies are born with the instinct to not soil themselves and they are born with the ability to hold it. Think about it, traditionally the belief is that babies have no control of their body elimination functions. They just go when they go and that’s that. And they end up sitting and wiggling in their own filth, and they seem pretty dandy with that too.

But here’s the thing: babies don’t like feeling soiled. However, they get put in a diaper where they feel it all the time, and they get used to it. It basically ends up making no difference whether they hold it or not, so they just go. They learn that it’s ok to soil themselves any time, any place. And then, roughly two years later, they have to unlearn it, and learn how to use a potty instead.

According to healthline.com, in the US, average starting potty training age is somewhere between 18 months and 3 years old, most commonly around 27 months. It’s often advised to look for signs of when a child is “ready” to start using the potty. But some kids (who are now toddlers, at this point) have a tough time letting go of the diapers they have gotten so used to.

I was inspired to write this post because I recently came across some blasts from my daughter’s past:

First time peeing in the potty, at five and a half months old!

This came up in my memories today. My daughter was five and a half months old. You can see in the picture how little she was, and you can see that on that same day, she went in her potty for the first time!

I remember that she would “pee on cue” waaaaay before then, but unfortunately I have no “evidence” of it. :/ We used to check her diaper (lying down, on her changing pad) and we’d say “psss, pshh, pss…” and quite often, she’d pee! Just into her actual diaper, and then we’d put a fresh clean diaper on her, and go on with the day. I don’t know how old she was, but she was just a couple weeks old when we started.

I would also bring her into the bathroom with me when I had to go, and I noticed that more often than not, when I would go, she would go too. This started creating an association for her that the bathroom is the room you go potty in. We would also check her diaper often, and change it as soon as we noticed it was wet. We went through a LOT of diapers this way, but it nurtured her instinct to stay clean. This was before she started sitting on her own potty, because she was too little to sit up at all yet.

I remember when she started sitting up on her own, I took her to Babies R Us and sat her (diapered and fully clothed) on a little potty, on the floor, in the middle of the potty aisle. She wiggled and fussed. Not ready yet. I went back a few days later and tried again. Same reaction. Still not ready yet. A few days later, I tried one more time. This time she just sat calmly on the potty. She was ready! I bought it, took it home, sat her on it and nothing happened the first try. But the second time I sat her in it, eureka! There was pee in the potty!

I found this in my memories too:

Proud mommy moment at my daughter using the potty like a pro, at just one year and three months old.

By now she was a year and three months old, and I just couldn’t help myself in sharing. I had one of my (non-mommy) friends comment that she got I was proud, but gross. But the point is, just-over-one year olds aren’t typically using the potty yet, especially not this successfully. But they can be!

The C for Communication in EC is all about having a closer connection to your child when it comes to pottying. It’s another line of communication in getting to know each other. You learn to pay attention to the signs they show when they need to go, especially when they’re tiny. You set up “pottytunities” and learn when they are likely to need the potty. The easiest place to start is to give baby a pottytunity right when she wakes up, either from a nap or from overnight. The next easiest thing to do, is to put baby fully clothed on a potty (or something similar to it, like a Bumbo or a bouncer) when you go potty, and keep them right next to you, and then check/change their diaper right after. As baby gets a little bigger, they’ll be comfortable sitting in a potty. Either their own tiny one, or the actual grown-up one.

This was the other blast from the potty past that I recently found:

News from her first day in her new Early Pre-School class.

This is from her first day in her new Early Pre-School class. At this point, she was 27 months old. Most toddlers are just starting to learn to use the potty. You can see her teachers were impressed that she went on her very first try. But she’d been using the potty for almost two years.

She still wasn’t fully potty independent (as they say in the EC world) until about two and a half years old, but it was a super smooth transition, especially at home. She had some shyness issues to work through at daycare. She also almost never would go overnight (even when she was a baby), and never had night accidents once she was fully out of diapers.

I learned about EC through my Bradley teacher, but I learned all about it from the Diaper Free Baby by Christine Gross-Loh. It was super interesting and a really easy read.

Paperback The Diaper Free Baby : The Natural Toilet Training Alternative Book
A wonderful resource to learn all about EC!

You can also visit diaperfreebaby.org for more information and to find a local EC support group.

As with many things, EC is something you can jump into headfirst, or something you can just dip your toe in. In other words, some parents actually go diaper free, and others do EC here and there, when they can. It’s really just another tool for your parenting toolbox. More than anything, to me, it’s a shift in perspective. Babies CAN have a part in keeping themselves clean and using the potty early on. It’s something that made my life easier (less soiled diapers!) and a way I felt more closely connected to my baby. It’s something that I didn’t know existed, and I’m happy to have found. So I pass it on to you! I hope it brings you closer to your baby… and farther from their dirty diapers!

Lilly in a cloth diaper

What’s Stopping You From Cloth Diapering?

Is it the laundry?  Is it the money? Is it the poop?!?!  

When my daughter was a tiny little thing, I knew I wanted to try cloth diapering.  I wanted to do it mostly because I wanted to do something positive for the earth instead of creating waste that will sit around for the next 500 years or so.

Two Years of Disposables vs Two Years of Cloth

But what stopped me was the research.  I had read (briefly) that to cloth diaper, you would invest a few hundred dollars for everything you need.  I felt guilty spending the money on something that I didn’t know if I would be able to do successfully or not.  But mostly, I felt like I was shooting in the dark as far as what brands to buy, how to wash them, what would work and what wouldn’t.  I knew there was lots (loads, endless amounts) of information out there, but I didn’t have the energy to sift through it all. I had no clue what brand to try and I had no good way of seeing and touching different ones to get a feel for what I wanted.

Of my many new mommy friends, I only had two friends who cloth diapered and they both had completely different approaches, which confused me even more.  And one of them lives in another state so it wasn’t easy to get advice from her.

I checked Babies R Us and they carried gDiapers.  They looked so cute but I thought they were kind of pricey.  I felt like I was already spending so much money on diapers that I didn’t feel justified spending even more on something that might not work for me.  They had nothing at Target and the only other baby store near me had one other brand that I was not familiar with.

I decided to try gDiapers.  They were the ones I constantly saw (since I was in Babies R Us multiple times a week at this point) but I bought one single pre-loved diaper on eBay.  This mitigated my guilt over spending the money and it was a way of testing the waters without a huge investment.

My little Birdy in her cute little gDiaper at 3.5 months old

I was so proud of myself for having tried this out!  I’m not much of an eBayer so it was an ordeal for me to find what I wanted, stalk the price, make the lowest bid and win!  Finally when I tried the diaper, I loved how it looked, but it leaked every time I tried to use it. Looking back, even just from looking at the picture above, I can see why!  It was not put on properly, but I hadn’t stopped to see how you put on a cloth diaper. It actually hadn’t even occurred to me at the time that there was such a thing between a “right” and “wrong” way to put one on.

I didn’t stop to do research or join cloth diapering facebook groups (nor did I even think this was a thing at the time).  So I quickly gave up and sold the diaper back to the next eBayer and went back to disposables. I felt somewhat better for having tried at all, but I knew it was a feeble attempt.

Fast forward about six years when I decided to take the plunge and start this business.  One of my biggest motivations is being the resource for someone else that I didn’t have back then.  There IS a lot of information out there, but once you understand it, it’s not complicated at all! Especially if you have someone that can explain it to you in person.  Plus, now I know the different ways to cloth diaper and I can help you choose the one that will fit best with your life and your family!

For a lot of the moms I talk to, what stops them is the laundry.  This is a legitimate concern.  After all, there’s no way around it.  Cloth diapers have to be washed. But the good news is, this can be made simple too!  Step one: throw dirty diapers in the wash for a short cycle using some soap. Step two: start a second long cycle using full recommended amount of soap.  Step three: toss in dryer on low heat. That’s it! I mean, there can be more to it than that (this is a link to a post all about How to Wash Cloth Diapers) but that’s it in a nutshell. The easiest way to fit cloth diaper laundry into your routine is to wash your baby clothes with your cloth diapers.  This solution isn’t for everyone, but it is a way to make it even easier for you.

I know for some moms, they hesitate because it can be a big investment.  I mean, this was also a big part of what stopped me.  I had read that you need to spend hundreds of dollars to cloth diaper and I just couldn’t spend that kind of money on something I was unsure of.  But what I didn’t realize then was that cloth diapering can save you SO much money! Like hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

Impactful to see not just the trash but the spending!

When I thought I couldn’t afford to cloth diaper, I should have thought that I couldn’t afford not to!  Yes you can spend hundreds of dollars on a cloth diaper stash. (It’s kind of like shoes.. How many pairs do you REALLY need vs how many do you have) But you can also diaper full time with as little as $200.  You can also try just a couple brands and types for $40 or so to find what you like. To me, when you have someone explain what you’re ACTUALLY buying and the difference between one product and another, it makes me more comfortable and confident in what I’m choosing to invest my money on.  Once again, that’s what I’m here for!

And let’s not forget, the dreaded poop.  I don’t know if many parents would actually come out and say this is what keeps them from cloth diapering, but I think it’s definitely something that crosses everyone’s mind as well as a reality for all parents.  With disposables, you wrap up the stinky mess and toss in it a diaper genie or something similar and hope for the most airtight seal you can have. If you’ve been there, you know it doesn’t always end up being a stink-free situation.  But what you might not know is you’re not supposed to throw poop away in the trash like that! It’s actually a public safety concern (see here per the American Health Association). Human waste is meant to be properly disposed of in the toilet. That’s my PSA on that.  But I digress…

With cloth diapers you have the inevitable task of dealing with your baby’s poop in a more up close and personal way.  But you have several options, some a lot less hands-on than others. The first option, if your baby is exclusively breast fed, is to do nothing!  Breastmilk poop is water soluble and you can toss the dirty diaper right in the wash with no problems. However, if formula or solids are involved, or if you’re just not comfortable throwing a poopy diaper in with your non-poopy laundry, you have to get the poop off before you wash the diaper.

Poop Removal Assistants

The easiest choice is a flushable liner (pictured, top right).  This is a thin sheet that sits on top of your diaper’s absorbent inner pieces.  When baby poops, it keeps the mess away from the diaper pieces that you wash. You just take the sheet and the poop and flush it all away.  Easy peasy. And the ones I carry are bamboo, so they’re still a natural, soft material against baby’s skin.

The next option is a diaper sprayer (pictured, left side).  This attaches to your toilet and you spray the poop off the diaper and into the toilet.  This will also leave your diaper poop free and wash-ready. Along with this option, you can use a washable liner (pictured, bottom right).  This is just a way to keep you from having to rinse the whole inner diaper piece. It’s a thin layer that sits in baby’s diaper (just like the flushable liner) and leaves you with just that small piece of fabric to get the poop off of.

There are other methods if you want to be low-tech or creative.  Some people keep a designated spatula in their bathroom to scrape the poop off with or whatever.  Honestly, once baby gets into solids and out of blowouts, you can just kind of roll it off into the potty and that’s that.

So what’s your reason?  Or more importantly, what’s your reason to WANT to cloth diaper?  Is it the environmental impact?  The savings? The natural materials vs chemicals being on your baby’s skin 24 hours a day for years of their life?  The cuteness of the darn diapers?! The benefits can greatly outweigh the effort, especially if you have help pointing you in the right direction.  Remember that cloth diapering doesn’t have to be an all or nothing proposition and as with most things, the more you do it, the easier it becomes. And as always, I’m here to help in any way I can to make it simple and worthwhile for you and your family!

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My Start as a Hippie Mommy

I want to take a moment and share why I consider myself to be a hippie mommy.  And I think it appropriate to start at my “graduation date” aka the day my daughter was born!  And speaking of appropriate, seven years ago TODAY, was the day it all happened!

When I was pregnant, I wanted to have a natural birth.  I was reading several pregnancy books and I stumbled across the Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth (http://www.bradleybirth.com/).  I’m going to pause and say that finding Bradley changed my life.  Big statement, I know, but it was really the start of a new perspective on pregnancy, birth, and all things parenting.  The Bradley Method was a 12 week course and it made me realize that natural birth is nothing to take lightly. As my instructor put it, you don’t decide to run a marathon and just buy the shoes, go for a couple runs, and then run the whole race.  You train! You prepare yourself. Bradley was that preparation. It educated me and daddy to really know what to expect during labor and delivery. What was going on, and how to best adapt to the current situation.

Me at 7 months pregnant on the beach in my homeland of Costa Rica.

When we first sat with our instructor, she asked where we were planning for me to give birth.  We told her at a local hospital. She said ok, but just keep your minds open because after you learn what you are going to learn, you may change your choice.  Ok, well you know, you never know what will happen so to play it safe we’d feel more comfortable at a hospital. We continue our classes and learn of all the things we do and don’t want as part of my birth.  We write a birth plan. It includes things like no continuous electronic fetal monitoring, no internal checks every hour, no pitosin, no episiotomy. I also wanted a water birth, and the hospital had a bathtub in the room, but you can’t go in it after your water breaks.  You know, when you need it most, but anyways, risk of infection and all that. We sit with our ObGyn to let him know all the things we do and don’t want and he very kindly explains that for mommy and baby’s safety, they can’t honor those wishes because their top priority is making sure everyone is safe and that’s just what they need to do.  Hmm, well now we knew enough to know that, in a healthy pregnancy, that’s just not necessarily true.

So we decided to go tour a birthing center, just to compare.  Every point that we said “we want to do this” the answer was “sure, no problem”.  I mean, within reason. If it comes down to a true emergency, they will do whatever they need to do to make sure everyone is safe.  But they respected the kind of birth I wanted to have and were able to provide that experience for me. I want to save my whole birthing story for another post (spoiler alert, perfectly healthy baby born in a birthing center, and I am SO glad that we made the switch!)  But suffice to say, choosing a birthing center was totally the first flower in my hippie crown.

Inspiration Family Birth Center where my daughter was born.
(Sorry I couldn’t fix the formatting but I figured a not-cropped picture was better than none!)

During our Bradley classes, our instructor also talked to us about co-sleeping, babywearing, Elimination Communication, amber teething necklaces and Baby-Led Weaning.  See why she changed my life? Again, stay tuned for blog posts on each of those practices, but it was so eye-opening to even know these things were out there! I did each of these things with my daughter and each one brought us closer together and more in touch with each other.

Something I loved about Dr. Bradley is that he grew up on a farm.  He watched animals do their thing when it came time to give birth. Fast forward and he becomes a doctor and watches how “modern” women give birth in a hospital.  There was a huge disconnect in these two birthing ways! Yes science and medicine have come a long way and no I have no desire to crawl into a barn and give birth in a pile of hay.  But there IS a lot of wisdom in nature and I think the closer we can get to the way things are naturally done, the better off we are.

I think trusting our instincts goes a long way too.  When your baby cries, it sucks. When you pick them up and comfort them, it feels awesome.  Their soft little skin on your face as you give them kisses and cuddles feels great. Then a study comes out saying it actually is scientifically proven that there are therapeutic benefits of touch!  But you didn’t need a published article to tell you that. Follow your instincts, in your gut and your heart it feels right.

Me and my little Bird on my 30th birthday. She was 11 days old.

There are lots of mainstream parenting practices that are really easy to just do because it’s what you do.  I mean look at any baby shower decorations and you’ll see cute pictures of baby bottles, pacifiers, diapers… all of these are actually optional.  There is so much room for reducing waste and using natural products. This of course spins out beyond parenting into everyday life. Now that my daughter is older, it’s not about the baby stuff.  It’s about composting, recycling and reducing waste wherever we can. It’s about spending less time indoors and more time outdoors. It’s about eating clean and remembering to stretch. I do still live in an All-American suburb and drive an SUV.  But I do try to turn off the AC and open the windows when I can. It’s all about balance and striving to do just a little bit more every day.

So that’s my origin story, so to speak.  As I go on, I’ll share my experience with each of these practices in more detail and I hope to inspire you to trust your instincts, live a little greener, and celebrate your inner hippie.

Namaste,

Andrea

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Troubleshooting Leaks

Ah leaks.  One of the first questions mommies have when considering cloth and one of the most common questions when using cloth.  The dreaded leaks.  As with most things in life, the more practice and experience you have, the more likely you will trial-and-error your way to fixing this.  However, we are here to help you speed that process along!

Keep in mind that we love doing face-to-face consultations to help you figure things out and have a happy and leak-free cloth diaper experience!  Contact us, we’re here for you!

 

There are many issues that can cause leaks, but they can be generally summed up into:

  • Fit
  • Absorbency
  • Repelling

 

Fit

The most common cause of leaks is a problem with the fit.  If diapers are not properly put on the baby, they may not work the way they were designed to.  Here are some tips so you will not have fit-related leaks:

  • Make sure the diaper fits securely in the crease at the leg, where underwear would fit.  Make sure the rise and hip settings are snug and that the leg gussets are tucked into baby’s crease at their leg.  Make sure little leg rolls are not tucking into the leg gussets.  Gaps at the leg holes are a big culprit for leaks!
  • Make sure the diaper is snug at the waist but not too tight.  You should be able to fit one or two fingers easily.  Leaks at the belly or back are a sign that the waist is not fitted well.  Make sure the rise is set correctly and the waist is secured snugly so there’s no big belly gap.
  • Flatten inserts in pocket diapers.  Inserts can bunch up leading to liquids not settling in the way they should resulting in leaks, especially on the sides of baby’s clothes.  Give inserts a quick check to make sure they are flat in the diaper before putting it on your baby.
  • Check back flaps on pocket or cover diapers. If you are using a pocket or cover diaper that has a flap at the back that holds the inner piece in, make sure it is properly tucked in.  It sounds pretty intuitive, but it’s a little thing that if left unchecked, could lead to a leak
  • If you have a boy, make sure his penis is pointed down.  Otherwise, wetness will go all over, instead of in the main area where it’s meant to be absorbed.  Also, if you are using prefold or flat inner pieces, make sure to fold them for more absorbency in the front, where boys need it most.
  • Prevent wicking. Wicking is when an absorbent fabric pulls or wicks moisture out of a diaper.  This tends to happen with onesies that wiggle their way into cloth diapers.  This is really more a fit of the onesie.  Make sure nothing rolls into the cloth diaper’s leg gussets to avoid this issue.  Also, check inner pieces when you put on baby’s diaper so that they are always tucked into the outer pieces, especially at the legs.  Wicking also happens when baby is wearing wool outer pieces and another fabric on top, like a pair of pants on top of a wool cover.  Wool can hold an astonishing amount of liquid without feeling wet.  But it will pass this liquid along to another fabric.  Make sure wool is the outermost piece when you are using it.  Wool pants are a great solution for this issue.
  • Newborn babies in a one-size diaper:  While most one-size diapers claim to fit at around 8 pounds, sometimes tiny bodies need tiny diapers.  Try using a newborn or sized diaper until your baby is about 11-14 pounds.  By the way, we rent one-month diaper packages with newborn diapers so you don’t have to buy a whole stash 😉  If you are using newborn diapers and they were working fine but are now leaking, it’s probably time to make the move to the next size up or to one-size diapers.

Click here for our link on How to Use Cloth Diapers, which walks you through the steps to ensure a proper fit.

 

Absorbency

The type of inner pieces you choose for your diapers will vary in the speed and level of absorbency.  If you are changing diapers every 2-3 hours and the inner pieces are saturated, you may need to try a different inner piece or combination of pieces.  Here are some things to check if you think absorbency is an issue:

  • If you are using only one insert, try using two, using a doubler, or an insert of a different material.  Try layering a quickly absorbing insert, like microfiber, on a hemp insert which absorbs slower but holds more liquid.  Or try wrapping a hemp insert, which absorbs slowly, with a cotton flat or flour sack towel which absorb more quickly. (Remember to never place microfiber directly on baby’s skin.)
  • Did your diaper soak all the way through?  It could be a fitted diaper which looks like an AIO that actually needs a waterproof cover.  Hey, it happens.  And they’re deceptively cute and colorful so it’s an easy mistake to make.
  • Compression leaks are something that can happen when your diaper is overstuffed, put on too tight or when outside forces (like a swing or a car seat) put pressure on the diaper.  Make sure baby’s diaper is snug but not too tight.  If you are using very thick inner pieces they may cause excess bulk that will force leg gaps or cause compression leaks.  Consider a different combination of materials for better absorbency without bulk.
  • Flooding occurs when inserts are saturated in one area but dry everywhere else.  This tends to happen when babies “hold it” and let it go all at once.  Try adding absorbency in the problem area, typically up front for boys,  down in the center for girls, and in the back for newborns who are not sitting up yet.  Prefolds, flats and flour sack towel inner pieces can all be folded to provide absorbency in a strategic place.
  • If you have recently stripped your diapers and are experiencing leaks, they are leaking because they are actually cleaner!  The stripped fibers absorb liquids more readily but also release them more quickly, particularly in the form of compression leaks.  If you had been double-stuffing diaper inserts before stripping, try switching to a single insert after stripping.  Making sure you closely follow stripping guidelines to help minimize leaks after this process.
  • Make sure you are changing your baby’s diaper every 2-3 hours, or right away if there’s poop.  Leaving a cloth diaper on for more than 3 hours is not safe for baby’s skin and it can lead to leaks.  Cloth diapers are very absorbent and sometimes it’s not clear if they are wet or not.  Changing them every 2-3 hours ensures your baby stays safe and leak free.

Click here for more information on cloth diaper types and the fabric that they’re made of.

 

Repelling

Repelling issues are mostly laundry related.  Different things can coat the fabrics in cloth diapers over time.  Eventually, this coating repels liquids and causes leaks.  These issues are solved by stripping then sanitizing your diapers.  You can click here for more information on stripping diapers and here for more information on sanitizing diapers.  The ways fabrics can get coated are:

  • Hard Water: Washing cloth diapers in untreated hard water for a long period of time will cause minerals to gradually deposit on the fibers of your cloth diaper.  Bacteria clings to the minerals in the fabric, which can lead to rashes, ammonia and barnyard stink.  After stripping and sanitizing your diapers, use a water softener in your wash to prevent future build-ups.
  • Natural Oils: If your diapers are newer and are made of natural, especially organic, unbleached fabrics, such as cotton or hemp, they may still have natural oils coating the fibers.  These oils are usually washed out when you prep diapers for their first use.  Sometimes these oils are stubborn in washing out.  Try using these diapers for daytime for a few rotations.  Once they’ve been washed a few more times, try them again.  The oils will gradually wash out and your fabrics will reach their full absorbency.
  • Residues from Soap Scum, Fabric Softener, Dyes, or Fragrances: Using any of these can cause a residue to build up in your fabrics.  If you miss using fabric softener, try using wool dryer balls as a natural and residue-free alternative.  If you have been using a detergent containing soap or saponified coconut oil you may have been depositing oils into your cloth diaper fabrics which don’t rinse away in modern washing machines.  After stripping and sanitizing, use a detergent that is recommended for cloth diapers.
  • Non Cloth-Diaper Safe Diaper Creams: Diaper creams with petroleum or petrolatum will coat your cloth diaper fabrics and will need to be washed out.  Unlike the rest above, this will not require stripping or sanitizing but some old fashioned elbow grease, with a toothbrush and some dish soap.  Dawn is a popular choice.  Once the residue has come off, thoroughly rinse your diaper and wash it before using it on your baby.

 

As babies get older, leaks tend to diminish.  And not just because you have more practice, although this helps too.  But when they are tiny and they mostly lay on their backs all day, liquid has basically one place to go and to stay.  As babies sit up, liquids travel down and have more time to be absorbed before they get a chance to escape.  As some (ok a lot) of things with raising babies get harder as they grow up, it’s good to know this one gets easier!

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Stripping Cloth Diapers

Stripping?? For mommies?!  Hold on there, this is cloth diaper stripping and it’s something that needs to be done if your diapers have been washed repeatedly in untreated hard water.  The minerals in hard water can deposit into your diaper fabrics over time, allowing uninvited bacteria to hitch a ride.  These minerals can also coat the fibers, causing diapers to repel liquids.

Stripping is a useful tool in your diaper washing toolbox, if it’s necessary.  But it shouldn’t be a regular part of getting your diapers properly cleaned.  A proper wash routine will get your diapers cleaned with no need to strip them.

Keep in mind that if you need help stripping, we’re here for you!  Well, what are friends for?!  But really, contact us.  We’re here to help you understand what you need to do to keep your diapers clean and your baby safe! 

 

The information by Fluff Love University below explains when it’s necessary to strip cloth diapers:

 

Ok, so you’ve determined that you DO need to strip your diapers.  How do you do it?  In a nutshell, the steps are:

  1. Dissolve a mineral removing solution in HOT water (in a top loader or a bathtub)
  2. Add your CLEAN diapers (everything except covers and pockets) and soak for 4-6 hours, stirring occasionally
  3. When the water is cool, drain your washer/tub and squeeze the water out of the diapers
  4. Wash items in a WATER ONLY wash cycle
  5. Do a 30 minute COLD bleach soak for all items*
  6. Wash everything 2-4 times using proper main wash cycle for your machine, with detergent and water softener

 

That’s just the wrap-up for a summary at-a-glance.  Below are the full instructions by Fluff Love University:

 

*Wondering why the bleach soak?  The stripping process can bring bacteria to the surface that was trapped in the minerals.  A bleach soak is necessary to kill this bacteria. Skipping it can lead to rashes and burns.  For the full scoop on how to bleach cloth diapers, click here.

 

Remember, a proper wash routine is always key in getting your diapers properly cleaned.  Click here for our link on How to Wash Cloth Diapers and here for our link on Troubleshooting Your Wash Routine.

Happy stripping! 😉

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Sanitizing Cloth Diapers

Sometimes cloth diapers need a stronger cleaning than just your regular wash routine.  Some of these situations include when baby is sick with a bacterial, fungal or yeast infection or when you are using diapers that have been used by someone else.  Also, if you stripped your cloth diapers, you will need to bleach them.

Keep in mind that if you need help with sanitizing your diapers, contact us!  We’re here to help you get your diapers sanitized and squeaky clean!

 

If you’re not sure whether you need to sanitize your diapers, here are a couple helpful reference links.  When baby is sick, it’s not always necessary to sanitize her diapers.  The chart in this link: Baby’s Sick! Do I need to Bleach? by Fluff Love University has a list of when to sanitize and when it’s not needed.  Also, this link (My Diapers Stink! by Fluff Love University) has a helpful chart and more information on when to sanitize and/or strip.  Scroll down to “Do I Need to Strip or Bleach This?”

Sanitizing your diapers too frequently will break down the fabric and wear your diapers out unnecessarily fast.  So you should only sanitize diapers when you really need to.  Stinky diapers are NOT part of regular cloth diapering life!  If your diapers are stinky, you should look to your washing routine first.  Click here for more information on troubleshooting your washing routine.

 

Diapers are most commonly sanitized by bleaching them.  Below is an infographic by Fluff Love University that gives a quick overview on how to bleach cloth diapers:

For the full scoop on how How to Bleach Your Diapers (by Fluff Love University)  you can click here.

 

If you would rather sanitize your diapers without using bleach, there are other options including hydrogen peroxide and borax, Lysol Original Concentrate, and the sanitize cycle on your washing machine.  Click this link for How to Sanitize without Bleach (by Fluff Love University)

 

While sanitizing is not necessary every time your diapers are used, it is important to do when the situation calls for it.  After all, nothing is more important than making sure your baby and her bottom are safe and healthy!

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Troubleshooting Your Washing Routine

A good washing routine will get your diapers good and clean, and doesn’t need regular stripping nor sanitizing of your diaper pieces.  But getting your routine just right may take a bit of trial and error.

Keep in mind that if you’re having trouble getting your diapers clean, contact us!  We’d love to help you sort out the issues and find your ideal wash routine!  It’s what we do 🙂 

 

When your diapers get stinky, I mean REALLY stinky, or if your baby is getting a rash or repeated leaks, you may need to strip and/or sanitize your diapers to reset them, and then make some changes to your wash routine.  Most commonly, a change to your detergent, water softener, agitation, or a combination of these is what is needed to fix wash routine issues.  Below is a breakdown of the issues commonly faced when laundering cloth diapers, as well as what causes them and how to fix them.

 

Some common challenges with cloth diapers are:

  • Ammonia smell
  • Barnyard smell
  • Staining
  • Diaper rash
  • Leaks

Ammonia Smell

Diapers that have ammonia usually smell clean out of the wash, but smell strongly, like it’s singing your nose hairs, when they are urinated in.  This is because there is a build-up of bacteria in the diaper, which turn the urea in urine into ammonia.  If left untreated, this can cause rashes on baby’s skin.  This type of rash will usually look flat and red.  In severe cases, it can leave open sores or can cause a painful chemical burn.

This issue tends to come up in older kids more so than newborn babies because young babies are usually changed more frequently, and have less concentrated urine since they don’t eat solid food yet.  As newborns and babies grown into toddlers, they also sleep longer and those diapers can get more amounts of urine in them.

Another reason ammonia can happen is because of the material used in diapers.  Microfiber is the cheapest absorbent material used in cloth diapers.  This is usually in inner pieces for inserts.  The picture below from dirtydiaperlaundry.com illustrates how microfiber looks under a microscope, compared to a natural fiber:

The shape of microfiber makes it very absorbent, but this also allows bacteria to be trapped in all the little crevices.  Microfiber inserts that are sewn between synthetic layers are even trickier to wash completely clean. Opting for a natural fiber allows bacteria to be washed out more easily, preventing bacteria and ammonia build-up.

How Do I Get it Out?!

You will need to strip and/or bleach your diapers to get them back to square one.  If your diapers have been washed for extended periods of time in untreated hard water or with a weak or home-made detergent, you should strip and sanitize them.  Otherwise just sanitizing them should do the trick.  You can click here for more information on stripping diapers and here for more information on sanitizing diapers.

Once your diapers are ready, make a change to your wash routine.  Try starting with either increasing or changing your detergent and making sure you have adequate agitation.  Make sure you have either an adequately filled HE washer, or a stew consistency in a standard/non-HE washer.  Also, if you have hard water, be sure to use a water softener in your wash, as hard water can deposit minerals into your fibers. These minerals give bacteria a place to stick around.  Plus they can cause repelling issues which can lead to leaks.  Click here for more information on how to wash cloth diapers and choosing a good wash routine.

Also, make sure your baby is well hydrated!  Especially older babies and toddlers may not be drinking enough water, which is making their urine more concentrated.  Not to mention that staying well hydrated is very important for good health and will establish a wonderful habit throughout your child’s life.

 

Barnyard Smell

Another challenge you may run into is barnyard smell.  This is noticeable especially on warm diapers, such as when they’re coming out of the dryer.  Diapers smell musty, like manure, fishy, or just plain stinky.  This is caused by bacteria and soil left behind with an improper wash routine.  Beyond an offensive odor, this can cause rashes on baby’s skin.

How Do I Get it Out?!

Just like with ammonia smell, you will need to strip and/or bleach your diapers to get them back to square one.  If your diapers have been washed for extended periods of time in untreated hard water or with a weak or home-made detergent, you should strip and sanitize them.  Otherwise just sanitizing them should do the trick.  You can click here for more information on stripping diapers and here for more information on sanitizing diapers.

Once your diapers are ready, make a change to your wash routine.  Try starting with either increasing or changing your detergent and making sure you have adequate agitation.  Make sure you have either an adequately filled HE washer, or a stew consistency in a standard/non-HE washer.  Also, if you have hard water, be sure to use a water softener in your wash, as hard water can deposit minerals into your fibers. These minerals give bacteria a place to stick around.  Plus they can cause repelling issues which can lead to leaks.   Click here for more information on how to wash cloth diapers and choosing a good wash routine.

 

Staining

Stains can be frustrating but it’s important to mention that they’re basically just an aesthetic problem and are usually on the inner pieces of cloth diapers, hardly the stuff of family portraits.  If you have a good wash routine and your diapers are stink free, you can safely keep using your stained diapers if you choose to.  Now, if you want to try and get that stain out, the best way is to sun it out!  Lay your diaper flat, outside in sunlight.  Most of the time, the stain will be gone within a few hours.  If it’s not, try spraying some lemon juice on it and leave it out in the sun again.  Just be sure to re-wash a lemon juiced diaper before putting it back on your baby.

 

Diaper Rashes

Diaper rashes tend to occur less frequently in cloth diapered babies due to the breathe-ability of cloth diaper fabrics and the lack of chemicals in the materials.  However, a mild diaper rash is likely to happen at some point on all babies due to the nature of the environment on the inside of diapers- moist, warm and full of bacteria.  All this plus the friction of a moving baby makes for a perfect storm to cause irritation on baby’s delicate skin.

Please keep in mind that this is advice given from one mommy to another.  Listen to your parenting instincts, they’re usually right.  If you feel your baby needs medical attention, especially if a rash is severe or persistent, please consult your pediatrician.

Preventing Diaper Rashes

Changing your baby often, every two to three hours or right away if there’s poop, is a great start for preventing diaper rash.  Most minor rashes clear up in a day or two with minimal intervention.  Diaper cream can help prevent or clear up diaper rashes too.  Make sure to use a cloth-diaper safe diaper cream.  Or you can use a liner to avoid non cloth-diaper safe creams leaving stains or coating your cloth diaper fibers.

If There’s a Persistent Rash

If you have hard water in your home and you haven’t been using a water softener, you may have bacteria building up in your diapers, causing a rash.  Strip and sanitize your diapers to get them back to square one, then add a water softener to your wash routine.    If you have soft water, or you are using a water softener in your wash, you can skip the strip and just sanitize your diapers.  Click here for more information on stripping diapers and here for more information on sanitizing diapers.

Less Common Causes for Diaper Rash

If you tried the advice above and are still encountering diaper rash, there are some other possible causes.  One is a sensitivity to a particular detergent.  This usually causes a rash on the whole body (assuming you are washing baby’s clothes in the same detergent as her diapers) but will be more evident in the diaper area because of increased moisture.  Try a different detergent to see if this helps the rash go away.  Another cause is fabric sensitivity, particularly to synthetic fabrics.  Try lining your diapers will all natural fabrics, or switching to all natural fiber diapers.  Some babies have a sensitivity to wetness.  Try lining your diaper with a layer of fleece.  This will wick away moisture and leave baby’s skin feeling dry. Sometimes babies are sensitive or allergic to the ingredients in disposable wipes.  Try using cloth wipes moistened with water or a gentle home-made solution.  There are lots of DIY recipes but one option is water, coconut or olive oil and baby soap.

 

Leaks

Leaks are more commonly a fit or absorbency (type of inner pieces chosen) issue.  Click here for a link on troubleshooting non-laundry related leaks and here for a link on how to use cloth diapers that explains how to properly put on a cloth diaper.  However, sometimes your wash routine is the culprit in repelling and leaks.

If you haven’t already, start by checking for water hardness.  If you have hard water and haven’t been adding a water softener, you may have minerals being deposited into your diaper fabrics.  These minerals coat your fabrics causing them to repel liquids and lead to leaks.  You will need to strip and sanitize your diapers to get them back to square one.  Then be sure to use a water softener as part of your regular wash routine.  Click here for more information on stripping diapers and here for more information on sanitizing diapers.

Also, if you have been using fabric softener or dryer sheets when washing and drying your diapers you may have unintentionally been coating your fibers decreasing their absorbency.  You will need to strip and sanitize your diapers to get them back to square one.  Click here for more information on stripping diapers and here for more information on sanitizing diapers.

If your diapers are newer and are made of natural, especially organic, unbleached fabrics, such as cotton or hemp, they may still have natural oils coating the fibers.  These oils are usually washed out when you prep diapers for their first use.  Sometimes these oils are stubborn in washing out.  Try using these diapers for daytime for a few rotations.  Once they’ve been washed a few more times, try them again.  The oils will gradually wash out and your fabrics will reach their full absorbency.

If you have recently stripped your diapers and are experiencing leaks, they may be leaking because they are actually cleaner!  The stripped fibers absorb liquids more readily but also release them more quickly, particularly in the form of compression leaks.  If you had been double-stuffing diaper inserts before stripping, try switching to a single insert after stripping.  Making sure you closely follow stripping guidelines will help minimize leaks after this process.

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How To Wash Cloth Diapers

There are different ways to get your diapers clean and everyone has a slightly different routine.  In addition, different diaper manufacturers have different recommendations, and different washing machines will need a different routine when washing cloth diapers.  It’s really not as complicated as it looks by the length of this post!  The abbreviated version of all this comes down to:

  1. Prewash: quick setting with warm water, a little detergent and water softener, if needed
  2. Main Wash: longer setting with hot water, detergent and water softener, if needed
  3. Line dry outer pieces.  Dry the rest in the dryer.

 

If you need help sorting though it all, we would love to do a one-on-one consultation.  It’s kind of our thing.  Contact us to set one up!

 

Getting Everything Ready

Before getting started, you need to know whether you have hard water.  If you do, you will need to add a water softener.  Hard water will gradually deposit minerals onto your cloth diapers which will hold on to bacteria.  Yuck!  Mineral deposits can also lead to your diapers repelling liquids, causing leaks.

Also, you will need a cloth-diaper-friendly laundry detergent.  Fluff Love University has a comprehensive list of recommendations here,  but the chart below is a really good way to sum it up:

Finally, you will need to know the settings to use for your specific washing machine.  Fortunately, Fluff Love University has a very complete index of manufacturers here and a recommendation of the settings that will be right for you.  There is a general set of recommendations below, but it’s good piece of mind to have settings specifically chosen for your machine.

Make sure all your diaper outer pieces are separate from your inner pieces.  Also, make sure all solid waste has been removed from the diapers.  It’s generally recommended to wash diapers every 2-3 days.  Any longer than that and stink, stains and bacteria can really set in.

Toss all your dirty diaper pieces, and the liner for your dirty diaper pail, into the washer.  If you have a front-loader HE machine, make sure it is at least 2/3 full.  A top loader HE machine needs to be at least 3/4 full.  Add small items if you need to make a load bigger (nothing bigger than a receiving blanket).   For additional information on washing cloth diapers in an HE machine, check out this link on Fluff Love University.

If you have a standard/non-HE washer with a spiral agitator, you want your laundry to water ratio so that your wash resembles a stew consistency.  To check the consistency, fill up the washer with laundry and water.  Pause the cycle and open the lid.  Once the agitator is still, put your palm gently in the water and press down until you start to feel resistance and stop.  You should have 3-4 inches of water on top.  If you have more water, add laundry pieces (nothing bigger than a receiving blanket).  If you have less than 3-4 inches of water, take some laundry out.  If you have a standard/non-HE washer with a paddle agitator, check for a soupy stew consistency.  Instructions are the same as above, but look for 4-5 inches of water above your laundry.  Smaller laundry loads are also recommended for this type of washer.  For additional information on washing cloth diapers in a standard/non-HE machine, check out this link on Fluff Love University.

Making sure your washer is adequately full is very important!  The agitation in the wash is a big part of how diapers scrub against one another to release soiled particles and get cleaned well.  Ok, now that you have everything ready, it’s time to wash those diapers!

 

Pre-Wash

First, you’ll do a prewash to get the surface soil out of your dirty diapers.  Run a quick cycle with warm water using a little bit of detergent and water softener, if needed.  Generally speaking, this cycle needs to be 30-45 minutes long and have a decent amount of agitation to remove the surface soil from your diapers.  Always select the highest spin and highest soil settings.  Turn off any additional rinses or prewash options.

When this cycle is done, open up the washer and peel off any pieces that are stuck to the drum.  Fluff up the diapers a bit and get ready to start your main cycle.

 

Main Wash

Next you’ll do your main wash.  This cycle deep cleans all the layers of fabric in your diapers.  For your main wash, run a long cycle with hot water using the recommended full amount of detergent and water softener if needed.  Choose the longest cycle setting with the strongest agitation. Always select the highest spin and highest soil settings.  Turn off any additional rinses or prewash options.

As for drying, you can either hang dry or toss pieces in the dryer.  Keep in mind that the more care you take with your diapers, the longer they will last.  If you put outer pieces in the dryer, do not stretch the elastic while it is still hot as this will cause the elastics to stretch prematurely.  Also, if you hang dry, put outer pieces to lay lengthwise or by the middle, so the weight of the entire wet diaper is not pulling on the elastics.  The inner pieces are generally ok to just go in the dryer.

Synthetic fabric softeners should be avoided because they tend to coat your fabrics and repel liquids.  Natural fabric softeners are safe to use with cloth diapers.  Wool dryer balls are another great natural alternative for keeping your fabrics soft.

 

Special Situations

Certain situations call for something stronger than your regular wash routine.  If your diapers need to be stripped, sanitized or if you need some troubleshooting with your wash routine, click on the links below:

 

All in all, cloth diapers present more work than disposables.  That might be true.  But it’s an easy piece to fit into your parenting routine.  Laundry?  Babies give you plenty of that anyhow.  The rest can easily work into your days and you’ll know you are doing better by your baby, your wallet, and your planet.

 

 

 

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How to Use Cloth Diapers

Let’s start off by saying that to read this, as opposed to seeing it are two very different things.  There will be lots of words below, and it might seem like a complicated mess to read, but it’s totally simple, once you’re actually doing it.

Also, we love to do one-on-one consultations, it’s kind of our thing.  So give us a call and we can chat all about it in person!

 

First of all, when you get a new cloth diaper, you need to prep it.  This will wash off any residue from the manufacturing process as well as prepare the fibers for their intended absorbency.  If diapers are pre-loved (aka cloth diaper cutesy talk for used) they should be stripped first.  You can read more about this is How to Wash Cloth Diapers.

 

How to prepare (prep) diapers for first use:

  1. Separate outer pieces (covers, pockets) from inner pieces (inserts, prefolds, flats).  Separate natural fibers (cotton, hemp) from synthetic fibers (microfiber, microterry, bamboo, charcoal bamboo).  Check manufacturer’s specific instructions (especially for AIOs) and defer to their recommendations, if different from these below.
  2. Find the settings you should use for your specific washer.  (FluffLoveUniversity.com has a directory of manufacturers and models).  Settings will be different if you have a top loader or front loader.
  3. Take inner pieces with natural fibers, and wash (in hot water cycle with cloth-diaper-friendly soap) and dry (NEVER with fabric softener or dryer sheets.  Can use wool dryer balls, if wanted) 4-6 times. This will strip natural oils that prevent full absorbency. You want these oils out of your diapers, so you need to keep the synthetic materials out for now to prevent them from getting these natural oils on them, since these will repel liquids.  Organic, unbleached cotton may need a few more washes and dries to be fully ready. Cotton prefolds will shrink, quilt, and soften the more you wash them.
  4. Wash synthetic fibers and outer pieces in warm or hot cycle (soap is optional, but recommended).  One cycle is enough. This step is to remove any dirties from manufacturing process. Take out outer pieces and line dry.  Dry inner pieces in dryer.

 

How to put together a diaper to be ready to use:

  1. Snap the rise snaps (the bottom rows) to fit your baby.  Tuck up, not down to get a good fit on the legs.
  2. Choose the inner pieces you want to use, depending on your absorbency needs, and stuff the diaper (or have a prefold/flat/FST/fitted ready to use)
  3. Add a liner, if you are using one (can be disposable or washable)

 

When it’s time for a diaper change (every 2-3 hours):

  1. Before starting, have a clean diaper put together and snapped to size
  2. Take off the dirty diaper and set it aside.  
  3. Open the clean diaper under the baby.  Cloth diapers hug baby’s hips (instead of fitting high on the back, like a disposable) so they will lay low across baby’s hips.  
  4. Bring the top part to the front, making sure the leg gussets are tucked securely into the crease at baby’s legs.  The front starts out high on baby’s tummy (but will be below baby’s belly button when you’re done.)  Hug the front flat against baby’s tummy.
  5. Take the side tabs from the back and pull up and around to circle and hug around baby’s hips.  Snap into place starting with hip snaps and then remaining snaps, or velcro.
  6. Tuck in any insert/prefold if it’s sticking out.  Make sure there are no gaps in the legs but that it’s not too tight (should easily pull off when you pull with your finger).  It’s ok if there’s a little belly gap. Baby is free to go!
  7. Now the dirty diaper.  If there’s poop, take it off (by flushing the insert, spraying it off, or however you choose.  You can skip this if baby is exclusively breast fed.) Separate the inner piece from the cover/pocket and put both in the dirty diaper pail.  Your pail should have some ventilation to prevent odors.
  8. If it was pee, take out the liner (if using one.  Trash it if disposable.) If AIO, it goes in the wash.  If pocket, separate inner piece and they both go in the wash.  If cover, put the inner piece in the wash, and put the cover aside to use again next time.
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Types of Diapers

There are several types of cloth diapers, both the outside pieces and the inner pieces.  This might sound overwhelming at first, but you’ll learn to love it, because it will give you the flexibility to pick the pieces of your diaper stash to best fit your needs.

By the way, we offer one-on-one consultations to help you sort through the fluff and build your perfect stash.  It’s kind of our thing.  Contact us to set one up!

 

Let’s start with the part that goes on the outside of the diaper.  These typically do not provide the actual absorbency, the inner piece (get it?) will do that job, but we’ll get to it in a minute.

Covers:

Covers are the most straightforward way to use cloth diapers.  The cover is a waterproof layer that goes on top of an absorbent inner piece.  Covers are usually the cheapest way to cloth diaper.  The biggest benefit is you can use a cover with any type of inner piece you choose.   And if there’s no poop, you can keep using it without dirtying another diaper cover.  They are typically pretty easy to put together and to use.

 

Pockets:

A pocket diaper has a pocket for the inner piece.  Pockets are separate from inner pieces (like a cover) but they get dirty every time you use it (like an AIO, below).  They are still very customizable, because you can stuff them with any kind of inner piece you want. But they take a little extra work, because you have to stuff the pockets and make sure the inner pieces lay flat and don’t bunch or wrinkle.

 

All In One (AIO):

These are a cover and inner piece all sewn together.  They are the most convenient to use, because it’s all one piece, like a disposable.  But they are also typically the most expensive. Also, they have to be washed each time they are used.  They are the least customizable option, but you can add layers for extra absorbency.

 

All In Two (AI2):

These are basically a cover or pocket that has an inner piece that attaches to the outer piece, usually with snaps.  Your inner piece will stay in place and won’t shift or bunch, which is a benefit. Also, once your diaper is snapped together, it is essentially one piece, like an AIO.  But you have to use the same brand for both pieces, which can make them more expensive and less customizable.  However, you can usually unsnap the branded insert, and use any kind of insert you want.  These are sometimes called hybrids because they can behave like an AIO, or a cover or pocket.

 

Now, let’s talk about the inner pieces that give the diapers their absorbency:

Inserts:

These are a pad that goes in the center of the diaper or in a pocket.  The come in a variety of materials that will vary in absorbency and thickness.  They are most commonly microfiber, bamboo, hemp, cotton, charcoal bamboo, or a combined layering of these.

 

Flats (or flour sack towels or FSTs)

These are a large square that can be folded down to lots of different shapes and sizes.  They are what you may think of traditionally when you think of cloth diapers. They are usually cotton and are very easy to wash.  They can be folded very simply (half, then half, then thirds) or in more intricate folds that may take a learning curve to use.  They can be very versatile and are a very low cost alternative for inner pieces.

 

Prefolds:

These are several flats sewn together, with additional layers in the center.  They can be folded into a simple pad shape or into more fitted shapes.  They are also a very versatile and low cost piece to have in your diaper stash.

 

Fitteds:

These are flats material sewn into a diaper shape that fits snug to baby’s bottom. These are highly recommended for newborns.  They are not waterproof and need will need a cover.  However, they can be worn without a cover, if you want to air out baby’s tush, without leaving them completely unprotected in case of an accident.

 

One final note on the types of materials that make up inserts.  As mentioned above, the inserts are made of various materials, each with different characteristics.  They can be chosen depending on what you need (light wetter vs. heavy wetter, daytime vs. nighttime) or layered for a custom solution for your particular baby.  Below is a quick breakdown of the types of fabrics and their pros and cons:

  • Microfiber– A lot of diapers, especially pockets come with microfiber inserts.  They are a synthetic fabric that absorbs quickly and are inexpensive.  However, they are thick and don’t hold liquid well when squished around.  A very important thing to note is that microfiber CANNOT be used directly against baby’s skin.  It is SO absorbent, that it will dry them out and cause a terrible rash.  They can go in pockets though or be wrapped in flats, prefolds, or FSTs.
  • Hemp– These inserts are touchably soft, and thin.  Hemp is a natural fiber, making pieces that hold wetness really well, but don’t absorb very quickly.  Also, since they hold deeply onto wetness, they take a long time to dry after being washed.
  • Bamboo- Bamboo is made from a processed form of rayon so it actually behaves like a synthetic fiber.  It is the thinnnest material for inserts and is soft as well.  Like hemp, it doesn’t absorb wetness very quickly, but it holds onto it very well. 
  • Charcoal bamboo– These tend to be pricey but work extremely well.  They are not a natural material.  They absorb wetness quickly and hold onto it over time and wiggles.  They also dry very quickly after being washed.

 

It can be a lot to process, but we’re here for you!  Contact us to set up a one-on-one consultation to find the best solution for you, your baby, and your life!  We also have a one-month rental package, which has a range of diaper types and brands, so you can give them a test run and see what you like best!