Q & A

Cloth Diaper Mythbusting: Do you need 3-4 dozen cloth diapers in order to cd full time?

by shethinksmedia

mythbusting,cloth diapersThis is week #2 in our “Mythbusting” series, week one covered natural fiber washing and “stripping”, it can be viewed here.

So how many cloth diapers do you really need?

This week brings us to our next topic, which is focused on cloth diaper quantity.  I think a big misconception on many cloth diapering forums is that you have to invest in 3-4 dozen diapers to get a “full” stash for one child, which of course is a tremendous investment for a family new to cloth.  Of course if you want to purchase that many, and absolutely have a large stash, that is your right, but our point today is that it isn’t *needed* to get into a regular cloth routine.

For newborns we recommend 18-24, older babies around 12-15, toddlers will be using 6-9 diapers a day. Some will say if you buy twice as many diapers, the wear and tear will be cut in half, and you will see them last twice as long. This may or may not be true, anecdotally I can vouch for many brands being washed daily with hot water and machine dried and lasting for years, and others will see they have worn out within a year’s time. The advice is kind of “six of one, half dozen of the other”.

You can buy twice as many, but on the off chance yours would have lasted, you would have spent half as much, and saved that much more money for the next size. If they wear out anyway, you will have to purchase more, and spend what you would have in the first place, so it didn’t cost you anything extra.

Also, we tend to see customers with dozens of diapers washing every 3-4 days, which causes huge amounts of wear and tear, the longer a diaper sits in ammonia in a dark pail, the shorter the life span of the elastic will be. Even if you swear you will be disciplined and still wash frequently, it will creep up on you that if you don’t *have* to, it won’t get done daily or every other day. Our advice, start small, enough for daily or every other day. If they go, buy more and you would have spent the same, if not, you just saved half of your diapering budget.

You can always add to your stash,we feel it is better to be diapering and say “gosh, three more diapers will be exactly where I want to be with my wash routine” then “man, I never get to the last 6 diapers in my stash, I could have used that money for the next size up.”

For tips on frugal cloth diapering, and making things around your house count as a diaper, take a look at our youtube video below.

Cloth Diaper Life Expectancy, How long will they last?

by shethinksmedia

We are talking about the life expectancy of a diaper, many of you ask about how to make your diapers last for more than one child, so here are tips and advice we have:

-If you are saving your diapers for more than one child, store them in a temperature controlled room. Not the attic or unfinished basement, extreme heat and cold will rot your elastic and make aplix brittle.

-The diapers that will last the longest, through several children, is prefolds. If you want to invest in a system that is economical and lasts for quite some time and many washings, prefolds and covers are the way to go.

-Many mamas ask how many children their one size diapers will last through, and some are disappointed when their one size pockets only last from one child. We tell customers to expect them to last through one child for the size range of that diaper. Do you get lucky sometimes? Yes, we have had several brands of diapers last through 2 children partway, but usually halfway through the second child they are retired. Sized diapers will typically last through two children, but think of it this way:

A one size diaper, if started at birth or shortly thereafter, is washed three times as much and used three times as much as a sized diaper. Your cost is triple, too. You can buy a sized-diaper brand in small, medium and large and have them last through 2, possibly 3 children if cared for properly, but you have spent three times as much as if you had a one size pocket last for just one child. Being soaked in urine and feces, washing in hot, machine drying, being stuffed and worn puts wear and tear on a diaper over time, so keep in mind realistic expectations for your one size diapers. I know I used pockets as examples, the same can be said of one size fitteds versus sized fitteds. PUL covers seem to wear better, they aren’t soaked in urine and ammonia to the extent that absorbent diapers are, and they aren’t stretched out after drying so covers in general see more life than the actual diapers. Wool covers can last for quite some time if you keep them away from moths and wash them carefully.

-So reading the above, which do you recommend? It really is six of one, half a dozen of the other in the case of one size vs. sized diapers. It is up to you, if you prefer the fit of sized diapers, invest the money since you will love you fluff all the more, care for them and store them properly, and they will last. If you want the simplicity of a one size pocket, expect them to last for one child (if you start half way through with one child, expect some life in a second child), and enjoy your fluff. If you really want your diapers to last and last, invest in prefolds, wool covers and take care of your PUL covers in between.

-Always remember, cloth diapers are fabric, and how you care for them is important. Frequent bleaching will shorten their life span, as will regular vinegar use or abrasive cleansars. Now, sometimes with various washing situations you need these items, but using them sparingly will keep your diapers in the best condition~

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone, email us with any questions at AbbysLane@aol.com

New and Frugal Cloth Diapering Tips

by shethinksmedia

Last week we discussed some newborn diapering tips. Along those lines, I am going to cite a previous article we wrote on umbilical cord notches, worth a read if you are wondering if you have to wait until the cord stump falls off before using cloth diapers.

Many new families who are expecting their first little one to be cloth diapered come to me with the dilemma of using cloth diapers at all for the newborn stage. The question “is the cost really worth it for just 4-8 weeks?” is on everybody’s mind.  If saving money is your reason for cloth diapering it is a very valid question, my reason years ago for getting into cloth was 100% financial, the health benefits and environmental perks were great, but staring me in the face was the initial investment. I would like to offer a few different tips and solutions:

1)Create a Registry at our site: At Abby’s Lane we offer Free Ahipping on all US orders, this is a big perk to your friends and family. A registry is a great way to stock up on your needed items, and don’t forget birthdays and Christmas, if you are set on clothes and toys. A hint, on your registry, make sure you register for gift certificates. They are easy for buyers to get (since many don’t know what a modern cloth diaper looks like or how it works), and they are an instant gift. Instead of running off to Babies R Us the morning of the shower, they can checkout online, and instantly print the voucher to put in your card. Our best selling registry item is in fact, gift certificates. They don’t ever expire, too, so you can always use them for later diapering stages, carriers or accessories.

2)If this is your first baby, and you have plans for more, since the newborn size of diapers is used for a very short period of time, they will be absolutely useable for baby #2. Store them in a temperature controlled environment between kiddos, it will keep the in great shape. The hot summer attic or cold winter basement will wear on your elastic, make sure your storage area is at a reasonable temperature.

3) If this may be your only baby in cloth diapers, the resale value on a newborn stash is tremendous. We have had customers who reported getting 95% of their retail value back in their pocket for their used diapers. Craigslist, Ebay, Diaperswappers and Diaper Pin all have high traffic in used cloth diapers, and the perk for a newborn stash is your potential buyer knows it has only been used a very short time. Save your receipts to show the time period they have been used to increase your selling power.

4)Diaper economically! Prefolds and covers are a perfect newborn way to diaper, since you fold a prefold to customize the fit of it on your baby, it is a great way to contain leaks and blowouts. One of the most visited article on our blog is our frugal diapering article, I wrote this from experience with my babies, and what we have seen work for many customers over the years. Take a peek below:
Frugal Cloth Diapering

If you are still on the fence, email me with questions! Remember, if you are nervous about trying cloth with your newborn, it doesn’t have to be “all or nothing”. Try a little sampler of a few items, use the disposables you will inevitably get at your baby shower, and see how it works for your family. Any amount of cloth is fantastic, and one less diaper in the landfill! We are here to make it fun and easy, so let us know how we can help.

Thanks for reading!

Summer cloth diapering tips; Yeast, Eczema, Heatrash and Flies – Oh my!

by shethinksmedia

Yeast can be more prevalent, the hotter weather can make fungal growth easier, so make sure you go over our yeast articles if you are battling yeast:
http://www.cloththatcounts.com/?p=929 and http://www.cloththatcounts.com/?p=949

Eczema is typically better during the summer because of high humidity, but yeast and eczema can go together, so if your yeast treatments are not working, consider treating the child for eczema at the same time to see if that helps, under the guidance of your pediatrician. If your child normally has eczema during the winter months but not during the summer, consider this if you are running into yeast as well. Eczema creates an imbalance in the healthy skin flora, and opens up tiny hairline cracks in the skin where yeast can get a stronger hold. Many times a daily steroid cream with your anti-fungal will solve the problem.

I hate, hate, hate to include this one, but I have to because every year we get a handful of emails, this year being no exception. Keep the pail lid closed and wash frequently in the summer (1-2 days, not more then 3). Flies get in the house, flies love rotting matter, flies lay eggs that love warm and dark environments. If you find you have maggots in your pail, the diapers do need to be thoroughly disinfected (let us know if you need directions),  so make sure you keep the lid closed to avoid a very unpleasant surprise on wash day.  Again, it isn’t frequent or common, but it does happen so we have to mention it.

If your baby is suffering from heat rash (make sure it isn’t yeast, heat rash will be pink all over the diaper area with or without tiny red pinprick dots), add cornstarch to your diapers every change, and change more frequently. For babies who have a very hard time, you may need to switch up some options, but those first two steps usually quell most cases. Cornstarch washes out very easily from the diapers :)

Hope you’re having a good summer so far!

Stephanie, Abby’s Lane

Rash Issues, The Importance of Clean Diapers, and When to Call the Doctor.

by shethinksmedia

After discussing rash issues with several customers, we are going to go over the importance of clean diapers again, with the focus on making sure a doctor is brought in at the appropriate time for your baby’s health.

No pun intended, but a bit of a “soap box” for me, please do not risk long-term skin issues by delaying a visit to the doctor. Holistic healing methods are wonderful, and have an appropriate place and time for use, but at Abby’s Lane we strongly advise a visit to the doctor for any rash that is/has:

  1. Open skin
  2. Seeping or oozing in any fashion, even if it is just clear liquid
  3. Accompanied by pimples, or any lumps or bumps that appear to have a head of any center to them
  4. Any rash that has red circular bases to it, soft or hard to the touch
  5. Bleeding or cracked/open
  6. Causes your baby any pain or discomfort, or itching
  7. Does not show dramatic improvement in 48 hours with your method of healing

I hate to bring this topic up because it has the potential to scare away those new to cloth diapers, but the more important message of seeking help for bacterial or fungal diapering rashes needs to be stated.  Bacterial and fungal rashes do not come from cloth diapers, they coem from the baby’s skin or other contaminants, but they CAN live in cloth diapers.  For these rashes, washing and sunning is not enough, even washing on the “sanitary” cycle will not kill the contaminants, please refer to our washing/disinfecting article here:

Holistic Essential Oils do have a place, but their proven ability to kill all bacterial strains is not on par with chlorine bleach, and when you encounter rashes that have the potential to leave genital scarring behind, you cannot risk your baby’s skin. Going into the warmer weather, heat rash is more common, but easily treated. Heat rash will present like a mild sunburn with or without tiny red pinprick dots on the skin, and is usually healed quickly by air time/frequent changes/balms/air flow to the bottom and/or stay dry diapering.  Yeast is more common in warmer weather, especially with natural fibers, so please be aware of what to look for/how to treat yeast on your baby.
Again, I don’t want to “scare” anyone away, as with any of your baby’s health arenas, we advise to pay attention to any rash scenarios, we can certainly help via email and try to troubleshoot with you, but if ever in doubt please consult your pediatrician right away.

Stephanie-Abby’s Lane

yeast and cloth diapers

by abbyslanehype

When looking at our customer emails, one topic we see come up often is Y-E-A-S-T. Unless it is being used to make cinnamon rolls in your house you don’t want to have the word come up, yeast is a fungal infestation in the skin of your baby, which is encouraged by dark and damp environments ( ie: diaper area), and should be diagnosed by your pediatrician.

When you have the yeast diagnosis, here is what we recommend (next week we will go over tricks and tips to prevent it from coming back)

1) your doctor will likely prescribe nyastatin cream or gentian violet orally
2) when using one of the above products, we advise moving into disposables until the skin is completely cleared for 48 hours.
3) during this time, you need to disinfect your diapers. This needs to include diapers, wipes, inserts and other accessories. To do so, wash and dry as usual, then wash with just hot water and 1/2 cup of clorox (we used to advise 1/3 cup, over the past year we see more success with the 1/2 cup mark). Chlorine bleach is what can and will disinfect the diapers, color safe bleach uses hydrogen peroxide, which has not shown to be as effective.
4) if you have PUL pockets, AIOs and covers, the bleach will not fade them, as PUL is dye fast. If you have cotton print products, and do not want them to fade, you can sort these out and disinfect with a color safe bleach. HOWEVER, if the yeast comes back I highly recommend using chlorine bleach to disinfect them, you don’t want to fungus to keep regrouping and coming back, for the health of your baby (it can be miserable when it is a strong strain).
5) once baby has been clear for at least 48 hours, they can go back into disinfected cloth, make sure over the next 1-2 weeks you change frequently to promote air flow to their little bottoms to keep yeast away.

diapering 0-3 month babies

by abbyslanehype

We have gone over some of the newer products that were personal favorites for my 5th baby (now 3 months old), and some of these products are really going to the top of the charts by our customers as favorites as well. A few notes on some of these new purchases for those interested:

1) tiny tush minis: these are my personal fave for Jaxson, they start to fit around the 5-6 pound mark, and go to 14-15 pounds (I preferred the aplix, I found they fit longer with the way the front of the diaper laid, the weight range is anywhere from 2-5 months depending on how quickly the baby grows). One tip about them, they come with what looks like a big washcloth, it is a microfiber towel intended to be trifolded and used in the diaper. When you do trifold it, it will be the same as a 3 layer microfiber newborn insert. I found Jax needed more than what came with it, as a newborn an extra small microfiber would work, a preemie prefold folded in half, or on the bigger sizes a small joey bunz packed in with the microfiber towel would be great :) If you have terry washcloths on hand fold them into half or thirds, they will work great! Baby washcloths on the smaller sizes work well, too for an extra boost.

2) Bummis tiny fit: these will fit a tad smaller, starting at around 6-7 pounds but outgrown a tad earlier, around the 12-14 pound mark, and have a nice, trim fit. The soakers on these guys fold in to add extra absorbency, and they come with a tiny booster to add to it. In these little guys a preemie prefold folded in half would work, or a small microfiber washcloth you could fold into thirds, small joey bunz would be right at the end of the size range on these guys, they may overwhelm the baby is the baby has a tiny build.

Diaper rash

by abbyslanehype

We got a lot of questions after our last email about the nighttime chafing/wet rash if you are using natural fibers. Natural referring to cotton, hemp, bamboo or a mix of these. Any “organic” fabric will be a natural fiber. By definition, natural fibers will not be stay dry, the closest you can get to a natural stay dry liner is a silk liner (we sell these on the site), they are very thin, made from silk and you lay them in the top of the diaper. But, they are not 100% stay dry like fleece or suedecloth is, you will feel some dampness, they just wick away a good amount of the moisture. Your stay dry fabrics will be fleece, suedecloth, which are both 100% polyester. Microfiber is 100% poly but not stay-dry, it has to be fleece or suedecloth, or another variation of these. If you are using prefolds or fitteds that are natural fibers, you may have success with laying in a fleece liner. We do sell them here.

Or you can make your own. Go to a fabric store, ask for 1/2 yard of scrap fleece, and cut into 15 x 5 rectangles. No sewing needed, it won’t fray.
For fitteds, lay them in the middle, it will protect the core of the diaper from transferring wetness. For prefolds, if you are trifolding just lay them on top, between the baby and the prefold, if you are folding the prefold around:

1) lay the fleece liner in the middle of the diaper, place the baby on it, so you see the front half of the liner (the back half is under their bottom)
2) flip that front half of the liner up over their belly, almost as if they were wearing a pantyliner, so the top of the liner comes close to their belly button)
3) now fold your prefold around the baby, if you don’t flip the liner up it will get twisted in the prefold and not work (especially if you are doing the bikini twist)

Now, depending on the severity of the sensitivity to wetness, this may not be enough. It will protect their middle skin/genital area, but if they get rashy on their hip and belly, the liner won’t help with that if the diaper is getting really soaked. In this situation, I would first try to increase absorbency, if you can keep the wetness mostly in the middle by adding some extra hemp inserts, it cuts down on the wetness going to the sides of the diaper, and with the fleece liner may be enough to keep the rash at bay.

With any rash, please seek the advice of your doctor for any itching, cracking, bleeding, blisters or peeling. This rash is very mild to treat and will go away quickly with the use of fleece liners, if it is at all serious or painful looking it does need to be diagnosed.

night time diapering basics

by abbyslanehype

This week we are starting our nighttime discussion. This week we are going to cover some of the “basics” for nighttime diapering. I will start this with the caveat that if what you are doing is working then don’t bother reading this, but if you are troubleshooting nighttime leaks this is a good place to start :)

1) be ready for the fact that your child’s output can change overnight, literally. If your baby is a very light wetter and then starts soaking through diapers, it is very likely that they really did become a heavy wetter overnight. We talk with many customers who spend many nights on wet sheets thinking they have a buildup problem when it is absorbency that needs to be fixed. Remember that the vast majority of buildup issues will be accompanied by odor, it is very rare when detergent buildup is so bad it causes leaking without you smelling the trapped feces and urine being left behind. Another clue to this is if the diapers are soaked. Buildup will leave you leaking with very little absorbency, the inserts will be bare;y wet or wet only in spots, if your diaper is soaked, you need more absorbency.

2) For most babies, pockets will not cut it for heavy wetters. There is only so much pockets can do for a heavy wetter at nighttime, remember pockets are great for daytime use because they are trim and easy to change. At nighttime you don’t need either of those features, and your absorbency is held really in the middle of the diaper. When you have a wiggly baby who is rolling around in their sleep, their urine can be hitting the sides of their diapers, meaning you will leak out of the sides quickly. The trim cut you love for daytime pockets will work against you for nighttime, stuffing them too much will cause gaps, and then urine will roll out the side of the diaper. This is the reason fitteds and covers work well at nighttime, because they wrap absorbency all around the child’s waist and legs, protecting better.

3)Some babies may experience diaper rash from nighttime diapers if they are really soaked, be open minded about natural fibers if your baby is sensitive to wetness. The overnight heat rash/urine chafing rash usually starts as a mild sunburned look where the diaper touches, this may or may not be accompanied by pinprick red dots all over the diaper area. If you are using prefolds at night be aware of this, if your baby is rashy in the morning you may need to change up your system you are using.

Hemp for diapers and inserts

by abbyslanehype

This week we are moving onto the hemp fabric for diapers and inserts, net week we move into some nighttime discussions. Hemp is a very dense fabric, and a natural one (not synthetic). Hemp does need to be prewashed, it will arrive a little bigger and stiffer than the finished product, if you have a few hemp items toss them in with your household laundry 2-3 times, and they will get better with age. After the prewashings you can wash them with your other diaper items. He,p is great layered under other fabrics, but can be tricky at catching everything if you have a fast wetter. Boys tend to be more problematic than girls with hemp, hemp inch for inch holds a lot, but it takes a few seconds for the liquid to sink down into the fabric. Putting microfiber or cotton on top can help, or having your hemp fabric blended with another fabric to break up the density. Some do have success with just hemp, depends on the baby. Our favorite Hemp Inserts at Abby’s Lane are BabyKicks Joey Bunz, they are thin, economical and last very well over time and multiple washings. They are contoured and very easy to slip into pockets, in fitteds (or under fitteds between the fitted and cover), or laid on top of an AIO for extra absorbency. If you want to size up you can do so easily, just fold them down, you will get a little extra bulk at the end but you can usually skip a size when buying them. For prefold users, lay the hemp in the middle, then flip up over the belly when wrapping the prefold around, you get a lot of density packed into a small space without having bulk added to your prefold.

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