Frugal Diapering

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 Diapers and Accessories, What do you truly need?

by shethinksmedia

We are continuing with our newborn discussion, but this also applies to a new family to the cloth diapering scene in regards to “additional equipment”. My personal stance, all you need to cloth diaper are cloth diapers. The rest are truly “accessories”, and many household items can work in their place. If you are facing a tight budget, invest in your diapers, below we are going to outline some of these additional items and how you can work around them.

1) Diaper Pail: Budget or no budget, the pails made for disposables are out. Diaper Champs, Genies, their capacity is small, the liners are expensive and the openings will be tight for toddler diapers. The best pail is a 13 gallon trash can, with a close-top lid. You can often find these for around $10.00 at your big box stores, they are easy to clean if needed, and keep odors contained.

2) Pail Liners: If you can’t invest in pail liners, use your kitchen trash bags. One bag will last for 1-2 days of cloth, take it to the washing machine, dump it in and toss it. If you can invest in reusable pail liners, you would want 2 (one to wash while using the other), if you have a smaller pail, buy the bigger pail liner. It is ok to have a larger pail liner than pail, the extra material will just bunch at the bottom and expand when you take it out.

3) Wet Bags: In a pinch, reuse your plastic grocery bags, you can always bag your soiled diapers in a plastic bag, come home, break open the bag and the diaper falls into your pail. If you can invest in a reusable bag, usually one medium size wetbag (or “regular) in the Wahmies brand) is perfect for the average day with a few errands. If you have two in diapers, a longer trip, taking diapers to daycare for the day, invest in the larger bag. Out of all of our diaper accessories, my wet bag gets the most use. Past baby years, you will use them at the pool for swimsuits, swim diapers, and even well into the school years, when your child becomes ill in the car, you will always need a place to store wet or stinky things while containing the odor and mess. Gross, sure, but you will be so grateful you have that wet bag during stomach virus season!

4) Diaper Sprayers: For my first two children, dunking and swishing was our method for solid waste removal. You get good at it quickly, it is free to use, and available wherever there is a toilet ( While I don’t “dunk” in a public restroom, but I do use them for dumping the solid waste into). If you need a cheap way to get semi solid waste off your diapers at home, flip the diaper facing liner-in towards the toilet. Grab the front and back together, dunk into the toilet water a few times to loosen the mass. Hold onto the diaper (key thing here, otherwise have the plumber’s number handy), flush 1-2 times to get rid of the waste. If tiny residual pieces hang on, don’t sweat it, repeat as needed. You don’t get your hands dirty at all, or wet, have your pail right next to the toilet to toss the dirty diaper in. If the budget allows, diaper sprayers are great, they can be moved to a different toilet if you move, and have fantastic warranties on them.

Many of our customers report the best way to get these cloth diaper accessories on a tight budget is with a holiday or birthday registry. If you are set with clothing and toys, and especially if you have a “green” minded family, many have found their families loved indulging in a few extras to ease the cloth journey :) If you don’t love the idea of a registry, but you feel comfortable asking for gift cards, they are an instant gift from our website, and without any expiration dates gives you the time to asses what is needed most.

Let me know if you have any questions, at AbbysLane@aol.com, have a great weekend!

Stephanie
www.AbbysLane.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!
Stephanie
www.AbbysLane.com


Frugal Diapering and Nighttime Diapering Tips

by shethinksmedia

This week we are going to dive into some articles about frugal diapering and nighttime diapering. An article we have written in the past that received a lot of attention can be found on our blog here:  http://www.cloththatcounts.com/?s=frugal
It covers some tips that are tried and true to diaper your baby very inexpensively or even for free using things around the house that you may already have.


This past week we have gotten lots of emails from exclusive pocket or AIO users looking for a nighttime solution. Pockets and AIOs are great daytime diapers, they are trim, contoured, and can pack a good amount of absorbency into an easy on and off system. What you love about pockets during the day is what can backfire at nighttime. Their absorbency runs down the middle only, and if you have seen your toddler or older baby sleep at night, they are anywhere but only on their back laying still. They toss and turn, making urine seep around the sides of the core of the pocket or AIO and causing leaks. Also, their trim cut for daytime absorbency doesn’t allow for nighttime stuffing. If you overstuff, the pocket will stand off of their body, creating big gaps to have urine leak out. The solution is to have absorbency wrap around the baby, and the most inexpensive way to do this is prefolds and covers. If you have pocket diapers, you like have some hemp inserts in the mix (unless your baby is still being held by microfiber). A prefold can be wraped around the baby, secured with a snappi, and depending on the size of your pocket diaper you can use it as a cover. If it is a particularly trim pocket this may not work, or you may have to put it on a higher rise setting to cover the nighttime wrap, but if you have a larger cut pocket it can serve as a nighttime cover if it is high enough. To wrap a prefold, check our link here for two ways we suggest:
http://www.abbyslane.com/Prefold-Folding_ep_59-1.html


It is easy to add microfiber inserts *behind* the prefold (remember, microfiber can’t go directly against the baby’s skin), or if you have a fleece liner you want to lay over the microfiber to lay it on top, simple lay the insert in the middle of the prefold, with the back under baby’s bottom. Flip the top of it over baby’s belly, so it almost resembles a maxi pad on him/her, the way it wraps from front to back. Now, wrap your prefold around the entire thing, so your hemp or microfiber/fleece insert doesn’t get twisted up. You have just really beefed up your absorbency in your prefold, and a cover that will wrap over the entire thing is your last step! Making sure your prefold and cover is big enough is key, you want the rise to hit above the belly button ideally, if it is below, make sure it doesn’t pull down the prefold or fitted under it, causing it to sag around the crotch. It is common and normal for nighttime diapering to run a size bigger than daytime diapering, and in the same fashion for pajamas to be upsized well before daytime clothing. Email me at Abbyslane@aol.comif you have questions! Since we recommend washing every other day, we assume you only need 2 nighttime solutions (you can add more, but you need one to use while you wash the other), if you have generous pockets, and a few hemp inserts, making a nighttime solution out of a Snappi and two prefolds could be less than $10.00 for leak free nights :)

Stephanie
www.AbbysLane.com


Frugal Cloth Diapering, It all started with a SNAPPI!

by shethinksmedia

This post has been upcycled, it was old and we’ve made it new again!  It’s full of great info on frugal diapering and we hope you’ll take the time to read it.  The message is still very valid, and we often link this article to customers asking for ways to save $$ in cloth diapers.

My cloth diaper journey started in 2003 with my first daughter, Abby (who let me steal her name for our store), and for some time I was diapering on a very tiny budget, the “groceries or diapers” kind. I started with my youngest brother’s 24 year old Gerber prefolds, pins and rubber pants from walmart. I hated pins. Hated, hated, hated them..( I know many of you like using pins, don’t throw a rotten tomato at me just yet ) I have a picture of Abby in a pinned prefold I did, it was so loose I relied on her pants to hold it and the cover up. I was very ready to give up, the leaks were awful (every diaper change), and my fingers were bloody from the *&*^% pins. An online friend suggested trying a “Snappi”…I took the plunge, then proraps and finally some chinese prefolds (indian were just starting to come on the scene back then). The difference was immediate, and I caught a wave of “I-can-do-this!”

It is funny how none of this would have come to be if not for that Snappi….

We diapered her that way for some time, every few paychecks I would snag a few dollars and get a pocket for nighttime. My second daughter was a mix of prefolds and pockets, bumGenius came out when she was a baby with their first version (the 1.0 white nylon pocket for the veterans here!), and I had the store at that point and could try a few more things. With each baby I have been able to increase my stash, but it doesn’t mean I forgot what I did, what I HAD to do with my first and second to make sure we could pay the bills on time.

Gerber prefolds are cheap, can be bought at the grocery store and certainly can work. She always had to be doubled up, nighttime was 3 and still being changed every few hours to prevent leaks. Same can be said for today’s Indian prefolds that I love and use, they last a long time, and you can diaper with them from birth to potty training for around 200 dollars, including covers and snappis. If your baby is a heavier wetter and you have prefolds, double them up! Fold one like a business letter, lay it in the middle of the second, when you lay the baby in, flip the trifolded middle piece up over their belly, then wrap the second prefold around them. You have just made two prefolds give your baby 30 layers of cotton in the middle. For this style, you will have to upsize the cover, but it will still work.

I also would use old rags, handtowels and washcloths to boost absorbency. I started with enough diapers to almost get me through the day, so I ran tiny loads of laundry every day to keep up until i could afford more prefolds. Using washcloths, handtowels and cutting/sewing the edges on old bath towels got me through the day of laundry. Don’t have a sewing machine? Roll the edges of a cut handtowel and hand-sew the edges with a whip stitch, it holds and is easy and quick to do. If your baby is sensitive to wetness, go to your local fabric store, you can get a half a yard of scrap fleece for about 2-3 dollars. Cut them into 5 x 15 rectangles, no sewing needed, and lay one in with each prefold. Lay it in the middle, lay the baby down, flip up the liner over their belly then wrap the prefold around, otherwise the liner gets wrapped up in the prefold and is useless. If you are looking at a budget of 20-30 dollars, invest in 2 snappis and some covers, and then work with towels and rags you have in your house. If you can makeshift something to absorb, you can rely on a good cover to keep it in and contained.

I look at Abby’s baby pictures and giggle, she was a tiny, tiny petite child and her diaper was HUGE! LOL-put a handtowel in a gerber prefold with a snappi on a 13 pound 6 month old and a medium cover over it, watch what happens.

Bottom line, it works, and I think I spent maybe 75 dollars on her entire first year of diapering. We would have done that in disposables in less than two months. Those prefolds she used I had in use until my third daughter, they finally wore out during her baby-hood. The worst feeling in the world when you are tight on cash, is looking in a disposable diaper pail when your child has “cluster pooped” and you see that you have just gone through 7 disposables in a 2 hour period when you thought they were done and they just kept going, the best feeling is looking in a cloth diaper pail and seeing 7 prefolds that will be washed by morning and ready to use again.

Some cheap accessory ideas:

  • Wipes: wipes can be expensive and a pain to wash/dispose of. The best cloth wipes for newborns are going to be small and thin for their little nooks and crannies, especially for baby girls. Big thick wipes won’t do the job, and the best newborn wipes can be baby washcloths. Usually at your baby shower you get 30 packs of washcloths, and end up needing 4-5 during the week to actually bathe your baby. Use the rest for cloth diaper wipes! At wal mart or the dollar store, you can get a 5 pack for around a dollar, so you can build your stash of wipes for 5-6 dollars. For my oldest daughter we used these through her toddler years, you need more per changing then the bigger thicker wipes, but they do the job and will last for years. You don’t need essential oils or wipe recipes, plain old water is the best for any age of cleaning
  • I would say 99% of babies will need fleece liners at some point in their diapering years. Whether for nighttime dryness, or to be able to use diaper creams, fleece liners are needed. You can make your own for 2-3 dollars, go to your local fabric store and buy a yard of scrap fleece, the kind doesn’t matter. Or, sometimes big box stores will sell cheap fleece throws at the 2-3 price point, and you can cut them up. Rectangles of 5 x 15 inches, no sewing needed as it won’t fray.
  • Diaper Sprayer: Get your husband or partner to dunk/swish, pretty cheap method, fail proof and be used anywhere

The biggest challenge to frugal diapering is the toddlers and nighttime heavy wetters, but surely generations before us did it with success, we can, too, right? Absolutely! Much of this will tie back into prefolds/layering. If you have any sewing skills and access to a machine, this will come in handy. Being able to sew flannel layers from old receiving blankets is invaluable, if you can sweet talk your mother or mother in law into doing this for you, even better.

Flannel is cotton, is very durable and easy to wash. It also provides good absorbency, and is super trim. Making inserts out of lots of layers is easy and cheap to do. If you don’t/can’t sew, you can whip stitch by hand the same thing, it will just take longer and not be as neat, just keep folding the flannel onto itself and finish the edges, you can do this to two stacks and then sew them together. Sandwich these in your prefolds, or behind the prefolds held in place by the cover for extra core absorbency.

For nighttime your homemade fleece liners we discussed earlier will help provide a stay dry feeling for your baby is he is sensitive to wetness. If you go to any thrift shop you can get old wool sweaters for a few dollars. These can be cut and sewn into wool soakers, if you google “recycled wool sweater soakers” you will get a bajillion links on how to sew your own, many with free patterns. Wool is invaluable for heavy wetters and breatheable covers, and easy wool care can be found here (you can use dish soap to clean in a pinch and lansinoh from nursing for lanolin if you have it on hand):
http://www.abbyslane.com/Cloth-101_ep_42-1.html#Q17

Email us at AbbysLane@aol.com with questions! And thank you to Snappi Baby for making all if this a reality :) If I had to point the finger to one reason I cloth diapered, started a little store and have been able to help families in the past 8 years on their journey, the Snappi would be that reason :)

Thanks for reading!

Stephanie, Abby’s Lane


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