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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


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.


Newborn Cloth Diapering, Tips and Resources at Abby’s Lane

by shethinksmedia
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The past few weeks have covered some recent newborn favorites, umbilical cord notches, and nighttime diapering tips for newborns. We conclude this week with a great article on our website covering the best in newborn diapering across all systems.

Newborn Cloth Diapering Systems

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It is worth a read for a new mama to cloth, and has helped many decide on which brands to sample with their baby.
The most common question I get with newborn diapering is in regards to prefolds, parents wondering if they can work through the extra steps of using them because of their frugal appeal, also their ability to be the custom fit for any newborn, since you wrap them around their belly and legs yourself. I always suggest trying a few to see if you love them. Now, some of our parents know right off the bat they don’t want to deal with a multi-step system, so using prefolds with the idea of wrapping, fastening and a cover is just not the best choice.

For a page on some prefolding tips, take a look at our Prefold Folding page.

Our article highlights several other diaper choices that are perfect for a one piece option. However, if you are open to the idea of prefolds, buying 1-2 won’t hurt, Snappis can be used down the road for toddler diapering if you need prefolds for nighttime absorbency, and are fabulous for picking lint out of aplix diapers. Prefolds have a myriad of uses other than newborn diapering, and can be used as great doublers for bigger diapers as well, so they aren’t a lost investment. Your covers can also be used with fitted diapers, which are great for newborns as well.

Take a peek at the article, and let us know what questions you have about your new baby!

Stephanie
www.AbbysLane.com


Tips for keeping your diapers in great shape longer!

by shethinksmedia

We got some great feedback from last week’s frugal diapering article, several of you replied that you could now have leak-free solutions with items you had on hand, which is money in your pocket and dry sheets ( a win/win!)

In keeping with this line of thinking, here are some tips to keep your diapers looking their best longer:

Here is what we see being big culprits of wear and tear on diapers:

1. Bleach:
Once in a blue moon bleach won’t hurt anything. If you have cotton outers, they will fade, but PUL is dye fast and can hold up to a bleaching or two over time. Microfiber you could likely soak in bleach for 6 years and it would still be fine. In some health issues, bleach is needed. Yeast, staph, MRSA, and other bacterial or fungal issues will need bleach to keep your baby from being reinfected. If you are bleaching in every wash cycle, or pre-soaking them, or for some customers even on a weekly basis, you will wear those diapers out faster. They are cloth, and just like if you were doing this to your favorite tee shirts, you will see wear on them. Vinegar and oxygen bleach will wear on PUL the same way bleach does, so be careful if you use these in your wash routine as well.

2. Stretching out elastic while it is hot:
When you take your pockets or pocket AIOs out of the dryer, let them cool before stuffing them. I know you are right there and if you put them down it will be two snacks, one potty break and one nap time later before you get back to them, but this really goes a long way. Hot elastic does not like to be stretched, it will wear out faster so let them cool first.

3. Infrequent washing:
Many of you are going to say “Washing wears them out, too!”. Yes, there is a fine line you have to walk between your schedule, your quantity of diapers, and how your wash cycle works in your house. That being said, letting diapers sit 3-5 days can cause a host of problems. One, they are soaking in ammonia for some time, which will wear down your fabrics (remember, urine + time + bacteria= ammonia). Second, it will be harder to get them clean after letting them stew in a warm, dark pail for that long of a time, and you usually have to resort to laundry aids, or bleach, to get them clean. Washing every other day is best, save the money you would be spending on twice as many diapers to wash every 4 days, and start building your stash for the next size up. It will be easier on you, and easier on the diapers.

4. Making your own laundry tabs:
If you have a washing machine with a rougher agitator, and you notice your laundry tabs are wearing out, it is easy to make your own. Get a roll of velcro at a fabric store for around $2.00, and cut into 2 inch squares. Throw away the “hook” side (the scratchy side) and save your two inch “loop” (soft) sides. Put in a little plastic bowl near your diaper pail, when the dirties go in, stick them on, when they come out of the dryer, put them back in the bowl. Nothing to fold back, and they won’t dislodge.

5. Proper Storage:
Between babies, or between sizes, keep your diapers in a temperature controlled environment. Hot summers and cold winters can wear out elastic and notions, my favorite way to store diapers is a sterlite bin n closets or a temperature controlled basement. A lid is important to keep out bugs and moths who love fabric.

Have a great weekend!
www.AbbysLane.com


Cloth Diapering on the cheap

by abbyslanehype

I started cloth 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. My first splurge was a snappi, then another snappi, then proraps and finally some chinese prefolds (indian were just starting to come on the scene back then). 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.

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, failproof 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 the first article we did on 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.


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