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Thirsties Therapy Help

Any posts regarding the care, wash, use, stripping, trouble-shooting problems in relation to cloth diapering.

Newborn Baby Portraits

Newborn Baby Portraits (Photo credit: kristaguenin)

You may ask why cloth diapering a newborn is different than diapering an older baby. It is different for a number of reasons. Newborns have thinner thighs, affecting the fit. Newborns have runnier stools, which can be a leak issue. New babies have umbilical cord stumps which can get in the way of the diaper. Newborn babies also eliminate very often. If your newborn baby is your first, then you will also be in the process of learning how to diaper.

We are happy to try to help with tips and information that will help your venture into cloth diapering successful from the start!

Fit tips:

You will want to choose a diaper that fits a newborn well, otherwise you will have leaking. You can expect a newborn to weigh between 6-10 lbs. The diaper will need to fall below the belly button until the belly button heals. You may want to choose a diaper with an umbilical cord cutout, or you will have to fold the diaper and/or cover down to fit which will create extra bulk. Newborns typically have skinny thighs, and it is important that the diapers be snug at the leg openings as well as the waist.

Note: Generally, one size diapers do not fit newborns!

What if your baby is premature?

If your baby is a preemie, then you will need to purchase preemie diapers. Fitted diapers or fastened prefolds will be your best leak-proof options, especially when dealing with liquid breast fed stools. Many people choose to use disposables until the baby fits into newborn diapers, but there are cloth options.

How many diapers?

You will need about 12 diapers a day for a newborn, sometimes more. We recommend that you wash every other day, meaning you will need 24 + diapers in rotation. If you choose to use a two piece system such as prefolds/covers or fitteds/covers, you will also need about 8 covers. If you plan on fastening prefolds, you will need to buy a few fasteners such as a Snappi.

How do I know what kind of diaper to choose?

We suggest a trial program to find out what type of diaper will work for you before buying a whole stash. You can also try prefolds and covers if you sign up for a diaper service. You can find a list of Thirsties retailers that offer our diapers in a trial here.

Note: Please keep in mind, you will have leaking once in a while no matter what diaper you are using!

Nighttime diapering

You will want to make sure that the diaper you use at nighttime is absorbent enough to last 3+ hours between feedings. What you use in the daytime for 1/5 hours or 2 hours may not last for extended periods at nighttime. You do not want to intentionally wake the baby up to change the diapers, unless they are soiled. Newborns do not go a lot at once, but go very often. Fitted diapers and prefold diapers are good nighttime options.

Practice!

You can practice on a doll or teddy bear before the baby is actually born. That way, you will not be so nervous when your new bundle arrives! If using a two piece system, you will want to make sure that the diaper is tucked into the cover to avoid wicking (liquid leaking onto the cover). You will want to make sure that there are no gaps around the waist or legs. You can see a great article on how to change diapers here.

Diaper Changes

Give yourself some extra time at diaper changes, and keep extra diapers, wipes, and wipe spray within reach. Always have a towel/diaper handy at the changing station to “block” any explosions or sudden leaks – newborn babies are notorious for going again after you have wiped them! Newborns also produce a lot of gas, and this makes their bowel movements more explosive. It is a wise idea to lay a prefold diaper or towel over the diaper area while changing.

How do I wash the diapers?

We recommend washing your cloth diapers every 2 days. You will avoid a lot of headaches if you follow the manufacturers’ washing instructions to wash the diapers. You can print out a copy from the website to keep by your washer until you get the hang of it. Use a cloth diaper safe detergent. If you have a High Efficiency machine, be sure to use the HE instructions. If you want to cloth diaper but do not want to wash the diapers, you can enlist the help of a diaper service.

What do you do with the poo?

Newborns have liquid stools until they start eating solids. Babies who are exclusively breast fed have stools that are water soluble, and thus it is not necessary to rinse the soil off before washing. If that makes you cringe, then there are diaper sprayers that you can hook onto the toilet’s water supply. If using a diaper sprayer, you simply take the soiled diaper, hold over the toilet, and spray the soil into the toilet. You then put the diaper in the diaper pail until wash day.

Babies who are formula fed do not have stools that are water soluble. You will need to scrape or rinse off the soil from the diaper. To scrape, some use a spatula and dispose in the toilet. Or, you can use a diaper sprayer as outlined above.

Many parents stay away from cloth diapering because of “The Ick Factor”. The truth is, having a baby has its icky moments whether you cloth diaper or not! Icky, sticky, dirty, gross, funny, precious, innocent, heart-warming… it all comes in one package. Cloth diapering is one way to care for your baby in the most natural way possible.

Enjoy that little bundle of joy – this stage does not last long!

 

Please send any questions you may have to support@thirstiesbaby.com.

~Sonya

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It is hard to save those pennies. Sometimes we just have the bare minimum to start cloth diapering, so what we choose to use has to stretch our dollar to the extreme.

I remember when my son was a newborn, and I invested in a stash of organic one-size hemp/cotton fitted diapers. I was so excited that I would have a stash of organic, absorbent, and premium diapers. After I washed them up and tried them on my baby, I realized that they were way too big and bulky. They were also not very soft, which was a big issue with me. I wanted nothing but softness and comfort for my baby. (I am sure that resonates with all of you!) Being that I could not return them, I had to use them, knowing that they were making my baby uncomfortable. They were very absorbent, which is important, but they also made him very hot. They also only fit him for a short period.

The moral of the story is; you don’t need the fancy diapers to cloth diaper. It is an investment, and the basic and affordable diapers may work just as well or better as the premium options. Enter the Prefold diaper.

Prefolds are a very versatile and affordable cloth diapering option. They are very durable, and have uses beyond cloth diapering. They are made from natural fibers which are easier to clean. This has become one of my most recommended cloth diapering options!

Now for some of you, this may bring visions of the old fashioned flat diapers, pins, and vinyl pants. But cloth diapers have a new twist, even when using prefolds and covers. There is no longer a need for diaper pins with many of the new cover designs – simply trifold the prefold and lay into the cover. Please see the illustration below.

 


You will want to make sure to use a trim cover such as our Duo Wrap to keep the prefold in place and up against baby’s skin. The price of the Duo Wrap/Duo Hemp Prefold combo is about $384 per child from birth to potty training. This pricing is based on a stash of 20 diapers and 7 covers in size 1, and 12 diapers and 3 covers in size 2. You will need at least this amount if you wash every other day. Prefolds should last you through more than one child, compounding the savings.



+   


Prefolds/Wraps: $384

Total water/energy/detergent and washer/dryer upkeep per child for 2.5 years: $502

Cheapest Disposables: $2000 +

Cloth diaper savings: $1114 +

Now, if the environmental and health benefits do not convert most parents, then it is usually the cost savings that will!

 

We are here to answer any questions that you may have. Please don’t hesitate to contact us!

Email: support@thirstiesbaby.com

Chat link and phone number: http://www.thirstiesbaby.com/

~Sonya

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Clothes Line

Clothes Line (Photo credit: Mathew Knott)

There is no way around the fact that commercial washers and dryers have made laundry much easier and more convenient. Just pop the clothes in, and take them back out when they are done! Most of us truly live in a world of convenience. But have you ever asked yourself what this extra convenience is costing you? Also, what do people do if they do not have an automatic dryer?

Many foreign households do not even own a dryer. They either hang their clothes outside, or have a line in their laundry room. Since dryers do not usually exist in their country, I don’t think that they feel like they are lacking in any way. My family did not have an automatic dryer when I was young. I have many fond memories of dancing with the sheets in the wind!

You may wonder what the benefits of line drying are, and we are glad to offer our findings.

Line drying helps preserve the textiles of your diapering items…

Drying with high heat damages textile fibers and components. Diapers and covers with components must be kept out of high heat, or the items will quickly break down. You will see evidence of wear as fading color, tears, weakened seams, stretched out elastic, and hook and loop that no longer grips. Components containing spandex or other elastic materials can become permanently stretched out or warped by regular full-heat drying cycles over time.

Fact: Lint is actually fibers that come out of the fabric in the washer and dryer!

Saves on energy expenses…

Appliances take up the better part of your energy bills. Every time that you choose to line dry your diapers or clothing, you will be saving money. Besides the cost of the drying line or rack, line drying is FREE! LaundryList.org estimates the cost savings at $25 a month. I also found a cost chart on How Much Electricity do Appliances Use at Energy.gov, but it is not certain what size household it correlates to. According to the California Energy Commission, “the average clothes dryer will cost you approximately $1,530 to operate” in its lifetime.

Reduces pollution…

The energy we use creates pollution. In regards to a clothes dryer, you will have CO2 emissions stemming from the energy production, and also the production of the clothes dryer. According to Green Living Tips, “the energy consumed by a clothes dryer can be anywhere from 1800 to 5000 watts per hour, or 1.8 to 5KwHr. Given that 1.5 pounds of carbon emissions per kilowatt hour are generated in the production of electricity by a coal fired power station (give or take a bit), over a year this comes to a considerable amount.”

Disinfects…

Sunshine will help to disinfect your laundry. UV rays are said to kill mold, and bacteria such as E-coli, Influenza, Norovirus, Rotovirus, Samonella, and Staph.

The sun fades stains naturally. You simply lay the laundry in the sun, and the stains will fade away!

The wind will blow fresh air into your laundry, which will remove odors.

You can use any of the following to line dry your diapering items:

-Clothes line and clothes pins outside
-Clothes line and clothes pins inside
-A drying rack outside
-A drying rack inside
Wall dryer inside
-Ceiling dryer inside

There is a plethora of options here: http://www.tiptheplanet.com/index.php?title=Air_dry_washing

I personally live in a community with a Homeowner’s Association, but luckily (in this case) there is no one on the board to enforce the rules. I use a drying rack outside for my laundry. I can use the rack outside when it is nice, or in the laundry room when it is not.

Tips:

  • If you are buying a clothes line, make sure it is sturdy and keep it taught.
  • If you are buying a drying rack, you will need a large one for a full load of diapers.
  • You will want to wipe down the clothes line or rack periodically to keep it clean.
  • To add a light perfume to your line dried items, plant some aromatic plants such as lavender, thyme, lilac, and lemon verbena near an outside clothes line.  You can find other suggestions for plantings here and here. If you want to dry at night, you can plant a nighttime bloomer such as jasmine, gardenia, and evening primrose. You can find other night blooming options here.

Cautions:

  • If drying outside, do not put your line under trees, or the birds will dirty your laundry again!
  • If drying in the sun, dry the diapers with the inside facing up. Try to keep covers out of the direct sunlight to avoid fading colors and harming components.
  • If you live within a homeowner’s association, they may have regulations restricting a clothesline or drying clothes outside.
  • We do not recommend to line dry items outside in freezing weather. Freezing can cause the fibers to break or weaken.
  • If drying outside and the temperature is more than 85 degrees Fahrenheit, make sure that the items have good ventilation. On extremely hot days, you may want to line dry in the morning or evening.

To help soften natural fibers when line drying:

  • Wind helps to soften fabric and aids in drying. It also keeps your items from “overheating”. Try to place your rack or line where there will be good ventilation.
  • Fluff out the fabric before and after hanging by “snapping” them in the air a couple of times.
  • To soften natural fiber diapers after line drying, you can throw them in the dryer for 5 minutes with some wool dryer balls.
  • For natural fiber diapering items, add ½ cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle.
  • Avoid hanging during the hottest part of the day. The longer the diapers take to dry, the softer they will be.

Searching for websites about line drying? These may be of interest to you:
Project Laundry List
Tip the Planet

As you can see, the benefits of line drying go beyond cost savings. I do not mind the extra 5-10 minutes it takes to hang the laundry to dry. I actually enjoy it! If you are line drying outside, it is a great way to get your recommended 15 minutes of fresh air each day.

If you have any questions, please send them to me at support@thirstiesbaby.com.

Happy Cloth Diapering!

~Sonya

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I thought it would be a good idea to have some “How Tos” referenced all in one place. Below is a list that may be handy to many of you!

Please let me know if there is a “How To” article that you would like to see!

We also have many FAQs on our website that are very useful if you need information or are having an issue with your diapers.

Please send any questions to support@thirstiesbaby.com, and I will get them there.

Happy Cloth Diapering!

~Sonya

 

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You will need to strip your diapers if you have residue or diaper odor. Residue can be caused by hard water, diapers than are not cleaned or rinsed thoroughly, detergents, or from greasy products such as diaper creams or fabric softeners. You could also have soap scum if you use a non-approved soap or detergent.

Following are the instructions for diaper stripping. Strip only as needed, as it can be harsh on your diapering products.

 

Standard machines:

Maximum load size is 24 XS/S or 18 M/L diapers.

Starting with clean diapers:

  1. Fill machine with Hot water on the highest water level, using a heavy cycle.
  2. Add 2 Tablespoons of Dawn Classic dish soap to the wash water and agitate for about 10 seconds.
  3. Add diapers and run wash cycle, adding two extra warm rinses.
  4. If the rinse water is slimy or has any bubbles during the last rinse, you should add another rinse.

HE machines:

Dawn dish soap is NOT low sudsing. Please do not use dish soap in a High Efficiency machine, as this will most likely void the warranty on your machine. You will need to use a top loading machine or the bathtub to strip with Dawn dish soap.

If you need to strip your diapers in an HE machine, you can use RLR. This can be found online.

Maximum load size is 15 XS/S or 12 M/L diapers.

Start with clean diapers, and follow instructions on the RLR package.

*RLR can be harsh on components, especially Aplix fasteners. Please use only when needed.

Important:

If you have residue on your diapers, you will want to strip the diapers but also take care of what is causing the problem. First make sure you are using the correct wash instructions.

If you are not using a recommended detergent, you will want to strip your diapers and change to a cloth diaper safe detergent.

Make sure that if you use a diaper cream that it is cloth diaper safe. You may want to use a liner when using diaper creams.

For hard water, you will need to use a water softener such as Calgon Water Softener or 1/4 cup baking soda to your wash load.

Please send any questions to support@thirstiesbaby.com.

~Sonya

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