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Written by Mama Monday

Blog posts written by mamas on cloth diapering, green living, natural parenting.

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Our daughter just turned 8 months (the day our son turned 4 years!), and I realized that while we’ve simplifies things this time around, there are some baby gear items that I’m still finding super useful.

So, whether you’re expecting and would like some ideas (besides cloth diapers!) for what to stock the nursery with or have a baby shower to shop for, hopefully this post will provide a helpful resource. I also welcome any and all moms to share their own favorite must-haves in the comments since parenthood is SO personal and some of my faves might not be someone else’s cup of tea.

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Swaddling blanket/sleep sacks – Hands-down, if you can only get one thing, buy a muslin swaddling blanket for those first few months. Seriously, it’s that huge. Our daughter sleeps SO much better when she’s all snugly “tucked in.” And even now, she sleeps tons better when she’s wearing a sleep sack…even in 90 degree weather. Game. Changer.

Cradle – We actually have used a perfectly safe hand-me-down cradle for both of our children and it has been awesome. We’re not co-sleepers but we like having Harper close by. Yes, she’s getting to the crib point (*sniffle, sniffle*), but having the ease of grabbing her quickly for half-asleep midnight feedings and changes has been a luxury. Plus, I love hearing her little noises as she slumbers.

Any well-rated cradle or bassinet you find will work if you don’t have a secondhand (and buying a secondhand one might be risky; we checked ours for any possible issues). But, for example, a family member had a bassinet that I felt could tip way too easily, so we politely declined any use whenever we visited. Just use your common sense, of course.

Hand-me-down clothes – I’ve come to realize that clothes are the #1 clutter-maker in our lives, and baby clothes (especially the ones baby only wears for, say, a month) are huge offenders. While people will want to buy adorable new outfits, I love the idea of passing clothes along so that they actually get used. Plus, it’s far cheaper than buying a whole new wardrobe for your little one every three months.

And what if you don’t have a friend or family member looking to hand down clothes? There are some awesome local “garage sale” style Facebook pages and Mommy groups that are great for putting out the “looking for size 6-9 month” feelers. Oh, and be sure to pass the love along when you’re done for those items that are in good condition.SIDE NOTE: This also works wonderfully with maternity clothes.

Babywearing apparatus – If you don’t already know about the glory of babywearing (soothing baby, hands-free?? Yes, please!), Google it! I have an Ergo soft-structure carrier (easy for not-hot days and quick errands), a gorgeous Oscha wrap (it makes me feel purdy, not gonna lie), and my favorite is my Moby wrap (although I’m considering a Moby GO). There are tons of brands and price points, and many Facebook groups for all types of wearers, but all you need to know is that it’s a great way to bond with baby without feeling like you’ll never get up from the couch ever again.

Plus, many find their baby carriers/wraps so useful that they never have a need for their strollers. This may or may not work for you (we’re about a 50/50 family but use our stroller less than we used to with our son; sometimes you just want that extra space to throw the diaper or shopping bags), but if you’re hoping to have some extra bonding with baby and want to try hands-free, well, anything at the same time, a carrier is perfect.

A large bag or purse – Speaking of diaper bags…you don’t really need one. Sure, some people love having allotted spots for every item they’re carrying, but I found that either a super simple canvas utility bag or large purse handled our needs just fine. Of course, it depends on how long you’re leaving the house for, but I’ll often keep our cloth diapers in a tote in the car and grab a couple to bring into the store or house we’re visiting.

Also…we tend to bring way more than we need to bring on a simple errand-running excursion. I carry the same bag for both kids now that I did with our son and it’s got room to spare. You live, you learn.

Pack ‘n play – I know some people will insist this isn’t a necessity, and for many it’s not. But, if you have a two-story house or travel, like, ever, it’s essential. It provides us with a crib and changing station on our first floor – and as our daughter gets bigger, it’s totally going to be a playpen. Hooray for containment!

Bonus item: Baskets/Bins! – This has become my go-to kid organizational tool. When they’re little, the wayward bin helps contain cloth diapers, wipes, and lotions; as they get older, they can hold toys and books. Overall, baskets and bins help me feel like things are at least relatively neat and orderly, and not in a fussy, hard-to-maintain way.

So, what’s your must-have baby item? We’d love your ideas in the comments!

Megan is a wife, mother to two young children, freelance writer, and educator. She shares her attempts at
simplifying, among other things, at her blog, Meg Acts Out. When not busy meeting deadlines and chasing cats and kids, she enjoys acting in community theatre (where she met her husband), watching old movies, and sharpening her history buff skills.

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Now that my daughter’s about 8 months, it’s time to address, ugh, poop. For some, this is a cloth diapering issue to solve from day one (if a baby is formula fed). But, in our case, Harper is breastfeed and hasn’t taken to solids as voraciously as her brother did (boy, DID he!), so her poop has just recently taken a turn into the needs-to-be-rinsed-first territory.

This is one of those topics that turns people away from cloth diapering altogether. I kind of find it funny because, well, have you TRIED disposables? Talk about blow-outs. Seriously. As parents, we’re going to be touching poop. And catching vomit in our hands. And wiping snot off of faces without a tissue. Gross happens, so what’s a little extra here and there? (Plus, thank goodness for cloth diapers that CONTAIN THE BLOW-OUTS! And, did you guys know that disposable users are actually SUPPOSED to get rid of the poop inside before disposing, too?! Crazy town. Nobody does that.)

So, knowing that this time would come, I’ve done a lot of reading up on some awesome resources and thought I’d share the top tips that keep popping up. Yes, tips on how to handle poop disposal. Good times! Hey, it’s a dirty job, but somebody’s gotta do it.

 

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When to start sprayin’ and scrapin’. If your child is EBF and starting on solids, you’ll know when things start to get…different. Many liken it to peanut butter (I agree) but I’ve found it to be stickier/more mucousy. Is that even a word? Anyhoo, at this point, the diapers will need the solids removed before washing since it is no longer water soluble. Don’t worry about every single bit because, well, that’s impossible. But, anything that’s literally “solid” (anything past a surface stain) should be sprayed or scraped. That’s when we move to my next tip…

Use tools! Why did early man invent tools? To make life easier. There’s no medal for going it alone and taking the hard road. In this case, (arguably) the two most popular tools? A sprayer (generally that hooks up to your toilet, but there are other types, too) and a rubber spatula. Yup, a good, old-fashioned life hack like a poop scraper can save you the headache and mess of the ol’ dunk-and-swish.

Flushable liners – the best thing since sliced bread? I haven’t used them, myself, but many parents swear by flushable liners (especially when traveling). Apparently, when baby poops, most of it goes into the toilet along with the liner. Pretty easy peasy, right? I’ll have to give it a go and report back (or let us know in the comments if you’re a liner lover).

One way or another, soak. Ugh, you mean I have to figure out my wash routine…again? Maybe. I’ve read a few theories, and some suggest using a wet pail system (rather than the aforementioned scrape/spray method, which would mean tossing the diaper into a dry bag or pail with liner). There’s also the idea that, regardless of the system you use, a good soak in cold water (then draining the water before doing your regular wash routine) helps with staining and any other issues. Again, I’m just starting in this area, so we’ll see what I find helpful!  

 

Not to be graphic, but it’s hard not to wish for the days when Harper’s poop will roll right off into the potty (even if I’m otherwise crying that she’s growing up too darn fast)…or long for the days when we could toss her diapers in the wash without a second thought. But, as with all things parenting, this, too, shall pass and I’m sure one day I’ll look back fondly.
Even if those memories involve backspray (I need to get a Spray Pal shield…just sayin’) and wielding a never-use-this-to-cook-EVER spatula.

*WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE METHOD FOR BANISHING THE POO? ARE YOU A SCRAPER, A SPRAYER, OR A DUNKER? SHARE YOUR EXPERTISE IN THE COMMENTS!*
Megan is a wife, mother to two young children, freelance writer, and educator. She shares her attempts at
simplifying, among other things, at her blog, Meg Acts Out. When not busy meeting deadlines and chasing cats and kids, she enjoys acting in community theatre (where she met her husband), watching old movies, and sharpening her history buff skills.

When it comes to camping, we all have different ideas of what that might mean. My husband gets a little spooked that it means using a tent, hiking miles to get to a secluded spot, and totally roughing it – which it can be, but it’s not the only way.

Others love having all the comforts of home, including wi-fi, cable, A/C, and, of course, indoor plumbing, but in a peaceful, natural setting.

I fall somewhere in between. I’ve done the tent thing (sans hiking, it was at a heavily wooded campground) and rented several house-like cottages over the years. While I like both, I kind of prefer a small cabin with few rooms, cold running water, a toilet, and a campfire. See? In between.

No matter what style of camping you enjoy, you can still cloth diaper while doing so. It may seem like an extra pain in the neck, but it’s actually easier than you think! Here are a handful of tips and reasons cloth diapers are actually perfect for camping to help you get down to the business of enjoying the peace (and s’mores), not worrying about your diapering situation.

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1. Leave No Trace – Cloth diapers are the antithesis of garbage, perfect for the “leave no trace” credo. For a one-night trip, just zip in a wet bag and wash when you get home. For longer, wash and reuse or bury compostable liners. You can’t do that with disposables!

2. Keep It Simple – If you’re going for an extended period of time, it might be easiest to take the flats or prefolds and covers route. It’s simple, fastest to dry, and compact for traveling. Plus, if you don’t already own any, they’re the cheapest method to build quickly (and you only need a couple of days’ worth). Of course, it’s been done with other styles, as well, but your drying times will vary.

3. Plan Ahead for an Easier Time – By finding out what laundry and water accessibility your camp will have in advance, you’ll be able to plan out exactly the number of times you’ll have to wash diapers and whether you’ll need to get creative with your washing.

4. Get in Touch with Nature…Literally – If you’re in a rental cabin that has a washing machine, congratulations! Otherwise, you’ll have to act like great-grandma and try some more creative methods. You may have to try out a camp washer, a Scrubba bag (for frequent campers, it could be a wise investment), or even a washboard or portable washing machine. Also, a clothesline and clothespins hung between branches (or tent poles; improvise!) is the best drying method, when needed.

5. Consider Your Toxicity – It’s not very earth- and animal-friendly to dump black water (thanks to urine and fecal material) near a water source or hiking trail. You could compromise potential drinking water for animals and other hikers, so utilize toilet facilities to dump wash water whenever possible, or at the very least bury it 200+ feet from the nearest water source. Also, choose a biodegradable soap!

On the same token, don’t forget to purify whatever natural water you use, whether by boiling it or using a purchased water purification system.

6. Don’t. Feed. The. Bears. (It’s not just for Rabbit.) – When tent camping, don’t use open storage for dirty diapers. Rather, zippered hanging wet bags or tightly lidded trash can will keep odors (and suspicious animals) away.

7. Don’t Overthink It – Remember you’re there to have fun! Don’t spend all your time scrubbing diapers and determining water sources. Just make it a point to wash a day’s worth of diapers and get them hung, then enjoy your favorite outdoor activities. By nighttime, they’ll be dry and ready to go. Lather, rinse, repeat the next morning or so!

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So, does your family enjoy camping? What do you consider “camping” – roughing it, getting in touch with nature (but with cable), or somewhere in between? Where’s your favorite spot?

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Megan is a wife, mother to two young children, freelance writer, and educator. She shares her attempts at simplifying, among other things, at her blog, Meg Acts Out. When not busy meeting deadlines and chasing cats and kids, she enjoys acting in community theatre (where she met her husband), watching old movies, and sharpening her history buff skills.

 

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summertime-cloth
Hooray! Summer is officially upon us. For those in the American Southwest, I apologize for my excitement; I know it’s beyond stiflingly hot out there. Sorry!

But, as an educator, I am stoked to be home to focus on my family and writing projects this summer. I’m even happier that our little girl will be sporting a fluff bum 100% of the time.

So, why are cloth diapers perfect for summertime? I’m sharing my favorite reasons today.

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The Only Wardrobe Baby Needs – Aside from some safe sunscreen and a floppy hat, a cloth diaper is all the wardrobe you need to worry about on those super hot days. Could you do this in disposables? Sure. But, the fabric and downright adorableness trump sposies any day, right?

Double as Swim Diapers – If you’re in a pinch for a swim diaper while vacationing, an old (unstuffed) pocket diaper shell will do the trick. You can even opt for an old cover or Duo Wrap (if your child is comfortable with the lamination against his/her skin) and it will work just fine. How’s that for versatile?

Ocean Life, All the Way – Thirsties, in particular, has your back when it comes to sporting summer cloth. From School of Fish to Sand Dollar to Ocean Life (or even their bright, fun solid colors!), you can use whatever your favorite cloth diaper style is in one of their beachy prints and it will shout “It’s summer, let’s go on vacation!” Even for those sweltering days indoors, you and baby can feel like you’re chilling at the seashore.

It’s Not as Hard to Vacation in Diapers as You May Guess – Depending on the type of vacation you’re planning, your diapering may not be any more challenging than with disposables. If you’re going to be hitting up hotels or renting a cabin/house, check out whether or not they have a laundry area for you to put to use. This helpful post even gives tips on camping (or vacationing where you may not have a washer nearby) with cloth. Many families swear by flats/prefolds with Duo Wraps or covers for this purpose, but the goal is to have quick-drying, easy-washing solutions.

These are just a few of my favorite summertime options. Do you have any to add?

We’d love to hear your favorite thing about cloth diapering in the summertime in the comments below!

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We all love different styles of cloth diapers for different reasons. Ease. Cost. Eco-friendliness. Adorableness. (Is that a word?)

So, I thought it would be fun to throw together a bit of a “personality assessment” according to the different types of cloth. THIS IS FOR ENJOYMENT’S SAKE ONLY, 100% ENTERTAINMENT. We hate generalizations, and some may be totally off (or you could fall into more than one category — I actually fall into several, LOL), so just have fun with it! 🙂

 

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COVERS AND FLATS/PREFOLDS, PLEASE.
You’re a parent who loves to get more bang for your buck. Snappis, Boingos, or just plain old-fashioned pins don’t phase you in the slightest. You’ve also rigged the perfect, low-cost way to clean off your messy dipes (can you say “poop spatula”?).

This parent also loves meal planning, couponing (possibly even extreme couponing!), and frequenting garage sales. You also don’t mind things a little old school, be it music (rockin’ to the oldies?), food (meatloaf and mashed potatoes and Jell-O with fruit cocktail are da bomb), or furniture (antiquing for the win!).

FITTEDS ARE FABULOUS. See Covers/Flats/Prefolds description, but add that you’re a mix of old school and modern, loving the ease of fitteds over flats/prefolds but the versatility of covers and wraps. Can we just say it? You’re versatile, too. People can’t pin you down, and it’s a wonderful thing.

Love a good old movie but need the latest techie gadget? A history buff who can get down with a good Housewives marathon? You’re a lil’ bit country, a lil’ bit rock ‘n roll, and all awesome.

ALL-IN-ONES, ALL THE WAY. Your motto is “easy-peasy does it.” You like to think that the simplest way is often the best, even if sometimes it costs a little more to get there.

Other parts of your life are streamlined, too. Being a mom is complicated enough; finding ways to simplify things helps you organize not only your surroundings but your mental clutter, too. You know your favorite wardrobe and stick to it. Your house isn’t full of a million different colors; just the ones that work best for your family. Even your furniture is simply what you need and your house isn’t cluttered with tchotchkes (well, for the most part; toys are a whole other story). A parent who knows what she likes and doesn’t like to over-complicate things.

POCKETS ARE PERFECT. You like things just so. Pockets offer you the ability to adjust absorbency. You may also prefer one-size options because you can adjust the size for your child perfectly.You’re also a person who doesn’t mind some good organization. Everything has a place and you don’t mind fussing a bit to reduce clutter. You have a perfect spot for your diaper stash (and all your other baby gear and toys). You’re the mom who can move mountains, get to appointments on time, and preside over the PTO and never miss a beat. You always put your best foot forward. Heck, there’s a good chance you just might be Wonder Woman.

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DOESN’T MATTER THE STYLE, AS LONG AS IT’S ECO-FRIENDLY. Crunchy mama extraordinaire! Your reason for using CDs is purely environmental. You love natural fabrics with no chemicals and scope out the BST groups for second-hand dipes to cut back even further on waste. You also love using cloth wipes.

Some of your favorite non-cloth answers to life’s little problems may include coconut oil, breastmilk (“just put some breastmilk on it, it’ll clear that right up”), amber teething necklaces, and essential oils. (Kale is optional but preferred.) You stalk Mama Natural’s YouTube channel, love reading about zero waste and tiny houses, and write to your elected officials asking them to oppose GMOs. Your backyard may contain a rain barrel, compost bin, garden…or possibly all three. Keep fighting the good fight!

DOESN’T MATTER THE STYLE, AS LONG AS IT WORKS. You’re a Jack (or Jill) of all trades. You’ve figured out your routine; the perfect diaper for daytime, a different super absorbent solution for nighttime, an easy one for grandparents, and a great travel option.

You’re the epitome of a Life Hacker. You’re uber creative and have tricks for every one of life’s little problems. On a trip and happen to visit a home without babyproofing? A hairtie will tighten up that cabinet. You don’t need Pinterest; you’re a natural spring of great craft ideas and fun recipes all on your own.

DOESN’T MATTER THE STYLE, I JUST LOVE THE FUN PRINTS. It’s all about design and aesthetic with you! This mama loves to check out the latest decor blogs like Design*Sponge and Yellow Brick House (while mourning Young House Love) and pins lots of birthday party decor and outfit ideas.

You’re a detail-oriented person. Even when you’re lacking in sleep and haven’t showered in awhile, you can still make a topknot bun and leggings seem super pulled-together. The other moms love you for throwing the best ever play dates and knowing just the right snack to offer.

NO MATTER WHAT “TYPE” (OR NON-TYPE) OF PARENT YOU ARE, KEEP UP THE AMAZING WORK. WE KNOW YOUR ULTIMATE GOAL IS A HAPPY, HEALTHY CHILD AND YOU’RE TOTALLY NAILING IT…REGARDLESS OF WHAT’S ON THE BUM!

So, which one describes you? Let us know if we’re spot-on or way off in the comments!