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Written by Mama Monday

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

Every parent has a favorite, don’t they?

I’m not talking about your favorite child – that’s not cool! – I’m talking about your favorite style of cloth diaper.

Whether you #tryallthestyles or use the same one from birth to potty-training, there’s usually one kind that you always grab for.

favorite cloth diaper type

In my case, it’s all-in-ones. For those who may be new to cloth diapering, all-in-one diapers are closest to disposables as far as function. With an attached insert to make diapering as easy as one, two, three, many choose this option particularly for grandparents to use or to send to the sitter. Easy on, easy off.

But, AIOs have their downsides. The complaints I hear most are that they’re costlier and take far more time to dry. Totally legitimate arguments. Stilll, I prefer them.

Side note: I’ve discovered that not ALL AIOs are created equal. The new Thirsties natural AIOs are my new favorites, and I’m genuinely not just saying that because I’m a Thirsties ambassador here. Seriously! They’re super soft, have incredible absorbency, dry surprisingly quickly, and, of course, are natural (which tends to leave my daughter rash-free and better protected). Guys? I’m. In. Lurve.

So, anyway, back to my journey to favoring AIOs. I had purchased a stash of mostly AIOs with my first child, plus a stack of prefolds, a handful of covers, and a couple of pockets. My CD attempts were short-lived, but I honestly didn’t give much effort into trying out the prefolds.

With our second child, I’ve given lots of time and kept an open mind to several methods. This time, I had much better luck with the prefolds/covers early on, but as time went on, my old favorites kind of took over during diaper changes.

I will sometimes double up on inserts inside a pocket for bedtime, but Harper isn’t a huge wetter so it’s not necessary. More often than not, though, even bedtime is AIO time.

Isn’t it weird how we kind of get into habits that just stick?

What’s your go-to diaper and why? Let us know in the comments! It might be helpful for mamas who are trying to decide on what to get for their stashes.

Megan McCoy Dellecese 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.

We recently took our first overnight trip as a family of four – two adults and two littles. The added challenge (or so I thought) was that our younger child, Harper, is in cloth.

Spoiler alert: It wasn’t any different from using disposables. Seriously. Just as easy.

Our trip was 3 – 3 ½ hours away to see some friends in Western Massachusetts. We fit in tons of fun: a stop at the outlets, a visit to one of our favorite places (the Eric Carle Museum), plenty of playtime, a fun movie night (picture all four of us snuggled up on a couch watching “Inside Out” – the only one who wasn’t crying was the sleeping baby), more junk food than I can wrap my head around, and some time at one of the awesomest playgrounds ever.

In the midst of it all, our son had his first “sleepover” (at the end of the hall), our daughter slept like a champ, and our cloth diapering went off without a glitch. Score!

The biggest challenge was actually the moment on the way home that we were sidetracked because of a little boy who needed to go potty. You know, at one of those times that you juuuuuust got onto the highway and the next stopping point isn’t for many, many miles. I’m pleased to say there were no accidents!

I thought my experience might help anyone gearing up for some summer vacations, so here are some tips!

traveling in cloth

Start small. I know a one-nighter doesn’t seem like much, but it was a first step towards longer and bigger trips. Plus, the exhaustion of traveling for about 36 hours was a lot for us. We know that, while we LOVE the exhilaration and fun of travel, it starts to drain us rather than invigorate if we’re gone for too long.

Shorter trips are also great to help build your confidence that, YES, YOU CAN CLOTH DIAPER ON THE ROAD!!!

Stock up on wet bags! Here’s how I did it: If we were heading in some place (like the outlet mall), I’d take a cloth diaper or two in my purse along with a smaller wet bag. After finished with our excursion, I’d shove any dirty (rolled up) dipes into a larger wet bag. At the end of the day, that one would be jammed full. We ended up with one and a half of these by the time we got home.

If you can use cloth wipes, do. I used disposable wipes along the way, so I had to toss them out whenever near a garbage when I had the chance. It was kind of a pain.

I’d take using even more precious cargo space with a large stack of cloth wipes and some Booty Luster over the small irritation of finding a trash can for random poopy wipes anyday. Lesson learned! Plus, you can just toss it all into the wash when you’re done. Super easy.

Take stock of your diaper situation. Think about how many diapers you use in a day and bring enough. I packed one reusable shopping bag filled with cloth diapers, which I grabbed and threw in my purse as needed. I probably brought way too many, but I wanted to be safe.

Also, if you have a variety of types of diapers, I have learned that stuffed pockets = longer time between stops (and longer sleeps at nighttime). Yes, they’re “fluffier” (read: big bum), but keep baby drier longer.

Do laundry immediately. I know you’re tired from traveling, but get those diapers in the wash the second you walk in the door. (Okay, not the very second, but you get the idea.) Not only does it fight the set-in stinkiness, it replenishes your stash depending on how many you own.

If you’re going for more than one night and are staying at a rental property or friend’s house, ask if you can throw in a load of laundry. (Don’t forget to bring along a bit of your normal soap; I’ve actually kept some laundry soap samples I received in the mail for just this purpose.) It’ll make life easier in the long run.

Do you guys have any advice to add for first-time cloth diapering voyagers?

retro-fluff

As you may already know, I’m a holiday person. I love creating round-ups of books and activities to celebrate with. You should see my Pinterest boards for the kids’ birthdays. #imnotobsessedyouare #okayyesiam

So, with Mother’s Day on the horizon, you’d think I’d be doing the same thing, right? Curveball time!

I decided to share a lovely chat I had recently with my own mother (and a not-so-lovely old baby picture of myself) with the whole wide world. She raised four children (in the ‘70s and ‘80s), all in cloth. So, now that we’re on our own cloth journey, I was fascinated to hear how things used to be for the original fluff families.

Only One Way to Do Cloth

When my mother had her first child, cloth was pretty much the only option.

You know how today we go through the process of researching all the different styles of cloth diaper on the market? Back in the day, there wasn’t a choice. The only type was a flat, adhered with safety pins and covered with waterproof rubber pants.

A family friend used to buy a new set for each new child that came along. It was interesting to hear that the quality deteriorated with the passing of time; they became the gauzier style that we find today rather than the thicker, easy-to-fold flats. They were harder to find, but she was able to find the better quality with searching.

Diaper Care

While my mother usually owned around 48 diapers of large and small sizes, she washed them daily, calling it a “labor of love.” I’ve noticed that a lot of modern-day cloth diaperers feel the same way about cloth diaper washing; it’s not as much of a drag as “normal” laundry thanks to the cutie that will be sporting the clean dipes in the end. No pun intended.

So, in the days before diaper sprayers, Mom would “slosh” the diaper in the toilet, then toss into a diaper pail. However, the diaper pail would have a bit of soap and water at the bottom, all to be spun out in the washer before giving them a good wash.

She never used special soaps like Dreft or Ivory (which were all the rage for babies) since they made us broke out. This is all sounding so familiar to what I’ve read on current message boards!

The diaper covers (glorified puffy rubber underpants) would occasionally smell like poop even after a good washing, although she never noticed staining. And, of course, they couldn’t be dried in the dryer, but on top instead.

And what about diaper rash? They didn’t have awesome cloth diaper safe products like Booty Love. Just regular petroleum jelly or Desitin, even if it affected absorbency.

Numb Thumbs

The thought of pinning diapers again had my mother both laughing and cringing. As a mom “you were a bloody mess,” she reminisced. In other words, to avoid pricking baby, you pricked your thumbs, leaving you with bloody and eventually numb thumbs.

Ouch.

Disposables Come Along

By the time my sister and I were born, disposables were on the market. But, as for many others at the time (and today!), they were simply too expensive for most to afford. At the time, my father was spending a lot of time in and out of the hospital for his cancer treatments, so needless to say, money wasn’t to be spent unwisely.

Mom distinctly remembers being given a complimentary package of the now defunct Johnson’s and Johnson’s brand of diapers on her way home from the hospital after having one of us. While she loved the convenience factor, she ended up leaving them at her mother’s for easier visits. Smart thinkin’.

Apparently, she recalls that the first disposable diapers were supposed to be flushable(!) After many pipes all across the country became backed up, back to square one the sposie companies went. Let’s call that the first red flag begging the question, “Wait, where does a disposable GO after it’s used??”

My Take-Away

One day, her pediatrician was surprised to see that, with these new diaper advancements, she was still using cloth. He nodded, “Save your money and send the kid to college.”

And that she did. Even after losing her husband in 1986, she still ended up sending the four of us to college.

Thanks and Happy Mother’s Day, Mom (and, among many other very smart decisions, your choice to cloth diaper us) for the life you’ve given us all today.

How many of you were raised in cloth diapers? Was this when it was the accepted norm or after disposables had become popular? We’d love to hear your own experiences. Oh, and you don’t need us to remind you to thank those special moms in your life this Sunday (and give yourself a pat on the back for all you do)!

 

Megan McCoy Dellecese writes about her life as a mom and her family’s attempts at living a realistically green life at her blog Meg Acts Out. She has a soft spot for DIY blogs, Katharine Hepburn movies, the Monkees, and community theatre. Megan lives in upstate New York with her husband, two quirky kiddos, and three rescued cats.

 Now that Earth Day is over, you’d think we’d be all done with the whole “find ways to improve our planet” thing, right? But, nope!

I’m trying to make a concerted effort to MAKE EVERY DAY EARTH DAY. After all, it’s our home 365 days of the year; why just look for ways to help it on ONE day, or one week, or one month?

The good thing is that many of us already make everyday Earth Day. Whether you cloth diaper for an economic reason, environmental cause, cuteness factor, or some other awesome reason, you’re still doing a huge part to help cut back on unnecessary waste. It’s true!

Even if the only environmental choice you make is to cloth diaper, your impact is massive.

MAKE EVERY DAY EARTH DAY
So, since everyday IS Earth Day, I thought it’d be fun to share a round-up of some ways to get your kiddos into the spirit of environmentalism.
 hungry caterpillar necklace

Hungry Caterpillar Toilet Paper Roll Craft from Kids Activities Blog

Of course I had to start with this one because a) our family is NUTS for Eric Carle and b) I’ve been collecting all of our empty TP tubes for a craft just like this one. Perfect! Extra points for reading the book while wearing the “necklace”!

little-girl-making-nature-collage

Nature Craft Collage from Kids Activities Blog

Who doesn’t love a fun collage? Plus, this one gives you an excuse (as if we really need one) to go on a nature walk to collect your “art supplies”.

sensory bin

Garden Sensory Tub by No Time for Flashcards

Sensory tubs are great for fine motor skills, concentration, and just good ol’ fashion fun! I love that this post includes some books (two of my favorites – seriously, The Gardener is historical and uplifting and just generally all around engaging) to go along with the tub’s theme.

garbage sort

Sort the Recycling/Garbage Game by No Time for Flashcards

Again, this post is made all the more awesome with suggested reading, but the idea is great on its own. Cut out images from old magazines and have your child sort them into the different “bins” to get them thinking about what items are recyclable, what goes straight into the trash, and maybe even what could be reused.

books

Read a Green Bookor Two!

I actually read several of these every year with my younger library students. What’s better than reading to teach the importance of conservation and a love of the planet? (Let me just add my new favorite to this list: The Tree Lady. There are tons more I could add, but my students have loved it!)

butterfly garden

Plant a Butterfly Garden by Kids Garden

What better way to celebrate the Earth than to dig your hands down into the soil and grow some plants? Whether it’s flowers, veggies, herbs, (or even a tree!), the experience is just as important as what you grow.

 crayons

Melted Crayons(!) by Skip to My Lou/Make It and Love It

Reuse those broken, non-pointy crayons (do your kids get picky like my son does? I can kind of understand how frustrating it is when you’re learning to write and color) by making new, fun crayons in cool shapes! We saw these types of “crayons” at the Eric Carle Museum awhile back (they really do help you color Carle-like pictures!) and we’ve been dying to do it ever since.

Or, just pick your own “Act of Green” to take on together as a family!

Aside from cloth diapering, what are some ways that your family makes it Earth Day every day? 

great-cloth-diaper-change

April is a great month, isn’t it?

Spring is here (for most of the country). It’s “Earth Month”, a whole month dedicated to thinking about our environmental impact. It’s a month to celebrate the #MakeClothMainstream challenge. There’s even a day to take part in the Great Cloth Diaper Change.

I mean, seriously! It’s a month MADE for eco-conscious cloth diapering families!

In case you haven’t heard of the Great Cloth Diaper Change (GCDC) yet, it’s a good thing I’ve caught you when I have. The GCDC is an activity dedicated to spreading the good word about cloth diapering.
This year, the GCDC is being held April 23rd at 11am local time and can be found in many locations throughout the US and beyond. (And don’t worry! If you can’t make it right at 11 o’clock, many are actual day-long events.)

Depending on where you live, GCDC activities vary. Some involve making (or breaking) world records. Others are tied in with other eco-parenting resources. Others provide a chance for outreach to parents who might need troubleshooting questions answered or even just have fears about starting.

Since the GCDC has spread to many countries and continents, there are lots of opportunities to get involved! Find your location and plan a visit to join up with other cloth-minded families. And, if you don’t see a location close enough, consider hosting a future event!

I’m excited to see that my closest event is tied into a “Healthy Baby Expo”. What a great way to advocate cloth diapering, to associate it with such important topics as car seat safety, breastfeeding awareness, baby massage, and more! Plus, as with many GCDC events, it’s touted as a family-friendly activity so that the whole family is warmly welcomed.

Have any of you ever been a part of a Great Cloth Diaper Change activity? What was your favorite part of the event? What would you tell a newbie who’s never gone before?