Monday, April 27, 2015

Cloth Diapering Is Easier Than Ever

Cloth Diapering Is Easier Than Ever

When most people think of cloth diapers, they think of the classic prefolded pieces of cloth and vinyl pants. But in today's world, cloth diapers are much easier and far more advanced. Cloth diapering can save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars when you factor in multiple children. Aside from the cost, cloth diapers offer other benefits. Children who are cloth diapered often experience less diaper rash and potty train earlier. And since cloth diapers don't contain large amounts of chemicals and can be used multiple times for multiple children, they are environmentally friendly. But many people have images of folding cloth, pinning diapers, and scraping off poop in the toilet. Not anymore! Cloth is incredibly simple these days- no pins, no dunking, and no plastic pants required!

There are several types of cloth diapers on the market today. The easiest kind, the All-In-One, combines the diaper and cover in one. These can have snaps or Velcro, be sized or one-size-fits-all with adjustable snaps. There are many cute patterns and different materials. These work most like the disposable diaper, simply put on, take off, then toss in diaper pail.
One Size with Adjustable Snaps
Sized, All-in-one, velcro

One-size, all-in-one, velcro
Another type is a pocket diaper, or All-In-Two. These have an absorbent insert that goes into the waterproof cover. Some inserts slide in a pocket, while others snap in. These are most like the All-In-Ones, with the added step of stuffing an insert. These are just as simple to change, especially if you pre-stuff the inserts and have them ready to go.
Various Inserts
Pocket Diapers with Inserts Inside, One Size, Snaps

A slightly more complicated, though admittedly cuter option, is the fitted diaper. These do require a cover, though most users don't always use one-especially at home. These have the largest variety of patterns, sizes, styles and materials. Some use pins or Snappis (a plastic, safer alternative to pins) while others have Velcro or snaps. These fit most like a disposable diaper, as they are sized by weight. These may be adorable, but due to sizes, you will also have to more as the child grows. Though this will still be a considerably cheaper option than buying disposables.

Fitted diapers, snaps, one size
fitted diapers, sized (s,m,l,xl), snaps
My personal favorite style is the Hybrid Diaper. These have waterproof covers or shells with inserts, much like a pocket diaper. However, the Hybrid Diaper has the option of cloth or disposable inserts. Many people choose this option for outings and day trips. Hybrids offer the most convenience with disposable inserts that can be flushed or thrown away when out of the house. This eliminates the need to carry around a bag of wet diapers.

g-diaper system, shown with prefolds used as inserts
g-diapers, velcro, sized
specialty all-in-twos (re: more expensive, but SO CUTE!), snaps, one size
And, of course, there is the classic option of prefolded or flat cloth diapers and waterproof covers. These are certainly the most affordable option, but often require practice to find a fold and fit that works for your child. These can take more time to change, but offer quicker laundering time.

prefold diapers, one size snap covers
All these choices may have your head spinning, but we're not done yet! Washing your cloth diapers is as easy as washing clothes. Simply shake any solid matter into the toilet and toss in the diaper pail until laundry day. When you're ready to wash, load in the washing machine with a diaper-safe detergent. There is no need to buy expensive detergents, any one that is free of perfume and dyes will do. Cold rinse first, so stains don't set in. A hot wash will thoroughly clean and sanitize the diapers, then dry according to the manufacturer's instructions for the particular brand of diapers. Many can be tossed in the dryer, while few should be line-dried.

cloth wipes for easy cleanup
a beautiful rainbow of diapers
a mixed stash, with various sizes, types, patterns and styles
various diapers laid out after washing
mixed stash for variety and function
Cloth diapering has many benefits, and I encourage every parent to research and at least consider them. There are many places that offer trial packages, where you can try out cloth diapers for 30 days and see if you like them. If you don't, simply send them back! It's that easy. See? Cloth diapering is easier than you thought!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Diaper Bag Essentials

Diaper Bag Essentials

Many moms over pack their diaper bag every time they leave the house. While some moms simply throw a diaper in their purse and head out the door. After three kids, I've learned exactly what is needed in a diaper bag, and what is just nice to have.

The main concern is having enough. You don't want to run out of diapers, or have a hungry baby and no more formula. Before you can pack your diaper bag, you need to consider where you'll be going and how long you'll be out. If you're going to the store, you may want to pre-fill the bottle with water, so you can just add the formula when it's time to eat. But if you're going to someone's house, you will have easy access to water. If you're only going out for an hour, one or two diapers will suffice, while a day at the beach may require a few more. Once you know where you're going and for how long, you know how much of everything you need.

Babies go through at least one diaper every hour, while toddlers can go a little longer. Consider how often you change your child at home, and pack accordingly. The obvious essentials to pack are diapers, wipes, bottle or cup, formula/breast milk/juice, and a change of clothes. If your baby has started solids, some baby food, a spoon, or even finger foods for a toddler.

I always pack some just-in-case things, since babies are unpredictable. If your baby drools or spits up a lot, an extra bib or two may be needed. If your child is a heavy wetter or messy eater, perhaps a second change of clothes. I always pack a mini first aid kit, including Tylenol, a band-aid, teething gel or tablets if needed, a pacifier, diaper cream, and bug-bite relief if we'll be outside. A small toy or rattle can come in handy for long visits or car rides. If it is chilly, or will be later in the evening, a light jacket or blanket might be nice.

If you don't like carrying a separate bag for your own things, you may want to throw in a bottle of water, car keys, wallet and maybe a snack for you. If you have older children, a snack or toy for them is helpful. Don't feel like you have to pack the entire nursery. You don't need full size bottles of baby lotion, a brush/comb, four outfits, five different toys, and an entire box of wipes. You don't need a suitcase for a diaper bag. Just know what you absolutely need, and a few just-in-case items. Unless you are traveling in the snow, in a deserted area, and get flat tire with no cell service, you will return home soon! You don't have to stuff the bag to the brim to have all you need.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Potty Training

Potty Training Tips

Potty training is an important event in every child's life. One that parents both dread and look forward to. We don't appreciate the battle getting there, but we love the end result. But HOW does one start potty training? Here are some potty training tips to help you achieve success during the process.

Potty Training Tip #1
Wait until your child is ready. I can't stress this enough. Trying to potty train too early will only cause stress on both parent and child.

Potty Training Tip #2
Let your child watch you go. Children need to see the process. Let them join you, so they can observe how to pull down their pants, sit down, flush, and wash their hands.

Potty Training Tip #3
Talk about it. Let your child know what to do, why they need to learn, and most importantly, how proud you are of them.

Potty Training Tip #4
Don't schedule potty visits. Watch your child, follow their cues. Let them ask to go or tell you they need to go. Don't set a specific time to go, ie: every thirty minutes take them potty.

Potty Training Tip #5
Let them have some naked time. Allow them to experience life without a diaper. Watch for their cues, and take them to the bathroom when they start to go.

Potty Training Tip #6
Don't allow toys on the potty, and don't put the potty in front of the TV. While this may encourage the child to sit longer, they will be focused on playing and not on learning to go.

Potty Training Tip #7
Allow boys to sit down to go. Most young children can't stand and comfortably reach the potty at this age anyway. Teaching them to stand will only cause confusion when it's time to poop. Let them sit to go pee, and when they are older (and taller) they can learn to pee standing up.

Potty Training Tip #8
Use rewards. A song, a hug, a kiss or a high five are perfect ways to tell your child you're proud of their accomplishments. You don't have to give them candy or a new toy every time they go. Just a simple gesture to show they did a good job.

Potty Training Tip #9
If your child is having trouble going, pour a little warm water on their thighs. This often causes the child to pee without thinking about it. This is an easy way to get the process started, and once they see how proud you are of them, they will be more motivated to do it again.

Potty Training Tip #10
Remember- regression can happen. You may go six months without an accident, but 2 days of diarrhea can make any child avoid the bathroom. Having a new baby around can also cause regression. Be prepared, but don't make a big deal out of it. 

Potty training doesn't have to be stressful, and the most important thing is to make your child comfortable with the process.