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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Cloth Diapering 101- Prefolds and Flats

            Cloth Diapering 101

Cloth Diapering 101- My take on modern cloth diapers

Diaper Types- Flats and Prefolds

Flats and prefolds are old school. If your parents (or you!) were cloth diapered, you grandmother most likely used one of these with vinyl underwear style pants. I will touch briefly on flats, but the focus here will be on prefolds, as they are more commonly used in the cloth diapering world.

With my oldest daughter, I was honestly afraid prefolds would be too much hassle. So I didn't own any (aside from the Gerber brand we used for burp cloths). I wanted to start cloth from birth with my son and all of my research said prefolds were the way to go with newborns.

When speaking of prefolds, of course I get the usual battery of questions: What is a prefold? You mean a burp cloth, why would you use that?!? Which type is best? How do you put them on? How do you get them to stay on? Don't they leak? So here it is, everything you ever wanted to know about flats, prefolds and more!

  • What is a flat? A flat cloth diaper is just that- a single layer flat cotton diaper. These are usually made with 100% cotton birdseye. This is an original cloth diaper still used today in many countries. They are a one size fits all diaper that requires folding to properly fit your baby. In the United States, these diapers are more often used as comfort blankets, dish towels, burp cloths, cleaning cloths, cloth napkins, and facial cloths. They are very easy to clean (especially if you have to hand wash) and also dry very quickly. This is really the most economic way to cloth diaper, as you can get a dozen for around $20.
  • What is a prefold? A basic prefold is pretty similar to a flat diaper, but it is already folded for you-- hence “pre” fold. Most commercially made prefolds are made of birdseye cotton or twill and are either bleached (stark white cotton) or unbleached (the tan natural color of cotton) and made organically or non-organiclly. They generally come in three sizes—preemie (4-8lbs), infant (7-15lbs), regular or premium(15-30lbs). Prefolds are available in different ply. These are usually listed cryptically, for example: 4x6x4 or 4x8x4. This means that looking at the prefold like this photo below (comparing an unprepped bleached prefold to a prepped prefold) Left side is 4 layers, center is 6 layers, and right side is 4 layers, hence 4x6x4. You can find quality prefolds from about $1-5 apiece depending on size. They are very heavy to ship, so don't be surprised if you see high shipping costs if purchasing online.
  • Which type is best? There are 2 types of commercially made diaper service quality (DSQ) prefolds available: Chinese or Indian style. DSQ prefolds are made to withstand industrial washing such as the sanitary washing required by a diaper service or hospital.
    • Chinese: Chinese prefolds are overall heavier duty. The stitching is tougher and they hold up well through more washings. The major drawback are that they tend to pill easily, are less soft than Indian prefolds, and the unbleached versions need 8-10 hot wash/dry cycles before they are ready to use.
    • Indian: Are softer and in the unbleached form are ready to use after 3 washes, but the fabric and stitching is lighter weight.
      We personally chose Indian prefolds just for the softness factor, but ask around- everyone has an opinion on what is best!
  • How do you put them on? There are so many ways to answer this question. The methods for putting a prefold on a baby are called “folds.” This is not my area of expertise. I am still a novice folder, but I found this website to be particularly helpful: The most popular folds are the jelly roll (most popular for newborns), the newspaper, the bikini twist, and the angel wing fold. When baby gets bigger and starts having more solid poo, the quickest and easiest method is to “trifold” the prefold, aka fold it into thirds guided by the stitching and simply lay it inside of a waterproof diaper cover. 
  • How do they stay on? There are three basic methods for keeping a fancy folded prefold in place. Old school diaper pins, a Snappi brand fasterner, or a Boingo Baby brand fastener. Here is a photo of my little doll modeling all three, and comparing an old style (yellow) Boingo fastener to the new style (green Boingo fastener). He is sporting a bamboo prefold with fabric embellishment that I made for him. The top left is the Boingo fastener, top right is diaper pins, and bottom left is the Snappi. As you can see- by the time I put the snappi on he was SERIOUSLY unhappy with mommy! Find more info on the Snappi and Boingo fasteners here. If you're a visual learner, search YouTube. There are hundreds of videos right at your fingertips!
  • Don't they leak? Simply put—yes. Prefolds are made of all absorbent materials, so they need a cover if you want them to be waterproof. Some days, a baby's bum needs a little more air (for example, we're currently combating a teething rash), so it is fine to leave a prefold coverless. Just know you'll be changing very frequently, and if your baby is mobile, you'll want to watch to make sure they're not playing with the sharp parts of the fasteners. Waterproof covers are generally made of a polyester laminate (PUL), polyester fleece, or wool. We'll go more in depth on covers in a later issue.
  • Is there a luxury version? As with any cloth diaper, you can find a luxury version! Many commercial companies and work at home moms (WAHMs) make their own versions. I make mine of a bamboo knit terry (like the picture of my rockin' Zach above). The little loops on the terrycloth make the diaper fasteners hold tightly and securely. If you look hard enough, you can find some really awesome high quality handmade prefolds, but expect to pay more! (And yes, they're worth it!)
  • What should I avoid? While some people swear by them, many cloth diapering moms will say to avoid using the Gerber brand prefold diapers you can buy at Target or Wal-Mart. They just don't absorb as well and aren't as high of a quality as DSQ prefolds for around the same cost. If they're all you can get, they're better than nothing! I personally think they make better burp rags than diapers.
  • Are there special washing instructions? Once you get beyond the intitial prepping, DSQ prefolds are the easiest to wash and keep clean. They wash well in cold water washes and can withstand high temperature washes as well. They can be tumble dried at any heat, you can bleach them if necessary, and can put them in the sun to dry and take advantage of the sun's natural stain fighting power.

Do you have any further questions or comments about prefolds? I would love to hear what you have to say! Comment away!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Grand Opening Giveaway Extravaganza!

It's time for our first big giveaway to celebrate our grand opening at! This week's giveaway prize will be a large sized reusable snack bag from Bumkins!

Bumkins reusable snack bags are the eco-friendly alternative to single-use plastic baggies. Made from the same easy-wipe waterproof fabric as our bibs. Machine washable and dishwasher-safe. Great for many uses: picnics, hiking, camping, cycling, fishing, dog treats, road trips and so much more! Also available in a smaller 2 pack option.
  • Zipper closure
  • Measures 7"W x 7"H
  • Lead free, PVC free, BPA free, Phthalates free, and Vinyl free

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 9, 2012

New Retailer for Knickernappies!!!

I am so excited that I'll be able to offer a whole line of products from Knickernappies! Especially their SuperDo heavy wetter inserts. Zach is a crazy night time wetter, and these are awesome!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Cloth Diapering 101- The Gross Factor

Cloth Diapering 101

Cloth Diapering 101- My take on modern cloth diapers

The Gross Factor, cloth vs. sposies

Cloth diapers are gross! Yeah, I get that a lot too. Well, I am a nurse, so my version of gross is slightly skewed. Yes, cloth diapering can be gross. But— part of being a parent is dealing with the gross factor. Babies pee, poo, spit up, and projectile vomit (and just wait until they're toddlers). We tend to overlook how gross they are when they giggle and coo.
I don't find cloth diapering any more “gross” than using disposable diapers (aka sposies). I've done both. Before I had my daughter Grace (3 years old) I was a foster parent. We used sposies with our foster daughter because I really didn't even think cloth was an option anymore. I am now cloth diapering a second time with our biological child, Zacharias (5 months). Let's get down to the nitty gritty:
  • The Stink: Let me tell you- no matter what we did- our fancy disposable diaper pail (it was a Diaper Genie, I think) reeked. Her whole room smelled like poo. No air freshener could hide the smell of plastic filled with chemicals and bodily fluids. We currently use a dry-pail method of storing our dirty cloth diapers. It's a basic plastic trash can with a reusable waterproof pail liner. For some reason- the diaper pail barely has an odor. And when it does, a sprinkle of diaper pail deodorizing powder neutralizes it. I think the lack of chemicals and use of natural fibers causes this phenomenon, but I'm a mom not a chemist.
  • The Poo: Despite your choice of diapering method, you have to deal with poo. Did you know that all sposie brands used to sport instructions to flush the poo? Really, who wants poo rotting in a landfill for 500 years—what a legacy! So this should even the score between the two, but most people ignore this directive. Now let's move on to cloth. Many parents who choose cloth also choose to breastfeed. Did you know that the poo from an exclusively breastfed baby is water soluble? This means all you have to do is throw the diaper in the pail. When the child moves to solids, in most cases the poo just rolls right off the diaper and into the toilet. And when it doesn't, a diaper sprayer easily takes care of the mess.
  • The Washing: The big difference between cloth and sposies. Sposies go from the diaper pail to the trash (and stink up your outside in the summer sun!). Cloth diapers go right from the pail into the washing machine. Using a reusable diaper pail liner means the diapers go into the washing machine without requiring you to touch them. Everyone eventually develops a wash cycle that gets the diapers clean. I'll share mine here. I use a basic toploading washing machine without any bells and whistles.
  1. Cold rinse with the maximum allowed water setting.
  2. Hot wash with a cloth diaper safe detergent (I use powdered Tide).
  3. Extra rinse to get any residual soap out
So that's it—the straight poo. Verdict: Diapers are gross. At least cloth is cute!

Cloth Diapering 101- My take on modern cloth diapers

Cloth Diapering 101

Cloth diapers? Seriously? Yeah, I get that a lot. What comes to mind when you think about cloth diapers-- safety pins, plastic pants, and raggy cloths that you have to scrub by hand over a rock in a stream? Cloth diapers have come a long way in the last decade. They're, well, modern! They are eco friendly in that they are reusable and reduce landfill waste. They're better for baby's skin than plastic filled with a chemical stew. They are cute. And best of all- they are so simple!
Why did I choose cloth diapers? Honestly? When I first Googled cloth diaper services after talking to a new mother who was considering that path, I pictured what you did. But 10 minutes of research had me giggling with glee! Picture this:

Yes- Modern cloth diapers are that awesome!
So... let's get down to it... my reasons for choosing cloth (in no particular order):
  • Money saving
  • Cute factor
  • Eco friendly
  • Customizable to my baby's needs
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