Saturday, November 9, 2013

"Mama Cloth" and Cloth Menstrual Pads

Like most of you, my first introduction to the "natural" world was cloth diapering. After months of research, blog reading, and shopping, I decided that cloth diapers were the way to go!

Fast forward FOUR years... I'm just now entering the world of cloth menstrual pads. I'll admit... it's a big jump to make! Most people, even those who would consider themselves "green," balk at the idea of cloth pads. Hopefully with this post, we can dispel some rumors and make it all seem a little...less...scary!

My reasons for switching to "mama cloth" (not sure I like that name, since it's not ONLY mamas who use it) were very similar to my reasons for cloth diapering: it's good for the environment, good for the body, and good for the wallet (long-term).

I've discovered I LIKE using cloth menstrual pads. I like it for the reasons above, AND I like it for a few surprise reasons! It's comfortable, simple, the pads are cute, and... no smell! (Seriously, the smell you associate with your period is the smell of your blood mixing with the chemicals in disposable pads and tampons.)

My hesitance? Also the same: washing.

Washing cloth menstrual pads is NOT hard, and it's not totally gross.

At home, many women rinse their pads in cold water (sink or bathtub will do; no need to dunk them in the toilet!) to reduce staining. Then, pads can simply be thrown into a wet bag until wash time (I hang mine from a towel rack in my bathroom... MUCH more attractive than used disposable pads filling a trash can.)

When you're out and about, simply use a smaller wet bag to store dirty pads (most of them fold and snap for convenience). You can either rinse your pads when you get home or not at all.

At wash time, most women find it easiest to follow a basic cloth diaper routine: rinse, wash with detergent, rinse. Here at MSDC, we even carry a detergent made specifically for cloth pads! Pads can be dried in the dryer or line-dried.



Right now, at MSDC, we carry Luna Pads. We hope to add to our inventory over time. Please contact us if you have any suggestions!

Do you use cloth menstrual pads??

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Traveling with Cloth part deux: Vacation!

Here is part two of our "Travel with Cloth" series. If you missed my post on every day outings, feel free to check it out here.

Today, I want to talk about vacation! We've vacationed with cloth from the start, and it's not hard to do. It's basically a bigger version of "out and about," right?

1) Packing: To be honest, we always found it simplest to take along an extra (small) suitcase, full of clean diapers and cloth wipes. Another option would be a hanging wet/dry bag, which has a section for clean diapers.



2) Storage: You'll probably still want a medium wet bag to keep in your diaper (or beach) bag. Same goes for wipes on-the-go (see this post for more info). While you're in your hotel (cabin, beach house, etc.), a hanging wet bag (or wet/dry bag) will work great. Who wants to bring a diaper pail and liner on vacation?!

3) Laundry: Here at MSDC, we sell convenient sample sizes of your favorite detergent. These do a couple loads each and are perfect for travel!



4) Make it convenient: Just like with out and about, disposable/flushable liners could be a big help. OR you could use Flip's disposable inserts inside any cover.

5) Swimming: I know it's hard to think about now (at least here in Lancaster! Brrrr!), but water is usually a big part of any vacation! Our Bummis swim diapers are completely washable and reusable. Can't beat that!



What are YOUR tips for vacationing with cloth???

Monday, November 4, 2013

Traveling with Cloth: Everyday Outings

This morning, a sweet customer (shout out to Samantha!) asked me if I found it difficult to travel while using cloth diapers. My answer was...in general, NO! But, it got me thinking. What are some things I wish I had known? I think I'll break this down into two posts: everyday traveling and vacations.

First up, everyday traveling:



1. Buy a good wet bag. I can't stress this enough. When you're purchasing a wet bag, it's worth it to spend a bit more and get a high-quality product. Sub-par wet bags will leak or stink (or both), which does not make for fun travels. Here at MSDC, we HIGHLY recommend Planet Wise. They're sturdy and well-made, work great at keeping in smells and leaks, AND...they're super cute! Can't go wrong there. I recommend a medium wet bag for every day outings.

2. Bring your wipes along. It's so much easier to throw dirty wipes into your wet bag (versus trying to find a separate trash can). You can read my post about cloth wipes here. For everyday outings, you could either: a) store wet wipes in a plastic or reusable baggie (a small wet bag works great) OR b) bring dry wipes and a spritzer/thermos/bottle of water along.

3. Try out disposable liners. I've never used these personally, but lots of people say this makes traveling with cloth much simpler! Simply lay this liner inside baby's diaper, and throw away (or flush) when soiled. This eliminates the dunking and storing of poop. Flip also offers disposable inserts, which I've heard are very handy for travel.

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In general, using cloth while out and about is pretty simple. Once cloth diapers feel natural to you, you'll be comfortable using them just about anywhere! What are YOUR tips for everyday outings with cloth???

Thursday, October 31, 2013

New Products! Woot!

Hey all! Thought I'd give you the scoop on some great NEW products we've got coming in!



OsoCozy Better Fit Prefolds These prefolds are meant to be tri-folded inside a cover (no pins or Snappi necessary). These new and improved diapers have a suede-cloth top layer to wick moisture away from baby's bum. SO soft! $28.00/dozen (infant) or $34.00/dozen (premium)

Rumparooz Newborn Diaper Covers $10.00 (solid) or $12.00 (prints)

Rumparooz Lil Joey Newborn Diapers New prints and colors! $29.90 (2-pack)

Country Save Detergent Sample Packs $1/each

Water Quality Test Strips (so you can know which Rockin' Green formula will work for you) $0.75/pack

Rockin' Green Femme Rock Detergent (for cloth menstrual pads, which are COMING SOON!) $11.95

A big thanks to our rock star, Anna, for her hard work in scouting out new products for the shop!!! What would you like to see us carry here at MSDC???

Monday, October 21, 2013

Brand Spotlight: Best Bottoms and Planet Wise

I think, if forced to choose, Anna will tell you that Best Bottoms are her favorite diapering brand. They’re unique for sure! Here are a few reasons why…

Best Bottoms is a privately owned brand, with a husband-and-wife team at the helm. The owners work hard to ensure that the diapers are user-friendly, high-quality, and responsibly made.



Best Bottoms is a two-part (or all-in-two) diapering system which consists of a waterproof cover (shell) and snap-in inserts. Inserts can be changed out as needed, and shells only need to be washed when soiled. Best Bottoms shells come in TONS of great colors and prints, and are one-sized, meaning they’re designed to fit from birth to 35 pounds. Inserts are sized for better fit and performance.

Best Bottoms also makes training pants (stay tuned for more info in a separate blog post)!

Did you know that Best Bottom Diapers are a part of Planet Wise, Inc.?

Planet Wise is a company best known for its wet bags (used to hold dirty/stinky diapers until laundry day). We highly recommend them here at MSDC!



Planet Wise is not just about wet bags, though! They have many different product lines, including snack bags, changing pads, and nursing covers. Check them out!

Feel free to order online, or stop in to the store sometime. We’d be happy to introduce you to Best Bottoms and Planet Wise… great brands, indeed!

Thanks for reading,

Erin

Friday, October 18, 2013

Wool, and how not to be overwhelmed

For a long time, I was afraid of wool. In cloth diapering, that is. I know it can seem expensive, and complicated. But the truth is, wool offers many unique benefits. And it doesn't have to be tricky to care for! Here's a basic tutorial on using wool for diapering:



Benefits: Wool is very soft and comfortable. Because it helps regulate temperature, it can actually help keep babies cool in hot weather (and, of course, warm in cold weather). It's also incredibly absorbent; it's able to absorb about 1/3 of its weight in moisture. But that moisture immediately evaporates into the air... leaving cover (and baby) nice and dry.  It's soft, stretchy (without losing its shape), and very breathable... making it an excellent option for cloth diapering!

Easy Care: Yes, you read that right. The steps to washing wool are simple, once you understand them. And wool only needs to be washed every couple of weeks (unless soiled). It's naturally antibacterial, so any urine smell will disappear as it evaporates and dries (if the smell remains... it's time to wash).

Here are a few helpful links I've found:

A detailed post on "Why Wool?" from Real Diaper Association

A YouTube video tutorial: Washing and Lanolizing a Wool Cover

Sustainablebabyish on Wool Care

When you're ready to try wool for yourself, stop in to see our selection of Sustainablebabyish wool covers (oh, the gorgeous colors)... OR order online! Don't forget your wool wash and lanolin!

Thanks for reading,

Erin

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Brand Spotlight: Sloomb

These may be my very favorite diapers. Why? Because they are so stinkin' soft! These diapers make me want to be un-potty-trained*

*Not really, people.



Anyway...

Sloomb has a fantastic line of diapers and wool covers, and their site offers accessories, clothing, body care, and even baby carriers! Their cloth diapers are made by hand in Denver, CO, and workers are paid fair wages and care about the product. Most fabric is sourced from sustainable or organic crops. They're hip people. Check them out, here! Be sure to listen to the happy little song halfway down the page. I dare you not to smile.

The Sloomb/sustainablebabyish line is known for function (outstanding absorbency) and comfort (like I said... so soft). We carry their Overnight Bamboo Fleece Fitteds, Snapless Multi Fitteds, Wool Covers, and Lanolin.



If you're at all near our shop in Lancaster, PA, please stop in and feel these delightful diapers! (Excuse the crazy sales associate rubbing them on her cheeks and ahhhhing.) You can also buy Sloomb products through our online store.

Thanks for reading,

Erin

P.S. Need a little extra convincing? For each sustainablebabyish diaper you buy, a tree is planted in Southeast Asia.

P.P.S. Stay tuned for a blog post all.about.wool.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Cloth Wipes: Yes, you definitely should.

I've noticed something along the way on my cloth diapering journey. Lots of folks will willingly (sometimes even eagerly) use cloth diapers, but they balk at the idea of cloth wipes.

My husband was one of those. I get it. It may seem gross to you, but let's stop and consider for a moment. Cloth wipes are thicker and softer. You won't feel the poop through the wipe like you will with disposables (sorry to be gross, but we are talking about diapers). Cloth wipes are safer for your baby. No chemicals, just soft, natural fibers. And cloth wipes are easier on your wallet. Buy them once, that's all, and wash them along with your diapers! (Side note: this means you won't have to throw your wipes away separately when changing a diaper...much more convenient.)


Cloth wipes can simply be used with water or you can add scents using a cloth wipes solution.

Here's how we use our cloth wipes:

1. We place clean wipes, folded, in a disposable wipes container (you could use whatever container you wish, or even a wipes warmer). Here's how we fold them so they "pop up" like disposables (I used Thirsties Fab Wipes for this example):



2. We mix a cloth wipes solution with hot water, then pour over folded wipes in the container. You could also use a spray, like Thirsties Booty Luster.

3. We change the water/solution frequently to keep it fresh.

That's it! Wipes get washed and dried right along with your diapers (see our post about washing here). Stay tuned for a post about traveling with cloth (diapers and wipes)!

Thanks for reading,

Erin

P.S. Check out our selection of cloth wipes in store, or see them online here.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Simplest Way to Wash Cloth Diapers

I'd say the number one question I (Erin) get about cloth diapers is... "How do you wash them?" and I try to keep my answer as simple as possible. The truth is, it's easy to wash cloth diapers. Here's my basic routine:

1. Store wet/rinsed cloth diapers in a wet bag or pail with liner. No need to use water in your pail. (Note: all solids should dunked/sprayed off prior to storing, with the exception of exclusively breast-fed poop, which is water-soluble.)



2. Dump in washing machine. Do a rinse or quick wash on cold with no detergent. (Hot water can seal in stains, so we recommend cold for the initial rinse.)

3. Wash again, hot and heavy, with detergent.



4. Extra rinse (or two), just in case.

5. Hang dry, or dry in machine.

Some loads will require extra rinsing. More or less detergent can be used, depending on the brand of diaper, soil level, load size, and detergent type. You'll find what works for you! Just trust us... it's not as hard as it may seem! And we'd be happy to help.

Contact us now (or stay tuned for later postings) if you need help with wash-day troubleshooting.

Thanks for reading,

Erin

P.S. Some brands do have their own washing instructions which, when not followed, may void your warranty. Please check before settling on a wash routine.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Brand Spotlight: CJ's

If you've been in the "cloth diaper world" for longer than a few days, chances are you've heard about CJ's BUTTer. It's a fantastic, made-in-the-U.S.A. brand. CJ's makes cloth-diaper-safe cream, wipes solution (for cloth wipes), cleaners, and even bug-spray: all natural, of course.

CJ's BUTTer is a diaper-safe cream that can also be used for excema and minor skin irritations, sunburn, cold sores, etc., etc., etc. I've even been known to use it as a leave-in conditioner for my hair. Check out the list of uses here!



We here at MSDC are big CJ's fans! We carry the BUTTer tubssticks, and spritzes. Please stop in and smell all the yummy smells (Blueberry Crumble...Monkey Farts...Apples & Spice...) or order online! (And good luck choosing just one.)

Thanks for reading,

Erin

Friday, September 20, 2013

Brand Spotlight: Thirsties

Hi faithful readers! Erin here, bringing you a new blog series… Brand Spotlight! We’ll be highlighting the brands we carry, in hopes that you’ll be inspired to try something new (or learn something new about an old favorite)! So, let’s get started…



Today’s Brand Spotlight is on Thirsties—a very popular option, to be sure. Thirsties is one of my personal favorite brands for a number of reasons:

Quality: According to the company’s website, Thirsties carefully considers each and every aspect of the diaper. They pay attention to things like fabric and material selection, as well as functionality and comfort. I have found Thirsties to be easy to use, easy to clean, leak-proof, and durable. I’ll recommend them every time as a high-quality diaper!

Affordability: Thirties are, simply put, some of the most affordable diapers on the market. This is a company whose desire is to “make it easy and affordable for every family to choose cloth.”

Variety: Do you prefer all-in-ones? Fitteds and covers? Pocket diapers? You need look no further than the Thirsties brand. Additionally, Thirsties has tons of accessories, and (in my opinion) some of the best prints and colors on the market today. You won’t get bored with a collection of Thirsties cloth diapers!



Check out this cute video about Thirsties for more reasons to like the brand!

We carry LOTS of Thirsties brand diapers— and accessories—here at MSDC. Please give them a try! I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Thanks for reading,

Erin



P.S. A note about changes: Thirsties will soon be switching their Duo (two-sized) Pocket Diaper over to a one-size-fits-all. Additionally, due to customer feedback, Thirsties is improving their hook-and-loop (Velcro) closures. This means that ALL current Thirsties stock (hook-and-loop only) is 15% off…and Duos are on clearance! Stop in or visit us online today!

Monday, August 12, 2013

History Lesson

I have a love of old people. For those of you who don't know me, I'm actually a social worker and have always worked in the field of aging. I've had a variety of jobs/internships as a social worker, but my most recent was working at a local nursing facility here in Lancaster County, PA. I recently stepped down from my position there (in order to be blogging to you fine folks). When I think about the older generations and "the good old days" I am filled with nostalgia  - oh what it would be like to live more simply, slowly, and dependently of one another. But wait, is my utopian thinking REALLY understanding what the day to day looked like for these people? Especially when it comes to diapering?

I thought we'd take a walk down memory lane and learn about the history of diapers. Perhaps we'll all gain some appreciation for modern conveniences (and materials).

Ancient Times:  Parents used materials such as seal skin, rabbit skin, and milkweed leaves which were swaddled tightly with linen or wool around the baby's entire body.

1800s:  What we today know of as "flats" were folded in a rectangular shape and held together with safety pins. No washing machines were around at this time might I add, which means LOTS and LOTS of hand washing.



Early 1900s:  Diaper services hit the scene during WWII, still using the traditional "flats."

Mid 1900s:  First disposable absorbent pad used as a diaper was made out of unbleached creped cellulose tissue (held in rubber pants) in 1942.

1960s - 1980s:  Instead of tissue, a pulp mill was introduced. Using cellulose fibers instead of paper improved the performance of the diaper.

Early 1990s:  Improvements continued with the disposable diaper. Cloth diapers start to make a comeback.

Late 1990s and Early 2000s:  Improvements made with cloth diapers, making them easier and more convenient than ever. Types other than flats and prefolds hit the market.

There you have it! I love when older generations stop by my store and make comments such as,"I wish they would of had these when I had kids in diapers" or "Boy, it doesn't get much easier than this." It reminds me just how easy we do have it and how thankful I am for certain modern day conveniences.

* Information taken from The Diaper Jungle

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Cloth Diapering A Newborn - Maintaining Sanity

I thought I'd devote a blog to newborns. Many of my customers lately have been soon-to-be-moms and dads (shout out to the mom and her husband who came shopping at my store on her due date!). Especially with your first, you never know what to expect and that is especially true if you're planning on cloth diapering a newborn for the first time. Newborns always seem to be smaller than what we remember or think, not to mention go to the bathroom A LOT more than we could ever imagine. Many people ask me what the best diaper system is for a newborn so I thought I'd digress a bit on this subject.

In the cloth diaper world, there is a huge variety of "one-size" diapers that arrogantly tout you can diaper your baby from birth to potty. Let's be real, this isn't exactly the case. Granted, some one-size systems do offer a pretty big range of size, but at the end of the day, a good, correct fit is crucial, particularly with newborn, explosive poo. Many one-size diapers make your little one look like he is swimming in a sea of fluff. Investing in a special, newborn stash also means that baby will outgrow them quickly, which means more money for you. So, what to do? Let's look at our options...

Well, one option is to use disposables the first several weeks. Huh?! Anna, did you just say the "d" word? You're darn right! Maybe my heart has softened, who knows. Let's be honest, those first few weeks after having a baby is so completely exhausting and overwhelming that you feel like you're barely surviving. If your sanity lies between using cloth and disposables, go with the disposables. Enjoy those first couple months with your baby, and when you start to find your new normal and are ready to cloth diaper, your little one will likely be ready to fit into a one-size diaper. There's enough pressure in our culture to be the "perfect" parent, so don't be too hard on yourself when it comes to diapering.

If you're adamant about using cloth from day one, a great option is the prefold/cover combo. Prefolds with a cover give you a snug fit, contains the poo, dries quickly, and are very inexpensive. When the baby outgrows them, you can also use the prefolds for spit rags or cleaning rags! The downside? Some parents get overwhelmed with the "special" folding, especially during those late night changes when you're a walking zombie. This type of system is also a two-step process - first the prefold, then the cover. There are also all-in-one newborn diapers (check out Lil Joeys) that offer the convenience of a disposable, but keep in mind, you'll be paying more for this added convenience. Really, it comes down to your priorities. What is MOST important to you? Convenience? Cost? Sanity? You decide.

[caption id="attachment_3377" align="aligncenter" width="300"]
Our daughter, Adalyn, in a cloth diaper (prefold/cover) a day after she was born.[/caption]