When I was pregnant, I determined that I wanted to cut down on repeat baby expenses as much as possible, including diapers. So I planned to use cloth diapers, diaper covers, and cloth wipes. Below I will share with you my journey to find newborn cloth diapers... cheap!
When I was pregnant, I researched how big newborn prefold diapers should be. On Green Mountain Diapers website, the newborn prefold diaper measures 11x11 inches squared when fully shrunk and is supposed to fit babies up to 10 pounds. I had a hunch of an idea that I confirmed through a forum post to use washcloths as newborn cloth diapers. So, I purchased two packs of eighteen 12x12 inch squared washcloths from Wal-Mart for $4 a pack! I took one washcloth and folded it in thirds and placed it inside the middle of another washcloth. I purchased some snappies to hold it together. And wala! It was a simple cloth diaper with a soaker layer. I decided to sew a bunch of them already assembled, so I wouldn't have to fold that much. Now I just had to wait for the baby to get here to try them out on him.
Unfortunately, I didn't get to start cloth diapering my newborn till week 3. We were one week in the hospital. During week 2, my mother was still helping me and she insisted on using disposables. So, on week 3 my cloth diapering adventure began when my baby was just 10 pounds. My washcloth diapers fit him very snugly at 10 pounds, but they did work. By the end of that week though, I had to go up in size and use regular prefolds with him. So, Green Mountain Diapers is correct that the newborn size prefolds (which are just slightly smaller than my washcloth diapers) will fit only up to 10 pounds.
Spending all that time assembling washcloth prefolds was not for nought. In fact, my newborn cloth diapers made perfect "doublers" for the regular cloth diapers. They added a perfect soaker layer I could easily add to the prefold diaper to make it more effective. I still use them now, and my baby is 10 weeks old. From 3 weeks to now, I place one of my washcloth prefolds in the middle of a regular size prefold and fold the top down over it about 2 inches to make the size right for him.
For newborn diaper covers, I made my own out of fleece baby blankets that I received as gifts. During the night, I used Gerber plastic pants over my baby's diaper. These only cost $2 a pair. In total, to cloth diaper my newborn, I spent about $35 total. You can purchase my fleece newborn diaper cover pattern for only $6 and make your own diaper covers with no sewing and fancy materials. Just cut them out! Get my newborn diaper cover pattern HERE.
Inga Goodwin is a stay at home, work at home mom.
Which diaper is best for my baby? This is a common question you will hear especially from new parents who are deciding on which diaper to use: reusable cloth diapers vs. disposable diapers.
It has been many decades since modern diapers has been invented and evolved from simple cloth diapers with safety pins… to reusable multi-layer cloth diapers with Velcro strips… to the, most popular, disposable diapers. Until now, it has been debated which of the two makes the best diaper.
No solid evidence exists that says one is better than the other. It is a matter of weighing a number of considerations to determine which diaper works best for you and your baby.
Incidence of diaper rash is observed more on babies who use disposable diapers than those who use cloth diapers. This may be because disposable diapers contain more synthetic materials such as polymers and plastic while most cloth diapers are made of natural fibers. It is also easier to determine if a cloth diaper is wet or soiled so babies tend to sit longer on wet and dirty disposable diapers.
Keep in mind, though, that each baby’s skin is different. You may hear some moms swear that disposable diapers are better than the other, or vice-versa. The bottom-line is simply to keep your baby’s diaper area clean, dry and well-ventilated.
Cloth diapers, particularly the prefold diaper which is the cheapest among the cloth diaper variants, are far more affordable in terms of price tag although there are other things to consider such as laundry costs.
How much you save on diapering largely depends on the total price of the cloth diapers your baby uses plus the cost of laundry services versus the total price of the same number of disposable diapers. If your baby uses a lot of diapers, more than 60 in a week for example, you may save on laundry costs but if you use much less than that number, laundry costs may be more expensive due to base delivery charges.
Unless you opt-out of laundry services and wash your baby’s diapers at home, reusable diapers are definitely cheaper.
There is no question about which of the two is more convenient. This is the very reason disposable diapers are invented. In spite of the growing popularity of modern cloth diapers today, disposable diapers remain the leading player preferred by most moms.
We have to acknowledge that in our modern society where both parents have full-time jobs, the most important resource is time and convenience.
Another important consideration is the environment and how diapers contribute to the growing number of pollutants in our planet.
Based on charts and scientific studies, disposable diapers are a great environmental threat. They fill up landfills for hundreds of years and it takes five to six generations before they can be decomposed.
Disposable diaper manufacturers claim that cloth diapers are more harmful to the environment because they use four times more water and produce more sewage treatment. Still, the fact remains that water is a renewable resource while landfills are not! Your choice can make a difference.
Freelance Contributor: Hazel Zanoria
The best diaper rash home remedies are simple and easy. Most of the time, it only requires you to keep your baby’s diaper area clean, dry and well-ventilated. And after a few days ---- viola! The rashes are gone. Sometimes, it may require you to experiment a bit and try using different types of diapers or trying out milder baby soaps to see which one works best for your baby.
However, there are rashes that persist and may seem untreatable by any diaper rash remedy you try at home. Soon you begin to wonder whether or not you should bring your baby to your family physician.
Diaper rash is often no cause for alarm unless you observe certain symptoms that may include the following:
Freelance Contributor: Hazel Zanoria
Washable diapers generally pertain to cloth or reusable diapers. Knowing how to properly treat, store and clean them can protect your baby’s skin, prolong the life of the washable diapers and ensure their cleanliness. It is pretty much the same as doing your regular laundry except for a few important points to note.
Readying a washable diaper for first use
Keep in mind that brand new cloth diapers need to be thoroughly washed and dried out at least 5 or more times before using them. This is done to improve the absorbency of your diapers and make certain they can be reused multiple times without a significant depreciation in quality.
Washing prior to use also removes chemical substances present in the diaper such as the natural oil buildup produced by washable diapers made of cotton. This process is called “pre-treatment” of your cloth diapers.
Also note that cloth diapers made of wool must be hand washed.
Storing baby’s soiled diapers before wash
Most moms do not wash diapers immediately after every diaper change. Considering the number of times your baby needs to change diapers each day, it would be inefficient and would take too much time for you to do so.
The two most common methods of storing dirty diapers are: (a) the dry pail method and (b) the wet pail method.
But before you get too excited and start dropping off those dirty diapers into your diaper pail, make sure that the diapers are free of any solid poop. You must shake off and flush solid poops into the toilet. The diaper sprayer is a useful tool especially for infant poop that tend to stick to the diaper and is hard to remove.
The Dry Pail Method
You will need the following materials before storing your baby’s dirty diapers:
(a)A dry diaper pail. A dry diaper pail simply means a pail or container with no water. You can use any container or laundry basket with a lid, a washable laundry bag, or both. Using both is convenient since you do not have to wash the pail every time you take out the cloth diapers for washing.
(b)Baking soda. Sprinkle a reasonable amount of baking soda into the pail or bag to reduce odor.
It is advised that you do the wash every 2 or 3 days. Keeping the dirty cloth diapers longer than that may result to stains that are harder to remove plus a stronger unpleasant smell wafting out of the pail when you finally get to it.
The Wet Pail Method
Using this method is essentially the same as the dry pail method except that instead of leaving the soiled cloth diapers dry inside the pail, you put water in it to soak the diapers.
The materials you need include:
(a)A diaper pail half-full with water. Fill the diaper pail with just enough water to soak the cloth diapers and avoid spillovers when you add more diapers in it.
(b)One-half cup of baking soda. Add the baking soda into the water to control odor.
Some moms who do not do laundry everyday use the washer as a pail to hold soiled baby diapers. You can simply drain the water and refill the washer with fresh water when you are about to do the washing or delay it for another day.
Washing baby’s cloth diapers
Here are the important steps that you may apply in washing your baby’s dirty diapers:
(a)Choose the right detergent. Avoid detergents with whitening enzymes, bleach, dyes, fragrances, or fabric conditioners. These ingredients break down the fibers of your cloth diapers and cause leaks and poor diaper absorbency.
(b)Pre-wash Cycle. It is recommended that you wash a dozen diapers at a time or as many as your washer can allow without causing much friction. After emptying your diaper pail into the washing machine, add fresh cold water and do one rinse cycle. This applies to both the dry and wet pail method. Doing a pre-wash can prevent stains from setting. You may add a half-cup of baking soda during this cycle if you wish.
(c)Hot Wash Cycle. Drain the water from the pre-wash cycle. Add hot water into the washing machine then put in your detergent which measures ¼ to ½ of the usual amount you use for a same-sized regular load.
(d)First Rinse. Drain the water from the hot wash cycle. Add fresh cold water and about a half-cup of vinegar into the washer. Vinegar restores the pH of the cloth diapers and omitting this may result to diaper rash on your baby’s skin.
(e)Second Rinse. This is the final step. Drain the water from the first rinse cycle and do a cold rinse cycle.
When the washing is done, you can throw in your cloth diapers into the dryer or leave out in the sun to dry.
If you observe diaper rashes on your baby’s bum after using the washed diapers, try boiling the diapers for 15 minutes after washing. This helps remove any germs or chemicals that may irritate your baby’s skin.
Do you know that it is possible to potty train your baby as early as 0 to 6 months old? Just imagine doing away with disposable baby diapers, diaper pails, and most importantly, the dreaded diaper rash that plagues this generation’s newborn babies.
As moms, we always want the best for our children and exploring new and creative ways to meet their needs is our top priority.
You may have heard some of the common misconceptions about potty training an infant early in life. There were theories that say potty training this early could cause personality and behavioral problems. Some doubt the readiness of the infant at this stage due to his lack of complete muscle control. These, however, are simply beliefs that do not have solid scientific evidence. In fact, potty training your baby in his/her early infancy is proven to be greatly rewarding to both the parent and the child.
Long before disposable baby diapers were invented, mothers in India, China, East Africa and some other parts of the world have practiced a gentle method of attuning themselves to the bodily functions of their child that allowed them to know when exactly their baby needs to go. This is called Elimination Communication (EC). To these communities, EC is not simply a potty training method but a part of their tradition and culture.
The basic steps in elimination communication starts with the mom observing the baby’s body signals, warning signs, or indicators, just before the baby pees or poops. These signals may include shuddering, being extremely silent or quiet, squirming, making faces, releasing of gas, etc. When you have recognized the signs, hold your baby over a container where he can pee or poop then make a sound or gesture that he can associate with elimination such as the “sssss” sound. Doing this continuously can help your baby achieve daytime dryness early in life.
Sounds easy? Not quite. This potty training method takes time and patience but its benefits definitely outweigh the cost of this endeavor.
The rewards of potty training your child early include the medical and personal benefits listed below:
(a)Prevent diaper rash. By minimizing the use of disposable baby diapers or totally eliminating it, you protect your baby from the harmful substances used in these diapers and prevent the occurrence of rashes and other types of baby skin irritation.
(b)Prevent diaper-related infections. A baby walking around with a wet or soiled diaper is exposed to urinary tract infections, yeast infections, eczema, etc.
(c)Avoid enuresis or bed-wetting. Enuresis is the medical name for bed-wetting during sleep. This is common among young boys and girls but could be prolonged beyond seven (7) years of age in some cases. Infant potty training can help avoid this condition.
(d)Savings. Statistics show that urban families in the United States potty train their children later and later in life. Toddlers of three (3) or even four (4) years old are still wearing diapers. This amounts to thousands of diapers and thousands of dollars. If you are using cloth or reusable diapers, you can also save a lot from laundry costs.
(e)Parent-child bonding. Elimination Communication is a great way of starting a positive communication between you and your child. It is found to have a positive effect in the parent-child relationship as the child grows older.
(f)Troublesome Twos. Many parents start to potty train their children between one (1) and two (2) years of age. As a result, they get frustrated and stressed since this is a time when the child could sorely test your patience. They are hyperactive and thoroughly troublesome. By starting to potty train your baby early, the process can be completed in 12 months or so, depending on whether you are doing it full-time or part-time. You can, therefore, avoid difficult potty training sessions.
(g)Environmentally Sound. It takes 500 years for a disposable diaper to decompose. In the US alone, approximately 11,000 babies are born everyday. Each baby uses approximately 60 diapers per week. Oh my, this is definitely something to think about and act upon.
Freelance Contributor: Hazel Zanoria
Although diaper rash is fairly common to babies and toddlers, this can be frustrating and stressful to the parents and traumatic to the child especially in severe cases.
Diaper rash starts as a mild redness on your baby’s skin that feels sore, scaly, and tender. When left untreated or when treatment efforts fail, these mild irritations may become a bad diaper rash condition that causes blisters, swelling and bleeding.
There is a continuous debate between cloth vs. disposable diapers and which of the two can best prevent diaper rash. Unfortunately, there is no compelling evidence that one is better than the other. So what should concerned moms do? Relying on any diaper rash remedy is not the best option. Prevention, still, is the best way to go.
There are many ways to prevent diaper rash. The basic principle is simply keeping your baby’s diaper area clean, cool, and dry. It is important to understand, as well, that different babies have different skin reactions and tolerance to various substances or irritants found in diapers.
The following are simple guidelines that will help you keep baby away from diaper rash.
Change diapers often. Check your baby’s diaper at least every hour and change it when it’s wet or soiled.
Wash, clean and dry your baby’s diaper area before putting on a new diaper. Use plain warm water (not hot) with or without a mild soap. After washing, pat (not scrub) the area with a clean soft towel gently. It is best to leave your baby without a new diaper from time to time to let the air dry his/her bottom naturally.
Refrain from using scented baby wipes or those that contain alcohol. These substances can irritate your baby’s skin.
Use open cloth diapers during sleep. Babies pee immediately after they fall asleep. Check and replace it if wet.
Avoid tightly fitted diapers. This cuts air circulation within the diaper area where moisture can gather and diaper rash can thrive.
Try using a barrier ointment regularly. Barrier ointments such as petroleum jelly and zinc oxide are proven to protect baby’s skin from moisture.
Talcum power or cornstarch is not recommended. Powder can get into your baby’s lungs and cornstarch can worsen yeast infection which is a type of diaper rash.
Clean and wash cloth diapers properly. Washable cloth diapers can irritate your baby’s skin if not properly cleaned before reuse.
If rashes persist, try switching diapers, wipes and soaps until you find the ones that work best for your baby.
Consider Potty Training your Child Early
One of the many advantages of potty training your child early is you can avoid the frustrations and stress of diaper rash. By starting out early, your baby can achieve dryness early in life and will be totally free from the hassles of diapering. The process can be completed in 12 to 24 months depending on whether you are doing it full time or part time.
Did you know that babies are aware of their elimination needs from birth? Starting toilet training from infancy sounds like a revolutionary idea, but it's actually one that has been around for a long time and practiced in many places of the world.
Unfortunately, here in the United States this concept has been overtaken by the huge disposable diaper industry that has us thinking a baby cannot be toilet trained until age 3. Fortunately, different organizations and resources are becoming available to American mothers so that they can make informed decisions about how to handle their baby's elimination needs.
You and your baby do not have to suffer with diapers until the baby turns 3. Your baby can learn to eliminate on cue and you can learn when your baby needs to eliminate.
Stay tuned for our next article on infant potty training.
Bonded From Birth Contributor: Inga Goodwin
Learn more about infant pottying options and consider elimination communication so you and your baby can be diaper free sooner than later.
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