Whats on the Bum Part III: What I Think of What’s On the Bum Cont’

It has been a long while since my last post featuring reviews of some of the cloth diapering products I have used since starting on this CD’ing journey 12 months ago. Today, I’m going to discuss cloth diaper friendly diaper rash creams and laundry detergents as well as what I currently use for a pail liner and wet bag.

Diaper Rash Creams and Lotions

A lot of folks jump right into cloth diapering completely oblivious to the fact that choosing the wrong diaper rash cream can completely destroy your precious pocket diapers, diaper covers or all-in-ones. When I was using sposies during the first two months, I used liberal amounts of Desitin because that is what my Mom used.  Desitin and other zinc oxide creams are a no, no when it comes to cloth diapering. Their water repelling properties mean they will not easily wash out of your cloth diapers causing your diapers to stink or repel.  Either way, it means a long stripping process, which is not fun. Pin Stripes & Polka Dots has a list of commercially available diaper rash creams that can be used with cloth diapers. The list can be found here. The two I have used are California Baby, which is easily found at Target & Babies R Us and Grandma El’s, which can be purchased for a good price on Amazon.com.

California Baby Calming Diaper Rash Cream

An all-natural, food-grade diaper rash cream that  includes ingredients such as ultra-purified lanolin, vitamin-grade zinc (12%) and vitamin E, in addition to organic tea tree and aloe vera.

Pros:

  • Does not stain
  • Pleasant French lavender scent. Lavender is also known for its antibacterial properties
  • Easy to find in the store or online

Cons:

  • Seems too light to treat anything other than mild diaper rash
  • Some may take issue with its rather feminine, grandmotherly scent

Grandma El’s Diaper Rash Cream and Prevention

Ingredients include: Yellow Petrolatum and Insecticide-free Anhydrous Lanolin  (FDA approved healing agents and protectants), Vitamin E, Derivatives of Balsam of Peru, and Salicylic Acid (heal and stimulate production of new cells).

Pros:

  • Seems to provide thicker coverage than California Baby
  • Pleasant fruity smell
  • Available in flip top or tub

Cons:

  • Some have complained of light staining or repelling issues after repeated use
  • Hard to find in the store

Laundry Detergents and Stain/Odor Removers

I will admit that finding the right laundry detergent for your particular brand of diapers, washing machine, water composition and wash routine can often be a challenge. The last thing one wants is to end up with is diapers that reek of ammonia or the dreaded barnyard stinkies. These problems are usually due to detergent build up (too much detergent or inadequate rinsing) or the diapers not getting clean enough (not enough detergent or not compatible with your water- usually hard water). A list of cloth diaper friendly laundry detergents with reviews can be found here at Pin Stripes & Polka Dots. I have personally tried two: Charlies Soap and Country Save.  I have been dealing with minor ammonia stinkies as of late (more on this in another post) that do not seem amenable to the blue dawn strip and so I have only recently switched to Country Save and have also considered trying Tiny Bubbles, Eco Sprout, Allen’s Naturally and the original Tide. Here’s what I think of what I’ve tried:

Charlie’s Soap

Their formula is top secret but they boast of all natural ingredients including coconut oil based surfactants, sodium carbonate, sodium silicate, and soda ash.

Pros:

  • It has 278 5 star reviews on Amazon &  I think I read every one of them
  • The price varies on Amazon but I’ve gotten it as low as $10.80 for 2.64 lb powder container (80 loads). This container lasts a long time.
  • High efficiency washer safe
  • Does a good job getting Juliette’s regular clothes clean as well as the diapers
  • No odor, just fresh, clean smell

Cons:

  • There has been a lot of heated debate on cloth diapering websites as to whether this detergent can contribute to a chemical burn on babies bums. Charlie’s sticks by their claim that their detergent is clean-rinsing so there should be no residue left to burn baby’s bottom. They do admit that some households with extremely hard water may have trouble with their detergent and sell a hard water additive that you can use in addition to their detergent.*

*For those unfamiliar, a chemical burn occurs when the normally slightly acidic pH of the skin is made more alkaline by either a) the product of ammonia in the diaper from the urine by urea digesting bacteria in the stool and on the skin or b) alkaline bile salts in loose stools. The result is a bright red bum that looks scalded and makes baby miserable.

For the record, we went nearly 9-10 mo of using Charlie’s Soap without incidence of ammonia stinkies or ammonia burns. I did a strip at the 8 mo mark just because and then at 10 mo started to notice a strong ammonia odor in my pail on wash day (day 3). It was at around the same time that we experienced our first chemically burned bottom. We have had 3 instances.  The first two were minor- one after a loose stool and the other a heavy urine soaked diaper left on too long. We had one major burn  (complete with blisters) after a loose stool while teething and also after Juliette had eaten tomato sauce (a known culprit).

I don’t know if the diapers had anything to do with the burn. It could have been a number of factors. I stripped with blue Dawn but could see no signs of detergent build up (no suds in 2nd rinse cycle).  I do have hard water, and my theory is that the diapers may not have been getting fully clean and still had urine residue in them. No natural detergent will sanitize your diapers- its unfair to say otherwise- and that is why you use bleach in the hot cycle 1x/month, which I do religiously. I was reluctant to buy a second product to make the Charlie’s Soap work better (this did not seem cost effective), so for now, I am exploring other options.

Country Save

Ingredients: Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Sulphate,Sodium Percarbonate, Sodium Alkyl Aryl Sulfonate, Linear Alcohol Ethoxylate

Pros

  • High efficiency washer safe
  • Available locally at Sprouts stores
  • No chemical burns experienced as of yet, but have only been using 1 month.
  • Ingredients are very similar to the Bum Genius detergent, which is recommended for use with Bum Genius diapers

Cons:

  • Seems a little more expensive at $15-$16 at Sprouts for the 5 lb (40 TL loads/80HE loads), but  I guess only time will tell as to how long the box lasts. I use 1/2 scoop on diapers, 1 full scoop on Juliette’s regular clothes.
  • When using on regular clothes, I did not find that it had much power against stains. Charlie’s performed much better here. I have been adding oxiclean when needed to Juliette’s regular laundry since making the switch.
  • Did not resolve ammonia stinkies problem (initially improved likely due to the strip, but now the same 1 mo later)

BioKleen Bac Out Stain and Odor Eliminator

Ingredients: natural enzyme cultures, food grade citrus extracts and stabilizers, vegetable-based surfactants, and filtered spring water.

We use this foaming spray on all poopy diapers to combat bacteria and eliminate stains and odors.

Pros:

  • Pleasant lime scent
  • Excellent price on Amazon if bought by the case. May also be locally available at Sprouts.
  • Also works on pet odors, carpet stains, stinky garbage disposals
  • Really has helped us avoid stains on diapers and inserts
  • Can be sprayed on diapers before throwing in diaper pail or added to prewash

Cons

  • I heard that the oils in the bac out can build up over time contributing to repelling issues. We have not had such an issue, but have recently switched to diluting the bottle with water just in case.

Pail Liners and Wet Bags

Kissaluvs Antibacterial Pail Liner 

Pros:

  • Generous size of 30×24 allows it to hold loads of diapers
  • Elastic at top makes it easy to fit any pail of your choice (we have a simple flip top from Target)
  • Fabric side faces in and outside is made from high quality PUL with antimicrobial properties. This protects against the spread of health hazardous bacteria.
  • Has cloth tag inside for adding odor fighting oils such as fresh lavender or tea tree oil
  • Can be machine washed and dried
  • Typically sells for $11-$15 on Amazon, which is way cheaper than other brands

Cons

  • It often holds water even after the final spin. Some recommend you actually remove it before the final rinse so your diapers and inserts rinse better.
  • Some Moms have complained of the pail liner turning a dingy yellow or leaking. We have had neither problem to date.

Munchkin Damp Goods Bag

We went months and months without a wet bag in our diaper bag, making do with my huge supply of scented plastic bags or using sposies for longer trips out. Finally, I saw this one on sale super cheap at Target and thought it would be great for diapers or wet clothes when we go to the pool.

Pros:

  • Cute pattern
  • Folds up nice and neat

Cons:

  • Not nearly large enough to hold more than a few diapers
  • Does not seem to contain odors well
  • Many have complained of the snap breaking off or the material ripping after laundering

And that is it! The end of my two cents, at least for now. I hope this was helpful for my fellow cloth diapering mommas or those considering it.

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Say it often for no reason at all

I am not usually one to disseminate You Tube videos that have gone viral. Yet, I’ve passed along two this week. The first, a story about a girl with autism that struck a chord as a parent and now, this one- a moving birthday tribute from cancer patient Kristian Anderson to his wife Rachel.

Kristian was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2009 and became unintentionally famous in 2010 after he made this video to thank Rachel for her love and support.  It features an intro from the New Zealand prime minister (his wife is apparently a Kiwi) and a cameo from Hugh Jackman, who found out about the project from the radio station that assisted Kristian with the video. It is a true testament of his love, his gratitude and his faith. We should all be so lucky to have someone who loves us this much.  Sadly, Kristian lost his battle with cancer on January 2, 2012. His blog is as beautiful and intelligent as his video and can be found here @ There is A Crack in Everything.

I don’t know Kristian. I cannot speak to what kind of man he was. I don’t know if he put down the toilet seat, cleared the dishes from the sink or made it home from work in time to give his kids a bath and tuck them in bed. I don’t know if he regularly thanked his wife before his cancer diagnosis, but I hope he did. What I do know is that he gave his wife the most beautiful gift- one that will last for many birthdays to come- the gift of love and better than that, the free expression of it.

Let this be a lesson to the rest of us. I know that as I have grown in years, I have become more neglectful of those I love.  I can usually find justification for doing so.  Life gets busy. You take on more responsibility. You meet The One and friends get put on the back burner just a little bit.  You walk down the aisle in a pretty dress and perhaps neglect your first family as you attempt to build one of your own.  You have a baby and find yourself completely overwhelmed by how much this tiny being relies on you to meet all her wants and needs. How can you possibly have any time left over for your spouse or even yourself?

I know I have definitely fallen into this trap as of late. But I don’t to wait until I’m dying to tell my husband how much I love him and how grateful I am that he has stuck by me in good times and bad. I don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to tell my parents how much I appreciate all the sacrifices they made so that I should never feel in need. And I hope I’m never too busy to share a smile and a laugh with my daughter who has stirred in me a love that knows no limits. Say it loud. Say it often. Say it for absolutely no reason at all. I love you. Thank you. Thank God for you.

What’s On The Bum? Part II: What I Think of What’s On the Bum

As mentioned in my last post, I have been cloth diapering my daughter Juliette for nearly a year now.  This has given me the opportunity to try out several products, hear what other CD’ing families are saying and do plenty of research.  Here are my reviews based on my opinion and experience, of course.

Cloth Diapers

One of the first things you have to decide is what diaper to use.  Will you use prefolds with a snappi fastener (modern and much cooler version of the diaper pin) or cover? Will you use a pocket diaper like I do (cover with waterproof barrier stuffed with a soaker) or forego the stuffing and get an all-in-one diaper?

I chose to go with one size pocket diapers.  This is a 2 step process. The shell is waterproof and the inner layer is typically made of fleece or polyester. The wetness is driven through this layer to an absorbent insert which is stuffed in the pocket.  This keeps baby’s bottom dry, at least until the insert is saturated. We currently have in our stash: 1 Fuzzi Bunz size small pocket diaper, 2 Rumparooz one-size pocket diapers and 16 Bum Genius 4.0 one size pocket diapers. All have snap closures. I also have 2 dozen Gerber cotton prefolds, but as I did not realize that Indian or Chinese prefolds were the way to go, these have only been useful as burp cloths and changing pad liners.

Bum Genius 4.0:This is my favorite diaper by far.                                                                 Pros:

  • Cost $18-20 is reasonable compared to some other brands. I purchased mine for $14-15 as part of a bundle sale.
  • There are 3 rows of snaps to adjust the rise to accommodate babies 7-35 lbs.
  • 2 snap closure, which I can tell you is a big plus in the toddler years when baby learns to unvelcro a disposable
  •  2 inserts included: a trim newborn insert and a thicker toddler insert which is adjustable with the rise.  Juliette is a heavy wetter, so we now double each diaper with both inserts to be on the safe side.
  • Slot cover to prevent leaking at the top back
  • Available in many fun colors and featured artist designs
  • Only needs to be washed 1x prior to first use
  • Can be bleached 1x/month

Cons:

  • Suede is not nearly as soft on the bum as fleece
  • Synthetic materials susceptible to ammonia stinkies with urine, detergent or diaper creme build-up. This means period stripping= pain in the butt.
  • Covers must be line dried
  • Not the trimmest diaper. Juliette has a J Lo booty and this is the only reason she is able to fit into size 12 mo clothes with her tiny waist.

Fuzzi Bunz Perfect Size Small 7-18 lbs

Pros:

  • Cost $$14.95-$17.95
  • Soft fleece lining is nice on the bum
  • Hip snaps to allow for better fit at the legs= less chance of leaking
  • The trimmest cloth diaper we have tried
  • Many colors to choose from
  • The diaper cover seems to get less ammonia stinkies than my BGs

Cons

  • Cost of perfect size diaper vs. one size diaper is exponentially more
  • Only comes with one insert, no doubler. This has been an issue for us as Juliette still fits into this diaper at 1 yr.
  • Outer material seems much thinner than the others we have. Have not had any issues with ripping but seems less sturdy
  • Harder to clean sticky poop off fleece whereas it just slides off the microsuede
  • Pocket is open at the top- a potential source of leaks

Rumparooz One Size

Pros:

  • One size fits 6-35 lbs and they also sell a Lil Joey version for babies smaller than 6 lbs
  • The softest fleece lining Juliette’s bum has experienced- by far!
  • Patented inner gussets go a long way to prevent leaks
  • Comes in the coolest colors and designs
  • Fit below belly button is a plus for newborns with intact umbilical cords
  • 6 R soaker insert is the thickest of the ones we use and the 2 included inserts can be snapped together
  • A favorite of many of my friends

Cons:

  • Cost of $24-$30 makes it the most expensive on this list. Luckily, I scored mine for $20 a piece on sale.
  • We have a difficult time adjusting this diaper to Juliette and this has led to some leaking problems. It is likely user error, but I have already snapped this diaper out to the longest rise and Juliette is only in the 3rd percentile at age 1 year. For us, this is the biggest reason (aside from price) that I did not buy more of this diaper.
  • Not closed at the top, which led to some initial leaks
  • The slowest drying of the bunch

Flushable Liners

These are optional in your CD’ing experience but can make toddler poop a snap to clean up and prevent staining of your pocket diapers.  Breastfed infant poop washes out easily. You just throw the soiled diaper in the pail and forget about it until wash time. Toddler poop, in Juliette’s case, appears toxic at times. Certain foods like carrots tend to stain and “shaking out the solids” is not always easy. Our occasional solution is to put a very thin layer of flushable material over the inner layer of the pocket diaper. Soiled liners are dropped into the toilet and flushed away (well, if you don’t have a septic tank).

Imse Vimse Flushable Liners

Pros:

  • Conveniently packaged. They come in a roll and each sheet rips off like toilet paper
  • Do what they say they do- they don’t tend to bunch up so we have had no problem catching all of the solid poop and flushing it down the toilet
  • Good price at $12/200 and since we don’t use a liner in every diaper (I have gotten good at guessing when she will have a bowel movement), 2 rolls have lasted 8 months
  • Urine soaked liners can be rinsed, dried and re-used if you so choose. Some Moms put them through the wash cycle.

Cons:

  • Not at all as soft as I imagined they would be. They have the look and feel of a dryer sheet. I can’t imagine it would be too comfy on the tushy. Also, the first few days of use, noticed a redness around my daughter’s anus. Might have just been coincidence, but that is when we started putting a liner in only when we thought she was likely to have a bowel movement. Easy to determine after a day or two of charting.
  • We don’t usually have any issues with our Bum Genius or Rumparooz leaking. But I have had several instances of pee leaking out the leg and getting the edges of her onesies wet while using a liner. I imagine that the urine doesn’t absorb as fast as it does when directly on the cloth diaper.

Bummis BioSoft Liners- Large

Pros:

  • Way softer than Imse Vimse. These appear to be a lot more comfy on the bum. This is the one thing that makes me want to love these liners.
  • Larger than Imse Vimse liners and in the same convient roll format

Cons:

  • Much thinner than Imse Vimse liners. Urine soaked liners could never be washed and reused.
  • Tend to bunch up and slide. Several times the poopy liner has drifted up towards the vagina, which is not nice for clean up or UTI risk
  • If liner bunches, poop ends up on diaper anyhow defeating the whole point
  • More expensive at $8/100

***

Wow, I had no idea I would have so much to say about this. How is it that I’m still typing? Well, this Momma needs to get to bed too.  Juliette has been sleeping soundly for several hours and hubby has a friend in town whose wife is due in May, so they are having some much needed adult time. I had not intended on a part III, but I guess I’ll need to continue this post at a later date so I can share my thoughts on diaper cremes, detergents and more.

What’s On the Bum? Part I: My Two Cents on Cloth Diapering

When I found out I was going to be a Mom, I immediately had 3 goals for myself based upon the premise, “If my Mom could do it, so can I.” Or at least that’s what I thought.

The first was to have a natural a.k.a drug-free childbirth.  Many, including my husband, were doubtful that I could pull this off.  And in all honesty, so was I.  My birth plan was basically- get this baby out! I took prenatal yoga, a childbirth preparation class and prayed a lot.  I am happy to report that although I labored a fairly long while at home, it was more tolerable than I expected, and I was able to deliver Juliette drug-free within hours of entering the hospital. I can only hope that should I be blessed with a second opportunity, it goes as beautifully.

My second goal was to make my own baby food.  Not that I have anything against store-bought food. There are a lot of good choices out there. I did use the Gerber brand rice and oatmeal cereals, and I loved the concept of the squeezable pouches while on vacation or going out.  But, I garden, frequently buy fresh produce and have a blender and some ice cube trays. So I did not find it at all a bother to make my own.

My third goal was to use cloth diapers.  A lot of folks thought I was crazy for this one. On the flip side, I had a handful of friends who were exploring CD’ing alongside me or who were already enjoying their cloth diapering systems. Cloth diapering mommas are very eager to pass on their wisdom, and I was able to get some great tips from my cousin Jacqui, her wife Hesper and my friends Maren and Rachael.

My reasons for cloth diapering went something like this:

1) My Mom did it, so can I. Besides, cloth diapering has come a long way since the days of prefolds, diaper pins and washing out diapers in the toilet.

2) It’s economical.  The upfront costs are a bit daunting at first, but given that a newborn goes through something like 12 diapers a day at about $20/100 disposables vs. my upfront cost of $100/12 very re-usable-all the way through potty training and possibly the next child!-cloth diapers.  I’d say cloth comes out on the winning side in the long run.

3) It’s better for the bum. Parents who CD historically report less diaper rash, leaks and all-out blow outs.  To date, we never had a true poop blow out in a cloth diaper. I am knocking on wood as I type this.  Leaks we have experienced have usually occurred due to urine being squeezed out by a tight car seat strap, needing to readjust the rise for baby growth or add a doubler for extra heavy wetting.

4) It’s better for the environment. There is some debate here. Less disposables clogging up landfills seems like a good thing.  You do consume more water in laundering the diapers every 2-3 days as this involves 2 wash cycles and an extra rinse on the second. I cut back to laundering every 3rd day after my water bill became outrageous during the growing season when we also water our lawn, landscape beds and garden. The drawback is the potential for ammonia stinkies, which is a topic for another post.

Having fully researched this decision and gotten Dean somewhat on board, I made a personal choice to wait until Juliette was 7 wks old to give it a go. I had my sister there to help me prewash my dipes, hold my hand and assist me with my first load of diapers. [Of note, Holly was pregnant with my nephew Jacob at the time.  She was totally grossed out by the thought of holding onto a poopy diaper at that point. But somehow, her husband Chris and I were later able to coerce her into going the CD’ing route also.] Juliette was just a peanut and her Bum Geniuses fit at 7 lbs, so the timing worked out perfectly. She is now 13 months old and I am still very happy with our system.  Dean is not a fan of poop, whether it be in a cloth or disposable, but he seems to have it down pat and is a big fan of the flushable liners that make solid poop clean up a breeze.

I have formed some definite opinions on the cloth diapering products I love, and I will share these in Part II. Until then. Goodnight.

Once Upon A Birthday Party- Part III- The Final Chapter

Juliette’s big day arrived.  I don’t know who was more excited, me or her. That’s not true, actually. It was definitely me. She seemed completely oblivious to her role as guest of honor or to Mommy’s frenzy of preparations.  But I was pumped!

We managed to squeeze in a short nap and then picked up the cake.  Michelle of Raspberry N Creme Cakes made me a fabulous cupcake display with an even more fabulous 6″ round cake on top featuring a little girl reading a book made completely out of sugar.  This girl is truly talented!

I adorned each cupcake with handmade mini books cupcake toppers featuring some of Juliette’s favorite reads.

My friend, Carly, who is way craftier than I am, made this cool sign to welcome everyone to the party.

As guests arrived, they munched on a spread of  book-themed eats. The menu included:

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary Garden Salad

Very Hungry Caterpillar Fruit Salad

Peanut Butter & Jelly Forever Sandwiches

Strega Nona’s Magic Pasta Pot (Baked Ziti)

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (Art’s Famous Meatballs)

I quickly learned that I am a complete amateur at this kid party thing.  Lessons learned: 1) Crunchy peanut butter is not ideal for small kids and will cause parents to have to pick the crunchy bits out, 2) While embellishing the party hats with each kiddos initial was extremely cute, there were tears shed over getting an undesirable color hat. Who would have thought?, and most importantly, 3) Take cupcake topper with toothpick out of cupcake before handing to unsupervised kid.  There were no injuries, thank God, but that was a little dumb on my part 😛

The party flew by. It was a kind of metaphor for how quickly this year went. Suddenly, my husband Dean and I are the parents of a toddler. Yikes!  We celebrated in style with our book themed attire.  Dean in his Dr. Seuss Thing 1, Thing 2 t-shirt from Kohls and me in my Alice and Wonderland t-shirt from Old Navy.  Juliette wore a Carter’s birthday dress and later changed into her Green Eggs And Ham onesie.

Juliette thoroughly enjoyed her birthday cupcake, and even stole some of Mommy’s when I had my head turned.

One by one, all the guests went home and it was time for the clean up to begin. I left the decor up on the mantle until I decorated for Christmas as a reminder of all the fun I had putting the party together.  Until next year.  Will I go as crazy for birthday #2? You never know. Stranger things have happened.