Friday, March 15, 2013

Cloth Diapers - Six Months In - Brand Reviews

It's been six months since I started using cloth diapers with Daisy. I also use cloth wipes, which are baby washcloths that I spray wipe solution on before use.

I received all our cloth diapers as gifts or hand-me-downs, so I have a variety of brands, mostly all used. The little research I did showed Fuzzy Bunz and Bum Genius as the most popular, but they're actually not my favorite.

Daisy sporting her cloth dipe while playing at the bookshelf I painted for her. 

My top 5 favorite cloth diaper brands based on my collection. 

Follow the links to their external websites for more information about each brand.

1. Gro-via. I have one one-size Gro-via diaper shell.
  • Easy to clean and dry 
  • Never leaks
  • Fits Daisy really well as she grows
  • Inserts can be switched out without changing the liner/shell/cover. 
  • You can use non-Gro-via inserts 
    • I prefer non terrycloth inserts if you're not using pocket diapers. Terry cloth holds little poopies in the fibers even after a good wash. 
    • My favorite are hemp inserts. I have several from Thirsties.
  • Gro-via also makes disposable inserts! My friend gave some to me, and they are amazing!

2. Bum Genius - All-in-One. I have four, one-size, all-in-one Bum Genius diapers.

  • Fit Daisy really well as she grows
  • Easy to use: no pocket packing or insert changing
  • Rarely leaks
  • Downside: Takes longer than all other diapers to dry after washing

3. SmartiPants - I have one one-size Smartipants diaper.

  • Fits Daisy really well as she grows. 
  • Rarely leaks
  • Easy to slip the soaker insert into the pocket

4. Kissaluv - I have one all-in-one Kissa diaper. (I altered it to make it a pocket diaper)

  • I ripped out the stitches that held in the insert, so I could take out the insert for washing. I didn't dry very well as an all-in-one diaper.  
  • Fits Daisy really well as she grows
  • Rarely leaks
  • The lining is fleece and has become pilly
  • Not super easy to stuff with the insert after washing

5. Bum Genius - Pocket. I have two one-size, pocket Bum Genius diapers.

  • Most popular kind of cloth diaper from my online research and what my friends use. 
  • Fits Daisy really well as she grows
  • Rarely leaks
  • Lining is not fleece or regular cotton. Not sure what it is, but it doesn't pill and hasn't become water resistent
  • Not super easy to stuff with the insert after washing

Other diapers I own that didn't make the list: 

Random Home Sewn - I have two random home made pocket diapers, which I like pretty well, but there's no way I could recommend them to you, because they have no tags indicating who made them.

  • Soak well
  • Sometimes leak
  • Not as sturdy as the other diapers, but they work well anyways. 
  • The lining is soft cotton, not fleece, which is more durable and doesn't pill. 
  • Not easy to stuff

Fuzzy Buns. I have five fuzzy buns pocket diapers. Four are small size, and one is medium. These are my least favorite. Granted, I started with used diapers, so I don't know what they were like brand new.

  • Leak every time
  • Lining became water resistent quickly. I tried stripping them yesterday, so I'm not sure yet if that helped.  
  • Don't fit around Daisy's legs properly, even with all the different snap size settings. 
  • Not easy to stuff with inserts

In Fuzzy Buns' defense, Daisy is probably too big to be wearing the small size, and they might be too used to be any good anymore. I don't know. The medium size works okay (it also seems to be newer), but she's still more likely to require a change of clothes when wearing it.

Starting from Scratch

If I were starting from scratch on a diaper collection, here's what I'd do: 
  • Buy used. New diapers are so expensive, and because cloth diapers are becoming more popular, there are many people selling their entire collections on craigslist, ebay, etc. Though my diapers are worn and well-used, I don't wish I had new ones, because I don't expect to re-sell them. I expect to use them to the end of their lives with my own kids. If your goal through cloth diapers is to save money, then don't start by dropping hundreds on a brand new collection. 
  • Buy a variety. If I had gone with my online research and only bought the most popular brands, I would be frustrated with cloth diapers. I'm still curious about brands I haven't tried like G-baby. 
  • Only buy a few at first. Buy 5 diapers of different varieties and see which ones you like the best after a couple weeks. Then you can know which direction to go. 
I'm not getting any compensation (ha, I wish!) from any diaper companies. I'm just sharing my experience. Hope that's helpful as you're on the hunt for cloth diapers!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Cloth Wipes

I shared with you guys about making your own wipes, but using cloth wipes is even more economical, especially if you're already cloth diapering. Here are my two DIY disposable wipe posts for reference:

DIY Wipes - the best wipes solution recipe
DIY Wipes Update - the best way to cut paper towel rolls in half

Cloth Wipes Supplies:

Baby Lotion
Baby Oil
Baby Wash
Spray Bottle (I use 32 oz)
Baby wash cloths

I bought a cleaning spray bottle from Target for $5.00. You can probably find these much cheaper. Then I doubled my disposable wipe solution recipe to fill the bottle. Here it is:

4 cups hot water
4 tbsp baby oil
4 tbsp baby wash
4 tbsp baby lotion (2-3 tbsp is fine too)

I use Babies R Us wash cloths. I have 24. You can buy them in 6 or 12-packs in the bath section. They're thin and don't have a bias tape edging. I have them in every color, because I don't bleach them. I cut all the tags off and washed them before first use.

I keep the spray solution and wipes in a basket on the dresser. When I'm changing Daisy, I pick up a wipe, spread it out on the dresser, spray it four or five times and wipe her bum. Then I toss it in the cloth diaper pail with her dirty diaper.

Just another way to save money during the diaper phase of life.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Being a Working Mom

There are a thousand things I should be doing right now, but I'm choosing to write.

As I said in my New Years News, I started back to work in January. It's been pretty tough. I have a great support system, but I can totally see how people burn out, why they leave their families, go postal on their kids, etc. I don't think I'm in danger of those extremes, but I have WAY more understanding. My brain is still blown by the single mom. I just can't figure out how she does it.

My current schedule is working three, long days in the office and spending two days at home per work week. I also try to get in some work hours from home when I can.

Here's some scattered debrief of my first 2.5 months of working and mom-ing.

Pros and Cons

Working outside the home is hard because:
  • I wake up in the morning and feed Daisy first thing. Then I get ready while she gets into things. 
  • I get in the car at 5:30pm, and my first thought is, "What has to get done at home?" Groceries, dinner, cleaning, laundry, feeding baby, paying bills, and other home maintenance.  
  • I get in the door at 6:00pm and attend to Daisy until 6:30-8:00 (depending on her compliance). 
  • I'm exhausted by 9:00pm, but stay up until 11:00pm, because that's precious "me time" or time with Zane.  
  • The days that I'm home are often filled with chores. 
  • There is very little time for anything other than work and home. 

Working outside the home is great because:
  • When I'm with Daisy, it's extra special. I treasure the time I get with her. I love my days home with her when we can stay in pajamas until noon. 
  • Daisy is super excited to see me at the end of the day. 
  • We're fortunate to have two trustworthy, loving grandmas available for child care, so I'm never worried about Daisy during the day. She gets time with her grandmas, and they get time with her. 
  • Zane is proactive about meal preparation, help with chores, and giving me time to rest. 
  • I love my job. I get to spend long days with people I enjoy. I feel productive and accomplished. I get to provide for my family, while contributing to something bigger than myself. 

Something's Gotta Give

There are things that I just had to give up on: 
  • Socializing. I still see people, but it's much less frequent. My days at home are precious and few, and I usually need them for rest, appointments, or chores. I see friends at work and church, but rarely in between those times. 
  • Cleaning. It's all I can do to vacuum and keep the bathrooms clean. I'm always behind on cleaning. My house is a giant dust bunny, and my floors haven't been mopped since 2011. 
  • Extra Time. I used to spend time in deep thought, journaling, reading, and crafting. I have a few nap times a week when I can do one of those things for a limited amount of time. 
  • Acting is on the back burner until my kids are close to or out of the house completely. 
  • Sleep. I don't remember what it was like to sleep until 8:30am.  

That's Just The Way It Is

God is providing. Working is hard, but being a stay at home mom isn't paradise (although those first six months at home with Daisy were pretty awesome). My life looks a lot different than I thought it would, but I have a great job where I can actually enjoy bringing home the bacon for a little while. 

I'm also stretched thin. I'm edgy and anxious. Sometimes I feel like "nobody gets me." My friend recently shared this article with me that I found extremely encouraging.

Life comes in seasons. They're all good, and they're all tough. I definitely don't want this to sound like complaining as much as I want it to be a "this is me" post. This is our life right now. It's a busy and wonderful season.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Strawberries and Japanese Students

We've hosted three Japanese students in the last four years. Other than Sonny's BBQ, one thing we always try to do is go to Pappy's Patch and pick strawberries. Last weekend we took Nonoka and met up with friends who are also hosting a student.

Baby friends!

After picking strawberries we went to the Black Hammock Grill, where we all tried gator meat. We also saw their resident big gator and several small gators. Because it was a beautiful day, the gators were pretty active. Also, halfway through the meal, the hostess brought around a baby gator for everyone to hold. It was a fun experience.

Three sleeping girls in the backseat. 

A fun, exhausting time was had by all.