Thursday, September 27, 2012

What are the best washable nursing pads?

I nursed my babies for 7 years.   By that I mean that the total time I spent nursing all my children combined was 7 years.  Nursing was enjoyable for us, but not without painful moments.  More and more parents are choosing to breastfeed their infants.   Right now approximately 75% of mothers in the United States breastfeed their newborns with more parents deciding to give their little ones the benefits of breastfeeding.  Along with the benefits can come some difficulties.  Sore nipples are one of those.  When you are breastfeeding it is important to allow air to circulate around your nipples.  Using nursing pads that are breathable can help reduce problems.   Cotton, hemp, and wool fabrics make good nursing pads because they are breathable. 

Some of the best washable nursing pads are made from 100% cotton.  Cotton is not only comfortable, but it is also breathable making it an excellent choice for nursing pads.  When you use cotton pads make sure you change the pads when they are wet.  Thanks Mama offers three different kinds of nursing pads that are made of 100% cotton.  The Kushies Washable Nursing Cotton Pads are made from 4 layers of contoured flannel.  The Kushies Organic Cotton Nursing Pads are also contoured, but are made from 4 layers of certified organic cotton flannel.  Imse Vimse also makes an organic cotton nursing pad.  The Imse Vimse Organic Flannelette Nursing Pads are contoured 100% organic cotton flannel nursing pads.

Hemp is another excellent choice when considering the best washable nursing pads.  Hemp is naturally breathable, absorbent, and anti-microbial.  If you soak nursing pads easily then you will definitely want to consider nursing pads made from hemp.  Milk Weeds Nursing Pads from Hemp Babies are made from a mixture of 55% hemp and 45% organic cotton.  Babykicks makes two different versions of hemp nursing pads.  The Babykicks Hemp Jersey Nursing Pads are made out of 5 layers of absorbent hemp jersey while the Babykicks Hemp Fleece Nursing Pads are a thirsty 3 layers of hemp fleece.

Wool is an excellent choice to help maintain breast health while nursing.  Wool is naturally absorbent, breathable, and antimicrobial making it a good choice when considering the best washable nursing pads.  Imse Vimse combines the benefits of wool with the comfort of silk.  Silk is naturally antimicrobial and has the added benefit of helping your breasts stay dry and comfortable.  Imse Vimse offers Silk Wool Nursing Pads in three sizes to meet your needs.  They have two options in a circular shape that come in a 14 centimeter size and an 18 centimeter size.  The Imse Vimse Silk Wool Nursing Pads also come in a pear shape. 

Breathable nursing pads are the best washable nursing pads.  Whether you are planning to nurse a long time or a few weeks make sure you have nursing pads that are highly breathable.  Take a look around at the different options at Thanks Mama.  Read the descriptions of the nursing pads, reviews from mothers who have used the nursing pads, and look at the pictures to help you decide which nursing pads would work best for you.  

Monday, September 24, 2012

Proper Washing Techniques for Washable Potty Training Pants

So you are interested in using cloth training pants, but are a bit concerned about the yuck factor?  How are you supposed to take care of soiled or wet training pants?  Soiled or wet training pants are part of the process of potty training.  If you choose to use washable potty training pants then you will need to learn how to care for them.  The good news is that washing cloth training pants is quite doable. 

To use washable potty training pants just pull on or have your child pull on the training pant.  When your child has an accident and wets the training pant simply remove the training pant, clean up your child, and put on clean training pants.  Put the wet training pant in a dry diaper pail.  You basically want a container to hold the training pants until you are ready to wash.  A dry container verses a container where the training pants would soak is the best choice.  In the case of soiled training pants simply unsnap or pull down the training pants and clean up your child.  Shake off the soiled bits into the toilet to show your child where poop is supposed to go.  Then place the soiled training pant in the dry pail.

Washable potty training pants should be laundered every 2-3 days.  Some families do laundry daily.  Waiting longer than 3 days can cause odor problems.  Manufacturers of different brands of training pants all have their own set of washing instructions.  You would want to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the training pants you will purchase.  However, most manufacture guidelines follow the same general instructions.  Take the training pants you have stored in the dry pail and place them all in the washing machine.  If they have sides that unsnap like on the GroVia My Choice Trainer then leave them unsnapped.  This will allow them to agitate better and get cleaner.  Once they are all in the washing machine run a cold rinse without any detergent.  This will rinse off some of the yuck before you wash them.  When the rinse is complete run a hot wash with about ½ the manufacturer’s recommended detergent.  Manufacturer’s typically recommend detergent that is free from additives like whiteners, softeners, or perfumes.  Those types of things can cause detergent build-up which could lead to less absorbent training pants or odor problems.  After the hot wash do another cold rinse to make sure there is no detergent residue left on the training pants.

Now you have clean training pants ready to be dried.  Remove them from the washing machine and place them in the dryer.  You can also hang them to dry, but a short cycle in the dryer will help them loose their stiffness.  If you use the dryer then run a cycle on medium heat until they are dry.  Turning some training pants inside out may help them dry quicker.  If you want to save on dryer costs you may want to consider training pants that dry quicker like the Flip Potty Training System.  Make sure to never use fabric softener sheets with reusable training pants.

Taking care of washable potty training pants isn’t difficult.  Using cloth will not only save you money, but it may help your child potty train quicker.  There are a wide variety of washable training pants available.  Take a look around Thanks Mama to consider all the different options to help you find the training pants that will suit your family the best.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Best Cloth Training Pants for Toddlers

There are so many different options out there!  How do you figure out the right toddler cloth training pants to buy for your little one?  When I was making a new purchase for my child I liked to read reviews to get the real story.  Reviews will help you weed through the numerous toddler cloth training pants to find the cream of the crop.  Thanks Mama has an excellent ratings system and many parents have rated the training pants found there.  Parents selected the Flip Potty System, the EcoPosh Recycled Organic Training Pants, and the Imse Vimse Training Pants as some of their favorites. 

The Flip Potty Training System is unique.  It has an outer waterproof shell with detachable absorbent inserts.  When your child wets the trainer simply remove the wet insert from the shell, wipe it out and attach a clean and dry insert.  The inserts are made from 6 layers of absorbent organic cotton.  The Flip Trainers have stretchy sides and can be pulled up and down by your child or unsnapped in case of an accident.  One reviewer commented that because the trainers used detachable inserts she didn’t need to buy as many trainers.   Another reviewer who had a large toddler said that the Flip Trainers contained messes well.  They come in several different colors and prints with contrasting stretchy side panel colors.

The EcoPosh Recycled Organic Training Pants are soft inside and out.  A layer of TPU waterproof material is sandwiched between the outer layer of recycled water bottles and organic cotton and the two thirsty inner layers of bamboo and organic cotton.  A mother of three from New England said that the EcoPosh Recycled Organic Training Pants were “not bulky and don’t make any noise like vinyl pants”.  One reviewer from California who uses these training pants for her 4 year old at night reported that these feel soft, like thick underwear.  Thanks Mama has them available in several different colors and sizes designed to fit from 25-45+ lbs.

The training pant that ranked the highest among the reviewers at Thanks Mama was the Imse Vimse Organic Cotton Training Pants.  With organic cotton on the outside and organic terry on the inside they are soft inside and out.  A layer of PUL between the cotton layers helps contain the wetness.  A reviewer from Massachusetts commented on the comfortable leg elastic.  Another parent in Massachusetts who had been unsuccessful with disposable trainers gave Imse Vimse Training Pants a try and said that after two days her child was able to tell her when he was wet.  Many parents mentioned the softness and how it was easy for their child to pull up and down.  These come in white as well as a couple of cute prints and have sizes to fit from 20-54 lbs. 

Reading reviews from parents who have used the training pants can help make a difficult decision a little easier.  Thanks Mama not only offers toddler cloth training pants from brands like Imse Vimse, EcoPosh, and Flip, but they also have training pants from many other brands.  Take a look, read the reviews, and decide which training pants will work best for your toddler.

Monday, September 17, 2012

What Are the Best Reusable Nursing Pads?

Not all reusable nursing pads are equal.  The best reusable nursing pads will be absorbent, discrete, and breathable.    A good nursing pad will allow you to walk around in confidence that your shirt will stay dry.  With so many different choices out there it is difficult to know which one will work best without giving them all a test drive.  In situations like that, I find it helpful to read reviews.   At Thanks Mama mothers have written reviews on various nursing pads and the two that are highly rated are made from hemp.  The Babykicks Hemp Nursing Pads and the Milk Weeds Hemp Nursing Pads were considered good choices by reviewers.

The hemp used to make reusable nursing pads is industrial hemp and not marijuana.  The plants used for industrial hemp and marijuana are in the same species, but a different variety of plant.  Environmentally, hemp is a great choice because growing hemp is good for the soil, it is a high-yield plant, and it does not require the use of chemicals to grow.  Hemp works well for nursing pads because it is naturally anti-microbial.  This means it naturally resists bacteria, mold, fungus, and mildew.  Hemp is also more durable than cotton and is one of the best renewable resources on Earth.  It is also naturally breathable keeping you warm in the winter and comfortable in the summer.

Babykicks makes two different versions of hemp nursing pads.   The thin and soft Babykicks Hemp Jersey Nursing Pads are made out of 5 layers of absorbent hemp jersey.  The Babykicks Hemp Fleece Nursing Pads are made out of 3 layers of super absorbent hemp fleece.    Both versions measure 4.5 inches in diameter and will shrink slightly when washed.  A mother in Florida said that the Babykicks Hemp Jersey Nursing Pads were discrete while a mother in Maryland said that they were “super absorbent, soft, and comfortable”.  They come in a pack of 6 nursing pads.  The 6 pack of Babykicks Hemp Jersey Nursing Pads are only $11.85 and the 6 pack of BabykicksHemp Fleece Nursing Pads are $12.95 at Thanks Mama.

Milk Weeds Nursing Pads from Hemp Babies are ranked as one of the best reusable nursing pads at Thanks Mama.  They are made from 55% hemp and 45% organic cotton.  Designed to absorb they work well for women who are super soakers.  Their design allows them to dry quickly too.  A mother in Indiana reported that they are “comfy, super absorbent, and easily hidden when wearing bravado nursing bra or tanktop”.   Thanks Mama offers a 2 pack of these thirsty nursing pads for $6.95.

Hemp is an excellent material for nursing pads.  It is absorbent, breathable, and anti-microbial.  Read a few reviews as you consider which nursing pads would be the best reusable nursing pads for you.  Thanks Mama not only offers hemp nursing pads from Babykicks and Hemp Babies, but they also offer nursing pads in cotton and wool fabrics from brands like Kushies, Kissaluvs, and Imse Vimse.  

Friday, September 14, 2012

Proper Uses of Night Time Potty Training Pants

So you have found success and have potty trained your child during the day.  Now, what can you do about night?  How do you train a child when he is asleep?  A good sign that your child is ready for night time potty training is when he or she is starting to wake up dry some mornings.  To prepare you will need some night time potty training pants, a waterproof mattress pad, and a good dose of patience.

Before you start night time potty training you will want to have good night time potty training pants.  There are several different brands of training pants that make good choices for night time.   The Potty Scotty and Potty Patty Night Time Training Pants have a waterproof exterior and an interior of cotton terry and absorbent fiber sponge padding.  The Mother Ease Bedwetter Pants absorb up to 21 oz.  They also have a waterproof exterior and have an absorbent pad that isn’t fully attached to allow for easier cleaning and quicker drying.  

In addition to training pants designed for nighttime use, there are also pocket training pants that can be used for day and night.  You simply add absorbency into the pocket when you use it for nighttime.  The Kissa’s Pocket TrainingPants have a waterproof exterior and a layer of flannel print inside.  Side snaps allow for easy clean-up.  Another pocket diaper for night is the GroVia My Choice Trainer.  The outer portion is waterproof and the inner material is made from a blend of cotton and hemp.  Stretchy side panels can be unsnapped if you need to clean up a mess.

In the process of night training you will have some accidents and having a mattress pad makes for easy clean-up.  During night training when accidents may be more frequent I like to use a mattress pad that I can lay on top of the child’s fitted sheet.  When an accident happens in the middle of the night you can remove the wet mattress pad, clean up your child, and get the child resettled back in bed.   The 3 layer Baby Kangas Mattress Pad would work well for this purpose.   An absorbent layer of Sherpa is sandwiched between a bottom waterproof layer and a top layer of stay-dry microfleece.  The Dri-Line Crib Pad can also work well for potty training.  It has a top layer of cotton, a middle layer of absorbent polyester/rayon, and a bottom layer of waterproof vinyl. 

While every child’s needs are different I’ve found it helpful to limit drinks for an hour or two before bedtime.   Make sure your child has a potty break just before bed too.  Those two things combined with good night time potty training pants and a mattress pad may be all you need to achieve success and easy clean-up of accidents.  Some children, especially ones that are older, would benefit from being taken to the bathroom a couple times a night for a potty break.  I did that with my 5 year old and after about 6 months he no longer needed wake-ups.  He began waking up on his own to go to the bathroom.  Accidents became more and more rare.  I did continue to use an absorbent waterproof mattress pad because changing a wet bed in the middle of the night wasn’t fun.   It was so much easier to get my child cleaned up and discard the wet mattress pad than it was to change the whole bed in the middle of the night.

Potty training at night can be challenging and require patience.  Arm yourself with some good night time potty training pants, an absorbent mattress pad, and a few strategies that will help your child attain success.  You will find a wide variety of cloth training pants at Thanks Mama to help meet all your potty training needs.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Save Money with Reusable Potty Training Pants

Everyone wants to save a little money.  In this economy, some people need to save money.  No one really knows how long it will take to potty train a child.  Some children train quickly and others take a long time.  Using reusable potty training pants instead of disposable training pants will save you money and help your child potty train sooner.

The cost of disposable training pants can depend on the brand you use and how long your child needs to use them.  Let’s take the example of an “average” child.  If this child used disposable trainers for 6 months on average of 4 times per day it would total 720 disposable training pants.  If you purchase a name brand Value Pack then you can get a disposable training pant for about 0.32 each.  This would make the total costs for the disposable training pants for this average child to be around $230.  If you pay for curbside pick-up of garbage and are charged by the amount of garbage you have this will also increase your costs.

The cost of reusable potty training pants can also vary depending on the brand you purchase.  You will typically need about 6 trainers for potty training.  If you go with 6 Kushies Taffeta PottyTraining Pants for day training it will cost about $53.  You would later need some night time training pants like the Potty Scotty or Potty Patty Night Time Training Pants.  If you get 2 of those they will cost around $32 making the total for day and time training to be around $85.  If you go with a pocket diaper option you can get 6 Kissa’s Pocket Trainers for around $78.  If you get 6 prefolds to add to the pocket for absorbency you would pay an additional $16.50 making your total for this option to be around $94.  If you go with a more expensive option like the GroVia My Choice Trainer and purchase 6 of them your cost will be about $114.  Add 6 prefolds to that total and the total cost for the GroVia pocket trainer with prefolds is $130.  All of these options come in far below the cost of disposable trainers.  Even bigger savings come when you reuse the same training pants for additional children or when you sell them after your child is trained. 

Not only will you save money with reusable potty training pants, but you will also prevent approximately 720 disposable trainers from getting into the landfill.  Many children also take longer to potty train when using disposables.  Disposable trainers have started to imitate the benefits of cloth by adding a feel wet strip.  Feeling wetness and the association with the urge to go is a major milestone in the potty training process.   Using cloth can make the process happen sooner.  Reusable trainers also look and feel more like underwear making the transition to potty training more significant for your child.

When you choose reusable potty training pants you will save money and help your child potty train faster.  Thanks Mama offers training pants from brands like:  Flip, Bummis, Dri-Line, Fuzzi Bunz, GroVia, Imse Vimse, KaWaii Baby, Kissaluvs, Kushies, Mom Innovations, Mother Ease, and EcoPosh.  Take a look at the different options and decide which one suits your family and your pocketbook the best.  

Friday, September 7, 2012

Protect Your Baby's Mattress with an Organic Crib Mattress Pad

Many parents are deciding to use organic products to reduce their child’s exposure to chemicals.  Babies spend much of their first year sleeping and choosing an organic crib mattress pad will reduce your baby’s exposure to off-gassed chemicals.   You will want to choose an organic crib mattress pad that is appropriate for your child’s age and one that will complement the type of mattress you have. 

The Naturepedic Organic Mattress Protector Pad comes with waterproof and non-waterproof options.  If your baby’s mattress is not waterproof then the NaturepedicWaterproof Organic Mattress Protector Pad will protect your mattress from accidents and provide a dust mite barrier.  It is made from two layers of soft organic flannel with a layer of waterproofing sandwiched in between.  The waterproofing technology is designed to help your baby feel dry even in hot and clammy conditions.  It is available in a flat sheet that fits on the top of the mattress or in a fitted style.  It can also be used over a waterproof mattress if you don’t want to wipe down the mattress after an accident. 

What if your baby’s mattress is waterproof already?  You have two options.  You can use a waterproof mattress pad for easy clean-up or you can use a mattress pad that is not waterproof and just wipe down the mattress when you change the mattress pad.  The Naturepedic Non-Waterproof OrganicMattress Protector Pad is made from two layers of soft organic cotton flannel material.  This comfortable organic crib mattress pad comes in a fitted style.  Both the waterproof and non-waterproof Naturepedic mattress pads are free from vinyl, phthalates, and latex.

If a highly breathable sleeping surface is important to you then take a look at the Naturepedic Crib Airflow Pad.  It provides greater air circulation and protects your mattress at the same time.  This mattress pad features two layers of organic cotton with a polyester lattice structure in between to provide excellent temperature control.  The lattice structure is also designed to relieve pressure points so your baby has a comfortable sleeping surface.  The bottom of the pad has a waterproof barrier that is non-toxic.  It can be used with waterproof and non-waterproof mattresses.  It fits on your baby’s crib mattress like a fitted sheet and can be machine washed and dried.

When your baby has grown into a toddler and is using a crib mattress in a crib or a toddler bed the Naturepedic Organic Cotton QuiltedMattress Topper will provide a comfortable organic surface for your little one.  This organic mattress pad is not waterproof so it is best used over a waterproof mattress.  The pillowtop-like quilting is made from organic cotton and PLA fiber, a polymer made from plants.   PLA fiber is designed to hold its shape wash after wash.

You can reduce your baby’s exposure to chemicals and provide them a high quality and comfortable sleeping surface at the same time.  Thanks Mama offers organic crib mattress pads, organic crib bedding, and organic mattresses to help you provide the optimal sleeping surface for your baby.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

How to Use Cloth Training Pants for Toddlers

 It is not unusual for a parent who has used disposable diapers to decide to use cloth training pants when it comes time to potty train.  Cloth is more comfortable for your toddler and it naturally helps them connect wetness with the urge to go.   Also some toddlers are highly motivated by choosing their favorite prints and colors.  Cloth training pants for toddlers are available in a wide variety of styles, prints and colors.  Many parents wonder how difficult it is to use cloth training pants.  Are they messy?  Are they difficult to wash?  Cloth training pants are easy to wash and use.

With disposable training pants you have to rip the side open to clean up messy accidents.  Many brands of cloth training pants for toddlers have sides that unsnap for easy removal of the mess.  Not all brands have side-snapping sides.  If the cloth training pant you have chosen does not have side-snaps then just carefully slide down the training pant and then clean up the mess.  You can wipe your child initially with toilet paper and depending on the mess you may need to wash them up with a warm soapy washcloth.  While your child is there be sure to shake off any poop into the toilet to show your child where poop is supposed to go.  Flush the toilet and place the soiled training pant and any washcloth into a dry pail.  When your child wets the cloth training pant simply slide down the training pant or unsnap it and clean up your child.  Then take the wet training pant and place it in a dry pail. 

The cloth training pants should be washed every 2-3 days.  While manufacturer’s washing recommendations vary slightly they are similar to the standard rinse, wash, rinse, and dry method that is used for cloth diapers.  To start you would need to place the wet and soiled training pants from the past 2-3 days into the washing machine.  If they have side snaps make sure the snaps are unsnapped to allow the water to clean those training pants better.  Begin with a cold rinse.   When that is complete run a hot or warm wash with about ½ of the recommended amount of additive free detergent.  You may also need an additional rinse at the end of the cycle because detergent residue can cause odor problems.  Then dry in dryer or hang to dry.  Do not use things like bleach or fabric softener. 

If you have looked at cloth training pants for toddlers you can see that there are a great many varieties available.   The kind you should use depends on several factors.  If you are just starting potty training with a toddler who hasn’t had any success or isn’t even demonstrating a connection between wetness and the urge to go then you may want to consider the Kissa’s Pocket Training Pants or the GroVia My Choice Trainer.  They have snaps for easy clean-up, and a pocket that allow you to add absorbency making them useful for naps, on the go, and nighttime.  For toddlers who are having wet accidents only or for toddlers highly motivated by prints you may want to consider training pants like the Kushies Taffeta Training Pants or the Bummis Training Pants.  There are also cloth training pants for toddlers that look and feel like underwear inside and out.  The EcoPosh Recycled Organic Training Pants and the Imse Vimse Organic Cotton Training Pants are made from cotton inside and out with an inner waterproof barrier.  They are especially useful for parents who like to jump straight to underwear, but desire more absorbency.

Cloth training pants are quite doable.  Not only will you save money over the purchase of disposable trainers, but you will still have training pants at the end of potty training that you can reuse for another child, sell, or give away.  Consider giving your child the comfort of cloth as you embark on potty training.  Thanks Mama offers cloth training pants for toddlers from brands such as:  Flip, Dri-Line, Bummis, KaWaii Baby, GroVia, Imse Vimse, Kissaluvs, Kushies, Mom Innovations, Mother Ease, and EcoPosh.

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