Friday, August 30, 2013

Doublers and Boosters for Heavy Wetters


What do you do if you have a heavy wetter?  How do you protect against daytime (and certainly night-time) leaks?  This is a question asked by cloth diapering parents all of the time, and while you can find tons and tons of thoughts on this topic, I think it can usually be summed up pretty simply.

You need the right amount and kind of absorption.

If you are a pocket diaper or cover user, dealing with a heavy wetter often means that you simply add a booster to your diaper.  You can choose to add an additional microfiber insert, or add a natural fiber insert underneath your existing inserts.  With an All in One diaper, you can simply lay the doubler on top of the absorbent part of the diaper.  There are pros and cons to each method, but ultimately either method will help you keep your heavy wetter dry.

One of the best options for extra absorbency, while not adding a whole lot of bulk, is a hemp doubler.  ThirstiesBabykicks, and Hemp Babies all make great hemp inserts.  Hemp is super absorbent, as well as antimicrobial.  This means that you can rest a little easier knowing that your baby is protected, and that the inserts will resist getting stinky.  Hemp does need to be prepped separately from your diaper laundry for the first wash, and it can take up to about 6 washes to reach full absorbency, but unlike microfiber and other synthetic fibers, it never loses absorbency.

Cotton boosters such as the OsoCozy Organic Diaper Doublers, and bamboo boosters like Tots Bots Bamboo Boosters are also great options.  Like hemp, these natural fiber inserts will absorb a whole lot of fluid, and won't hold on to smells.  Their natural composition means that they will become more absorbent over time.  Just make sure you also prep these inserts separately for the first wash.  (The reason for this is that natural fibers contain natural oils that can cause repelling in your diapers if you add too many unwashed inserts in with your diaper laundry.  Honestly, tossing a couple new natural fiber inserts in with your diaper wash probably won't do anything to your diapers, but if you're going to prep a whole new stash of natural fiber inserts at one time, you will want to do that with a load of towels or some clothes.)

So are natural fiber inserts for you?  Let's talk about the pros and cons.

*Natural fibers can hold a significant amount of fluid
*They are not prone to compression leaks (when pressure from an over-stuffed diaper or a heavy baby pushes on the inserts and causes fluid to leak out)
*Most natural fibers have some kind of antimicrobial properties.  This means fewer battles with the dreaded stink.
*Become more absorbent with time
*will not need to be replaced very often, if at all
*Can go right up against baby's skin

*Natural fibers must be prepped.  This means that they are not fully absorbent until they have been washed and dried 5-6 times.
*A bigger investment on the front end than synthetic fibers
*There is some discussion as to wether or not natural fibers absorb fluid as quickly as synthetic fibers
*Can take longer to dry than synthetic material

Natural inserts not for you?  No problem!  There are so many styles of microfiber inserts to choose from that there is bound to be one to fit your needs.  From thin inserts such as bumGenius Diaper Doublers which are just two layers of microfiber and will not add much bulk, but will add to absorbency.  There are also thick bumGenius One Size Inserts that have 3 layers of microfiber and are much fluffier.

Microfiber is a really common and popular material for inserts.  Most likely it came with most of your diapers when you bought them.  The only real thing to keep in mind with microfiber specifically is that you can't put it up against baby's skin.  Microfiber is great at pulling moisture into itself, which can cause some serious rashes on sensitive skin.  Plus it's not super soft.  Now with that in mind, let's go over pros and cons.

*Super affordable
*Absorbs quickly
*Absorbs a good amount of liquid
*Dries fairly quickly

*Synthetic fibers can hold in smells and ammonia buildup
*Can need to be replaced after a year or two of use as inserts lose their fluffiness
*Microfiber can't be put up against baby's skin.  It will need to be inside of a cover, or a liner must be used.
*Prone to compression leaks if overstuffed, or if significant pressure is put on one area of the insert
*can be bulky

There really is no right or wrong answer when it comes to adding absorbency to your diapers.  Unfortunately that also means there is no hard and fast rule as to what will work for you and what won't.  It can take some experimentation, but hang in there!  Adding some extra absorbency is the best place to start when it comes to dealing with a heavy wetter.

My personal advice is to try some natural fibers if you've been exclusively a synthetics user, and vice versa.  Try something new, invest in some high quality inserts.  They are one of the most important components of successful cloth diapering!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

How to Lanolize Wool Covers and Longies

Let's talk about wool.  It is pretty much the be-all-end-all of night-time diapering (when paired with a nice thirsty fitted), and it has saved many a sheet from the dreaded night-leak.  But it's totally intimidating.  Am I right?  Most of you reading this right now are nodding your head with me.  The hand-washing, the lanolin, the general wool-iness of it all.  Some of you are even breaking out in a cold sweat just thinking about it!

Ok, take a deep breath mama, because we are going to walk you through some basic wool care.  If you have ever wondered how to lanolize wool, cozy up with a cup of coffee and get ready to learn.

So the great thing about wool is that it doesn't need to be washed after each use.  The nature of wool is that it will slowly absorb moisture that makes it's way through your fitted or prefold.  Once absorbed, it will then evaporate, and you'll have more area to soak up more liquid.  Wool is naturally anti-microbial, which is the wonderful reason that you really only need to wash it once every week or two.

You'll know it's time to wash and lanolize when your wool gets a little stinky or is having trouble with some slight leakage.  Washing and lanolizing is much less intimidating than you may think.  All you need is some good wool-wash like Sheepish Grins Foaming Wool Wash (which has lanolin in it, so you can do the heavy duty lanolizing less often), a sink, some luke-warm water, and a couple nice dry towels.

Fill your bathroom or kitchen sink up with some luke-warm water, adding some wool wash to the running water.  Put your wool into the water and let it soak for about 15 to 20 minutes.  Drain your sink and gently squeeze the water out of your wool.  To get as much water out as you can, simply sandwich the cover in between two towels, then roll the wool up in the towels.  Lay your wool flat to finish drying (my advice is to dry your wool somewhere where it is out of the way, because it can take a while for wool to dry completely).

When you wash your wool in wool-wash, it not only cleans it, but it also adds lanolin to the cover.  This should keep your cover in great shape for a few washes without having to add lanolin.  If you start to feel like your wool cover is not as leak-proof as it once was, go ahead lanolize it!

Using lanolin such as Sheepish Grins Liquid Lanolin or Sloomb Solid Lanolin, add a teaspoon to warm water that also has a little bit of baby shampoo mixed in.  Swirl it around to combine your ingredients, then turn your cover inside-out and soak for a minimum of about half an hour.  Dry your wool just like you did when washing it!

See, it's really not that bad!  Now your wool will be good to go for quite a while, and your baby will stay nice and dry.  And so will their sheets.  It's a little more involved than tossing your PUL covers in the washing machine, but you simply can't beat the reliability of wool.

Plus, it gives you some serious bragging rights with your cloth diapering friends.  They'll probably think you're a rock-star for being so knowledgeable and using such an intimidating diaper!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Cloth Diaper Care Detergents and Accessories

Cloth diapering can be a little overwhelming sometimes.  Let's just be honest, we've all thought it at one point or another.  One thing that can be quite confusing is which accessories, soaps, and care products are safe to use with cloth diapers.  A lot of main-stream diapering products (ie disposable products) really aren't made to be used with cloth.  From detergents to rash creams, these products can interfere with the function of your diapers, but never fear- Thanks Mama has all of your diaper care needs taken care of!

First let's talk about diaper care.

If you use wool covers, you will need to hand-wash and lanolize your covers every so often.  We have several kinds of wool wash and lanolin available.  Try Sheepish Grins Foaming Wool Wash and Sheepish Grins Creamy Lanolin Spray.  Get that wool all clean and fresh and ready to rock another night.  Sheepish Grins has a great line of wool care products that take the guess-work out of wool.

All other kinds of diapers, flats, fitteds, prefolds, covers, all in ones, etc can be washed in your washing machine, but you do have to be careful about the detergent you use as not all are created equal.  When it comes to washing cloth diapers, you want to stay away from brighteners, enzymes, whiteners, and dyes.  We carry Bambino Mio detergent products as well as BumGenius Diaper Detergent and three different lines of Rockin Green Soap that are tailored to your water type.  Each of these detergents are cloth safe and will also work well on your regular wash.  Formulated especially for cloth diapers, these detergents will help take the guess-work out of your washing routine.  From knowing what is a good amount of detergent, to exact care instructions specifically for cloth diapers.

Along the lines of washing, stains may be an inevitable part of cloth diapering, but you don't have to live with them.  The sun, of course, is a great option for stain removal, but there are also plenty of options when it's a rainy or cloudy day that will still help bust that stain.  Wash Away Stain Soap and Imse Vimse Gall Soap Natural Stain Remover will both allow you to pre-treat your diapers and get them looking sparkly and new again.  These cloth-safe stain removers are great for treating stains in those hard-to-sun places of your diapers such as the leg elastic casings.  Wet your diapers, treat the stain, and throw them in the wash.  When they come out looking good as new, you'll feel like you've just gotten a brand new diaper.

Now it's time to talk about bottom care.

Most babies do much better in cloth than they do in disposable diapers as far as rashes are concerned, but occasional rashes are usually just a part of diapering.  Dealing with rashes can be frustrating, but you do have great cloth-safe rash cream options available.  Stay away from creams with zinc and petroleum jelly and opt instead for some Emily Baby and Adult Skin Soother.  This cloth-safe cream with help soothe dry skin, rashes, and eczema, and won't create build up on your diapers

To clean your little one's bum and help keep rashes at bay, Sheepish Grins Washy Wafers are an excellent and super easy option.  Just add one to two wafers to a cup of hot water, swirl it around to help it dissolve, and you're ready to go!  Pour the wipes solution into a wipes warmer, or put it in a spray bottle to use at each diaper change.  However you choose to use it, this wipe solution will clean and soothe your baby's bottom, and hopefully help keep rashes at bay!

Check out our full line of Cloth Diaper Care products.  We've got you covered with everything you need to keep your diapers going strong for years and years.  They're an investment, so take care of them with great products designed specifically for Cloth!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Soft Structured Carriers 101

Today let's talk about one of the must-have items for moms and dads- a really great soft-structured Baby Carrier!  Soft Structured Baby Carriers allow you to carry or "wear" your baby while leaving your hands free to do other things!  Sometimes in our house this is the only way the laundry or dishes get done!  They also provide a comfortable seat for your baby, and often help put them to sleep!  These carriers are versatile and safe, and allow for several different carries, even up through toddler-hood!

ERGObaby Carriers are one of the most popular and well known of the soft structured carriers.  Available in many different colors and prints, ERGObaby Carriers will fit babies from 7 to 45 lbs.  If you are going to carry your newborn, you will want to use the ERGObaby Infant Insert, which will safely position your newborn in the carrier.  As it's name would suggest, the ERGObaby Carrier is designed to support a proper seat for your baby.  This is really important.  It means that your baby is positioned in such a way that strain is not put on their growing hips.  A wide seat also allows for comfortable extended wearing as your baby grows into a toddler.  You can wear the ERGObaby carriers three different ways- in a front carry where baby faces you, a back carry where baby is facing the same direction as you, and a hip carry.

ERGObaby Carriers are also designed with comfort in mind for the wearer.  Padded shoulder and waist   belts help comfortably distribute weight on the parent's hips and shoulders.  The shoulder straps and waist belt are also highly adjustable and will fit most sizes, including a waist measurement up to 55 inches. ERGObaby carriers are safe and comfortable for both parent and baby, and a great option for a soft structured carrier.

Boba Baby Carriers (above) are another popular option for a great soft structured carrier.  Available in some really great prints and colors, Boba carriers are also designed for babies 7-45 lbs.  Boba Carriers are also ergonomically designed with a wide seat that will keep baby's hips aligned properly.  The Boba 3G features a really unique option, which is footstraps that are attached to the waist belt.  As your baby grows into a toddler, these footstraps will help a correct hip position and give them the opportunity to be as comfortable as possible and align their spine properly.

Boba Baby Carriers are a little bit taller than most, which will keep your baby and toddler's head supported and keep the wearer more comfortable.  The Boba Carriers also feature padded shoulder straps and waist belts that are fully adjustable and distribute weight evenly for the wearer.

TogetherBe Baby Carriers (above) offer two different styles of soft structured carriers that are designed for support and comfort.  The TogetherBe Free Hand Mei Tai Baby Carrier is a lot like the other soft-structured carriers mentioned, but instead of a buckle system, it is tied around the wearer.  It has a main panel of print fabric, padded shoulder straps, and two waist straps that are not padded.

The TogetherBe Free Hand Baby Carrier has a unique cross-over design that allows for a fully customizable fit, and a lot of wearing options.  It has a padded headrest for your baby, and a padded waist belt for you.  The cross-over straps let you wear your baby from birth on with no additional inserts needed.  They also allow you to front carry your baby, either facing out or in, back carry, and newborn carry.  It will hold children from 8-35 lbs.  It really is a unique carrier with a lot of possibilities.

Last but not least, Onya Baby Carriers (above) are sporty soft-structured carriers that can also be used as a travel baby-seat for times when you find yourself in need of a high-chair when there are none to be found.  Onya Baby Carriers can be worn in a front or back carry and will fit babies from 15 to 45 lbs, so they do start at a higher weight than the others we've featured today.  The back of the Onya Baby Carriers are higher than many other carriers, which means your baby's head and neck will be well supported.

Onya Baby Carriers feature two different styles of carriers, one of which is great for hot weather or out-door baby wearing.  Both are padded and adjustable and each style has two different color options available.  These are great carriers that ergonomically support your baby with a wide seat and high back.  They will be comfortable for you and your baby for a long time.

It's easy to see why a great soft-structured carrier is a must have for parents of babies and toddlers.  They keep your baby close while still giving you the freedom to get things done, and when you are a busy parent, that is a priceless combination.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

HABA Baby Toys

Baby toys are getting more and more high-tech.  There's no denying it, and it's hard to escape the beeps, lights, and noise.  If your baby is like mine, however, those toys will only hold their attention for a short time, then they'll reach for the errant pen they find dropped on the floor.  Babies like bright colors and simple toys that they can mouth, throw, and manipulate.  Moms like natural and safe toys that they won't have to worry about their babies chewing on.

HABA toys will make both babies and parents happy.  They are bright, chewable, non-toxic, and safe.  They're simple enough that your baby won't get frustrated playing with them, but they also have lots of possibilities for play because of that simplicity.  HABA toys are great for growing your child's imagination, and allowing for creative play.  They even have toys for toddlers!

For young babies, HABA makes adorable wooden rattles such as this Kringelring Rattle.  The open shape makes it easy to grasp, and the bright colors will keep baby's attention for quite a while.  Not only that, but the non-toxic water-based stained wood toy will double safely as a teething ring.  The Kringelring Rattle has wooden pieces threaded on an elastic ring, which will let your baby have some fun manipulating the rattle's shape.

If you need some safe and fun rattles or toys to attach to your baby's car seat or stroller, HABA makes Hanging Rattles that are both Cute and Entertaining.  These wooden hanging rattles make fun clacking sounds when the wood hits each other, and some have small bells that will keep your baby's attention with sweet soft jingling.

Once baby is a little older and developing their fine motor skills, HABA's My Very First Games- Animal Upon Animal stacking game is a great option.  This game lets your baby stack cute farm animals like pigs, sheep, and cows on top of one another while keeping score on the base of the toy.  It's great for developing coordination as well as learning about games with rules.  Not only that, but the cute little animals are chunky enough to be played with on their own.

There are many great HABA toys to choose from for your baby, and all are a safe option for play.  These high quality toys will become beloved play things to both baby and mom alike, and you will feel good providing your child with toys that will last.  One day they may even be able to pass their favorite HABA toys on to their own children.

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