CD Wash Routine

I wrote a while back about having to strip our cloth diapers.  I may have mentioned that fabric softener is the bane of my existence, as well.  If not, you now how I hate hate hate it.  It messes with the diapers, it’s bad for the equipment, and it’s not good for your health, either!

Anyway, it seems that when you combine pocket diapers with HE washing machines you are just asking for trouble.  Pocket diapers tend to absorb smells a bit more because of the synthetic fibers, and HE machines use less water (1/3-2/3 of normal top loaders) so detergents have issues dissolving.  Between detergent build up, left over fabric softener from our neighbors’ laundry, and acidic toddler urine, the diapers started smelling of ammonia.  Gross!

One of the most confusing things to me has been figuring out a decent wash routine since our washing situation is not straight forward (i.e. we don’t have our own machines, the machines we use are coin-op and HE, and we have soft water).  I have googled ‘washing pocket diapers in HE machines’ to no end and have been working on tweaking our routine with what I found.  So, to save someone out there time, here is our routine:

Hot wash with 1/2 cup baking soda (in HE machines that only take liquid detergent such as ours, you have to throw the baking soda in the tumbler with the diapers; amount of baking soda is dependent upon size of laundry load) and 2 tablespoons of Country Save detergent (neither Purex F&C nor Planet were any good in our situation).  Throw about 1/2 cup of vinegar (equal to amount of baking soda) in the rinse to restore the ph of the diapers (since baking soda can screw with it).  Then, second wash (or just a second rinse if you have that option) with Cold water and throw a few drops of Tea Tree Oil in the rinse.

If this sounds like too much trouble and you haven’t yet bought your diaper stash, stick with prefolds or fitteds made with natural fibers.

An Ewokmama Interview

Amy at Musings of a Crunchy Domestic Goddess sent along these interview questions for me after I responded to her interview post.  Thanks for letting me participate, Amy; this was fun!

1) I’m a newbie to your blog. Can you tell me a bit about yourself and your family?

I am Crystal, age 26, administrative assistant, native Californian, and I enjoy reading, crafts (my latest obsession is quilting), board games, and television.  I am married to Joe, a Wisconsin transplant, park ranger extraordinaire, whom I met on the internet.  We were married right out of high school and celebrated our eight year annivesary in August.  After a surprise pregnancy and subsequent miscarriage in 2005, we decided to make another go at expanding our family and added Jack to the mix in July of 2006.

2) I see that you are into cloth diapering. What have you found to be your favorite diapers so far?  

For the first year of Jack’s life, we used chinese prefolds and just loved them.  They are the workhorse diaper, they are cheap at about $2 a pop, and they are easy to wash.  Because they are cotton, they aren’t as finicky as other diaper types so the washing options are extensive and we never had a problem with wicking or smell.  We have since moved to mostly pockets (I can never leave a good thing alone) and have found Fuzzi Bunz to be our favorites.  The trim fit is awesome, and we have never had a leak.  They are particularly fantastic at night because they keep Jack dry while the inserts do an enormous amount of work to absorb moisture.  It amazes me when changing Jack in the morning just how much those suckers can hold without leaking!

3) I’ve noticed that you practice attachment parenting and work outside the home. Do you have any advice for other AP parents looking for childcare providers who will uphold their AP values?

I am still trying to make sense of it all myself, but we had the best results in finding a great daycare when we put together a list of our most important questions and went interviewing as a family.  Watching the provider’s interactions with the other kids is key.  For instance, we visited one daycare where the kids were eerily quiet.  Kids are rowdy by nature, testing limits and just having a good time, so I really wanted a place where I saw that behavior supported.

It was really important to us that we find someone who was willing to wear Jack in a carrier (because we *know* how much he likes to be held), follow his cues regarding food, communicate with us about his day to day activities, and do what it takes to make him content.  That last one is big.  A person who will run the gamet to find the solution that is right for the child is worth their weight in gold.

Daycare is your child’s second home, and that’s important to keep in mind when interviewing potential caregivers.  This person isn’t just watching children all day, they are guiding and nuturing and truly parenting the children.  Take the time to find someone who is as close to a second “you” as possible!

4) What little known fact about you might surprise some of your readers?

It might surprise some that I don’t come from a background that in any way reflects the way I live now.  There was a time in my life when I did things because that was the way my family did them, and that was the way I always thought they were done.  Joe opened my eyes quite a bit, especially regarding the environment, and then I really got more passionate about “green” living when I got pregnant.  Health and the environment were not even on the radar for my family and I suspect a lot of our health problems are results of that.  Sure, I turned out relatively okay, but I want better for my son.  I don’t ever want to choose the cheaper option over the healthier option which is completely opposite of how I grew up.

5) Let’s say you are going to be stranded with your family on a deserted island for 90 days. What 3 things would you take with you and why?

Ugh, my worst nightmare!  Well, I’ll assume that my husband’s environmental skills will help us find food and fresh water, so I guess we’ll take some comfort items.  I’d take a collection of fairy tales to read to Jack – that would be all we needed to keep him occupied!   A camera would be good – gotta document our bad fortune, of course.  Perhaps we could also take our Ergo so that we can easily explore the island with Jack, as well.  Can you tell I’m not very resourceful?  I am so out of my element outdoors!

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Now it’s your turn, dear readers. If you want to be interviewed, leave me a comment including the words “Interview me.” I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions. If you don’t have a valid email address on your blog, please provide one. You will update your blog with a post containing your answers to the questions. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

On the mend

Jack’s fever broke midday Thursday and he has been steadily recovering.  He is incredibly irritable and has a nasty habit of shrieking at any little annoyance, though.  He’s still tired but is back to being difficult about going to sleep.  Oh, and no rash developed, so it wasn’t roseola!

The babyman has been dragging out an endless parade of books to read during his convalescence.  We’ve only been up an hour and we’ve already read Daisy-Head Maizy, The Foot Book, Are You My Mother?, Jack-Jack Attack, Dinner at Joey’s, Little Bus, Touch and Feel Baby Animals, Mr. Brown Can Moo, and the first four books in a Fisher Price Ready Reader series.  Joe asked me earlier, “Is it normal for a kid his age to be this interested in books?”  I found the question very amusing.

Barring any additional bad luck (on top of everything else we’ve experienced lately, we found out that Joe is a victim of identity theft), we are going to make it to my friend’s reception in Sacramento this evening.  First I’ve gotta spend a few hours today stripping diapers.  😛

Getting organized

I found this awesome hanging storage unit at IKEA a couple of weeks ago.  It is proving very handy.  I especially love the pockets on the sides where wipes and diaper cream can be stored.  The drawers were extra; we’re using them to store the next size up diapers.

Top to bottom pictured: prefolds, covers, doublers/inserts, a mix of pockets and all-in-ones.  Our Tushies brand flushable wipes are in the side pockets.  Oh, and Jack’s pirate costume is hanging beside it.

Diapers – Pockets & AIOs vs. Prefolds

Molars are the worst.  My poor guy has red, bulging gums and is a total drool machine.  He has been sleeping terribly the past three days and I’m going out of my mind with exhaustion.  I’m not really good for much right now…

I promised a review of pocket diapers a while back.  Does anyone remember?

We bought a stash of pockets, all-in-ones (AIOs) and also have a few prefolds to complete our collection.  We have had mixed results with the pocket diapers, but overall I really like them.  Jack stays dry longer, which is especially fabulous at night but at the same time makes it difficult to tell when he needs a diaper change.  Daycare is willing to use them since they are as easy as disposables, which is fabulous.  They are so trim that Jack no longer has the “bulky diaper waddle” going on.  They snap, so Jack can’t take them off of himself.  Oh, and they dry super fast!

There are some significant cons, though, for those of us who don’t own a washers/dryer.  Pocket diapers are very sensitive, so there are only a few detergents that can be used and you have to be careful with the amount because too much detergent equals buildup on the fleece and leads to either loss of absorption or a putrid odor.  We have been fighting the latter for a couple of weeks now…I thought I was being pretty conservative with detergent (using about a table spoon of Planet) but apparently that is not conservative enough.  We have odor AND Jack developed a rash all over his backside.  The first time we washed the diapers someone left a dryer sheet in the dryer, which is a HUGE problem for pockets.  I’ve also noticed there is fabric softener left in the washer dispenser, which I desperately tried to clean out yesterday.  I have stripped the diapers (which basically means washing them in hot water without detergent) twice already and the stench does seem to be slowly receding.  I also switched to Purex Free & Clear (to help Jack’s skin) and reduced the amount to about a teaspoon.  It might take a couple more washes before the diapers are completely back to normal.  In the mean time, it’s a huge pain!  (Interestingly, the prefolds and AIOs aren’t having the same stench problems even though I’ve been washing the diapers all together.  +1 for those types!)

AIOs are pretty fabulous.  They are even easier to use than pockets.  They tend to be pretty pricey, but not prohibitively so if you are used to the cost of pocket diapers.  They do not dry as quickly as pockets, however, unless you get some like the Mommy’s Touch AIOs, which I think are technically “all-in-twos” – the doubler isn’t completely attached to the diaper, so air can circulate around it in the dryer and get it to dry more quickly.  I have found them to be extremely absorbent, and have added another doubler for nighttime diapering (although it’s probably not necessary).  These might win, although they are bulkier than pockets.  Also, they don’t fit as trimly as pockets.

So, there ya go.  I think it’s a great idea to get a variety of diapers because they all have their pros and cons.  I think we’ll always prefer prefolds for young infants who aren’t moving around yet, but the ease of a one-piece system makes pockets and AIOs great for toddlers.

Is there something I didn’t cover?  Ask away!