Sunday, November 24, 2013

Replacing Velcro on a Freetime

The just-over-a-year-old BumGenius Freetime had reached its limits, causing my son to drop trou unexpectedly and recurrently.  First I stopped sending it to daycare.  Then I stopped using it altogether.  I emailed BumGenius and discovered that while they have a refresher kit containing velcro, it is only the kind located on the tabs.  My issue was with the velcro across the front.
The BumGenius Freestyle's pitiful velcro

A Tots Bots Easyfit that is both older and used more frequently, for comparison
I was fortunate that Candace, a WAHM who knows more about cloth diapers than anyone I know; makes adorable cloth diapers; and is the reason for my unpaper towel obsession, had some velcro I could use, and some tips for the process.  Seriously, go check out her store, The Sassy Monkey.  With my newfound knowledge and velcro, I procrastinated for about 3 months forged ahead.

My cast of characters included a seam ripper, white thread, the replacement velcro, and scissors (which played a very minor role).  Yes, I completed this task on my bed. It's autumn. I have flannel sheets. Where else would I do such a thing?!

I started by carefully ripping the seams around the velcro/aplix.  I'd like to take this moment to point out that I had never heard the term "aplix" before researching cloth diapers.  From what I've gathered, aplix is to velcro as tissue is to Kleenex.  I guess that's why spellcheck and autocorrect always want me to type "Velcro".
It was really hard for me to get my phone to focus properly for this picture, and many would argue that I still failed

I removed about every other/every third stitch, and soon the poor FreeTime looked naked.
I feel like I should blur out part of the diaper
Then I sloppily stiched the new piece of velcro on the front, making sure to avoid going all the way through the multiple layers of fabric.  I just wanted to sew it on to the front-most fabric.  My stitches looked horrible, but the velcro feels like it's on securely.

I then, per Candace's advice, defied the laws of cloth diapering and put the diaper in the dryer on high to seal the PUL - the waterproof material.  Et voila, a diaper that may not look pretty, but at least now it's functional again.  I failed miserably trying to get a picture of it on C, and unfortunately, he required a change out of it before I could tell how everything is holding up.

I have a few take homes from this ordeal.  When I first set out cloth diapering, I avoided snap diapers.  I figured they would be much harder than velcro.  They really aren't, although I still primarily send velcro diapers in to daycare.  To me, a velcro diaper seemed the closest to a disposable diaper.  Velcro, however, seems to have a shorter lifespan than snaps.  That being said, there is a major quality difference among diaper manufacturers.  I will not buy another velcro BumGenius until they change their velcro.  BumGenius is not my favorite brand overall, but their Flip is my favorite cover, and I like the FreeTime.  This diaper isn't my only BumGenius diaper that has pitiful velcro - just the one that stopped working altogether first.  My Tots Bots Easyfits, however, function as well as they did when I first got them - nearly 2 years ago.  If I could go back, I'd only buy snap BumGenius diapers, but now I have experience fixing velcro ones if need be.  Cue the "the more you know" jingle.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Why I'm a Crappy Mom

There's been a lot of hullabaloo on the interwebz about mommy dos and don'ts.  There's a lot of judging, a lot of looking down upon, and a lot of meanness.  I won't throw stones in my glass house (er, I'm in Kentucky - glass trailers count too) or call that darn (durn) kettle black.  I have, however, been reading some blogs that highlight what moms are doing that they believe others would denounce, and it's really refreshing to see the honesty.  I think the guiding principals for not being a crappy mom are to do your best, come from a place of love (credit to my mom on that one), make informed decisions without discrediting your gut, and not kill your child.  Last one should probably be common sense, but I figured I should throw it out there.  I've seen firsthand and read about actual crappy moms.  Like "crappy" doesn't even come close to describing it.  So thinking about those people who have done horrible things to their child might really put into perspective the people who are up in arms about using vitamin drops.  Really, people.  Anyway, herein commences my list of why I'm a crappy mom:

  • C has had formula
  • C has eaten homemade baby food that was not perfectly pureed
  • C has had store-bought baby food
  • C slept in our room one night, and we couldn't take it, so he moved to his own room his second night, and has been a champ of a sleeper, for the most part
  • We've let him cry at night
  • We had him circumcised
  • We use cloth diapers
  • I forgot his bag full of dirty diapers at day care yesterday, and it sat in my hot car all day today.  Nothing says "end of the work day" like the smell of hot poo.
  • I had Stadol during labor
  • I work full time
  • We're having him vaccinated on the AAP schedule, and when the time comes, I plan on him getting the HPV vaccine
  • C and I listen to NPR on the way to day care
  • (which logically leads to) C goes to day care

There are plenty of things I've forgotten, and there are plenty of things that make me a crappy person in general.  But I do know that I'm raising a child I love; that I'm doing my research (with or without the scientific method); that he's the happiest little boy in the world (see Exhibit A below); and I haven't killed him.  Happy 8 month "birthday," buddy.  

Love always,

Your crappy mom

Saturday, July 28, 2012


Apparently I tried to pull the whole PhD card and take a sabbatical from the blog.  In my defense, my family was down from NJ, and it would have been quite rude of me to tell them to wait while I blogged.  I was so excited to have them down and for them to interact with C, since he's changed so much since they were last down in March.  He's definitely a lot more fun now!  It feels weird to talk about my family in the post since my mom's pretty much my only regular reader.  Hi Mom!  They got to be here for C's 6 month birthday and experience his first time eating solids.  He was a pro!

Anywho, it's been the same old, same old.  Weeks that pass by slowly and weekends that breeze by.  C did get to finally use the first baby-related item I bought when I found out I was pregnant:

Today's S's birthday, and we didn't really do anything too exciting.  My gifts bombed.  In my defense, he's really difficult to buy for, and he tends to buy what he needs when he needs it.  To top off the day, the poor guy had to mow the lawn.  I offered to do it, but I think he knew it would take him a lot less time.  Note to self: next year, buy him the services of a lawn mowing company.

While S was mowing, C helped me fold diapers.  Then he made a move to snuggle with them.

Am I the only one that thinks it's harder to stick by the rules as a baby gets older and cuter?  We've been so good about just putting him down to bed, but lately he's fussed a bit, especially at naps.  I think he's really starting to go through separation anxiety.  Anyway, on the weekends, I like lying down with him on our bed, and he invariably falls asleep.  He's so cute!

Okay, next topic needs to be about my assessment of the variety of types of cloth diapers I have.  If I put it in the blog, in the words of Chris Farley as Guliani's son, "it should be so, and it will be so!"

Friday, June 22, 2012

Traveling with Cloth/Our Trip to Cincinnati/Stripping (Diapers, You Perv)

A couple of weeks ago, we went up to Cincinnati (does it take anyone else multiple times to spell "Cincinnati?") for a few days and packed a ton of cloth diapers.

Since I didn't want dirty diapers sitting around and stinking up the joint, I put C in a disposable while I did a load of laundry. Strangely enough, it took me a few times to get the disposable on properly. I guess it's been a while.

Our first night we stayed at a (nice) traditional hotel.  Unfortunately, the one room deal was not really cutting it.  We brought a Pack and Play, and we had to put it right outside of the bathroom, which equaled the foot of the bed.

Oh, hello, MySpace-style photo. 


C slept well (thankfully, he slept well all trip), but since he's been sleeping in his own room since day 2 without a monitor, I had forgotten how much noise he makes in his sleep.  Sneezes, coughs, sighs, and grunts meant S and I didn't sleep well.  The bed was pretty uncomfortable too.  Lesson learned - there's only so much you can find out about a hotel on the interwebz.  S got up at 4am (!!!) to go look at other area hotels.  We ended up transferring to the Residence Inn in northern Cincinnati, and we LOVED it.  C had his own room, and it had its own ridiculously comfortable bed on the off-chance that S snored.  

The first day in our new digs, we went to the Newport Aquarium.  We took C through in his stroller, and he, to our amazement, was looking at everything.  

He had the cutest outfit for the day:

The next day, we went to the zoo, and S carried C around in a carrier.  He was such a trooper, and S and I felt like we nailed it parent-wise, because I fed him and we changed his cloth diaper in public without a hitch.  I used my Hooter Hiders to keep things discreet.  

Then it was off to the museum after a happy morning:

C wasn't a really big fan of the museum - I think there weren't enough moving things.  It was a pretty cool museum, though.  We went on a replica steam boat, and an old man dressed up in old-fashioned clothing came on it with us.  Well, I didn't realize he was a real person at first, since they had a lot of mannequins around.  So I had a really awkward moment where I tried to recover from jumping at the realization that he was alive, and I said "hello..." the same way Sophia does on this episode of the Golden Girls (around 21:00):

Then he decided to make conversation IN CHARACTER.  I'm terrible at that stuff.  He responded with some dated colloquialism when I asked him how he was.  And then he asked me if I were "going downriver."  Again, I'm terrible with that whole "it's 1865" stuff.  For goodness sake, I was just checking Facebook on my iPhone.  Get with it, dude.  Well I responded, "I'm not sure.  I'm not very good with directions."  Then booked it to the bow of the boat where S was.  Then S had to strike up a conversation with the guy while I just TRIED TO LIVE IN THE PRESENT.  This is why I don't talk to strangers.  The South would do well to learn that lesson.  

Now on to diapering on the trip.  It actually went really well, or at least that was my perspective right after we got home.  I brought all the small zippered wet bags we have (4 - 2 from Go Green Diapers - love these, especially for the price - and 2 from Swaddlebees, which are so cute.  We have the owls and the dinos).  I used those as smaller time bombs as opposed to one large bag with all the diapers fermenting together.  When we got home, I did a major wash using the sanitize cycle and extra pre- and post-rinsings.  And I thought all was well, and was thrilled that we didn't use disposables.

Now that we're a couple of weeks out, I'm still thrilled that we didn't need to use disposables, and honestly didn't feel like we needed to, but I should have washed the diapers mid-trip.  I think letting them sit and fester for several days gave them the ammonia stinkies, which made for a heck of a time getting rid of it via the stripping process, as it is commonly referred to in cloth diapering circles.  I tried soaking a load in ~1/4 cup of Bac-Out (which I love and spray on poopy diapers).  I only did it for a few hours, and the bottle recommends overnight.  That didn't seem to do it, so I tried overnight.  I wanted to sun the diapers, but my schedule and the weather didn't really work for that, so there went my tried-and-true method.  I finally did a bleach load of the inserts and diapers that are "approved" for it, like Bum Genius, and I'm hoping that's the ultimate fix.  So far so good.  Not such a fun process though.  Apparently I'm a terrible stripper, but you probably already knew that.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Wash Day for Cloth Diapers

Washing cloth diapers was something I spent way too much time researching.  I started out thinking that having an HE front loader would be a major help with diapers.  Well, it turns out that HE washers are not as great as older washers, because they don't use as much water.  Great - the perk of HE washers for my utility bills is its downfall for diapers.  To make matters more complicated, different washers have such a variety of wash settings.

Wash day is usually triggered by one of two things: out of diapers for day care (aka minimally stained velcro diapers) or the diaper pail stinks to high heaven.  Our "diaper pail" is actually a step trash can lined with a Wahmies pail liner that can be washed with the diapers.  Since we still use disposable wipes much of the time, we actually have a trash bag in half of the pail.

Yes, I'm literally putting my dirty laundry on the interwebz
I make sure velcro is on the laundry tabs (it's not a guarantee from the day care, but hey - they're using cloth, so I can't complain) and remove inserts if need be.  I've found that my BumGenius, Ones  & Twos, and nighttime megastuffed diapers don't unstuff in the wash.

Clearly I'm a professional photographer

When it's time to wash diapers, I take the whole bag o' diapers down to our laundry room and dump them all in the washer.  We have a Samsung WF350, which has a spin and rinse cycle.  I turn on the spin and rinse on cold and "no spin," which I guess then just technically makes it a rinse cycle.  My thinking behind the no spin is to get some water in the diapers to a) help rinse out what's in the diapers and b) increase the weight for the next cycle so it'll have more water too.  I don't use any detergent for this cycle.

Once the rinse and spin is done (it takes 9 minutes), I use the heavy duty cycle on warm/cold (and sometimes hot/cold depending on how bold I'm feeling).  I use a scoop of Charlie's soap in the wash.  The heavy duty cycle takes like 2 hours.  Oy.  Once it's done, that's it for washing.

I either put the diapers in the dryer on low using the timer setting (the sensor always thinks they're dry before they really are) or put them out on the line.  Any stains that have persisted through the wash cycle (there seem to be more since C started on vitamins, but I could just be imagining that's the cause) have always disappeared in the sun.

The best piece of advice I've ever heard about wash routines is once you find one that works, stick with it.  I have been tempted by the siren song of other detergents or others' wash routines, but then I remember how easy mine is and how well it works for me and my washer and my water type and all those other variables that come into play.  I know it's perverse, but I kind of love diaper laundry.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

My Favorite Cloth Diapers

Hands down, my favorite diapers are Tots Bots Easyfits.  They're one size, so C can wear them until he starts popping a squat on the toilet.  They're a hybrid of a pocket diaper and an all-in-one, in that the liner is sewn in, but it agitates out in the wash.  They're sooo soft, and we've yet to have a leak.  And the icing on the cake is that they're easy as all get out to use.  They're the diapers that I primarily send to day care and the ones that S gravitates toward.  I tend to use them less so that they're available for day care and S, but then I saw that Diaper Junction is giving away 2 of the NEW Tots Bots.  I'm seriously so excited about the new Tots Bots.  They are so cute, and many of the patterns are based on fairy tales, like the 3 Little Pigs and Chicken Little.  Adorbs.

Cloth Diaper BLOG @ Diaper Junction

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I Love Modern (Diaper) Technology

Many CDing parents are taking part in the Flats Challenge this week - using old-school flat diapers and washing them by hand.  As gung-ho as I am about cloth diapering (which is pretty gung-ho; I've been having to do a lot of middle-of-the-night bedding and baby changes in the quest for a good nighttime cloth solution.  More on that later...), I passed on the challenge.  Personally, I'd much rather use my Tots Bots and HE washer.  I feel sorry for parents of yesteryear who had no choice but old-school cloth.  I'll still keep using my Amish-style clothesline, though.