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    Things I Wish I Had Known About Cloth Diapers When I Started

    I’ve been cloth diapering for almost six years now. I’m pretty sure I can call myself a veteran (right?). I’ve learned a lot since I first started, and I was thinking how great it would have been if I’d known someone who was already a veteran cloth diaperer who could warn me about certain things before I started to save myself a lot of trouble. Here are some of those things:  

    • Do not over-complicate your wash routine. Cloth diapers aren’t terribly different than your normal household laundry (except for the fact that they get peed and pooped in on a daily basis). A quick rinse to get a good amount of soils out (unless you use a diaper sprayer), a hot/cold regular wash cycle, and - if desired - an extra rinse is all that is needed to get the diapers clean. You can dry them on low heat or hang them out in the sun. DONE!
     
    • You do NOT need specialty detergents. I know, I know. What about the detergents made specifically for cloth diapers? Well, most of them are great and serve their purpose, but most regular commercial detergents are fine to use, too. In general, fabric softeners and heavy scents should be avoided because these can cause issues with repelling and rashes, but a good rule of thumb is to simply try what you feel comfortable with, and if it works - great! If not, strip the diapers and start over with something different.
     
    • You really should aim to wash your diapers every day or at least every other day. I don’t know why, but for some reason I thought it would be okay to let the diapers go for 3 or 4 days before I got around to them. Um..... No. Think about a glass of milk that you set on the counter and say “Meh, I’ll wash this later.” And then you keep forgetting or you get busy and within a couple of days you have a putrid, chunky cup of ick. Well, cloth diapers are absolutely not the same as a sour cup of milk, but in a way the effect is similar! The longer you leave soiled diapers sitting in a pail, the more “baked in” the soils become. The more bacteria starts to build up, and the more odors begin to form. It’s not good. It’s bad. So wash your diapers regularly, mkay?
     
    • Don’t blow your stash money all on one brand/style unless you are positive that it works for you! There is nothing more disappointing that using your entire cloth diaper budget on one particular brand or style, only to discover that there is something else that piques your interest or seems like it would work better for you. Many retailers offer cloth diaper trial programs that allow you to pay a flat fee for a certain amount of diapers (some of them you can pick and choose, some are set up specifically) for 30 days, keep what you want, and swap the rest for what you like. Or you could pick up one or two of a few different brands/styles of cloth diapers and do your own trial. This is especially helpful for absolute beginners who are unsure as to the difference in types of cloth diapers.
     
    • If you are having any trouble with your cloth diapers and you cannot seem to figure it out, call customer service!!! They are there to help, and in the off-chance that there actually is something wrong with your diaper(s), you’ll want to get in touch ASAP before your warranty expires. And oftentimes, the issue is something that can be resolved easily with a rep’s expertise. They want you to connect with them, so do it!
     
    • If your baby doesn’t have a diaper rash, don’t use diaper rash treatments! Cloth diapers greatly reduce - or even eliminate - the occurrence of diaper rashes on babies’ sensitive skin. In the occurrence that your child actually does develop a diaper rash, it is recommended that you steer clear of ointments containing harmful chemicals and fish oils. Cornstarch- or Arrowroot-based powders are great and can be made into a paste with a little water. A thin layer of coconut oil works wonders as well, especially when mixed with a drop of Lavender or Chamomile essential oil. Ointments like Desitin contain cod liver oil and if enough of the ointment gets into the fabric.... Whew!!! Your baby’s butt is gonna smell like a fish market. Gross.
      So these are the tips that I wished I would have known before I ever started cloth diapering, and hopefully you will find them helpful on your journey. Do you have any other tips that I didn’t mention?

    How to get the most out of your FuzziBunz cloth diapers

    FuzziBunz - like any other cloth diaper - will one day wear out. It is inevitable, especially considering the fact that cloth diapers will be the most used and abused clothing article in your household! But how can you make sure you’re getting the longest wear from your FuzziBunz diapers? Here are some of our recommendations: 1) Always follow the manufacturer’s washing instructions. It may be tempting to run the diapers through a heavy duty or sanitary cycle, use bleach, dry on high heat, etc., but these actions can prematurely break down the PUL and elastics in your FuzziBunz! A simple cold pre-rinse, hot wash with gentle detergent and an extra cold rinse is usually the perfect routine for getting them thoroughly clean. 2) Make sure you have the correct fit on your child. If you are using the First Year or One Size diapers, it can seem a little time-consuming to size them all at first. But if you take one diaper and work with it until you get the perfect fit, you will be saving your elastics in the long run! If the elastics are too snug, it will stretch them out and can cause early deterioration. You want the diapers to fit snugly, but not so tight that they leave painful-looking red marks on your child’s skin when the diaper is removed. Light red marks are perfectly normal (think of the markings left behind from your socks or jeans). 3) Line dry whenever possible. If you are able, drying the diapers out in the fresh air as opposed to the dryer can definitely help lengthen the lifespan of your diapers. The air is much gentler than the forced hot air of the dryer - even in summer - and as an added bonus the sun can help lighten or eliminate stains! 4) Let your diapers cool completely before stuffing them. When you try to stuff your diapers while they’re still hot out of the dryer, it can not only be more difficult because the PUL may feel tacky, but also stretching elastics when they are hot is not advisable as it can cause them to wear out prematurely. 5) If you can, collect a large stash! I am chuckling to myself because I know how obsessed passionate cloth diaperers can be about collecting the latest awesome colors and prints from their favorite diaper brands. I have been there. Twice. But in all seriousness, the bigger your stash, the less each diaper will be washed and dried, thus saving the critical components needed for a fully-functioning diaper. These are simple tips to help you keep your FuzziBunz going strong for as long as possible! If you ever have questions about the care of your diapers, please don’t hesitate to contact our awesome customer service team at help@fuzzibunz.com.

    10 Items to Make Sure You Have In Your Labor Bag

    When you start getting close to your estimated due date, most women start nesting and getting everything ready for their new baby’s arrival. The nursery or sleeping space is cleaned, organized and set up perfectly... All of baby’s clothing is washed, folded and put away... All of baby’s bath items are set up in the bathroom, and you feel ready for the birth to commence!   But what about your Labor bag? Packing what you need and want to take with you when it’s time to birth your baby is just as important as all of the other preparations you have already made. Not only do you want to make sure that you are as comfortable as possible at the hospital or birth center, but there are certain things that you can pack that just may make your labor experience easier and more enjoyable!   Here is a list of something things you might consider putting into your Labor Bag:

    1. Your most comfortable clothing. This may seem obvious (and it is), but it in the mad whirlwind of prepping for your baby’s arrival, it’s easy to overlook things (and let’s not forget the very real Pregnancy Brain). When you have had your baby and can simply rest and enjoy that time to bond with him or her, you are going to want to make yourself as comfortable as possible. Not only will your womb likely be sore, but your breasts may be sensitive, your muscles may ache from the effort of pushing and/or from cesarean, and you may have trouble regulating your temperature for a short while. Bring a robe or over-sized shirt for nighttime/bath time, soft, loose-fitting pants, warm socks, your favorite cozy sweater (in the cold months), and extra underwear.
    2. Clothing for your baby. Your baby may not need much but a simple night gown or a kimono-style shirt and socks or footed pants while in the hospital or birthing center, but you’ll want to make sure to bring a “coming home” outfit for him/her. Especially in the colder months, your baby will need help regulating their body temperature. Make sure you bring a receiving blanket, and a warm hat for cold months or a cotton hat for warmer months.
    3. Your own toiletries. Travel sized shampoo, conditioner, and soap from the hospital may work in a pinch, but the sterile, unfamiliar smell and feel of these products have the potential to make you feel a little anxious about being away from home. Bring your own toiletries: hair products, toothbrush and toothpaste, salves or balms, even your own towel and washcloth if you need to, and you’ll feel a little bit closer to home.
    4. A CD or mp3 player containing some of your favorite songs. Now, I’m not talking about “Cemetery Gates” by Pantera or anything (unless you think that’ll work for you), but songs that make you feel peaceful, uplifted, empowered, and strong. Instrumental music that can help put you in a meditative or trance state are often invaluable tools when moving through the most challenging parts of birthing your baby.
    5. Essential oils or other aromatherapy tools. Essential oils have seemingly become a trend, but with good reason: they contain physically and mentally healing properties that - when used safely - can calm your nerves, uplift your mood, and assist with healing physical wounds caused by birthing. Lavender is a very common calming oil, as is chamomile and Geranium... Helichrysum and Yarrow are very good for minor cuts and bruises, and Peppermint or Lemon can give you a mood boost. *Note: If you are not familiar with how to use essential oils, please ask a certified practitioner and do your research! Essential oils can be dangerous if not used properly.
    6. Artwork, special small items that carry good energy and/or beautiful photos. When I birthed our second daughter, I set up an altar of sorts in our birthing room that contained beautiful stones, small gifts that friends had made, a drawing that I created in a birthing class to help me have something to focus on, and candles for soft lighting. Just knowing that it was there soothed me. As it happened, I barely looked at it because my labor lasted a whopping 2.5 hours from start to finish, but many other women find similar set-ups to assist in getting to that “trance-like” stage of labor.
    7. Your favorite healthy snacks (and maybe some indulgent ones, too). Shimmying down to the nearest vending machine isn’t exactly satisfying - or convenient - when you’re looking for something to nibble on. Homemade baked goods, some dark chocolate, whatever your favorite treats are, bring some just in the off chance that you get a hankering for something other than hospital fare.
    8. Don’t forget important names and numbers! Not only might you want to let everyone know when your Little One is born, but you may also need to call and ask someone to bring you a home-cooked meal if the hospital food happens to be especially awful. ;)
    9. A little cash and some change. Maybe you actually DO want to get something from the vending machine. Or maybe you want to stroll down to the gift shop and pick up a little something for your new bundle (or yourself!). It just feels good to know that if you need cash for something, you’ve got it.
    10. And finally, bring a phone charger! It’s really frustrating to be somewhere and not have a functioning phone.
      Packing for your birth experience does not have to be difficult or very involved, just well planned to make sure you have the essentials, plus a few tools to help you push through (no pun intended... Okay, pun intended) labor and delivery.

    The Importance of a Support System

    In days past, families grew up surrounded by not only their immediate relatives, but extended family as well. Even if everyone didn't live in the same house, they generally lived on the same land and worked together to grow their food, carry out seasonal tasks, and raise their children. They were connected to their community, and everyone helped out. These days, most of us grow our families alone, without the large support systems that folks once had. Many parents are working outside of the home while others are living off of the land, and almost all of us are trying to reach a common goal of being self-sufficient. Now, being self-sufficient is truly a wonderful thing to be, but it is often a misunderstood term in that people assume that self-sufficiency equals doing everything by yourself with no help from outside sources. Let's be honest here and admit that nobody knows all things, and nobody can provide all things to everyone, so cultivating a support system to help out with some of those things can bring immense relief, as well as the opportunity to learn new things! Think about the people who you trust the most. Are they available to come and help? Whether it's once a week or once a month, having someone you know and trust to come and be with your children, assist with a home project, or teach you and/or your children a new skill is invaluable. This does not have to mean just family, either. If you know people in your community who are apt at a certain skill, they may be able to help, or point you towards someone who can assist. What sorts of programs or events are available in your community? Are there 4-H programs or parent/child classes to participate in? Does your local preschool cooperative offer afternoon or summer programs? Look into community happenings for opportunities to expand your child's (and your own) experiences, interactions with others, and interests. Putting your child into an afternoon preschool program can give him/her the chance to play with other children, learn new skills, and adapt to socializing outside of the home. Your local library may offer a children's reading hour and art time once a week, or you may even find some "Mommy/Daddy & Me" classes locally to get out of the house and do something fun! If you need help financially, have limited or no transportation, or aren't sure where to turn for specific resources, you may qualify for government programs that can help you with your and your child's needs. Contact your local DHHS office or go to http://www.211.org/ to find local resources that will get you ahead when you need it the most. Resources are everywhere even if sometimes we don't  realize it. People want to help! All we have to do is ask. :)

    Baby Showers + Cloth Diapers

    At my first baby shower, there were no cloth diapers in sight. Even though I asked for cloth diapers, nobody got me any. Probably because I wasn't being taken seriously. The looks I received from friends and family when I told them I wanted to cloth diaper matched their most common comment: "Yeah, that won't last long!" (Insert knowing chuckle of naivety here) They - like many - believed that cloth diapers meant prefolds with pins, getting your hands all poopy, and tons of extra laundry. The truth, I soon discovered, was much different (okay, maybe more laundry, but not TONS) than they - and even I - thought! If you are reading this blog post, then chances are you're already aware that there is a plethora of styles, colors, prints, and fabrics paving the glittery cloth diaper highway (picture it being similar to the yellow brick road... only with cloth diapers!), but how do you incorporate them into a baby shower? Easily! Here's a few ideas how: Let's start with the Gift Registry. Many online and in-store retailers of baby goods offer gift registries similar to those found on Target.com or through Babies 'R' Us. With a gift registry, you can make an organized list of everything that you need and want for your new baby (and for you, mamas!), and your friends and family can look up your registry, see what has already been purchased for you, and select what they want to purchase. Here is a list of some of the retailers that offer Gift Registries: Kelly's Closet - http://www.kellyscloset.com/giftregistry_home.asp Cotton Babies - www.cottonbabies.com Thanks Mama - http://www.thanksmama.com/Articles.asp?ID=147 (via MyRegistry.com) Diaper Junction - http://www.diaperjunction.com/giftregistry_home.asp There are likely many others, but these are a few of the most popular, with the largest selections of baby, pregnancy, postpartum and mama products. Once the gift registry is taken care of, you can then focus on the actual baby shower! How do you incorporate cloth diapers at a baby shower? Here are a few suggestions: The Cloth Diaper Cake You've seen the Pinterest images of beautiful "cakes" made up of disposable diapers. Well imagine just how much more beautiful one would be if it was made with fluffy, colorful cloth diapers?!   The possibilities are endless, and can be combined with other New Baby Essentials like blankets, bibs, teeny hats or itty bitty baby shoes (which are not really essential, but so friggin' cute!). Cloth Diaper Games We played this game at my baby shower with disposable diapers, and the concept was totally gross, but pretty hilarious. So you take three or four diapers, melt three or four candy bars separately, then pour the candy (poop) mixture into each diaper. You pass the diapers around and each attendee has to guess what candy bar is in each diaper. As I'm writing this, I'm thinking that maybe it wouldn't be such a good idea to put melted candy bars into new cloth diapers, but you could just grab some "well-loved" used CDs at your local consignment shop, or off of www.diaperswappers.com and go for it! :D There are other games and activities you could incorporate cloth diapers into, of course,  like seeing who can diaper a wiggly  balloon the quickest, "Pin the Prefold," and - okay so this doesn't really have to do with cloth diapers, and it could make you blush, but.... Pin the Sperm on the Ovary! Yes... that really is a game. And honestly, it sounds like hilariously awesome! https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/4f/da/42/4fda42620b3cb723c6603f3ba3a6c1c0.jpg Door Prizes It is common at most baby showers to have some sort of door prize determined by a random luck of the draw. At mine, there were numbers written on the bottom of everyone's plate, and before everyone left a number was drawn out of a bowl and whoever had that number on their plate won the prize. That's fun, but while perusing the vast expanse of baby shower ideas on Pinterest, I found the following which would be way more fun (and too cute)! https://www.pinterest.com/pin/74872412529037722/ "Cut out little diaper shapes from some cloth, smear one or two with a little chocolate, and safety pin shut. Pass out for your guests to wear and have them check their diaper right before they leave. Whoever has a soiled diaper wins a prize!" Have you ever been to a baby shower where cloth diapers were given and/or featured? What kinds of other ideas can you come up with to incorporate cloth? Our Resident Mom -  Lindsay Lewis