Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Many Faces of Our Girl

"How can we imagine what our lives should be without the illumination of the lives of others?" - James Salter

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Parenting in the Tropics: Cloth Diapering

Wow, this post was started so long ago - back when I still relied on our changing table, I had time to neatly fold each diaper, and Lucy didn't kick everything around her!  Things have changed... this neat sight is all but gone as her changing table now houses an array of clean clothes that this busy mom doesn't even have time to put away.

Here is a look into our cloth diapering routine... 5 months into parenthood.

We originally chose cloth diapering for four reasons:

1. Cost.  While the initial cloth diaper set up can be a bit expensive (ours ran us $250, plus we have added another $120 to that - be warned, cute diaper covers can become a costly addiction), disposable diapers are more expensive in the long run.

2. My girl's health.  Disposable diapers are full of chemicals to make them extra absorbent, meaning it can be hours before you realize your babies diaper is literally full of shit.

3. The Environment.  Once a child is potty-trained, cloth diapers can be reused with your next child, resold, or used as rags around the house.  After using disposable diapers, they will sit in a landfill for the next 250-500 years before they decompose.

4. Cuteness.  There is nothing cuter than a semi-naked baby in a big, colorful cloth nappy!


Our diaper station has changed a lot in the past few months.  Once Lucy started rolling back to front, I decided it wasn't safe for us to use the changing table any longer.  Now we have two baskets of supplies, one in the bedroom and one in the living room.  I change so many diapers a day, it is just easiest to do it right where we are playing, so I don't have to stop everything and ramble into the other room.

In the living room, we keep the basket stuffed with all our diaper covers, diaper cream, lotion, and powder.  Currently we are using Grandma El's at the first sign of redness.  We keep a container of cloth wipes as well.  Next to the basket is a big stack of cotton pre-folds and micro-fleece inserts.

We chose to go with one-size-fits-all adjustable covers with pre-fold diapers and inserts.  We ordered a variety of brands of diaper covers and have been happy with all of them so far.  We got the majority of them from Bububibi** and KaWaii Baby, but also found a few cute ones on Amazon to add to the collection such as Thirsties, Rumparooz, EconobumsBest Bottom, and Bambi.  We have 15 all together (plus 4 more on the way!), which is perfect if you do laundry every other day.  You can use most of the covers a few times before you need a new one.

** A word of warning about Bububibi - after placing my order it took over two months to receive my goods.  I wrote them several times, but they never responded.  It was all pretty annoying, but eventually I did get my order.  I actually think these covers are my favorite (and the cheapest!!) but when I attempted to contact them about ordering more and having shipped directly to Vietnam, they once again didn't get back to me.  So I gave up.

We use cotton pre-folds bought from Cotton Babies.  We have 18 infant sized pre-folds and 24 regular sized ones.  So far these have been perfect.  We chose to go the pre-fold route because they are not only the cheapest cloth diapering option, but also the most practical for us.  Since we don't have a dryer and instead rely on line-drying, cotton pre-folds make the most sense.

We also use inserts, which get stuffed into some of the special insert diaper covers or can be set into a normal diaper cover.   These are very Dad-friendly as they are pretty hard to mess up and require the least amount of skill to get on the baby. 

While we used to use disposable wipes, I realized they were a huge waste of money two months ago and made my own cloth wipes.  We were given so many flannel receiving blankets that we never use, so I cut a few of them up, sewed around the edges to keep them from fraying, and keep them soaked in water in a tupperware container.  They work great!

The basket in our bedroom contains our night time diapers.  After a few diaper rashes and way too many night time wake ups for diaper changes, we now use disposables at night.  Along with diaper cream (Magic Stick, used nightly), some wipes, and lotion, I also keep our insert diapers ready to go for morning changes.  I like to change Lucy while still in bed first thing in the morning.  Occasionally I can coax her back to sleep for a little longer after a nappy change!


Finally - our laundry situation - What do we do with our poopy diapers?  After a diaper change, the messy diaper goes to the bathroom to be rinsed off.  In Vietnam, most toilets come with a small spray hose.  Just wash off the mess into the toilet, then throw it in a pile under the sink.  I used to do laundry every day, but since switching to disposables at night, we don't use enough diapers a day to warrant a wash.  Usually every other day does the trick around here.