Sunday, May 5, 2013

Adventures in becoming a crunchy mama

Before Adalyn was born, I was absolutely against cloth diapering. I mean, seriously, gross! I am not touching those nasty diapers and washing them! Plus, we live in a duplex that does not have a washer or dryer, so having cloth diapers meant we either had to have enough of them to last the week before going to one of our parents' houses to do laundry or I had to hand wash them in the tub. Not happening...

And then Adalyn was born...

She was so adorable and sweet. I would have given the world for her (and still would). I want everything all natural for her; nothing that could harm her little body. Ok, so I can't possibly go that far... Yes, she is breastfed and we use olive oil for her lotion instead of actual lotion filled with chemicals, but she is still exposed to not-so-great things. She gets her routine shots from the doctor (I hate seeing those tears come to her eyes when she gets them, but Jon and I discussed it, and, in our minds, any side effects she might have from the shot definitely outweighs the possibility of contracting what the shots are there to prevent). Her clothing and toys are not organic. We want the best for her and one thing kept weighing on my mind...her diapers and wipes. They are so filled with chemicals!

Oh yeah...and they are not cheap!

Jon and I are currently on a pretty restricted budget. He is still working at Target and subbing whenever he can. He is looking for a teaching job, but even if Jon did get something, he wouldn't start working until next Fall. This summer he will be working as a camp counselor, which will be fun and great experience for him, but still does not pay the best. And then there is me. I feel bad because I am not contributing to our income. Jon works hard and sometimes works really long days when he does both subbing and working at Target in the same day. While he is working hard, I am at home, getting to play with our cute little girl. Okay, so it isn't always just playing with her. I have to change diapers, feed her, bathe her, put her down for naps and to bed, deal with her crying, etc., but I still feel bad that I get to be home with our little girl and he does not.

So, I decided maybe we should start using cloth! Well, Adalyn had a bazillion and one blankets that she received as gifts from other people. Seriously, there were a bunch that three months after she was born still had not been used yet. So I took some of the flannel receiving blankets and cut them up into cloth wipes. I sewed around the edges to hopefully stop them from unraveling too much. I figured, we could keep those blankets in her closet, never use them, and spend money on actual cloth wipes or purchasing washcloths, or we can actually make use of these blankets! It seems to be working well for her. We actually have enough to go an entire week before needing to do wash.
Diaper spray, wipe warmer, and the homemade cloth wipes (on bottom).
We started out just using the California Baby Diaper Wash and spraying it on the cloth (or her bottom if it was really messy). This stuff works really well for babies when they have diaper rash. I read comments from other people and found that a lot of them dilute the diaper wash (anywhere between 10-50%) and use that with cloth wipes. I found that I did not like this way as much, it seemed to be a little rough on her bottom, even though the cloth is pretty soft. We decided to purchase a wipe warmer--heck yes for online garage sales! I originally had diluted the diaper wash so that there was only about 1/3 of the solution. I diluted the solution even more, dipped each wipe in the solution, and placed it in the wipe warmer. I have heard about mold issues with wet wipes in the warmer, or it starting to smell musty, so I only put in enough wipes for 2-3 days. After we finish those wipes, we will dry out the warmer and put new wipes in. We store all of the used wipes in an old ice cream bucket with a little baking soda or Borax. This way seems to work much better for us.

I decided since I am using cloth wipes, why not go all the way and use cloth diapers too? Turns out, they are expensive to start out with! It will be much cheaper in the long run, but you have to spend so much money up front: money we do not have to spend. So I read some blogs online, as I always do, and found directions to make cloth diapers.  I also found a free pattern to print off. I traced it onto some of that postal wrapping paper.
My sewing mess-bags filled with old clothes, shower curtains, and my diaper pattern...
We have a ton of old shirts and sweatshirts that we were going to get rid of that could be converted into cloth diapers. I also read on another site to use shower curtains as the outermost cover. So far, I have only completed one diaper-these take a lot of time to complete! I have changed things up for my second one to be more absorbent, which I hope works. Hopefully I will get the hang of it soon--I am definitely not a sewing expert--and can convert her over to all cloth diapers.
My first homemade diaper.
Another idea that I read about was to use hooks from old bras. I liked that idea because I wouldn't have to go out and purchase anything to put on snaps, and Velcro doesn't handle well after too many washes. Plus, I already had a bunch of old bras that I could use--bonus: it was free!
Cloth diaper with bra hooks.
 So, hopefully I can get a bunch more made (and hopefully they don't leak easily) and I will be well on my way to becoming a crunchy momma. :)

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