Friday, April 22, 2011

Reach for the Fluff: Cloth Explained


It’s fairly easy to convince parents to switch to cloth diapering.

Why I made the switch to cloth diapering:
http://guggiedaly.blogspot.com/2010/07/why-i-made-switch-to-cloth.html


Disposable diapers are not as tantalizing as people once thought. They are bleached, creating a toxic byproduct called Dioxin, they have absorbent gel with questionable concerns about toxicity, they trap heat, increasing the temperature around the genitals (bad for your boys) and they take a bajillion years to decompose in landfills.

Want all the points in a nutshell, complete with cited facts? Bookmark this article:
http://www.realdiaperassociation.org/diaperfacts.php

Now, cloth diapers come in a great range of colors, patterns, shapes and sizes. Today’s cloth diapers are not the white diapers with pins of yesteryear. Some are thick and absorbent for nighttime and others are thin and hold one pee for beginning potty users. You can choose all kinds of fabrics to fit your needs. Fleece, wool, cotton…whatever floats your boat (or holds the pee).

So it’s not surprising that as soon as a mama decides to cloth diaper, her next question is: what now?? What’s the 411 on cloth diapering? Where do you begin? What do you buy?

Types of Diapers

Prefold: the closest thing to Grandma’s method and cheaper and easier than ever before. Don’t turn your nose up too quickly. Today’s covers come with Velcro and snaps or special pin-free Snappi closures. You can get plain covers very inexpensively or deck baby out with tons of patterns and colors.

You can choose all kinds of prefolds, too. Chinese Prefolds (CPF), Diaper Service Quality Prefolds, Indian Prefolds, etc. You can choose bleached or unbleached, organic or not.

PROS: Inexpensive, simple to use, durable

CONS: Requires prep (folding), can be bulky, might require snappis to get a good fit 

Fitted diapers: this type of diaper requires no folding or pinning. You will find all kinds of brands and types in this category. They are made to fit on a baby like a disposable diaper, with the least bulk possible and easy to use closures such as Velcro or snaps. You can purchase a waterproof cover, or they often come with their own cover.

PROS: Convenient, fit babies well, not likely to leak

CONS: Tend to be more expensive and you usually have to “size up” or get a new set as baby grows.

All-In-One Diapers:  Also called AIO's, these are fitted diapers but the waterproof cover is attached. These are the most convenient and they are the closest to disposable diapers. Simply grab the diaper and Velcro or snap it on to the baby. If you have reluctant care providers (or fathers) this version might help.

PROS: Very convenient. Most likely to be used by daycare providers or babysitters.

CONS: Can take a long time to dry and can be expensive. Might still have to size up as baby grows or choose a different style if baby changes fat-shape. :)

Pocket Diapers: these diapers are like AIOs but have a built in pocket in the front or back for stuffing. You will use this diaper like an AIO.

PROS: Choose from lots of different stuffing options for sensitive babies or wet situations such as nighttime. Wicks moisture away more than other kinds.

CONS: Can only use one time b/c the inner lining will be soiled each time. Some mamas don’t like stuffing diapers. Some styles require sizing up.

Materials
Diapers, covers and liners come in all kinds of materials. Cotton is the most common and 100% cotton is one of the safer choices for sensitive babies. Hemp is very absorbable, but slow to absorb. Microfleece and fleece are great at wicking away moisture but some babies don’t like them. Wool might turn away some mamas, but if you like it, you will fall in love with it.
 
PUL: Polyurethane Laminate is a lightweight, waterproof fabric. For some mamas, there are toxicity concerns. Research to decide what you are comfortable with on this topic. 

Fleece: is waterproof and breathable, and can be cooler than PUL material. It wicks moisture away. But some babies can react to synthetics.

Wool: as the same benefit of fleece (breathable) but is a natural material instead of synthetic.They are made with either wool fabric or knitted like a sweater. Wool has natural antibacterial properties that allow for multiple uses without getting a urine odor. Wool will draw the moisture out of the diaper and allow it to dry slowly as baby sleeps, preventing leaks and diaper overload. Wool does not need to be washed as often as other covers because of the antibacterial properties. Wool must be handwashed, and it must be lanolized every so often to keep its waterproofing feature.

Front vs. Side Closing

Babies come in all shapes and sizes, and so do covers. Some close with two tabs much like disposables. Others will fasten on the sides. The side closing covers work best to get a custom fit of the waist and thighs.

Number of diapers to buy

How many diapers to get depends on your baby and how much laundry you want to do in a given time period. A general rule of thumb is to have 36 diapers for the newborn stage and then 24 diapers for the baby stage. Older babies practicing Elimination Communication (EC) or toddlers might only need 15 diapers. These estimates will usually have you washing diapers every 3 days, or doing 2 loads of diapers a week.

You do not have to follow a guideline on this. Busy mamas might buy 50-60 diapers and do laundry at the end of the week. Frugal mamas who can line-dry don’t mind washing every day or every other day.
 

Other diaper accessories:

Doublers or boosters are small pads that can be inserted into any diaper to increase the amount of urine it can hold. 

Stuffers are put into the inner layers of pocket diapers.

Soakers usually refer to the inner padding in a fitted diaper. Some diapers have internal soakers that can’t be removed. Some have external soakers that are removed for washing and reattached for use (or just laid in the diaper). Diapers with internal soakers take longer to dry, but it eliminates the step of reattaching the liner.

Pins and Snappis

Now, don’t hyperventilate! Mamas who use prefold diapers can just toss the liner right in the cover. I have been doing it that way since Ian was born. BUT for added security (or cuteness) you can still do it the old fashioned way with pins or with the modern version of a pin, called a Snappi.

Cloth wipes

Are you using disposable wipes? See their toxicity rating here:
http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/

Cloth wipes can seem gross, but provide a variety of benefits and make the entire cloth system convenient. If you use cloth wipes, you don’t have to worry about leaving a disposable wipe in a diaper and washing it (done that) or having a sleep deprived husband put toss the cloth diaper AND disposable wipe into the trash (he’s done that). With cloth wipes, you simply throw them into the diaper pail and wash them along with the diapers. You can use plain water or get fancy with naturally scented/soaped solutions.

Wet bags and pail liners

When I was pregnant with Ian, I really fretted about what kind of pail and bag to get. I was scared that my room would stink and everything would get messy.

Instead, I found out that 1) even with 40+ diapers you are still doing laundry very frequently in the newborn stage. So nothing had time to stink. And 2) the hamper was just easier.

That’s right! I spent good money on a wet bag, pail liner and pail and we never used them! All the diapers go straight into the laundry hamper!

BUT I’m not looking to start an argument here. If you need one, get one!

Detergent

When you hear mamas bad-mouthing cloth diapers or giving up, it almost always comes back to a detergent problem. Cloth diapers will lose their absorbency if they are washed with conventional detergents, because most detergents contain a host of toxic substances such as fabric softeners, fragrances and scrubbers.

Here are two very large lists of detergents that let you know which ones work with cloth (and which ones contain toxins):
http://www.diaperjungle.com/detergent-chart.html
http://www.pinstripesandpolkadots.com/detergentchoices.htm

And on that note, this article lets you know which detergents do or do not contain a toxic byproduct called 1,4 dioxane:
http://www.naturalnews.com/028846_laundry_detergents_dioxane.html

Think your free and clear is, well, free and clear?

We get calls daily about leaking cloth diapers (especially pocket diapers and all in ones), and the Free and Clear detergents listed below are the culprits 99% of the time.  Free and Clear detergents contain microbiostats, which control the growth of microorganisms, such as dust mites.  This is beneficial to those with allergies, but may be the common ingredient that causes the fleece in your pocket diapers to repel. Now, many parents use Free and Clear detergents with great success (it really depends on your local water mineral content and washer), but if you begin to have leaks or smells after a few weeks or months, try stripping your diapers and then switching detergents.
http://www.jilliansdrawers.com/resources/detergentsforclothdiapers

So, there you have it in a nutshell! What do I recommend? I recommend browsing the types of diapers that appeal to your wants/needs. Then choose a few and try them out. Yes, even if you are pregnant with your first child, try them out. Touch them, wash them, put them on dolls. Don’t worry, unlike disposable diapers, you can resell diapers that don’t work for you.

More cloth diapering how-tos:
http://diaperpages.com/
http://www.greenmountaindiapers.com/howto.htm

Diaper Deals

I pieced together my stash by browsing online deals, buying pre-owned diapers and getting free diapers from awesome friends. Contrary to popular belief, cloth diapering does not require a huge investment.

In fact, you can get a full set of simple, 100% organic diapers to cover newborn to pottying for about $150! Here is the amazon link to give you an example:
http://www.amazon.com/Bummis-Organic-Cotton-Diaper-Pounds/dp/B000QGXWGM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=baby-products&qid=1303526282&sr=8-1

Here are other sites that I scanned for deals (warning: addictive):
http://www.babysteals.com/
http://www.mamabargains.com/
http://babyhalfoff.com/
http://www.oliviaplace.com/

On Facebook, you can join in on the fun with flash giveaways and discounts:
http://www.facebook.com/katydibs
http://www.facebook.com/FluffsEnoughShoutOuts

And buy/trade/sell direct with other mamas:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cloth-Diaper-Swap/198156356866467

Here are photos of my stash. I pieced this together for under $500. About 5 diapers aren't even included here lol. I diaper 2 babies unless they are using the potty.





© Guggie Daly

139 comments:

  1. One tip is that I use white vinegar as both a disinfectant and as a natural "fabric softener" for my cloth! :)

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  2. My advice with pocket diapers is to stuff them as you are folding/putting away. This makes it easier to just grab and go when needed and people who aren't familiar with cloth diapers may not be so overwhelmed when changing your baby. :)

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  3. Oh and I liked your facebook page!

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  4. Cloth diaper tip: Conventional diaper rash creams are a big no-no! It leaves awful residue on your diapers, essentially ruining them. I use coconut oil instead.

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  5. Rochelle LaPierreApril 22, 2011 at 8:21 PM

    I want to \cd, I only have cold water hook up for my washer. Is it possible for me to CD?

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  6. I follow you on Twitter (@Meanderinghome)

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  7. We use a pail and liner. I work full time and i love my cloth. My tip is to add a skall splash of blue dawn to your load once a month or so and double wash to strip the diapers of any buildup!

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  8. <3 the buttercream. I'm new to cloth, but want to try it with my upcoming baby in August. My only real concern is sizing appropriately, so I can get the most bang for my buck along the way. (cyoung2110 at gmail dot com)

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  9. I like your facebook page, btw :-) (cyoung2110 at gmail dot com)

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  10. I am following you on Twitter.

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  11. Aaand.. I shared this blog and giveaway on Twitter. :)

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  12. My tip: get lots of advice but only do what works for you! And remember that all babies are different, including build, so what works awesome on one baby might not for the next! And don't think any question is stupid about cloth, because even old pros have questions sometimes. I guess that's 3! LOL

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  13. I already fallow you on your blog, twitter and facebook :)

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  14. and just to make up for the lost entries... I would like the buttercream, I already have similar to the mint color in my kawaii stash ;)

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  15. I started using cloth a couple of months ago on our 4th baby! I LOVE LOVE LOVE them! I just wish that I had found them 4 kids ago! I am new to the whole thing but have to say that I learned lots of stuff from your post! I also use cloth wipes that I made from flannel. What else could I use for wipes? Thanks for the tip on the free and clear because that happened to me! I am going to go get some new laundry soap! I am using Ecos free and clear so I will go with the lavender :) Thanks for doing this and I LOVE your blog!

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  16. I already like you on facebook so I am going to figure this twitter thing out :)

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  17. I posted on facebook! YAY! I hope I win!!

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  18. My cloth diaper tip is to try a few different styles/brands before you buy a whole bunch. That way you know what works best for your baby and you and don't waste a bunch of money on diapers that don't fit your child.

    richardrachel at hotmail dot com

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  19. following you on twitter @caedmen

    richardrachel at hotmail dot com

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  20. following your blog via gfc

    richardrachel at hotmail dot com

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  21. I tweeted the giveaway

    richardrachel at hotmail dot com

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  22. Cloth Diaper Tip: Laying cloth diapers and inserts to dry in the sun naturally bleaches them.

    kendrahansen30 at gmail dot com

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  23. I 'liked' you on FB

    kendrahansen30 at gmail dot com

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  24. After hearing so many good things about you and seeing your posts reposted on FB I finally checked you out and I am so glad I did! It's great day to be here, you see, as I am looking into cloth diaps for baby next. This is by FAR the most helpful information I've come across on CDing in at least 6 weeks worth of searching. So, THANK YOU!

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  25. With that said, I'll participate in the contest!

    I've never cloth diapered before and I am concerned about the layering process and overwhelmed with the huge variety out there. I am most concerned about properly cleaning the diapers. How does this work? My LO soaks through sposies (she's definitely a heavy wetter) so easy and I have a hard time getting the smell out of her jammies and sheets. So, again - I'm especially concerned about proper cleaning. angiedoula@gmail.com

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  26. I have liked you on FB. angiedoula@gmail.com

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  27. I have followed you on Twitter (@angiedoula). angiedoula@gmail.com

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  28. I have followed your blog via Google Connect. angiedoula@gmail.com

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  29. And I've tweeted (and tagged you) about your giveaway. angiedoula@gmail.com

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  30. I used cloth on baby #2 and will be using cloth once again when we are blessed with baby #3. My tip is to try lots of different covers until you find your favorites. Take advice from other cloth users. Breastfeeding definitely cuts down on odor and stains too. I used vinegar and cold water to wash most loads. If they were really nay, I'd use hot water to wash.

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  31. My tip would be to get a diaper sprayer. I didn't have one for the first two kids and got one with the third and I don't know how I lived without it. :)

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  32. I also "like" you on FB.

    agusts04 at gmail dot com

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  33. I shared this post on FB, too.

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  34. My tip is to have a variety of diapers in your stash. Otherwise, boredom can sometimes set in. I know I got bored with my stash of all flats and ended up quitting for a few weeks.

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  35. I liked your FB page
    Hilary Buckson

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  36. My advice is to make your own cloth wipes! Get flannel, hem the edges, and save even more money! http://mychildisveryadvanced.blogspot.com/2011/04/f-is-for-flannel-wipes.html

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  37. I also follow your blog (and love it!) by the way.

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  38. CD Tip: When prepping prefolds, the boiling method is a lot faster and uses less water. They seemed better prepped that way too!
    kmmery at gmail dot com

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  39. I liked your fb page
    kmmery at gmail dot com

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  40. Follow on Twitter - mamakalila
    kmmery at gmail dot com

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  41. Following your blog (mamakalila again.. MK is an old account)
    kmmery at gmail dot com

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  42. http://www.facebook.com/kmmery/posts/169728983080373
    kmmery at gmail dot com

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  43. Tip: Always make sure your using CD safe detergent and diaper cream, doing otherwise leads to issues that are very time consuming to fix

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  44. I don't have a washer or dryer in my apartment. How frequently do you have to wash a load of cloth diapers? Is there a molding/etc. hazard?

    atasteofdysfunction at hotmail.ca

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  45. I liked your FB page

    brandymama74@gmail.com

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  46. I follow your blog

    brandymama74@gmail.com

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  47. I think the most important cloth diapering tip is to remember that everyone will have a certain way that will work for them, so when taking advice remember you can tweak the advice to what works for you and your family. And you don't need to spend lots of money to get started, don't be afraid to ask for help:)

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  48. I shared this giveaway on my FB page :)

    brandymama74@gmail.com

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  49. My cloth diapering tip would be to be very diligent if you are switching from disposables to cloth. You will need to change the cloth ones more frequently than disposables to avoid diaper rash! (Seems self-evident, but a lot of my friends have had this problem when switching.)

    email address is antiqueyouth at yahoo dot com

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  50. I like you on facebook. :)

    email is antiqueyouth at yahoo dot com

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  51. Following on Twitter.

    email is antiqueyouth at yahoo dot com

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  52. Following your blog.

    email is antiqueyouth at yahoo dot com

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  53. I'm fairly new to cloth diapering switched my Lo over a few months ago.
    I guess my main question is about striping them what are some methods that work? And my tip would be to get weirded out by colors . If you end up using a pink diaper on a boy.. or blue for a girl its all good! Also diaper cream + cloth diaper = bad. They ruin them. Try something like bum balm or coconut oil.

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  54. I also "like" your Facebook page.

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  55. And I follow your blog

    Ajmorrison55@ gmail. Com (all lower case)

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  56. Hmm, a tip. Cut up some old flannel/fleece pjs or old towels to make wipes. Just get them wet before the change. I think they work far better than disposable wipes. You can also make up a wipe solution, maybe throw in some essential oil (I used tea tree oil).

    susan [dot] pettit [at] gmail [dot] com

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  57. New Momma here - is it possible to cloth-diaper and travel full-time? How would you go about doing this when you're basically living out of your car?
    bekahia (at) gmail (dot) com

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  58. Chelsea Luke FullitonApril 25, 2011 at 8:58 AM

    Looking to start cloth diapering ASAP (pregnant with #3, and will not have my own washer and dryer until LO is at least 1 month) My hubby has shared concerns about "forcing" others to cloth diaper our children...how do we approach leaving our children (for dates and such) with others who are not familiar with cloth diapering? *Also posted your link on my FB page, though you probably won't see it as my page is set super private.* :) **"Liked your FB page!** email is: Chazwaine at yahoo dot com

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  59. My advice: Stay far far away from Kushies diapers.

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  60. Liked your facebook page

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  61. I'm not sure if it's been suggested or not - but I wanna leave a few helpful hints anyways! I love using Essential Oils (just a few drops of Lavender or TTO) to help "freshen" my diapers periodically. Also, for tough stains - the SUN is the best stain remover there is!
    I have found that pocket diapers just rock - they are much better than AIO's and they're close to disposables (as far as "ease" goes - so good for Grandma or Grandpa!)

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  62. follow on twitter

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  63. Also - I "like" you on FB already! :)

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  64. Following your blog

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  65. tweeted http://twitter.com/nikkiwaring/status/62580680562982912

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  66. tip: don't be afraid to try a bunch of different things when it comes to cloth, before giving up! we did a service first and hated it and then i stopped cloth for several months. then i decided to try it again and got 4 different brands - most of them were good, but some are good for different purposes - i have specific night time diapers, and then even more specific for the change in the middle of the night! one brand for going out and one for staying home. it's not hard, i promise! so there is my tip!

    - Cricket scott

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  67. One cloth diapering tip for those people who feel like they will be overwhelmed by the laundry of cloth diapering: diaper service! We had a diaper service for the first 6 months and it was amazing! By the time our son was 6 months old, we had our own laundry machine and switched to our own diapers, but the diaper service really made apartment living and cloth diapering totally manageable!

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  68. My advice is to buy used diapers if you want to try out a brand but are unsure if you'll like them.
    boardingjoy at gmail dot com

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  69. I 'like' your facebook page!
    boardingjoy at gmail dot come

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  70. I liked your facebook page from both my regular profile (http://www.facebook.com/monika.whitney) and my Fan Page profile (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Aias-Dot-Ca/185387881507662)

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  71. http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Guggie-Daily/146559382076530?sk=wall#!/CricketTScott/posts/179376335447994

    http://twitter.com/#!/cricket_scott/status/62581178309414912

    http://twitter.com/#!/cricket_scott/status/62581077776150528

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  72. I'm following you on Twitter (JoyBradway)
    boardingjoy at gmail dot com

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  73. Following you on twitter from my Twitter @aiasdotca

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  74. I am new to cloth diapering, I was wondering how often you need to be washing your diapers and how many washes each time?!
    shannonforpeace(at)gmail.com

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  75. I like you on FB. Shannon Wieneke. shannonforpeace(at)gmail.com

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  76. I follow you on twitter @shannonforpeace shannonforpeace(at)gmail.com

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  77. I follow via GFC. shannonforpeace(at)gmail.com

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  78. tweet: http://twitter.com/#!/shannonforpeace/status/62584661704056832 shannonforpeace(at)gmail.com

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  79. My cloth diapering tip: For cloth wipes, I BOIL about 3-4 cups water first, then I add a few drops of tea tree oil, 1-2tsp of all-natural baby soap, several drops of sweet almond oil, plus maybe a drop or 2 of lavender oil. I stir this up and dip about 30-40 baby cloths and keep them in an airtight container. They will keep fresh for several days, wash up with the diapers, are good to wash up sticky hands and faces, can be put in a ziplock to be brought in the diaper bag, and they have never caused any problems with my diapers. Hope this helps :)
    spindimccoo at g mail dot com

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  80. I "like" The Guggie Daly on FB!

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  81. I am following you.... O.o
    Just joking! I am already following your blog :)

    spindimccoo at g mail dot com

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  82. I shared this giveaway on Facebook :)

    spindimccoo at g mail dot com

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  83. Woah... you're doing a giveaway! Kool! Hm... I'll admit that I didn't worry about toxicity, but just got tired that sposies wear out before they are used when you EC. hahaha. Inserts and covers are the way to go, definitely. I use fuzzibunz just like my grovia!

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  84. My advice, STICK to it and ask questions!
    Sarah Scott

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  85. And I liked you on Facebook
    Sarah Scott

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  86. And I'm now following your blog
    Sarah Scott

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  87. And I'm rebooting the article
    Sarah Scott

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  88. And sending link to a couple of pregger friends-does that count?
    Sarah Scott
    mail_sarah (at) yahoo (dot) (com)

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  89. Cloth diaper tip: Using cloth wipes with my second round at cloth diapering, and found the easiest/cheapest solution was to use my MIL's serger to make my own from double layers of flannel - from old receiving blankets! I have a mountain of DIY wipes and they work great!

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  90. Just started following you on Twitter (@geekmommymel)

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  91. Signed up to follow your blog using Google Reader

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  92. I'm new to cloth diapering. My question is, what's better for newborns, fitteds and covers, sized diapers, or one size diapers?

    britbakow at gmail dot com

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  93. I like your facebook page (brittany higgs)

    britbakow at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  94. I follow you on twitter @brithiggs

    britbakow at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  95. I follow your blog via gfc (brittany bakow)

    britbakow at gmail dot com

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  96. I tweeted this giveaway!
    http://twitter.com/#!/brithiggs/status/62699812394516480

    britbakow at gmail dot com

    ps. Thank you for doing this giveaway. It's really nice of you to pass the fluffy love forward! I hope I can do the same someday :)

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  97. Here is my question.... Is it to late to switch to cloth if my LO is already 15 months??? Could I switch even if I do not own a washer??
    mwilcoxen0519(at) yahoo

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  98. I already "like" you on Fb
    mwilcoxen0519(at) yahoo

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  99. I have shared this on my FB!!!
    mwilcoxen0519(at) yahoo

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  100. Monika, definitely! :) I switched to cloth diapering around 14 months. It's never too late, and in fact, cloth diapering often facilitates potty training.

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  101. One tip for cloth is don't limit yourself. You may like pocket diapers in the beginning but then wool in the summer, or pins and prefolds for infants and fuzzibunz when they're mobile, or velcrow fasteners first but then snaps when they figure out how fun taking a diaper off can be. Being flexible, and buying used are the best tips I can give :}

    Also we are 'friends on facebook'

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  102. Following your twitter as courtney987!

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  103. CD tip: The sun works better than any detergent or drier!

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  104. Giveaway shared on three of my group pages! =)

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  105. I'm a new fan of your FB page :-)

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  106. What's the most efficient way to deal with poopy cloth diapers when out and about? In those cases, disposables are unfortunately much easier to deal with.

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  107. I'm now following you blog :-)

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  108. I guess the only advice I have is that "one size" is not always accurate so it's best to try many different types before stockpiling one brand. :)

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  109. Following on twitter @mollymafia

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  110. My cloth diaper tip:

    For stained diapers, run them through the wash and then place them outside in the sun. The sun acts as a natural bleach and will return your diapers to white. :) You can also squirt some lemon juice on the diapers prior to placing them in the sun to dry as a boost.

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  111. Jennifer Richards. I'm on your facebook page :)April 26, 2011 at 9:51 PM

    My advice as a CDing mama is too invest in a good quality washing detergent. If the company who makes the diaper suggests a detergent to use on ther product than go with that since they have taken the time to test and research what's best for their product. Also follow their washing and care instructions and dont do anything to void their warranty. If you do all this you will prolong the life of your cloth diaper investment and if it so happens you have another baby they can be used on baby number two and maybe even future babies <3

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