Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Cloth Diaper Fabrics: How "Green" are They?

There are a lot of good reasons to choose cloth diapers over disposables. One of these is making less of an impact on the environment, so it helps to know which fabrics are more "eco friendly," if that's an important factor for you.

These five fabrics are often marketed as being green. But do they measure up?

Hemp is more dense and absorbent than cotton, but is not as soft, so you often find it blended with other fabrics. Hemp leaves a small footprint since it’s easy to grow without a lot of water or chemicals. The mechanical processing of hemp is aided by natural enzymes, and the resulting fibers which make up the final product are the actual natural fibers from the plant. Hemp production is now legal in 46 US states.
Pictured: Best Bottom diaper cover with hemp insert (Nicki's Diapers)
Wool is a very unique fabric. It’s created by sheep, and that makes it very sustainable. It’s performance as a breathable, waterproof and bacterial-resistant fabric is unbeatable. But it does require special care. Check the labels and choose “organically grown” when possible, or buy re-purposed/up-cycled, handmade goods.
Bamboo is frequently marketed as a natural fiber, and it is - with some caveats. Bamboo grows as prolifically as grass, making it highly sustainable. However, the fabric that is made into cloth diapers is actually “rayon from bamboo,” because a complicated chemical process is necessary to render the rayon/viscose filaments that are woven into that deliciously soft fabric that mothers and babies love. It is this process and its byproducts that somewhat dampen (but don’t negate) the claim that bamboo diapers are “green” and environmentally friendly. Is bamboo naturally anti-bacterial? The FTC is hesitant to say “yes” and the debate continues.
Pictured: Diaper Rite newborn bamboo all-in-one (Diaper Junction)
Cotton has been a cloth diapering standard for years. It’s soft and absorbent, easy to wash, very economical and more resistant to odors than synthetics. However, the pesticides, herbicides and insecticides used to grow cotton conventionally, as well as the large amounts of water required, are a definite drawback. You can lessen the impact by choosing the organic, unbleached variety instead.
Pictured: Flip diaper with organic cotton insert (Cotton Babies)
Upcycled fabrics can include pretty much anything. The idea is that you’re buying a diaper or cover which was repurposed from something else. Lots of WAHM’s turn things like old sweaters, t-shirts, blankets and burp cloths into beautiful, functional diapers. The environmental benefit here is not so much in the fabrics themselves, but in giving the diapers a second (or third) life, and saving them from a landfill. One of my favorite "upcycled" cloth diaper shops is Mama Bear Babywear.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Hand-Washing Diapers Just Takes Common Sense (+ a Giveaway)

Whether your baby wears cloth diapers or not, I bet at some point in your life, you have hand-washed something. Maybe it was a delicate item, or an article of clothing you wanted to wear that day and didn't have time to go through the whole laundry cycle. And I'll bet that you discovered hand-washing is nothing but good old common sense.

So when it comes to getting cloth diapers cleaned the "old fashioned way," don't be intimidated. Because you get them clean in the same way that you would other very dirty things. Use lots of agitation, a reliable detergent and plenty of warm or hot water. That's pretty much it!

Here's my simple photo tutorial for handwashing diapers and covers.
Educating people about the simplicity and affordability of flat diapers is the main reason behind the annual Flats & Handwashing Challenge, now hosted by the Cloth Diaper Podcast. Whether you're trying to save money or are in a true emergency, flats offer a cheap and flexible solution.

During the 2016 challenge, we used flour sack towels, which are about a dollar apiece at Wal-Mart and Target. Although not as soft and absorbent as actual flat diapers, they will do the trick in a pinch and are affordable enough for pretty much anyone.

What are my favorite flat diapers? Available exclusively at Nicki's, they are made of one layer of soft, snowy white muslin. So simple and easy to clean! They are less than $3.00 each and can be folded to your desired size. Later on, repurpose them as burp cloths, rags or nursing covers. My full review is posted here.

Here's the link to join this year's challenge. It starts May 25th - use tag #flatschallenge to follow.

I'm also hosting a giveaway
to encourage more families to try flats! 
Photo is only representative of the actual prize

Giveaway: Enter to win a 3-pack of white cotton flour sack towels and a Best Bottom "Little Patriot" cover. Released for Independence Day in 2016, this limited edition All-American diaper is made in the USA! Winner will also receive a free Zephyr Hill mini tote bag from my sister website.

This promotion is open to US residents.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Bebeboo Diapers: Flex Cover Review & Giveaway

Bebeboo Diapers is a work-from-home, mother-owned brand that we first tried out last year. Choices include pockets, AI2's and covers; the latter style is what we're chatting about in this post.

Bebeboo Flex waterproof covers can be paired with your choice of diaper or insert. They are adjustable up to 35 pounds, and with a wipeable interior you can refresh the cover for multiple uses. Use the snaps inside to hold Bebeboo bamboo inserts, or just lay a cover or flat inside before wrapping around your baby. The price tag of $14.95 makes the versatile Flex cover a very affordable option for families.

We received a one-size cover in the Winter Bloom print.

It also included the soaker set pictured below.

The larger adjustable insert is 5 layers of bamboo viscose and can be snapped down to short. The petite insert is 4 layers of bamboo viscose. You can snap it to the back of the larger one and use them together in the cover for older babies. The snaps inside the cover are compatible with other brands of inserts, too!

The only negative with these soakers is a longer dry time vs. foldable insert like a prefold or flat.

If you have a little one that spends a lot of time on her tummy, the inside front flat on the Flex cover is helpful at preventing wetness from seeping through.

In the picture below, Camille was about 10 months old. It's highly adjustable, both at the waist and on the rise, and you can even angle the snaps to fine tune the fit. The fabric used is very sturdy and thicker than other PUL covers we've tried, so it doesn't have the pliable, lightweight feel of some wraps. Yet it's very durable and so far has been bulletproof.

In these more recent pictures, she is 17 months old and about 25 pounds. They didn't name it the "Flex" cover for nothing. There's room to grow and room to stretch. Cue the Chariot's of Fire music!

My co-reviewer, Katie, used the Flex "Petite" version to diaper her newborn son, Roland. This handsome boy also just happens to be my nephew! At 1-month-old and about 12 pounds, Katie reported that the covers fit really well and gave him room to grow. No issues with leaks, either. Just like the one-size cover, you can use the Petite with multiple types of inserts and diapers. Roland is wearing a small bamboo insert with the orange cover, and a small insert plus Geffen booster with the blue cover.

Bebeboo sells accessories, too! Their handy double-compartment wet/dry bags are just $12.95 and featured two handles on the sides so you can hang on the stroller or a doorknob.  Pictured below is the "Nature's Gold" bag.

When you shop Bebeboo, you are supporting a work-from-home enterprise. That comes with prompt, personalized service and a helping hand to guide you through any questions or troubleshooting that may arise. Owner Thea makes it enjoyable, too, because Bebeboo prints and colors are known for being imaginative and bold. I really look forward to her releases throughout the year!  

* Times are hard and Bebeboo is here to help *
First-time customers can use code 032020 to get 25% off
Returning customers use code shipfree to get free shipping

Giveaway: Enter to win a a shop credit of $25, courtesy of Bebeboo Cloth Diapers! Use the entry form below. Open to residents of US, Canada and Mexico. Good luck!