Thursday, December 8, 2011

My New Best Friends

Hope you're all having a wonderful December! We just celebrated St. Nicholas Day for the first time with Jem on was so much fun to watch him pull his new little wooden trains and cars out of his stocking. They've been a big hit! St. Nick brought a few things for mommy and daddy too... including chocolate oranges. Yum!

As we approach the end of 2011, I've started to think about the list of my favorite products of the year. Later in the month I'll make a full list of these products, but for now I'm just going to talk about a few recent additions to my cloth diaper routine that I don't know how I ever did without.

First up: Borax. As fabulous as my recent discoveries of Eco Sprout and The Laundry Tarts detergent were, even they were still not quite able to save my thickest diapers from the stink that sometimes remained after the wash cycle. I have battled keeping rashes off of my son from the beginning, particularly with his nighttime diapers. One reason for this, I believe, is that the majority of my inserts are microfiber, which I recently became aware is notorious for getting less absorbant and harder to clean the older it gets. Enter Borax, a natural, cost effective cleaning product, which my mother had recommended months ago but I was hesitant to try. I had heard sodium borate, the chemical name for Borax, can be a skin irritant. However, after reading that, like many other natural cleaning products, it's only an irritant if rubbed directly on the skin and that it washes out completely in laundry, I tried it. The difference in the smell of even my thickest overnight microfiber inserts and my fitted diapers is amazing. There is none! I am currently using 2 Tbsp of The Laundry Tarts (Plain Jane) or Crunchy Clean unscented with 4 Tbsp of Borax. The best part is that, since sodium borate is found abundantly right here in the US (mostly in California), a 4 lb box of Borax only costs about $3. I can live with that!

My next new best friend is Bamboo. Because of not only the stink, but the leakage issues we have battled due to the microfiber inserts, I decided it was time to try more natural fibers. Although hemp and organic cotton are technically more eco-friendly (bamboo must first be made into nylon or viscose fibers before it can be made into fabric, which do not biodegrade as easily as cotton and hemp), bamboo has the benefits of being more absorbant, softer, and it wicks urine away from baby's bottom a bit better than cotton and hemp. So I bought a couple of bamboo inserts from SweetBottomsBaby Boutique. I have been so impressed by the absorbancy compared to the microfiber that I ordered ten more bamboo inserts, this time Doopsy inserts from Etsy (Doopsy inserts are made in the USA). I have a feeling this will not be my last bamboo purchase. In fact, if they continue to work for us I may phase microfiber out of our supply entirely and switch solely to natural fibers!

Next up is a product that may surprise those who've been following this blog for awhile: Kawaii Goodnight Heavy Wetter diapers. I was hesitant to try them because they are made in China, and you know I have that list of USA manufactured diapers I was intent on sticking with. The fact that they cost so little also makes me squirm a first thought when I see a price so low on a pocket diaper is "what are their workers making per hour?" However, Jem's been such a heavy wetter at night lately that even our beloved BumGenius diapers, paired with three inserts (1 bamboo, 1 hemp and 1 microfiber) were not cutting it. I kept hearing the glowing reviews about Kawaii GNHW dipes, and they WERE inexpensive. So I decided to break down and buy just one from Figure 8 Maternity, for $10 with free shipping. I still use three inserts to be on the safe side (two natural fiber inserts plus one of the microfiber inserts the GNHW came with), but so far, Jem has not leaked out of it once. The inserts are all soaking in the morning, but his jammies and sheets are dry. So...I ordered two more of these wonder dipes. Which should be plenty! I do feel bad about not sticking with my list, but I figure it's just a few diapers for nighttime and I can stick with US made diapers for the rest of my stash. Oh, the compromises we make for our sweet babies! For the record, Luvyourbaby Products, the creators of Kawaii diapers, post an assurance on their website that their laborers are treated well and that their prices are low simply because they have no retail locations to pay for. I guess I'll just have to hope that's true!

My last new best friend is that GE Profile HE toploading washing machine I was so excited to get. Yes, I've only had it for a couple of months, so there's still time for it to break my heart. However, what I have here is an energy efficient machine that I can still add as much water to as I need for diaper washing, with a custom-tailored cycle I have programmed just for diapers. This cycle automatically runs with the push of one button and gives me a 30 minute soak, then a nice, hot, temperature-controlled heavy duty wash followed by one normal rinse and one extra "fabric softener" rinse (a more thorough rinse). It's wonderful! And it's kind of hypnotizing to watch it work its magic through the glass auto-lock lid...even my hubby likes to stand there and stare!

Hope you all are enjoying whatever holiday traditions you celebrate! Stay tuned for some fun giveaways coming up!!!

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