are your cloth diapers REALLY green?

are your cloth diapers REALLY green?

Parents who use cloth diapers don’t usually worry about how green our diapering choices are. We feel pretty safe in assuming that cloth diapers are better for the environment than disposable diapers. It seems obvious, right? They fit all the criteria: Reduce (36 diapers instead of 6,000), Reuse (use the same diapers over and over, use the same diapers for subsequent children, and then resell them for someone else to use), Recycle (use old diapers as rags, or make diapers out of recycled materials like sweaters). And as it turns out, we’re right. True, a handful of studies have claimed that the differences are negligible, but the studies were flawed in a lot of important ways. If you don’t want to read a detailed analysis, I’ll sum it up: the studies didn’t look at enough cloth diapering families, and they only took the worst-case scenario for cloth (environmentally speaking) to compare to the best-case scenario for disposable. Conclusion? Cloth diapers with the highest environmental impact have an overlap with disposables with the lowest possible impact. But take a few steps to make your cloth diapering choices more eco-friendly, and your diaper system will beat any disposable options, hands down.

Sound like a lot of work? It’s not. Chances are you’re already doing things that reduce the impact of your diapers on the environment.

1. Evaluate the manufacturing process. The studies comparing cloth to disposable assume that cloth diapers are manufactured with conventional cotton, which requires a lot of pesticides and water to grow. So if you buy organic diapers, consider yourself off the hook. And if organic is out of your budget, consider buying used. Try Diaper Swappers or the Cloth Diaper Swap on Facebook. Or just make your own.

2. Consider location. Many diapers, such as Sustainable Babyish, Thirsties, and Happy Heinys, are made in the USA. Some also use local fabric and materials, enabling you to cut the impact of shipping across the ocean from your diapers’ environmental lifecycle, and others, like Mommy’s Touch, are manufactured solely by work-at-home moms. But a diaper made overseas isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Gaelle Wizenberg of Charlie Banana chose a China-based manufacturer for her diapers, not because that’s where the factories are, but because it’s where she lives. Her Hong Kong office is less than two hours from the factory, so she personally oversees manufacturing to ensure processes are as eco-friendly as possible. She also limits shipping by air, opting for more environmental sea shipping. A little research can tell you a lot about the source of your diapers and the company’s efforts to reduce their impact.

3. Adjust your wash routine. In the comparison studies, the way cloth diapers were washed made the biggest difference to their environmental impact. The best option is also the easiest: use a diaper service. (Actually, you could probably be more eco-friendly than a diaper service if you washed by hand in grey water using homemade organic detergent. Have fun with that.) But if that’s too expensive or not available, a high-efficiency washer makes a big difference too. Avoid very hot water (which isn’t good for your PUL anyway) to save more energy; hang to dry and you’ll save even more (while also disinfecting your diapers and naturally getting rid of stains). If all that is too much work, you can do what Wizenberg does for her own cloth diapers: wash the rest of your laundry a little less often. “I used to change my sheets every week,” she says, “and now I do it every ten days. That’s a lot less loads per year.”

I think I change my sheets every two months, and my jeans only slightly more often, so I figure I can probably wash as many diapers as I want.

4. Buy offsets. I know, offsets are greenwashing, and they don’t really mean anything. Right? Well — maybe. Again, do your research before you buy. The best offsets are the ones that put money toward developing renewable, sustainable systems to replace what you’re trying to offset. Thirsties offsets its transportation with Renewable Energy Credits. Charlie Banana buys offsets for their manufacturing from Climate Action, a Beijing-based company that’s developing clean energy for China.

5. Go diaper free. A friend of mine says that cloth diapers are just a gateway drug to elimination communication, but really, if you want to be green, there’s no better choice. EC doesn’t mean you never use diapers, but every catch in the potty means one less diaper to wash in the short term, and for most families, being potty independent sooner means fewer diapers in the long term too. I’m writing this at 1 pm, and Teddy is still wearing the same flat fold I put on him 5 hours ago. It’s still dry. He’s peed four times and pooped once, all in the potty (or, er, the sink, or maybe the bathtub). That’s five diapers I don’t need to wash. (And if you want to learn more about EC, you can find out about local Atlanta meetings by signing up for my DiaperFreeBaby mailing list.)

So are your cloth diapers really green? To tell the truth — they probably are. But could a few simple steps make them even more eco-friendly? Only you know the answer to that.

Me, I should really hang to dry. At least every once in a while. But I’m too lazy, so I’ll probably just wash my shirts less often instead. Nobody minds the milk stains, right?

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5 cloth diapering mistakes that make you look like a newbie

5 cloth diapering mistakes that make you look like a newbie

Let’s get one thing straight. Cloth diapering is not rocket science. Even when it involves a little origami, it’s not all that complicated. At least not in the way that giving birth, surviving school breaks, or explaining the ultimate why is complicated. Some things in parenting are more difficult than others, and on the big-picture scale, cloth diapering falls somewhere between cooking macaroni and breastfeeding in a carrier. So: not that hard.

However, in the years I’ve been teaching people how to use cloth diapers, I’ve noticed there are a few mistakes that everyone tends to fall into. I don’t know why this is. Maybe the most obvious resources all tend to skip over these things. In any case, I thought it would be helpful to list them all in one place. So here you go: a few of the most common — and most easy to fix — mistakes that people make with cloth diapering.

1. Putting a microfiber insert directly against the skin. This is by far the most common mistake I see, and honestly, it doesn’t surprise me. It’s particularly common with people who start cloth diapering by using two-part systems (i.e., prefolds and covers) who then switch to one-part systems (i.e., pockets). It makes a lot of sense. You get used to only changing the inner part of the diaper and reusing the cover. And then you look at a pocket and think, Hey, this diaper has two parts. Why can’t I just change the inner part and reuse the outside? Which you could, except for one small problem: microfiber is very, very absorbent. So absorbent that it will actually pull moisture out of your baby’s skin. Which will dry out your baby’s skin. Which will cause a rash.

But don’t feel bad if you’ve done this. I totally did it myself.

2. Reusing diapers that aren’t meant to be reused. Along the same lines, a lot of people feel like they ought to be able to reuse a diaper that’s meant for only one change. This is another common problem when you’re switching from prefolds to pockets. You’ve gotten used to prefolds feeling really wet, and pockets have a microfleece layer (not to be confused with microfiber) against your baby’s skin, which feels a lot dryer. So you feel the diaper and think, Gee, this is hardly wet at all. Maybe I can just change the insert and reuse the diaper. Which technically you probably could do occasionally without causing a rash. But the part of the diaper that lies against your baby’s skin is wet, which means the entire diaper is meant to be changed.

My mom always does this for some reason. She doesn’t actually reuse the diaper, but she doesn’t put it in the wash bucket either. After she babysits, I often come home to find damp diapers spread out next to the changing table. “It was only a little bit wet,” she says, “so I wasn’t sure what you wanted to do with it.”

Well, I wanted to wash it. It’s not like I’m throwing it out. Don’t worry, I’ll use it again. When it’s clean.

3. Not adjusting the absorbency correctly. This is mostly a problem at night, although it can be a problem during the day if you’re not changing frequently enough (or if your baby is a really heavy wetter). One common problem is overstuffing a pocket so much that it ends up gapping around the legs. You think it’s leaking because it’s not absorbent enough, so you keep stuffing more in — inserts, boosters, prefolds, and maybe the kitchen sink. But it keeps leaking, because the problem isn’t the amount of absorbency — the problem is that it’s so overstuffed that you can’t tighten it properly. So instead of having elastic nice and flush against baby’s legs, you’ve got big gaps. The pee isn’t even going into the diaper at all — it’s rolling right off the microfleece onto your baby’s clothes. The solution is to use trimmer absorbent layers, such as hemp or zorb, so you can fasten the diaper correctly.

4. Not researching your wash routine adequately. I hate to put this on the list, because people are often so intimidated by the whole washing issue that they give up on cloth entirely. And the reality is that much of the time, you can get away with all sorts of “bad” washing habits and your diapers will be fine. At least for a while. But after a while, you start to have problems, and instead of googling, say, “dryer sheets + cloth diapers,” which will tell you right away what you’re doing wrong, you assume it’s too complicated and give up. One particularly common problem here is Charlie’s Soap, which causes a rash for some babies, especially if you’re using a different detergent for the rest of your laundry. It’s an easy problem to fix if you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use, but it’s really common (so much so that when someone tells me their diapers are causing a rash, my first question is always, “Are you using Charlie’s Soap?”).

5. Not trying different types of diapers. There are a few brands that almost always work for everybody, but since every baby is a little different, chances are that you’ll like one brand a lot better than another. Which is why I always recommend that you not buy a lot of diapers until you’ve tried a few different types. With all the stores offering trial packages and rentals these days, there’s no reason not to experiment a little before you invest a lot of money.

Of course there are plenty of other mistakes people make, but if you avoid these, you’ll at least avoid looking like a total newbie. And if you share this list with your friends who are just getting started with cloth, you’ll look like a complete cloth pro.

You’re welcome.

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fuzzibunz vs. charlie banana: pocket diaper smackdown

fuzzibunz vs. charlie banana: pocket diaper smackdown

Choosing the right cloth diaper is hard enough when there are so many different types of diapers. But it’s even harder when you have to choose among several diapers that are almost exactly the same.

Babywearers face a similar problem comparing soft structured carriers, and since my post comparing them has been pretty popular, I thought it was time I offer a solution to the pocket diaper problem too.

Plus, more people are becoming familiar with FuzziBunz since the owner appeared on Shark Tank recently. I didn’t see the show, but apparently (and unsurprisingly), she talked a bit (without mentioning names, of course) about the Charlie Banana problem. You can read it all in the owner’s own words here, but in a nutshell, the founder of Charlie Banana had worked with FuzziBunz before she branched off to create Charlie Banana, and although she changed the design slightly, she also used a lot of similar features. There was nothing unethical about it, but it was a big controversy for a while, even to the point that some retailers refused to sell CBs. (Which meant nothing since Target and Walmart were — and are — perfectly happy to sell them.) But what this means for you as a cloth diapering parent is this: choosing between FuzziBunz and Charlie Banana is like choosing between the East Atlanta and the Grant Park farmer’s markets. It’s practically impossible, because they’re practically the same.

And as if things weren’t confusing enough when Charlie Banana first came out, FuzziBunz followed up the CB release with a new version of their own (the FuzziBunz Elite) which, intentionally or not, is even more similar to Charlie Banana than the old one-size Fuzzi Bunz were. But there are a few small but key differences that make a choice possible. Maybe.

Unless you’re just obsessed with diapers like me, in which case you need to get both.

Elastic 

I’m comparing the one-size diapers, which means they both adjust in size and can be used on most babies from birth to potty training. Originally, the elastic adjustments were identical: they both used a button system, similar to what many toddler pants have. FuzziBunz still uses that system:

Charlie Banana, however, has switched to a buckle system:

I think the Charlie Banana system is a little easier to adjust, especially since it’s labeled with sizes instead of numbers. (FuzziBunz has a chart that tells you what numbers correspond to what size. Confusing.) But FuzziBunz allows you to adjust both the waist and the legs, while Charlie Banana only allows you to adjust the legs. Also, Fuzzi Bunz has buttons on both sides, which means you can switch the elastic out — and each diaper comes with a spare set of elastic. Since elastic is usually the first thing to go on cloth diapers, being able to switch the elastic out easily — no sewing required! — can really extend the life of your diaper. I have a whole pile of old non-adjustable FuzziBunz that I’d be using instead of selling if I could adjust the elastic.

So: if convenience is most important to you, then Charlie Banana has a slight edge on elastic. If you want diapers that are built to last, go with FuzziBunz.

Stuffing

Both FuzziBunz and Charlie Banana are pocket diapers. This means they have three parts: an outer waterproof layer, an inner layer that wicks moisture away from your baby’s skin, and an absorbent insert that you stuff between the other two layers. Some people don’t like pockets because they’re more expensive than two-part diapers (like prefolds, where you only have to buy a few covers and a bunch of prefolds; with pockets, you need a whole new diaper for every diaper change), but they’re less convenient than all-in-ones (where you don’t have to stuff or fold or adjust anything). But pockets are my favorite type of diaper, because they offer a great combination of convenience and flexibility. Once they’re stuffed, they’re easy to put on (unlike prefolds, which need folding), but they wash and dry faster than all-in-ones, and unlike all-in-ones, you can adjust the absorbency for different needs (like adding inserts for nighttime).

There’s one small problem with pockets, though: you’re supposed to take the insert out before you wash them. That means you have to take a dirty insert out of a dirty diaper. So the ease of getting that insert out with as little touching as possible is a big factor when comparing pocket diapers.

Charlie Banana and FuzziBunz Elite have two main differences when it comes to stuffing. First, on Charlie Bananas, the opening is in front, while on FuzziBunz it’s in the back. A front opening is better when there’s poop on the diaper, because poop goes toward the back. But a back opening is better for boys with a pee-only diaper, because boy pee goes in front. (Girl pee goes in the middle, so it doesn’t matter much either way). I would give the advantage on this to Charlie Banana, because it’s less likely you’d ever have to touch poop, except for the fact that Charlie Banana also has a flap over the opening. You can see what I mean here:

What this means is that if there’s poop on your FuzziBunz, you can just shake the diaper over your pail and the insert will come out. Whereas with Charlie Banana, you have to reach past the flap to pull the insert out.

Some people like the flap because it looks more finished; others prefer the convenience of shaking the insert out. I like both. It’s a matter of taste.

Snaps

Both diapers use tab snaps, which means they wrap around in front to snap. Both have two rows of snaps, which means the waist and the leg can be adjusted separately. The only real difference in snaps is that Charlie Banana has an extra crossover snap. This is a snap in the middle of the wing that allows you to cross the tabs over each other. It’s great for a small baby (it’s the way you can fit this diaper on a newborn even though you can’t adjust the elastic in the waist), but it’s also great for wrapping the diaper around itself and securing it when it’s dirty and you’re out and you forgot your wet bag. Which of course I never do. But if I did, I’d want a crossover snap. FuzziBunz doesn’t have this feature.

Inserts

The old FuzziBunz inserts are identical to Charlie Banana inserts (except for the big Charlie Banana tag on the latter). Both are microfiber, which means they’re very absorbent and they have to be used inside the diaper (not against the baby’s skin). However, the latest version of FuzziBunz Elite includes a minky insert, which can go directly against the skin. And really, you want to put it on the skin, because it’s so soft. I only have one FuzziBunz Elite diaper, but my four year old digs through the laundry to find this insert so she can carry it around and rub it on her face. It seems like a real waste to stuff it in the pocket, but even though you could use the diaper as a cover and lay the insert on the inside, that’s not really how FuzziBunz are designed. Charlie Banana, however, is designed to be flexible that way — that’s the other reason for the pretty flap over the pocket. If you want to use the diaper as a cover and put an insert inside, the flap holds the insert in place. And Charlie Banana also offers disposable inserts which are meant to be used against the skin, making it a hybrid diaper.

I love the minky insert, although I haven’t really tested it well enough to compare its absorbency to the microfiber. So far it seems to be wearing better than a microfiber insert, but that may be just because I don’t use it very often. It’s one of my two favorite diapers, so I’m always saving it for special occasions.

Fit and Look 

I honestly can hardly tell a difference in fit between the two diapers. Both are trim and snug and look great. The biggest difference to me is the colors and the prints, which of course are just a matter of opinion. Charlie Banana has some fabulous colors (I’m a sucker for black and orange diapers), but I hate the prints (although plenty of people love them). FuzziBunz has similar colors, and they regularly offer limited-edition prints, which I almost always love. So for me, FuzziBunz has a slight advantage here.

Overall

The verdict? They’re both awesome. You need both. Lots of both. They mix and match well.

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how to choose the best cloth diaper

People often ask me which cloth diaper is best. Which is a reasonable question. But like many “best” questions, it has no answer. It all depends on what you’re looking for.

The trouble is figuring out what you’re looking for. And most people don’t want to put this much thought into diapers. (Can’t really blame you on that one.) So they don’t know what questions to ask.

I’m working on a tool that’s going to walk you through everything you need to know to find the perfect cloth diapering system. But in the meantime, I thought a visual aid might help. This doesn’t cover all the options, but it does narrow down your choices. If you’re trying to decide which cloth diaper is best for you, this will at least get you started.

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baby kicks new basic pocket diaper review

When Baby Love Consignment Store started carrying the new BabyKicks pocket diapers, Lauren (the owner of the store), asked if I wanted to try one out. But of course I told her I couldn’t, because I already have far too many diapers.

Ha. Right.

I decided to try the new basic pocket diaper, mostly because she happened to have that one with snaps, and I much prefer snaps to Aplix. And also because the new premium diaper looks weird to me. It has fleece around the legs instead of PUL, which increases airflow and helps prevent rash. But the white edging looks weird to me.

(See what I mean?)

The basic pocket diaper, however, is gorgeous.

The first thing I noticed about this diaper is it’s trim. Really, really trim. Side snapping helps, as does the fact that the insert is half hemp and half microfiber. It’s definitely the trimmest one-size diaper I’ve seen. It’s more narrow in the crotch than a Fuzzi Bunz or a Bum Genius, which also makes it trim, but it’s not as narrow as, say, a Daisy Doodle (which I am having to sell all my Daisy Doodles because they are just too narrow to catch pee for a boy), so it doesn’t have a leaking problem.

It’s really cute on Teddy.

It comes in some great colors, including black (why do I want a black diaper so bad? I have no idea. For some reason black diapers are really doing it for me this year). And as I mentioned, the insert is half hemp, which is pretty much the best combination of absorbency and trimness you can get in a diaper insert.

I’ve used it several times, and I’ve left it on long enough to really test it out for pee (which I usually don’t do for my little EC baby, but you know, you gotta sacrifice a little to properly review a diaper), and it’s wonderful. No leaks ever.

Except for overnight. It leaked overnight both times I tried it. I should mention that my diaper guru says you shouldn’t use pocket diapers at night for boys or for tummy sleepers, and my boy is a tummy sleeper. So really I shouldn’t expect pocket diapers to work at night. But I have managed to figure out a system with Fuzzi Bunz that works at night. I haven’t tried the BabyKicks with a second hemp insert, which would probably work, but I think the slightly narrow crotch also makes it more likely to leak at night. And it’s so cute and trim anyway, I’d rather keep it as a daytime-only diaper.

The one thing I don’t like is the fact that it only has one insert. It’s still pretty trim even with the insert folded over, but since I’m only using it for daytime, the extra absorbency really isn’t necessary, and I’d rather have a shorter insert that fits the smaller size. I could use one of BabyKicks’ lovely Joey Bunz inserts instead, or a Fuzzi Bunz small insert, and I may do that till Teddy is big enough to wear this diaper at the full size.

And as with all pocket diapers, I wish it came in prints. (What’s up with so few pocket diapers having cute prints?)

Other than that, it’s one of my favorite diapers. It may become one of my top recommendations for a set of one-size, especially since it’s so trim even on the smaller setting. It is on the smaller size at the largest setting, so I don’t know if it would really fit up to potty training, especially for larger babies. But at $15.99 for a one-size, it’s a great deal.

Want to buy one? Head on over to Baby Love and pick it up in person!

Oh, you don’t live in Atlanta? Bummer. Well, you can get one here.

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have you changed your baby’s diaper lately?

have you changed your baby’s diaper lately?

More specifically, have you changed him into a cloth diaper lately?

Last Saturday, 61 babies had their diapers changed — into cloth diapers — all at the same time. That’s 61 babies in Atlanta. The worldwide numbers haven’t come in yet, but since there were over 300 locations, I’m guessing it was, well, a lot. Probably even more than last year, which means that one of my babies finally got to be part of a Guinness World Record.

Yes, last Saturday was the Great Cloth Diaper Change, when thousands of families all over the world took part in a mass effort to break the world record (set last year, at 5,026 participants) for the most cloth diapers changed at one time. Why, you ask? To raise awareness about cloth diapers, of course. Also to show off our diaper stashes to people who care. And to demonstrate our amazing cloth diaper folding skills to people who, well, care.

(Sadly, people who care about this kind of thing are few and far between.)

Actually, I think I was the only person trying to show off my mad origami skills. Everyone else was using pocket diapers or all-in-ones. I used a printed Swaddlebees flat and a weehuggers cover. Just to show off. I think it actually had the effect of making me look like an idiot who doesn’t have awesome diapers like everybody else, though — especially when I broke my Snappi in the middle of the change. And then shouted in surprise, “Ugh! I broke my Snappi!” And everyone turned and stared at me.

At least they all knew what I was talking about and didn’t think I was speaking some weird code in which “Snappi” means “little finger” or “bra strap” or something more embarrassing.

I should have done what a mama next to me did, which was change into this diaper:

(Yes, that’s a Spiderman diaper. She told me it only cost $5. Must. Buy. Now. Except I can only find it for $10. Still searching for the deal.)

I also offered Teddy the chance to pee in his potty in the middle of the change, which would have been awesome except that he didn’t pee. He had just gone. He did pee in the potty several times during the event, though, which was cool. Actually that was doubly cool because when can you pee your baby into a potty on the floor in the middle of a rec center and not have people freak out? Only when you’re running the DiaperFreeBaby exhibit table at a cloth diaper changing event, that’s when.

And speaking of people who care. I was also really excited that Kia Smith of Atlanta Diaper Relief was at the event. Atlanta Diaper Relief collects diapers for families who can’t afford them, and until this weekend, they had only ever distributed disposable diapers. But I met Kia when I was a guest on the Mommy Talk Show, and and I asked her then if she would ever be interested in collecting and distributing cloth diapers as well. It’s bothered me for a long time that cloth diapers are viewed as an expensive option for higher-income families, when in reality cloth diapering is much cheaper than using disposables. And for Kia’s clients, the benefit is obvious: families who receive disposable diapers will continue to need more diapers till their children are potty trained, but families who receive cloth diapers will never need help with diapers again. So I’m excited that Kia is going to help cloth become an option for more families who can’t afford the upfront cost of buying a stash. This weekend, Kia got a great start on Atlanta’s first-ever cloth diaper bank, not only from individual donations, but also because the Atlanta Birth Center donated the leftovers from their diaper consignment sale. It’s not too late to donate your old cloth diapers; you can contact Kia or me if you have some you’d like to donate.

Sometime in the next few weeks, Kia and I will get together to count and organize the diapers. And I will revel in the soft fluffy wonderfulness and try to resist the urge to rub them all over my face. Then we will figure out how to distribute them. And then I will give a workshop to the recipients to teach them how to use them. And then a few happy families (or maybe even more than a few) will never have to worry about the cost of diapers again.

Sad you missed the event? You can participate next year. It will once again be on Earth Day weekend, and we’ll have an even bigger record to break.

So you have a whole year to find a great sale on a Spiderman diaper.

Photo is Ashley and Suzanne from Atlanta Birth Center with Kia Smith of Atlanta Diaper Relief, showing off the donated diapers.

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great cloth diaper change tomorrow

great cloth diaper change tomorrow

Last year, I helped organize the Great Cloth Diaper Change event. I couldn’t participate, since I didn’t have a baby in diapers, but I had to be involved somehow. So I helped with some of the administrative stuff, including finding a location for the event. And I have to say, making those phone calls was quite an experience. The conversations went like this:

Me: I’m looking for an event space on April 29.

Event coordinator at large event space location, like the Atlanta zoo: Sure!  What kind of space are you looking for?

Me: Well, we need two rooms, one for vendor tables and one for the actual event. And the event room has to have a door and be at least 80 square feet.

Event coordinator: Our [name of room] could work for that. What’s the name of your event?

Me: It’s the Great Cloth Diaper Change. It’s an attempt to set a Guinness World Record for the most cloth diapers changed at one time.

Event coordinator: What?

That’s when I would try not to laugh. Then I would start explaining that a mass diaper change does not necessarily mean a room full of poop. And that everyone would use changing pads. And that it was an international event organized by the Real Diaper Association in which thousands of people around the world would be changing diaper at exactly the same time, coordinated across multiple time zones, all of which made it sound more legitimate and less wacky.

But world records are supposed to be wacky, right? I mean, a lot of the stranger Guinness World Records make a room full of poop sound unimaginatively boring. Lots of people want to be famous, and a strange world record is a great way to do it. The odder it is, the less likely that someone else beat you to it.

Last year was the first attempt to set a record for the most cloth diapers changed at one time, so we didn’t have anything to beat. Over 5,000 participants (5,026 to be exact) isn’t bad, but I’m sure we can beat that this year. Especially if you come. Because you always wanted to be famous, right?

You can register to attend the Great Cloth Diaper Change in Atlanta here. Do it quick, so your baby won’t grow up and decide he needs to get into the record books by towing a car with his ear.

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cloth diapers: collectibles?

cloth diapers: collectibles?

I thought I had a problem with cloth diapers. I thought I was a cloth diaper addict. I thought I was serious about buying fancy, beautiful cloth diapers.

Then I saw this.

In case you don’t feel like clicking through (or if the auction has ended and you can’t see it anymore), this is an auction for couple of used Ragababe diapers. The current top bid is $210.00. For two diapers. I used the picture from the auction as the picture for this post, so you can see what they look like. Sure, they’re pretty diapers. But they are not $105-each-pretty-diapers. I don’t think there is such a thing as diapers worth $100.

Can you even imagine using a diaper that you paid that much for? Seriously? I mean, what would you do if your baby (gasp!) pooped in it?!?

Maybe these diapers turn your kid’s poop to gold? Or at least to flowers?

In any case, I’m happy to know there are other people with a bigger addiction than mine. Makes me feel like I’m saving money when I buy 15 Fuzzi Bunz for $200.

Don’t forget–today is the last day to enter to win five free lunches delivered to your child at school! Enter through the Rafflecopter widget here

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what to do with your old cloth diapers

what to do with your old cloth diapers

Is there such thing as a cloth diaper you don’t want anymore?

I know for me, it’s hard to get rid of cloth diapers. Okay, so the truth is that I’ve never done it. Despite the fact that I know I can get anywhere from 50-75% of the price of new diapers for my used diapers in good condition by reselling them, and despite the fact that I have more diapers than any one person could possibly expect to use (even if I had multiple babies in diapers), I still have yet to get rid of a diaper. Ever.

I’m working on that.

Maybe knowing that I can help other families with my old diapers will work when the chance of making money won’t.

April is coming up, and since it’s Earth Day month, a lot of companies and nonprofits are thinking about how they can highlight green, eco-friendly initiatives. One that I was a part of last year, and that I’m excited to be able to participate in this year, is the Great Cloth Diaper Change. Organized by the Real Diaper Association as part of its “real diaper week,” the Great Cloth Diaper Change is an attempt to set a Guinness World Record for the most cloth diapers changed at one time. Last year we set the record for the first time (with 5,026 participants) by coordinating multiple events to occur at the same time in different timezones across the globe. This year, on April 21, we’ll try to beat that record.

Here in Atlanta, the Great Cloth Diaper Change will take place at noon at a not-yet-publicized intown location. As a participant, you’ll get a bag full of free cloth diaper stuff, which means you might find yourself in my situation: with a few more cloth diapers than you need. Which brings me to the part of the event that I’m probably most excited about.

A few months ago, I met Kia Smith of Atlanta Diaper Relief, a nonprofit organization that collections donations of (disposable) diapers and distributes them to families who need them. For many of their clients, monthly budgeting means balancing the cost of diapers against the cost of medicines or food. Most–okay, all–of their donations are disposable diapers, and although I realize that it can be difficult to use cloth diapers if your child is in daycare or you don’t have a washing machine, I still thought, when I first met Kia, what a shame it was that they didn’t even offer cloth as an option. Because a donation of disposable diapers only helps until you run out of diapers. But a donation of cloth diapers will help for as long as your child is in diapers. Even if you’re only able to use them part-time, they’ll still cut down significantly on your diaper cost.

And so, the Atlanta Diaper Relief will be partnering with the Great Cloth Diaper Change this year to run the first ever Atlanta cloth diaper drive. Kia will be accepting donations of cloth diapers throughout the month of April, and then she’ll distribute them to clients who are interested. I’ll then offer workshops as necessary to teach recipients how to use their new cloth diapers–and I may do a workshop for a daycare or two as well.

If you’d like to donate diapers, it’s not too early to start!–contact Kia and she’ll coordinate picking them up. Or, you can bring them to the Great Cloth Diaper Change. And if you don’t have any diapers you’re willing to let go of yet, consider bringing a few receiving blankets (which work great as flats), some Snappis or pins, or a cover or two.

In other news: don’t miss this giveaway!–comment on last Friday’s post to win a week of FREE organic lunches. 

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ten reasons you should take a cloth diaper workshop

ten reasons you should take a cloth diaper workshop

I know a lot of people who thought about using cloth diapers. Most of my friends probably at least considered cloth diapers. When they were pregnant, they started researching cloth diapers online. Because that’s what you do when you’re interested in something a little out of the mainstream like cloth diapers.

And that is when many people give up on cloth diapers.

Try it. Go on. Google “which cloth diapers are the best.” There are nine million results. And most of them (the top results, anyway) don’t even answer that question. They tell you why you should use cloth and what some of the different types of options are. But after about twenty minutes of reading about AIOs, OS, CPF, and AI2, you have every right to be confused.

Plus, lots of people have never seen a cloth diaper in person when they start trying to buy them. They have no idea how soft minky is, or what microfleece feels like, or how soft organic bamboo velour is. So even those who do manage to overcome the confusion and actually buy some diapers usually end up going through a lot of trial-and-error. They try a lot of different types of diapers and finally find one that works well for their family.

But you can avoid a lot of the trial-and-error if you can actually see diapers before you buy them.

Which is where a cloth diaper workshop comes in.

I started offering workshops when my daughter was about three months old. I wasn’t an expert yet at that point, but I was well on my way to having an obsession. Now I’m offering monthly workshops in Grant Park at Baby Love Atlanta consignment store. So if you’re thinking about cloth diapers but haven’t figured out what you want yet, you should come. Here’s why.

1. You can feel how soft cloth diapers are. If that doesn’t make you want some, I don’t know what will. I am not kidding when I tell you that I regularly rub the inside of cloth diapers against my cheeks. They’re so…fuzzy. And fluffy.

Yes, I know I’m weird.

2. You can learn how to do the origami fold with a flat diaper. Sure, you could learn that from YouTube. But wouldn’t you rather learn it in person? And anybody who can do the origami fold is automatically and instantly a cloth diaper expert.

3. You can see all the different options in one place. The choices are less overwhelming when you can see them spread out on a table.

4. You can ask questions. I’ll help you figure out your priorities (ease of use? cost? Quick drying?) and make decisions about what you want.

5. You can practice putting diapers on. With a doll, or even with your baby if you bring him.

6. You can drag your significant other along. I specialize in persuading partners that cloth diapers are a great idea.

7. You can see what diapers look like in person. How bulky are they really? What color options are there?

8. You can get personalized advice. We can talk through your goals for cloth diapering, and I’ll help you figure out what system will work best for you. I’ll also advise you on washing and caring for your diapers.

9. Your older child or toddler can come along (and have a blast). Baby Love’s workshop space is also a wonderful play space for kids. My four year old loves to come to workshops with me.

10. You can go home with a start on your stash. Although I don’t have a large selection of diapers for sale at workshops, all the diapers that I show are for sale, so you can buy a few while you’re there. Baby Love also accepts consigned cloth diapers. They have quite a few in stock right now, including several of my favorite brands, and you will not find a better price on secondhand diapers!

11. Bonus reason: you get to meet Teddy. Who is the cutest baby on the planet (except for yours, of course!).

Convinced yet? There’s a workshop next Thursday! Sign up here.

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