Cloth Diaper Stains: If You Liked It Then You Shoulda Put A Liner On It

If You Liked It Then You Shoulda Put A Liner On ItStains…the nemesis to cloth diaper moms.  We’ll sun ‘em, Oxi-Clean ‘em, Buncha Farmers stain stick ‘em.  Some of us might even bleach ‘em.  The most important thing to remember is that a stain doesn’t mean a diaper is dirty.  Some types of water can make stains really hard to avoid and get out.  And certain foods (ahem, looking at you blueberries) can cause stains that are hard to get out no matter how good your wash routine is.

Here are a few things you can do to help avoid, or remove, stains from your diapers.  Be sure to check your warranties before trying any of these methods as you don’t want to void a warranty just to remove a stain.

  • Use the sun.  Nature provides a great bleaching and whitening tool all on its own.  Put your clean wet diapers out in the sun and let it do its magic.  It may take more than once to fade really set in stains, but it will work.
  • Lemon juice and sun.  Two of nature’s natural bleaching agents in action together!  A little squirt of lemon juice (mixed with water) before you sun your diapers can help get those set in stains out of your white diapers.
  • If you’re comfortable using oxi-clean, it can be a quicker way to get stains out of your diapers than the sun.  And safer than traditional bleach.
  • Buncha Farmers Stain Remover is great!  It’s an all nature stain remover that can get out the tough stuff.  Just rub it on the stain, scrub with a wet cloth, or throw it in the wash as usual.
  • Rinse your diapers immediately after a change.  Rinsing your diapers as soon as they are soiled instead of letting them sit can go a long way in keeping stains at bay.  Just rinse them in throw them in the pail until wash day.
  • Use a liner.  If your child has had to use a medication, special cream, or just has a sour stomach use a liner.  Dyes in medications can cause diaper staining as can non-diaper safe creams.  Liners may not stop it all, but they should help, especially cloth liners which tend to catch more than disposable liners.

*This post contains some affiliate links.

Birthdays: A Mom’s Perspective

Bittersweet BirthdaysAhhh, birthdays.  They bring forth so many emotions for parents.  For one, we are thrilled that our children are growing and thriving just as they should.  We are celebrating all that they (and we as parents) have accomplished in the last year.  Sometimes we are just glad to have made it through a challenge and come out on the other side.  For those of us still so close to the magical years of babyhood and toddlerhood, we are in awe of how quickly time travels through these all too short years.  Part of us longs for a small bubbly baby or a bounding toddler once more.  Part of us celebrates no more sleepless nights, bi-hourly feedings, or spit-up stained shirts.  Overall, no matter how old they get, a birthday will likely be a reminder of a ‘labor day’ for many mothers.  It is a day of great remembrance and joy.

My youngest child just celebrated his second birthday.  My oldest will turn four at the end of the year.  And me, I’m that mom.  I am fighting against a force that I know I cannot win – Father Time.  He will move swiftly through my life at times when I just need a few more minutes, weeks, or hours.  And he will crawl at times when I want him to just speed up already.  Such a ornery man Father Time.  I spend a few weeks preparing for their birthdays.  We make decorations, plan menus, and then we bake whatever celebration treat they want.  It has become a tradition for me to me make them a birthday outfit to fit their chosen birthday theme. Birthday Kisses Through all this labor to prepare for their birthday parties, I am laboring in my mind on how I will not cry as they blow out yet another candle.  I will not stifle their new freedoms and their growing maturity.  I will celebrate in happiness and glee right along with them.

This is the first year I have prepared for a birthday and actually managed not to cry.  No one warned me that I would strongly fight tears as I prepared the birthday banner or sang happy birthday to my child for the very first time.  There was no warning about the lump the size of a golf ball forming in my throat and making my eyes water like a faucet…

I spend the weeks leading up to a birthday perusing through photos or rereading  journal entries I made during my pregnancy.  I will reread their birth stories at least once and dig around for videos of them in their infancy.  During the actual day of the birthday I will often glance at the clock and oddly I can remember what stage of labor I was in at that time X years ago.  Like how the nurse brought me a popsicle at 11:08AM back in December of 2010.  I don’t know why I remember these things, but I do.  They are likely tied my ‘new’ mom status and perhaps will fade with the years.  I will remind my children of the exact time they were born and they will give me a blank stare and go back to what they were doing.  But I, I will feel all those feelings of holding your baby for the first time all over again.  I will steal a hug that lasts too long and a kiss on the forehead just as I gave at birth.  Parental AccomplishmentAfter all, a birthday for them is also a celebration of triumph for me.  A day we brought forth a child and added more light and energy to our family.  A day we beat our infertility and losses.  A day we won – in a big way.

Our children’s birthdays offer so much for celebration.  Each year we gain more experience as their parents and get to bare witness to their personalities in bloom.  We get a chance to look at how far they have come and imagine just how far they are going to go.  While they are digging through presents and enjoying a day where it’s okay to have more than one piece of cake or another bowl of ice cream – we get to dig through memories and devour all those warm, fuzzy feelings of parental love and accomplishment.  We get one day where people are happy to hear about what our child did at this age or that and we can share all the photos we want without that all too familiar sigh of, “Oh man, she’s in one of those moods.  Get ready to be photo bombed.”

I am blessed with a large family who loves to celebrate my children almost daily.  We delight in spoiling them on special days and sometimes just because.  Birthdays for us all are quite special.  I pray that we get many more to celebrate, winding through the memories of each one past until they all become a jumble of happiness and triumph.  I may not always have those ‘new’ mom memories of just what I was doing on the day of their actual birth, but I hope I always carry those deep feelings of love and true happiness in my heart.

Happy Birthday sweet babies.  You can grow to be 100 and in my eyes and heart, you will forever be those little bundles wrapped in a warm sheet and handed to me for the very first time.

Sewing Tutorial: Felt Pancakes

Felt Pancakes TutorialWelcome!  This is the third sewing tutorial in a series of four where we will make a felt breakfast set.  Play food is a great beginner’s sewing project and can be altered to make food as simple or as fancy as you’d like.

This tutorial will focus on creating the set with a sewing machine, but you could also hand sew the items.  If you don’t sew, you could use felt fabric glue to glue the pieces together.  When making felt foods please keep the age of the child you’re making the project for in mind.  Children who still put things in their mouth should never be given small objects as these would pose a choking hazard.

When making felt food you can use whatever type of felt you desire.  Craft felt is easy to work with, cheap and easily obtainable but it will not wear as well as wool felt.  Craft felt may get pilly over time, but you can wash it with warm soapy water and use a lint shaver to get rid of pills.  If the item doesn’t contain a pipe cleaner or glue, you could even run it through the washing machine.

Wool felt will wear better and last longer.  If you’re creating something that you’d like to pass down from child to child, wool felt is best.  If you plan to use wool felt, you may want to first practice on craft felt so you don’t waste money on the more expensive stuff.  I typically use eco-fi felt which is made of recycled plastic bottles.

Let’s get started!  You will need the following to create your Felt Eggs:

  • Tan felt for pancakes, brown felt for syrup, yellow felt for butter
  • A small bit of polyfil to stuff the pancakes
  • Scissors
  • Coordinating thread (monofilament thread is nice because it’s clear and will blend with any color)
  • Sewing machine or hand sewing needle
  • The pancake template and full illustrated tutorial:  Felt Pancakes Tutorial.

Be sure to come back next week as we complete our set with orange slices.  You can find the bacon set here and the eggs here.

We’d love for you to share your sets with us on Facebook or via email!

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Dating Your Spouse

Nurture Your MarriageI post a lot about keeping your marriage ‘alive’.  I think it’s important.  Between careers, children, and everything else that goes on in our lives I believe that you have to make time for your spouse no matter what.  Your marriage is the foundation for all else you do so you need to nurture and strengthen that foundation to build a solid life.

Some couples schedule a weekly date night.  If that’s something you can’t do, there are plenty of other ways to ‘date’ your spouse.  From ‘date-ins’ to everyday actions, there are ways to date your spouse and keep that new love feeling alive.  That’s not to say that your marriage won’t change and evolve overtime.  It’s not to say that you won’t fight or go through slumps, but if you work at it, you don’t have to let those things damage your relationship.

New relationships are full of excitement.  You aren’t yet comfortable enough with one another to share all your secrets or quirks.  There’s an electric vibe between the two of you that begs to be explored and you end up with the ‘ten day high’ that seems like it just won’t end.  No matter what we do, that feeling has to change at least a bit.  When you know all of someone’s secrets and quirks, perhaps part of the excitement wanes.  Continuing to talk and explore new interest helps to keeping the spark alive.  You don’t have to enjoy everything each other does, but listening to your partner talk about what is new and exciting in their life can help strengthen your bond.  Showing that you take an interest in each other’s hobbies, even if they aren’t your own, shows that you care.  Incorporate Love into EverydayTrying a new activity together is also important.  Whether it’s gardening, hiking, skydiving, dancing, or something as simple as collecting items you both love, finding a new common interest creates those first date feelings.  You’re both stepping outside of your comfort zone and you’re doing it together, just like you did in the beginning.

In order to keep your marriage alive and thriving you have to incorporate your love for one another into everyday life.  In the beginning, you likely held hands in the car, couldn’t pull away from each other for ‘just one more’ kiss goodnight.  You likely didn’t care who knew you were in love and weren’t very shy to show it.  As time goes on we can easily forget about those little things that made our relationships seem so special.  You might forget about holding hands, sometimes you skip the kiss goodnight, and love notes often cease.  Continuing to do whatever it was that made each other feel so special is a great way to keep those sparks and your love alive.  Don’t be nervous to reach across the car to hold hands, leave notes for your spouse to find when they get in the car to go to work.  It doesn’t have to be fancy, a simple “I love you” is a great reminder that you still care and you still feel as strongly as you did in the beginning.

Another important change to make sure that your marriage thrives is to not get so comfortable that you don’t try.  Build up your own confidence in yourself and it will shine through to others.  It is easy to use your spouse as a punching bag.  Life’s challenges can be heavy and weigh us down at times.  We tend to take our frustrations out on those we love the most, but we shouldn’t.  Anytime I sit down to write about marriage, I try to share that message.  It’s a hard one and it can start gradually so that we don’t even know we’re doing it.  Remember Why You're In LoveNagging and bickering is NOT the way to discuss problems or vent frustrations.  It doesn’t make you feel better and it starts arguments that should have never happened.  Instead, tell your spouse what is wrong, address it, and move on.  Think of your spouse as your partner to make it through the hard times, not the enemy.  You likely wouldn’t have snapped at your partner in the beginning, don’t do it now.

Reminding each other why you fell in love can go far in a marriage.  If he always made you laugh, or the way her nose wrinkles when she smiles drove you crazy, don’t forget it.  Remind each other why you’re in love and add to that list as the years tick by.  Don’t let the words grow old.  Wrap yourself in all those little things that make up your love and nurture them.

Strong marriages take work, but it doesn’t all have to be hard work.  Much of the work of marriage is a fun and enjoyable experience.  You can start small and slowly build up so that you still get the butterflies and the deep red flush that came with the early days of dating.  Life changes when you transition from dating to marriage, but it can most certainly be for the better.

Graphic Art Freebies: Nature

This week’s freebies focus on nature.  I am never more at peace than when surrounded by nature’s beauty and grace.

Turn Dreams Into Reality

True Beauty is Found in Nature

Solitude in Nature

Night Diapers

Night DiaperingMany parents who cloth diaper choose to use disposables at night.  Night diapering in cloth can seem scary at first, but once you find the right diaper for your child, you’ll much prefer using cloth full-time.

Absorbency 
One of the biggest reasons that parents forgo cloth at night is absorbency.  Some children are heavy wetters, especially at night when they may be in a diaper for up to 12 hours.  I’m a mom to two heavy wetters.  Even during the day when they are being changed every two hours, we can never get by with just one insert.  I have also never been able to use any AIO without a doubler.  Yet I have managed to successfully use cloth at night, even after my babies turned into toddlers, and a preschooler who isn’t night potty trained.

I have two words that will make night diapering easier – hemp and bamboo.  These two fabrics are like super absorbers in my opinion.  Microfiber AIO leaking?  Add a hemp or bamboo doubler.  Microfiber night diaper leaking?  Switch to hemp or bamboo!  Sloomb makes some of the most popular night-time options out there.  Their overnight bamboo fleece fitteds offer super soft organic bamboo fleece and all natural cotton fleece for maximum leak protection.  There are several other natural options on the market that offer hemp or bamboo as well.  Or, you could do what I did and make your own hemp fleece fitteds WITH a stay dry liner.

Fleece & Wool
Since many of the best night options(most absorbent) are fitted diapers, they require a cover.  While PUL covers can work for many, some babies and toddlers need something a little more breathable at night.  This is where fleece and wool diaper covers come to the rescue.  We solely used fleece diaper covers for well over a year into our cloth diapering journey.  We used fitteds full-time then so that’s saying a lot.  You can see some of the patterns I’ve used to make our fleece covers, shorties, and longies in this post.  I promise they are really easy to make.

If you prefer to buy fleece and wool covers instead of sewing them, I have to mention Sloomb again.  These guys really have their night diapering down.  Sloomb offers covers, shorties, and longies all designed to keep your baby’s bottom covered and dry.

Fleece and wool offer water-repellent properties  and work by wicking moisture away from your baby’s bottom/diaper.  You may notice a cool feeling around the diaper area where the moisture has evaporated in the morning.  Fleece and wool are more prone to compression leaks than PUL or TPU, but this usually isn’t as big of a concern at night as it would be during the day.

In 2.5 years of night cloth diapering, I have only woken up to find one of my children soaked through a handful of times.  More than one of those occasions was because a sleepy parent didn’t have the diaper fully covered or properly fastened.

Ammonia Odor
Ahhh, probably the second biggest deterrent to night cloth diapering.  The dreaded ammonia smell.  It happens to many of us.  It’s happened to me.  Pee stinks.  Pee that sits in a diaper overnight really stinks.  The bigger your baby gets, the more it stinks.  It is NORMAL for your night diapers to stink when you take them off your baby.  What isn’t normal is an ammonia odor so strong it burns your nose or even permeates the whole room.  How do you keep your night diapers from getting ammonia buildup?

First, no matter what type of diaper or material you use at night, rinse those babies THOROUGHLY in the morning.  Maybe even fill the sink or a bucket and let them soak in plain water for a couple of hours before you throw them into your diaper pail.  Rinsing them out and getting as much of the pee out of the diaper as possible can go a long way in preventing ammonia buildup.  Another helpful factor is to have several night diapers.  The more you have, the more in rotation they are.  If you are using the same two night diapers over and over and over, they’re taking a lot of abuse.  If you rotate several, they’re not exposed to as much urine so they’re not as likely to get ammonia buildup.

I’ve found that microfiber gets far stinkier and is much more prone to ammonia buildup than natural fibers.  Switching to natural fiber inserts can play a big part in keeping ammonia woes at bay.  Hemp, bamboo, and cotton can be big night diaper savior’s in this area too.

While we’re talking about materials and their stink factor, I find that hemp can get a little stinkier than bamboo and cotton.

If you’re using fitteds for night-time use, those with petal style inserts do better than those with all the absorbency sewn in when it comes to getting clean and keeping ammonia at bay.

Sweet SleeperFitteds get stinky faster than flat diapers.  If you can get by with using flat diapers at night, I would highly recommend it.  Because flats are one layer that is folded, they are easily unfolded and cleaned in the washer.  There are no layers for ammonia to get trapped in.  Plain birdseye cotton flats are my favorite.  They’re just so easy to wash.  While one flat likely won’t get your child through the night, I have successfully used two flats with a thin hemp or bamboo doubler inside a flip with NO LEAKS.  That’s right, not even wool or fleece, just plain ol’ PUL.  Was it a bit bulky, yes, but most night diapers are.

One of the best parts about using cloth at night is watching my babies run around with their big fluffy butts before bed.  Night diapers can sometimes be bulky, but it really makes for adorable little cloth bottoms.

Have you made the switch to night-time cloth yet?  Give it a try, I’m sure you’ll love it.

Have a friend or family member who could use some night diapering help?  Share this article with them.

*This post contains some affiliate links.*