Welcome to my third blogging experience...created in order to keep my other blogs free of my crazy rantings. This space will be dedicated to the day to day trials and tribulations of motherhood and life in general...as well as the experiences that come with trying to rediscover the many basics of life that have been lost to the constant hullabaloo and cookie cutter mentality that has become the 21st century.

I am a proud mama to our first born, Gracie, who waits for us in Heaven, and her very lively little sister, Jenna. I am a semi-crunchy mama who works full time outside of the home. If you come here to read, expect to find posts related to cloth diapering, breast feeding, homemade baby food, organics, cooking and recipes, day care & working outside the home, baby wearing, natural childbirth, general fitness, general nutrition, environmental topics, etc.

Feel free to ask questions, share valuable information that you might have or share your thoughts and/or opinions. Please do not come here to attack the things that I believe or the way I live. I will respect your opinions as long as you respect mine, even if it means agreeing to disagree!! :-)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Catching Up

I came to this blog this week to reference something that I wrote a while ago, and only then did I realize how long it had been since I last posted here.  I was really excited about this blog when I started, and have simply run out of time to write.  There is lots that I want to post here, so I am hoping to write a little bit every week or two.

I know that there are several girls following here that started cloth diapering after we did.  Several months ago I wrote two posts (found here and here) about our cloth diapering experience until that point.  For those with inquiring minds, here is a little update on our fluff.  :-)

I wrote in March that we had found a wash routine that worked for us.  As it turns out, I was wrong, wrong, wrong about that.  Shortly after I posted in March, we started having significant stink issues with our inserts.  The problem was so persistent that I spent hours stripping inserts every 3-4 weeks for several months.  It became so ridiculous and frustrating that I almost threw the towel in completely on cloth diapering.

After doing a ton of reading on some CD forums and talking to lots of other CD mothers, I decided to ditch the Rockin Green detergent and try something else.  I switched to Thirsties pre-wash and super wash solutions, and had better luck.  Despite the better results, I kept looking for something to replace the Thirsties stuff because it is even more expensive than the Rockin Green, and I desperately wanted to find something a little cheaper.  I finally decided to try Soap Nuts, and I am SO glad that I did.  Before putting the soap nuts into use, I spent a ridiculous amount of time stripping inserts again so I could start with a clean slate.  That was Independence Day weekend...and I haven't had to strip inserts since then!!!  That was almost 4 months ago, which makes life good and really makes me a super happy girl!!!

Overall, I have learned quite a bit about the washing process.  The most important thing that I've learned is that it's all about trial, error and patience.  Just as important is the understanding that what works for 200 other moms might not work for the next 50.  I have discovered, specific to our wash routine that more water is not always better, contrary to what I had read over and over.  I wash every 2-3 days, so I don't come close to filling the washer with diapers.  I really think that my loads and water level were so disproportionate that I completely lost all friction between diaper inserts during the agitation phase of the wash; without stuff rubbing together, it doesn't get nearly as clean.  As a result, I have stopped filling my washer tub completely and I only fill it to the 1/2 mark for my normal diaper loads.

I have learned more than I ever wanted to know about how hard and soft water affects the laundry process, especially when it comes to getting detergent and dirt residue out of what you are washing.  Along with this, I have learned that most of the water in the U.S. is on the harder side of the bell curve.  (If you want to know more about this, there is a TON of information to read...just google it!)

I read over and over again that hotter is better when it comes to washing diapers, yet so many people use cold water pre-wash rinse cycles.  After reading about the hard and soft water, and finding that hot water helps to flush 'dirt' and 'residue' from clothing, I decided to do a hot pre-wash rinse cycle instead of cold.  Based on our results, I am willing to pay a little more to use hot and warm water instead of the cold. 

I have learned that more suds doesn't mean cleaner.  Seriously.  And...I have learned that I (the tree hugger) will probably never own a front loading washer.  Ever. 
I cannot guarantee that it will work for anyone else, but our wash routine has been as follows for almost 4 months:
  • Hot pre-wash rinse cycle using about 1/3 cup of home-made soap nuts liquid.
  • Hot wash cycle with warm rinse (I have to manually change the temp dial from hot wash/cold rinse to warm wash/warm rinse once the washer fills) using about 2/3 cup of home-made soap nuts liquid and 1/2 scoop of OxiClean.
  • Extra rinse cycle after the wash cycle - warm water (I can set the extra rinse to run automatically after the wash cycle)
  • A second extra rinse cycle using warm water.  
  • I still dry everything on the very cool drying rack that I got at the beginning of the summer, and I try to get stuff outside to dry as much as possible.  The plan for winter is to dry stuff next to the wood stove, then put it all outside to air out a little bit and catch a little bit of sun light here and there.  

In terms of diapers, we still stand by our pocket diapers.  Although we have multiple brands, our mainstays have turned out to be RumpaRooz, Fuzzibunz and Applecheeks.  Since writing a mini-review of everything we were using a few months ago, I have the following to add...
  • Our Bum Genius has been in use for several months fewer than our Thirsties diapers, but the velcro on the Bum Genius seems to hold up much better than the Thirsties (I ordered the BG in velcro by mistake - I definitely prefer snaps!)   We only use the BG during the day, but I like it.  Next time they run a really good sale, I might get a couple more, but with snaps.  **Spring 2012 update - the velcro on the BG is just as lousy as it is on other brands.  Totally prefer snaps.
  • Thirsties hemp/cotton inserts are still our go-to 'doubler' inserts.  They are definitely slow to dry, but they are really absorbent for such a thin insert.  We have started adding a small Thirsties insert to our RaR at night (3 inserts total), since Jenna started consistently peeing out of them when she started sleeping 12-14 hours. 
  • I would really like to try some Kawaii diapers (other than our overnight diaper), but they are always out of stock on the sites that I shop on. 
  • KangaKare seems to be a decent company to work with if you have a problem.  I recently found that one of my RumpaRooz diapers was delaminating.  After contacting them, I found that the diaper was a second quality diaper that had somehow made it into one of my orders a year ago.  I explained to them that I had never knowingly purchased a second quality diaper, and they replaced it for me.  
  • Sadly, I'm starting to think that KangaKare might use questionable elastic.  Our diapers have all been in use for less than one year, and all are evenly used in our rotation.  The gusset elastic and leg elastic are completely shot in one of our RaR; this caused me to check all of our RaR and come to the conclusion that the elastic in most of our RaR is on its way out.  None of the other brands we use are demonstrating any elastic issues.  So...I haven't decided what I am going to do with this, especially since they replaced the above diaper (after lengthy conversation) even though they didn't have to.  When they replaced that diaper, they wanted to know about my wash routine; they did promptly point out that I have never used one of their 'approved' detergents, and that using other detergents has caused problems with their diapers.  Despite the fact that soap nuts are as natural as it gets, I suspect that they would quickly argue that the elastic has been negatively affected by not using their 'approved' detergents.  

If you are also a relative newbie to CDing, how are you doing so far???

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