Thursday, June 28, 2012

Cloth Diapering in the Summer - Swim Diapers

When you're hanging out at the beach or the pool with your little one, remember the #1 rule: No Pooping in the Water. Buying disposable swim diapers is expensive. Using cloth swim diapers is so much more cost-effective, and it's easier than dealing with disposables. Why?

Cloth Swim Diapers are Easy On, Easy Off
Disposable swim diapers have to be pulled up baby's legs, which isn't easy, especially if baby is sweaty or sticky with sun tan lotion. If you purchase swim diapers that velcro shut, putting the diaper on is a breeze. If your little one poops in a swim diaper with velcro closure, it's easy to remove too.

Cloth Swim diapers are a Great Way to Experiment with Cloth
If you've wanted to try cloth but are intimidated by doing it full time, try it just for swimming. You'll get a feeling for the ease of using cloth diapers, and you'll save money since you won't have to buy disposable swim diapers.

Cloth Swim Diapers are Convenient for Vacations
If you're traveling, instead of trying to estimate the number of disposable swim diapers you'll need and trying to stuff them in your suitcase, bring along a couple of swim diapers. They are easy to wash by hand in your hotel sink, and you can reuse them the entire time you're on vacation.

Cloth Swim Diaper Alternatives
Some parents swear by using just a cloth diaper cover or a pocket diaper without the insert instead of a swim diaper. I've tried using a BumGenius pocket diaper (unstuffed) as a swim diaper before, and I'm sad to report that it didn't work. Yup, I was that mom whose kid pooped in the pool. Diapers that are meant to be used for swimming are great at trapping poop and not letting it escape. That's worth investing in a couple of cloth swim diapers.

How do Cloth Swim Diapers Work?
Just like disposable swim diapers, cloth swim diapers let the urine through, but they catch poop. Yes, your baby will pee in the pool. The chemicals in pools take care of the urine, so you don't have to worry about that. (Besides, all the other kids--and some of the adults--are doing it). Some swim diapers have mesh on the inside that traps poop, and others have semi-waterproof shells and tight elastic around the legs to prevent the dirty stuff from escaping.

Since most aren't very padded, however, you may want to add some padding on your way to and from the pool so you don't end up with a wet car seat. You can stuff the swim diaper with an insert from one of your cloth diapers, or simply sit your baby on top of a prefold in the car seat on the way to the pool or beach. Alternatively, you can just change your baby into the swim diaper when you get there. Because some swim diapers aren't padded enough to catch urine, if your baby falls asleep in your arms at the beach and you feel something warm, well.... you can guess what it is. But at least it's sterile. And you saved a boatload of money.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Cloth Diapering in the Summer - Travel

When you think of summer, you probably think of summer vacation. But traveling with a baby or small child can be stressful enough, even before you throw cloth diapers in the mix. You don't have to give up on cloth diapers over the summer just because you're out and about, though. Diaper liners, wet bags, and the good old sun are your best friends when you're back and forth to the beach or even taking a longer vacation.

Diaper Liners
In my last post, I talked about how flushable diaper liners can stick to your baby's skin and exacerbate diaper rash in the hot summer months. If you're traveling, though, diaper liners can make your life a lot easier. Basically, all of the poop sticks to the liner instead of your diapers. This means you can flush the liner, and all you have is a wet diaper and cover to wash. If you're staying in a hotel, that makes hand-washing your diapers pretty easy. And if it's a beach vacation, you can easily throw your just-washed diapers in a wet bag, bring them to the beach, and dry them in the sun. That will help sanitize them and get rid of any smells if you're not the best hand-washer.

Wet Bags
Having a couple of wet bags is really handy when you're on vacation. You can keep dirty diapers in one and clean diapers in the other. If you have a third, it's perfect for carting wet bathing suits and towels around. Planetwise wetbags come in a few different sizes and super-cute designs. It's almost as easy to become addicted to these as it is to become addicted to cloth diapering. Wetbags contain odors from your stinky diapers, too, so you can keep dirty diapers in your hotel bathroom or in your car if you're on a road trip.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Cloth Diapering in the Summer - Diaper Rash

Now that it's gotten a little warmer out and your kids are sitting in wet bathing suits for half the weekend, are you battling diaper rash more often? The warm weather combined with sweat, chlorine, salt water, sand, and less-than-breathable diaper covers can make your little one break out in a rash. Your go-to remedy might not work as well during the summer either.Why? Well, all the stuff I mentioned above provides a moist environment where bacteria can grow. The heat makes it grow faster, and stuff like sand and chlorine is extra irritating. Here are some tips for battling diaper rash in the summer months:

Use Natural Fibers
If your favorite diapers are Bum Genius pockets or Flip Diapers stuffed with a microfiber insert, you might need to find a second-in-command for the summer. Even though microfiber wicks moisture away from baby's skin better than cotton, all of that synthetic material creates a barrier that prevents air from getting to your baby's behind. Covers made of PUL make the problem worse by trapping all the heat and bacteria next to the skin. Switching to cotton prefolds or inserts covered by wool soakers will help air circulate, keeping your baby's butt cooler and keeping the diaper rash at bay. (This is the only thing that worked on my baby's sweaty butt last summer).

Change Up Your Diaper Cream
If you're used to slathering on thick diaper creams (with liners, of course), you might need to lighten up over the summer. Thick creams may provide a barrier to moisture, but they also prevent the skin from breathing, making it feel hotter and giving bacteria a breeding ground. CJ's BUTTer makes diaper rash treatments that are safe for cloth diapers and perfect for the diaper bag.
  • CJ's Butter Spritz O'BUTTer - This fine mist spray is light, mess-free, and won't melt in your diaper bag. (It also works great as a leave-in conditioner to smooth out frizzy hair.)
  • CJ's Butter Squeeze Tube - This diaper cream is more like a lotion and is a little thicker than the CJ's Butter Spritz. You can use it to treat chapped lips and dry hands as well as using it as diaper cream.
What About Your Diaper Liner?
Do you use flushable diaper liners? Those are convenient for quickly flushing older babies' poop or when you're using a thick diaper cream, but they also stick to baby's skin in the summer, which could make diaper rash worse. Switching to a fleece diaper liner can help your baby's skin breathe while still protecting your diapers from the grosser poops. If you use a fleece diaper liner, make sure to use a breathable cover, like wool, so you don't trap moisture next to your baby's skin.

Put on Baby's Birthday Suit  
When your little one is just running around the backyard or playing in the sprinkler, just take it all off. Exposing baby's skin to the fresh air and giving it a chance to breathe can be the best remedy for diaper rash.