Review : Babydoo Cloth Diapers

So, after about half a year of entering various giveaways, I finally won something!! lol. Random number generators apparently hate me…  But, my luck held out until I won something very nice. I had the option to get either a fitted diaper or an AI2 Babydoo diaper, in my choice of fabrics. Since my love-hate relationship with wool covers has come pretty much to an end (more about that later), I opted for an AI2. This American WAHM diaper has been in daily rotation for approx. 2 weeks so far, and this is a review based on how it has performed for us during that time.

Little Man wearing a Babydoo AI2

Little Man wearing a Babydoo AI2

Overall Opinion: On a scale of 1-10, I’d give this diaper a 9. It’s a very good product, and worth the investment.

Fabric Options: The fabric choices for fitteds (or wipes or wetbags) were much larger, including many very cute prints. AI2 fabric options were somewhat smaller, but they consisted of 11 prints and I did have a hard time deciding between two of them (they were both adorable). The interior layer of either style of diaper is an organic bamboo and cotton velour blend. Both styles also have a hidden interior layer of organic bamboo and cotton fleece. Near as I can tell, you have no options for those – but it’s organic, absorbent, and super soft.

Fabric textures for comparison, left to right: (orange) Microfleece, (white) Microfiber, (purple) Minky, (cream) Babydoo’s Bamboo Velour

Size Options: This was the first time I had ever heard of “Extreme One Size” (EOS) – but it has a longer rise than a normal OS, and 4 rise settings instead of the normal 3. She also has OS and Newborn sizes, of course, and I opted for a standard OS.

Fit: Super snug! This is one of the only diapers in my stash that I can get both a tight waist fit and a tight leg fit. The elastic is nice and strong. There are some light red marks on baby’s legs but that’s probably a combination of his fair Irish/Swedish skin and me fastening the snaps as snug as possible.

Tight waist fit

  Tight waist fit

Overnight Use: Because this diaper fits Little Man so well, I wanted to use it for overnights. He sleeps anywhere from 9 to 12 hours at night, so finding cloth that can handle the duration without leaking is tricky. I’ve found the trick to be a blend of fit and absorbency. Since I already knew it fit him well, I tested out the soaker layer the AI2 comes with, not adding any extra layers to help it out. The snap-in soaker is made up of 6 layers total – then of course the body of the diaper has 2 more layers before you get to the outside PUL. All-in-all, the 8 layers of bamboo/cotton fabric were enough to stop any leaking for a 10 hour sleep (he woke up, so I’m not sure if it could have lasted a full 12). Of course, if LO starts having larger nightly needs, I can easily sneak a few more absorbent layers below or in-between the soaker. For now, though, it’s up to the task without any assistance.

Tight leg fit

Tight leg fit

Downsides: If I were to make any changes to this AI2, it would be:

  • Less Drying Time – Wow this takes a long time to dry! Almost twice as long as a regular ole pocket. So, I admit, I don’t line dry my diapers… everything goes into the dryer for one hour-long low heat cycle. With 4 dryer balls, this thing came out still wet enough to need a second cycle. It takes 10 dryer balls to get it (and my overnight hemp/bamboo inserts) dry in one shot. Now that we actually have 10 wool dryer balls, and we can get it dry in an hour, I’m happy. But, I can’t imagine how long this would need on a line.
Insert snaps in and is made of 2 flaps sewn at the top, to lessen drying time

Insert snaps in and is made of 2 flaps sewn at the top, to lessen drying time

  • Add Double Gussets – So hard to find. I wish all diapers came with them. Having sewn them myself, I know they’re a pain in the neck, but I think they’re worth it.

Summary: I’m glad to have this in my stash, especially since it has joined the ranks of overnight-approved diapers. It’s cute, very soft, fairly trim, and fits LO exactly the way I like. This particular diaper (OS AI2) does cost $22, but I think it’s totally worth it for a solid organic WAHM product.

Happy baby

Happy baby

Check It Out: You can find the Babydoo website here:

Babydoo

Or check her out on Facebook.

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Sleeping Through the Night

http://www.etsy.com/listing/112766778/baby-moon-bear-nursery-decor-boy-girl

credit: Talking Donkey Studio on Etsy

Little Man is 4 months old now. He sleeps anywhere from 9 to 12 hours at night, every night, in cloth diapers, almost never requiring a feed or a change in the middle of the night. This has been true for the past solid month.

I feel pretty blessed. I’ve read so much information that has me convinced that this is a pretty rare thing at his age. I had also read a fair bit of internet parenting opinions that helped me encourage his behavior to get us up to this point. So, amid the hundreds of other things I thought about writing while my little darling is sound asleep tonight – I’ve decided to share a bit about how we centered in on his nightly routine, just in case it might help some other sleepy parents out there.

– There is NO need for CIY (Cry It Out)! This is not a requirement to get your little one used to sleeping alone. They might cry at first, and that’s okay, and you should totally feel like it’s helpful and encouraged to go comfort them. A child will sleep soundly knowing that help is there if something goes wrong.

– Notice when a routine develops. The first couple months are pretty haphazard. I suppose some people actually get their newborns into strict to-the-minute timing, but personally the first 10 weeks were a blur. He slept on my lap or chest when he was sleepy. He nursed when he was hungry. I caught snippets of rest when I could. We really didn’t time anything – we barely kept track of how often the changings and feedings happened, and only because the pediatrician needed to know. But after 8 weeks, I started to notice a faint pattern in his nap times. He took one slightly longer nap every day – that tended to be in the night hours – and this is what I had to start working with. If your baby has a slightly longer but consistently taken nap, then you’re ready to start encouraging overnight sleep.

– Start placing baby in bed when this long nap happens. At first you probably want to do this while baby’s sound asleep. You’ll want baby to wake up in the place you want associated with overnight sleeping (ie: the crib, cradle, etc.). They’ll wake up, and feel strange and lost, and that’s okay – comfort them and let them know it’s a safe place.

– White noise. There’s all kinds of good white noise out there, but our baby’s favorite one at first was called “Baby Got Colic” – which is basically a bunch of womb-esque rhythmic noise meant to sound like mother’s heartbeat and blood circulation and whatnot. It reminded him of the womb and thus calmed him down – so we played that softly in the nursery. When he woke up, he heard comforting noises, and that helped a lot. Sometimes it calmed him enough to go back to sleep.

– Make it dark. So this sounds pretty obvious, but it was something I hadn’t thought of doing until I read it on-line. If you want baby to sleep at night, make sleeping time dark. A little night-light is fine, but as soon as little one gets tired, start killing off the big room lights.

– Wardrobe change. This is a pretty big key in teaching your baby that sleep time is a different part of the day. This might be when you swaddle – or place them in a wearable blanket. I take this opportunity to give my little man a lotion massage (some folks do bath time, but baths do NOT calm him down). We use lavender J&J bedtime lotion. I put him in his comfiest, softest outfits – either fleece feeted pjs, or a soft shirt and wearable blanket combo. The goal is comfy and warm (and safe! If baby can roll onto side, don’t swaddle – and *never* lose blankets).

– Night-time diaper. If you’re using disposables, just change them right before bedtime, even if they don’t need it – consistent routine is important. We use cloth, however. There are TONS of posts and opinions out there about overnight cloth diapering. I’ll summarize with a couple of points:

1) Don’t be afraid of layers. Yep, baby’s diaper at night is going to be bulky and untrim. Put baby in larger clothes to accommodate the bulk, if you have to (or just shirt + sleepsack). Layers are what is going to keep baby asleep. Keep adding until you reach the limits of what your gussets can handle – basically, until adding one more layer would create a gap at the leg elastic. (My husband says that little one looks like a garlic bulb in the mornings… but since he’s a DRY garlic bulb, I’m happy with that.)

2) Use your best fitting diapers. The ones you love during the day because they never leak – that anti-leak ability will help a lot more at night.

3) Microfleece liners. Buy some microfleece, cut it into squares, lay it on top of the diaper (and all those extra layers) – in-between diaper and baby’s skin. It will wick the moisture away from the skin down onto the soaking layers below. Most diapers have a microfleece layer, but you might have to get creative with your stuffing process (ie lay things on top and not inside a pocket), so extra fleece is good to have. It’ll keep baby feeling dry, thus reduce the chance they’ll wake up crying from the moisture.

4) Layers/soakers/inserts – material doesn’t matter too terribly much, but the general idea is that you want the fastest-absorbing materials up at the top. For example, you might have a pocket with a microfiber insert. You could put an additional insert of hemp below/under the microfiber.. or trifold a cotton prefold diaper and put that above/on top of the microfiber. Never put microfiber directly on baby’s skin – otherwise be creative – even t-shirts or baby washcloths can be used to add layers.

5) Baby powder (cornstarch). It’s cloth safe, and we’ve found it to be really useful in helping to dry up the moisture before it can wake him up or cause a rash.

– A full belly! Pretty simple, keep baby very well fed approaching sleepy time.

So, I started to implement all of these things during the course of two weeks, once I noticed his habitual evening nap. Soon his nap lengthened and became a full sleep. Now it’s clockwork. Somewhere between 9:30pm and 10pm he’ll need a diaper change, and we start our routine: Turn the lights off in the nursery (except for a dim closet light so I can see the changing table), Turn on the white noise, Night-time diaper, Lotion massage, Wearable blanket or feety pj’s. Then we do a long nursing session until he passes out from milk coma. I carefully move him into the crib, and he sleeps for 9-12 hours. Once in a great while, it doesn’t work immediately. Sometimes it takes an hour or two longer. But just keep cycling through diaper changes and feedings until it works. Keep calm and patient. Eventually they say to put the baby in bed/crib while they’re still awake (but very sleepy) – but we usually have terrible luck with that so far. Once in a while he’ll manage to fall asleep if I stroke his hair.. but it usually leads to a crying fit that requires more feedings.

At the end of the day, he decided he would sleep at night, and I merely encouraged and shaped his inclinations.

Double Gusset Pictures

Here’s the fitted diaper I made today:

Side view, so you can see how the interior gusset sits inside

Flat view, close-up of gusset layout

On Little Man, attached with a Boingo

Fitted attached with diaper pin

Been a While

Well. It’s been a healthy while since my last post. Little Man has started to “come alive” and require more of my attention and energy. He still can’t *quite* roll over yet, but it will be very soon I think.

The toys I made for him have been a big hit. While pregnant,  I made 3 toys from scrap fabric, some plastic (for crinkle interior), and about a dollar worth of ribbon bits from Wal-Mart (since it was the only place I could still get ribbon cut into 1/8 yard bits). It took 3 months for him to really take notice of the toys, which was getting discouraging, but he finally enjoys playing with and chewing on them.

The wool dryer balls have been rocking, as well. They don’t speed up drying time all that significantly like most internet resources I found claimed they would…. maybe that would take more than 4 of them. But where they shine is their function as a natural fabric softener. Since his diapers never had a fabric softener used on them before, it made a drastic difference with them. Our prefolds used to feel almost crunchy before, but now they’re soft and pliant. We started using the wool balls on some of our regular laundry as well – with the same positive softening effect. The only real downside to them has been a minimal amount of static. They simply can’t fight the static generated from our fluffier laundry like fleece. I think that’s a very reasonable price to pay for a renewable, free (made from scraps I had lying around), chemical-free replacement.

I’ve been stockpiling supplies to make a pile of diapers. It’s taken weeks of reflection, discussion, and number crunching but we finally settled on a plan for the gigantic project. More to come on that later – but tonight I finished a Proof of Concept diaper to make sure our plan will work. Snaps and touchtape have arrived, so we’ll start testing to see which style we prefer.

The diaper I sewed tonight has double gussets! Woot! I made a fitted just to test the gusset process, and am very happy to have finished it without any major problems. Pictures pending, maybe tonight, maybe tomorrow.

Busy week!

Well, I had hoped to post more often..  But, we have made some progress with the house construction, so I have been busy with moving things around in-between baby things (diapers, nursing, laundry, etc etc).

I hope to post the dryer ball tutorial soon – I managed to make 4 of them and have been testing them this week. 2 are made from upcycled sweaters, and 2 are from a cheap skein of yarn I found at a craft store. I’m having a small issue with them, so I’m going to have to separate them and figure out if it’s the sweaters or yarn causing the problem.

We ordered more microfleece for liners. As it turns out, my little man burns through the 21 we had in a day. It made for some tense laundry moments, wondering if the dryer was going to finish before we ran out of his last liner or two. Thankfully we kept the remaining flushies around, so we had those to toss on a couple of times. New fleece showed up, however, and is all cut up and added to the stack. Advice is to buy at least 2 yards for your liners if you intend to use them every change and don’t want to do laundry at the exact same hour every day. Maybe some folks are that awesome at keeping a daily routine, but I’m sure not yet.

Also – Samhain is coming up! He’s too young to make memories, but I feel happy bringing him to celebrations. We agreed to raise him neutrally in terms of religion, but he’s still too small to remember – and I’m not quite comfortable yet with a babysitter option for that many hours. Until he’s a bit older, I’ll get to hold him by the bonfire, and listen to the drumming and chanting, pray for the Kindreds to watch over him. We did a beautiful Naming/Blessing ritual for him at the Autumn Equinox. I hope that one day when he’s older he decides to come with me to a High Day celebration and see what it’s all about – but I would settle for a healthy respect (if not love) of nature. Until he’s old enough to be sheltered from it, I’ll simply enjoy my time with him by the fires, and make memories enough for the both of us.

New Reusable Liners

So, we’ve been using flushable liners. Internet parenting boards claim that newborn poo, breastfed, is water soluable, thus a liner shouldn’t be needed. Well, I still prefer to get the cloth as clean as possible before chucking it into the washer. Thus, we have liners. (And a sprayer…)   So far we used BumGenius flushables and Bummi flushables.  They’ve been great, and catch most of his poo, even though at this point in his life it’s mostly liquid. The problem is, of course, they’re an extra expense we really don’t need right now. Make no mistake – it’s STILL cheaper than disposable diapers, even if we bought flushy liners every week. But I looked around for a better alternative and found fleece liners.

I bought 1 yard of CuddleDry microfleece. I found some that was marked down for a slight cosmetic reason (a mark on the fabric), so even with shipping cost it was less than $10. It arrived today, woot! Hubby and I discussed the size we like, and he prefers the Bummi liner size. I used one as a rough template and got 21 liners! They are an average of 12 inches long and 8 inches wide.

Fleece liners sitting on top of diapers for size reference – left is a fully snapped one-size, right is a small prefold.

Now we’ll still have something that catches most of the poo (and solids won’t stick to the fleece), something that will pass liquids thru onto the rest of the diaper (be VERY careful to get fleece that Wicks and not Repels – the CuddleDry stuff is wicking fleece), and it’s re-useable so our liner “bill” is gone now. As an added bonus, using cloth liners also allows us to use a cheaper diaper rash cream, as long as the liners get washed separately from the rest of the diapers.

End result : eco-friendly, saved us money. Fleece liners rock

New Fluff

So, I discovered that there is a cloth diaper store here in the Dallas area. Not quite sure why it surprised me, but it did. After some pleading, hubby agreed to check it out with me. It was rather surreal, seeing a whole shop filled with things I’ve only seen on-line.

We agreed on a purchase, which stretched our budget to an uncomfortable tightness. (Turns out that 2 days later we had to replace all 4 tires on the car – sigh.) We bought 4 diapers, ranging from $10 to $17 each – 2 Thirsties AIO’s, 1 Asunta pocket, and 1 Sweetpeas pocket. It’s been an interesting experience, trying new styles and brands. I understand now why internet parenting blogs suggest that you start your cloth stash with a wide variety. The differences in fit and quality are pretty remarkable, even after just a few days of trying them out.

AIO Cost Laments

Our cloth diaper stash is working well – currently we’re using a hybrid of prefolds + wool covers (both of which I sewed myself), and some super cheap one-size pockets I bought from Ebay (Baby Land). Because of our budget, and because we weren’t completely sure cloth diapering would work for us, we had (and have) a very small budget for cloth. Hence the $2 a piece Baby Lands – which DO work, but they have well documented, and personally verified, issues with leaks.

They don’t leak every time, maybe once out of every 10 changes, but those odds are still annoying and mean that at least once a day I have unexpected additional laundry to do – and who wants that? All of that being said, they’re $2. I knew to expect leaks, and for the cost vs value, I don’t regret the dozen we bought. My lament is that I’ve thus far been totally unable to try any OTHER kind of AIO or pocket. Would they leak less? Fit better? Pocket easier to stuff? My curiosity compells me to places my budget doesn’t allow. Even sewing them myself would be more expensive than buying more Ebay diapers. And it’s not like they’re total crap – so it’s very hard to justify a $15 purchase on a mystery diaper that may or may not be awesome, where I could use that same money to accumulate 6 or 7 more cheapies that have their small expected issues.

Here’s hoping that eventually I’ll win one of these giveaways! It might be my only chance to try other kinds of AIOs.

A Blog is Born

Well… another Mom Blog. As a bit of background, I am a Stay At Home mother of an adorable 7 week old son. I am a Druid, which is to say I have a nature-based religion modeled after ancient Irish beliefs. I breastfeed, although supply issues mean that once in a while he does get the a supplimental bottle. I just started to cloth diaper – it took this long to start thanks to an epic ton of house construction, some illness I had after birth, and getting the hang of breastfeeding before tacking on additional difficulties taking care of a newborn.

All of that being said, I’m a fairly green parent. And since I’m not going back to work – boy! – we got a budget. My jobs are to take care of the baby, the house, and save us money wherever I can. This blog is a journal of my attempts to do that. I’ll also be posting about various giveaways – because who doesn’t want or need free stuff? I’ll keep the giveaway posts limited to cloth diapering or breastfeeding items (and any companies or fellow bloggers in those two categories are encouraged to follow or contribute). Until such a time as I host my own, they’ll be heads up posts that other websites are hosting.

The final thing I want to tackle in this journey is what my husband calls “Internet Parenting.” This is his first baby, and the first one of mine that came home with me from the hospital.. That being said, we’re somewhat clueless as all new parents are. Unlike older times, we don’t have a giant net of familial support to ask our questions, so we turn to our modern day information slave – the internet. This has been both awesome and terrible. We’ve learned a lot of really great things, and we’ve made some mistakes because of things we’ve found. All in all, we learned that nomatter WHAT you’ve decided to do as a parent, there is someone who wholly agrees with you, and someone who thinks it’s the worst thing possible. During this journal I’ll tackle some of the lessons I’ve learned, and review some options that the internets will suggest.

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