All About That Cloth Diaper

Let’s talk cloth diapers today, shall we? Like why the heck would I choose to deal with cloth diapers when there are so many easy-peasy disposable options out there?

I remember years ago taking a walk with the hubby and we noticed a neighbor had a bunch of laundry out to dry in the sun. Cloth diapers. I don’t think I’d ever really thought about diaper options at that point… doesn’t everyone just use disposables these days? But hubby saw it and said, “When we have a baby, we should do cloth diapers.” I must have agreed because from that point forward my mind was made up. Cloth diapering was the way to go.

When I fell pregnant with Ethan I started looking more into cloth diapers. Ya’ll…there are hundreds…maybe thousands of options out there! All-in-ones, hybrids, pocket, wool, hemp, covers, inserts…what the heck were they talking about? There were so many different types of diapers, so many terms and words I didn’t know and a lot of things to learn. It was SUPER overwhelming for an over-researcher like me.

Today I want to share our reasons for cloth diapering, dispel a few cloth diapering myths and maybe answer some questions if you’ve ever thought cloth might be the way to go for your family. I’ll share what we ended up with, why, what you can expect if you decide to let your babe be a fluff bum (cloth diaper lingo for the puffy diaper bum your lil one has when wearing cloth), why cloth diapering is way better than disposables and way easier than you think.

The basic: WHY CLOTH?

The hubs and I have different reasons for choosing cloth diapers.

His main reason: LESS WASTE. If you don’t know if yet, regular ol disposable diapers take about 500 years to decompose in a landfill and about 5 million TONS of cloth diapers are added every year. Gross. The environmental footprint of disposable diapers is staggering.

With cloth, you buy a set of cloth diapers and wash the dirty ones instead of throwing them away. Ethan’s set of cloth diapers will last him from 3 months to 3 years…and if I take good care of them, they’ll even work for baby #2 in the future. I think 24-30 diapers instead of several thousand is a LOT less waste, don’t you?

SAVE MOOLA. It’s estimated that the average family will spend $2,000-$3,000 in two years per child for disposable diapers. This can be even higher if you choose low chemical, plant based eco-diaper (think Honest Company or Babyganics). In contrast, cloth diapering can cost anywhere from $400-$1000 and can even be used for a second child, saving you thousands. Even when you factor in the energy costs from washing your diapers, cloth wins hands down. One caveat: if you choose cloth diapering with a diaper service the cost can increase to match disposables. You’ll still have all the other benefits, just maybe not save as much money.

My main reasons:

LESS CHEMICALS ON HIS TUSH: Ya’ll, we really need to be paying attention to ALL of the chemicals we are exposing ourselves to these days. The chemical used to make the super-absorbency of disposable diapers is Sodium polyacrylate (also called AGMs), which has been linked to TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome) and can cause allergic reactions. AGMs are also linked to an increase in childhood asthma and a decrease in sperm count among boys. Most disposable diapers are bleached with Dioxin, which, in animal studies, caused nerve damage, birth defects, increased rates of miscarriages and changes to the immune system. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has classified dioxins as a probable human carcinogen. Of course, big diaper companies will state that such chemicals exist in such small amounts that they don’t propose a risk, but exposure over 2-3 years years? This momma won’t risk it.

(Photo source: Grovia)

NO BLOWOUTS: A friend recently showed me a photo of her one-year-old’s massive blow out. Poop was literally flowing out the back of her diaper like a fountain. If this sounds gross to you, cloth diapers are your friend. I have NEVER had a blow out in a cloth diaper.

BREATHABILITY (aka LESS DIAPER RASH): Cloth diapers are made out of materials like cotton, bamboo and hemp. They are highly absorbent and breathable which means less diaper rash. German scientists also have found that the breathability of cloth helps protect baby boys family jewels, pointing out that babies skin temp in disposables was significantly higher than cloth. They suggested that prolonged use of disposable diapers in infants could be an important factor contributing to the decline of sperm production in adult males. Eek!

QUICKER POTTY TRAINING: I’ve been told that babies in cloth tend to potty train earlier because they can feel wetness more easier than disposable diapers full moisture away. Have any of you cloth diapering mommas found this to be true?

So what kind of cloth diaper do we use?
Like I mentioned before, there are tons of options when it comes to cloth diapering and many people with say that their option in the best. For us, I love to use Grovia Hybrid which is a one-size, 2-in-1 system. What that means is that I have colorful, cute, waterproof shells (the outside of the diaper) that I snap cotton or microfiber inserts into (the pee and poop catching part). If he has a wet diaper and the wetness is only on the insert, I pop out the wet insert and snap a clean one in and he’s ready to go. If he poops, the whole thing goes in the wash (more about that later).

The diaper shells are made to fit from 10 lbs to 35 lbs, so basically his entire diapered life. They have snaps on the front so that you can size the diaper as your baby grows without having to buy new diapers. The diapers are mostly what they call “hook and loop” style, meaning that they go on just like a disposable with velcro tabs (snaps are another option). It’s easy for anyone to do, and our nanny learned our diapering system quickly and has no complaints!

(This happens to be my favorite diaper print. So so cute! photo credit: Grovia)

We also have maybe 5 all-in-one diapers from Grovia (love), Thirsties (love) and Bum Genius (so so) that we use. Instead of having an insert that you pop in and out, the whole diaper is one piece. Many people find all-in-one’s the simplest option especially for grandparents and babysitters.

How many do I have?
I think I have 12 covers and about 22 inserts for the Grovia Hybrids, plus 5 all-in-one’s. This is enough to last me about 3 days.

What about washing and poop?
Before 6 months, lil E was exclusively breastfed so his poops would just dissolve in the wash (same for formula fed babies), so every dirty diaper just went into a wet bag (kinda like a lined laundry bag) until I did laundry. No extra care was needed. Once he was eating solids things changed a little bit as I don’t let his poops go in the wash. We use flushable liners now that go in his diaper so when he poops, the dirty liner just goes in the toilet with the poop. Super easy! If you have a septic system, flushing these liners is NOT recommended in which can you just plop the poop into the toilet and trash the dirty liner.

Ya’ll, I was SUPER nervous about Ethan eating solids because of the whole poop issue but let me assure you that it is not a big deal. My husband AND 17-year old nanny both agree that it’s about as easy as disposables. (Side note: did you know that even disposable diaper manufacturers recommend that you dump all poop on the toilet instead of throwing it in the trash? There’s typically a note on the side of the packaging. All that human waste in landfills puts our water sources at risk. Have you EVER seen anyone dump the poop from a disposable?)

As for washing…well that can be a little complicated to explain since there are a lot of factors so I recommend going to Fluff Love University to read up on it all. Basically, I wash the dirty diapers every 2-3 days because I don’t have a giant stash. Each wash includes a quick cycle followed by a regular cycle with an extra rinse.

Tide is the detergent of choice for keeping cloth clean and avoiding problems like ammonia smells (I learned this the hard way). Essential oils, free and clear detergents and most diaper rash creams are no-no’s because they wick moisture away instead of allowing diapers to absorb (I recommend Beautycounter’s diaper rash cream — it’s cloth friendly and works SO FAST!). After the wash cycles I hang the shells to dry on a drying rack and put the inserts in the dryer. Done and done! It’s really so simple and requires minimal work.

What about night time and travel?
There are many amazing options for overnight cloth diapering…but we haven’t really tried them. E is a heavy wetter at night so we have opted to use disposables for night time and that has worked well for us. We also prefer to use disposables when we travel, mostly because cloth diapers are really bulky to travel with and we usually don’t have access to (or don’t want to worry about) laundry. My favorite chemical free disposable diaper is Babyganics. He rarely leaks in them and they are easy to find just about everywhere.

At this point we’ve been cloth diapering for over a year and we love it. It’s money saving, simple and keeps rashes and blow outs away. I realize cloth might not be for everyone for a wide variety of reasons, but if reading this made you think that you might be interested in trying it out, I’ll include some helpful links below.

• to learn more about the dangers and impact of disposables: https://www.smallfootprintfamily.com/dangers-of-disposable-diapers

• washing cloth diapers (and everything else cloth diaper): http://www.fluffloveuniversity.com/

• Grover Diapers: www.grovia.com

• Thirsties Diapers: https://www.thirstiesbaby.com/

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If you’re already a cloth diapering momma, why kind of cloth diapers do you prefer? Do you cloth diaper full time or part-time? What do you do for heavy wetters at bed time?

If you aren’t doing cloth but have decided to use only eco-friendly and chemical free disposable options, what brand did you find worked best for you?

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Iceland: Land of Fire and Ice (Days 4 and 5)

Do you know that most people who visit Iceland only stay for a day or two? They visit Reykjavik, check out the Golden Circle and maybe stop by the Blue Lagoon on their way to the airport.

If you can swing it, I highly recommend finding a way to extend your stay to at least 5 days. In my opinion, that’s how many days you need to really get out and see some of the best Iceland has to offer.

One of the main sights we wanted to see while in Iceland was the massive Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. Iceland is called the country of fire and ice because there are SO MANY glaciers and volcanoes in this tiny country. Remember the volcanic eruption in 2010? I’ll never forget it. That one almost cancelled our honeymoon.

Day 4 of our Icelandic adventure was long, quiet, otherworldly and magical. We totally expected this to be a shorter day, but once again we were eating dinner at 8:30 pm and crashing in bed right after. Thank goodness Ethan was so adaptable!

The route leading to Jökulsárlón glacier is stunningly beautiful with waterfalls, lush green pastures full of baby sheep (the sheep! I wanted to snuggle all those babies!!), empty stretches of black lava rock and miles of moss covered rocks that looked like we were suddenly on another planet. There were numerous waterfalls along the way — so many that I had to cut Jason off…no more waterfall stops until we first get to the glacier!! It’s hard for his happy lil photographer heart and eyes to pass so much beauty by, but I promised him we could stop on the way back.

We did stop a few times along the way to hunt for a package of diapers (diapers were easy to find…packs of less than 80 diapers were not), explore the black lava fields where we felt like the only people in Iceland, to hop along the squishy moss covered rocks and peek in the little triangle homes built into the sides of mountains and mounds of grass. We even stopped for lunch at a tasty little cafe where i had the best $12 bowl of soup and warm, baked bread ever! Jason had a $24 cheeseburger. Ah, Iceland and your prices! But the glacier…THE GLACIER WAS MAGICAL!

I’m not sure what time it was by the time we arrived at Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, but we were immediately enchanted. From the road headed east you can see the glacier lagoon with it’s floating icy peaks to the left and the black sand spotted with rocks of ice on Diamond Beach to the right. We’d never seen anything like that beach before so we checked that out first.

The beach is a magnificent black, it’s sand actually volcanic rocks that have been crushed into tiny sand-like bits. Resting all along the beach are giant pieces of the glacier which have broken off, washed out from the lagoon to sea, and then crashed back onto shore by the intense waves. It’s truly one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. Even with the cold misty rain coming down, we all loved every minute exploring the beach.

After the beach we crossed the road to visit the glacier. We had seen a few other glaciers when we went to Patagonia but this one had a different look and was oh so pretty. You can take a boat ride to wander between the glacier rocks but that was off limits with a baby so instead we stood on the shore just taking it in. So beautiful.

After all of our glacier exploring we started heading back west a few hours, stopping in Vik to explore for short bit  before our stay at Hotel Geirland, a cozy although simple hotel that has a fairly good restaurant (Ethan tried pickled herring for breakfast and seemed to like it!) and a pasture full of horses and sheep behind the main building.

Our fifth and final day in Iceland found us heading west back toward Reykjavik. This time I let Jason stop at any waterfall he wanted to, although I think we were a little waterfalled-out by this point. Still, we stopped to explore at least 2 or three magnificent waterfalls before driving back into the city to enjoy one final afternoon of exploring. We found an AMAZING and cute bakery and cafe called Bersson Mathus where we had a warm, delicious dinner before heading to our final AirBNB near the airport to be close to for our 6 am flight to Sweden.

 

As special thank you to Bumbleride for the warm weather foot muff that kept our little guy warm and dry nomatter where our adventures took us! His stroller, the Indie, is AMAZING both on and off the road. Learn more about Bumbleride here.

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Where we stayed:

near the glacier: Hotel Geirland

near the airport: Svitan Guesthouse and apartments (we stayed in the spacious apartment)

Good cafe in Reykjavik: Bersson Mathus

Gear:

Bumbleride Indie Stroller (all-terrain, good for jogging)

Fleece baby carrier cover (used over our Lillebaby): Jolly Jumper

 

 

Our Iceland Adventure: The Golden Circle

Day 3 in Iceland:

Here’s the thing about going to Iceland—you’re going to see some of the most beautiful, strange and spectacular sights you’ve ever seen but most of the time it’s gonna require a few looooong days in the car getting there. If you don’t have a week to drive the popular Ring Road around Iceland, the Golden Circle is a great day trip option to take if you are limited on time and want to see some spectacular things. This was a long day, but it still was a really great day.

Leaving Reykjavik and heading northeast, the landscape quickly changed to beautiful open spaces. We stumbled across this group of Icelandic horses that was so stunning that we had to stop. Icelandic horses are really beautiful, friendly creatures and I couldn’t get enough of them. There also were SO MANY baby sheep everywhere. Every field seemed to be full of mommas and baby lambs frolicking about. If you ask me my favorite thing about Iceland it’s going to be all the horses and baby sheep. They were everywhere. Love love.

Our first stop on the Golden Circle was Thingvellir National Park. It was pretty cold and rainy here, but worth exploring. Some fun facts about this area: when the Viking settlers arrived in the 10th century this was the site they chose as the meeting place of Althing, the world’s oldest parliament. This park is also where you can literally walk — or snorkle — along a continental divide, where two tectonics plates that divide North America from Eurasia shift.

Our next stop was Haukadalur, a geothermal area about 60km away from Þingvellir National Park. There are two famous geysers here called Geysir and Strokkur. In fact, the general term “geyser” was named after this particular one in Iceland. It was super fun watching the geysers bubble and churn before shooting up in the air. They also had a nice gift shop and restaurant if you’re craving a hot meal or some ice cream.

Next we came upon my favorite site on the Golden Circle road trip, the spectacular Gullfoss waterfall. This was a MASSIVE waterfall, full of power and truly awe-inspiring which falls 100 feet into a crevice in the earth, producing thick mist & frequent rainbows. It was pretty chilly here, as well, and we were glad to have on our rain gear which kept up dry in all the mist and rain.

The last attraction on the Golden Circle route is Kerid Crater Lake. Kerid is a red volcanic crater covered in green vegetation with a sparkling pool of water at the bottom. It only takes about 15 minutes to walk the rim and another 5 minutes to walk down to the water. By this point we were feeling kinda tired from the day of sightseeing and Ethan was crashed out in his car seat so we took turns walking the crater rim so that we wouldn’t have to wake him. It was a pretty stop, but not our favorite of the day.

(lots of front seat diaper changed on this trip. SO thankful for our easy-going baby boy!)

That night we stayed at the Lambastadir Guesthouse which was a cozy working farm with fields full of animals you could visit. They served a decent breakfast and were able to provide a cot for Ethan to sleep in, but the walls were so thin that we could clearly hear our neighbors talking so when he cried in the middle of the night I grabbed him and brought him into bed with us. Despite the thin walls, we loved this farm stay so much and recommend it as a great place to stay along the Golden Circle.

(surrounded by the super friendly and super curious horses)

Where to stay along the Golden Circle: Lambastadir Guesthouse

Eating: We ate dinner at a Thai restaurant near the guesthouse. It was pretty good…good enough to recommend.