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Could it be? The best velcro diaper ever!

I haven’t purchased a velcro/aplix/hook and loop/whatever you call it diaper in years.  Why?  Because in general- they suck.  The velcro either stops sticking after a while, curls up, or starts out so strong that it is a strong man competition to pull it open in hopes it will last.  I had pretty much given up and moved to all snaps.  I know the benefits of velcro but in my mind the pros never outweighed the cons enough.  Snaps last!

Then one day it occurred to me that one of my diapers that we used on my son at night, and have had since it first released, was going strong.  The velcro was still sticking without any signs of failure while another velcro diaper from the same time period has been completely unusable for a year.

This magical, miracle diaper?

Tots Bots Easy Fit v2 v3.  (A few readers say this is v3.  I had it as v2 in my original review so I may have been mistaken then.)

It seems the UK is much better at making velcro than America.  Just listen to that sound…

I’ve had this diaper in rotation for 2 years, and when my son was still in diapers full time it was in heavy rotation because we liked it a lot.  We still use it once a week or so since it is a tongue-style pocket and fits so trim that I put it on my son in case of an accident at night (which is still frequent).

totsbotsvelcro2

totsbotsvelcro

I still prefer snaps since overall I can be sure they will last for the long haul over velcro diapers, but for those who just love velcro take a look at Tots Bots!  My original review from 2 years ago can be seen here: Tots Bots V2 v3Review and Video.  In that review I stated I preferred the original soaker materials and PUL, and while I still do, I now know why they switched after seeing older and well loved V1 Tots Bots so the new materials are for a reason.  Now the Tots Bots is on V4 and since it looks like the velcro is the same I am going out on a limb and saying purchasing one now would be a good choice for anyone who needs or loves velcro.

Tots-Bots-incy-wincy-spider

Sadly- it is going to be much harder to get these diapers for a while since they don’t have a US distributor at the moment.  I did see that Diaper Junction (a DDL affiliate) had them in stock, including several prints which often become hard to find once they sell out.  The one pictured above is my favorite in this new series.

Have you found a diaper with velcro that lasts? Let us know in the comments and help other DDL readers who may be looking!

Posted in Cloth Diaper Video Review, Featured, Product Reviews4 Comments

4th Annual Flats and Handwashing Survey Results {Infographic}

It has taken a while but I do have the results from the 4th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge.  Unsurprisingly, the data is nearly identical which shows the viability of using flat diapers in general and of handwashing.  You can refer to the results of last year here: 3rd Annual Results.

Flats and Handwashing Challenge Results 2014

There were less participants this year, though not by a huge margin.  Across the board the thing I noticed when looking at the data was that again pad folding was the favorite method of folding, unbleached flats were the most popular (2nd place were flour sack towels), and that the bucket and plunger method was the most popular but it fell slightly in percentage of how many used it this year.

One change was in the average drying time, possibly just due to that pesky polar vortex that challenged those who had hoped to dry outside.  The average time increased slightly.  Half of participants dried their diapers inside and half dried outside.  The average time it took to wash the diapers increased by 9 minutes this year.

Other constants included the number of flats and covers used per day- 8 flats a day and 3 covers per day.  This is extremely good information to have and helps us know how many diapers to suggest families should buy.   Some babies were using as few as 3 diapers who may have been using the potty too, and some had stomach illnesses causing them to go through a dozen in one day.  This information means that for most families they should buy at least 2 dozen diapers in order to go 2.5days until washing, and 4-6 covers.

The most astounding change  this year was the average cost of materials used for the week.  I asked participants to calculate values even of the items used were already things in their stash and not just purchased for the challenge.  Last year the average was $86 dollars but this year it was a mere $56 dollars!   Both values are supremely minimal but $56 is a good, affordable amount that is even more attainable for families on a tight budget.

Once again the numbers aligned when it came down to the viability of handwashing flats- this year there was a 3% increase of people who said it was absolutely possible, up to 86.6%.

I’m so grateful to the hundreds of families who joined again this year to show how affordable cloth diapering can be and how handwashing is an option for families without washing machines.  By showing the extremes with no room to “cheat” it makes reality a little easier.  Part-time handwashing, part-time cloth diapering, using flats mixed with more “convenient” diapers for caregivers- these are small steps that make a big dent in finances.

Because things were so similar across the board from this year and last I didn’t go into the rest of the data and show each result, but if you love that nerdy stuff you can look at those from last year.

 

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Posted in Featured, Flats Challenge1 Comment

I’m only in it for the points: FitBit Addiction

I’m switching gears here from my usual area of expertise (cloth diapers, cloth diapers, breastfeeding, cloth diapers) and throwing a blog curve ball at you today.  (post contains affiliate links to some of the products I’m using that were all my own purchases, this is not a review or endorsement)

Fitbit- do you have one?  I got mine for Mother’s Day after deciding I was going to start Couch to 5K (I mentioned it in May).  I felt having a way to track my steps each day and other statistical information would be beneficial to my overall health and weight loss goals.  I also thought throwing some money at it would help keep me motivated and invested, otherwise I’d be wearing a $100 Armstrong-esque silicon armband for “looks.”  I also threw some money at a pair of running shoes (that turned out not to be ideal according to the running store I later visited) and calf compression sleeves I needed for the shin splints likely caused by the not-so-great running shoes.

Obligatory Lego in the background

Obligatory Lego in the background

I have slacked on the running thing (I am blaming the inescapable heat and humidity for this… not even a 7 AM run would be early enough to escape it) but I’m still obsessed with the FitBit.

I even lost 2 pounds!  In fact, I didn’t lose any weight while running but in the weeks that followed I lost those two pounds.  Was it because my overall activity increased thanks to my FitBit?  Maybe.  Was it because I was broke and stopped drinking as many lattes?  That could also be a factor.

The FitBit has changed my days because I’m a competitive gamer.  I’m in it for the points.  I want to WIN at walking.   I want a high score and I don’t want to fall to the bottom of my Friends list.  I’m consistently in 2nd place each week except for the time my battery was dead for 24 hours while traveling, causing me to miss out on over 10,000 steps I would have earned while walking around the airport. (I typed this last night when I was in 2nd and woke up in 4th!  Luckily I’m heading to the zoo so I will catch up.)  I would strive for first place but she is 40,000 steps over me on average each week I am going to have to let her have that trophy.  The funny thing is that I’m always in a feminist blogger sandwich, one in 1st and one in 3rd, being surrounded by awesome women is a bit motivating as well!  My friend list isn’t full of athletes, I should be very thankful for that, otherwise I wouldn’t even be on my own leaderboard. (You should read David Sedaris’ article about his FitBit addiction if you think I have it bad.  I love him.)

One of my older dashboards that hasn't been deleted yet!

One of my older dashboards that hasn’t been deleted yet!

I check my numbers as often as I check my Instagram feed.  If I see I’m well below making a good day I go for a walk or clean my house.  In fact, the FitBit has caused my house to stay much cleaner since I know I will get a lot of steps from doing housework.  I call up a friend and start cleaning.

When I shop I look crazy because I only push the cart with one hand, otherwise I would miss out on a few hundred steps (pushing carts and strollers doesn’t seem to count!).  I may also have a adapted a more exaggerated arm swing just to ensure each step gets counted.  If you see a crazy lady pushing a shopping cart with one left arm swinging wildly that’s me.

Along with tracking my steps, the FitBit has given me insight into my sleeping patterns.  I’m never going to win a “deepest and longest stretch of sleep” competition so it is useless for me there.  I am restless much of the night (not a surprise) and I can pinpoint the exact moments when I have to get up and address any nightmares or bedwetting incidents.

I’m aware that I’m probably doing this for all the wrong reasons, but if the results are there, who the heck cares?!  I’m looking forward to the end of summer.  I plan on getting back to running when the humidity isn’t practically visible!  I know that this fitness tracker isn’t 100% accurate (I don’t know of one that is, though I have friends who use MisFit, Fuel Band, and there are a lot of other wearable fitness trackers I haven’t even heard of) but if the result is more activity overall it is doing the job it was intended for and that has been fun and beneficial for me.

The only drawback I’ve felt so far has just come from wearing the thing 24/7.  I don’t want to miss out on any steps so no matter what the occasion, I’m wearing a silicone armband.  Date night?  I’ll wear the “pretty” red one.  Pre-K Graduation?  Teal.  At least there are some choices in colors for extra bands but it is still an athletic silicone armband.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m a bit behind and typing doesn’t count as activity and I need to grab a snack- but first I’m going to walk back and forth to the fridge 20 times.

Posted in Personal Post3 Comments

New Limited GroVia Prints Available Now!

Did you see the newest prints from GroVia?  They’re a collaboration with WeeGallery, a brand I was familiar with since I used their cards with my youngest son!

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Up and Away and Wild Thing! are high contrast prints that will not only be fashionable, but will capture the attention of your little one!  Up and Away has adorable clouds and hot air balloons while Wild Thing! has black and white animals drawn stylistically.  The new prints are available in the shells and also in the pail liners.

You can order them now at retailers!  Consider ordering at a DDL affiliate such as Kelly’s Closet and Diaper Junction.
newgroviaupandaway

Harper (Lara’s daughter) modeling the new Up and Away print

I have an Up and Away shell and Wild Thing! wet bag to give away too, check Facebook later today for a flash giveaway!

 

Posted in Product Announcements0 Comments

3 Common Sense Tips for Handling Diaper Explosions

Diaper explosions are, for the uninitiated, when a poop (typically one from a newborn or a baby with a sick stomach) escapes the diaper and most often goes up the back and into the onesie area.  With a little common sense and a lot less waste, I’m going to offer real advice based on the tips given by Today Parents on how to avoid diaper blowouts and leaks.

My tip for avoiding diaper explosions?  Use cloth diapers with elastic at the back.  Their tip?  Bring a change of clothes for the caregiver and baby.

elastic copy

BAM!

It works almost every time.  I even have a graphic photo as evidence where the elastic was all that came between my son’s disgusting, wet, mucousy poop and his clothing.  Today Parents didn’t offer a way to stop the blowouts, they told parents to bring a change of clothes for the baby and themselves (which is a good idea in general for spit-up too, but does nothing to prevent the poop explosions.)  I’m surprised they didn’t tell everyone to use the blow-out blocker…. oy.  You can view three minutes of their Earth shattering advice on their website.  

My second tip refers to getting peed on between changes.  Their tip?  To buy Pee-Pee Tee-Pees (which are pointless purchases new parents are told to make because it is a funny thing to say and, surprise, they might actually buy them because they’ve never had kids.  My tip: after you remove the dirty diaper take either a cloth wipe (best choice because it is absorbent and won’t be missed if peed on) or lay your clean diaper over the top to catch that pee.  For girls it is a bit trickier but having a waterproof and reusable changing pad lined with PUL and cotton on top is a way to protect your changing pad cover.  Having two or three is a bonus.  Today Parents said to use doggy pee pads (really?)

wipeoverdiaper copy

My last tip is for those toddlers who love removing their diapers.  Their tip?  Use colorful duct tape.  Once again, cloth diapers can be the answer to this in and of themselves.  My tip?  Use cloth diapers with hard to open (for a baby) snaps; it is usually enough to keep the diaper on and the mess inside.  If you have a particularly dextrous toddler or maybe one dead set on mischief, putting the diaper on backwards should do the trick.  If Houdini figures that one out I would buy them “Baby’s First Magic Set” and start training them as an escape artist.  Today Parents told their audience to use colorful duct tape (as if the rainbow colors make this any more palatable for anyone involved.)  Just.  No.

snapping copy

Cloth diapering can make life a lot easier (believe it or not) and the prevention of blow-outs is just one of their many benefits.  Plus, look at the cute diaper in these pictures!  It is a retired Fuzzibunz limited summer print (sorry no longer available).

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Posted in New to Cloth Diapers6 Comments

Plastic FREE July Challenge + Giveaway

Plastic FREE July Challenge + Giveaway

Every one of us has the ability to make a small change that ultimately makes a huge impact.  This month is Plastic Free July and the chance to challenge yourself- make one small change in your lifestyle to cut the amount of plastic you bring in.  Call it “pre-cycling.”  I love the folks at BALM! Baby who are inspiring this challenge and that they understand how hard it is to change our daily habits and routines, so one small change is something!
Plastic Free July Challenge + Giveaway

Challenge Details:

  •  Challenge will start July 1& end July 31, 2014. Form must be filled out & filled out HERE (it’s short)
  • Switch one thing either within your household or your place of business within the month of July that helps to reduce plastic use. Then post a picture to our FB (facebook.com/balmbaby)
  • Make sure you ALSO enter the GIVEAWAY via Rafflecopter (SEE BELOW).  We added a giveaway to show our appreciation for the support of you taking the challenge.
  • Prizes include: $100 Gift Card to be used at our online shop (taylorspureandnatural.com) * Glass Dharma $25 Gift Card * Pura $50 Gift Pack * SmartBottoms AIO Cloth Diaper (One Size ORGANIC) * Irresistibly Green $25 Gift Card * Life Without Plastic Stainless Steel Popsicle Mold set * Brinware Plate Set * PLUS Stay tuned for MORE!
  • Baby Steps Peeps! Don’t stress or get all “perfectionist” like I do! I know it can be intimidating sometimes, so just focus on your one little baby step. (:::

WHY Take the Challenge?

Most people are unaware that plastic is a huge issue, not just to our planet, but our health.
Our Planet: Plastic will NEVER break down. 2oz. of plastic will ALWAYS be 2oz. of plastic & can only be down-cycled / up-cycled so many times.

Our Health: When plastic is used for food or skin care containers, there are health concerns because plastic can leech, especially when warmed up,making even natural products become full of toxic chemicals, and therfore, no longer natural.

Get Informed! Be Part of the solution!

 Switch Ideas:

* Switch items with plastic material to more sustainable materials (glass, stainless steel, wood, clay, fabric, aluminum, etc.)
* Buy some re-usable stainless steel or glass water bottles instead of plastic ones.
* Buy some re-usuable stainless steel or glass food containers.
* Buy in BULK, taking your re-usable containers in to fill up.

Feel free to switch as MANY things as you’d like (just don’t overwhelm yourselves!).

One of the things I’ve done in recent years has been to bring my reusable bags with me, and not just to the grocery store.  Target, one of my regular haunts, even gives a small discount per bag.  Am I perfect at remembering?  Of course not!  But by placing bags in places like my car, in the hallways I exit from each day, and a small one in my purse I’m more prepared than not.

As cloth diapering families you are already greatly impacting the planet by keeping disposables out of landfills.  Not only that, but consider the plastic packaging that wraps those disposables!  Many cloth diapering companies think carefully about the way they package, display, and ship their diapers too!  Being that disposables can take hundreds of years to break down this is a problem that isn’t going away- it is multiplying.

So consider joining the challenge and entering the giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Plastic Free July (the organization that started it all), has their Challenge that we highly recommend doing.  You can find more info. on it & sign up HERE:  http://www.plasticfreejuly.org/the-challenge.html

Posted in Giveaways13 Comments

The History of Disana, a company 40+ Years in the making.

This post is part of a new series I hope to bring to Dirty Diaper Laundry that focuses on the history of manufacturers and brands. Even companies that began in recent memory still have a valuable story to tell and I’d like to tell it. If you have any suggestions on who you’d like to see documented please get in touch.  Our first story is about Disana, a German based company that has been a mainstay in the world of wool, but that also brought the tie-on nappy to the market.  This article will use the words nappy and diaper/cloth diaper interchangeably.  The story was written out by Elma, the daughter of Imma and Dietrich who founded Disana.  I’ve reworked the story using her words and include quotes from her original correspondence.  

historyofdisana

Knittednappystep4Disana’s story begins in 1967 when two families traveled to Italy for a summer holiday. It was there that they came across an intriguing diapering item, and by their account, perhaps the first tie-on nappy! This particular nappy was handmade but the family was in the textile industry and they saw promise in the item. At that time, even though in America disposables were present, in Europe they weren’t yet available in the marketplace. The family saw an opportunity to create their own tie-on diaper back in Germany and were confident it would be a success.

As it turns out, this idea gave them trouble at first. It was difficult to knit the tie-on nappy on the machines they had. It took two long years before they were able to track down a specialist who could knit their prototype on a knitting machine. According to Elmar, my contact who so kindly wrote the Disana history for me:

“My father was this specialist.

My parents [Imma and Dietrich Sautter] ran several knitting tests till they have been able to produce this type of nappy on machines. It was very helpful for them to have their own baby at this time so they could test it on their child. This is my part of the story. In 1969 I was the very first test baby for the disana tie on nappy”

Imma and Dieter Sauttertext

Elmar’s parents soon learned what many other parents already knew- plastic pants were not breathable. According to most of the literature of the day plastic pants were always left off except for long car rides. In general, until more breathable nylon covers came into fashion, babies either went without a cover completely and just wore their flats, or they wore homemade knitted wool soakers. With plastic covers the heat builds with nowhere for it to escape. Add a wet diaper and baby is sure to get a diaper rash.

It was kismet. Imma and Dietrich Sautter were looking to find a more breathable solution for diaper covers and found wool pants to be the answer and were also looking to begin a home-based textile business. They had purchased knitting machines in the 1960′s hoping to build a foundation for their future family. Just a few miles from their hometown a colleague was producing wool pants. Once that tie-on nappy was partnered with the waterproof, breathable wool pants, it was a perfect match.

Elmar’s father worked for the family who discovered the tie-on nappy doing their knitting and the products were distributed under that family’s label. It was a successful company and product for a few short years. Just like other cloth diaper (nappy) companies experienced in America, the tie-on nappy company faltered in the early 1970′s when Pampers came to Germany. They lost interest in the company, presumably understanding the difficult road that would lie ahead for them, and stopped distributing the nappy system. Elmar’s parents lost the only customer for the product they were knitting. Now, as Elmar puts it, the typical “garage store story” began.

“It was my mothers idea to create their own label “disana”. It stands for “Dieter and Imma Sautter Naturtextilien.” And it was her idea to use organic cotton and organic wool to produce a skin friendly, pesticide free nappy system. So the nappy got one of the first organic textilies in the world.”

disana in 1980s-text disana in 1980s 2-text

Disana’s nappy system gained in popularity thanks in part to midwives and doctors who were convinced of their breathable properties and spread the word.  As time went on the brand added baby blankets, sleeping bags, and other knit items.  Their company was growing more and more.

Even with the growth, or in spite of it, Disana’s nappy and the diaper pants  have had the same design for more than 45 years.

nappy brochure-wm nappy brochure 2-wm

“I must have done a perfect job in testing the nappies” Elmar wrote.

Today Disana is sold in more than 1,000 shops and mail order/online companies in 48 countries around the world.  They only work direct with retailers (skipping wholesalers/distributors).  They’ve done so because they want to keep a direct relationship with the stores and companies that sell their products and like to communicate with them in order develop their program further.  Most of their products are sold in Europe but they also have customers in New Zealand, Australia, and they have a large base of fans and customers called the “disana community” in Japan.

from a Japanese Newspaper in 1990-wm

Beginning in the 1990′s Disana began selling their products in the US and Canada.  They had an office in Atlanta but had to close it due to the economic crisis in 2008.  They are hopeful about growing again in the US and now have about 50 retail customers in US/Canada.  You can find Disana at Green Mountain Diapers, Amazon (aff), Abby’s Lane, and Nicki’s Diapers.

Today Disana is still based in Germany, and employs more than 20 people.  They are still focused on finding organic, pesticide free, natural raw materials.  At their facility workers enjoy flexible, family friendly hours (no rigid 40 hour requirement). The company is being run by Elmar and Aiga, children of Imma and Dieter.

Disana is the inspiration for this series.  Elmar sent such a fabulous and thorough history of her family’s company that it deserved a dedicated post.  I initially contacted her asking for more about their history when I was writing my “History of Wool” article.  Her response came after it was published, and while I considered editing in what would fit, she sent a wealth of information that deserved to be published in full.  I want to thank Elmar for sharing so much with me.  For more about Disana there is a wonderful article with photos of Disana’s facility: http://www.domrebenok.ru/blog/v-gostyakh-u-disana/  (In Russian, use Google Translate for the gist of it).

For more articles on the history of cloth diapers click over to the History of Cloth Diapers and vist my Pinterest Board Historical Cloth Diapers.

Posted in Featured, History of Cloth Diapers1 Comment

The 5 Phases of Cloth Diapering

For most of us cloth diapering started out as a little idea that would save money and maybe look cute too.  Little did we know what a roller coaster it would become!

Phase 1:  Bright-Eyed and Fluttering with Optimism

 

Saving the world, saving money, and cute diapers! What isn’t there to LOVE about cloth diapering? When is the baby getting here? I’m READY to get this thing started and prove to all the naysayers that I’m gonna rock this!

excitement

Phase 2: Am I in Over My Head? There is SO MUCH POOP!

 

Started out strong with a basket full of beautifully prepped diapers but now the baby is here and things are getting REAL! Not sure if I can do this- my nipples are working overtime and the baby is playing a cruel game called “poop whenever I start a load of diaper laundry.”

overmyhead

Phase 3: Buy ALL THE DIAPERS!

 

The Internet has become my social outlet and I’ve found new friends in cloth diapering groups.  I learned about “limited edition” prints and this thing called “bum placement.”  At first I thought it was dumb but now all I want is a Jules and I’d do anything to get it (for less than $50).

giveittome

Phase 4:  I’ve GOT THIS!

 

Not only am I fluent in “cloth-ese” but I’m now a recruiter.  I carry my prettiest AIO in my diaper bag and share it with unsuspecting moms I be-friend in the park.  I’m no longer just a “cloth diapering mom,” I’m now trying to #makeclothmainstream.  I’m even starting to enjoy the extra laundry and have a “the poop is solid today” dance.

gotthis

Phase 5: Bittersweet Ending

 

As cliché as it sounds, the days are long but the years are short. Just as I was figuring it all out it is time to say good bye to my precious diapers.  Now I’m looking forward to my toddler earning the “wipes own butt” merit badge in the game of life.  The struggle is real.

sadkitty

Did I miss a phase? What were YOUR cloth diaper phases?

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Posted in Cloth Diapers, Featured16 Comments

Get Prepared for Potty Training- Should You Buy Training Pants?

It’s time for your little one to start their journey to potty training!  It is both an exciting venture and stressful for all parties involved.  Some children make it easier than others and practically train themselves, others need charts, stickers, treats, and parades for each successful bathroom visit.  Regardless of how your child gets there, you may be wondering about how to handle this transition if you use cloth diapers and what the next step should be.

trainingpants

First I feel the need to tell you something you may or may not know- training pants are NOT diapers.  

Nope, not even close.  Training pants are trim and have very little absorbency.  If you are looking for a training pant that functions as a diaper you need what they call “bedwetting” or “overnight” pants.  And if you are looking for trainers that function like diapers, ask yourself “why?”  Would a diaper still fit the child you need the diaper-like trainers for?  If so, maybe you don’t need training pants after all.  Trainers, by design, are meant to just catch an accident.  Now that we have this little PSA out in the open (I see this expectation that training pants are just pull on diapers and they aren’t) we can move on to when you should use trainers, or not, when potty training your child.

There is no definitive answer and the variables depend on you, your child, and how successful they are at potty training.  You can either go cold turkey form diapers to undies, mix in trainers at certain times and use diapers for trips and nights, or go from diapers to all training pants then to undies.

Cold Turkey-  For me and many others skipping cloth training pants was the way to go.  We used the “3 Day Potty Training Method” (there is an e-book you can read for sale on Amazon) for the boys and went from wearing cloth diapers full time (with intervals of EC beginning at 6 months old for both) to being nude.  Some children, like mine, regressed when wearing diapers or trainers, even underwear, so we went without as long as possible until they had things figured out.

What about at night?  When you go cold turkey you can either test the overnight waters to see how they do (sometimes they will surprise you!) or opt to use protection.  For me, just using diapers at night was fine and didn’t cause any regression during the day.  It was also more cost effective than buying training pants just to use at night.  Even after being potty trained for a year my son often has to wear diapers at night and we never even purchased trainers for him.

A little of this and a little of that- Going cold turkey isn’t for everyone and many parents would rather ease into potty training.  In this case, that may be when training pants come in handy.  Cloth trainers that slide up and down with ease (Blueberry slide up and down nicely like underwear and are trim but not nearly as absorbent as a diaper, so best for more successful toddlers) make the frequent bathroom trips easier.  Usually you find yourself going “just to check” every 30 minutes or so and undoing/redoing a diaper will get tedious.  There are some diapers that slide up and down easier than others (side snapping diapers like the GroVia All-in-One) but if you foresee a longer process training pants for daytime and cloth diapers for longer outings just in case might be for you.

All trainer transition-  If you’re into that “rite of passage” style of transitioning it may be the only time you want to buy a lot of trainers.  Sometimes the toddler needs/wants a big “to-do” over training.  You can either turn that into buying underwear and going cold turkey or move to fun, underwear-like training pants.  Again, keep in mind that when you go to trainers they aren’t diapers so you will have to change more frequently if they aren’t making it to the bathroom on time.

Brands I love

I know I mentioned that I didn’t use training pants with my boys, and I didn’t for the most part, but we tried a few just to understand how they worked for us and to give me understanding of cloth training pants for the blog.  We reviewed a few and I borrowed some from a friend.   FWIW my youngest still sleeps in diapers most of the time, not trainers, and he hasn’t had any regression issues and doesn’t complain about wearing a diaper.  

pottypantBummis Potty Pant: this brand is GREAT for kids who need a fast and easy pull-up trainer that is trim.  It looks discreet under clothing and is waterproof.  It is decently absorbent enough for small accidents though as with most training pants, not an overnight solution unless your child is a very light wetter.

blueberrytrainersBlueberry Training Pant: These trainers have a hidden waterproof layer under a soft cotton outer and work best with children you don’t expect a lot of accidents from but want to protect their clothing just in case.  They would also be great for those easing into training.  They can be worn with just a t-shirt, look extremely comfortable for the child, and have fun prints your child may WANT to wear.

superundiesSuper Undies:  This brand specializes in training pants so they must know what they are doing!  They have several styles available so if you need an overnight trainer they have one that is ultra-absorbant for an older toddler or even young child that is wetting the bed.  Their themed colors are attractive for boys and girls without obnoxious character prints found on disposable products.  They are pricey for the bed wetting style but if you are using disposable products nightly for an older child who is consistently wetting the savings will be apparent quickly after a few short months.

If you’d like to support DDL you can shop from one of my affiliate partners for training pants and other cloth diapers:  Kelly’s Closet, Diaper Junction, and Sweetbottoms.  And if LOVE DDL make sure to pin and share this post!  

 

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Posted in Cloth Diapers, Featured1 Comment

The Teen in 10B

I’m constantly worried that I’m screwing my kids up for life, and not in the good way.  As a child from a dysfunctional home I pride myself in the positives that came from it- like knowing a lot about drug culture (but never trying them because I had the best “say no to drugs” commercial on 24 hours a day at home), understanding how to help a person when they’re having a grand-mal seizure (if anyone drops in front of my at Target I know not to shove a spoon in their mouth), and earning my Chandler Bing style, self-deprecating sense of humor to cope with a miserable home life.

My kids have a completely opposite existence.  They never have to worry about seeing their mom fall asleep in her food (ok, that might be a lie…) or seeing her OD and aspirate on her own vomit.  They won’t have to skip school on a big field trip day because we can’t afford the fee.  Hell, they won’t even have to walk in the rain to a bus because I’m so traumatized by the long, cold morning walks and the bullying I suffered to and from school that I’d never dream of doing anything but being the suburban mom taxi.

I’m aware of the opposite ways I could be screwing up my kids right this very second!  They have it all- the pool, the bikes, the toys, the trips to Legoland, the frozen yogurt or Starbucks dates.  I have a hard time saying no to their requests and I’m no therapist but I can see how growing up without can make a parent bend to a 5 year old’s will in the toy aisle at Target.  I dreamed up this life for my unborn kids amidst my own childhood chaos and it’s here.  Will our good fortune turn my kids into entitled little snots instead?

This past weekend I left my family for a short weekend conference called BlogU in Baltimore.  I promised them a souvenir like always when I travel and kissed them goodbye.  The trip and the conference was amazing- I met new friends, laughed until I cried, and even learned things I will be applying to this blog.  When it was time to leave I was sad to go but excited to hug my family and sleep in my own bed again.

My flight was delayed 20 minutes and when I did the math, it meant I had an extremely tight connection in Atlanta but a gate agent assured me that things would be fine.  I was landing a mere 3 gates from my departure.  It would all work out, I assumed.

We boarded the plane and the gentleman in the aisle seat offered his to me, knowing of my predicament at landing.  I thanked him for being so thoughtful and also observant.  Hopeful but nervous I read my book, one I had just downloaded on my Kindle for this weekend after the NPR interview (I only buy books after I hear about them on NPR) and mentally prepared for the dash ahead.

Then the crackle of the speaker came on and the pilot spoke.  “Ummm…. looks like we are going to be delayed 10 more minutes folks.  I’ve turned off the engines.  Once I get clearance for take-off we will taxi out.”  

The lady directly ahead of me turned her head around.  “Honey, don’t worry, we are going to stay in when we land and let you go ahead so you make your flight.  We have these three rows covered for you.  My son is over there, and my daughter is up ahead.  It’s going to be ok.”

I thanked her- how incredibly thoughtful that she arranged to have three rows ahead sit patiently to let me go by them.  I would have started up a conversation with her but frankly, my mind and body were just too exhausted from the weekend’s events and the late nights.

“Folks, we are going to be here another 5-10 minutes, air traffic control has us waiting.”

The woman ahead turned around with visible concern.  “Are you going to make your connection?”

“Maybe, but it isn’t looking good.  I might have 5 minutes when we land.  Thankfully the gate is very close so if I can hurry I might catch the plane.  And maybe they will wait if we aren’t too late. “

“We have all of the rows ahead [5 rows in coach] waiting for you to let you by.”

Hot tears sprung up.  I already knew my chances were slim, but having the support of even more rows who were willing to let me speed by was a sign that not everyone in the world is out for themselves.  Sometimes delayed planes have a way of bringing out the best in passengers.  I’ve seen it before, and here it was happening for me.  I thanked her again and this time we exchanged a few more words about my home destination of Tampa.

“So, do you have any children?” she asked.  That was of course when I lost it.  I crumpled into a pile of poorly contained tears as I choked out my “Yes, I have two boys at home.”  ”How old?”  ”5 and 3.”  ”These are my babies up here.  They’re both teens.  It happens so fast.”  ”I know.  I was really hoping to see my babies tonight but I don’t know if I will now.”

I went straight to self-pity and questioned every decision I had made that afternoon.  Through a very unfortunate mistake, I had booked the wrong set of flights to and from Baltimore.  I fixed my first flights but wound up leaving hours later than planned for my return trip.  I arrived at the airport at 3 PM for my 8:22 PM flight because I was riding with my roommate and her flight left at 5:45 PM.  This wasn’t as bad as I anticipated because we were able to watch another episode of Orange is the New Black together.  I had called in advance hoping to make stand-by for a 5:45 PM flight and I got it!  I was summoned to the gate and offered a seat on that flight to Atlanta.  Their flight was behind 30 minutes and a seat on the earlier connection was doubtful based on their stand-by list and the fact that I would have just 10 minutes to be added before the flight was scheduled to leave.  I thought “Wait here or wait in Atlanta for my later flight and spend $50, plus take a seat from someone who may need it more….?”  I chose to give up my seat.  At the time, it seemed like a better choice.  Had I taken that seat, paid $50, I would have made my connection.  I tortured myself for that decision as the minutes ticked by and we were still on the ground.

“Ummmmm…. this is the pilot speaking…. we won’t be leaving until 9:40 PM.”

Again, the nice lady turned around with even more concern and now with a hint of pity on her face.  She said nothing, but I knew her question.

“No… I won’t make it.  My flight leaves at 11:00.  Looks like I’ll be spending the night in Atlanta.”

I was mentally absent.  My brain was running on no sleep and my body was tired from dancing the night away Saturday night, thanks to the social lubrication of an open bar and Kim friendly drinks.  I had been texting updates to my husband.  He, the eternal optimist, was checking Flight Status to see if maybe my connection would be delayed, and it was by 10 minutes, but that wasn’t even close to what I needed.  Soon, we were in the clouds for a very uneasy and turbulent flight.  I closed my comfortable hoodie over my eyes and tried to sleep but it was useless.

When the cabin lights turned on at landing the lady and her two teens all turned around.  Their faces were all breaking my heart because they knew as well as I did that I would be stuck there all night, unable to sleep in my own bed and see my husband and kids.  My thoughts were consumed with the blame I was placing on everyone else.  Why didn’t that gate attendant tell me that our plane was the same one coming back from Atlanta?  That piece of information would have been helpful because it would have made known the fact that my own flight would definitely be delayed.  It was all her fault, she is the reason I’m going to be away from my babies one more night.  I had hateful thoughts that took the blame from my own decision (how could I have known the outcome then?  I couldn’t have) and put them onto someone else.  It made me feel better, as it always does.  I was so consumed by my self-pity, exhaustion, and anger that I hardly spoke to those kind people who had done so much to help me and who were clearly, very genuinely concerned about what happened to me.

As we all stood up and gathered our things to de-plane the teenager in 10B whose mother had been so kind to me, held out a Starbucks card across the row between us.

“Here, take this and grab something to eat and some coffee.”

It took me a minute to register what she was doing.  I responded back. “Thank you, that’s so sweet.  I’ll be ok.  I actually have a gold star reward for a free coffee waiting for me on my own card.”  ”No really,” she replied back, “I got a million of these for my graduation.  You should use it since you will be stuck here.”  I again thanked her and assured her I would be fine.  We all shuffled off the plane and I sat in a chair, crying my eyes out while figuring out what I should do next.  The airline offered me a voucher for a hotel and a flight the next day.

That morning I woke up feeling much better after 7 hours of rest and hopeful that I would be seeing my babies soon.  Then I went back over the previous day’s events and the teenager in 10B.  I cried once again, but that time out of happiness.  I had the privilege of meeting three people who left a lifetime imprint on me.  I regret not asking the mother her secret to raising empathetic children.  I cried because I wasn’t sure if one day my own children would do the same, would have the heart to make the same gesture of kindness to someone who clearly needed it.  It wasn’t the card I needed- I would have never gone hungry- it was the act.  Their concern made me feel less alone; I felt like they laid a security blanket on top of me in that airplane.  I don’t know if I could even register how much it meant to me until the following day when my head was cleared of the negativity and regret.  That family gave me hope that even a “normal” family can result in children who are good-hearted, even if they had never experienced the hardships that I’ve always felt shaped me into the person I am today.  Whatever that family was doing, it was right.  I’ll never know their secret and they’ll never know how much their gestures meant to me.   One day, when my boys are adventuring with us, I can only hope they turn out just like the teen in 10B.

Posted in Personal Post5 Comments


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