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Day 2 Prize Package Valued at $240 Giveaway: 5 Years of Awesome with DDL and EFF- Win prizes from Smartbottoms, Kelly’s Closet, Babyshusher, EMAB, and Maxwell Designs!

Day 2 is even bigger than Day 1…. and I am so jealous of whoever wins this prize package!  That is what I’m most excited about, that every day of giveaways The Eco-Friendly Family and I have lined up for you is full of things I would want myself!  We love these sponsors and their amazing products.  Yesterday our Day 1 was a prize package worth over $15o, so make sure you enter there as well.  You will even get extra entries on our other giveaways for that!

5 Years Day 2

Day 2′s Prize Package worth $240 includes products from…

Smartbottoms, Kelly’s Closet, Babyshusher, Earth Mama Angel Baby, and Maxwell Designs!   I even dreamed about the BabyShusher… I wish I had one for myself!

You want to win right?  Here is more about each prize…

smartbottomssmSmartbottoms is giving away 2 Smart One 3.1′s and a Wet Bag.  Their new 3.1′s might be reaching my favorite status!  They have organic cotton and with their improved sizing, it is a winner.  Few all-in-one’s have organic cotton soakers too.  Plus they have great color and snap combinations. ARV is $68.

 

ds-twitter-headerKelly’s Closet is a leading cloth diaper retailer with amazing customer service, just ask the fans in their huge Facebook group!  Along with cloth diaper brands and their exclusive KC prints, they also carry mom and baby essentials and cloth diaper accessories.  The winner will also get $25 to spend at Kellyscloset.com.  Shopping time!

 

beechwoodparkpurplestowitallback copyMaxwell Designs Stow it all Clutch is an item I carry almost daily!  Winner can choose between Picnic Blue – Paisley – Lots a Dots or Scooters prints.  These little clutches are easy to wear on the wrist or carry and stylish.  Plus they’re well made!  ARV is $34.99.

 

collection_front_1000_x_600Babyshusher makes a white noise machine that shushes your baby- it is portable, so if you need to bring it in the car or stroller it is super easy, see it in action.  In this prize package the winner will get 2 Swaddles, 1 Shusher, and 3 Chewies.  I needed one of these on a recent work trip!  And for any doubters, I shushed my baby to sleep for so long my mouth went numb so I would totally, 100% buy this thing if I had another baby.  ARV is $50.

 

b002babyessentialsbundleEarth Mama Angel Baby make some of the best natural products for moms and babies!  And they are GMO Free!  You get all of these products in this package: Mama’s Baby Essentials Bundle safely soothes, top to bottom, cheeks to cheeks! Pure, moisturizing, all-natural Vanilla Orange Angel Baby Lotion (8 fl. Oz.) is NSF Certified Contains Organic Ingredients.  Angel Baby Shampoo & Body Wash (5.3 fl. Oz.) is a gentle soap with Organic Ingredients.  Best selling Angel Baby Bottom Balm (2 fl. Oz.) safely battles diaper rash and thrush, and is safe for cloth diapers too. Angel Baby Oil (4 fl. Oz.) is infused with calming organic Chamomile and moisturizing organic Calendula, ideal for massage or dry skin. And Angel Baby Bath Blossoms are USDA Certified 100% Organic, for a naturally safe, soothing, heavenly soak. Safe for baby, with no toxins ever.  ARV is $65.

Enter using the Rafflecopter below.  Lots of ways to earn entries, including following at least 5 of us on IG!  Open to US.

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Day 1 Prize Package $150 Value Giveaway: 5 Years of Awesome Giveaways with DDL+EFF- Chelory, Eco Nuts, Mommee Meals, Sweetbottoms, and Little Toader

As an enormous thank you and celebration of 5 years at Dirty Diaper Laundry I’ve teamed up with my good friend Amanda over at The Eco-Friendly Family, who is also celebrating 5 years of blogging!  Together, us old timers have published a lot of information over the years about cloth diapering, natural and reusable feminine care, and general parenting and product reviews.  It was a natural fit that we put an event together to celebrate our milestones and bring you lots of great giveaways from companies we love, starting today!  Keep checking back because we have 5 days of incredible giveaways!

Day 1′s Prize Package includes:

a Neapolitan Chelory AIO in Velcro ($32.95), Eco Nuts Liquid Detergent and their new Ammonia Bouncer ($23 value), $25 to spend at Sweetbottoms Baby Boutique, 10 bags of Momme Meals chews for pregnant, nursing, and active moms ($62 value), and any AppeTEETHERs from Little Toader ($10 value).

5 Years Day 1

Amazing first day, am I right?  Here is a little more about our Day 1 Sponsors.

wi2s008Chelory diapers are handmade by a WAHM who has created a sought after product loved by moms!  Her cloth diapers are ideal for heavy wetters and are the most absorbent All-in-Ones I have yet tried.  Chelory diapers come in fun and modern colors and unique prints too.

eco_nuts_60_load_liquid copyEco Nuts are the makers of the most popular soap nut detergents, these are perfect for cloth diapers and especially great for babies with sensitive skin.  They liquid detergent is easier to use than their soap nuts themselves, and their ammonia bouncer is a new product designed to remove that ammonia from your cloth diapers!

sbbsmSweetbottoms Baby Boutique is one of my favorite cloth diaper stores online!  They have free shipping on most everything in their store to the US and carry a nice selection of cloth diapers, toys, and products for mom too.

go_chews_by_momme_meals_bag copyMomme Meals make chews and other treats for pregnant, nursing, and active moms.  Go Chews use only the best whole food ingredients and are allergen friendly, making them perfect snacks packed with the things a mom needs.  Each bag fits nicely in a purse or diaper bag for when you’re on the run and they taste awesome (I just tried them!).  The winner’s prizes will also come in a handy reusable freezer bag!

no_pricing_sell_sheet copyAppeTEETHERS take the idea that your baby loves YOUR food and brings them a one of a kind teething toy shaped like the foods on your plate.  Their great for little hands and sore gums but also funny and a great photo opp (go for the chicken wing teether if you win, it is my favorite!) for parents with a sense of humor!

 

 

 

Enter using the Rafflecopter below.  Today’s giveaway is US only. Other terms of conditions and rules in the Rafflecopter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Sign Up for the 4th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge

It is that time again!  Time to sign-up for the 4th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge. This year our event will take place beginning on the morning of May 11 and lasts until the end of the day on May 17. The excitement is building as more parents are learning about the event and the benefits of using flats, not just because they are the best for handwashing, but because flats are amazing cloth diapers!  Why are we doing this?  To show that cloth diapers can work for any family- especially for those choosing to buy diapers each week over using the money for other expenses they also need to pay.

flatschallenge2014signup

First, you will want to understand the rules of participation.

Materials Allowed

The following diapering items can be used:
• Any flat cloth diaper, store bought or handmade. A flat should be only 1 layer of material for easier handwashing and faster drying.
• 1 night time diaper per night of your choice although you are asked to make flats work for you (this diaper must also be handwashed)
• Doublers (not inserts meant to be absorbent enough to stand alone) if you absolutely must.
• A diaper sprayer.
• Wet bags/diaper pails for storage.
• Handmade “washing machine” for diapers such as the camp style washer I made last year.
• Non Electronic Portable washing machines (must be powered by you and cost less than $100.
• Commercially available or handmade covers.
• Commercially available or handmade detergents.
• Snappi, Boingo, and Pins for closure.
• Pocket diapers STUFFED WITH FLATS. (note that the potential for repelling on the stay dry lining could make your challenge harder but you can see what happens)
• Homemade or store bought fleece liners.
• Iron (to use in order to expedite drying time or sterilize)

Materials Not Allowed

• Electronic washer/dryer.
• Pockets with inserts other than flats, AIO’s, Fitteds, Contours, Prefolds, AI2’s, etc.
• Flushable liners.

Rules for Everyone

• You cannot use your washer or dryer.
• If for some reason something arises and an exception is made you need to disclose in the Conclusions Survey or on your blog if you are a blogger.
• There is no limit on the number of flats or covers you can use. Should you purchase 100 flats for $100 and go a whole week without washing? No. Use your common sense on this one. As a tip the more diapers in your camp washer/ sink/ tub the harder the washing will be.

Rules for Bloggers

Bloggers are encouraged to participate and chronicle their week.  I will have link-ups for each day of the challenge with blogging prompts.  If you sign up as a blogger you will be sent more information on the prompts and rules to add your links.

For Stores and Manufacturers

Each year this event sees an increasing amount of interest from stores and manufacturers who often offer discount codes and incentives for flats and covers. If you are a company planning to offer any sort of special promotion or discount related to the challenge, or your company is blogging along, please email beforehand to discuss opportunities.   dirtydiaperlaundry@gmail.com

Sign Up.

AND GET YOUR FLAIR!

imtakingthe2014flats

Resources to get you started…

You can also browse all blog posts made in during the past challenges (in backwards order, skip to the last page and work back for chronological order) by using the Flats Challenge tag.

donategdgh2014

As always the heart of this challenge is to shine a light on the fact that there are families struggling to provide clean diapers for their babies and to offer an alternative solution not often discussed when the major media outlets cover these stories. There are diaper banks that can help families get started with cloth diapers for free or little cost. If you know a family or are a family in need please visit Giving Diapers, Giving Hope- the longest running nationwide diaper lending program that ships to any approved family in the US. I encourage anyone touched by this challenge to donate to their organization and help them provide more diapers to more families.

Join our Facebook Group for live updates and to learn from other participants while we all get prepared for another Flats Challenge.  On Instagram and Twitter we will once again be using the #FlatsChallenge hashtag, also #bringingflatsback for funsies.

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Posted in Featured, Flats Challenge3 Comments

Why You Should Use and Love Flats {Video+Infographic}

To say I love flat cloth diapers is an understatement.  There are no diapers that compare when it comes to versatility, affordability, and wash/dry friendliness.  So they may take longer to learn than a wrap and go style of modern diaper… so what?  Practice on your teddy bears and bribe your baby with a toy while you get the hang of it, or just use them as inserts or soakers rectangle style!  I told you they were versatile!  I filmed a video that shares why I love flats, and why you should too.  Disclosure- I was facing the sun but it was the only time I had to film so waiting for an overcast day wasn’t an option.  Sorry for my squinty face and the brightness!

facts_flats_cloth_diapers_infographic

Why should you love flats?

Because they’re…

Cheap.

You can find flats for free if you raid your old t-shirt collection or for as low as $1-$3 each, even with name brands.  Flats can be just about anything, but they’re easily found at online diaper shops.

One layer.

washerThe thing that makes flats intimidating and a bit harder to use than modern diapers is also the thing that makes them amazing!  Being one layer of fabric means they wash up easier and dry faster than any other cloth diaper!  Flats are less prone to build-up of bacteria because they are just one layer and there are no other layers for things to hide in when being washed in a machine or by hand.  Drying is easy too!  On the line on a sunny, breezy day flats can dry in less than one hour!  Inside or outside in less than ideal conditions it can take half a day or even a full day but that is still faster than bulkier cloth dipers with lots of layers sandwiched together.  Using your dryer with a few wool dryer balls to help bounce them around, flats can be done is less than 30 minutes.  If you want to save the electricity and line dry your flats, soften them up by tossing in the dryer for a few minutes.  No dryer access?  Scrunch your stiff flats in your hands and twist them and they’ll be just as soft!

Versatile.

There is no other diaper that can do as many things as well as a flat can.  Fold it onto the baby using any of the dozens of folds available!  There are folds that can made this large square of fabric any size, even small enough for a newborn (Mini-Kite Fold) or folds that suit boys, folds for girls, and every stage.  Folds like the Jo Fold and Diaper Bag Fold are great because they hold their shape!  Fold ahead of time and just put on the baby like a contour, then secure with a modern Snappi or Boingos.  Other folds need to be done on the spot.  Also use flats that are folded into rectangles (pad fold tutorial) and lay them into a cover, or use as inserts in your pockets.  See?  They’re totally the transformers of the diaper world.

Natural Fibers.

cottonAs much as I appreciate the advances in textiles cloth diapers have made, there is nothing like the natural fibers flats are made from.  Most often, they’re made from birdseye cotton but can come in other fabrics like bamboo or hemp in a variety of blends or in textures like muslin, gauze, or terry.  In the UK their flat “nappies” are cotton terry squares and that’s all the royal families uses.  Think you’re too good for flats?  The Prince even wears them!  With natural fibers you have a lesser chance of stink and detergent build-up.  Microfiber, the most common pocket insert material also used in some All-in-Ones and other diapers has strands with hollow cores (more on this and why they stink more than other diapers here).  Bacteria and ammonia have nowhere to hide in natural fibers and especially with only one layer!  They also rinse easier meaning if you accidentally add too much detergent or need to add extra due to hard water you won’t need to rinse an additional 5 times.  Flats are forgiving!  There’s a reason our grandparents didn’t suffer from the same washing woes as we do.  Modern diapers’ convenience factor increases the washing difficulty with the synthetic stay dry layers, thicker soakers and inserts, and other parts.  Flats can take it all in stride.

Easy to Handwash.

The inspiration for the Flats and Handwashing Challenge was the flats themselves.  Their very nature and simplicity got my gears turning when I considered how easily they should handwash and air dry.  I tried it myself, though I was nervous about how they would perform (I had never ever tried flats before then!) and fell in love with everything about them.  For all the reasons listed above, they are prime diapers to hand wash.  Less layers= easier to clean and faster to dry.  Natural fibers= easier to rinse.  Use a camp style bucket washer and plunger or a breathing washer, or wash in the tub or sink.  Flats pack tight so you can still travel and use cloth and wash in the hotel bathroom (done it!) or take them camping if you choose.  They make excellent diapers in an emergency so keeping a pack in case the power goes out is a good idea.  Learn how to make your own camp-style washer and how to handwash.

Budget Friendly.

tshirttinyNo other diaper is as cheap unless it is free.  If you’d like to try one right this instant you can, because flats are everywhere.  Make your own DIY T-shirt Flats (tutorial), run to Target and grab a pack of Flour Sack Towels, or hit up Ikea for their burp cloths.  These options are free or just $.25-$2 per flat.  Our flats challenge survey reported that the average value of a stash of flats was $87, but it can be even less!  Cloth diaper for under $100?  Yes please!    Don’t forget that flats are modernized with the invention of the Snappi, and you can still buy adorable and modern cloth diaper covers in fun prints and modern hues!  There is absolutely no sacrificing convenience, you can even use one size covers.  Flats work great in Flips, Econobum covers, Best Bottoms, GroVia, Gen-Y, Blueberry Capris, Applecheeks covers, Bummis covers, and more.

Sing it with me ya’ll!  

bringingflatsback

Try them, love them, and re-think how you’ve imagines flats.  Then, become a flat-evangelist like me and teach others how they too can not only diaper inexpensively, but effectively, simply, and amazingly with the world’s most underrated cloth diaper.  You’re gonna love the way flats work, I guarantee it.  (Your voice switched to the Men’s Warehouse Guy didn’t it?  HA, gotcha.)   Don’t forget to check out the Flats Challenge happening soon and pin this fun infographic!  Sign-ups start next week.

Tell me why you love flats in the comments, your voice is appreciated and ther readers love to hear your thoughts.

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Posted in Budget Cloth Diapers, Featured3 Comments

5 Years, 300+ Videos, 1,300+ Posts. Happy Birthday DDL!

It all started with an idea to help more parents see and understand modern cloth diapers so that they could make an informed decision.   That idea became a blog and that blog became a huge part of my life and eventually, a paying job as well as a passion/hobby.

Dirty Diaper Laundry started from an idea while a new and insomniac mom laid in bed thinking of a new cloth diaper coming out and how she wished she could see it in person without driving 2 hours to the closest diaper shop.  “What if I bought it and filmed it for other moms just like me who want to see how the diapers work and what they do?”  The very next day I bought a domain name, signed up for a hosting plan, and shortly after I filmed the new Gro Baby AI2 and posted it.

ddlfactslong

I wasn’t a blogger before starting DDL but I had created a few websites, though mostly in high school and usually about how much I loved The Smashing Pumpkins and/or my boyfriend.  I was making .gifs before .gifs were cool (I created them for message boards over 10 years ago) and had even turned my website knowledge into a job by creating and managing a restaurant’s website from scratch while still in high school- all hand coded HTML.  It was beautiful functional.  With my self-taught Photoshop/Website skills and my love of online research I dove in and started this blog, never knowing or planning it would be anything more than a fun hobby and hopefully an asset to other parents.

videoreviews

I knew way more about websites than I did about videography and video editing in the beginning.  My first videos were poorly lit, low quality, and badly edited, but I kept learning about what makes a good video.  As the blog began to earn ad revenue I started re-investing the profits into a better video camera, better editing software, better lighting, audio equipment, even better tripods and other equipment you never knew I had.  From the start I wanted to give you quality videos over quantity.  I wanted videos that weren’t shaky, weren’t grainy, weren’t full of high pitched white noise or anything else distracting.  I wanted the videos to be to the point and informative and for all of my video reviews to create a cohesive library.  It wasn’t until last year that I really began exploring other kinds of videos that weren’t review based, often featuring myself in the frame (a rare occurrence for the first 2-3 years) because you guys liked them!  Then one day I lost my marbles and filmed a video about menstrual cups.  I knew I had the skills to make something really great and helpful and like with cloth diapering, I felt I owed it to women to make a quality video educating them on their choices.  That video has the most views of all of my videos!  I went there, and I’m really glad I did because I get feedback every single week from women who made the switch thanks to that video.

Overall, my stance on cloth diapering has evolved from the first post.  I was far more militant and gung-ho about cloth diapers in 2009.  I thought every mom no matter what should use them every day with no exceptions.  I’ve grown and changed since then and my eyes have been opened to situations when cloth diapers just can’t work.  Long time readers will surely recognize this softening.  I don’t think this change has made me a less effective advocate- I think it makes me a better one, and a more understanding and compassionate one.  My posts here on DDL reflect this personal change, and while I do want every parent to switch, I understand there are times when they can’t.  Maybe they CAN later, and I’ll be here to help them along the way.  Making parents feel bad about their choices is not something I want to do.  I want them to feel like this is a safe place where they can learn and not be judged for using disposables in the past or even present.

diaperdiscussions

Part of this change has been a direct result of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge, an event I started almost 3 years ago as a way to show that every parent can cloth diaper.  I still whole heartedly believe in this event and the amazing community it has created, plus the educational opportunities for cloth diaper advocates that are a direct result.  I and thousands of others have learned ways to cloth diaper for almost no money, and even without a washing machine.  Together we have performed back breaking nightly or morning diaper washes, reported on what works best, and found that it is possible but it isn’t exactly easy.  Doing this challenge teaches us all skills and compassion.  I’ve found flats to be the ultimate diaper above all others in this experience and my blog has been shaped by this as well.

 Simple can be better than easy.

I’ve also used the tiny “celebrity” of DDL to help another cause close to my heart- Giving Diapers, Giving Hope.  GDGH is a cloth diaper lending organization that a friend of mine started.  They began in 2011, and along with helping spread the word, I’ve also begun helping in a more concrete way behind the scenes.  It has become another large part of my life and my time, so much so that some days I spend more time working on their projects than I do on mine.  Speaking of… we are launching their new website design today!

Cloth Diaper Finder was another project I poured myself into because I knew the cloth diaper community needed it.  My husband was the “investor” and helped bring this one of a kind, searchable database to life.  It took months of planning and design with a programmer and it costs more to run than it has ever made but I believe in what it does and know it has helped so many families choose the right diaper for their families so I keep the money pit alive.  Make no mistake, this was the original searchable database and a project that came from 2 years of dreaming.  That’s all I will say about that one.

Is this real life?

I’m so incredibly fortunate in so many ways.  Starting this blog was one of the best ideas I’ve ever had.  It has created a job for me and taught me why I always hated working- I cannot stand working for other people, now I don’t have to.  It isn’t work when you do what you love and for the most part that has held true for 5 years.  I’ve met amazing people, individuals that are changing the world, are compassionate, inventive, thoughtful, giving, and kick ass.  Many of those people are now great friends.  I’ve taught myself skills that translated into my life in other ways.  I now have a thriving side business where I’m filming and editing videos for companies.  I didn’t see that coming AT ALL and yet here I am, being paid to create videos for businesses that I can’t believe trust me to do this for them.  It is surreal!  This has been the best year yet in many ways.  I was recently in San Diego speaking at an expo about cloth diapers (also, I can’t believe that happened!) and have other fun plans coming soon.  I almost feel guilty that I get to do this.  10 years ago my goal was to teach high school English.  Now I have a BA in History and blog about cloth diapers and edit videos.

Life, man, you just never know where it will take you.

 

diaper_face

This community continues to grow and change.  In fact, it already has.  I have been watching for 5 years and have seen a significant shift.  That is for another day.  As long as there is a place for me in this community and as long as I can help families with my knowledge I will do so.  I’m lucky to have Lara here helping with reviews now that my babies are no longer in diapers.  Last year was rough- everyone stopped napping and I had no time to work.  Next year I will have a child in Kindergarten and one in Pre-K.  I’m looking forward to seeing what I can accomplish with more time at my disposal.  I have big plans….

Thank you…

Thank you for reading, telling your friends about DDL, and thank you to the companies and brands that continue to support what I do with advertising and promotions.  The biggest thanks goes to my husband and kids.  My husband has supported me in this website since it began and is the one who pushes me to keep it going even when I want to throw in the towel.  He has seen the potential in it and in me when I couldn’t.  My son calls me “the best cloth diaper queen”-a title I am happy to accept.  He probably knows more about cloth diapers than most adults.

Next week is the big celebration with giveaways from sponsors like GroVia, Applecheeks, Thirsties, Bamboobies, Baby Shusher, Earth Mama Angel Baby, Molly’s Suds, Eco Nuts, Sweetbottoms, Jack be Natural, and more!  I’m joining up with The Eco Friendly Family so check back then to celebrate with us on our 5 years of blogging!

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Funky Fluff Starter Kit Giveaway

A few weeks ago Lara was able to bring you a review of the Funky Fluff Bamboo 3-in-1.  She loved the versatility and the attractive design and thought it would make a great baby shower gift.

funky

Funky Fluff Fusion 3 in 1 cloth diapers were created by a team of two moms from Toronto Canada. By creating our interchangeable design, we hope to show that modern cloth diapers are easy to use, convenient and can work for anyone, no matter which system they prefer to use. The same diaper can be used whether you are a dad who likes an AIO system, a mom who prefers the convenience of an AI2 or a daycare provider who feels comfortable with the Pocket System concept.

Our versatile design can be used as a Pocket, All in One (AIO) or All in Two (AI2) system. It is a one size system that will fit from approximately 7 to 35 pounds and is available in Stay Dry or Bamboo Blend fabrics. Our diapers come in an assortment of colors with a unique funky colored “belt” and include a heavy duty and light soaker.

winfunkyfluff

Enter to win a Funky Fluff Starter Kit!  This includes:
  • 1 Funky Fluff 3 in 1 Bamboo Diaper
  • 1 Funky Fluff 3 in 1 Stay Dry Diaper
  • 1 Funky Fluff Double Pocket Wet Bag
  • 1 Additional Stay Dry Soaker for AI2 use
  • 1 Additional Bamboo Soaker for AI2 use
  • 1 Funky Fluff Bamboo/Cotton Booster

This is a great prize package for a lucky winner, so be sure to enter using the Rafflecopter below and improve your chances of winning by doing the extra entries!  Open to US and Canada.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Cloth Diaper Info Cards {Free Download}

If you’ve ever considered teaching a class locally about cloth diapering or you are currently teaching one, this post may be of help!  For an event I attended recently I made up some handy cards, one for each type of cloth diaper, that could be handed out with that diaper so each person could see and touch it while getting information about that style.

I left the printed cards at home (of course I did) so I didn’t get the chance to use them, but so many people wanted to know where to get them after posting an image to Instagram that I knew posting them to the blog would be a good idea! Each card has the type of diaper and the pros/cons of each. At the bottom of the post are links to download, there are 2 sheets to print with 3 cards on each. You’ll have to chop the paper to get the three cards and should print them on card stock for best results.

cloth diaper pros vs cons allintwoprosconswm pocketsprosconswmFittedsprosconswm prefoldsprosconswm flatsprosconswm

printlistdiapertypes2lines printdiapertypeslines
Click the sheets above for a printer friendly version. Each image click will begin the download. You will want to print these on cardstock paper and cut on the lines.
Download Cloth Diaper Info Card 1 Download Cloth Diaper Info Card 2

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Posted in Featured, New to Cloth Diapers1 Comment

Paycheck to Paycheck

42 million women are living at or below the poverty line, and an additional 28 million children are living alongside them.

 

This is according to the film Paycheck to Paycheck, a documentary produced by Maria Shriver with data from the Shriver Report, showing a year in the life of a struggling single mother.  This film aired on HBO and is now available on HBOGo.  I heard about this movie through an email sent by the National Diaper Bank Network- it was said those who work or volunteer in the diaper bank world should watch.  So, I watched it.

Paycheck-to-Paycheck-movie

In the film, we see Katrina Gilbert struggle to provide for her three children.  She was married ten years before splitting with her husband due to his painkiller addiction.  She became a CNA (certified nursing assistant) to pay the bills, working long days and even longer consecutive stretches to keep a roof over their heads.  She is paid what some may think is a good wage, higher than minimum even- $9.49 an hour, doing back breaking labor.   She works holidays and misses those moments with her children, probably for the same reason my own sister has to- they pay higher those days so it makes sense when you are broke.

Because her youngest child over the filming period is 3, we don’t see what struggles she would be facing when it comes to affording diapers.  She has trouble affording everything else so it only makes sense if her son were still in diapers that this would be another unwelcome expense.

Here is why this film matters- it shows a family that to anyone, doesn’t look “poor.”  The mom wears scrubs to work and she could easily be mistaken for a registered nurse.  For a while they are even living in a decent sized home with her boyfriend, which from the outside looks nice.  We find out at the end of the film it has suffered water damage and much of their property and clothing were ruined, several rooms weren’t even usable due to mildew, and they didn’t have the money to fix any of it.  I loved this movie because it shows the side of poverty we ignore- the working poor.

Many of us consider those living in poverty to be homeless.  People with homes, they aren’t poor.  They can afford homes so things are fine.  Katrina and her children lived in a trailer park (the same kind that I lived in my entire life) so that one is a little harder to call.  They had a car, the children wore clothing without holes or stains, and everyone looked nice and “normal” from the outside.  Yet, Katrina spent every cent of each check on her bills.  As a check came in, it went out.  The money was spent immediately.  Off and on she has food stamps, so some days she has better chances of getting all the groceries she needs.  She has no health insurance and so she ignores her own health issues because she can’t afford to pay for the medications or doctor visits.

The woman is working every day!  She is employed full time and yet she is living in a small, run down trailer and doesn’t have enough money to survive.  Her story is the story of a lot of Americans, probably even a lot of you who read this blog.  To those who claim over and over that people are poor because they are lazy, or won’t work, this isn’t usually the case.  If she were fairly compensated for the work she was doing her life would be more than ok, yet she isn’t so she has to work more hours to meet the pay that others can make in half the time.  In fact, Forbes just crunched the numbers-

67 people are as wealthy as the world’s poorest 3.5 billion.  

 

So many people dismiss cloth diapers as a non-option for those in poverty.  This movie shows a woman who had a home, (presumably) had access to laundry, but was still completely broke.  Other than the extra time commitment on a very busy schedule, there is no reason cloth diapers couldn’t work for a mom like Katrina if she wanted to use them.  No one can force them to, but shouldn’t they understand that they have the option?  The very network that suggested this film to watch is the one often quoted in the media saying cloth diapers won’t work for poor families.  This movie shows the side of poverty it could work for, the working poor, the ones who are just getting by but have a place to call home and have a washing machine.  $60 extra a month, enough to cover a prescription or a lot of staple food items, that is what they would save once they have the diapers in hand.

“But Kim, what about the start-up cost?”  

This is where I leave you with links for families who need help because they can’t afford the $300-$500 that it CAN cost to begin cloth diapering.

$15 DIY Cloth Diaper Stash using XXL t-shirts and fleece for tie-on covers.
Two FREE booklets on cloth diapering solutions for struggling families to read or download
Cloth Diapering on a Budget ideas
Apply to Giving Diapers, Giving Hope (a national cloth diaper lending service) or find a local cloth diaper bank near you.

It was very hard to watch this film and see the lifestyle I myself lived through before I moved to college.  It is the life that much of my family still lives, and my hometown is suffering a major increase in the poverty rates, currently at 28.4%.  Katrina’s story is the story of my sister, and one of my best friend’s, and millions of other women I’ve never even met.  I’m reminded of how fortunate I am that I don’t worry about how to feed my children or keep the lights on.  It is unfair that this is way things are and these are the choices families are making.  The gap between the wealthy and the poor keeps getting wider.  It is heartbreaking to see women doing everything they can, working one, two, even three jobs and still not having the money to pay for living expenses.  I can’t fix it but I want these families to know that they can stop lining the pockets of disposable diaper companies if they choose, and keep that money for what they need it for most while having peace of mind because they’ll never have to choose between buying diapers or food.

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If you get the chance, please watch the film.  And if you feel that you would like to help a family like Katrina’s get cloth diapers, Giving Diapers, Giving Hope is always accepting good used condition or new cloth diapers.  You can also directly assist families by sponsoring the cost of shipping -this is a cost we can’t yet reduce since we do not yet have the financial support to do so.  You can also email us givingdiapersgivinghope@gmail.com or apply on the website for assistance.

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Babies in Bloom Baby Fest Recap

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending and speaking at the Babies in Bloom Baby Fest in Northern California, about an hour from San Diego.  The entire experience was wonderful and I was having so much fun and living in the moment so intensely that I found myself forgetting to use my camera or my phone to take any pictures!  I’m so thankful that Rochelle, the owner of Babies in Bloom, thought enough of me and the work I do here on Dirty Diaper Laundry to invite me.  It was a very fast weekend but I squeezed in a ton!  Baby Fest was a huge success and raised a lot of money for March of Dimes so it was great to play a tiny part in that.

On Saturday my first hour in California was spent chatting with the owner of a local diaper service at the airport!  Next I met January of Birth Without Fear for the first time, though I’ve been a fan of the blog for many years.  We rode together to our hotel and I discovered what everyone else already knew- she is the nicest person on Earth.  At one point this weekend I had to tell her to stop being so January, and if you’ve ever met her or seen her speak you would know what I mean.  We had a Starbucks moment together, one we needed after both traveling much of the day.

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The next adventure was to play tourists!  Rochelle and the most amazing team from a retail store ever invited us to dinner at a tourist destination that was situated on the pier.  The scenery was beautiful.  Mrs. and Mr. Spray-Pal joined us so yes, it was a fun filled evening!  After a night cap I returned to the hotel.  It had been a 20 hour day for me so even though I was turning in “early” by PST time, I was exhausted and possibly delirious.

After what I will just say was a “fun” night related to my body hating me for traveling and a not so restful sleep, it was the big day!  January and I met with Rochelle that morning to see the venue and it was stunning and so thoughtfully laid out.  There were over 50 vendors relating to pregnancy, birth, cloth diapering, breastfeeding, breastfeeding, and natural parenting for the day!  The schedule was packed full of information sessions and panels on birth, cloth diapering (me!), babywearing, and more.  I was lucky enough to attend the Birth Without Fear VIP Meet-UP early in the day.  If BWF comes to your town you have to make it; it was almost making me cry to be with these amazing women and listening to January’s birth stories.   Due to time, the other moms weren’t able to share their own stories but at her meet-ups they are and I’m sure it is a healing experience for women who’ve gone through traumatic births and inspiring to those hoping to heal with VBACs or HBACS.

I made these pretty cards for the first sessions and left them at home.

I made these pretty cards for the first sessions and left them at home.

Soon I was on, I did a condensed cloth diapering informational session and 30 minutes isn’t quite enough to cover this topic (I’ve been blogging for 5 years and I still haven’t covered each topic!) but I stayed after to answer specific questions from attendees.  I loved watching the looks on everyone’s faces when I described how easily you could DIY a t-shirt flat for .25, it may be my favorite moment of the show.  Cloth diapering doesn’t have to be expensive, see?!  Soon enough I’ll post these cards above in another post since so many of you loved them the preview on Instagram.

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I was able to get around to a few booths during the day, not all of them though, and chatted with Spray-Pal, Moraki, and the San Diego RDA.

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Standing room only for BWF’s session

The parking lot had food trucks, which is what I believe is the smartest move the Baby Fest organizers made!  I grabbed a burrito for lunch and made it in time to hear January’s open session.  It was a full house, standing room only, and women around me remarked over and over at how much they loved January and Birth Without Fear.  My next session was a bit different, and I was totally afraid no butts would be in the seats after January brought the house down.

Image via SprayPal

Image via SprayPal

The “Cloth Diapering in Depth” session was more about how DDL began and my perspective watching the industry grow rapidly in the last 5 years.  I also went over the evolution of the cloth diaper and the history, touching on the disposable diaper’s role in how we now consume and market cloth, and how they marketed their own products to compete with cloth in the 70′s up to now.  This is the stuff that I live for, that I research often (History major, remember?) and find so interesting.  I enjoyed sharing some information that most people have never heard, especially since a few of the items shared are not found or shared on any other websites (not even mine, yet).  I even brought along some of the treasures I’ve collected, included vintage 1950′s era covers.

Image via Babies in Bloom

Image via Babies in Bloom

Once the expo wrapped the amazing staff of Babies in Bloom plus January and I posed for a group photo.  Someone thought putting me in front was a good idea, then they decided squatting was also a good idea.  My face says otherwise.

After the long day at the expo I had the BEST Pad See Ew of my life with friends from Moraki.  Upon returning to my hotel, I promptly removed the gorgeous shoes I’d been wearing all day and crawled under the covers to call my husband.  I don’t leave my family very often, so I was missing them quite a bit already!

Monday I spent 11 hours either in a hotel or an airplane before reuniting with the family and devouring a late night Gyro on the ride home.

I met so many people that I will never forget last weekend that radiate kindness and positive energy.  Not only that, but I got the chance to connect with several DDL readers and parents who weren’t readers yet but who hopefully will be as they continue their cloth diaper research.  The next big event I’m attending will be right here in the Tampa area on April 26th- the Pinellas County Great Cloth Diaper Change!

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The Great Cloth Diaper Change is April 26! And I’m Co-Hosting in FL!

Great Diaper Change Final Logo 2014Every year parents from around the world get together on one day and all change their babies at the same time in order to break the previous year’s record for most babies changed into a cloth diaper!

This year The Great Cloth Diaper Change will be April 26 at various locations around the world. These events often feature vendors, raffles, family friendly events, and goodie bags for attendees. It is also a great way to meet other local moms just like you who use and love cloth diapers while bringing awareness to the fact that yes, they do still exist!

I’ve attended events in Syracuse, NY and Charlotte, NC but I’ve never hosted an event, until now! I’m teaming up with my friends from Molly’s Suds- a locally based detergent company that recently introduced their cloth diaper safe powder. Also hosting will be Kelly’s Closet- an online cloth diaper retailer.
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If you are a Florida local and near Pinellas or Hillsborough County you should come out to join us for a very fun afternoon in the (hopeful) Florida sunshine! We will have the event in Largo at Heritage Village- a window to the past with lots of places for your family to explore and even more space to roam and play. I’m bringing my frisbee and I’m not that good, so watch out! Families are encouraged to pack a lunch and stay to picnic after the change while the kids get to enjoy the space and each other.

We will have goodie bags for the first 50 attendees to sign in on the day of the event. We will start sign ins at 10 am and the change itself is at 11 am- we will be setting up for the change several minutes before 11 so don’t wait too long to arrive! In addition to the swag bags, we will have items to raffle off from brands like Kissaluvs, itti bitti, Molly’s Suds, Thirsties, and more!

You can pre-register on Eventbrite with our location, or look for a location near you on the GCDC Event Map.

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