Saturday, June 28, 2014

Modern Cloth Diapers on Reality TV?

Crazily enough, this actually could become a reality!  The Spray Pal family was selected to participate in filming a "teaser" for an upcoming reality show, which could air soon on one of the major TV networks!!  We are so grateful for the opportunity to show how our product is made and how our business is run (out of our home and garage) and get the help we need from Ally Loprete and her team of experts.  A HUGE side benefit is that this will definitely help #makeclothmainstream as millions families across America will suddenly be introduced to how easy, ecofriendly, economical and adorable cloth diapers can be!

Check out the teaser video below and let us know what you think!  We will keep you updated as the production crew selects which network they will work with and things get moving.  Yay for Spray Pal and cloth diapers on TV!!

This Little Parent Stayed Home from Bowstring Studios on Vimeo.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Demystifying Cloth Diapers

We asked current cloth diaper users what their most common concerns or questions were BEFORE they got started with cloth diapering and we compiled all of that info along with my own personal experience into a list so that we can help crush any fears help and make cloth mainstream.

You can also watch the YouTube Webinar "Demystifying Cloth Diapers" hosted by Sarah from Sarah Wells Breastpump Bags and Nicole from Nizo Wear Nursing Bras by clicking on that adorable fluffy bum picture below:

1. Getting Started:

You really don’t need much to get started, although some parents find enjoyment in shopping for the extras that make cloth diapering more interesting and fun. Here are a list of the bare basics you’ll need to get started, along with the extras you might enjoy adding to your stash!

 Must haves:

  • 12-24 cloth diapers.

  • A pail liner to hold the dirties.

  • Detergent

Honestly, that’s it. You can totally cloth diaper your baby from birth to potty training with that tiny list. The number of diapers varies like that because it will be based on your routine and personal preference. If you are ok with washing diapers every day, you can go with a smaller amount of diapers, but if you’d like to wash every other day, you’ll need more clean diapers to get you from wash cycle to wash cycle.

Extras worth having:

  • wetbags for outings

  • cloth wipes

  • cloth safe diaper cream

  • a diaper sprayer

  • a Spray Pal splatter shield

  • fleece or disposable liners

  • extra diapers for extra days between washing and less wear

newest bundle

The items listed above are totally optional, but they come highly recommended, most from my own personal experience. We do cloth full time, even on outings and short trips, so wetbags are a must for us. They make the transport of dirty diapers back home super easy. Liners are another great choice to make outings easier, just lay one in each of the diapers you bring with you and then if your little one becomes inspired to leave you a nice present while you’re out, you can just flush the liner down. Liners are also great for creating a barrier if you need to use a rash cream

Cloth wipes are another optional item that you will probably find once you start with cloth are a pretty easy transition. We started our oldest with disposables for her first 2 months, and when we made the switch to cloth it was really hard to break the habit of rolling up the wipes in the diaper during changes, which led to lots of wipes going through the washing machine. Might as well go ahead and keep the habit going with cloth wipes and just wash them with your diapers to save some extra cash and trash!

The diaper sprayer was another must have for us once we started feeding our oldest solid foods. But, after the first time using it, we realized we’d need a way to keep the splatter off our bathroom walls and floor, so we invented the Spray Pal splatter shield. That has quickly become another must have for the optional items because paired with a diaper sprayer it makes the question “What do you do with the poo?” easy to answer. ;)

2. How to deal with the “Yuck Factor”

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="213"] Dirty diapers can quickly and easily be sprayed with a diaper sprayer and a Spray Pal![/caption]

It seems that most people who start to consider cloth diapers are immediately concerned with how gross it must be. I get it, the thought of actually having to deal with the poop instead of just rolling it up into a disposable poop burrito to toss in the trash seems daunting at first. ;) I promise you, I thought the same way until I tried cloth, and then I realized a few things:

  •  As a new parent, you are going to deal with poop and other bodily fluids more than you ever have before in your life, regardless of what type of diapers you use.

  • Even if you use disposables, you should technically dispose of solid waste in the toilet where it can be treated properly. Otherwise, that poop burrito I mentioned could end up sitting in a landfill for 200-500 years. Now THAT’S gross.

  • Cloth diapers REALLY aren’t hard. Seriously. They aren’t. Once you get your routine down, it’s a piece of cake, and TOTALLY worth it.

So, routines. Everyone will have a different method that works for them, and it can become very overwhelming if you try to Google answers to specific routine questions or ask in groups full of cloth diapering parents from all over the country/world. I’m not going to tell you what will work best for you, because I can’t. What I CAN tell you is what worked for me under my specific conditions, and then I can tell you that it only took me about a week or two to get into a groove. We haven’t had issues since, and that’s been 3+ years. We did strip our diapers with blue dawn ONE time about a year ago after my son got a yeast rash, but that was it. Every once a month or so we might throw in about a quarter cup of bleach into a full wash cycle just to keep things extra clean, but you have to be careful with that because the use of bleach can void some cloth diaper warrantees.

Here’s the wash routine that works for us using a top loading regular washer with hard water in Southern California.

  •  0-6 months EBF poop, we did a hot pre-rinse, then a hot cycle (with detergent) and a cold rinse .

  • Once we introduced solids, we found that by spraying the dirty diapers first, we were able to skip the pre-rinse cycle altogether. So now we just do a hot cycle with detergent and a cold rinse.

  • We wash our diapers every other day. We spray poop as it comes (easy with a Spray Pal), we sometimes also spray overnight diapers if they get that ammonia smell and we aren’t doing laundry that day.

That’s it, y’all. It really doesn’t have to be overly complicated AT ALL. ;)

Now as far as the ‘yuck factor” some people want to know how you handle it if your baby poops while you’re on an outing away from home. For this, you can use liners. The disposable ones work great for out of the house because most public plumbing should be able to handle it if you flush them. We personally skip the liners and just roll the dirty diaper up and throw it in the wetbag if it’s not ploppable, and then we spray it when we get home.

3. Different Styles and Terms

One of the biggest hurdles many parents mention when they are trying to figure out cloth diapers is the long and sometimes confusing list of terms. acronyms and styles related to cloth diapering. Many will become clear once you start doing your research, but there are a few that can be more elusive. For me, it was NWOT (new without tags)…that one took me forever!

Here is a great list of cloth diapering terms from Dirty Diaper Laundry:

I recommend pinning this post or the post in the link above so that you can have a handy list readily available in case you come across anything that stumps you. ;)

As far as the different diaper styles, here are the basics:

  • Most ecomomical: Prefolds, flats, and covers. Basically in order to have a diaper, you just need an absorbent layer and a waterproof cover. You can even use flour sack towels or old cut up t-shirts for absorbency, it really doesn’t matter!

  • Most convenient: While I don’t personally find the other options difficult, many are looking for the option that is most like a disposable, especially if they are asking a child care provider to use cloth on their baby. For those people, I would recommend either an AIO (all in one), AI2 (all in two), or a pocket diaper. The AIOs are probably the easiest because they are just as described, all in one piece. You don’t have to do anything other than wash and put on your baby. Then repeat. AI2s are similar, only they have the option of using a disposable insert instead of the cloth insert. And pockets, once stuffed with their absorbent layer, are also very easy to use.

  • Most absorbent for overnight or heavy wetters: Fitteds are a very popular diaper for those who are looking for something super absorbent. They are not waterproof, although some WAHM (work at home mom) diapers are made as hybrid fitteds, which means they have a layer of fleece sewn inside that provides a little extra wetness protection, but the moisture can still make it’s way to the outer edges. So basically, just like the prefolds and flats, they will need a cover to maintain outer dryness. They are also often paired with a wool cover to provide all natural and breathable coverage. You don’t HAVE to put a cover on them if you would rather not. Just feel for wetness and change more frequently to allow that bum to breathe a bit. Perfect for hotter times of the year when you want to avoid heat rashes.

4. Expert Tips

After 3+ years cloth diapering two kids, there are a few things I’ve learned along the way that I like to share with parents who are just starting out. These are the “things I wish I knew when I started” also known as “If I could do it all over again, I’d do it this way.”

  • Snaps vs. Velcro/aplix/hook and loop. When I started, I thought for sure I wanted Velcro because it would be so much easier. Then I discovered snaps. They are seriously not hard, and the bonus is that they don’t wear out with washings, they don’t snag on other diapers, and they are harder for your child to figure out how to take off. So, yeah. As you can probably surmise, I’m a snaps girl all the way now. ;)

  • If you aren’t sure brand or style you want to invest in, start with a rental program. We did this with my daughter and it was the greatest thing ever. They sent us a box with 12 different brands/styles of cloth diapers, and we tried them all out for 3 weeks. This is smart since each baby is a different shape and size, and what works for one may not work for another. Plus, you’ll get to test out your routines for a while. ;)

  • To buy newborns or not to buy newborns. With my daughter, we started with one size diapers because we made the switch when she was 2.5 months old. With my son, we used newborns. In fact, we used preemie cloth diapers before newborns even fit him because he was born at 25 weeks weighing 1lb 13oz. The decision as to whether or not you want to invest in newborn diapers is your own, but keep a few things in mind. You don’t know how big your baby will be when s/he is born. It may be a great investment if they are going to take a few months to grow into their one size diapers, or you may give birth to a toddler sized baby who will skip right past the newborn size. Either way, you could look into buying them used since most don’t get much wear and tear in a the short amount of time they are in use. And when you finish, you can resell them and recoup some of that cost.

  • Dealing with skeptics. When you first start letting people know that you’re planning to use cloth diapers, you may be surprised to find that not everyone will be supportive. If the negative comments are hard for you to deal with, here are some tips for coping. First, try politely sharing some of the amazing reasons why you feel cloth is better. You’ll be saving money, you’ll be keeping chemicals off your baby’s most sensitive skin, you’ll be helping the environment, and the list goes on. If they don’t seem to respond to those facts, then the best second step is to just prove them wrong. Keep at it and show them that cloth diapers are easy and adorable. They’ll have to concede your point eventually, and if not, they aren’t worth the stress. ;)

I hope that this information is useful for you. Here at Spray Pal, we are all about helping #makeclothmainstream, and we love helping people find the benefit to cloth diapers with great success! Feel free to send me a message on our Facebook page if you ever have any questions about cloth diapering, I’d be happy to help!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Work at Home Mom Life Hacks: First Edition

First day as an "official" work at home mom, and I'm already realizing that there are some important life hacks that must be implemented in order to get anything accomplished.

For a little background, my chosen career path after college was to be an elementary school teacher. And I loved it. I still love teaching, actually, it's just not in the cards right now. So I resigned this year to be home with my kids and run Spray Pal on the side. I call today my first "official" day as a WAHM because I've been doing the work at home thing for a few years now on top of teaching, and it's been quite nuts. So I made a promise to myself that after my final teaching day, I would make a big deal out of it with my daughter and let her pick out anything she wanted to do that morning to celebrate.

So she did. And you guys, I have no idea where in the world this child gets her crazy ideas, but this is what she picked:

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="320"] Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred. Who knew it would make for great mother/daughter bonding?[/caption]

And at first I was thinking, You've got to be kidding. I haven't touched that thing since 2011 and the last thing I want to do at 7:30am is listen to Jillian Michaels bark orders at me and tell me not to "phone it in." She obviously doesn't know I haven't had enough coffee yet.

But, she was serious. (My daughter, not Jillian). So, I went with it. And this is where I learned my very first life hack as a WAHM (that didn't take long, right?).  And since it didn't take long, I decided to number these life hacks, because I have a hunch that this could easily become a series of blogs.

Work at Home Mom Life Hack #1: Use play time as a time to check something else off the list.

Basically, this means if your daughter wants to do a workout video, turn that into an opportunity to multitask! I needed a workout anyways, and I likely wouldn't have done it if I had planned my day based on what I wanted to do.  I also wanted my morning to be about spending time with her.  So, she actually got the ball rolling so we could combine the two and make it fun!

We didn't do the video exactly as instructed.  Instead I popped it in, and we ran around the room, and did a few fun variations of the moves that we could do together, and I took a ton of pictures of her getting her workout on.  She claimed a few toys as makeshift dumbbells and I used the real thing, so I actually did get a little bit of a workout.  But the bottom line is, we both broke a sweat, got active, and had fun!

I never would've thought about working out with my kids as a form of exercise, but honestly, I think it's a great way to start each day now to keep us both on a good, healthy schedule.  It makes exercise a fun part of our normal routine.  It was actually perfect timing because her little brother was hooked up to his gtube feed and we pulled his high chair into the living room with us so he could watch, and he found it absolutely hilarious to see the two of us running around like maniacs and goofing off.  I'm pretty sure he got an ab workout from laughing as well. ;)

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="320"] Mini Spray Pal 2.0 thought we were pretty amusing.[/caption]

If you're interested in checking out the 30 day shred video, I've included an affiliate link: Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred.  I actually like the video, but I usually have to press mute to handle it get through it with my sanity. ;)

What life hacks do you use to save time and keep things fun?

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Cute and Funky Baby Clothes for Babies in Cloth Diapers

Just because your little one is wearing cloth diapers doesn’t mean your babe can’t be fashionable. As a cloth diapering mom, I know that finding trendy baby clothes that fit over cloth diapers can be a bit of a challenge. But don’t let it stop you from trying out cloth diapers!

Here are some of my tips and ideas AND a giveaway to bring funkiness back to your cloth diapered baby’s closet:

1. Ask Other Cloth Diapering Moms

Knowing other moms who cloth diaper, both online and offline, has been a blessing in more ways than one. It’s pretty easy to find groups online to talk cloth diapers, but real, live, local moms can be more of a challenge. I’d recommend checking with your local cloth diaper retailer to see if they offer a cloth diapering 101 class. Even if you already know the ropes with cloth diapering, you can always share ideas and even swap clothes that work with cloth as your kids grow out of them with other cloth diapering moms!

Most of the other moms face similar issues when looking for clothes and are more than happy to let you know where to go shopping for your little one. If you’re looking for a great online group to discuss cloth diapers, you can request to join the #makeclothmainstream group HERE.

2. Try stretchy leggings or Project Pomona jeans

Depending on what cloth diaper you’re using and the thickness of the inserts you use, you can try the next pants size up for your baby and see if it fits over the fluff. However, this may mean that pants end up fitting a bit longer in the legs.

Luckily, there are some great options out there that actually fit perfectly over bulkier diapers. Leggings are becoming more and more popular and trendy for babies, and they easily and comfortably stretch over cloth diapers. We've found some really adorable leggings at a local store called SEED People's Market made by Pact.  There are also lots of cute pairs available on Etsy.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="320"] Cute and funky leggings made by Pact work perfectly over cloth diapers[/caption]

Project Pomona is a line of clothing made specifically to fit over cloth diapers so that your little one doesn’t have to sacrifice fashion for a fluffy bum. Designed by a cloth diapering mom, these pants and shorts are the perfect pairing with a cloth diaper and a cute top!

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="320"] Project Pomona jeans are designed to fit comfortably over cloth diapers. Paired here with a Lalabye Baby diaper in Ahoy, a #makeclothmainstream shirt, and Freshly Picked moccasins.[/caption]


3. Use the cloth diapers as part of the outfit

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="320"] Sloomb fitteds and wool are adorable inside and out. Paired here with a souvenir shirt from VooDoo Doughnuts in Portland and a pair of Freshly Picked moccs.[/caption]

One of the many benefits of cloth diapers is that they are way cuter than disposables, so you can save a ton on clothes and just show off that fluff as part of your outfit!  Sloomb has an entire line of products that are adorable and stylish as well as funcional.  They offer a natural alternative to cloth diapers with covers made from wool.  Not only are fitteds with wool stylish, but the breathe well and absorb a ton, so they make a great overnight option as well.

Many moms have found cute nautical shirts that pair perfectly with a BumGenius Jules or Lalabye Baby Ahoy diaper. You can pair bright, sunny solid colored diapers with your favorite phrase on a t-shirt. I’ve seen “You are my sunshine” shirts paired with bright yellow diapers, for example. With all the prints and colors available in cloth diapers, it’s easy to match to your favorite shirt or dress! We've even started a hashtag to share these cute cloth diaper outfits.  Just tag #cdootd (Cloth Diaper Outfit of the Day) to share your babe's latest ensemble or to get ideas from other moms!

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="320"] Another sweet #cdootd with a Z Creationz fitted, Sloomb wool cover, Happy Camper t-shirt from a local store called Milk and Honey Baby, and Freshly Picked moccs.[/caption]

Another great find if you go this route are Rock a Thigh baby socks. If it starts to cool off, or you’re babywearing outside and you want some leg coverage without the pants, these cute socks with the leggings attached will keep those little feet stylin’ and cozy!

4. Add the Funkiness in with Accessories

Finally, you can always sprinkle in the cuteness and funkiness with accessories, and there are so many options! We love Wild & Free Clothing’s adorable baby-sized infinity scarves and Freshly Picked moccs to keep things funky and original. Bandana bibs are becoming more popular as well. We love Poncho Baby’s cute, muslin bandana bib (pictured below on mini Spray Pal 2.0).  Another favorite with cloth diapering parents is amber jewelry. Whether it’s a teething necklace, anklet or bracelet, it definitely adds flair to your little one’s style!

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="240"] Our mini Spray Pal 2.0 loves his adorable muslin bandana bib from Poncho Baby! These are also available in organic muslin.[/caption]

What are some of your favorite styles, brands or accessories that work well with your cloth diapered babes?  Enter the rafflecopter giveaway below for you chance to win some of the adorable items discussed in this blog post!

Disclaimer:  I was not compensated to write this post.  A few of the brands mentioned provided my son with free samples of their products, but most I bought myself.  All opinions are honest and are my own. :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway