Friday, August 31, 2012

Weekend Reading

Some helpful posts that I read this week…

Cloth diapers

:: Will Bleach Ruin My Cloth Diapers? By Cotton Babies
Snippet: With the vibrant colors that you love in our bumGenius and Flip cloth diapers, it's no surprise you would be concerned about using bleach. As long as you stick to our recommended 1/4 cup of bleach once a month, it will not harm the beautiful colors on your cloth diapers. So the short answer is "Yes, in moderation, bleach is safe for your bumGenius, Flip and Econobum cloth diapers. Both covers and inserts."

:: Demystifying Diaper Rash, part 1 and part 2 by Cheeky Bums.  Great posts to help you identify the cause and treatment of your baby’s diaper rash.

:: Unglued Mama Mornings, by {in}courage.  Just a great little devotional thought for those of you who struggle to be a morning person {like me!}.

:: How to make Calendula Salve, by Frugal Granola.  The instructions are the preview page to the book Herbal Nurturing: A Family Healing & Learning Guide.  This makes a great diaper rash cream.  I used coconut oil, calendula flowers, and then added some lavender essential oil and vitamin E oil to nourish and disinfect the skin.

Hope you have a great weekend and a safe holiday!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Doable Details: bumGenius Freetime Diaper {review}

Nolan in bumgenius Freetime diaperI don’t really like to change things up very often.  When I find something that works, I just stick with it.  FuzziBunz and Rumparooz have worked good for us.  I was hesitant about the bumGenius Freetime diaper when it was first released.

One of my objections to the Freetime is that it is an AIO {all-in-one} diaper.  I don’t have a dryer, and it usually takes a long time for AIO’s to hang dry.  I prefer my pockets and prefolds for this reason.  Additionally, with an AIO if one part of the diaper wears out, you probably have to junk the whole diaper.  Whereas with a pocket diaper, if the cover delaminates, you can still use the insert in a different pocked.  Or if the insert wears out, just buy a new one and continue to use the pocket.

Freetime diaper diagram jpg

But the Freetime diapers were all the rage, I decided to give them  a spin.  Besides…I really wanted to get my hands on one in a Sassy color!

Fast forward 3-4 months, and this is my favorite diaper.  I’m not kidding!  Now, I don’t think it would matter as much to me if I were diapering a girl.  But this diaper is hands down, the best thing I have found for diapering a boy! 

How to fold inserts jpg

The Freetime is not a traditional AIO with several absorbent layers sewn into the core.  There are two inserts, each attached at one end of the diaper.  The inserts are then “free-flowing” and can be folded or doubled however you want them. Two sewn seams make it easy to fold and size the inserts.  So…you can double or triple the absorbency right in the front where your little boy needs it fastest, or simply double the layers in the bottom for a girl.

boy doubled jpg

Each insert is microfiber topped with stay-dry fleece, making this a great AIO diaper because it locks the wetness away from baby’s bum. 

Nolan in bumgenius Freetime diaper

I expected the stitching at the inserts to pull away, rip, or tear, as has happened to me with other AIO/attached insert diapers.  This has not been the case, and we use these diapers A LOT!  It is hands down the first diaper I reach for to put in the diaper bag.  It is incredibly absorbent and if I get stuck while out and about and can’t change the diaper, I don’t have to worry about leaks.  It is easy to put on because it is AIO.  It’s also easy to clean when I get home.  I don’t have to stick my hand into a stale pocket diaper that’s been in the wet bag for 4-6 hours and remove the insert.  Just dump the contents in the diaper pail and I’m done.

Nolan in bumgenius Freetime diaper     Nolan in bumgenius Freetime diaper

My one complaint is that it’s a bit tricky to use a diaper sprayer on this diaper because of how the inserts are sewn to the diaper.  I found this method on the Cotton Babies blog to be very helpful.  As in, aha!  Why didn’t I think of that? kind of helpful.  But…I still don’t like this particular diaper if Nolan poops. 

I prefer snap closures, and I have always liked the stretchy butterfly tabs on bumGenius diapers.  The Freetime is no exception – the snaps and closures provide a great fit every time.  And because it’s one size, it will grow with my baby and then be used with the next {if there is one}.

So go ahead…try the Freetime diaper.  I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Back to the Drawing Board

Well, yesterday we headed back to the pediatrician because Nolan’s rash isn’t much better.  He’s been on a prescription cream for a fungal/yeast rash for two weeks without any improvement.  He has some new blisters too, and the doctor said they aren’t fungal, but she’s not sure what they are.

Central Park Zoo

We are now using an antibiotic cream, and then zinc oxide as a barrier cream.  I selected the Aveeno diaper rash ointment this time because it has some natural oat complexes in it to help sooth the skin.  We have also been referred to a dermatologist to find out more about the cause of the rash.

Nolan feeds the goats jpgThis is Nolan feeding the goats…and himself…at the Central Park Zoo last week!

I really like my kids’ doctor.  She is knowledgeable and didn’t immediately say, “You need to throw out your cloth diapers and use disposable until Nolan is potty trained.”  She did inquire to make sure that we had disinfected them.  Though she asked if we used bleach, she said that the tea tree oil was a perfectly acceptable substitute. {I was glad to learn that my research results were correct}.

So while it seems as if I have killed the yeast in my diapers, the doctor asked me to switch to disposables until we get the rash cleared up and determine the cause for sure.

He is definitely in more pain now, and he runs away when I mentioned changing his diaper.  He doesn’t like to be wiped, or to get in the bath right now because of the rash.  Here’s to hoping we get it cleared up soon!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Eliminating Yeast the Natural Way: Grapefruit Seed Extract

The next natural method that I used to strip yeast out of my cloth diapers was grapefruit seed extract {GSE}.  I ordered a small bottle of it on Amazon for around $8.  I did the tea tree oil strip while I waited for the GSE to arrive.

img_5906On another post at All About Cloth Diapers, I found information originally posted at Eco Nuts {which I carried in the Doable Diapers store} recommended GSE as the only method to get rid of yeast. Eco Nuts claims that bleach kills yeast, but not yeast spores.

“Grapefruit Seed Extract: synthesized from the seeds and pulp of the grapefruit, it’s a very broad spectrum microbicide, bactericide, fungicide, antiparasitic, and anti-viral.  Grapefruit Seed Extract is the only natural way to kill yeast spores. It also kills staph, strep, salmonella, and e.coli.  It also kills herpes and influenza!

“GSE has been tested and found to be anywhere from 10 to 100 times more effective against these offending microorganisms than chlorine bleach, tea tree oil, colloidal silver, and iodine.

“For light laundry disinfecting: use 10-15 drops per load.

For heavy disinfecting (when dealing with something nasty or resistant): ½ to 1 teaspoon of GSE to each load of laundry. Wash and dry normally.”

I used the recommended 1/2 tsp. for “something nasty or resistant”.  With the GSE, I added it along with my detergent to a hot wash.  I also did an extra rinse cycle at the end, and then line dried my diapers in the sun.

Cloth diapers

I am hoping that one of these methods has eliminated the yeast from my diapers.  I will only be able to tell by whether or not the yeast rash returns.  I will update this post in a couple of weeks to let you know how we fared! 

When I had originally contacted Kanga Care regarding the yeast rash, I also wanted to know about disinfecting my Eco Posh trainers which Elaine wears to bed.  They go into the same diaper pail, so I was concerned about cross-contamination.  I found it interesting that for these recycled, and non-color fast cloth items, Kanga Care recommended GSE!  So there must be something to it, if it is recommended for items that cannot be bleached!  Here is what Rose from Kanga Care said:

  • We recommend regular chlorine bleach for both your pockets and inserts.  For your Eco Posh, regular chlorine bleach will discolor the fabric, so you can follow this method:
  • Run a medium water level load on warm water/warm rinse.  No detergent.  Add 1 teaspoon of Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) at beginning of wash. After washer has filled and begins to agitate, stop the washer for 10 minutes and allow shells to soak in GSE water.  After 10 minutes start wash again and continue cycle as usual. 
  • After wash, lay in the sun to dry.
  • ***Please note, this routine is not recommended for frequent use on shells as excessive soaking and baking in the hot sun can damage elastics and other materials.
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon of GSE to each load of laundry (with your regular, recommended, detergent.) Wash and dry (in dryer on low) normally.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Eliminating Yeast the Natural Way: Tea Tree Oil

As I mentioned on Friday, we have been battling a yeast rash.  After deciding to put off the bleaching of my diapers, I decided to try two other “natural” options first.

img_5907The first method was recommended by several bloggers.  They said to use tea tree oil in a cold wash cycle.  I had some tea tree oil on hand, for using in herbal remedies.  All About Cloth Diapers recommends 3-4 drops for a front loader, and 4-6 drops for a top loader. 

I used about 8 drops with my top loader water setting on high. I started with my normal wash cycle, so that I would be beginning with clean diapers. 

I did a cold rinse, turned the water level down to do a hot rinseTide for Diapers with 2 Tbsp. of Tide, and then a cold rinse.  Now that my diapers were clean I added about 8 drops of tea tree oil to a short cold wash.  I followed the rinse with an additional rinse. 

My kids seem to have somewhat sensitive bums…tea tree or lavender essential oils in the wipe solution makes them break out.  I wanted to be sure to rinse completely.

Then I hung my diapers to dry in the sun for about 6 hours.  Now – my diapers get nice and clean with the Tide detergent.  But I couldn’t believe how much more white they were after this process.  I normally hang them to dry outside unless it is raining, so I am assuming this was the tea tree oil.

And…if I only used 8 drops in a top loader completely full of water, I think that there is no way you need 3-4 drops of this stuff in your wipe solution!  That is powerful tea tree oil!  No wonder my little guys bum doesn’t like it in the wipes!

I used this method in two different loads to be sure I had disinfected all of my diapers.  I am considering adding a tea tree wash cycle to my diaper routine once a month, just to keep them fresh and white!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Getting Rid of the Yeast Rash

Right now Nolan has what my doctor called a “fungal-y rash” which is caused by yeast.  I can’t remember if Elaine ever had a yeast rash, but I know I didn’t strip her diapers because of it.

Nolan’s rash is going on 3 weeks.  I am contemplating taking him back in because it’s not getting too much better.  We are talking blisters that keep breaking open, and it-hurts-so-bad-he-won’t-sit-down-in-the-bath kind of rash.  The heat and humidity that keeps him warm and moist isn’t helping much either.

So I began researching methods to strip the yeast from my diapers, to ensure that I don’t re-contaminate him and cause the rash to come back.  What I found was a myriad of conflicting information!

Some mamas said only bleach kills yeast.  Others said bleach doesn’t work.  Diaper manufacturer’s don’t recommend bleach…unless there is yeast.  I also found lots of “laundry cocktails” with complicated systems of wash, rinse, rinse, wash, rinse, and other methods “guaranteed” to eliminate the yeast.  How do they know?

So I contacted Rumparooz since they make up much of my diaper stash.  I also know they have spent a lot of money on detergent research, etc. and I trust what they have concluded.  Well…sort of.  In the end I decided to try a more natural method first, before I resort to bleach.

Here is what Rose at Kanga Care told me to do:

“A yeast infection in cloth diapers can certainly become a problem!  Here is what we recommend:

  • Fill a container (about shoe box size) with 2 inches of cold water 1/2 cup bleach.  {I did clarify that this is regular bleach – NOT oxygenated bleach}
  • Submerge diaper for 1 minute. 
  • Repeat with all affected diapers and inserts (make sure it squish inserts to get them fully saturated)
  • Wash diaper in machine using cold wash/cold rinse - no detergent. Repeat 3 times.
  • Wash diapers in machine using hot wash/cold rinse - with detergent.
  • Do 3 rinse cycles. If you still smell bleach, run cold wash/cold rinse 3 more times.
  • We hate recommending bleach, but it really is the one and only way to kill the yeast bacteria. 

She also emailed some tips to remember…

  • Use cold water with bleach!
  • Only submerge diapers for one minute!
  • Wash diapers immediately following bleach!

The customer service lady at Cotton Babies also said that they only recommend bleach, and that the outer PUL portion of the pockets should be color safe.  They do not recommend bleach on a regular basis, and usually you should only use it on inserts…except in the case of yeast.

I have to confess… I hate bleach.  Being a natural klutz, I have ruined many a shirt with that stuff.  I don’t like to even have it in the house…I don’t buy cleaning products with bleach, and I don’t want the kids to accidentally get into it.  I did find a couple of other suggestions which I am trying first, before I resort to bleach.  Come back next week and explore some more options with me!

Have you ever had a yeast rash?  What method did you choose to disinfect your diapers?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Chamomile Wipe Solution

We are battling rashes here.  Both of my kids seem to get rashes when they are teething, but Nolan gets the bumpy blistery type.  They’re pretty nasty and hard to heal.  I assumed this rash was just from cutting molars, but recently I have read several articles about rashes that “came to stay” when the little boys turned 1.  I don’t know what that has to do with anything, but the timing lines up in Nolan’s case too.

Last week we went to the beach.  Three hours of salt water cleared Nolan’s rash right up.  His skin was brand new…no diaper rash cream or flushable liners needed.  But then he got some diarrhea and the rash returned with gusto.

I have just started delving into the world of herbal medicine, and I was elated to read an article on the Cheeky Bums Blog describing a chamomile wipe solution.  I thought it was brilliant!  Chamomile has soothing and healing properties.  So rather than use a water base for homemade baby wipe solution, start with chamomile tea to help heal the broken skin.  I decided to give it a try.

I started with chamomile, some calendula, mint, and eucalyptus leaves along with some lavender.

Chamomile Wipe Solution

Here are some of the properties of the herbs that I added:

  • Chamomile – calming, relaxing, soothing
  • Calendula Flowers – Heals wounds by cell repair, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, keeps infections away
  • Peppermint – calming, relaxing scent; cools & relieves pain
  • Eucalyptus – kills bacteria and fungi
  • Lavender – relaxing and calming, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiseptic, used to treat yeast infections

Chamomile Wipe Solution

After the solution steeped, I strained the herbs and added enough water to fill my wipe solution pitched {it’s 1/2 gallon}.  I also added 2 Tablespoons of coconut oil.  We use this at every diaper change to sooth and protect skin, but it hasn’t been enough recently.  I forgot to add some baby soap, but I plan to do so next time, along with some honey.  I eliminated the tea tree oil because it is too strong and my kids have sensitive skin.

Chamomile Wipe Solution
I thought the chamomile and calendula were pretty in the water

I love the way this makes my wipes smell!  Nolan hasn’t been quite as fussy at diaper changes either.  We are still clearing up the rash, but I think this was a good step to take.

You could do the same thing by brewing a simple chamomile tea with tea bags {use 2-3 for a stronger infusion} and add some lavender essential oil and tea tree if your kids are not sensitive to the oils.

Here is the Cheeky Bums recipe:

  • 2 c. chamomile tea, still warm but not boiling
  • 1 Tb. raw honey
  • 2 Tb. coconut oil (coconut oil is naturally anti-microbial which also helps fight diaper rash and aids in fast healing of any rash sores)
  • 2 Tb. castile soap or baby soap
  • 4 drops of tea tree oil
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