Friday, August 29, 2014

How To Clean Your Diapers

I have been researching and thinking about this topic a lot lately.  I am not an "expert" cloh diapered, I don't have a science degree, and I don't have anything to gain from the sale of any type of laundry detergent or soap.  What I have done is talked to dozens of cloth diaper mamas, joined cloth diaper communities, and washed cloth diapers for 2 years.  What I've learned is mind blowing, really.

(Please do your own research and be aware of the requirements for the warranty on your own cloth diapers.  I can't be responsible for any damage due to following my recommendations.)


That's right, it shouldn't be difficult and the supplies do not need to be hard to find.  Yes, you WILL have to do extra laundry, and you'll have to deal with poo.  But that should be it.  No crazy online only products, no extra rinses, strips, or soaks.

I fell into the trap of "cloth diaper safe detergents" at first.  I think most CD parents do.  I am frugal as you know, so I went with free and clear mainstream detergents like All and Purex.  They worked fine.  Here is the problem - cloth diaper companies and shops want you to buy their detergent and not have you return diapers due to damage.  They formulated detergents to be gentle on diapers and skin. Unfortunately, in many cases they do not properly clean the diapers.  They contain lots of "boosters" to soften the water and not enough surfactants to clean effectively.

Home made detergents (like the one I posted) contain real soap, not surfactants.  That means the diapers get coated with soap scum.  Surfactants are designed to pull out the soil and rinse away.  There are some home made mixes that contain NO soap or detergent at all.  That's right - some people have been convinced to wash pee and poop diapers in just water softeners and laundry boosters.

ANY MAINSTREAM detergent without fabric softeners will work for your diapers!  Doesn't that seem crazy?!  You can even use scented detergent.  While there are some that believe detergent will build up and scents will cause stinking, remember that surfactants are designed to rinse away.   The detergent I have heard recommended the most and what I currently use is TIDE.  Original scent ultra Tide.  It works wonders.  No stinks, very clean, fewer stains.  Less expensive brands will also work.

Use a NORMAL amount if detergent for your washer and water type.  No need to use a tiny teaspoon of detergent to clean a load full if poopy diapers.  Use enough to get them clean!  

NO extra rinses should be needed unless your LO is sensitive to a scent or something.  Buildup on diaper is more likely caused by minerals in your water than the the detergent.  I DO recommend a cold rinse prior to washing, but the rinse at the end of cycle should be enough to get the diapers rinsed.

You should never have to strip your diapers if you have a good wash routine.  Diapers that seem clean but aren't washed properly will eventually have problems.  They can even cause ammonia burns on your baby's bum.  Bleaching to sanitize should only be necessary if you get used diapers or battle bacteria or yeast.  

I understand it seems that traditional detergent may wear out your diapers faster.  I'm not sure that it doesn't.  But I want CLEAN and sanitary diapers.  I would think all the bleaching and stripping needed when your wash routine isn't working is probably more harmful.

What if I want a more natural/less chemical/gentle on baby's sensitive skin detergent?  You CAN use plant based detergents such as Seventh Generations but you might need to use more to get them clean.  The same goes for free and clear formulas.

Sorry for the rambling, I hope that all makes sense and can simplify your routine.  Let's not make diapering harder than it needs to be!

Here is my routine.  You will need to adjust based on your machine, water type, and other factors.  I am more than happy to answer questions!  We have a HE front loader and water softener.

1.  Prewash rinse with cold water and spin

2.  Wash on heavy duty HOT cycle with 3/4 scoop powdered Tide followed by a cold rinse.

That's it, should be all clean!!! :)

You can air or line dry.  I put mine in the dryer on low, usually, but drying on high should not damage the diapers.  Just be sure you don't stretch hot elastics.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Home Made Laundry Soap!

I am always trying to save money and use more natural products around here.  I finally decided to try making my own laundry soap.  It is so easy and cheap!  There are many different recipes available online, liquid and powder.  I opted for powder, mostly because it is easier.  I do prefer powder in general.  I used a simple 1-1-1 recipe.  This is all you need:

1. A container to hold the soap.  You could easily reuse some sort of cardboard box or tub.  I thought this cheap container would make it easier by being able to pour out the powder.  I was wrong, it isn't very feasible to pour out and measure one tablespoon...  I wish I had gone with a pretty jar and scoop instead.
2.  Some sort of scoop to measure and mix the soap.  I just use a tablespoon measuring spoon out of my kitchen drawer.  It was a good excuse to buy a new set. :)  Now I just keep the old spoon right on the shelf with the container.
3.  Washing soda (not baking soda, though it is a form of baking soda) which softens water and helps remove stains.
4.  Bar soap (I used Fels Naptha which is a laundry soap but you can use any bar soap such as the Ivory pictured here which is going in my next batch).  You could even choose a scented bar if you would like.  I beleive that true clean has no smell, but there are some pretty fresh scents out there...
5.  Borax (removes stains similar to oxyclean).

I bought all of this a while back, but I am pretty sure it cost under $10.  I only use about one teaspoon per load in my HE front loader, and we have soft water.  For hard water or regular machine you might need more.

All you do is grate ONE BAR of soap (I use a cheese grater but you can use a food processer), add ONE CUP washing soda and ONE CUP borax.  Mix very well.  I usually stir before each use, as the soap flakes tend to separate out.  This is what it looks like.

That's it!  I have seen recipes where you can other things like oxyclean, fabric softener beads, and baking soda.  I prefer to add these separately as needed.  I have been using this for several months, and it works great!  I give it a 4/5 because it does have one major drawback.

*Despite claims that it is safe, this did NOT work for my cloth diapers!*.  It left.a coating on the suedecloth inners and caused major repelling/leaks.  I had to strip my diapers and am now having good luck with original Tide.  I use the home made stuff in the rest of my laundry, though and no complaints.  It hasn't irritated my daughters super sensitive skin at all.

I plan to blog more about cloth diapers, feel free to ask me questions.

Now, go make yourself some super easy, super cheap, effective laundry soap.

My Kids Are so Big!

I have some "real" blogs to post soon, but thought I needed a quick update first.  Can you believe it has been a year and half since Tierney was born?!

We are all doing well.  Ash is a wonderful big brother and sweet little boy.  Tierney is living up to her red hair, but she is a joy and so smart!  Here are the little munchkins at a garden.

Hope everyone else is doing well, and looking forward to doing more blogging. :)


Thursday, May 3, 2012

It's a Girl! Tierney's Arrival

Again, my apologies for not posting in so long.  We are so excited to announce the arrival of our little miracle Tierney Maelynn on April 4th, 2012 at 1205 pm.  She weighed in at 8 pounds 1 ounce and 20 1/2 inches long.  Here's the (long) story of her arrival:

For those who haven't read up on my background, I will catch you up (or you can just skip to the next part.)  I have a condition known as Asherman's Syndrome which is scarring of the uterus.  We did not find out until trying for over a year that my uterus was scarred shut, making conception impossible.  I had surgery, and the next month we found out we were pregnant!

The pregnancy progressed fairly well.  Aside from some heartburn, fatigue, and pelvic pressure I felt good for most of it.  I did have some complications from the Asherman's - I developed gestational diabetes and had a bi-lobed placenta.  Luckily, these did not have any adverse effects on the baby.  I was also at risk for placenta accreta but we will visit that later...  I was also higher risk due to the fact that I was planned a vaginal birth after having a cesarean with Ash.


My due date was April 5th and we did not know if baby was a boy or girl.  I was getting anxious to find out "who" we had in there.  On Tuesday, April 3rd we took our 6 year old son Ash to soccer practice and then to a burger place to eat dinner.  While we were sitting there, I felt a poke and thought it was the baby kicking, but then there was a little gush of fluid.  I told Erik I thought my water just broke.  He looked at me as if I had two heads, ha ha.  I said I was serious - it was either that or I just peed my pants. 

We decided to go home and get some rest since I had not actually started laboring.  We would call the nurse at midnight if we didn't need to go in before then.  I couldn't sleep, but did rest up and an hour or two later the contractions started.  Although they were still spaced apart, the nurse told us to go ahead and come in since my water had broken.  Ashley wondered why Mommy and Daddy were up and getting ready in the middle of the night, so we explained that we were going to the hospital to have the baby.  He was very excited!  We brought him along as planned because we wanted him to be as much a part of the birth as he was comfortable.

We got to the hospital around 130 am and by then my contractions were 6-7 minutes apart.  Not too painful yet, just uncomfortable.  We were in triage for about an hour where they monitored my contractions and tested the fluid to make sure my water had actually broken.  It's funny, with Ash all I wanted to do was walk around, but this time I just laid on my side and tried to rest.  My Mom showed up while we were still in triage.

Some of the rest is a blur, but I will do my best to explain.  When we got to the room, I had to be hooked up to the monitors and an IV.  I was still able to get up and move around, but I had to unhook myself to go to the restroom, etc.  We got Ashley settled on the sofa bed and he got some sleep while I labored in the early morning.  I spent most of that time laying on my side but when the contractions got stronger, I tried sitting on the birthing ball.  It helped for a while but then I got back into bed. 

At some point, the nurse checked me and I was still only dilated a 4.  By now my contractions were probably a 7 on the pain scale and getting much closer together.  I was disappointed not to be further along.  And there is always that fear of not progressing and having to have another c-section. 

The Dr. checked me and noticed that there was still some of the amniotic sack intact, so she broke that and then labor really got going. 

At 6 am Ashley was awake and raring to go.  Erik put some cartoons on the computer and he put on headphones and watched them, off in his own little world.  Now Erik's parents were here, and shortly after my Dad and Stepmom came.  We told Ashley he was welcome to go with the grandparents to the waiting room at any time.  The nurse asked about whether he was staying for delivery, and we told her that was the plan but that he could leave at any time if needed.  There was a chair up by the head of the bed that he could sit in.  In the end, I had him go out because I was in so much pain I didn't want to freak him out.  I am sorry that he missed the actual birth but it really was for the best and he was just out in the waiting room with the rest of the family.

My mom was there to help support me and keep us company.  Erik was wonderful throughout the entire labor - and actually didn't annoy me too much.  He held my hand, encouraged me and rubbed my face, back or whatever needed it.

The contractions started coming one on top of the other and got very painful.  The pressure was the worst.  The nurse looked at the readouts and said I was getting breaks in between, but I beg to differ!  I asked for the squatting bar but it actually made the pressure worse, so I climbed back into bed.  I finally asked for the IV medication.  The first dose really helped take the edge off and calmed me down.  I could tell my Mom and Erik were getting upset seeing me in pain and not being able to help.  I ended up with 2 more doses of the fentanyl, but they didn't help as much as the first one.  Then it was too close to delivery for any more doses.

At one point, we decided to take a trip to the restroom and I had a horrible contraction right there on the toilet.  I actually thought I could go in there by myself - ha!  In about 2 seconds I had Erik and the nurses come in with me.  Then I figured out sitting on the toilet actually helped the pressure and I was more comfortable sitting there.  So the nurses brought the monitors over to the bathroom and I labored there for quite a while.  Erik stood behind me, so I just leaned back and closed my eyes while he rubbed my head.  Okay, that sounds weird but it really did help.

Well, eventually the nurse had to check me again.  I hated being checked because it was painful, but I was feeling the urge to push.  They wouldn't let me push without checking me of course.  I still had a tiny bit of cervix left, so I settled back into bed and the nurse helped me breathe through the contractions.

A few times during the labor, I told my mom, erik, the nurses, and even the doctor that I wanted to quit!  Of course, I knew that wasn't really an option.  The doctor said we could just stop and do a c/s, but that she knew that wasn't what I wanted which was right.

Then, all of a sudden (it seemed) the doctor came in and started putting all this protective gear on.  I noticed the nursed bringing in a tray... and then they pulled the end off my bed, ha ha!  The squat bar was still there, so I tried pushing with it but I didn't like it.  The crazy thing is, I did NOT want to be laying in the bed to deliver but that happened to be the most comfortable to push in.  And once I started pushing, I felt a lot of relief.  The pushing was painful and hard to do but it took the pressure off the contractions and made me feel progress.

I pushed for less than an hour but it seemed like forever.  I know it's ridiculous, but I thought the doctor was getting impatient for it taking so long.  I wanted to just get the baby out!  The nurses helped push my knees back and Erik supported my head while I grabbed the rails to give myself leverage.  Erik and my mom were very encouraging, and saw the baby start to crown.  The nurse had me reach down, and I felt the gooey beautiful hair!  This renewed me and helped me to keep pushing harder.  I was not able to feel the contractions, so the nurses put their hands on my belly and helped me know when to push. 

They had me feel again, and the baby was out almost to the ears.  I made the comment that I couldn't believe it was that far but not coming out.  I pushed for a while longer, and the doctor worked on stretching me and guiding the baby out.  But she finally put her hands down and explained that she thought an episiotomy was necessary.  The baby's head was stuck and when it came out, I was going to tear badly.  She understood that I was hoping to avoid being cut and I appreciated that she explained it to me and allowed me to decide.  I told her to go ahead, and I know it was the right choice.  She numbed me - and I wish I hadn't seen that huge needle! - then a quick, painless snip.

The very next push and the baby was out!  I did not feel any pain from her head coming out, probably from being numbed up.  I did feel a lot of pressure when the rest of body came out, but it was very quick.  I kept trying to see if it was a boy or girl, but couldn't.  Finally my mom asked, and the doctor turned the baby so I could see and it was a girl!  I was so happy, and she was just beautiful.  All messy and blue and screaming, with tons of hair matted to her head - it was the sweetest thing I had ever seen.  It made my choice to do a VBAC seem perfectly right, because I missed out on that moment with my first.  I was thrilled to have my girl, and even more wonderful she has red hair and eyebrows like her daddy.

I held her for a few minutes, and then the nurses took her to clean her up and weigh her.  Erik cut and trimmed the umbilical cord.  We had planned to wait until it stopped pulsing, but in the excitement we forgot all about it. 

One of the nurses reminded us we hadn't taken any pictures!  So Erik got out the camera and took pics of her getting weighed and all that.  We named her Tierney Maelynn.  Then they brought her back to me and put her inside my gown for some skin to skin contact.  It was heavenly.


While all this was happening, the doctor was working on my placenta.  It had gotten stuck, known as placenta accreta, it is a common complication with Asherman's.  We knew it could be a possibility.  The doctor waited patiently for a few more minutes, but it wasn't budging.  She tried pushing on my belly and it hurt worse than any of the labor.  It also made me bleed a lot.  In the end, we decided it was best to put me under general anesthesia so that she could pull it out without hurting me any more.  We would go to the OR just in case there were any further complications and I needed surgery.

I was so sad to be missing out on time with the baby, but I had to get myself taken care of.  They took me to the OR and covered me with warming blankets but I could not stop shivering.  The doctor held my hand and talked to me the whole time we waited for the anesthesiologist.

The procedure was a success, and no other treatment (such as scraping or worst case - hysterectomy) was needed.  A balloon was placed in the uterus to help stop the bleeding.  I woke up a few times and briefly interacted with my family and the baby.  I was too out of it to hold her or feed her.  I kept falling back asleep.  I saw Erik giving her a bottle, which crushed me because I had wanted to nurse her right away.  I cried but said I understood - she needed it.  I was still shivering and ached all over my body.

Later that night, I finally came out of the anesthesia and started to feel like myself.  I couldn't get out of bed because of the balloon and also a catheter.  I actually started to feel really good, and if I could I would have gotten up and taken a shower.  I was able to nurse Tierney and she did wonderful!

They had me on percocet and ibuprofen for the pain/cramping.  By the next day I didn't need the percocet anymore.  They kept icing my girly parts, but they really didn't feel that sore to me.  I got the balloon out the 2nd day and stayed in bed for that night.  They also gave me 2 units of blood just to be cautious and because my hemoglobin kept dropping.  The nurses took Tierney so we could rest.  I had wanted her to room in, but we really needed the rest while we had the chance.  They brought her back every few hours to nurse.

I missed the first time Ashley met his sister, but I guess he just kept giggling.  He is still totally in awe of her and is a wonderful big brother.  He got to miss 2 days of school, and spent some time with his grandparents while we were in the hospital.  He even got to "share" Tierney with his class when we came to pick him up after being discharged on Friday.

On Good Friday (April 6th) I was able to get out of bed and shower and was eventually discharged.  Tierney had gotten a clean bill of health the day before.  My recovery, even with the placenta issues, was 100x easier than it was with the c-section.  I am so happy and proud to have had a successful vbac.  I know it was the best for her and for me.

Enjoy some pictures! :)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

It's been awhile... pregnancy photobomb!

Wow, I'm sorry it's been way too long! I need to make a lot of updates - lots going on around here. We are halfway through the pregnancy, more to come on that!

Last week Erik and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. We took Ash (6) on a trip to Orlando, Florida and also renewed our vows. I'll make a new post on the whole vacay soon.

I've completed a few sewing orders recently for mama pads, diapers, and legwarmers. I also want to work on stuff for the new baby - a carrier or two and some newborn diapers. I plan to add some great picture tutorials soon. I printed out a bunch of different free nb diaper patterns to try out, so I'll be sure to let you know what I find.

Now for the big update - 22 weeks along! In a few weeks, we will reach a high viability point (being able to live out of the womb) so that will bring a big sigh of relief. At our last ultrasound, they discovered I have a bilobed placenta - meaning there are two. They are going to do some more testing to see if it is two seperate or the one has split. The most important things to look for are proper growth of the baby and look for vessels that may connect the placenta to make sure they aren't in a bad spot. So far everything looks great and the Dr. told us not to worry. We will be having more ultrasounds, so yay for getting more looks at the baby. Oh, and we didn't find out gender even though we could have. Much more fun to be surprised! Okay, so here is the photobomb I promised!

GRRR! I can't get the photos to post correctly here, sorry. But here is a link to the pics, enjoy!

Sunday, September 4, 2011


I just can't believe it! The next cycle never came, and we won't need another surgery. Of course I am terrified that something could go wrong, but more than anything we are just so excited. On July 26th I took a cheapie HPT (home pregnancy test) and it came back with a faint line - which I figured was just evaporation since it was a cheapie test and I was so early. The next day I took three more tests and they were faint, but seemed pinker each time. I had some internet friends help "tweak" my tests to see if anything was there - and finally took a digital.

WE DID IT! We beat Asherman's, we beat infertility. We are having another baby. After 21 months, low count, and only one good tube we are finally pregnant. Due date is April 5, 2012. A psychic predicted a March girl for me, so who knows! She said she was leaning towards find out in March, but that March 2012 birth was also possibility. It will be exciting to see if she is right!

Ash is super excited to be a big brother, and can't understand why it is taking so long for the baby to get here, lol. He is going to be a wonderful brother.

I was very scared at the beginning, that we might lose the little bean or it wouldn't be able to implant properly. But at 7 weeks, I was able to see our little jelly bean and the heart beating away! I am now just over 9 weeks and starting to "feel pregnant".

I've been very tired and not feeling so great, so I haven't gotten any crafts or sewing done - I'm looking forward to the second trimester where I will have lots of nesting energy!

I also started back to work, so that takes up a lot of my time and energy. But in the end, it is all so worth it and I'm a pretty happy mama.

Update #2 Cycle Before Surgery

Okay, so now we are in limbo again just waiting for another cycle to go by so we can continue treatment.

We are opting for another surgery to remove more of the scarring from my uterus to give an embryo the best chance possible.

But, we decided to have some fun anyway while we waited, with no expectations. It's been a while since we've done that! I tried a new product called preseed which is a lubricant that mimics the body's natural secretions so it's great for sperm. I also used Instead Softcups to keep the good stuff closer to the cervix. :)

And secretly I am hoping it works, even though it scares me to think of the risks with there still being scarring.