Thursday, October 28, 2010

What kind of detergent should I use with cloth diapers?

    When it comes to washing diapers, simpler is better.  The less ingredients in a detergent, the better it probably is.  You want to stay away from detergents that contain perfumes and dyes, fabric softeners, brighteners, and phosphates.  Here is a breakdown of the effects these ingredients can have.

*Perfumes and dyes: Can be an irritant to Baby’s sensitive skin.  Can also lead to UTIs and vaginal infections in baby girls.  If you would like your diapers to have a nice fragrance, put a few drops of lavender oil on a washrag and put it in the dryer with the diapers.

*Fabric softeners: Leave a chemical buildup on diapers that 1) reduce absorbency and 2) can be an irritant.  White vinegar is a great substitute in the wash for fabric softener.   You can also use dryer balls in the dryer to make the diapers soften as they dry.

*Brighteners:  Optical brighteners are simply a chemical buildup that make your clothes appear brighter. Buildup can be irritating to Baby.  For a natural alternative, try lemon juice and some sunlight to help lift stains.

*Phosphates: Phosphates are extremely hard for water treatment plants to breakdown, and are thus pumped back into natural water sources.  Phosphates reduce oxygen levels in the water, making a deadly environment for fish and other water life.  To read more about this, visit .

 So what SHOULD I use to clean diapers with?

    There are a few detergents out there designed specifically for cloth diapers.  Rockin’ Green ,and Charlie’s soap are a few of these and are available in store at Elegant Mommy!  There are also an abundance of recipes available online if you’re into making your own products. 

For a chart on which commercial detergents are recommended and which are not, visit .

For a quick link to Elegant Mommy’s detergents, visit:


Monday, October 25, 2010

Natural gas and constipation relief.

Gas can be a large source of discomfort for your baby. There are quite a few natural ways to help relieve gas pain.  If you are breastfeeding and your baby is experiencing frequent gas problems, reevaluate your diet to find foods that could be causing gas.

Relieving Gas:
-Make sure you are burping baby frequently during feedings. This is especially important if you are bottle feeding.
-Give baby a warm bath.  The warm water will help to break up the gas pockets. 
-When you take baby out of the tub, gently massage the belly with some baby lotion.  Knead like you would dough, gently of course. 
-Work the legs in circular motion as if they were riding a bicycle.  This will also help to break up the gas bubbles.
-Look for a product called Gripe Water in stores. You can also purchase online.  It’s a natural, chemical free mixture that is very helpful in breaking up gas. In my experience I’ve also found it to be much more effective than Mylicon or other gas relieving drops.
-Lay baby across one of your legs, applying gentle pressure to the belly.  The increased pressure can help break up gas.

    Many of these same methods are also helpful in relieving infant constipation. Breastfeed babies do not experience constipation as frequently as formula fed babies.  If your formula fed baby is experiencing frequent and painful constipation, talk to your pediatrician about switching to a formula your baby will tolerate better.

Relieving constipation:
-In a young baby, give a small bottle of warm water.  The increased water will often times get things moving.
-In an older baby, diluted fruit juices can be used.  Pear, grape, and apple are most effective.
-A rectal thermometer can be used to GENTLY stimulate the bowels. If you are uncomfortable doing this, ask your doctor to show you how to use this method.
-A warm bath or warmed rice sock held against baby’s tummy can also help.  Make sure the rice sock is not too hot, as to not burn your baby.
-Bicycle motion leg movement can also assist in moving things along.

If your baby is experiencing frequent bouts of constipation, consult your pediatrician.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Pros and Cons of Cloth Diapering

Are cloth diapers right for you?

If you are considering using cloth diapers, but are unsure of what to expect, this is the blog for you!!!

1) Big money saver!  The initial cost can be somewhat expensive, especially if you use All In Ones ( I will explain later.) But prefolds and covers can keep the cost fairly low.

2) Environmentally conscious. You won’t be adding to the landfills like you do with disposables.  Disposable diapers DO decompose, but at an extremely slow rate.  Also, to decompose they have to be exposed to air.  Something that takes even longer when encased in a garbage bag.

3) They’re adorable!  You can find diapers and covers to match any outfit you can possibly imagine.  And you can rest assured if you can’t, somebody out there is willing to make it for you!

4) There are many variations of diapers to suit every lifestyle.  
    A) Prefolds with covers.  Prefolds are very absorbent, but also very inexpensive.  Two dozen prefolds and a few covers will give you a few days worth of diaper changes.  Two or three, depending on much your baby wets.  Prefolds also make great cleaning rags when baby grows out of diapers. Double bonus!
    B) Fitted diapers and covers.  Fitteds are very similar to prefolds, but they are shaped like a diaper, and made in different sizes like disposable diapers are.   They are also a little thicker than prefolds, and can be found in lots of fun prints.
    C) All In Ones (frequently referred to as AIOs in the diaper community)  All in ones are great.  They don’t require an additional cover to keep wetness in.  Great for dads who don’t deal with diaper changes that often and are confused by all the different variations you may own.  They are also less “hassle” than prefolds and fitteds because they don’t require that cover.  It’s one piece, much like a disposable.  AIOs can also be found in lots of fun prints.
    D) gdiapers.  gdiapers can be either strictly cloth, or a disposable/cloth hybrid.  They are essentially a cover with a large area liner that snaps in.  The liner can be either cloth, or disposable.  The disposable is much more decomposable than disposable diapers are.  Great for the comfort of cloth at home, and the convenience of disposable on the go.
    E) Pocket diapers.  Pocket diapers  are typically a fleece cover looking diaper that has a slot in the back of it.  Some pocket diapers have insides made specifically for that diaper.  Others you can stuff a prefold, hemp liner, or even hand towels in a pinch, into.

5) Nobody uses pins anymore!!  A wonderful dad developed this little contraption called a Snappi.  It is a T shaped rubber piece with plastic claw style clips that grip the prefold, holding it in place.  Also, fitteds and AIOs have snaps or Velcro.  No more worrying about sticking baby.

6) This one is frequently mentioned on many cloth diapering sites.  I’m not sure of the credibility exactly, but I will add it because I’m sure there are people out there who have experienced this.  Cloth diapered babies potty train sooner.  The theory behind it is the child is more aware of how uncomfortable it is to be wet, and will thus try harder to toilet train.

7) Easier on baby’s skin.  Babies have such sensitive skin!!  Talk to other  moms and you’ll find most babies have had an adverse reaction to one disposable diaper or another.  This rarely happens with cloth, and if it does it’s usually because there is still soap left in the diapers.   And wouldn’t you rather have a nice soft cloth against your bum than “cloth like plastic”?  I would!


1) Extra laundry.  If you do not have a diaper service available near you, you will need to launder them yourself.  Depending on the number of diapers you have you may be doing an extra load daily, or every 3-4 days.  Loads are also someone time consuming.  You need to soak them as well as use an extra rinse cycle to ensure all soaps are rinsed out.

2) Space.  Cloth diapers take up significantly more space than a package of disposable diapers.  This can make things especially difficult on road trips where space is limited.

3) Poop!!  Yes, you have to deal with your baby’s poop a little more “hands on”.  Pardon the pun.  Ha.  Unlike disposables, you don’t just wrap up a poopy cloth diaper and toss it in the pail.  Waste is shaken into the toilet and flushed away.  Sometimes you need to swish it around in the toilet to remove it.  Some people also choose to use a regular old kitchen spatula to scrape waste from the diapers. Obviously you won’t use that spatula in the kitchen.

4) Diaper addiction.  Yes, this is real.  It’s easy to get caught up in the world of cloth and all it has to offer.  Especially the adorable prints that diapers are available in.  So if you have a tendency to become a shopaholic, be aware that this does have the potential to become addictive.

5) Leaking.  Cloth CAN have the potential to leak more than disposables.  However, if your baby’s diapers fit properly, and you are changing baby when he/she is wet, it shouldn’t be much of an issue.

And there you have it.  The ups and downs to cloth diapering.  They are not for everybody, so think carefully about what is best for your baby and your lifestyle and have at it!