Cloth Diaper Options

During my first pregnancy, I didn’t know the difference between a pocket diaper and a prefold, but after much exhaustive research, I finally decided on the ultimate cloth diapering system for our family.   Unfortunately, I didn’t have the diaper diagrams and descriptions in The Eco-nomical Baby Guide to refer to because we simply hadn’t written it yet!

Four years and another child later, I have been given a huge assortment of absorbent and adorable diapers.  My daughter Jovi often sports cow print happy heinys, homemade hemp diaper liners, prefolds with various covers, and even colorful fuzzibunz pocket diapers.

What have I realized after gathering up this diverse collection of cloth diapers?  You don’t really have to choose just one type!  Of course paying full price for all this loot could be prohibitively expensive, but if you’re open to buying gently used cloth diapers, you can try an assortment and know that you don’t have to rule out any one kind.
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Potty Training Gear: What to Get, What to Skip

You’ll find when you get to the potty training stage that there is a whole new arsenal of gear you just have to have:

  • Pull-ups
  • Cloth training pants
  • Potty Chair
  • Singing/talking/laughing potty chair
  • Miniature urinal for boys
  • Potty Ring
  • Travel Potty Ring
  • Step stool
  • “Incentives” (e.g., candy, stickers, toys)
  • A peeing doll
  • “How to Toilet Train Your Child” instructional books/ DVDs for you
  • “How to Abandon the Diapers” inspirational books/ DVDs for your child
  • Underwear
  • Waterproof mattress cover
  • Extra sheets

So what do you really need? Well, I would like to say I simply took away the diapers and introduced the underwear, and that was that. There’s something to be said for the cold turkey approach to toilet training: the child quickly learns that no diapers = big mess and then takes it upon himself to jump up on the toilet and take care of business.
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My Green Victories of 2008

Looking back, I’m amazed at the many small changes I managed to take on over the last year.   I’ve included links–some to the Green Baby Guide articles discussing the topic, some to other sites that inspired me.

1. Stopped using disposable wrapping paper and switched to reusable gift wrap.

2. Switched to eco-friendly toilet paper.

3. Switched to eco-friendly laundry detergent, which I discovered was actually cheaper than conventional detergent!

4. Stopped using shampoo and started using baking soda, saving money and many plastic bottles.

5. Began recycling plastic lids.

6. Started turning off water to cook pasta.

7. Signed on to support renewable energy.

8. Started washing diapers in cold water.
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Cloth Training Pants for a Pull-ups-free Life

When I started potty training Audrey, I wasn’t planning on buying disposable Pull-ups or even cloth training pants.  I just took her out of diapers and put her into underwear.  This actually worked, for the most part.  But then Audrey’s daycare provider said she was on board with potty training, but that Audrey would need to wear training pants.  I guess she wasn’t up for my “just wear underwear” technique, which admittedly results in a puddle here and there. 

So I looked around.  Our big grocery store carried Gerber training pants, but they didn’t carry them in Audrey’s size–ever.  I stopped by a drug store, which had disposable training pants, but no cloth ones.  Then I popped into two children’s consignment stores and came out empty handed.  Who knew cloth training pants were such a rare commodity?
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Joy’s Earth Day Resolutions

One side effect of going green is an enlarged sense of moral superiority.  I have to admit that I fall prey to this every time I pull out my fabric grocery bags at the supermarket.  The other shoppers stare with envy at my grungy canvas sacks, wishing that they had the wherewithal to save the planet while buying cottage cheese, breakfast cereal, and a few dozen eggs.  O.K.—the truth is, they don’t even notice, but I’m so busy basking in the glory of a fulfilled Earth Day resolution that I like to imagine the admiration of my shopping peers.

In reality the only person who is impressed by my canvas bags is me and that’s how resolutions really should work.  If we can find solutions to our green dilemmas the shift will end up ultimately making us happier than anyone else.  In the year to come, I’m going to pick just a few goals and then go from there.  I want to actually set reasonable expectations for myself so that I can accomplish them in the midst of parenting, working, writing and enjoying this very full life.

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