Tag Archive | Natural Living for Baby

Favorite Diaper Bag for Cloth Diapers & 3 Kiddos

I have been looking around online for recommendations and ideas for diaper bags in anticipation of baby #3 coming in a few months. Here were some of my requirements:

  • backpack preferred – it is much more comfortable and I don’t feel bad asking Adam to carry it around and it comes in handy when paired with an umbrella stroller because you hardly know you’re carrying it as opposed to the shoulder bags that are always falling off in my experience and they’re great carry-ons for airplane trips
  • compartments – I HATE fishing around a big empty hole for something so compartments to me is an absolute must and BIG compartments is what I particularly was looking for this time
  • cup holders – I find these so convenient I almost just went for the backpack I used at nursing school because it had so many compartments and cup holders and just seemed wonderful for a diaper bag but it is currently my husband’s work bag so it would be hard to take it from him : ) I hate digging around for waterbottles in my bag so it’s nice to just have them right there on the sides

Those were my only 3 requirements and this is what I found:

The Baby Sherpa! It actually looks similar to my college backpack but has a few amazing new excitements designed specifically for diaper bag usages. You can sort of see the 2 cup holders that are actually detachable. The one on the right is thermal for a bottle if needed and on the left is mesh. Above the cup holders are smaller compartments where I put my video camera and then Amelia’s rubberbands and comb. Then it has that stretchy band so when you’re really stretched you can slip in jackets or a blanket or something there and it’ll hold it in place. You can also slide things in where the mesh part is at the front of the backpack. I didn’t take a picture of the back of it but there’s a slit where you can slide in your changing pad which is nice since you don’t have to open the backpack to access it.

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There are essentially 2 large compartments and then compartments within the compartments (finally speaking my language!). There is this top compartment that opens from a zip flap at the top. This is so convenient! I throw it in my double stroller basket (need a recommendation for a double stroller? I am in love with my Chicco Cortina Together Double Stroller… I think there’ll be a future blog post for that one too!) so when I need my diapers or wipes I can just unzip and pull them out instead of lugging the whole thing out of the stroller and digging around.

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This is what that top compartment looks like. There is a zipper compartment where I stash my other lifesaving product the Timeless Wristlet from ThirtyOne : ) so my money/credit card is protected in the zipper. Then there’s a compartment in front of that where I put my emergency/medicine kit and my wipes and a few disposables just in case. Then there’s a larger compartment in front of that where I put my little personal bag of chapstick, lotion, gum, etc. and this is where I throw my wet/dry bag for my cloth diapers… it doesn’t look that big from the picture but I stash 3 prefolds and 2 covers in my wet bag (maybe more if it’s a long day or overnighter) and it fits nicely. I think I won’t have a problem with adding more cloth diapers when the new baby comes as there is still lots of room in these compartments. Then you see the mesh compartment where I put our “eating out” necessities of bibs, table covers and my kid size plastic fork/spoon set from the dollar tree that comes in a hard plastic container.

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Here’s my wet/dry bag in place.

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And the second compartment is this nifty little thermal compartment! I use this for our lunch when we go to the zoo and this is so nice. Instead of carrying a million different bags I have it all in one! It held about 3 medium sized plastic containers and 2 small plastic containers plus 2 ice packs! It was great! The other nice thing is if I’m going somewhere different and need an extra change of clothes for the kiddos or I anticipate when the new baby comes this compartment may be dedicated just for them to put a receiving blanket, burp cloths, nursing wrap, change of clothes, etc. here and then I’ll just carry my lunch box separate… just because it’s thermal does not mean it needs to be used for a cooler! There’s also a little roof mesh pocket where I have sunscreen and Amelia’s sunglasses so they’re protected in there. The only thing I’m really bad about is bringing toys around with me but you can attach them with clips to the outside or add them to any of the various wonderful compartments : ) And when we’re just out for the day and need snacks I put them in the thermal compartment so they’re separated from the rest of the stuff.

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Now while I absolutely love this backpack I am still a little self-conscious that it looks like I’m going on a hike everytime I leave the house with the kiddos. It doesn’t look that big when you’re wearing it but sometimes when I’m just headed to the dr. or something quick I don’t want to take this big thing with me so I pulled out my old bag I used to take to my nursing job. This beautiful Vera Bradley bag! I love this bag too! It definitely isn’t quite fit for a long day trip but I’m combining it to use alongside the backpack for shorter trips.

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It’s one big compartment so all I do is I keep wipes in there at all times so I just throw in my wet/dry bag and my emergency/medicine kit from the Baby Sherpa and I’m good to go! Not much transition at all. There are 3 open pockets against the inside of this bag so I usually throw in my snack bags and my Timeless Wristlet and I’m set with plenty of room for whatever else we collect on that short trip (toys, etc.). It also has the required 2 cupholders : ) which makes me happy too. And it sits nicely in the front seat next to me for a quick car clean up before we unload.

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I am so thoroughly happy with both of these bags and highly recommend the Baby Sherpa if you are okay foregoing the pretty looking diaper bags and going for an extremely functional and amazing bag! The Baby Sherpa runs between $60-$80 and we got ours off Amazon with free shipping.

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Cloth Diapers: Cost Summary

Here is a breakdown of my cost for start-up of cloth diapering:

 Diaper Covers: $135.87 for 17 covers. Each cover lasts about 1 full day for each child and 1 for nighttime so by wash day (every 4-5 days) I usually still have a few clean covers still remaining.

 Prefolds: $112.52 for 97 prefolds (20 preemie size, 41 infant size, 36 regular size). I average about 4-5 prefolds/day for Amelia and 6-8 prefolds/day for Joshua so wash day usually comes when I only have a few prefolds left for Joshua but there’s usually quite a bit left for Amelia.

 Wet Bags/Diaper Pail: $76.94 (1 large wet bag, 1 diaper pail, 1 diaper pail liner, 1 medium wet/dry bag).

 Total Cost: $325.33

 I calculated the amount we would have spent on disposables and at what point we would start saving money after all the start up costs and we broke even after 5 months! In 5 months we would have spent on disposables the same amount I spent on starting up cloth diapers and from this point on we are saving money, money, money and my stash will last through multiple kiddos! I am so excited to see how much money we will save over the years to come!

Cloth Diapers: Washing Routine

I have 4 different wetbags to contain my diapers in preparation for washing. We have two changing stations in our house. The one in the kiddos bedroom and another in our room for when I’m feeding Joshua in the night. In the kiddos bedroom I have a small wetbag where I put all the dirty diaper covers and I also have a  large wetbag where I put the dirty prefolds. I also keep a small step trash can closeby to throw the dirty wipes in.

 

In our room I have a diaper pail (which is a fancy word for a large trash can I bought at Kmart for $19– this isn’t the one I bought but similar). I recommend the slim step because it fits nicely into a nook as opposed to a wide trash can and the step is nice since you’re holding a dirty diaper so your hands aren’t available! I have a diaper pail liner inside my fancy trash can and this is where I put more dirty prefolds. Here is our lovely changing table in our bedroom thanks to Tanko for sharing his kennel : ) It’s the perfect height and with a towel and blanket it’s nice and cozy! The trash can is to the left and to the right are some diapers/wipes and clothes for Joshy.

 

And then I have a wet/dry bag for our diaper bag when we are out and about. These are nice because there are two sections to the bag, one section to put the clean unused diapers and another section to put the used diapers.
 
So… on washing day (which is about every 4-5 days) I gather all my bags and first empty the prefolds into the washer and follow these steps: (1) Rinse cold (2) Wash hot w/Country Save laundry detergent  (3) Rinse hot w/ 1 cup vinegar in my downy ball (to break down the uric acid and soften the diapers) (4) Tumble dry with a clean towel and no dryer sheet (the towel helps speed up the drying process… it cuts my time by 10 minutes!). While the prefolds are drying I throw all the diaper covers and various wet bags into the washer and follow these steps (I wash my diaper covers with the delicate cycle and make sure you close the velcro fasteners first): (1) Rinse cold (2) Wash warm w/Country Save (3) Rinse warm (4) Hang dry outside – the power of the sun really and truly will erase all the stains in the cover and return them to bright white (I was skeptical of this at first but have gladly been proven wrong) if it’s not possible to hang outside then I dry them on the “knit/delicate” cycle. And that’s it! 

 

 These next 3 pictures our photographer in training Millie took… I thought they were really good!

 

 She wanted to emphasize the white brightness to the lining of the diaper covers thanks to the sun!

 

 Look how perfectly straight and centered this picture is she took… I was so impressed!

 

 And here is where I store Amelia’s cloth diaper stash since her and Joshy share a dresser… this is the best invention this hanging closet thing we got at Target! It saves so much room in our closet while nice and neatly organizing my miscellaneous diapers and things.

 

Miscellaneous washing tips:

As far as the poop on the diaper goes, for Joshua being breastfed I just throw the diapers in the wet bags without rinsing, for Amelia her poop either just falls right off into the toilet for flushing or else I hold the diaper in the toilet and flush and let the running water rinse off the external residue and then I throw it into the wet bag.

Also I have been using Country Save because of how cheap it is but I also love Charlie’s Soap but it’s a little more expensive. This summer I am going to experiment with homemade laundry detergent originally found at the Duggar’s website so I will let you all know how that turns out!

Stripping Prefolds:

I have learned the hard way the importance of stripping your prefolds. If you do not do this then the urine will over time deposit into the fibers of the prefolds and cause uric acid buildup which will cause a red irritated baby bum : ( It is recommended to do this every 2-3 months. All you do is throw in a pile of clean prefolds and wash on hot with approximately 2 Tlbs. of blue dawn dish soap. Continue to run regular hot wash cycles (water only, no detergent or soaps) until there are no more bubbles during the agitation phase of the rinse cycle (for me it’s usually 2-3 cycles). And dry as usual.

Cloth Diapers: Prefolds & Covers

PREFOLDS: ClothDiaper.Com. I bought all my prefolds from this website as they offer factory seconds for nearly 50% off the average price of prefolds making each prefold about $1 a piece. Factory seconds just means there is something with the stitching or appearance of the prefold that makes it to where it cannot be sold at full price, however the quality of the prefold is not affected. This website offers free shipping on orders over $99 so I purchased all my prefolds for Joshua and Amelia at one time to get the free shipping.

 DIAPER COVERS: I prefer to buy them from Cotton Babies as they are the same price as most other websites but they always have free shipping on every order! They also have some good sales throughout the year. And never underestimate the power of Craigslist! There are a lot of good deals from people trying different types of cloth diapers and selling the ones they decided not to use (that means the “used” diapers have only been used a couple times during the trial period). I have bought a lot of my diaper covers off Craigslist for nearly half the price of buying them brand new.

 Econobum This is a one size diaper cover. Although it is one size I still preferred to use a newborn cover until Joshua was 2 months old and then started using these Econobums on him. I love having these on hand with a 2 year old and a 3 month old because they can share the diaper cover! I snap it all the way closed for Joshua and unsnap it completely for Amelia : ) It is very thin and light weight which helps with some of the bulkiness that cloth diapering brings. And it is super cheap at $8.95 per cover.

 Flip This is another one size diaper cover. Again I did not start using this on Joshua until he was 2 months old and even now it is my last choice for him because it is a bit thicker than the Econobum so I feel like it is very bulky on him. However, this is my favorite one to use with Amelia. It fits her great and I just like the way it functions. I have two with snaps and one with velcro and I definitely recommend the snaps over the velcro. The velcro is already fraying a bit (after 5 months of use) and the flaps can stick out which makes it easy for them to catch on her clothing. It’s one of the more expensive ones but I would say the quality is worth the cost at $13.95 per cover. And Cotton Babies every once in awhile will have a Buy 1 Get 1 Sale on Flips or Econobums!!

 Thirsties DuoWrap These diaper covers come in two different sizes: Size One for 6-18 lbs and Size Two for 18-40 lbs. This is my least favorite to use with Amelia because the covers come with a double leg gusset to help prevent leaks and blow outs but I find with her the inner gusset always gets wet with urine so I have to change out the cover more often than the Econobums and Flips. However, these are my favorite to use with Joshua (huh? it baffles me too… maybe a difference between diapering a boy vs. a girl? or an infant who lays a lot vs. a toddler on the move?). They fit him really well and I don’t have the same problem with the inner gusset getting wet with urine. These come in snaps and velcro just like the Flips but I only have velcro ones. I think I would like ones with snaps for the same reason as I described above with the Flips but it just so happened I found good deals on Craigslist for velcro covers so those are the ones we got : ) Normally they cost about $12.25 per cover brand new.

 Newborn Proraps I used these Proraps in Newborn size for Joshua’s first two months and I LOVED them. They were the perfect size for him and they had the umbilical scoop to help with the umbilical stump so it didn’t get rubbed and irritated. If cloth diapering for me wasn’t about saving money I would probably buy these for every stage for each of my babies as they come in NB, S, M, L and XL sizes. But at this point I can’t fathom buying so many covers for all their different weights. But I definitely recommend them for the Newborn phase as one size diaper covers are just too big for a newborn and these are the perfect cover to start off with. They are still fairly inexpensive at $8.95 per diaper cover.

Here is how the diaper covers and prefolds go together:

 A prefold unfolded

 

A prefold folded in thirds

 

A prefold and a diaper cover

 

 Insert the prefold into the diaper cover like so…

 

And fasten the diaper like a normal disposable one

 

 When I change their diaper I just remove the prefold and replace it with a clean one and re-use the same diaper cover until it is soiled with poop or the urine is soaking the lining of the diaper. One diaper cover can last me a full day and a full night when my children behave in their diapers : )

Homemade Lotion and Diaper Rash Cream

I’ve been meaning to post this for some time now but keep forgetting. I have very sensitive skin and this pregnancy has made it incredibly worse so I was searching for some alternative lotions that may help with my legs constantly itching. I came across this ladies blog and she had a recipe for homemade moisturizer. I started making it and using it and noticed a significant difference… a difference in no itching at all! So I thought I’d share for any of you with sensitive skin or anyone looking to save some money as all those “natural” and “good for you” beauty products can add up and this one is very inexpensive and super easy to make. I will say it’s not for everyone… it’s a little oily and leaves a remnant on your skin until your skin absorbs the rest of it (for me about an hour or so) but once it does your skin is so smooth and feels so fabulous! So if you can handle the oiliness (is that a word?) then I would suggest it.

This recipe will fill a 16 oz. container:

1/2 cup coconut oil – I bought mine at Sprouts for $8 which lasted 3 rounds of lotion, here’s the kind I bought, they recommend unrefined for beauty products

1 cup raw shea butter – There is a yellow based and a cream based shea butter, the yellow based will leave a slight yellow residue to your skin that can rub off so I recommend any cream based shea butter, this size will last a LONG time, I’m not halfway done with my 32 oz. container I purchased 5 months ago for $18 and I’ve made 3 rounds of lotion

1/4 cup arrowroot powder or cornstarch (optional to thicken) – I do use this to thicken the lotion a bit and the arrowroot powder is very inexpensive

And that’s it! You blend it all in a bowl and transfer to whatever container you want to use… simple and wonderful! I used to spend $20 on Aveeno Intense Repair Moisturizer that would barely last me one month and here I’ve spent $26 and I’m going on 6-7 months before I need to purchase anything more!

Homemade Baby Food

So I decided to venture out when Amelia was about 4 months old and do some research on how to make homemade baby food for when the time came. After a bit of research I discovered it would be incredibly easy, healthier and save a lot of money… ding, ding and ding!!! Why wouldn’t I do it? I thought I would show you all a picture guide of just how easy it is to do in case any of you would like to venture on this as well : ) My main source of information was Wholesome Baby Food. Check it out for recipes, tips and solid food feeding guide so you can get an idea of how to progress your baby based on the American Academy of Pediatrics website. At this point I am averaging a savings of $1.50 per day ($45 per month)!

Wash your vegetables. Anything with a skin will need to be peeled first (zuchinne, pears, squash, carrots, etc.). Cut into cubes and add to large steaming pot.


Steam the food.


Once the food is steamed so they are tender, add to a blender. I just bought a Black & Decker Cyclone blender for $39.99 from Target. IT IS INCREDIBLE! I highly recommend if you’re in the market for a new blender. Not to mention the milkshakes it makes … yummmy!


Blend until it is an appropriate consistency for your baby’s stage (refer to the website for stage consistencies). Depending on the water base of the fruit or veggie you may need to add additional liquid to get it to a thinner consistency. I use pumped breast milk. You can use formula or you can also use the remaining water leftover from steaming as it will collect some of the nutrients from the food while you steamed it. Pour it into a good ol’ ice cub tray : ) Cover the tray with seran wrap. I put it in the fridge first for a bit to cool off then I transfer it to the freezer.


Once the cubes are frozen (usually just overnight) I transfer the cubes to a zip lock bag and label it with the type and date (the food is good for 1-3 months in the freezer).


I buy these Take N Toss bowls with lids from Wal-Mart and place 2 cubes from the freezer bag (each cube = 1 ounce of food) (Amelia started with 1 cube at a time but is progressing to 2 at a time). I usually take out of the freezer enough food for the next 3 days and let it unthaw in the fridge. When it’s feeding time, I take it out, stir it and feed my Millie : ) The food is also okay at room temperature for a few hours if you need to go out somewhere or if your baby likes room temp foods.


The result … a happy, healthy and cheaply fed baby : ) Now that I saved some money I’m heading to the mall!!!! Just kidding : )


Please let me know if you have any questions and are seriously considering doing this yourself. I am a HUGE advocate for breastfeeding and homemade baby food and I would love to give you any further tips on this process for myself. Visit the website too as they have TONS of resources and little tidbits Wholesome Baby Food
.