Sunday, March 20, 2011

I'm Not Gone- Just Packing

Happy St. Patrick's Day, a bit late!

I can hardly believe that March is nearly over, and my sweet little boy will be five months old this week! As time flies by, I come ever closer to a looming task- completing a trans-Atlantic move. I hope you will continue to visit despite intermittent posting breaks over the next few weeks. We have to pack up and relocate to the states again, and while I'm thrilled, I'm also overwhelmed. I'm sure that anyone who has ever moved understands!

So please, don't stop visiting! I will write as often as I can, and once we get somewhat settled across the pond I will get back to posting in full force. Thanks for understanding, and as always, thanks for reading! I love working on this project and getting feedback from readers that I've helped, even in a small way, is awesome.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Repurposing Prefolds

I have to say honestly that I'm not a huge fan of prefolds and covers. They work wonderfully for lots of moms, but Owen always seems grouchy when he wears them. They are too bulky for my taste, but we used them for a while because I bought them and wanted to give them a fair chance. I purchased a few in newborn size and a few smalls as well. My short and compact boy has outgrown both sizes, so I've been exploring ways to use the prefolds now that they're not fitting so well on his bum. Of course I could sell them or swap them, but I chose instead to repurpose them in my own home.

First off, they can be tri-folded and laid in any cover. This still produces a thick diaper, but in a pinch (read: if my laundry is still drying) they are useful! Sometimes I'll layer a fleece booster (I use GroVia's) so that the little guy can't feel the wetness so readily. He seems much happier that way.

Of course the thickness and softness of prefolds lends itself easily to burpcloths. The only drawback here is that mine are rather small and when my son spits up, he goes for gold. Still, they will soak up any mess that they miss initially because they are so absorbent.

My mom used to use her prefolds and flats as dust rags- in fact, there are still a few lingering around her house. With a little bit of dusting spray they will pick up debris from furniture and leave things spotless and shining. They don't scratch anything and since they can be washed, I don't worry about throwing out items like paper towels or Swiffer inserts.

Lastly, I have been using our prefolds as a play mat for my son. I lay them out on the rug and I let him play without a diaper for about 10-15 minutes. This gives him a chance to move around freely, and gives his skin time to air dry. I don't have to worry about the rug getting dirty because the prefolds are thick enough to keep things clean and dry underneath. As an added bonus, he loves rolling around on the soft, quilted texture. If I could sew, I might consider stitching them together to make a large play blanket!

How do you repurpose your prefolds or flats when they are too small for diapering use?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Cloth Wipe Solution: Storage

I should mention a change in the way I store and apply wipe solution. The new container is much better! I picked up a basic spray bottle, and it holds twice as much liquid as my peri bottle did! (Basically, I now double my solution recipe.) If you use a spray bottle, just gently shake it right before you spray the cloth wipe. I haven't had any problems with the nozzle clogging, and it smells like the mixture is coming out evenly. This new system actually conserves the solution because it sprays so evenly and doesn't saturate the wipe unless I continue to spray. I highly recommend a spray bottle over a peri bottle!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Coconut Oil, a gift from the "Tree of Life"

Coconut is the Renaissance Man of the oil world. The coconut tree is known as the “Tree of Life,” and with the varied and wonderful properties of the oil produced from the coconut, the name seems appropriate. Coconut oil’s main component is lauric acid, which has antifungal, antiviral, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties. This oil has been linked to health benefits such as sustained weight loss, improvement in cases of diabetes, and resistance from viruses. It can be used in cooking to replace other oils, and includes both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated components but no trans fat or hydrogenation. It does miraculous things for skin- it combats dryness, wrinkles, psoriasis, eczema, and can help to heal infections or wounds by providing a naturally clean barrier that simultaneously aides in damaged tissue repair.

Because of the natural resistance and healing provided by coconut oil, it is an excellent choice of natural diaper cream. It can be used on rashes and has been shown to have some effectiveness against yeast and thrush. Coconut oil may also be used with every diaper change as a preventative measure. Because it is completely safe to handle and even ingest, there is no harm in prolonged use. In fact, there are cultures who rely on this wonder oil daily.

Because it is water soluble, coconut oil is one of the best options available to a cloth diapering parent. It can be used without worry of decreased absorbency in your diapers, or discoloration of the cloth. There is no need to worry about using a liner to protect your diaper when you choose coconut oil!

Sounds great, right? Now what?

You want to choose an organic virgin coconut oil. You may find other coconut oils being touted for their health benefits, but if the are not organic and virgin, you can bet they will be processed and the natural health benefits will be decreased if not stripped completely. Your coconut oil will likely be in its solid state, as the melting point is 76 degrees fahrenheit. You can take the oil straight out of the jar if you desire! It has a shelf life of over two years, so there is no need to worry if you can only find a large jar. It will remain fresh and safe to use- you will go through the jar before the jar goes bad!

I split a jar of Spectrum virgin organic coconut oil with Anna, a fellow American living in Germany. It cost us just over $6 for our 14 ounce jar. My stock is being kept in a small reusable plastic container with a lid. It remains solid, but soft- it is quite easy for me to swipe a finger across the top and get a small amount of oil, which almost instantly melts as I spread it on my son’s diaper area. Owen has had some skin irritation from my experiment with using Tide powder on my diapers (as it turns out, he has incredibly sensitive skin!) and the coconut oil is really helping me to get that irritation under control. My husband has been using it on a patch of dry skin on his face and he said he could feel an improvement after only a few applications. I have been putting the oil on my hands where they get dry and flaky, and it helps to seal in moisture without being greasy. Anna reported an improvement in a burn mark after she used the coconut oil. In addition to these great results, it smells divine. My husband says it reminds him of buttered toast, which apparently is meant to be high praise. For me, it feels like a little tropical pick-me-up every time I change a diaper. Not a bad outcome at all.

I highly recommend coconut oil to everyone- not just people using cloth diapers. With all of the positive attributes it is a great alternative to so many of the questionable cooking oils available, and to the chemical-loaded creams and salves on the market today. Give it a try and I doubt you’ll be disappointed!

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