Cloth Diapering - It's Earth Day!

17 weeks along with our little peach! <3

17 weeks along with our little peach! <3

      The talk of all things baby starts as soon as you find out you're pregnant. What do babies need? Where do they sleep? Let's paint the nursery! Aww and all the cute outfits. OMG I have to push a what out my what? They give us a baby when we leave the hospital? And sorry, they pee how many times a day? The constant stream of thoughts surrounding having a baby is never ending, and as I have recently found out, when they are here, it just increases tenfold.

      Before Iola was here, one of the baby topics Marty and I talked about and agreed on right away was wanting to try our hand at cloth diapering. And everyone knows the reasons for doing this are of course to save money, but for me even more importantly, it was to *try* not to add to the landfill piles of the world. Something like 18 billion diapers are thrown out every year and they take 500 years to break down and honestly it makes me sad thinking that my daughter's sh*t could literally outlive her.

      The most difficult part of cloth diapering before you start is that it is FRICKEN OVERWHELMING. It's like picking out toothpaste when pregnant. I cried. Why are there so many choices for a product that does the exact same thing? I scoured the internet for hours; watched YouTube videos, read reviews, and visited all the websites.

This is what I gathered before I started:

The cages have to be hung to dry. I use this hanging slip organizer thing that I got at the thrift store for a few dollars in my ALMOST finished laundry room!

The cages have to be hung to dry. I use this hanging slip organizer thing that I got at the thrift store for a few dollars in my ALMOST finished laundry room!

1) to clarify, we call the outer cutesie colourful diaper portion the cage (we made this up), and the absorbent pads are actually called the inserts (there's a whole other type of diaper called a prefold which I won't get into because we decided they weren't for us at all - Google it!)
2) certain brands and sizes work better than others depending on your baby and you won't know what works until you try them
3) using a few different brands at once may benefit your baby, as spots where they may rub or chafe will vary, decreasing rashes, irritation, etc.
4) some diapers are called one-size (intended to fit from birth or a little after to potty training - they come with so many sets of snaps to change size), some diapers come in different sizes (NB, S, M, etc. or size 1, size 2, etc.), some diapers are pocket diapers (they have a pocket where the insert fits into), some diapers are all-in-ones (as in they don't have a separate insert, the pad portion is sewn right in)
5) generally all the inserts can be interchanged between all the brands and you can layer inserts for more absorbancy
6) inserts are made of all different types of material; cotton, polyester, bamboo - we have some of each
7) you don't actually want to have TOO many diapers, because the more you have the less motivated you are to do laundry, and you really don't want diapers sitting for too long
8) all your diaper components should be washed multiple times before using them or apparently they won't be absorbent - I threw mine in with all our regular laundry a total of 6 times a few weeks before we needed them
9) the cages need to be hung to dry to preserve their elasticity
10) you cannot use bum cream that contains zinc oxide because it decreases the absorbancy of the diaper as well as over time the diapers will start to retain an acrid smell (you know when you leave towels in the washer for like 2 hours and then dry them and then you use them? yeah. that smell.)

So where did we start?

Our 11 diaper 'cages' from Cozy Bum Diapers - Marty and I took turns picking diapers from the website, can you guess who picked the farm one?? :P)

Our 11 diaper 'cages' from Cozy Bum Diapers - Marty and I took turns picking diapers from the website, can you guess who picked the farm one?? :P)

I found a Canadian distributor Cozy Bums Diapers and based on the above research ordered 11 diapers. We ordered all one-sizes thinking we could use them right away and into the future. We got six Funky Fluff, one Thirsties, one Imagine, one Sweet Pea, and one Easy Peasies on a Black Friday sale and the total was $239.94. According to my math that's roughly 8 boxes of disposable diapers worth. Most companies/distributors have an Earth Day sale also!
      Shortly after receiving our order, an old work friend of mine had posted on Facebook that she was selling all her baby stuff at a community garage sale. Marty and I hit it up and bought all her gDiapers for a ridiculously great price, and I love them because they were already used 100s of times (this is the whole point!). gDiapers come in different sizes and we got six smalls, seven mediums. Towards the end of my pregnancy when I really had my nest on I bought two more smaller size 1 AppleCheeks. I wasn't sure what we were going to need and wanted to be prepared.

We started when Iola was 10 days old.

We started when Iola was 10 days old.

      We started when Iola was 10 days old. We needed a few days to adjust to our little person and new life and disposables exist because they are so dang easy, and we aren't perfect by any means. We started using the six small gDiapers and the two pairs of size 1 AppleCheeks and that's all we have been using up until now (she's 7 weeks old) plus we have 17 inserts. The 11 one-sizes pictured in the basket above were too big and actually still are, but we know that soon enough she'll fit into them, which is both sad and amazing. Child rearing is the ultimate juxtaposition.

So how do we like cloth diapering?

      Our experience thus far has been AWESOME. We change the gDiaper cage every few pees, and of course the insert every time. The entire AppleCheeks diaper get changed every time. We haven't had a sh*t-tastrophe blow-out that wasn't properly contained. (TIP: We use the open side of a hard plastic Enfamil bottle to scrap off the crap in the sink. Works like a charm.) A few times pee has leaked out but I think it was because of how we put the insert in, or didn't double up the insert, or didn't have the diaper tight enough. (You just gotta do it to learn it.) You absolutely have to be committed to doing laundry every day or two but I think I'd be doing that anyway between the spit-up, breast milk and other bodily fluids that seems to get on EVERYTHING. We have been using Dimpleskins Bum Bum Balm and Rocky Mountain Soap Co. Baby Bum Balm and love the naturalness of each product. Also note that so far we've used disposables when we go out (again, not perfect/convenience) but I do plan on completely dedicating to to cloth. That's where a wet bag comes in. Also also note that Iola cries immediately when she's wet a disposable and doesn't do this with a cloth!
      The one downfall so far; last week I noticed the inserts started taking on that acrid towels-left-in-the-washer smell when they got wet AKA peed on and I can't seem to get it completely out. After I figured out it was the diaper that smelled and not Iola's pee (after I freaked out and bawled and called my mom) I washed them on a super cycle. The smell improved but there's still a whiff, but it's a whiff we can live with. Apparently I can soak them in vinegar but haven't tried that yet. If any one has any advice surrounding anything cloth diaper I am all ears! I'd love it you left a comment below. Or if you have any questions I'd love to help as much as I can! I'll also do a post in a few months when we dive into all the other brands we have.

The  gDiaper  cage and a  gDiaper  insert that we got second hand. Reduce REUSE recycle!

The gDiaper cage and a gDiaper insert that we got second hand. Reduce REUSE recycle!

The  gDiaper  all together ready to use.  TIP : fold the Velcro over before throwing them in the washer or else they will attach to everything.

The gDiaper all together ready to use. TIP: fold the Velcro over before throwing them in the washer or else they will attach to everything.

The  AppleCheeks  flamingo diaper with a  Funky Fluff  insert. And a SOPHIE! &lt;3

The AppleCheeks flamingo diaper with a Funky Fluff insert. And a SOPHIE! <3

I mean that faaaace! What I wouldn't for this child, like try and save the planet. It is so true what they say, that you don't understand how much your parents love you until you have one of your own.

I mean that faaaace! What I wouldn't for this child, like try and save the planet. It is so true what they say, that you don't understand how much your parents love you until you have one of your own.

      I hope you know I am not trying to shame any one who uses disposables, nor am I trying to say that I am a perfect environmentalist. I take long showers, throw away Starbucks cups, heat my rather large home and use shampoo that probably throws off the whole ecosystem (but dead batteries always go to the Eco-station!) and I'm sure the extra laundering isn't that great either and who knows about the footprint the manufacturing of the diapers leaves. All I am trying to say is that in every choice I can make in the right direction for the planet has *hopefully* got to help a little bit. I think about the future more than I ever have before (remember that constant stream of thoughts thing?) and how what we are doing now will impact my grandchildren. I'm not even close to perfect, but one diaper at a time I hope I am contributing to a future where Iola is able to build a home on a little piece of green, not on top of a covered pile of garbage.

      A few weeks into our new life I asked Marty if this is what he thought it was all going to be and his response was, "I didn't think there would be this many diapers to change." Oh buddy, wait until they have real people sized craps. :D

Trying my best,

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3 weeks away from social media; the why, the what and the now.

      Can posting on Instagram be a hobby? Cuz I think it's mine. Now gosh my 9-square ain't perfect but I love it. I love the way it looks, the way the content is organized, and I love the challenge of posting for visual satisfaction, even if it's only mine. Last summer I made a goal for myself to rev up my instagame, to make my Instagram into something that I thought truly represented how I like things to look; colourful, creative, and inspiring. I have put a lot of energy into achieving the look I have and am truly proud of how far I've come. Gosh, if you're on the porcelain throne right now scroll back a year on my page and you'll see what imma talkin bout. (If you crave a slicker Insta, I want you to know it is possible!) But, recently, there came a point where I couldn't get far enough away from all that stuff.

      I went on an social media vacay. No, this doesn’t mean Instagram paid for me to go to the Bahamas, it just means I took a total of 3 weeks away from posting content, interacting with my fellow grammers, commenting, responding or doing any Make it Franke activity on Instagram or Facebook. When I realized I was spending more daily time planning my instaposts and curating the cutest little vignettes then I was actually making things and that I was shedding a decent amount of tears over the 'cohesiveness of my brand' in 9 little squares, I also realized this was likely contributing to my creative mojo suffocation I have been experiencing for the last few months. And I finally figured out I needed a break.
      I initially scheduled a break around different events/days that I wanted to make sure I was online for, for promotional reasons. I blocked out a few weeks on my calendar and in bold letters wrote NO INSTAGRAM POSTS. This alone made me feel lighter. The thing is though, what actually ended up happening, is one Friday afternoon about 2 weeks before my scheduled break, I simply absolutely had enough, made a FRIENDS inspired flat lay, and my 3 week vacay commenced. I didn't actually know at the beginning it was going to be 3 weeks, I left that open ended. Three weeks ended up feeling right.
      So what did I do for 3 weeks without my Instagram hobby?!? Well for the fist week I didn't think about anything related to Make it Franke. I didn't paint, draw, touch the computer, or think about website content - I hardly stepped foot into my studio. With the freed up mental space I had room to focus on some personal issues and was able to figure out what direction I wanted to go in with my artwork and this blog. After that week I REALLY started to miss engaging the maker/blogger/small business side of my brain and when I did step back into my studio it was like being reunited with an old friend. I also spent some of the time getting rid of SO MUCH stuff from my house. I brought boxes and boxes to thrifts stores and the Reuse Center. I think I needed the physical space as much as the mental. Also guys, I spent WAY less time with my phone. I left it in different rooms from where I was and let me tell you while harder in the beginning it. felt. so. good. I'll definitely be continuing this habit.
      I know there may be a few people who are asking themselves, 'I wonder if she lost any followers?" And actually, I had about 10 more when I came back after 3 weeks. But I was never concerned with losing followers, as I truly believe that the people following me because they like me or my product aren't going any where. Think about some accounts you are obsessed with on Instagram... PS a few of mine are @nataliecreates, @fivemarysfarms, @mintkarla @emily_jeffords @ravenroxanne... Now what if they told you, "Hey! I'm jetting off for 2 weeks and won't be posting, see you later!" Would you then slide your finger over and tap the unfollow icon? Um no. You wouldn't. You'd say, "HAVE FUN! Bring me back a pendant flag!" So, why wouldn't people do that for you? On another related note, if people do unfollow me, I do not take it personally. Maybe they lost interest in my vibe, maybe they don't care about what I'm making any more, truthfully, maybe they were comparing themselves to me and decided to cut me out because they weren't liking their emotional response to my posts. The point is, followers come, followers go, and you cannot please everyone. Don't even try.

      Into week two I started up again. I started majorly pre-planning website posts and for the first time and made a schedule for just that. I have goals for this blog and I finally put it together that without small attainable goals and stepping stones nothing with long term productivity is going to manifest. As for the art making side of things, I went to my fave art supply store The Paint Spot, laid down a couple hundies and got myself a whole shwack of new art supplies, including some different products I had never used before. A phrase had been playing over in my head again and again as said by one of my instapals Sara, who I find incredibly inspiring, "Go with your first instinct. It's there for a reason." So for the first time in a long time I did just that. It felt so freeing and wonderful and because I wasn't worried about making something 'Instagram worthy' I just went where the colours took me. I also had time to come up with, much to my dismay, a realization that I make art slowly. Do I wish I could pump out a new design every day? Yes. Do I wish I could come up with a new series every few months? Yes. Is this how my creative process works? No. I don't necessarily want this to be the case, but I have finally come to terms with my pace and that acceptance has also made me feel GOOD.

      During my time away I met up with another instapal Alyson of @herautumnleaves as she had contacted me after my exit post and basically said "OMG ME TOO." We spent about 4 hours in a Joeys to the almost-awkward-amount-of-time-in-a-restauant point. We drank SO many glasses of water the staff kept bringing us and eventually our server let us know she was going home and if we needed anything to not look for her. *haha* My point is Alyson and I were able to spend so much time talking all things social media; comparison, internet fakeness, SM exhaustion, themes, cohesiveness, branding and basically the shear energy it takes to keep up with the Kardashins, because it's such a relevant topic in our small business/maker culture. Did we solve any of our major problems in 4 hours? No. Did we both feel so much better because another human being feels the same way? Yes. I encourage you to interject a little honesty into your post(s) if you feel the same way because chances are very high that someone out there feel the same way you do.
      So what am I going to do now? Well for starters I am making the conscience choice to go. on. my. phone. less. If I want to waste 15 minutes on social media as 'a break', I force myself to go outside for 10 minutes instead. I also set a 7 o'clock PM alarm on my phone labelled "Get the f*uck off your phone" and don't touch it for the rest of the evening, not even right before I go to bed. I have also decided that I am taking a break from everything Make it Franke every single entire month of April. I was already toying with this idea this past spring during the weeks all our goats were having babes when keeping up with posting was difficult, and now that there's a 2-fold reason it's defineitly happening. Next year I am taking the pressure off completely and vacationing away from posting for a full month. I can already taste the creative recharge.


If social media has got you feeling low, take a break. We'll all be here cheering loudly on your return.