The Next Generation of Cloth Diaper Users

I had a very interesting (interesting for me because I own a small cloth diaper company) conversation with a fifth grade teacher here in Winnipeg. She called me because her students were very keen to learn more about cloth diapers. It seems that these children had come to discover something that appears to be eluding the vast majority of Canadian parents: cloth diapers are the ultimate in Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. I happily put together some basic information for the class including why cloth diapers are an excellent, in myopinion superior option, how to use cloth diapers and the basics of washing. Over the years of running this business and discussing cloth diapers with a variety of people the two demographics that are most accepting and enthusiastic about cloth diapers are the 60+ crowd, the ones who used cloth themselves and the younger 18-24 age group. I guess time will tell if the 18-24 group will end up using cloth diapers when they start having babies or if they will decide that they are just too much work when faced with the decision. I’m going to remain optimistic that the younger generations will prioritize things like health, the environment, earlier potty training and financial savings above their own convenience. Below is the information I sent the teacher to read to her class.

Basics of Cloth Diapering in 2014

What are cloth diapers? There are a variety of cloth dBlackboard / chalkboard texture. Empty blank black chalkboard with chalk tracesiapers available in many different styles but to break it down a cloth diaper is a reusable cotton diaper with a waterproof outer layer. Our diapers use a separate pull on waterproof cover; many others have the waterproof layer attached and those diapers don’t require a cover (this method sounds better but there are many reasons separate covers are a better option). Basically instead of throwing out your diapers after every use you wash and reuse them.

Top reasons more parents are considering cloth diapers

  1. Money . When compared with disposable diapers parents using cloth will save on average $2,000 per child. Our diapering system includes reusable wipes and 36 one size diapers so we have estimated our cloth diapers to save parents approximately $2,500.00 per child.
  1. Earlier potty training. On average babies diapered in cloth will be out of diapers one year earlier than their disposable wearing counterparts. My daughter was out of diapers at 18 months, which was largely due to the fact that she only ever wore 100% cotton cloth diapers; she felt wet and understood the sensation of peeing at a much younger age.
  1. The Environment. It is estimated that disposable diapers take more than 250 years to decompose and up to 500. Everyday millions are discarded in Canada alone. There have been some studies suggesting that there is no environmental benefit to using cloth diapers. However, you cannot argue with the fact that the best thing for the environment is for infants/toddlers to spend less time in diapers (potty train) which is achieved with cloth. Another thing cloth diaper using parents can do to lessen their carbon footprint is to have more diapers; the more diapers you have the less often you wash them. Also you can line dry diapers in the summer.
  1. Health. Disposable diapers contain chemicals known to cause cancer (dioxin). It is found in the gel used to make them super absorbent. Since parents switched to disposable diapers the incidence of diaper rash has significantly increased and there have been reports of babies developing serious chemical burns from disposable diapers. Cloth is more natural.

Initial Cost of Cloth Diapers – Our birth to potty cloth diapering system costs $380.00 plus GST for a total of $399.00 CAD. The prices of cloth diapers range and depending on the system can cost upwards of $900.00. With cloth diapers you also need to factor in the additional costs associated with laundering your diapers at home (laundry detergent & the increased utility costs/washer & dryer).

Diaper Services – A diaper service is a service provided to parents where clean diapers are delivered to the customers’ home and the service takes away and launders the dirty diapers. There are diaper services in most other provinces. As far as I know Winnipeg has had two and both have gone out of business. The most recent one was charging $22 per week; the cost of doing this is similar to disposable diapers. Diaper services became very popular during the Second World War. It is much cheaper and sometimes more practical to buy your diapers and wash them at home. Remember, you can use the diapers on more than one baby. I have a customer in Ohio who used the same $400 diaper kit on 3 babies!

Washing Cloth Diapers – This is the biggest fear most parents have when considering cloth diapers. It is much easier than most people imagine. When the baby pees you throw that diaper into a pail, when the baby poops you rinse out the poop (shake it into the toilet then rinse in the sink) then throw it into the same pail as the pee diapers. With 36 diapers parents can expect to wash every 2-3 days in the beginning and less often as the baby gets older. On wash day just throw the diapers in the washing machine and use your regular detergent. Next they go in the dryer and after the dryer fold and put them away. It is really a very easy and simple process. I always hear back from customers that it was so much easier to use cloth diapers than they thought it was going to be.

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Why Do We Care So Much…

Why do we care so much about what other people think? Why is it such a big deal if our friends and family think we: are wearing ugly leggings,  have a bad relationship, are struggling financially, are on an unhealthy diet, are not disciplining our kids enough and the list goes on and on and on. Really, why do we care so much? And what would happen if we stopped caring so much about the opinions of others? Honestly I think the effects of giving up caring about what other people think of us would be nothing but positive. I’m not saying you should become some sort of  selfish, evil narcissist, just that you should make your decisions and do the things you do because they make sense to YOU. I think one very superficial area most of us can relate to is our clothing and how we choose to express our personality through fashion. Recently I found a pair of leggings that I really liked, they are a bright color and have a bold pattern. They are not for everyone and I knew when I tried them on that a lot of people would look at them and think they were ugly, loud, flashy etc. But I liked them, they fit great, were super comfortable and I liked the flashiness. I bought them and wore them to a party within the week (rare opportunity since I don’t attend many parties). I am almost thirty and have come to the realization that it is ridiculous for me to dress for anyone other than myself.

I recently made a youtube video about a common myth that cloth diapers are for poor people. I came to discover this as a pretty big reason a lot of parents don’t buy cloth diapers; they think it will make them appear poor to their friends and family. I think we need to focus on doing the things that make sense to us, the things we want to do and make a conscious effort not to factor in the opinions of others when making personal decisions.

The video is below and talks more about this in relation to cloth diapering. I would love your take on this subject, is it a good or bad idea to care less about what others think?

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Evolution of the Cloth Diaper Industry

As I’ve stated time and again I think cloth diapers are a fantastic idea and are much easier to use than most people think. When I started this company nearly six years ago the industry looked quite a bit different than it does today. Six years ago there were a ton of websites offering cloth diapers, mainly smaller companies started up and run by stay at home/work at home moms. The vast majority of these sites offered a huge selection of many different styles and brands of cloth diapers. They had prefold diapers, contour, fitted, one size, all in one, pocket diapers and the rare site still carried the old school flat diapers. This model was super confusing for the average consumer because everyone was offering everything and no one was being honest about what really worked the best because they didn’t want to put down anything because ultimately it would mean putting down, or as I like to call it, speaking honestly about their own products. The great thing about the industry was that it was still more of a mompreneur led grassroots kind of thing. Yes there were the bigger guys like bum genius and fuzzi bunz selling pocket diapers but the majority of business was going to the smaller cloth diaper businesses run by moms who like myself thought cloth diapers were just a great idea and really quite easy to use. Unlike myself these women sold diapers that were manufactured by larger companies and the ones who did manufacture their own just copied the pocket diaper and put their label on it. Being someone who is not afraid to go off and do my own thing I looked at what was out there and created a product from scratch that to me just made more sense; they were trimmer fitting, more affordable, fit smaller babies better, were easier to wash and more durable.

Over the past six years the industry has changed in the following ways: those mom run cloth diaper sites/online stores have been giving pocket diapers more and more of their virtual real estate. Don’t believe me, go take a look. The home pages of these sites are dominated by pocket diapers and pocket diapers make up the majority of their selection; the other styles are being phased out. The other way it has changed is that more and more of the money spent on cloth diapers in North America is no longer going to those mom run websites, it’s going directly to China. This sickens me. I can totally understand people not wanting to buy my diapers because they are not pocket diapers and in no way resemble a pocket diaper and most people, especially women are uncomfortable doing things that go against the grain. But to see all of these people ordering their pocket diapers from China and not giving a shit about anything other than the price, it’s fu#king depressing. Let’s just drive the price down so much that it’s impossible to manufacture cloth diapers in our own country and the entire thing can go to China and then we can cry about it. Oh and another significant change in the cloth diaper industry, Walmart has decided to get in on the action. Wonderful. Obviously I don’t like where things are going, not just for me but for the other moms who have invested years into building their cloth diaper businesses. Our business models are different and they are my competition but I still respect what they do. The reality that MOST Canadians and Americans really only care about money, they don’t see any big picture; that’s a really tough pill to swallow.

I recently moved to Wolseley, an amazing neighborhood in Winnipeg. Upon moving here I discovered a great little bakery and some really cool shops within a few blocks of my place, I even found a clothing store where all of the clothes are sewn on site. I made the decision that while I have zero control over how other people shop that I would commit to shopping within my own neighborhood. Clothes, books, gifts, bread, if I can get it here I will. Of course it does cost a little more so that simply means people will get smaller gifts from me and my daughter and I will have less clothes. But I think it’s worth it because I want those cool little shops to still be there for me to shop at in 10 years.

I’ve set up a quick little poll and would really appreciate your feedback on this.

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Are cloth diapers right for me?


I believe it is incredibly easy to know if cloth diapers are right for you. Ready, cause I’m about to tell you and it’s super simple. Go with your gut. I can’t believe I’m giving that advice, I can’t count how many times in my life I’ve wanted to strangle a friend or family member for giving me this same advice. They told me to listen to my gut or worse my heart when all I wanted some concrete advice on how to handle a problem aka one of lifes little mini dramas. Upon receiving this advice to listen to my heart or follow my gut I was usually left thinking, “What the f#%k does that mean? Go with my gut.”

In terms of cloth diapers I think it means to think back to your initial reaction to the idea of shunning disposables in favour of washable/reusable diapers. Did you think it was brilliant or did you think it was disgusting? Maybe your feelings weren’t that extreme but I’m willing to bet they were much closer to one side that the other; go with that. Obviously there are exceptions to every rule but I believe the rule here is this: the people who succeed and enjoy using cloth diapers are most often the ones who thought it was a good idea and didn’t require much coaxing; they instinctively understood the ‘why’ and just needed help with the ‘how.’

So if you find yourself sitting on the fence think back to your initial thoughts and feelings on the subject and go from there.

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Turkey Burger Recipe

I made the switch from beef to turkey burgers a few years ago when my father was put on a heart smart diet.  He was skeptical about the turkey burgers, but after trying them decided it wasn’t such a bad substitute and they became a favourite at our house.  They are not as juicy as burgers made with beef so to compensate and to add flavour I top them with a homemade bruschetta topping (recipe below) and shredded cheddar cheese.

Turkey Burger Recipe (makes 4)

-1 pound ground turkey (1 package from Safeway not exactly 1lb but that’s fine)

- 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley

- 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

- 1/2 teaspoon salt

- 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce

- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (regular mustard is fine if you don’t have Dijon)

- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

- 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

- 4 whole wheat hamburger buns (if your doing low carb you can use a portabella mushroom instead of a bun, tastes better with a bun though)

Combine everything (in a bowl obviously). Divide into 4 equal size balls and with your hands form into patties. Place on a greased (I use olive oil) baking sheet and broil until cooked through, about 15 minutes.  At this point you can melt some cheese on them (real cheese, don’t ruin my burgers with Kraft Singles please), toast the buns and dig in.  Or, you can make the bruschetta topping, which I strongly recommend.

Bruschetta Topping

-2 medium/ large tomatoes chopped

- a couple green onions chopped

- 1 large clove of garlic minced

- fresh black pepper

- salt to taste

Chop the tomatoes into small pieces, finely chop the green onions, mince the garlic nice and fine and mix it all together.

I make the topping while the burgers are cooking and grate my cheese. I broil the patties for 14 minutes, take them out and heap on the bruschetta topping, put them back under the broiler for a few minutes to heat the topping, take them out and add the cheese and back under the broiler for another minute or so until the cheese is nice and melted.  Now toast your buns under the broiler, put them together and enjoy! I like to serve mine with homemade yam fries and a spinach salad with a honey garlic vinaigrette.

Hope you enjoy the recipe and be sure to let me know how they turn out.

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Cloth Diaper Subsidies

We recently had a customer in Ontario who after ordering cloth diapers from us was able to get a $200 cloth diaper subsidy from her local government. We are based out of Manitoba where as far as I know no such grants/subsidies exist. Owning a cloth diaper business where we manufacture our own product, I obviously thought this was a fantastic idea! Curiosity piqued I contacted this customer again with a few follow up questions regarding the subsidy. She said there was some paperwork to fill out in order to get the money and she also needed to provide a receipt/invoice from us other than the one from Pay-Pal, easy enough. She also told me that in her community they were working to raise awareness for the cloth diaper subsidy program.  Apparently every year they have money left over because not enough parents take advantage of it.

I think the main obstacle we have to overcome when talking to parents about cloth diapers is the fear/lack of knowledge on how to wash/care for them. No, actually the main obstacle with the vast majority is for them to even consider something that involves them doing any more work than absolutely necessary, sad but true. A lot of times though, parents who are interested in and even want to use cloth diapers are scared off by the initial investment (if looking at our birth to potty system it’s $400). I guess they are worried that they will spend this money and end up not being able to use the diapers due to the difficulty of washing them/the extra bit of work involved. To me, this notion is crazy. If you want to use cloth diapers:  just make the decision, buy them and do it! The question is… would a $100 – $200 subsidy from the government help offset the initial cost enough to get more Canadian parents using cloth diapers? I would think so, but as I am learning more and more not everyone thinks the same way I do ;)

Quebec is leading the provinces in cloth diaper subsidies with over 100 communities offering $100-$250 grants to parents willing to try cloth diapering. Ontario and BC appear to be slowly getting on board with this. Quebec is the #1 market for cloth diapers in Canada and maybe these subsidies have something to do with it? Maybe it’s the additional exposure/awareness programs like this create?

Why are local governments offering these subsidies? In Quebec I read that it is to offer more affordable options for parents to promote more families to stay in and or move to Quebec. Another is to cut down on the waste disposable diapers contribute to local landfills; approximately 3% of the total residential waste for disposal in Canada.

Do you think cloth diaper subsidies would make a substantial difference?  There already are the parents with a personality type that encourages them to try something different even though it is more work and different from what 95% of their peers are doing.  Could some financial help from the government get another 5% or so to try cloth diapers?

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Blog Posts Too Negative?

We recently received an email suggesting our blog is a little too negative and that we “put down” the competition too much. I agree with this point of view. So why do some of the posts have such a negative tone? Simple, I like to write when I’m PMSing. Honestly, I put down the competition because they piss me off! They piss me off because they confuse people who are looking for cloth diapers. They confuse people by offering them way too many different brands and types of cloth diapers and say all of them are great. They give bad information about which diapers to buy and how many are needed. They make cloth diapers appear much more confusing than they have to be. They choose to carry diapers with more complicated care guidelines and they carry diapers that are expensive. In a nutshell, they confuse a lot of women out of buying cloth diapers all together and set a bunch up for failure by telling them they only need 24 diapers or 12 diapers and 24 liners. When I say competition I am referring to the other online cloth diaper retailers. The email responsible for provoking this post also suggested that we may want to encourage cloth diaper use in general regardless of the type/brand. I thought we did? Of course we would rather someone using cloth diapers instead of disposables even if they chose a brand other than ours. It was also said that our blog has her second guessing our true intentions. Our intentions are pretty simple, sell diapers. We didn’t just throw up a website offering a bunch of different cloth diapers designed and manufactured my someone else. We created a system with the goal of making it easier and more affordable for people to use cloth diapers. We feel good about pushing our product because we created it and we believe in it.

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Effective Hemorrhoid Home Remedy

I think we all know what hemorrhoids are, so I’m going to skip the gross description. It is estimated that up to 50% of women will develop this irritating, painful and embarrassing problem either during pregnancy or postpartum. Yes, I was one of those unfortunate women. My partner and I were living in different cities at the time and I was visiting him for the weekend when I could no longer ignore the symptoms. I was horrified! I went to speak with a pharmacist (naturally the place was full of people and the pharmacist was hard of hearing) who told me not to use suppositories during pregnancy but recommended a few different creams. At this point I was feeling pretty good, I had this cream and was thinking the hemorrhoids would be gone soon. Unfortunately the cream didn’t work. So I started looking into some natural home remedies and after hours of reading and a few unsuccessful trials I found one that worked! Not only has this remedy worked for me but for many other women as well. I have no idea how or why it works but it definitely does!

Banana Peel Tea

– 2 cups of water

– 3-4 banana peels

Directions

Put the banana peels and water in a pot and bring to a boil, boil down until there is only 1 cup/half the amount of water remaining in the pot, strain and drink the liquid. Make sure to really strain well to get rid of the chunks. To get rid of hemorrhoids do this about 3 times a day the first few days then once a day until gone. To save some time you can make a large batch and store it in the refrigerator.

Warning: It tastes awful and smells bad and I cannot stress enough the importance of straining!

Hmmm…. I wonder if anyone will comment on here about their own embarrassing hemorrhoid experiences? LOL.

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So Many Diapers And Only 9 Months To Decide


A lot of new and expectant parents are really unsure about which diapers to choose. The first decision is to decide between cloth or disposable; even though in my opinion the obvious choice is cloth the majority are still, unfortunately choosing to go the disposable route. For most, convenience (I also like to call it laziness) right now is the deciding factor. Not, thousands of dollars saved, earlier easier potty training, cleaner landfills or any of the other benefits of using cloth diapers. That being said, some parents clearly see the benefits of cloth right away and have a pretty easy time deciding to pass on Pampers. However, once they have decided to go cloth they are bombarded with an enormous selection (mainly on-line) and price range of cloth diapers. So what should they do? If you ask me, it’s easy, save yourself some time, money and avoid the stress of looking and just get the Boobles Bottoms complete diapering system. We designed our diapering system to be affordable, easy to use, trim fitting and really easy to buy since everything you need is in one kit… I almost forgot cute (see picture above). There seems to be too much selection which tends to leave expectant parents believing cloth diapering is really confusing and that there’s a lot more to it than there really is. If cloth diapers seem like the obvious choice for your baby then don’t get confused by all of the different options, just use your common sense.

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You Don’t Always Get What You Pay For

It seems that though our Boobles Bottoms are only $9.99 each they have many benefits over the $20-$25 all in one, snap filled, one size diapers. Among the benefits; the trim fit, easy washing and simple sizing seem to be the most appreciated by our customers…. that and the price of course.

Here is a recent customer testimonial:
I have been using my boobles bottom diapers since my daughter was 3 days old. I love how easy they are to fold and adjust for her growing size. They wash really well and I have yet to have one stay stained! After almost 5 months in these diapers my daughter has never had a diaper rash!!! I did have some troubles with them leaking but the Diaper Ladies helped me out via e-mail and that was the end of that. After seeing the issues friends have had with their one-sized snapped diapers and the all in one diapers I am very glad that I chose Boobles Bottoms!

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